5 important things happening in South Africa today

Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:

Winter power outages: Eskom said that it cannot guarantee the provision of electricity to households and businesses at all times this week. The spokesperson for the power utility said that the increased demand in winter was affecting Eskom’s overall ability to provide electricity. He noted that capacity constraints will be seen throughout the winter period, particularly in the evening and morning peaks. This comes after Eskom implemented stage two power cuts on Monday and Tuesday earlier this week. [EWN]

Not so fast: Business groups say it is far too early for the presidency to be patting itself on the back for progress made by Operation Vulindlela, noting that despite ‘checking off’ a list of accomplishments, blockages and other issues have not yet been resolved. This is because the operation is not mandated to ensure that projects are carried out and completed by the respective departments, only to initiate certain reforms. An example used was the ‘completed’ goal of raising the self-generation threshold to 100MW – however, only 4 of 58 projects for this have been approved by Nersa, due to stringent requirements. [Fin24]

Mining investment: International mining companies at the recent African Mining Indaba said they are prepared to increase their investment in South African projects by 84% – but only if the government tackles the red tape surrounding the processing of mining permits and the approval for self-generation projects. President Cyril Ramaphosa hinted that government might be open to discussing the private operation of Transnet’s dedicated heavy-haul coal, manganese and iron ore export lines. This follows the South African Mining Council highlighting that the country missed out on R35 billion due to faulty export systems. [BusinessLive]

Praise for SA courts: A recent study into the judiciary of Malawi, Namibia and South Africa has found that the South African constitutional court – while facing unprecedented political pressure – maintained neutrality. The study referenced the case of former president Jacob Zuma’s allegations of State Capture as a striking example of how the courts acted as the last line of defence for democracy. According to the study, despite the court’s performance, South Africa ranks 23rd out of 34 assessed countries with regard to the amount of trust South Africans have in the judicial system. South Africa has a trust factor of 43% while Tanzania ranks first with 90%. [Daily Maverick]

Markets: The South African rand gained on Thursday, helped by a recovery in risk appetite globally. US dollar strength and power cuts by state-owned power utility Eskom continued to pose risks for the rand. Investors often use the rand as a proxy for emerging market risk, making it very susceptible to swings in global sentiment. The rand is currently trading at R16.08/$, R16.95/€ and R19.84/£. [Nasdaq]