Businesses to sue Eskom

Source: 702

Eskom – as a state-owned entity – has a legal obligation to provide electricity to the people of South Africa, says Elaine Bergenthuin, MD at De Beer Attorneys.

De Beer Attorneys is preparing to take legal action against Eskom for losses suffered by businesses and commercial entities as a result of load shedding.

If the business in question had a specific contract with Eskom regarding the provision of electricity, then Eskom’s failure to supply power will form the basis of its claim.

If a business bases its claim on delict, then De Beer Attorneys will again need to prove that Eskom’s conduct was wrongful or negligent.

De Beer Attorneys expects Eskom to argue that load shedding, per se, is neither wrongful for negligent – in so far as it is a rational, responsible response to the electricity crisis, ensuring that SA’s electricity grid will not collapse, which would be an unmitigated disaster.

The law firm, however, argues that the electricity crisis itself is something which is of Eskom’s own making – due to its negligence in maintaining the electricity infrastructure.

As such, they should still be held accountable for the losses suffered.

De Beer Attorneys will evaluate each case on its own merits.

De Beer Attorneys is calling on all affected businesses that have suffered clear, quantifiable losses as a result of Eskom’s scheduled power outages, as well as public interest groups who wish to hold Eskom to account to please contact it at eskom@debeerattorneys.com.

Source: MyBroadband

Load-shedding continued to plague South Africa this month, and one of the reasons for Eskom’s electricity shortage is the damage caused to burners by poor-quality coal.

Cosatu General Secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali recently said rocks instead of coal were supplied to one of Eskom’s power stations, which caused damage to the burners.

This damage caused unplanned outages and electricity shortages which forced Eskom to implement load-shedding.

An Eskom engineer working at a power station confirmed that poor-quality coal which contains rocks caused serious damage to their equipment.

He added that in December, four of the six turbines at the power station he works at were seized up because of this problem.

“The piping that is supposed to transfer steam to the turbines from the boilers has ruptured due to the wrong grade of coal being used, that contains rocks that have exploded,” he said.

Rocks sold as coal
SABC News recently published photos of rocks which one of Eskom’s suppliers were trying to sell to the power utility as coal.

LontohCoal CEO Tshepo Kgadima told SABC News that the photos came from trucks which tried to deliver these rocks as coal to Eskom’s Hendrina Power Station in Mpumalanga.

“That is not coal. That is a lump of crushed rock which cannot be milled and cannot combust under any circumstances,” said Kgadima.

He said these trucks were thankfully turned away, but added that it highlights the challenges which exist at Eskom’s power stations.

“How is it possible that the power plant operators do not know the geological conditions of the mines where they are supposed to get their coal from?” he asked.

These rocks are shown below.

Behind Sandton’s empty offices

By Alistair Anderson for Financial Mail

It’s 4pm on a Thursday, and 10 people are kicking a ball around a football pitch in the business hub of Sandton. It’s not this that is unusual; it’s that they’re doing it on the roof of their building — the R4bn, 87,000m² Discovery head office.

1 Discovery Place is something of a wonder. More than 5,000 people work in the financial services group’s head office. Other than the rooftop football pitch (and running track), its state-of-the-art features include a gym, restaurants, bicycle storage facilities, and a parking system that directs drivers to vacant bays. It’s said to be so expansive that a Boeing 737 could be suspended in the west atrium of the building without touching sides.

But the development of buildings such as this — arguably the most advanced office space in Africa — belies the parlous state of commercial property in Sandton.

The business node is home to many of SA’s large corporates, including FirstRand, Investec, Growthpoint Properties and Sasol, as well as multinational law firms such as Hogan Lovells, Bowmans, ENSafrica and DLA Piper.

 


It’s the most highly valued commercial hub in Africa — an “office city” that attracts commuting professionals. But it’s currently experiencing its worst office vacancy level in more than 20 years.

