File image: IOL.
JOHANNESBURG - The dreaded rolling blackouts, otherwise known as load-shedding, are back with us again, thanks to Eskom employees who have embarked on industrial action in support of their 15 percent across-the-board wage demands.

But the employer would have none of it as evidenced by its laughable offer of 0 percent increase.

At the weekend, Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said the troubled parastatal would implement state 1 load-shedding due to multiple trips of its power generation units.

Load-shedding cost the economy about R80 billion per month during the rolling blackouts of 2015.

Phasiwe said acts of intimidation and sabotage continued as some of their power stations, a move which he described as beginning to threaten the security of power supply.

Phasiwe said they would continue to provide regular updates about the state of the power system through various media platforms.

“Eskom has obtained a court interdict which essentially prohibits: the intimidation of workers and contractors who are not part of the illegal industrial action; the high jacking of coal trucks; and the sabotaging of Eskom's electricity infrastructure,” said Phasiwe.

This as business sentiment has taken a knock in the country. The RMB/BER business confidence index has fallen sharply, to 39 in the second quarter, from 45 in the first quarter.
It had jumped 11 point when President Cyril Ramaphosa took office in February, in what was dubbed the Ramaphoria effect.

The business confidence deteriorated in four of the five sectors that make up the index. Building contractor confidence fell to 37 points from 41 in the first quarter, while the retail sector eased from 42 to 33 points. Manufacturing dropped from 37 to 27 points, while new vehicle dealer confidence dropped from 52 points to 35 in the second quarter. 

Meanwhile, the Radisson Blu hotel group announced this week its plans to add a further 50 hotels in Africa.

This was part of its strategy to entrenching its position as the continent’s top hotel brand. The hotel group has doubled its African portfolio in the part four years to 86 hotels, equating to 17 800 rooms in operations.

On the mining front, diversified multinational mining company Anglo American has sold a 21.9 percent stake to Japanese multinational, Mitsubishi, in the Quellaveco copper project in Peru for R7.98 billion. 

Quellaveco is reputed to be one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper deposits, with ore reserves estimated at 1.3 billion tons, containing 7.5 million tons of copper.