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Friday 12 July 2024
  • SA’s municipalities owe power utility Eskom R78-billion
  • Debt has increased nearly six times since 2018
  • 28 municipalities account for almost half of outstanding debt

Electricity and energy minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa says South Africa’s municipalities owe power utility Eskom R78-billion.

The minister has expressed doubt that Eskom would be able to recover these funds. Since 2018, the debt owed by municipalities to the national power utility has increased nearly six times.

In its integrated results published in March 2023, Eskom reported that municipalities owed it R58.5-billion and said the debt had escalated ‘to unsustainably high levels’.

Eskom and Treasury are working with 28 municipalities in a debt relief programme, which collectively account for R26.7-billion – almost half of the outstanding debt as at 31 March 2023.

To address the arrears, Eskom has negotiated payment arrangements, helped municipalities with service delivery and revenue collection. Legal action has also been initiated in some instances. A municipality’s debt can be written off if certain conditions are met.

Friday 12 July 2024
  • Diamond production in South Africa is at a 10-year low
  • Closure of Venetia diamond mine has led to the drop
  • De Beers is planning an underground operation to extend Venetia’s life

Diamond mining production in South Africa has hit a 10-year low. Before 2023, the country produced an average of 8.5-million carats a year. By 2023, production had dropped to 6.1-million carats.

The reason for the drop is that De Beers’ Venetia diamond mine reached the end of its open-pit operations in December 2022. The mine accounted for 40% of South Africa’s diamond production, according to the Minerals Council.

South Africa remains among the top 10 diamond-producing countries, contributing 5% of the world’s diamonds. The largest producers are Russia with 37.3-million carats and Botswana, with an output of 25-million carats, according to 2023 Kimberley Process data.

De Beers says it plans to develop an underground mine at Venetia to extend its operational life until the 2040s. The company expects to extract 88-million carats from this new phase.

Thursday 11 July 2024
  • SA is the second-biggest citrus exporter after Spain
  • South African citrus made up 12% of global exports in 2022
  • A fungal disease threatens SA’s position as citrus exporter

South Africa exported $1.85-billion worth of citrus, or 12% of the global total, in 2022, making it the world’s second-largest exporter.

But South Africa’s position in the market is being threatened by citrus black spot. This common fungal disease causes superficial blemishes on the skin of the fruit and spreads mostly through fruit-to-fruit contact and rain. Infected fruits are still safe for consumption.

The European Union has imposed legislative measures on fruit imported from SA, which include additional spray programmes and inspections which will cost the country’s citrus farmers and market more money.

The government and the Citrus Growers Association of SA have raised a dispute with the EU at the World Trade Organisation over these measures, which they deem ‘unfounded’ and ‘excessively trade restrictive’.

The citrus market was worth a reported $15.1-billion in 2022, according to the Observatory of Economic Complexity.

Thursday 11 July 2024
  • South African Jesse February wins second African chess champion title
  • South Africa’s only grandmaster is Kenny Solomon
  • Africa has 16 grandmasters, mostly in North Africa

South Africa’s Jesse February is the African women’s chess champion, winning gold at the 2024 African Individual Chess Championship in Accra. This is her second title, having first won in 2021.

The 27-year-old from Gqeberha is SA’s top-ranking female player and has been a woman international master (WIM) since 2016. The next rung up is woman grandmaster (WGM). The only South African to achieve this is Melissa Greeff, who was 15 when she became a WGM in 2009.

Kenny Solomon is SA’s sole grandmaster and one of three in Sub-Saharan Africa, alongside Zambian Amon Simutowe and Senegal’s Felix Izeta Txabarri.

Although there are 1,800 active grandmasters, less than 1% of players achieve this status.

Russia leads with 179 grandmasters, followed by the US (104), Germany (99), Ukraine (82) and India (81). Africa has 16 grandmasters, most of whom live in North Africa. Egypt has six, Algeria and Tunisia three each, and Morocco one.

Wednesday 10 July 2024
  • South Africa starting XV against Ireland has record 990 test caps
  • Kolbe needs to score 4 points against the Irish to reach century
  • Etzebeth is closing in on Matfield’s record 127 caps

South Africa’s most-experienced team in history will take on Ireland in Durban on Saturday, 13 July.

The Springboks’ starting XV boasts 990 combined test caps, three more than the team that won the Rugby World Cup final against New Zealand last year.

