Flash Briefing: Deputy President David Mabuza is back; Eskom seeks R33bn; R350 basic income grants to roll out by month-end

  • Deputy President David Mabuza is back in the country after his trip to Russia where he sought medical treatment. Mabuza landed back in the country on Wednesday morning, his office confirmed to TimesLIVE. His spokesperson, Matshepo Seedat, said Mabuza had resumed his duties. Although Mabuza is said to be back at work, it doesn’t appear that he is back at his office at the Union Buildings. According to The Africa Report, Mabuza’s plane was on Wednesday spotted on Flightradar heading towards his home province in Mpumalanga. Mabuza in June requested two weeks’ medical leave from President Cyril Ramaphosa, but ended up spending more than a month in Russia. He landed on Wednesday amid a litany of concerns from the country’s citizens and political parties about his continued absence from his duties.
  • Eskom is in talks to raise about R33bn from at least five development finance institutions to help fund its partial exit from coal-fired power generation. The money would be used to help the company re-purpose coal power plants into sites that could produce renewable energy, gas-fired electricity and host battery storage, according to a presentation made to government, business and labour-union leaders, and confirmed by Eskom. Eskom and South Africa are under pressure to cut emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants as parts of the country are among the world’s most-polluted and the utility accounts for about two-fifths of the emissions. South Africa is the world’s 12th biggest emitter of the climate-warming gases and almost all of its power comes from Eskom’s fleet of 16 coal-fired plants. So far, R200m has been secured to conduct studies into the closing and conversion of the sites, which will affect local communities that depend on them to drive the economy in these areas, the presentation showed. A further R16.1 billion will form an initial facility to start the program, while another R17bn has been pledged, Eskom said.
  • South Africa’s R350 social relief grants will start rolling out by month-end, social development minister Lindiwe Zulu has announced, with applications opening this Friday. Zulu said that it is not an automatic process and urged qualifying individuals to apply. She promised that more pay-points will be available for beneficiaries and that the systems have been updated. In previous cases, over 10 million applications were received, and even more are expected this time. Zulu said that her department is also in the process of forming a policy to introduce a permanent basic income grant.
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