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Five things making headlines in South Africa today

Electricity tariffs challenged in Tshwane, fuel price drop, Sacci BCI, Standard Bank PMI and more.
Relief comes to cash-strapped consumers as petrol price drops. Picture: Moneyweb

Here’s what caught our attention on Wednesday:

1. Tshwane electricity tariffs challenged 

New electricity tariffs in the City of Tshwane have come under scrutiny after being brought to light by civil rights group, AfriForum. The body is consulting its lawyers after efforts to stop the City from implementing the controversial tariffs failed on Monday. National energy regulator (Nersa) refused to approve the City’s tariffs on June 28 after AfriForum raised concerns that smaller residential users could face increases to their bills of more than 80%.

Read: The tariff mess the City of Tshwane made

2. Fuel price comes down

South Africans can breathe a little easier on Wednesday as the petrol price drops following consecutive increases in previous months. The price of petrol is down by 96 cents per litre, while diesel will cost 75 cents less per unit, as of midnight, July 3. The cost of a litre of illuminating paraffin also decreased by 57 cents. According to Sanisha Packirisamy, an economist at Momentum Investments, the drop in July’s petrol price has to do with lower international fuel prices reflected in June. She adds that consumers should still, however, prepare for potential fuel price fluctuations.

3. Sacci Business Confidence Index

The South African Chamber of Commerce Industry (Sacci) is due to release its Business Confidence Index for June on Wednesday. In May, the index decreased marginally to 93 from 93.7 in April, data from Trading Economics shows. Sacci says the decrease in May was an indication that the business climate still lags that of 2018. But, with the new cabinet and provincial legislature in place, better growth and focus on the economy is expected. 

Update to follow.

4. Standard Bank PMI

Standard Bank’s Purchasing Managers’ Index for June is expected to be released on Wednesday. In May, Standard Bank PMI fell to 49.3 from 50.3 in April, data from Trading Economics shows. The decline pointed to a deterioration of the private sector. Data also indicates that new orders declined at the quickest pace in November, while exports fell for a fourth consecutive month, as demand was hit by weak economic conditions and election uncertainty. Absa’s PMI, released on Monday, rose to 46.2 on the back of increased business activity and as new sales orders edged higher.

5. Steinhoff legal proceedings underway

Steinhoff’s new management is not letting its former executives, Markus Jooste, Ben la Grange and others off the hook for their role in Steinhoff’s near collapse. The retailer is seeking to recoup funds from the former executives and have started legal proceedings to get the ball rolling. Bloomberg previously reported that Steinhoff is seeking more than R850 million from Jooste and R271 million from La Grange.

A number of executives were implicated by an investigation into dodgy accounting practises at the retailer, which found that they had artificially inflated asset values and were involved in a number of sketchy transactions. Reuters is reporting that La Grange will be defending the claims.

Read: Steinhoff seeks to recoup payments paid to former CEO

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