Will Harris, the CEO of commercial real-estate software and data services provider Gmaven, says 21.8% or 455,837m² of the total rentable 2-million square metres of Sandton office space is standing empty.

That’s about three times the 7%-8% level that analysts consider to be healthy, and almost double the 11% national vacancy estimate of the SA Property Owners Association (Sapoa).

The exact figure for Sandton office space varies, depending on who is collecting the data. Sapoa’s latest office report, released at the end of December, puts it at 18.6%, while global property services group Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) has it at 16.8%.

The variance is a frustration for those in the sector, says Harris, given that “data is the oil that the commercial real estate industry runs on”. In part, it’s a result of how those collecting the data define Sandton and the vacancy factor.

Gmaven is the only one to explain its demarcation of Sandton (see map): the polygon that includes Sandton Central, Parkmore, Morningside, Barlow Park, Simba, Atholl, Wierda Valley, Chislehurston and Sandhurst. By the company’s measure, this 510ha area contains 282 office properties.

In turn, it defines vacancy as office space that is either vacant at present, or will be available in the next three months. (This corresponds with the minimum industry average of three months to finalise a lease agreement.)

Based on these measures, Harris concludes that one-fifth of Sandton office space is standing empty — and that excludes an additional 1,980m² that he says will become available three months from now.

The office market is going through changes as companies are starting to require less space per employee
But while the exact figures vary, there’s general agreement that office vacancies are on the rise.

JLL SA research analyst Omphile Ramokhoase, for example, points to a rise “from a low of 9.9% in 2016 to 16.8% at the close of 2018”.

Experts also agree that the vacancy rate in Sandton outpaces that of comparable commercial nodes. Sapoa, for example, puts the vacancy rate (as a percentage of the area available for leasing) at 11.8% for the Cape Town CBD and 9.5% for Umhlanga Ridge in KwaZulu-Natal.

The problem stems from weak economic growth and a glut of developments, coupled with corporate consolidation and competition from new commercial nodes.

In many ways, the property sector is a barometer for the health of the economy. So, given stagnant growth, it’s hardly surprising that Sandton’s office vacancy level is north of 20%. In fact, the last time vacancy levels were this high was in the late 1990s, when interest rates were around 24.5% and GDP growth was weak (SA’s economy grew at just 0.5% in 1998).

SA’s economic boom in the mid-2000s prompted large property groups such as Growthpoint and Zenprop to plan an assortment of developments in Sandton. By the time the 2008/2009 global financial crisis hit, it was too late for developers to pull the plug — so a large supply came on stream in the late 2000s.

This lag between real estate planning and actual development means the reality of SA’s stagnating economy is evident in rental numbers, if not in the number of new building developments coming on stream. Besides, says Growthpoint CEO Norbert Sasse, many landlords and developers have created buildings in Sandton with a 10-to 20-year view in mind.

According to JLL SA’s analysis, there was 984,000m² of premium-grade (P-grade) office space (rented and vacant) in Sandton by the end of 2018 — up 34% from 2017. And the expansion is not over yet. Ramokhoase puts the office development pipeline for the node at an additional 100,000m².

The result, she says, has been slower aggregate rental growth — though P-grade office space has proved more resilient, with an average vacancy rate of 6.4% in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Corporate consolidation has also had an effect. Discovery, for example, left five buildings vacant when it moved into its single head office early last year.

Similarly, law firm Bowmans and Old Mutual moved into larger single buildings, leaving vacant space behind. And the new companies taking up office space in Sandton have not grown to a size where they can command significant office space.

Then there’s the issue of competition. Experts say Sandton is under pressure from new nodes such as Midrand’s Waterfall City, and smaller nodes such as Rosebank, which have less traffic and cater better for pedestrians.

