Eskom sabotaged! Ramaphosa apologises for power cuts, police called in; RMB warning on SA growth; UK election

By Jackie Camerion

  • President Cyril Ramaphosa put the blame for widespread power cuts on sabotage when he cut short a visit to Egypt to handle the latest Eskom crisis. Speaking at a media briefing, after cutting short his visit to Egypt, President Ramaphosa apologised to South Africa for rolling blackouts that have knocked businesses and angered citizens. Ramaphosa says this led to power outages in the country He says someone in the Eskom system disconnected one of the instruments resulting in power loss.
  • SA is rapidly becoming a forgotten country and has stopped being talked about as an investment destination,” James Formby, the chief executive officer of FirstRand’s Rand Merchant Bank, has warned. “It’s no longer five to midnight, it is midnight. We cannot afford to wait any longer to turn things around.” Implementing greater fiscal discipline, dealing with corruption, providing a stable supply of electricity and easing labor laws are among the major challenges South Africa must address, he said. While the government battles to find consensus on the best way forward with these because of ideological differences and factions within the ruling party, there are some quick wins that can be capitalised on. A good place to start accelerating change is at the nation’s state-owned power utility Eskom, Formby said.
  • The rolling blackouts threaten to tip South Africa’s economy into recession and hobble miners already impacted by community protests and xenophobic violence, says Bloomberg. The deepening crisis at debt-ridden Eskom shut down South Africa’s key mining industry for 24 hours, hitting gold and platinum producers that had been enjoying a renaissance on the back of higher metal prices.
  • As British voters prepare to head to the polls for a defining general election today, the third in four years – they face a difficult choice, involving two unpopular leaders. Or as Nick Boles, a former Conservative MP, views it, an “appalling choice” between a “compulsive liar” and a “totalitarian”. That’s according to the British Broadcasting Corporation, which quotes Boles’s views on Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is regarded as the liar, and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. Bloomberg reports that a YouGov survey of more than 100,000 voters put Johnson on course to win a majority of 28 seats, but that’s down from 68 in a similar projection two weeks earlier – and the pollster did not rule out a hung parliament. The pound fell.

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