Flash Briefing: Gautrain expansion; Transnet debt ring-fenced; Koeberg; All eyes on Tito; Cricket SA board bowled out

By Linda van Tilburg

  • Gautrain is drawing up a multi-billion rand plan to expand outside Johannesburg and Pretoria, joining a potential bonanza of infrastructure projects the government says are key to reviving the economy. The Gautrain expansion would add a further 150 kilometers of track to the existing 80-kilometer network, connecting more remote destinations such as Soweto.
  • The Department of Public Enterprises could ring-fence billions of rand of irregular expenditure by Transnet to ensure clean audit findings for the state-owned ports and rail operator, Business Day reported, citing minister Pravin Gordhan. Gordhan said his ministry were in discussions to ring-fence the state capture period so it could be dealt with in its own right without contaminating audit findings in the current environment,”. Transnet has reported R10 billion of irregular expenditure in the last fiscal year.
  • Power utility Eskom has started a billion-dollar round of investments in the Koeberg nuclear power plant near Cape Town before getting permission from safety regulators that the reactor’s lifetime can be extended. Bloomberg reports that the decision to begin installing new steam generators at Koeberg underscores state-owned Eskom’s confidence that it will win approval to prolong production of low-emissions nuclear power into the middle of the century.
  • All eyes will be on Finance Minister Tito Mboweni on Wednesday this week when he presents his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement. Mboweni is expected to reveal how he plans to keep South Africa’s soaring debt in check and where the money will come from to finance the economic recovery plan unveiled by President Cyril Ramaphosa. Lobby group Business Leadership South Africa has listed key reforms it views as necessary to fast-track growth in a letter to Minister Mboweni. The organisation called for tougher measures to achieve fiscal sustainability, measures to trim fat in the public-sector wage bill, efficient revenue collection, the weaning of state owned enterprises off subsidies and bailouts and increased use of private-sector expertise as it pursued an economic recovery.
  • At least five members of the Cricket South Africa (CSA) board have stepped down from their positions after the council of CSA requested their resignations last week. The list includes acting president Beresford Williams.

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