Tag: cost

Source: EWN

Eskom announced on Tuesday afternoon (28 June) that load shedding would be escalated to Stage 6 from 4 pm until 10 pm on both Tuesday and Wednesday.

The beleagured power utility says it’s under increased pressure because of an illegal strike at some of its plants.

This had already resulted in an escalation to Stage 4 power cuts from last week.

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has now said an agreement’s been reached with unions to bring the strike at Eskom to an end.
Stage 6 load shedding equates to at least six hours without power per day, possibly in two-hour cycles.

The first and only time South Africa last endured this level of power cuts was in December 2019.

Chris Yelland, MD of EE Business Intelligence, emphasises that the current load shedding pre-dates the industrial action at Eskom.

“Before the industrial action we were already having Stage 2 to Stage 4 load shedding. The industrial action, according to Eskom, has put a further 4,000MW at risk which translates into four stages of load shedding. If we were having Stage 2-4 load shedding before the industrial action, this extra four stages would take it to Stage 6 to Stage 8 and we are in the midst of Stage 6 right now – I’m having four hours at a stretch… This 24-hour period is going to be eight hours [in total] of power off for me.”

Yelland notes that Eskom itself made it clear during today’s media briefing that there is a risk of Stage 8.

The return to wage negotiations announced earlier is certainly an encouraging sign, he says.

While the effect on the economy is dire, much depends on how long Stage 6 load shedding lasts says Mhlanga, and even the lower stages.

“Just to give you a sense of what this might mean, if the Stage 6 lasts for a cumulative 24 hours… the different power shortages that would accumulate… it means the economy is likely to lose about R12 billion,” says Isaah Mhlanga, chief economist at Alexander Forbes.

“I’m not saying this going to last for a full month… but just to quantify the magnitude, if were to have Stage 6 for a cumulative month that’s R367 billion or 15 600 jobs at risk.”

Looking at the situation from a foreign investor perspective it is difficult to see such an investor looking to establish a large manufacturing entity here, coming to South Africa relative to other countries he says.

“A lot of jobs are now part-time [latest stats]… which means corporates are taking a dim view of the future economic prospects of the country… Those workers are quite vulnerable… All it means for consumers is, whatever cash they have, hold onto it,” says Mhlanga.

A modern economy cannot be productive without a steady supply of electricity.

The ongoing power cuts in South Africa are expected to result in the shedding of at least 350 000 jobs, despite projections of 3.9% economic growth for 2021.

This is according to a research report by accounting firm PwC, which notes that the return of load shedding in the fourth quarter, after 11 weeks of no power cuts, undermines economic growth.

  • Global economic environment is favourable for trade-dependent South Africa, power cuts pose domestic challenges
  • Unexpected power station breakdowns, delays in returning to service some other units under maintenance, and the quicker than expected depletion of emergency systems resulted in nearly 15 000MW of capacity being out of action
  • This amounts to nearly half of the power utility’s coal-powered fleet
  • Load shedding is expected to reduce 2021 GDP growth by three percentage points
  • It is expected to cost the country 350 000 in potential jobs
  • Mike Schüssler says South Africa has lost well over a million jobs already due to load shedding
  • The service industry that probably uses the most electricity is the telecommunications sector – and if users can’t use their cellphone, then those service providers can’t make money
  • Manufacturing is also suffering
  • Electricity issues have also had a negative impact when it comes to attracting investors, further injuring economic growth
  • SA cannot be productive in a modern economy if there’s no electricity

100k people petition DStv to cut prices

By Lungelo Matangira for EWN

Over 100 000 people have signed an online petition calling for pay-TV provider DStv to cut its prices for South Africa, as it does for other African countries, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

The petition, launched by Sifiso Gwala a week ago, had 109 016 signatures by midday on Wednesday afternoon.

“DStv drops prices for the rest of Africa except South Africa and now this. We’re being taken for granted here #DstvMustFall,” Gwala said in the petition.

In 2019, DStv cut prices in a number of African countries such as Kenya and Nigeria. This, however, has never happened in South Africa.

Now, amid job losses, salary cuts and struggling businesses during the lockdown, South Africans want the same to happen for local subscribers.

“Prices are too high, can’t afford it” and “we must choose the channels we want”, said some supporters.

DStv is yet to respond to the petition.

