CAPE TOWN South
Africa (Xinhua) -- South Africa will
be plunged into darkness again as a result of a continuous
strike by employees at power stations, authorities warned on
The electricity system remains constrained
with a high probability of Stage 1 rotational load shedding this
evening, said state-run electricity utility Eskom which provides
more than 95 percent of the electricity consumed in the country.
Eskom said it will advise if load shedding will be conducted
in either stage 1, stage 2, stage 3 or stage 4, dependent on the
Stage 1 requires 1,000MW to be rotationally loadshed
nation-wide, stage 2 requires 2,000MW, stage 3 requires 3,000MW
and stage 4 calls for up to 4,000MW to be rotationally loadshed
nationally at a given period.
Load shedding is conducted rotationally as a measure of last
resort to protect the power system from a total collapse or
"We encourage residents and businesses to please use
electricity sparingly to ease the demand of electricity," the
The generation and distribution of electricity in the country
has been constrained after Eskom employees downed tools last
month to press their demand for wage increases.
The strike shows no sign of abating because cash-strapped
Eskom cannot afford to raise wages for its workers.
Electricity supply network has been affected by acts of
sabotage and intimidation that characterize the current
industrial action by members of trade unions, according to
Eskom is now facing a serious coal shortage at seven power
The utility has sought the services of the Commission for
Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to facilitate the
engagement between Eskom and union leaders to resolve the
"We are hopeful that all parties will put South Africa first
as we endeavor in finding an amicable solution," said Eskom.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) has been mobilized to
maintain order and to enable safe access to power stations as
these are national key points, Eskom said.
The current situation has given rise to fears that similar
load shedding is on the way as in 2014 and 2015 when frequent
load shedding gripped the country.
South African African
National Congress supports constitutional
amendment on expropriating land without compensation
JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua)
-- South Africa’s ruling party, the
African National Congress (ANC), on Tuesday announced it will
support the amendment to Section 25 of the Constitution to
"explicitly" expropriate land without compensation.
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa said on late Tuesday
night that his country faces many challenges, particularly the
issue of land expropriation.
"On land reform, the ANC applauds our people, from all walks
of life - including the rural poor, farm labourers, the
unemployed, the landless, urban residents, farmers and
traditional leaders - for expressing their views on this
"Our people have been expressing their views on the land
question openly and without any fear or favour," said Ramaphosa.
It had become "patently clear that our people want the
Constitution to be more explicit about expropriation of land
without compensation, as demonstrated in the public hearings."
He stated that "a comprehensive land reform programme that
enables equitable access to land will unlock economic growth, by
bringing more land in South Africa to full use, and enable the
productive participation of millions more South Africans in the
Accordingly, the ANC will through the parliamentary process
to finalize a proposed amendment to the Constitution that
outlines more clearly the conditions under which expropriation
of land without compensation can be affected.
"The intention of this proposed amendment is to promote
redress, advance economic development, increase agricultural
production and food security. It will also transform the unjust
spatial realities in urban areas," said the president.
South African government
submits bill to
Parliament on high economic concentration
CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) --
The South African government on Monday
submitted the long-awaited Competition Amendment Bill to
Parliament as the country is braced for bold economic
Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel described the
bill as a significant policy shift by the government.
The amendments provide for an extension of the mandate of the
competition authorities and the executive to address high levels
of economic concentration and limited transformation in the
South African economy and abuse of market power by dominant
The bill also allows the executive to intervene in mergers by
foreign firms which impact national security interests in the
Soon after the bill was submitted, the ruling African
National Congress (ANC) called on Parliament to fast-track
consideration of the bill "as the country urgently needs bold
"We note that the bill has been through a thorough process of
consultation with business and organised labor.
"We call on the social partners to work closely to begin
implementation of the core elements and to join us in opening
the economy to small and medium businesses," ANC national
spokesperson Pule Mabe said.
He said many studies on the South African economy have
indicated the high levels of economic concentration in different
"This has a negative impact on innovation, investment, growth
and job creation. It also leads to higher prices for consumers,
and limits the opportunities for small and medium businesses to
participate," said Mabe.
Therefore, the bill provides the Competition Commission with
the powers to conduct market inquiries in sectors where
ownership and market share have become highly concentrated.
It proposes remedies that can lead to greater economic
participation, and lower prices for consumers.
Under the bill, the competition authorities can impose
conditions on mergers which result in a greater spread of
ownership in companies, particular black South Africans and
workers in those companies.
This is in line with the call by the ANC to promote greater
worker ownership in the economy and is part of the bold vision
of economic transformation that the country needs, said Mabe.
"The ANC once again affirms its policy to deconcentrate the
levels of ownership in South Africa and open the economy for
greater participation and jobs," he said.
But the bill has been met with criticism. Critics argue that
it could overload the competition authorities to the point where
their effectiveness could be jeopardized.
Others have cautioned that the legislation could constrain
the space for other policies aimed at supporting
industrialization, particularly where greater collaboration
might be required to bolster certain manufacturing sectors.
The bill would now be subjected to scrutiny by Parliament,
which would also determine the schedule for the processing of
Fund highlights impediments to South African growth
CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) --
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday
highlighted several impediments to South Africa’s growth,
including policy uncertainty and regulatory overreach that
hinders private investment.
South Africa also faces inefficiencies in state-owned
enterprises (SOEs), labor market rigidities, insufficient
competition in product markets and corruption, the IMF said as
it published the outcome of its consultations with South Africa
that took place between May 28 and June 11.
During the consultations, IMF officials met with various
stakeholders from different sectors, including the government,
SOEs, business, organized labour and academia, according to the
South African National Treasury.
