Flash Briefing: Coalition talks ahead of elections; Transnet’s unjustified proposed tariff hike; electricity promised for election day

  • The 2021 election could usher in a massive shift in SA’s political landscape, with the ANC for the first time admitting before an election that it is preparing for coalition talks, while the DA has signalled its willingness to co-operate with the ruling party. In an unprecedented move, acting secretary-general Jessie Duarte told journalists that the ANC has already identified parties with which it is not willing to enter into agreements in line with its ideological standpoint. She did not name these parties. A DA insider said the party has to consider what is best for the country and in some cases that may mean working with the governing party, despite their competition, which has at times been marked by animosity. An ANC and DA tie-up could be a game changer in the electoral space.
  • Transnet National Ports Authority, which manages all eight commercial ports in SA, is looking to increase tariffs by up to 24% in the 2022/2023 financial year — a move that has irked industry players and the Western Cape provincial government, which say the proposed above-inflation hike cannot be justified. The Ports Regulator of SA, which is tasked with regulating and promoting access to ports and to the facilities and services they provide, is currently assessing Transnet’s tariff hike application and a final decision is expected in December or January. SA’s port charges are excessive by global standards and have long been identified as an impediment to business.
  • Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan tried to assure South Africans that the lights would be on for election day, saying that load shedding would not disrupt voting. Gordhan hastily called a briefing on load shedding after the country moved to stage 4 on Wednesday due to further breakdowns at Eskom power stations. The ANC condemned the load shedding, despite South Africa’s power crisis happening entirely under its governance. The ANC said the load shedding could be an act of political sabotage. Gordhan noted that hundreds of mobile generators have been rolled out to election stations in case of a power emergency on election day.
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