News in South Africa 4th August:

1. Loadshedding at Stage 4:

Power utility Eskom says that load shedding will increase to stage 4 on Thursday (4 August) between 16:00-24:00, due to the continued shortage of generation capacity.

Loadshedding at Stage 4
Image taken by: Dazzle Jam

“Due to a shortage of generation capacity, coupled with the higher demand due to the colder weather, stage 2 load shedding will be implemented at 05:00-16:00 tomorrow (Thursday). Load shedding will then be increased to Stage 4 during the evening peak period of 16:00-24:00 tomorrow.

“It is anticipated that stage 2 will be implemented at 05:00-24:00 on Friday,” it said in a statement.

This load shedding, it said, will also assist in recovering emergency generation reserves, which have been utilised extensively to meet the increased demand over the last few days.

Schedules 

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 loadshedding.eskom.co.za.

Smartphone users can also download the app EskomSePush to receive push notifications when load shedding is implemented, as well as the times the area you are in will be off.

2. Crypto tax laws:

Work on new tax and financial regulatory laws that will apply to crypto assets has already begun, and Sarb is taking the lead.

A gain on the disposal of crypto assets may be taxed as either revenue or capital, in line with the same income tax rules that apply to the disposal of shares or unit trusts.

The gyrations of cryptocurrency markets have delivered a first wake-up call to crypto traders and investors who thought it was an easy way to make money. The second alarm is about to go off as Sars is looking at how to tax all possible crypto activities.

Work on new tax and financial regulatory laws that will apply to crypto assets has already begun, and the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) is taking the lead.

In a recent presentation, the deputy governor said that the Sarb was busy with various workstreams, including a regulatory framework for crypto exchange platforms that will ensure compliance with anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism measures, exchange control regulations and tax laws. This would take from a year to 18 months to finalise.

In South Africa, the term ‘crypto asset’, not cryptocurrency, is used as the SA regulatory framework moves towards uniformity. According to the South African Revenue Service (Sars) website, a crypto asset is “a digital representation of value that is not issued by a central bank, but is traded, transferred and stored electronically by natural and legal persons for the purpose of payment, investment and other forms of utility, and applies cryptography techniques in the underlying technology”.

The Income Tax Act 58 of 1962 (ITA) defines a financial instrument to include any crypto asset. The ordinary meaning of crypto asset includes cryptocurrencies, and non-currency assets such as non-fungible tokens, security tokens and utility tokens – all items that are stored on a distributed ledger on decentralised networks.

The intention of the taxpayer is key in determining whether gains or losses from the disposal of crypto assets are capital or revenue in nature.

However, taxpayers face an uphill battle to prove that their gains or losses are capital in nature due to the high risk and volatile nature of this asset class.

3. Sugar supplies shortage:

Damages amounting to a quarter of a billion rand in South Africa’s sugar sector resulting from the devastating KwaZulu-Natal floods have had a ripple effect on the snacks and treats industry, a new report said.

The sugar confectionery industry in the country has already seen a 2% decline in sales volumes following sugar shortages, Anje du Plessis, senior research analyst for market research firm Euromonitor International, said.  

South Africa’s sugar growers are still recovering from R223 million’s worth of losses resulting from 2,516 hectares of cane field damaged when flooding wreaked havoc in KwaZulu-Natal. The sugarcane crops on these fields, which required replanting, suffered severe crop and root damage.

The damage caused to the sugar plantations means that less sugar is produced locally, and it may push snack makers to import sugar for production, Du Plessis said.

“It is going to take time to replant the plantation and more time before the plantation becomes productive. This will increase the price consumers pay at the end of the day, because imports are more expensive,” she said.

The sugar confectionery segment was not the only sector affected by the floods, the report said.

Locally and globally, floods have also impacted potato chips, and manufacturers have warned of shortages in 2022, Euromonitor said.

4. Nurse qualifying hurdles:

The South African Nursing Council has denied blocking private companies from training more nurses to address the country’s nursing shortage.

However, it said that since nursing has moved into a higher education position, only the council can accredit trainees – and it conceded that this process is taking longer than expected.

Private hospital groups blamed the council for the shortage of nurses, saying they have the skills and capacity to train thousands of nurses but are not allowed to do so because of the SANC.

“We currently doing a study to see exactly how many nurses for specialities we need. We do not need so much junior nurses, assistant nurses, in a one-year plan.” Dr Kobie Marais, Director for nursing education and training – Department of Health

5. Bain & Co corruption:

Athol Williams, who blew the whistle on the complicity of Bain & Co in Jacob Zuma’s State Capture, says the global consultancy must be barred from winning any South African government contracts until it has made full disclosure of its work in South Africa and made amends.

Williams has welcomed the British government’s ban on Bain & Co receiving UK government contracts for three years because of its complicity in State Capture.

The minister in the British Cabinet Office, Jacob Rees-Mogg, announced the ban on US-based Bain & Co on Wednesday. Former anti-apartheid activist Lord Peter Hain, who had pushed Rees-Mogg to take that action, welcomed the decision and said he would now put pressure on the US to do the same.

Williams worked with Hain on his campaign against Bain and briefed Rees-Mogg with Hain last month about the company’s activities in South Africa, particularly its complicity in helping Zuma crony, the former SARS commissioner Tom Moyane, undermine SARS and prevent it from pursuing tax offenders.  

Williams was working for Bain & Co during the time of State Capture. Hain told the House of Lords last month that Williams had “acted with integrity to offer them guidance in taking the right action and then, owing to their refusal, was forced to blow the whistle, at great personal and financial cost.  

“Mr Williams testified before the Zondo Commission and was praised by the commission in its report, but bears the burden of Bain’s defamation. He has now fled to the UK for his safety,” Hain said. 

Bain and Sasol

Williams said Sasol should be asked why it was hiring Bain today and paying it hundreds of millions of rands, “with all that we know”.  He said he was not aware of any other government contracts Bain might have, but he was sure it did.  

“Their business is booming. They have moved to new offices.” 

Pretoria should follow the UK’s example by blacklisting Bain until it had made full disclosure and full amends, Williams said. Bain had refused to engage with the justice system.  

“Bain keeps telling us they’ve apologised. Well, if you don’t admit to what you’ve done wrong, how can you apologise for it?”

One could only know what amends Bain should make once it had made full disclosure, Williams said, speaking from abroad, where he had fled for his safety after blowing the whistle on Bain.

“I will not return until our government can offer me protection,” he said.


All information sourced from articles posted by: BusinessTech, Moneyweb, Business Insider, 702 and Daily Maverick.

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