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Tshepiso Moche
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni
Mboweni expected to give details on unbundling of Eskom
19 February 2019, 5:52 AM

Eskom will be at the top of the agenda when Finance Minister Tito Mboweni unpacks his 2019 budget speech on Wednesday. The state owned power entity is in a serious financial crisis and could run out of money by April.

President Cyril Ramaphosa in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) announced the unbundling of Eskom into three separate entities.

Mboweni will give more details as to how this will be done.

 

Analysts and international rating agencies will be watching closely to see how much money government will give Eskom to keep its lights on.

The finance minister is confronted with Eskom’s rising costs and falling revenue.

The minister will have to explain to South Africans where and how he will find the money to save Eskom.

 

Mboweni will also have to crack the whip in ensuring that government spending ceiling is maintained.

Rating agencies have flagged this as another fiscal challenge that government has to confront.

Mboweni will shed more light on what taxes will be increased and what the way forward will be for other state owned enterprises.

WATCH RELATED VIDEO BELOW:

McBride to testify at Commission of Inquiry into State Capture
18 February 2019, 11:41 AM

Head of Justice programme at the Institute for Security Studies Gareth Newham says it is very important for the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture to get a sense of how the criminal justice system was affected by State Capture.

Head of police watchdog, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid), Robert McBride is expected to testify on how law enforcement agencies failed to carry out their mandate, when he appears before the commission of inquiry into state capture at a date yet to be determined.

Despite McBride taking the stand last week to give evidence, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo granted a postponement to give the implicated parties ample time to respond.

Newham says the truth must come out on how agencies like the Hawks and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) were misused to support state capture.

“And how the different components of the police, the Hawks, the NPA and IPID itself were misused either to promote and support those that were involved in cases of state capture and not held accountable, not prosecuted on the one hand.”

“But also all those officials in this agencies who were trying to do their jobs and trying to do their investigations against top officials and politicians, on how they were forced out of their jobs illegally, subjected to counter investigations,” adds Newham.

Click below to watch the live stream…

No planned loadshedding on Monday
18 February 2019, 8:21 AM

Eskom has confirmed there won’t be any loadshedding on Monday.

Last week the country was plunged into darkness after the power utility lost some of its electricity generating units due to breakdowns.

Acting head of Generation at the Power Utility Andrew Etzinger says, “At the moment the situation is looking good. Our plant performance has continued to improve so at this stage no loadshedding expected.”

“As for rest of the week we hoping that the situation stays as it is for the moment, if we do see a change we will certainly come back to the public through the media or other communication channels but we off to a good start,” explains Etzinger.

Click below for Eskom related videos….

Asia shares up on optimism over trade talks, stimulus
18 February 2019, 6:49 AM

Asian share markets firmed on Monday as investors dared to hope for both progress at Sino-US trade talks in Washington this week and more policy stimulus from major central banks.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.3%, partially recovering from a sharp fall last Friday.

Japan’s Nikkei climbed 1.6 %to hit its highest for the year so far, while Australia’s main index rose 0.7%. E-Mini futures for the S&P 500were flat, with trade thinned by a holiday in US markets.

The Dow and the Nasdaq had boasted their eighth consecutive weekly gains on wagers the United States and China would hammer out an agreement resolving their protracted trade war.

The two sides will resume negotiations this week with US President Donald Trump saying he may extend a March 1 deadline for a deal. Both reported progress in five days of talks in Beijing last week.

“That does not rule out a setback or two between now and the start of March,” said analysts at CBA in a note.

“Even so, we still think that both sides have good reasons to want to get to an agreement. And, so motivated, it makes an agreement more likely than not.”

There are also growing expectations of more reflationary policies from some of the world’s more powerful central banks.

Data out last week showed China’s banks made the most new loans on record in January as policymakers tried to jumpstart sluggish investment.

Minutes of the Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting are due on Wednesday and should provide more guidance on the likelihood or not for rate hikes this year. There is also talk the bank will keep a much larger balance sheet than previously planned.

“Given the range of speakers since the January meeting who support “patience,” the Fed minutes should reiterate a dovish message overall,” said analysts at TD Securities in a note.

A roll call of Fed officials are speaking at various events this week including a round table on Friday covering the future of its balance sheet.

Cosatu to march against job losses in Western Cape
18 February 2019, 6:16 AM

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in the Western Cape says it is ready for its Tuesday strike action against job losses in the province.

A march to Parliament will take place on the eve of the budget speech.

Cosatu says it is also calling for the scrapping of VAT.

 

Several organisations such as teacher union South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu), police union Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) and the South African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union’s (Sactwu) are expected to take part in the march.

Cosatu’s Provincial Secretary Malvern de Bruyn says, “There’s no better time than Tuesday because they can just increase the wealth. There’s many other ways to create more fund because the increase of VAT directly affects the poorest of the poorest. These companies’ taxes, they can get more money into the fiscal; you need to do that unfortunately.”

 

“There’s no other way because they can say no people didn’t complain, only Cosatu complained. People are happy about the VAT increase – but on Tuesday we will show them that people are not happy about the VAT increase,” explains de Bruyn.

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