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With GDP up 3.1% in the second quarter of 2019 (seasonally adjusted, annualised) and 0.9% for the year to June 2019, the markets have responded positively. The rand appreciated by some 10 cents on publication of the data and bonds yields declined by about 10 basis points.
In the first quarter of the year, Eskom and the government committed to developing a workable strategy to stabilise the national grid as capacity is ramped up and maintenance is scheduled. Following a briefing by deputy president David Mabuza on events at the national utility and electricity constraints, a Technical Review Panel appointed by the Eskom board and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan promised a plan by April.
Businesses must be proactive in order to keep the lights on. With South African businesses in the throes of debilitating load shedding, there are widespread concerns around reduced output and fast-eroding productivity. Not to mention the negative sentiment and irritability that the rolling power outages tend to evoke.
Businesses and households were left scrambling to keep the engines and the lights on after the national power utility, Eskom, suddenly plunged South Africa into darkness over a week ago. Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday last week, Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan alluded to the fact that Eskom was facing structural, operational and financial challenges.
Although South African business leaders may feel somewhat besieged by bad news and murmurs of ‘unbearable’ Eskom tariff hikes, tech-fuelled innovation is providing business with new options to lower energy consumption.