Flash Briefing: Sanral spends billions to recover e-tolls motorists won’t pay; Gold Fields big solar project; Eskom; Shoprite

Listen on iTunes 

  • The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) has spent an estimated R5.3bn on trying to recover e-tolls from motorists who are unwilling and unlikely to pay, an analysis from the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse has showed. Sanral‘s latest annual report shows the agency spent an estimated R508m on collecting e-tolls, which brought in over R660m in revenue, reports MyBroadband.co.za.
  • Cash-strapped power utility Eskom declared a dispute with three unions on Wednesday after wage talks reached an impasse. The matter will now go to mediation and arbitration. Unions have been demanding wage hikes ranging from about 10%.  Eskom’s final offer is a 1.5% increase in the basic salary. Eskom relies on taxpayer cash bailouts to maintain its going concern status, has clearly demonstrated these demands are unaffordable.”
  • Gold Fields’ plans to build a solar power plant at its South Deep gold mine southwest of Johannesburg will reduce exposure to national utility Eskom, improve reliability and lower costs, Martin Preece, executive vice president for South Africa, told The Africa Report. The project will make Gold Fields the first mining company in South Africa to build, own and operate its own solar plant on such a large scale, Preece says. The project, planned to be operational by mid 2022, addresses the “opportunity cost of lost production” during  frequent power cuts, he says.
  • Shoprite Holdings, Africa’s largest food retailer, has sold its Nigerian operations to local investors 16 years after it opened its first outlet in the continent’s most populous country. Shoprite is changing its strategy “from an ownership model to a franchise model”. With the sale, Shoprite is the latest South African business to exit the West African nation in the last decade. The retailer operated 25 outlets in eight states across Africa’s biggest economy but had been struggling with disruptions. Woolworths Holdings, Truworths International and Mr Price Group have also quit Nigeria.
  • Dogecoin got a new lease on life Wednesday, with the price rallying sharply after Coinbase Global said it would allow users to trade the joke cryptocurrency on a platform that is geared toward more experienced investors. Fresh tweets from Tesla CEO Elon Musk also provided a catalyst.