The squad has collectively scored 1,379 points, with 660 from 132 tries. All but one player (Ox Nche) has scored at least one try. Jesse Kriel leads the pack with 16 tries.

The backline has 419 caps, averaging 59 per player, and the forwards have 571 caps, averaging 71.

Eben Etzebeth, playing his 121st game, is closing in on Victor Matfield, the most-capped SA player with 127 caps. Fullback Willie le Roux is six caps away from becoming a Bok centurion.

Kriel and Damian de Allende will play a record-setting 30th test together in the midfield, surpassing Jean de Villiers and Jaque Fourie’s record of 29.

Tuesday 9 July 2024
  • 3.5-million state-subsidised houses have been built since 1994
  • 10% of recipients complain of weak walls and roofs
  • Government undertook to equip future houses with solar

About 10% of government-subsidised houses in South Africa were recorded as having weak walls and roofs, according to Statistics SA’s 2023 General Household Survey.

Mpumalanga and the Western Cape had the highest number of problematic houses.

Johanna Msiza, a domestic worker from Pretoria, bought a 17-year-old BNG house that she has been living in for four years. She says the house ‘does leak a little bit and it’s built on a wet place where the water table is high. I don’t think they check the areas before they build the houses.’

Just 42,773 government-subsidised houses were built in South Africa in the 2023/24 financial year.

Houses built from 1 April 2023 were supposed to be fitted with solar panels and burglar proofing, according to the department of human settlements. When asked by The Outlier whether these plans had been implemented, they pointed us to provincial government departments.

Tuesday 9 July 2024
  • Only 42,773 government-subsidised houses built in 2023/24
  • Number of houses built in South Africa peaked in 1998/99
  • Government department blames slow progress on Covid, budget

South Africa’s housing programme, the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) is now known as Breaking New Ground (BNG).

It was introduced in 1994 by Nelson Mandela. Since then, more than 3.5-million BNG houses have been built for recipients who met certain criteria.

However, 30 years on and there are almost 3-million people on the national housing needs register. The department of human settlements says not all the people on the register actually qualify for a BNG house.

The department has blamed its slow progress on Covid-19 and budget cuts. But numbers were on the decline long before the pandemic and there is still no significant sign of recovery.

Just 42,773 government-subsidised houses were built in South Africa in the 2023/24 financial year. That’s an 82% decline compared with the 235,635 houses built 26 years ago in 1998/99 when construction peaked.

Tuesday 9 July 2024
  • 82% fewer houses built last year than in 1998/99
  • Just 42,773 government-funded houses were built
  • 3-million people still on the national housing needs register

Just 42,773 government-subsidised houses were built in South Africa in the 2023/24 financial year. That’s an 82% decline compared with the 235,635 houses built 26 years ago in 1998/99.

The Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), now known as Breaking New Ground (BNG), was introduced in 1994 by Nelson Mandela. Since then, more than 3.5-million houses have been built for recipients who met certain criteria.

The government had aimed to upgrade all informal settlements by 2014 but, a decade later, almost 3-million people are still on the national housing needs register. The Department of Human Settlements says not all the people on the register actually qualify for a BNG house.

The department blamed their slow progress on Covid-19 and budget cuts in an email conversation with The Outlier. But numbers were on the decline long before the pandemic and, two years later, there is no significant sign of recovery.

Tuesday 9 July 2024
  • Over 100,000 cholera cases reported in Africa in 2024
  • Zambia and Zimbabwe each reported over 20,000 cases
  • Climate change worsens cholera by damaging sanitation infrastructure

Between January and mid-June 2024, more than 100,000 cases (suspected and lab confirmed) had been reported in African countries.

Zambia and Zimbabwe have each reported more than 20,000 cholera cases this year. More than 1,000 people have died of the disease – 637 in Zambia and 397 in Zimbabwe, according to the World Health Organization.

Mozambique, the island of Comoros, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Somalia have also been hard hit by cholera this year.

Climate change is worsening the problem of cholera outbreaks. Cyclones, floods and droughts create an ideal environment for cholera to spread because they reduce people’s access to clean water and sanitation infrastructure is often damaged.

