Eskom lies exposed; R200bn of govt’s relief fund unused; Wierzycka; Harmony Gold

By Claire Badenhorst

  • An article first published on mybroadband.co.za details how Eskom has deceived South Africans by exceeding stage 4 load shedding limits. According to energy expert Ted Blom, the perpetually troubled entity has not only lied about which stage is being implemented, but also about how severe load shedding really is. Official information shared by Eskom showed load shedding of 5,359MW on Wednesday 2 September and 5,642MW on Thursday 3 September. This exceeds stage 4 load shedding, which only requires 4,000MW of the national load to be shed. Eskom has denied allegations that it is deliberately deceiving the public, and while it confirms the accuracy of the load shedding statistics, it says that load curtailment should also be taken into account. Load shedding has been severe this year with 49 days of blackouts to date. For the full article, visit BizNews.com.
  • According to Reuters, almost a third of the government’s R500bn relief package may end up going unused. The loan programme was intended to help shield small businesses from the impact of the pandemic. Conditions were tweaked in July to allow more businesses to qualify and to extend the repayment grace period as few companies had applied for loans. Only R14.5bn was paid out in August, but the National Treasury does not plan to ease scheme criteria any further. It says that the “low uptake of the scheme suggests that businesses don’t want to incur more debt in light of economic uncertainty.”
  • Magda Wierzycka, CEO of asset manager Sygnia, accused the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) of threatening her after she failed to give a response on her views on prescribed assets. The IRR has been campaigning against the use of prescribed assets, saying “it is no secret that the government has run out of money, and out of options”. The organisation recently demanded answers from 15 investment providers on their stance, saying it would launch a social media campaign that would give the public clarity on whether or not corporate entities such as Sygnia are likely or unlikely to act in the best interests of their clients. Wierzycka released her ‘position’ note on prescribed assets on Tuesday, saying “as to IRR, you can’t demand answers to complex issues and threaten bad publicity via social media campaigns if recipients don’t comply with your demand.”
  • Harmony Gold Mining suffered a headline loss of over R800m for the year, despite a 9% boost in revenue from soaring gold prices. The average gold price increased by 25% but the company saw a 15% drop in gold production thanks to a bad combination of lockdown and load shedding. CEO Peter Steenkamp says the high gold price could lead to new acquisition opportunities, but the company’s priority is to integrate the mines it just acquired from AngloGold Ashanti before it turns its attention to other projects.
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