South Africa

Load-shedding concerns about South African economy

Cyril Ramaphosa

South Africa’s government is concerned about the impact that power outages had on the economy in the second quarter, as the nation’s statistics agency prepares to release data for the three-month period.

“I am worried about tomorrow’s stats,” Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele told reporters Monday at the start of a cabinet strategic-planning meeting in Pretoria, the capital.

“There has been huge load-shedding, and we don’t know how it has impacted the economy,” he said, using the local term for scheduled blackouts.

Statistics South Africa will publish second-quarter gross domestic product data at 11:30 on Tuesday. The economy is forecast to have shrunk 0.8% in the second quarter, according to the median estimate of 12 economists in a Bloomberg survey.

State power utility Eskom implemented electricity outages for more than half of the days in the second quarter, according to Bloomberg calculations, adding to the record blackouts in the financial year through March that hobbled economic output.

President Cyril Ramaphosa and the ruling African National Congress have been heavily criticized over their inability to resolve the problem, despite repeated promises to do so.

Gungubele said the cabinet will discuss the nation’s energy crisis, measures to cushion South Africans against the rising cost of living and the government’s spending plans before the National Treasury delivers its medium-term budget plan next month.

Also on the agenda is how the South African economy can adapt to the rise in global interest rates, and growing anti-foreigner sentiment in the country, he said, without providing further details.


Top JSE indices