In its report, the IMF keeps its growth forecast of 1.5
percent in 2018 for South Africa, the same as its World Economic
Outlook (WEO) projection in April.
The IMF’s concerns on fiscal policy relate to the rapid
increase in public debt as a share of GDP, which has doubled
over the last decade, depleting fiscal buffers and constraining
fiscal policy space.
Risks related to potential SOEs bailouts will further
constrain fiscal policy, the IMF said.
The IMF deems the current monetary stance appropriate but
emphasized that monetary policy authorities should be cautious
given fiscal risks and the need to build buffers.
While acknowledging South Africa’s recent reform efforts to
combat corruption, the IMF argued that to improve growth and
reduce poverty, these actions have to be followed by strict
enforcement of good regulations.
In addition, clear communication of policies and regulatory
decisions is essential to clarifying any uncertainty that is
weighing on investor sentiment, the IMF said.
But the IMF also pointed out that South Africa’s economy
remains well integrated in the global economy, diversified and
has a sophisticated financial services sector.
In response to the IMF report, the National Treasury said the
government concurs with the IMF’s views on the urgency to
advance the implementation of its reform agenda as set out in
the National Development Plan, which calls for economic growth
of 5.4 percent per year and a 6-percent decrease in unemployment
"We remain committed to achieving inclusive growth that will
create jobs, eradicate poverty and reduce inequality," the
In regards to the IMF’s concerns on fiscal policy and debt
levels, the Treasury reaffirmed the government’s commitment to
reduce the deficit and stabilize debt.
South Africa’s gross borrowing requirement in 2017/18 was 246
billion rand (about 18.7 billion U.S. dollars), consisting of
217.3 billion rand (about 16.5 billion dollars) for the budget
deficit and 28.7 billion rand (about 2.2 billion dollars) for
debt repayments, according to the National Treasury.
South African expert calls
for preparation for fourth industrial revolution
JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua)
-- The fourth industrial revolution
presents challenges and opportunities which calls for proactive
approach to reap its rewards, said South African Reserve Bank
deputy governor Daniel Mminele on Wednesday.
Speaking at the University of Zululand, Mminele said the
universities and other higher learning institutions have a role
in preparing the country for the fourth industrial revolution.
"New technologies will transform the world we live in.
"The exponential speed and scope of this transformation
brings with it the potential for unlimited possibilities and
endless opportunities, but also massive challenges," said
He stated that policy makers, central banks, business leaders
and organizations like BRICS and G20 are grappling with the
implications of the fourth industrial revolution.
Mminele encouraged universities to equip students with the
right skills to suit industrial revolution.
He said artificial intelligence might be slower to reach
emerging economic but inevitable.
"It is not only the low-skilled jobs or tasks that are at
risk of being eliminated, but also the more highly qualified
professional jobs like those of financial analysts," he said.
"There was a time when ideas like driver-less cars and
talking robots were only found in sci-fi movies, and seemed so
imaginative and unrealistic," he said.
Mminele called for proactive actions by countries warning
that the transformation would be fast and is not far.
A McKinsey report estimates that, by the year 2030, at least
one-third of the activities of 60 percent of all the occupations
could be automated.
This means that, globally, up to 375 million people may need
to change jobs or learn new skills within the next 12 years,
He noted that Africa’s growing and dynamic population gives
Africa an advantage to embrace fourth industrial revolution.
"The World Economic Forum asserts that the region’s capacity
to adapt to the requirements of future jobs, relative to the
region’s exposure to these future trends, leaves little space
On a bigger scale, urgent efforts are needed to close the
continent’s skills gap," he said.
He said the fourth industrial revolution would also affect
the future of monetary policy as "prices could be lowered, for
example, as retail sales become digitalized, as many already
"As a result, inflation could decelerate because online
retailers face much lower operational costs than traditional
businesses," he said.
Mminele observed that the more use of the new technology the
more possibility of cyber attacks and financial stability risks.
"A robust cyber-resilience and cyber-risk framework is
crucial to creating an enabling environment for financial
services innovation," he said.
exchange starts week on
upbeat as investors await interest rate decisions
JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua)
-- The Johannesburg Stock exchange (JSE)
closed higher on Monday as investors waited on key global
interest rate decisions later this week.
The South Africa’s rand was stable against major global
currencies on Monday, despite a sell-off in equities on major
Naspers was 1.28 percent lower at R3,315.08. It is down 5.3
percent so far in 2018.
The market reacted positively to the latest local money
supply and credit data, at the close of the market.
Private sector credit extension (PSCE) grew at an annual rate
of 5.68 percent in June, from 4.54 percent in May, Reserve Bank
The all share was 0.26 percent higher at 57,313.14 points and
the top 40 dropped 0.2 percent. Industrials shed 0.2 percent,
platinums 0.58 percent, resources 0.3 percent, but banks gained
The gold index rose 2.53 percent and food and drug retailers
lost 0.1 percent.
Sasol lost 1.1 percent to R511.7.
Sibanye-Stillwater rose 6.21 percent to R7.87.
FirstRand advanced 1.34 percent to settle at R67.9.
Massmart gained 3.8 percent to R117.5, after releasing a
statement earlier in which it reported a slight uptick in
Ellies Holdings closed flat at 34c, after earlier reporting
an 8 percent increase in group revenue for the year to
Diversified miner Glencore fell 1.03 percent to R55.96 and
Anglo American 1.02 percent to R289.99.
Standard Bank gained 1.87 percent to R203.01 and Nedbank 1.82
percent to R273.5.
Among property stocks, Nepi Rockcastle rose 2.76 percent to