What it means
The last time vacancy levels were this high was in the late 1990s, when interest rates were at about 24.5% and GDP growth was weak

At the premium level, average rental in Sandton is holding its own at R225/m², according to Gmaven. This is lower than Rosebank’s P-grade average of R238/m², but higher than that of Cape Town’s business nodes, which are at R209/m² for Claremont and R182/m² for the CBD.

But at the lower levels, Sandton’s rentals are mostly down. A-grade office space is an average R145/m², against R181/m² in Rosebank, R148/m² in the Cape Town CBD and R169/m² in Claremont. By the square metre, B-grade office space is an average R123 in Sandton against R134 in Rosebank, R108 in the Cape Town CBD and R140 in Claremont.

Harris says investors and developers are keeping a keen eye on Sandton, because it’s a commercial hub — and that’s unlikely to change in the immediate future.

Some developers are already confident that office vacancies will ease in the next few years, as economic growth picks up again. This explains the number of new residential developments in the pipeline, including high-end development The Leonardo, and Acsiopolis, a 20-storey luxury apartment building in Benmore. Legacy Group, which has developed The Leonardo, says a large number of office workers have bought luxury apartments in the skyscraper.

But until such time as there’s an improvement, Keillen Ndlovu, head of listed property at Stanlib, advises that landlords need to be bolder and more creative with space they cannot fill.

“Unless we see good economic growth, it will take time to let most of the office buildings,” he says. “We believe that some opportunities exist for conversion into residential, self-storage, co-working and flexible office workspace. The office market is going through changes as companies are starting to require less space per employee, and hot-desking and/or ability to work from home will pick up over time.”

One of the buildings Discovery vacated when it consolidated — 155 West Street — is being repositioned to take advantage of this changing world of work. Its owner, Redefine Properties, has let 10,000m² to flexible workspace provider WeWork on a 15-year lease that starts in September.

It’s the second such deal for WeWork, which has also set up office space in Rosebank.

By Marelise van der Merwe for Fin24

A coalition of artists, writers and publishers has written to Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies to challenge the Copyright Amendment Bill, due to be adopted by the National Council of Provinces on Wednesday.

The coalition comprises writers, book and music publishers, film directors, producers, musicians, performing artists, film and television workers, content creators and business people.

These include representatives from heavyweights like Kagiso Media, NB Publishers, Sony, Warner, Universal, Juta, the Recording Industry of SA, the Independent Black Filmmakers Collective, Media24 Books, DALDRO, the Music Publishers’ Association of SA, the Visual Arts Network of SA, the David Gresham Entertainment Group, the Academic and Non-Fiction Authors’ Association of SA, Sony/ATV, Shuter & Shooter, the Publishers’ Association of SA (PASA), and Pearson SA.

The Copyright Amendment Bill seeks to update South Africa’s four-decade-old copyright law. The Department of Trade and Industry argues it will protect authors, composers, artists and other professionals in the publishing sector, and that it will improve access to educational materials. It has also previously argued the Bill will address a lack of formalisation in the creative industry.

‘Devastating’

However, the coalition’s letter, published in the Sunday Times on March 17, says the Bill has deviated from its “commendable” goals and now carries “unintended negative consequences”. The letter lists six key concerns about the Bill, calling it potentially “devastating” to the creative industry.

“You have stated in correspondence to some of our member organisations that ‘the cost of procuring educational material in South Africa is very high, therefore flexibilities will be incorporated with teaching exceptions,'” the letter states.

“Our concern is that these ‘flexibilities’ or exceptions from copyright protection will have a devastating impact on the publishing industries.”

Job losses, revenue nosedive

The Bill will lead to job losses, the writers argue, as academic publishing becomes less financially viable, forcing publishers to close. The letter cites an impact assessment by PwC and PASA which found that 1 250 jobs – nearly a third in the industry – would likely be lost due to implementation of the Bill.

The same report, though this is not mentioned in the letter, found that the Bill could see a 33% decrease in sales, equivalent to R2.1bn, plus a decrease in exports of local titles.