Tuesday 9 July 2024
  • 32 children in prison in 2022/23 versus 187 in 2015/16
  • In SA prisons, children are described as under 18 years
  • Just one young girl was in prison in 2022/23

The number of young inmates in South Africa’s prisons – those under the age of 18 – has dropped by about 83% since 2015/16, according to data from the department of correctional services.In August 2022, the age of criminal capacity was raised from 10 years of age to 12. The Child Justice Act means that anyone under 12 cannot be arrested and must be referred to a probation officer instead.Last year, there were 32 children in prison. That’s a six-fold decrease in comparison with the 187 children in prison seven years earlier. Of the young prisoners, just one was a girl.Meanwhile, the number of remand detainees, children in prison while awaiting trial, has increased. In 2021/22, there were 47 and by 2022/23 that had increased to 65.Sentenced youngsters are placed in secure care centres for children managed by the department of social development.

Monday 8 July 2024
  • 65% of South Africa’s learners walked to school in 2022
  • That’s an improvement on 2010’s 73% of learners
  • Learners also take less time to get to school

There are about 15.4-million school-going children in South Africa and almost two-thirds of them have to walk to school every day, according Statistics South Africa’s 2023 General Household Survey.

Often these learners have to navigate difficult terrain, which leaves them vulnerable to harsh weather conditions and violence.

The good news is that things are getting better. The percentage of primary and high school learners taking longer than 30 minutes to get to school has decreased by about 3 percentage points since 2010

The Household Survey report doesn’t say how long it takes these learners to walk to school, but an analysis of the 2022 survey results by Children Count, an advocacy project of the Children’s Institute at the University of Cape Town, has data on the length of school trips irrespective of how learners travel.

The data shows that fewer learners walk (65%) to school now than in 2010 (73%).

Monday 8 July 2024
  • 93% of mines electricity registrations are for solar power
  • Mining companies registered over 240MW with Nersa
  • Gauteng has the most mining companies registering private power

Between May 2019 and 2024, 16 mining companies registered 242MW of private electricity generation with the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa). Of these registrations, 93% were for solar power.

Harmony Gold has the highest number of registrations for private solar power at 144MW for its mines in the Free State. Harmony is followed by Glencore with 60MW registered.

Harmony Gold said last year that their solar installations would save the mining company R425-million a year in electricity costs and help it reach net zero by 2045. It plans to finish installing solar power at its mines by 2025.

The only mining company to install a power source other than solar was Samancor Chrome, which registered 17MW of gas electricity for its Gauteng smelter.

The province with the highest number of registrations by mining companies is Gauteng, where seven out of 20 companies registered private power generation with Nersa.

Monday 8 July 2024
  • 114,000 cholera cases reported in Africa in 2024 so far
  • This is more than all the cases in 2022 and half of cases for all of 2023
  • There is a global shortage of cholera vaccinations

In the first five months of 2024 more than 110,000 cases of cholera had been reported in Africa. This is half of the total reported in 2023 and more than all the cases in 2022.

A year ago a cholera outbreak hit South Africa claiming the lives of 47 people. The disease spread quickly in areas with poor sanitation and limited access to clean water. Hammanskraal, near Tshwane, was heavily affected, drawing attention to the area’s inadequate infrastructure.

Globally, cholera remains a significant threat. In January 2023, the World Health Organization classified the global cholera outbreak as an acute grade 3 emergency. At the time, 27 countries around the world had reported cholera, some of which hadn’t had a case of the disease in decades.

In many countries the fatality rate was well above the target of one death per 100 cases. The situation was not helped by a shortage of cholera vaccines.

Monday 8 July 2024
  • Two out of three school-going children in South Africa walk to school
  • Learners face harsh weather, crime on their way to school
  • Public or government-funded transport is almost non-existent

Of the 15.4-million school-going children in South Africa, almost two-thirds of them have to walk to school every day, according Statistics South Africa’s 2023 General Household Survey.

In rural areas, schools are often located very far from learners’ homes and public transport is not always accessible.

In their Basic Education Rights Handbook, Section27 says: ‘Private transport, such as taxis, may be unavailable, unsafe or too expensive to use. In these cases, learners have no choice but to walk in order to receive an education.’

Often these learners have to navigate difficult terrain, which leaves them vulnerable to harsh weather conditions and violence.

The second-most used mode of transport is vehicles hired by groups of parents (13%).

Just 9.3% of children travel to school in private vehicles. The rate for this mode of transport is highest in the Western Cape (23.4%) and Gauteng (16.6%), and is lowest in Limpopo (3.3%).

