South Africa: IMF Says Power Crisis Threatens Economic Growth - South African News Briefs - March 23, 2023

23 March 2023

Cape Town —  

IMF Warns South African Economy Risks Stagnation

South Africa's growth is set to decelerate sharply in 2023 due to power cuts, the International Monetary Fund warned on Wednesday March 22. EyeWitness News reports that an IMF team visiting the country said: "South Africa's economic and social challenges are mounting, risking stagnation amid an unprecedented energy crisis, increasingly binding infrastructure and logistics bottlenecks...Real GDP growth is projected to decelerate sharply to 0.1% in 2023 mainly due to a significant increase in the intensity of power cuts, as well as the weaker commodity prices and external environment.". In January, South Africa's central bank said it expected the economy to grow by 0.3% in 2023, down from 2.0% in 2022. EWN is also quoting a local economist as saying that the rotational power cuts known as load shedding are contributing to a 13.6% rise in food inflation - which accounts for the largest portion of the total consumer inflation. Statistics South Africa on Wednesday announced that inflation edged higher to 7% for February as load shedding continued to add to the cost of food production.

Commuter Rail Agency Goes Shopping for Ammunition

News24's Phillip de Wet is reporting that the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) is shopping for ammunition. The agency's shopping list includes 15 000 rubber bullets, 65 000 rounds for 9mm pistols, and 155 000 shotgun rounds. The state-owned enterprise would not answer any questions about the tender, De Wet writes, telling News24 that it is "a security matter" on which it cannot speak publicly. Prasa has previously noted that it battles criminal syndicates, gang violence and attacks by taxi operators. During the 2022 financial year, Prasa's overall spending on security jumped by more than 145%, to R620 million.

DA to Return to Drawing Board After Phala Phala Motion Defeat

The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) says it will return to the drawing board after its proposed motion to establish a parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee to investigate the Phala Phala saga was defeated, the SABC reports. On Wednesday, Members of Parliament voted against the DA's motion. The saga, which relates to a burglary that happened at President Cyril Ramaphosa's Phala Phala farm in Limpopo in 2020, has stimulated robust public debate, the state broadcaster reports.

Joburg Water Sends Water Tankers to Assist Areas Suffering Water Outages

Week-long water outages have seen Joburg Water deploy 18 water tankers to areas affected by the severe shortages, Eyewitness News reports. Joburg Water attributed the outages to a single failed Rand Water pump and vandalism to several systems. Some Johannesburg residents have complained that the tankers are not enough to meet their needs given the range of affected areas.

Putin Will Not be Arrested When He Visits South Africa for the Brics Summit - Malema

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has said that Russian President Vlamidir Putin will not be blocked or arrested when he visits South Africa for the BRICS summit set for August, IOL reports. The International Criminal Court (ICC), which South Africa is signatory to, issued a warrant for Putin's arrest over alleged war crimes committed by Russia and its ongoing invasion of Ukraine. This follows a similar scenario in 2015 when South Africa was compelled to arrest former Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir when he visited the nation for the African Union Summit despite an arrest warrant also issued by the ICC.

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