The letter argues there will be an additional impact on the film industry, which – according to an National Film and Video Foundation report – in 2017 raised its level of production by over R12bn.

Another concern, according to the letter, is the impact on satellite industries, as the Bill will mean limited revenues for costly projects. “This will have a knock-on effect, damaging the numerous service industries that support productions, especially in the Western Cape.”

The Bill also creates “uncertainty around ownership and royalties” by permitting free re-use and therefore threatening production investment, the letter adds.

According to the missive, the Bill is “vague and imprecise”, and will need to be tested in courts over several years “requiring content creators to fight to defend rights that should be theirs automatically”, which will be costly and time-consuming.

Even where jobs aren’t lost, the Bill will cause loss of income to working creatives, the coalition says. “This will remove the incentive to write, produce and publish works, since the Bill allows [work] to be copied and republished with impunity, often free of charge.”

Big tech companies will cash in

Related to this is concern over the benefit to international tech corporations, who – according to the coalition – will be able to access and republish creative and research work without having to pay fair royalties or usage fees, and then monetise this content by licensing it or selling advertising around it, without the original creators seeing a cent.

Lastly, the writers say, South Africa’s body of knowledge will be reduced rather than increased. “When the publication of academic writing and research no longer pays, South African writers will stop writing, and publishers will stop publishing. This will mean less South African publishing will be available,” they argue.

“Imported foreign material will fill the gap, leaving our students to learn generic ideas from the global north, not strictly applicable to the African and South African situation.”

By Ferial Haffajee for Fin24

Eskom and government have started planning for Stage 5 and Stage 6 load shedding, according to officials who say that there is a race against time to ensure that a national blackout and grid collapse does not happen.

Stage 5 and Stage 6 load shedding imply shedding 5000 MW and 6000 MW respectively.

For businesses and residential consumers, it means more frequent cuts of the same duration, depending on where you live and who supplies your power.

Eskom’s website also contains load shedding schedules up to Stage 8 but has not implemented stages beyond Stage 4.

At the first major briefing to explain the fourth day of Stage 4 power cuts, Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan said that the government and Eskom were determined not to go beyond Stage 4 load shedding where 4000 MW has to be shed in long and regular blackouts to business and residential consumers.

But it is now clear that there is planning to Stage 5 and Stage 6 in order to ensure that there is no national blackout.

“It will be a huge struggle to overcome this crisis,” said Gordhan.

An extensive briefing by Eskom executives and the Department of Public Enterprises on Tuesday has made it clear that the national power supply is more precarious than previously understood. South Africa has bought all available diesel on the high seas (to run emergency power), maintenance of power plants is in crisis because boiler tubes are bursting at eight units across three power stations and there is a planned strike early in April.

What does this mean for you?

Load shedding is here to stay and possibly at extended lengths now being experienced across the country. In addition, Eskom is in dispute with the National Energy Regulator with SA (Nersa) on its calculation of the Regulatory Clearing Account and it wants to be able to implement higher tariff increases.

Nersa gave Eskom much lower additional tariff clearances than it requested, but these already added four percentage points to the allowable tariff of just above 9% for 2019/20. Is there light? A little.

On Thursday, a ship with diesel stocks will dock and this supply will ease the crisis; in 10 days, the government will report back with a deeper diagnosis of South Africa’s power woes.

All that government could really offer on Tuesday is that there will be better communication of the crisis with the public and an effort to design blocks of blackouts friendlier to life and the economy.

“We are very far from a point of total black-out. The system operators main task is to defend and protect the grid,” said Eskom chairperson Jabu Mabuza in a briefing designed to shed light after four days of load-shedding which has left the economy teetering and the nation seething.

“We don’t want to remain in a vicious cycle where load-shedding shifts to other crises (like a water crisis because plants go down in power cuts). We are committed to rebuilding the energy supply and energy confidence,” said Gordhan. One of the reasons for the latest power crisis is that it takes too long to buy the parts Eskom needs to maintain its power station fleet, said Mabuza.