Monday 8 July 2024
  • 2-million of SA’s learners travel for over 30 minutes to school
  • 2.5% of learners can’t attend school because of a lack of transport
  • 5,635 schools need scholar transport, Education Department says

Just over 1-million of primary (12.2%) school learners take longer than 30 minutes to reach their schools, according to an analysis of the 2022 General Household survey results by Children Count, an advocacy project of the Children’s Institute at the University of Cape Town.

Close to 1-million (19%) high school learners also take longer than half an hour to get to school.

Almost one-quarter of primary school learners in KwaZulu-Natal take longer than 30 minutes to travel to school. In Mpumalanga, 27% of high schoolers take the same amount of time. These are the highest percentages recorded out of all the provinces.

In the 2022 survey, 2.5% of children said they didn’t attend school because they just could not get there.

Then Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga acknowledged in November last year that 900,946 learners from 5,635 schools were in need of learner transport.

Friday 5 July 2024
  • 71 of SA’s 213 local municipalities governed by coalition
  • 3 or more mayors in less than 3 years in 15 municipalities
  • Joburg, Metsimaholo and Beaufort West had 5 mayors

Since the 2021 November local government elections, South Africa has 71 of its 213 local municipalities and metros governed by coalitions.

Of these coalition governments, 15 have changed mayors three or more times in less than three years. Four are metros: Nelson Mandela Bay, Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg and Tshwane. These are home to 14-million people, about one-quarter of South Africa’s population.

In some of these metros, coalition in-fighting saw the installation of mayors from smaller parties. Al Jama-ah mayor Kabelo Gwamanda governs Johannesburg. His political party holds three of the Joburg council’s 270 seats.

In Nelson Mandela Bay, Northern Alliance mayor Gary van Niekerk’s party holds three of the 120 seats. The municipalities with five mayors in less than 3 years are Metsimaholo in the Free State, Johannesburg in Gauteng and Beaufort West in the Western Cape.

Friday 5 July 2024
  • Power sharing is in place in one-third of SA’s municipalities
  • Three mayors are from parties with 3% or less of council seats
  • Two metros – Joburg and Nelson Mandela Bay – have mayors from small parties

Almost one-third of South Africa’s 213 municipalities and metropolitan areas had no party with an outright majority after the 2021 local government elections, leading to coalition governments.

One way to gauge the success or failure of these coalitions is by counting the number of mayors each has had in the two-and-a-half years since the elections.

Among the 15 municipalities with three or more mayors, four are major metros: Nelson Mandela Bay, Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg, and Tshwane. In some of these metros, coalition conflicts have resulted in mayors from smaller parties being elected.

Three of these 15 municipalities have mayors whose political parties hold 3% or less of the council seats. The political parties are Al Jama-ah, the African Independent Congress and the Northern Alliance.

Two of these municipalities, Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay, are significant metropolitan areas with populations of 5-million and 1.2-million people, respectively.

Thursday 4 July 2024
  • 15 municipalities have had three or more mayors since 2021
  • 37 mayors in three years in these 15 municipalities
  • Two-thirds of mayoral changes due to motions of no confidence

There are 213 local municipalities and metros in South Africa, 71 of which are governed under power-sharing agreements.

In the almost three years since the 2021 November local government elections: 34 municipalities have had one mayor, 22 have had two mayors, and 15 have had three or more mayors.

These municipalities are all under coalition agreements.

In 15 municipalities there have been at least three different mayors in charge between November 2021 and June 2024. In total, mayors in these municipalities have changed 37 times.

Almost two-thirds of the removals were because of motions of no confidence, followed by resignations and court action.

In Tshwane and Beaufort West, all the mayors changed because of resignations.

The municipalities that have had five mayors in almost three years are: Metsimaholo in the Free State, Johannesburg in Gauteng, and Beaufort West in the Western Cape.

Thursday 4 July 2024
  • 71 of 213 municipalities in South Africa have coalitions
  • Highest percentage in Gauteng and Western Cape
  • Joburg has had five mayoral changes in three years

With the ANC losing its outright majority in the South African elections held in May, a so-called government of national unity has been formed to govern for the next five years.

While this kind of power-sharing may be something new for the national government, many of the country’s local municipalities have had coalition agreements in place since the local government elections in 2021.

Almost one-third of South Africa’s municipalities had no party with a clear majority after the local poll so they are governed by parties who have agreed to work together.

Of the 213 local municipalities and metros in South Africa, 71 have coalitions. Most of Gauteng’s municipalities are coalitions (89%), as were the Western Cape’s (64%).

