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5 important things happening in South Africa today

Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:

  • Municipalities not liable during load shedding: Municipalities across South Africa say they are not liable for damages to electric appliances or spoiled food and will only pay out a claim if the city is found to be negligent. eThekwini municipal spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said that the city expects an increase in the number of claims due to higher stages of load shedding. Mayisela said that the city does not have the budget for these claims. If a claim is accepted, it is settled by the city’s insurance.

  • Rush for power backups: South African retailers are preparing for a major increase in demand for inverters, generators, and gas appliances, as load shedding looks set to remain for the foreseeable future. Despite predicting an uptick in demand, retailers have warned that supply shortages for power backups could occur in the near future. A spokesperson for Leroy Merlin said that the stock is secured as soon as it is available, as the supply of generators and inverters is erratic due to demand.

  • Joburg mayor coalition crisis: Johannesburg Mayor Mpho Phalatse is facing another motion of no-confidence later today. Despite having the support of the EFF, ActionSA, IFP, and VF Plus, Phalatse needs another minority party to ensure her safety – the Patriotic Alliance (PA). The DA and its coalition partners are negotiating with the PA, but the PA is awaiting a response to its demands. PA deputy president Kenny Kunene said that the DA could not blame them for Phalatse’s ousting if they fail to respond.

  • DA to conduct further protests:  The DA says yesterday’s march to Luthuli’s house is the first of many statements of discontent against the ANC ahead of the 2024 general election. The DA marched to demand solutions to what it sees as an ANC-manufactured energy crisis. DA leader John Steenhuisen said that the march was the beginning of taking power back from the ANC and giving it to the people of South Africa.

  • Markets: The South African rand was little changed on Wednesday as investors awaited an interest rate decision on Thursday. Despite 55% of economists polled by Reuters predicting the South African Reserve Bank to hike rates by 50 basis points (bps) to 7.50%, most economists polled by Reuters see no further rate hikes after this week. On Wednesday (26 January), the rand was trading at R17.11/$, R18.67/€, and R21.20/£. Brent crude is trading at $86.03 a barrel.
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