The government will be going to the National Treasury to seek an opt-out of strict procurement laws to provide for emergency and faster purchasing.

“We are talking to the Treasury, to the Auditor-General to design processes very quickly to enable Eskom to be more responsive. (But we will) make sure no malfeasance is allowed during that process. People will try to take the gap. We will make sure it doesn’t happen,” said Gordhan who earlier revealed that 3000 staff at Eskom are doing business with the utility.

An estimated 1000 of the moonlighters have been identified.

Staff trading with Eskom is a conflict of interest which has driven up prices and is one factor in the debt pile that Eskom is carrying.

Mabuza also disputed a growing narrative by former executives of Eskom who use social media to disseminate a view that independent power producers (IPP’s) of renewable energy are responsible for the utility’s financial woes and for load-shedding.

“The board has asked me to say it is not appropriate to keep quiet about the IPP’s. In the revenue determination of what is allowable, there’s a budget of R30bn for IPP’s. In so far as Eskom is concerned, what we buy on IPP’s we recoup from the tariff. We are neutral as far as Eskom is concerned – we pass it onto the consumer. If we spend more than R30bn we get it back through the RCA (the regulatory clearing account). We have many problems at Eskom; IPP’s are not the cause of our problems,” said Mabuza.

“We fully understand that frustration and we want to apologise. At the same time, I want to appeal for understanding [in terms of] the nature of the challenges,” said Gordhan who did not give a deadline of when the deep and long load-shedding will stop.

He appealed for understanding from the country and said that South Africans should conserve as much electricity as possible. Eskom will reintroduce its programme of buying spare capacity from industrial users who may not need all the energy they are producing at private power stations.

South Africa has 48000 megawatts of installed energy but it only currently has 28 000 megawatts available daily, causing the gaping deficit that leads to ricocheting power cuts.

There are three senior fix-it teams working on the problem, said Gordhan. A presidential task team has presented one report to Cabinet; the Eskom board and management have presented their own 9-point turnaround plan and there is a team of between 12 and 14 private sector engineers combing through the Eskom power stations to present their own diagnostic report of what is going wrong.

Asked if too many cooks did not spoil the broth and whether government risked throwing structures at the problem, Gordhan said the power crisis needed more rather than fewer eyes on the problem or the risk of groupthink (where people begin to think alike and no longer question each other’s assumptions or points of view) was high.

“There is an eagerness and determination to get to the bottom of what the problems are. To answer the question: ‘How long will load-shedding last’? We will come back to you in 10 to 14 days. We have no magic formula. There is no magic wand to say load-shedding is over. It will be a huge struggle to overcome this crisis. We want to give the public as much information as possible,” said Gordhan.

In the parking lot of the hotel in which the briefing was held, a generator droned loudly. Rosebank in Johannesburg faced Stage 4 load-shedding for the entire period of the briefing – a graphic display of the crisis being described.

Shock as Sun City’s value plummets

By Siseko Njobeni for Business Live

The tough economy is behind the shock decline in Sun City’s value.

Sun International has for the first time reduced the value of Sun City as a struggling economy brought pressure on the iconic resort and casino.

The R306m reduction in value to R2bn comes after the company spent R1bn on refurbishments at the Sun City complex in 2016.

The drop in the resort’s value attests to the difficulties facing SA’s leisure and retail sectors due to increased competition, sluggish economic growth and reduced discretionary consumer spending.

Massmart confident it can turn Game around

Source: CNBC Africa

Massmart had a tough financial year, reporting a decline in headline earnings per share by 31.7 cents.

The biggest contributor to the company’s decline were Game, Dionwired and Hi-Tech.

Investors have been surprised by the extent of the decline.

According to Massmart CEO, Guy Hayward, the company’s sales are an accurate depiction of the general state of the South African economy.

