Flash Briefing: Eskom payment crisis; SA taxpayer bailouts loom; Zuma children frozen out of bank accounts; rugby

By Jackie Cameron

  • Eskom, the indebted South African state power utility, will announce its annual results this week after a three-month delay because of over-payments related to the construction of its new Kusile power station and issues with its pension fund. Cost overruns have been a major contributor to Eskom amassing R488bn in debt, which it is struggling to service. The Eskom Provident and Pension Fund oversees the pensions of current and former employees. The utility has more than 40,000 staff.
  • South African taxpayers are expected to bail out several troubled state entities, with announcements expected this week. Denel, which makes attack helicopters and other weapons, will probably receive between R2bn ($123m) and R3bn and the Land and Agricultural Development Bank of South Africa will get R1.5bn to R2bn, according to Bloomberg. SAA needs about R10bn. The Treasury declined to comment, saying any announcements will be made when the medium-term budget policy statement is presented on Oct. 28.
  • A large South African bank, FNB, has terminated the bank accounts of three children of former president Jacob Zuma. Edward Zuma, involved in the controversial tobacco industry has had his account frozen as has Duduzane and another sibling. Reports suggest Zuma is starting to feel the heat of being branded a corrupt leader.
  • Money transfer services are thriving, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. Reuters reports that the shutdowns have fuelled a boom for Africa-focused money transfer companies, despite predictions from the World Bank of a historic 20% drop to $445bn in remittances to poorer countries this year due to a pandemic-induced global economic slump. “We saw an increase of transfers as the diaspora wanted to help their family,” said Patrick Roussel, who heads mobile financial services for the Middle East and Africa at French telecom company Orange – a dominant player in French-speaking Africa.
  • The coronavirus is back with a vengeance – on the rugby field – after six players from the Lions tested positive to force the cancellation of their Super Rugby Unlocked match against the Cheetahs over the weekend. What the future holds for domestic rugby is not certain, but the onerous regulations and protocols around Covid did force the Springboks to cancel their defence of the Rugby Championship crown. For more, do visit BizNews.com.


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