Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:

  • Budget Speech: With the budget speech later today, the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) says budget cuts should be reversed and spending in critical service delivery areas be increased. Saftu also wants a 10% wage increase for public sector employees, a monthly universal income grant of R1,500 and further funds for the embattled Post Office. The human rights group Black Sash has called for the National Treasury to increase the child support grant from R480 to over R800. [EWNNews24]

  • UCT VC leaving: UCT’s vice-chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng will part ways with University. She will receive an early retirement package and be paid over R12 million to leave the University before her second term expires in 2028. Her exit follows widespread student protests last week and a governance crisis allegedly due to Phakeng’s mistreatment of senior staff, leading to many senior academics and executives resigning. Her last day will be 3 March. [News24]

  • City Power disconnect: The Apartheid Museum has no power after City Power disconnected it due to an outstanding bill of R1.8 million. The city also disconnected two businesses and two mining equipment manufacturing companies that owed R4.3 million and R1.3 million, respectively. The Johannesburg metro police department (JMPD) will join City Power to target other defaulting businesses in the coming days. [TimesLive]

  • Capital’s potential new mayor: The DA and coalition political parties chose Cilliers Brink as its mayoral candidate for Tshwane. Brink is currently an MP and a spokesperson for the DA on cooperative governance and traditional affairs. Tshwane speaker Murunwa Makwarela said that the matter is urgent; however, it remains unclear when a vote for the new mayor will take place. Former Mayor Randall Williams resigned earlier this month with the city’s finances in a dire state – receiving an adverse audit opinion.  [News24]

  • Markets: The South African rand on Tuesday slipped to its lowest level this year, with investors awaiting the finance minister’s budget speech due today, likely to provide cues on the government’s policy trajectory. The Finance Minister is expected to outline a plan for the government to take on part of the debt of struggling state power utility Eskom. On Wednesday (22 February), the rand was trading at R18.26/$, R19.46/€, and R22.10/£. Brent crude is trading at $83.05 a barrel. [Nasdaq]

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