“We are also disappointed in our profit growth, which is down 16%,” he says.

Food and Game are already 22% of total sales, and 2018 saw a move to Johannesburg and the restructuring of management and support roles.

“We are confident that we are doing the right things and that customers will respond to us in 2019,” Hayward says.

Turning Game around

Game will be kept very relevant to customers. The R20-billion business has up to 40% market share in many places; in fact, the company sees one in three TVs sold through it.
Going forward, Game will need to drive down costs and manage selling prices better.
“We need to make sure we offer customers wonderful merchandise that is very well priced. We need to shout about it; we need to make sure they know what they can buy in Game. We need to offer exciting products – maybe exclusive deals we have that no one else has, and we need to make sure our food is very well priced,” Hayward concludes.

 

By David A Graham for The Atlantic

Christmastime is when the pens in my house get their biggest workout of the year. Like many Americans above grammar-school age, I seldom write by hand anymore, outside of barely legible grocery lists. But the end of the year brings out a slew of opportunities for penmanship, adding notes to holiday cards to old friends, addressing them, and then doing the same with thank-you notes after Christmas. And given how little I write in the other 11 months of the year, that means there are a lot of errors, which in turn spur a new connection with another old friend: Wite-Out.

The sticky, white fluid and its chief rival, Liquid Paper, are peculiar anachronisms, throwbacks to the era of big hair, big cars, and big office stationery budgets. They were designed to help workers correct errors they made on typewriters, without having to retype documents from the start. But typewriters have disappeared from the modern office, relegated to attics and museums. Even paper is increasingly disappearing from the modern office, as more and more functions are digitized. But correction fluids are not only surviving—they appear to be thriving, with Wite-Out sales climbing nearly 10 percent in 2017, according to the most recent public numbers. It’s a mystery of the digital age.

One sign of the cultural impact of the Wite-Out brand is that, like Kleenex, it has become a generic term. But it wasn’t the first. Liquid Paper dates back to the 1950s, when Bette Nesmith Graham, a struggling divorced mother, took on typing jobs to make money. The problem was that she wasn’t a good typist, and kept making mistakes. So she began experimenting with ways to cover up errors, enlisting her sons to help her. (This creative streak would help one of those sons, Mickey, in his career as an artist—first as a member of the Monkees, and later as a producer of films including Repo Man.) In 1958, she patented Liquid Paper.

There were other products that achieved the same goal, like strips of sticky paper that covered up errors, but Liquid Paper quickly eclipsed them—so much so that it soon drew imitators. In 1965, Tipp-Ex began producing its own fluid in Germany. A year later, George Kloosterhouse and Edwin Johanknecht, searching for a product that wouldn’t show up when a document was photocopied, developed Wite-Out.

It’s difficult for anyone raised in the age of computers to grasp how useful correction fluids must have been when typewriters were a dominant technology in offices and classrooms. Of course, correction fluids are useful for things other than typewriting. In the pre-laser-printer era, it was often easier to correct a document from a dot-matrix printer by hand than to reprint it. Handwritten documents in ink are also more easily Wited-Out than rewritten.

But today, even printer sales are down, casualties of an era when more and more writing is executed on screen and never printed or written out at all. In fact, office supplies as a whole are slumping. According to a report by the analysis firm Technavio, the U.S. stationery and office-supply market is essentially flat, projected to go from $86.4 billion in 2015 to $87.5 billion by 2018. The paper industry has had it especially bad.