Loadshedding cost SA R59bn in 2019

New data released by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has indicated that South Africa suffered a 2019 loss of between R59bn and R118bn due to loadshedding.

According to the CSIR, the 530 hours of unplanned power cuts during the year occurred at a higher intensity than previous years, including an unprecedented move to Stage 6 loadshedding in December. More energy – approximately 1 352 Gigawatt hours (GWh) – was shed during 2019 than previous years.

The percentage of time that Eskom’s power plants were able to produce electricity was at just 67%.

“Historical fleet EAF decline seems irreversible,” stated the presentation’s authors.

Loadshedding is expected to continue for two to three years, depending on key decisions and actions by government.

The CSIR presentation set out various scenarios for South Africa to ensure the supply of power in the current decade. A key response to start to close the “energy supply gap” is to let businesses, private citizens, mins and farms produce their own electricity.

The cost of the NHI

The much-maligned National Health Insurance (NHI) bill has been tabled for Parliament’s consideration. Plans to prevent its rollout are already well underway, as medical professionals and opposition political parties vehemently oppose the proposals.

NHI in brief

  • Opponents believe that NHI would essentially be another state-owned entity – potentially failing, like Eskom, Denel and SAA
  • The taxpayer will fund the NHI
  • General tax revenue will include transferring funds from provincial health budgets to the NHI Fund
  • Taxpayers’ medical scheme fees tax credit will be reallocated to the NHI Fund
  • A payroll tax (employer and employee) will be implemented
  • A surcharge on personal income tax will be implemented
  • The bill obscures what the NHI rollout would cost, but three figures include R165 billion, R259 billion and R450 billion
  • There are roughly 21 million taxpayers in South Africa
  • Only 30% of them – about 7.6 million people – are actually registered to pay tax or sit above the annual income threshold
  • Taxpayers would pay between R7 857 and R21 428 per person for NHI
  • If everyone in South Africa had to contribute, they would pay between R2 807 and R7 656 per person

Discovery HQ costs R23m a month

According to a report by Netwerk24, Discovery is paying approximately R280-million a year – or R23-million a month – to rent its new offices in Sandton.

By 2022, Discovery anticipates paying R400-million a year, and R600-million in 2028. After 15 years the building will not be transferred to Discovery, and a new rental agreement has to be drawn up. Growthpoint is the majority shareholder in the building.

Business Insider reports that Discovery has entered into a 15-year rental contract with property group Growthpoint, which developed 1 Discovery Place for more than R3-billion. The building has a roof-top running track and a gymnasium that can accommodate up to 3 000 members.

This comes after Discovery clients were hit with a weighted 9.2% increase across medical plans for 2019. In addition, Discovery Vitality plans were increased by between 8.4% and 12.5%.

According to Business Tech, Discovery has 2.8-million beneficiaries, and with an open medical scheme market share of approximately 56%.

Image credit: Discovery

What it costs to send a WhatsApp message in SA

By Jamie McKane for MyBroadband

WhatsApp has become the most popular messaging app for smartphones in South Africa, thanks to its cheap messaging costs compared to standard SMS rates offered by mobile operators.

The app offers South Africans a way to call, text, and share media with each other at rates far lower than anything offered by mobile networks, even when using a mobile data bundle.

Our previous tests have shown that using WhatsApp to call over a mobile data connection is far cheaper than making a cellular call to another user.

However, other forms of communication offered by the app use different amounts of mobile data.

We therefore tested how much data was used by different types of WhatsApp messaging and calling options.

Data usage
The WhatsApp data usage was measured using WhatsApp’s built-in network usage tools, which provide a refined data usage measurement for smaller options such as text messages.

Data on video and voice calling over WhatsApp was sourced from MyBroadband’s previous tests.

We used two Android smartphones for this test, sending one message at a time between the devices and monitoring the data usage reflected within the application.

The data usage for text messages, standard-resolution photos, one-minute voice calls, 30-second voice notes, 10-second videos, and one-minute voice calls was collected and compared to provide an overview of the data usage requirements for WhatsApp on a modern smartphone.

From the data we collected, it is apparent that certain functions such as voice notes and standard text messages use very little data and can be quite optimal for communicating over mobile data.

