BizBriefing: Eskom summoned to court, Beitbridge Investment and Zimbabwe holds onto its dollar

Written on 11/30/2020
Melani Nathan

Eskom summoned to court for hiding emissions, Beitbridge gets an investment boost and Zimbabwe will rebuild on the Zim dollar.

By Melani Nathan 

  • Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Barbara Creecy has revealed that summons was served on Eskom on 27 November 2020 notifying it of the decision by the Senior Public Prosecutor to pursue a criminal prosecution in respect of air pollution by Eskom’s Kendal Power station. This includes, amongst others, a charge of supplying false and misleading information in reports prepared by management at Kendal power station to an Air Quality Officer, which is a criminal offence. The summons orders Eskom representatives to appear in the Witbank Regional Court on 28 January 2021. The Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries issued a compliance notice to Eskom in December 2019 after it was discovered that the state-owned entity could be guilty of under-reporting carbon emissions. Local energy expert Chris Yelland says “This is a serious offence and if convicted, would subject Eskom to a fine of up to R10m and imprisonment of certain officials for up to 10 years”.
  • Zimbabwe’s secretary for finance George Guvamatanga says the country won’t repeat the mistake of abandoning its own dollar. A decade ago skyrocketing inflation sent the struggling economy into chaos and forced the country to adopt a stronger more stable currency. The Zimbabwean dollar was reintroduced to the economy last year and took a tumble when it abandoned its peg of 25 to the US dollar. Guvamatanga says Zimbabwe will rebuild on the back of its own currency.
  • Private equity firm Harith General Partners and the Phembani Remgro Infrastructure Fund are buying equity in a company investing $296m to modernize Zimbabwe Beitbridge border, one of Africa’s busiest land border crossings. Zimborders Mauritius has a 17-year concession to design, build and operate the public-private partnership project. Beitbridge border has been characterized by long waiting times for trucks attempting to cross, according to Harith Chief Executive Officer Sipho Makhubela. He says “Beitbridge’s capacity constraints have had a stifling effect on economic activity, adding cost and risk to a vital channel of trade.”
  • According to Johannesburg Stock Exchange data, offshore investors were net sellers of South African stocks last week. Offshore investors sold a net R2.13bn rand of South African stocks last week and R1.10bn in bonds, reports Reuters.