Yet correction fluid remains remarkably resilient. As early as 2005, The New York Times pondered the product’s fate with trepidation. Somehow, more than a decade on, it has kept its ground. According to the NPD Group, which tracks marketing data, sales of correction fluid grew 1 percent from 2017 to 2018, though they fell 7 percent the year before. (Correction tapes were flat, while correction pens are fading.) From 2015 to 2016 to 2017, Bic, which makes Wite-Out and Tipp-Ex, reported that correction products increased in share from 5 to 6 to 9 percent of the global stationery market. It’s a little less clear how Liquid Paper is doing. Newell, which owns the brand, doesn’t break out earnings enough to tell, and the company didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Who’s still buying these things? All the best answers are mostly conjecture. AdWeek suggested that sales might be buoyed by artists using fluid like paint. A Bic spokesperson pointed to a series of weird and entertaining interactive YouTube ads for Tipp-Ex in Europe, and said that Wite-Out is launching “colored dispensers that will appeal to younger consumers.”

That sounds faintly ridiculous—what use is a colorful bauble to a digital native?—but there may be something to it. Even as paper sales dip, up-market stationery is one sub-segment that is expected to grow, thanks to a Millennial affection for personalized stationery. Tia Frapolli, president of NPD’s office-supplies practice, pointed to bullet-journaling and hand-lettering as paper-based trends that could breathe some life into correction fluids.

Wite-Out is a strange place for serial-killing Millennials to offer clemency. In part, the attraction to the material is the same as any other hand-made or small-batch product: The physical act of covering up a mistake is imperfect but more satisfying than simply hitting backspace. There’s also a poignancy to a screwed generation gravitating toward Wite-Out.

You can’t erase the past anymore than you can erase a printed typo or written error—but you can paper it over and pretend it didn’t happen.

R5.7bn bailout for e-tolls

By Tom Head for The South African

Gauteng motorists, we’ve got some bad news: e-tolls have been given the kiss of life by the government, who have promised to cover Sanral’s debts.

When the people talk, politicians should listen. However, it would seem there have been some spectacular crossed wires in Gauteng. The much-maligned and financially crippled e-tolls system will now live to fight another day, after Transport Minister Blade Nzimande confirmed Sanral would receive a R5.7 billion bailout.

The roads agency have been plunged into fiscal despair by the ill-conceived tolls, which have failed to bring in the revenue previously forecast. It has left Sanral with debts soaring above R10 billion, but thanks to the deep pockets of the ANC, their money woes have effectively been halved.

Why Sanral have been bailed out
Nzimande explained the decision via a statement on Monday afternoon. He says the bailout is to help ensure that the department can meet “payment terms” with its investors. The move was labelled as a “strategic intervention” to help prop-up the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP).

“As a result of Sanral’s toll network experiencing financial difficulties, and to ensure that Sanral complies to its payment terms to investors, as well as to maintain the toll network across the country, funds were transferred from the non-toll network to the toll network. However, the department is working to resolve the issue of the GFIP speedily.”

E-tolls: Where is the money coming from?
The money has been taken from the Medium-term budget appropriation. It’s important to note that this money was not taken from the Treasury. Instead, money that was set aside for mid-term spending back in October 2018 will now go towards the e-tolls system, which continues to fail upwards.

Despite several promises from local government – including Gauteng Premier David Makhura, who vowed to rid the system from the province – it seems that national structures of the ANC have had the final word.

 

Car licensing fees set to increase

Source: MyBroadband

South Africa’s national licensing transaction fees will increase from R72 to R82, the Department of Transport has announced.

In the Government Gazette published on 8 March, transport minister Blade Nzimande announced the 14% increase in the transaction fees to be paid to the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC).

In terms of The RTMC Act, local registering authorities – licensing centres – must pay a transaction fee for each motorist it processes.

This car licence transaction fee is subsequently passed on to the applicant and added to the annual licence fee.

While this fee is separate from the actual licence fee, the R82 is effectively added to the renewal costs for all motor vehicle licences across the country.

The latest increase follows a R30 increase last year. In February 2018, the fee increased from R42 to R72.

This increase will affect all South African motorists, with the licensing fee differing from province to province – dependent on the size and weight of your vehicle.

In the Western Cape, a motorcyclist can expect to pay R192 for a new licence, while motorists can pay anywhere between R288 to R966.

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