Just a Moment News - 2023-11-24


Good day, I’m Erika from Just a Moment News, and here are some news stories for today, November 24, 2023.

First up, the Reserve Bank of South Africa has expressed a slightly more positive outlook on inflation. Despite consumer inflation rising to 5.9% in October, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has decided to maintain the repurchase rate at 8.25%. This decision is influenced by improved GDP outlook, positive real-term spending, growing household disposable income, and an upwardly revised investment forecast. However, challenges such as operational issues at ports and railways, delays caused by Transnet affecting imports, and increased external financing needs still persist. Additionally, high food prices, particularly for staples like potatoes and eggs, continue to pose a concern. The MPC maintains a cautious stance and is ready to act against inflation risks.

Moving on, retailers in South Africa are hopeful for a boost in consumer spending during Black Friday. They anticipate an additional R26.6 billion in retail turnover compared to last year, thanks to widespread discounts throughout November. This increase in sales is seen as crucial for the economy, especially considering weak consumer sentiment. However, financial experts and consumer protection agencies advise caution, reminding consumers to spend within their means and be mindful of economic challenges such as inflation, interest rate hikes, and increasing costs of essentials. The shift in consumer behavior towards necessities rather than luxury items is also noted, with a focus on food staples, household essentials, and small domestic appliances. Furthermore, there is a warning about the increased risks of cybercrime in online shopping, urging consumers to be cautious against phishing and other cyber threats.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has emphasized the need for accountability and swift action to resolve the truck congestion crisis at the Richards Bay port in KwaZulu-Natal. The congestion is severely impacting the economy, causing delayed exports and inefficient operations. Ramaphosa, along with public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan and KwaZulu-Natal premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube, visited the port and stressed the importance of addressing the challenges faced by Transnet, the state-owned enterprise responsible for the port. Plans for a R160 billion investment in the precinct, with involvement from the private sector, have been outlined to clear the backlog and improve operations. The government also aims to improve truck processing and shift more goods to rail transport. Efforts to fill critical vacant positions in Transnet and collaborate with the uMhlathuze Municipality are underway.

In other news, concerns are mounting regarding a Y2K-style prepaid electricity disaster. In exactly one year, on November 24, 2024, all outdated prepaid electricity meters worldwide, including over 11 million in South Africa, face a shutdown due to a date rollover problem. The issue stems from a coding problem in STS-approved meters, and failure to update each meter with two unique 20-digit key revision numbers could leave customers without electricity and halt revenue from prepaid electricity sales. South African municipalities are alarmingly behind in updating these meters, with less than half of the 164 municipalities with licensed electricity distribution having begun their projects. Urgent action is needed to avert a widespread electricity and financial crisis.

Lastly, Formula One’s governing body is trialing artificial intelligence (AI) to tackle track limits breaches. The FIA is using ‘Computer Vision’ technology that uses shape analysis to determine if drivers have crossed the white line at the edge of the track with all four wheels. This AI system will sort out genuine breaches, reducing the workload for the FIA’s remote operations center and speeding up response times. The aim is to properly enforce track limits violations and reduce the number of potential infringements being considered by the ROC. The FIA believes that real-time automated policing systems are the way forward in ensuring fair competition.

That’s all for today’s news. I’m Erika from Just a Moment News. Have a great day!

Keywords - moment, daily, news