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UPHILL STRUGGLE: While Some Eskom coal power stations are operating more stably and various private generation projects are offering some relief, loadshedding continues to weigh down the real economy. Manufacturers, farmers and miners don’t only face production disruptions but those reliant on domestic sales are facing the added problem of weak downstream demand as production shifts are curtailed and response to the cuts. Those reliant on exports, meanwhile, then face the added stress of a failing fright logistics network. It’s a real Sisyphean task.
UPHILL STRUGGLE
18th August 2023 By: Darlene Creamer
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STOP GAP
11th August 2023 By: Darlene Creamer
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EXPLOSIVE DECLINE
4th August 2023 By: Darlene Creamer
BURNING PLATFORM: The torching of more than 20 trucks in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Mpumalanga brought back nasty memories of the July 2021 riots, which shook South Africa to its core. The motives are not immediately clear, but it appears that the actions go beyond toxic xenophobia and mafia-style muscle flexing and include an element of political intimidation, even terrorism. What is clear is that the torchings – together with sabotage at Eskom and Transnet, as well as construction-site hijacking – are further undermining investor confidence.
BURNING PLATFORM
28th July 2023 By: Darlene Creamer
ANTI-SOCIAL MEDIA
ANTI-SOCIAL MEDIA
21st July 2023 By: Darlene Creamer
DESTRUCTIVE FORCE: Whether it was a tornado or a landspout the strong winds associated with the recent weather phenomenon that hit Inanda and Phoenix, in KwaZulu-Natal, left a deadly trail of destruction in its wake. As with the climate crisis, which is leading to more frequent and extreme weather events, South Africa’s youth unemployment rate is building with catastrophic force. The most recent Quarterly Labour Force Survey shows that youth aged 15 to 24 years and 25 to 34 years recorded the highest unemployment rates of 62.1% and 40.7% respectively, against an overall official rate of 32.9%.
DESTRUCTIVE FORCE
14th July 2023 By: Darlene Creamer
BREAKING POINT: In the years preceding the start of the loadshedding crisis in 2007, electricity commentators would regularly warn that the distribution sector was emerging as South Africa’s weakest link. That reality was masked by the subsequent collapse in performance of Eskom’s generation fleet and the delay to the megaprojects meant to close the supply gap. That mask has now started to slip, with distribution-level faults having become far more frequent and much longer in duration and are arguably causing more disruption to business and households than loadshedding.
BREAKING POINT
7th July 2023 By: Darlene Creamer
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DANGEROUS DECLINE
23rd June 2023 By: Darlene Creamer
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GRID-LOCKED
16th June 2023 By: Darlene Creamer
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DARK HUMOUR
9th June 2023 By: Darlene Creamer
DARK CLOUD: South Africans can see and feel the devastating effects of daily power cuts on their lives and livelihoods. By contrast, the country’s literacy crisis is far less visible but its impacts are likely to be even more devastating if not addressed. The 2021 Progress in International Reading and Literacy Study shows that the percentage of Grade 4 learners, children aged either nine or ten years old, who cannot read for meaning in any language has increase to over 81%. In 2016, the figure stood at 78%.
DARK CLOUD
2nd June 2023 By: Darlene Creamer
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CHOPPY WATERS
26th May 2023 By: Darlene Creamer
DANGER SIGNS: South Africa’s non-aligned foreign policy stance was relatively straightforward to maintain when the world was globalising and democratising. Conditions have turned decidedly hostile in recent years, however, with geopolitical tensions manifesting not only in trade wars but in real ones. If South Africa is to sustain its approach, it will need to become far more proactive in defining what it means rather than reacting to developments in a way that could see it either sliding unwittingly into one or other camp, or becoming entirely irrelevant on the international stage.
DANGER SIGNS
19th May 2023 By: Darlene Creamer
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MIXED MESSAGES
12th May 2023 By: Darlene Creamer
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WINTER WARNING
5th May 2023 By: Darlene Creamer
BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE: Even for those who have been living through the decline and have, thus, become somewhat oblivious, the dismal state of South Africa’s infrastructure is now almost impossible to ignore. Be it collapsed power pylons, railways stations stripped to concrete ruins, chronic cable theft, or the potholes that pockmark just about every road, the decay is frighteningly visible. For President Cyril Ramaphosa, and perhaps some particularly robust entrepreneurs, there’s an upside. “There are indeed opportunities in this crisis,” he told investors at the fifth Investment Conference earlier this month.
BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE
28th April 2023 By: Darlene Creamer
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FLIP FLOPS
21st April 2023 By: Darlene Creamer
TROLLEY HAS BOLTED: The decision by the Competition Commission to probe price hikes across a basket of five fruits and six vegetables is understandable, given the level of food inflation over the past year. However, it is also a case of the trolley having already bolted and it is far from clear what impact the inquiry will have on the current cost-of-living crunch. A report on the findings of the investigation is scheduled for only September 2024, by which time conditions are likely to be materially different.
TROLLEY HAS BOLTED
14th April 2023 By: Darlene Creamer
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HARD TIMES
7th April 2023 By: Darlene Creamer
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