News in South Africa 23rd February:

1. Calib Cassim new Eskom CEO:

Ailing state-owned power utility Eskom has appointed Calib Cassim as acting CEO following André de Ruyter’s immediate departure this week.

Calib Cassim new Eskom CEO
Photo by Pok Rie

Cassim’s appointment is effective immediately.

“Eskom is pleased to announce the appointment of Calib Cassim as interim group chief executive officer with immediate effect. Mr Cassim will lead the Eskom management team until further notice,” Eskom said in a statement on Friday.

De Ruyter resigned in December after three years at the helm and was expected to stay in the role until the end of March.

But this week, Eskom said he would not be required to serve the balance of his notice.

Cassim had been the parastatal’s CFO since November 2018, after serving as acting CFO from July 2017.

The statement also thanked Cassim’s family:

“Eskom thanks his family for permitting him to assume the additional responsibilities and is grateful to Mr Cassim for stepping up to the GCE role,” the company said.

Cassim’s career at Eskom spans over 20 years.

He is a registered Chartered Accountant and holds a Master’s degree in Business Leadership (MBL).

“His qualifications and extensive experience have provided Mr Cassim with a deep understanding and appreciation of the Eskom business and the electricity industry, especially regarding the challenges facing the financing of operations and future expansion of the industry,” Eskom said

2. Stage 8 load-shedding implemented again:

For the second day this week, Eskom has implemented load-shedding exceeding 7,000MW, which equates to stage 8.

On Wednesday evening, Eskom implemented load-shedding of 7,092MW, following the previous day’s 7,045MW.

Eskom’s definition states that any load-shedding over 7,000MW is classified as stage 8.

The power utility announces the load-shedding stage up-front and is, therefore, an estimate of the electricity supply deficit.

Eskom manages the power system continuously in real-time to ensure there’s sufficient supply to always meet demand.

“This is being done by reducing the demand to match available supply at all times while maintaining a buffer reserve,” he said.

It can happen that demand exceeds the previously announced estimate, which forces Eskom to lift the level of load-shedding without announcing it.

“As you will see in the figures, it is accurate to say at that particular time last night, load-shedding was Stage 7,” he said.

Mantshantsha’s explanation makes sense, except that 7,092MW cut from the grid is stage 8 load-shedding, not stage 7.

The table below shows the official load-shedding stage over the last week, the reported evening peak load-shedding, and the actual stage based on Eskom’s definition.

DateEskom stage announcedElectricity shed (MW)Actual stage
16 February 2023Stage 43,891MWStage 4
17 February 2023Stage 43,353MWStage 4
18 February 2023Stage 43,484MWStage 4
19 February 2023Stage 43,413MWStage 4
20 February 2023Stage 66,595MWStage 7
21 February 2023Stage 67,045MWStage 8
22 February 2023Stage 67,092MWStage 8
Sourced from DailyInvestor

3. Truth to Eskom corruption claims:

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana says that former Eskom CEO André de Ruyter “was economical with the truth” in his comments about corruption at Eskom in a recent interview. 

The interview, which was screened on eNCA on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, led to De Ruyter’s immediate departure from Eskom at the board’s request. 

Answering questions from MPs in Parliament on Thursday on the Budget, Godogwana said: 

The [former] CEO of Eskom was economical with the truth because when he raised the issue of corruption at Eskom, particularly in Mpumalanga, an investigation was done, and indeed some syndicates were operating, which also included police. The government set up a task team and moved into Megawatt Park and arrested a number of people. So, I find it difficult to accept his statement [that nothing was done].

Godongwana also briefed MPs on the debt solution for Eskom. The bailout will see the Treasury take over R254 billion in debt repayments and interest costs for the next three years and take over R70 billion of loan debt. The bailout will take the form of an interest-free loan with conditions attached.

“We have appointed an independent team to assess Eskom to give us a better understanding and to say exactly what conditions to attach to the loan. We will get to the bottom of the issues,” he said. 

The independent consortium of consultants will be led by Vgbe Energy and includes several global engineering consulting firms. Vgbe has previously worked with Eskom.

4. Cape Town measles outbreak:

The City of Cape Town has declared a measles outbreak.

An outbreak is declared when three or more cases are confirmed in a health facility, district, or sub-district within a month.

This follows outbreaks in five other provinces including Limpopo, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Free State and the North West.

A national measles vaccination campaign for children between six months and 14 years is in place and it aims to limit the impact of the outbreak.

5. Good news for home buyers:

There have been changes to transfer duties in South Africa, which is good news for first-time buyers.

During the budget speech on Wednesday, 22 February, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana said that the brackets in the transfer duty table will be increased by 10%.

Until 28 February 2023, properties sold for R1,000,001 to R1,375,000 will have to pay 3% of the value above R1 million in transfer duties.

From 1 March 2023, there will be no transfer duties for properties between the value of R1 million and R1.1 million. Instead, properties sold for between R1,100,001 and R1,512,500 will have to pay 3% of the value above R1.1 million.

Essentially, the first R1.1 million of any property purchase price is tax-free.

Berry Everitt, CEO of the Chas Everitt International property group, said the changes would benefit and encourage first-time buyers, while BetterBond CEO, Carl Coetzee said the move would help many more people get a foot on the property ladder.

Ahead of the budget, property group Seeff called for the house price threshold for exemption from transfer duty to be increased as it had been at R1 million for more than two years.

“For the price bands above R5 million, an increase in sales volumes can generate significantly more income for the economy and fiscus. You have to sell many more homes at R1 million to generate the direct and indirect economic benefits that a R10 million or R20 million-plus sale does,” it said.

During the budget speech, Godogwana did not announce any major tax proposals due to revenue predictions being higher than expected.

Expected tax revenue collections are expected to reach a total of R1.69 trillion for 2022/23, exceeding the Budget estimate by R93.7 billion and the total Medium Term Budget Policy Statement estimate by R10.3 billion.

All information sourced from articles posted by: Moneyweb, DailyInvestor, Fin24, EWN and BusinessTech.

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