News in South Africa 19th December:

1. Load shedding changes this week:

Power utility Eskom will reduce load shedding stage 5 from Monday, with plans to move to stage 4 by Tuesday.

Load shedding changes this week
Photo by Darius Krause

Stage 6 load shedding will be reduced to Stage 5 load shedding at 05h00 on Monday. Thereafter, Stage 4 load shedding will be implemented at 05h00 on Tuesday for the remainder of the week, the group said.

Eskom will publish a further update as soon as there are any significant changes.

Sunday, 18 December

  • Stage 6: until 00h00

Monday, 19 December

  • Stage 6: 00h00 to 05h00
  • Stage 5: 05h00 to 00h00

Tuesday, 20 December

  • Stage 5: 00h00 to 05h00
  • Stage 4: 05h00 until further notice

The move to lower stages follows the confirmation that the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has been deployed to four power stations.

Eskom confirmed on Saturday evening (17 December) that SANDF forces have been deployed to Majuba, Camden Grootvlei and Tutuka to assist with keeping criminals at bay. Eskom’s fleet has been subject to high levels of crime and have fallen prey to criminal syndicates stealing coal and diesel and sabotaging systems.

South Africa is likely to sit with prolonged levels of load shedding for the foreseeable future. Last Saturday (10 December) 1,000MW was removed from the grid through Koeberg unit 1 being taken offline, and approximately 3,000MW is offline from various breakdowns at Kusile and Medupi.

According to Eskom’s outlook for the next year, it needs to keep breakdowns below 13,000MW to stave off the worst of load shedding, but the utility has struggled to keep outages below 16,000MW – the worst-case scenario in its plans.


For people living in the major metros, load shedding schedules are available here:

For access to other load shedding schedules, Eskom has made them available on

2. Giant step to avoid greylisting:

Two major pieces of legislation that may see South Africa avoid being greylisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) have been passed by both houses of parliament.

The General Laws (Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Terrorism Financing) Amendment Bill as well as the Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorism and Related Activities Bill will be in effect by February next year when the FATF plenary session takes place in Paris, France.

FATF identified weaknesses in the effective investigation and prosecution of money laundering, terrorist financing, corruption, tax-related crimes and fraud in SA.

Amelia Warren, candidate legal practitioner at ENSafrica, says government is now able to show that it has taken concrete steps to amend the technical deficiencies that were identified.

Policy interventions

The two amendment bills will address 16 of the 20 technical areas of non-compliance identified by the FATF. They were introduced in the National Assembly in July and August, and passed by the National Council of Provinces on 13 December.

The remaining deficiencies will be addressed by smaller pieces of legislation and other amendments, including recent amendments to the schedules of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (Fica).

These include:

  • Recommendation 1: Assessing risk and applying a risk-based approach. This recommendation provides that countries should identify, assess and understand the money laundering and terrorist financing risks they face, and apply resources aimed at ensuring the risks are mitigated effectively.
  • Recommendation 2: National co-operation and co-ordination. Countries should ensure that policymakers, law enforcement agencies, supervisors and other relevant competent authorities have effective mechanisms in place that enable them to cooperate concerning the development and implementation of policies and activities to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
  • Recommendation 14: Money or value transfer services. Countries should take measures to ensure that natural or legal persons that provide money or value transfer services are licensed or registered (mostly dealt with in Fica amendments).
  • Recommendation 32: Cash couriers. Countries should have measures in place to detect the physical cross-border transportation of currency and bearer negotiable instruments, including through a declaration or disclosure system.

National Treasury says in a statement that the passing of the bills demonstrates the government’s commitment to fight corruption and terror financing. It “represents a giant step towards South Africa complying with the 40 FATF recommendations”.

“When enacted into law the two bills will improve South Africa’s adherence to international best practice in combating financial crimes and corruption,” it adds.

3. Markets drop as central banks hike borrowing costs:

Most Asian stocks fell Friday as investors contemplated interest rates going higher than expected for an extended period after central banks reaffirmed their commitment to bringing down inflation.

After a healthy rally in recent weeks fuelled by signs that price rises were slowing, the US Federal Reserve and European Central Bank this week crushed any Christmas spirit by hiking borrowing costs again and warning of more pain to come.

While inflation in most countries has started coming down from the levels seen earlier this year, helped by a drop in energy costs, it remains at multi-decade highs.

And observers have warned that economies could be heading for a period of stagflation where prices keep rising but growth stalls.

After a rough week for markets, anxiety was enhanced on Wednesday after the Fed hiked rates as expected but indicated they would likely have to go higher than had been forecast, ramping up fears of a recession.

That was followed by similar moves by the ECB on Thursday, with its boss Christine Lagarde warning: “We have more ground to cover, we have longer to go and we are in for a long game.”

The Bank of England also lifted rates and said more hikes were on the cards.

The decisions came as data also showed that almost a year of monetary tightening was hitting the economy more and more, with US retail sales dropping in November as American consumers – the key driver of growth – began to feel the pinch.

Recession on horizon?

“With central banks on both sides of the pond suggesting they have more work to tame inflation, hiking interest rates into a dimming macro environment will undoubtedly trigger a recession,” said SPI Asset Management’s Stephen Innes.

“The question is just how profound. Forget inflation; Asia traders are now worried about a global recession.”

All three main indexes on Wall Street tumbled Thursday, with the Nasdaq losing more than three percent as tech firms took another blow, while Paris and Frankfurt were also off more than three percent.

And the losses carried through to Asia, where Tokyo gave up 1.9 percent while Sydney, Seoul, Singapore, Mumbai, Taipei, Bangkok and Manila were also in the red. Shanghai was barely moved.

4. ANC election results today:

The outcome of the ANC leadership battle is expected to be announced on Monday, following a weekend of politicking and horsetrading between two opposing slates within the party.

Following the farmgate scandal, president Cyril Ramaphosa faced a tougher time on his path to the top seat, with team Zweli Mkhize putting up a fight.

The conference faced disruptions, and tensions ran high as the party battled to cement its identity.

5. Probe into cheating network:

The Department of Basic Education is reportedly set to launch a probe into an alleged matric exam cheating network operating in the country, with several schools – mainly in Mpumalanga – under the spotlight.

The schools are said to have been identified as being suspected of participating in a ‘pay-to-pass’ scheme run through several WhatsApp groups.

The group was exposed when a teacher accidentally posted matric exam answers on an unrelated group.

All information sourced from articles posted by: BusinessTech, Moneyweb, Fin24, ENCA, and TimesLive.

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