To determine how much each message would cost, we compared the amount of data used for each message type with the price of a 1GB data bundle on each mobile network in South Africa.

Standard 1GB mobile data bundle pricing was used to provide parity with Rain, which charges a flat R50-per-GB rate on its data-only network.

We used these prices to calculate a price-per-MB, which was then used to calculate how much each WhatsApp message type would cost on the mobile networks.

The results are posted below:

By Kaunda Selisho for The Citizen 

The nation will have to pull those belts a whole lot tighter with a projected increase of about R1.14 a litre of petrol.

There seems to be no end in sight for South Africa’s perpetual rise in fuel prices as the Central Energy Fund (CEF) has predicted yet another increase for the month of October.

The CEF report, released earlier this week, attributes the projected increase to a weaker rand and a higher international oil price.

The most recent hike was capped at 5c after government intervention but was dubbed a “once off” to provide citizens a short reprieve after sustained increases over five months in the lead-up to September.

According to the CEF’s calculations, early indicators estimate that the fuel price could rise by R1.14 a litre in October.

Fin24 calculated that the inland price of 95 octane petrol would rise to a possible record high of above R17 a litre, thus affecting food prices and transport costs.

Do female consumers pay ‘pink tax’?

Source: Supermarket & Retailer

Women pay more for cosmetics and clothing than men, says Use Your Voice (UYV), a non-profit organisation that distributes sanitary pads across South Africa.

In a Facebook post, since shared more than 6 600 times, UYV compared the prices of daily-use items such as razors, day cream and clothes to show how much more women pay for each item.

It is estimated that women pay as much as 13% more for personal care products.

“If you do feel the need to comment that this is fake, and that you do not agree, we highly recommend that you do the research yourself,” the organisation said about the price comparison.

Business Insider South Africa found differences in prices for similar products aimed at men and women:

  • Women are expected to pay R25 more for similar razor blades
  • Women pay R20 for the same t-shirt, on promotion
  • Similar vitamins by the same label costs R16 more for women
  • Women’s deodorant costs R2 more than for men at two different stores
  • The same brand of spray deodorant costs R10 more

Across our sample of products, women were expected to pay 18% more for what appears to be the same products for men.

Tiger Brands has asked consumers to remove any Enterprise ready-to-eat meat products from their fridges and place it in a plastic bag – away from other foods.

The reputational damage suffered by Tiger Brands following the outbreak of listeriosis that has claimed 180 lives in South Africa since last year is likely to hurt the diversified food giant’s balance sheet over the short to medium term only, analysts said yesterday.

Ron Kiplin, a portfolio manager at Cratos Wealth, said yesterday it would take Tiger Brands some time to turn operations around after Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi identified its Enterprise Foods factory in Polokwane as the source of the food-borne disease.

“They (Tiger Brands) appear not to have had the right controls in place, and it is an indictment on operational management,” he said, adding that operational management at the factory had to be held accountable, although the buck stopped with top management.

“They need to hold a proper inquiry to be able to tell their customers they have the right controls in place, otherwise the reputational damage will continue for longer,” he said.

Kiplin said the company’s processed foods division was likely to take a knock, but it would not have a major impact on group profits, because Tiger Brands was highly diversified.

Recovery

Chris Moerdyk, a corporate marketing analyst, said although the immediate damage to the brand was enormous, it was likely that it would recover.

Moerdyk said wealthy people would start moving away from processed meats.

“The bulk of their market is people in the lower economic group,” Moerdyk said. “This group of people buy processed meat because it is cheaper. Polony is almost a staple food for many poor South Africans. They do not have alternatives.”

He said the damage to the brand would be limited to the medium term.

“Not long ago, Ford Kuga cars burnt and killed people. Ford is now back to sales of before that period. People thought that the Ford Kuga would not sell again, but people continue to buy the cars,” said Moerdyk.

Tiger Brands recalled its processed food products and halted production at its factories in Polokwane and Germiston after the report by Motsoaledi.

The move prompted Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi and Botswana to ban cold meat imports from South Africa.

Bomikazi Molapo, a spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Daff), said the department would not be involved in the disposal of the processed meat products.

“The recall was instituted by the National Consumer Commission, and the suspension by the Department of Health. Therefore, the Daff will not be involved in the disposal of the products,” said Molapo.

By Dineo Faku for IOL

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