In Gauteng, three of the province’s metros are coalition governments: Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni. Of these, Joburg has had the most mayoral changes – no less than five – since November 2021.

Thursday 4 July 2024
  • 100 continuous days without loadshedding this year
  • 2023 had 335 days with outages, the worst year yet
  • 2024 has had 83 days of loadshedding so far

Today (4 July 2024) marks 100 days without loadshedding in 2024. There have been a total of 103 days without rolling blackouts in South Africa this year, but three of those were in January. The other 100 days have been continuous since 27 March.

Areas of the country including the City of Joburg, however, have been having ‘load rotation’, a localised form of power management.

The 100 days this year is the longest continuous period without scheduled loadshedding since 2020.

Last year was the worst year for loadshedding to date with outages on 335 days.

With just 83 days of loadshedding so far this year, 2024 is on track to be one of the best years for reduced loadshedding.

Fuelling the optimism is the announcement last week that Kusile’s unit 5 was now in operation, adding 800MW to the grid.

Wednesday 3 July 2024
  • Global demand is growing for SA avocados
  • Exports increased by 63% in the past decade
  • New markets opening up, including top 10 importer Japan

The world can’t get enough avocados, and South Africa is stepping up to meet the growing demand.

Exports have increased by 63% over the past decade, according to the SA Avocado Growers’ Association. About 74,4000 tonnes of avos were exported last year, just 9,500 shy of 2018’s record. ITC figures show the value of exports has more than tripled since 2012, reaching R1.63-billion in 2021.

South Africa is one of the top 10 exporters of the fruit globally and the second-biggest in Africa, after Kenya. Africa produces about 12% of the world’s avocados.

Global trade in the green gold is worth R120.3-billion, according to the Observatory of Economic Complexity, which gets its data directly from public customs records.

While Europe is a major importer of SA avocados, other markets are opening up. In the past 10 months, agreements have been put in place with India, China and Japan. Official shipments were expected to start mid-year.

Wednesday 3 July 2024
  • MTN and Vodacom are two of the biggest mobile companies in Africa
  • Almost one-quarter of Vodacom’s customers are in South Africa
  • Over 80% of MTN’s customers are in other African countries

South African companies MTN and Vodacom are two of the biggest mobile companies in Africa. MTN operates in 17 countries in Africa and Vodacom operates in eight.

Together they reported more than 450-million customers at the end of 2023. About 23% of Vodacom’s 186-million customers are in South Africa, but more than 80% of MTN’s 294.8-million subscribers are in other African countries.

MTN Nigeria generated a larger share of MTN’s service revenue in 2023 than South Africa.

As of 2022, only about 15% of people in Sub-Saharan Africa live in areas that are not covered by mobile networks, and they are mainly remote or rural.

Wednesday 3 July 2024
  • Internet technology in Africa relies on older 2G and 3G technology
  • More than half of the data connections on the continent are 3G
  • 4G connections expected to double by 2030

The mobile technology in most parts of Africa is predominantly 2G and 3G. The G stands for generation. More than half of all data connections on the continent are 3G.

South Africa is in the process of retiring 2G and 3G, which were launched in 1991 and 2001 respectively. But things are changing rapidly.

4G connections, which launched in 2009, are expected to almost double by 2030 to reach close to half of all connections, according to GSMA Intelligence’s The Mobile Economy in Sub-Saharan Africa 2023 report.

GSMA estimates that mobile operators will spend about $75-billion on their networks between now and 2030, mostly on 4G.

Two of the biggest mobile companies in Africa are MTN and Vodacom, both of which originated in South Africa.

Only about 1% of the continent uses 5G, which was introduced in 2019. 5G holds promise for delivering faster speeds and supporting advanced technologies such as IoT and AI.

Tuesday 2 July 2024
  • South Africa’s cabinet is double the size of Germany’s
  • SA has bigger cabinet but smaller population, GDP than Germany
  • China, Brazil, India have larger cabinets – and larger economies

South Africa’s cabinet with its president, deputy president and ministers is larger than the cabinets of Germany and the UK.

Both these countries have larger populations than South Africa’s 62-million. They also have larger economies: Germany has a GDP of $4.5-trillion and the UK $3.3-trillion. South Africa’s is $377.8-billion, according to World Bank data.

Three countries with bigger cabinets are South Africa’s partners in BRICS –Brazil, India and China. They have much larger economies and populations than South Africa.

In announcing his cabinet on 30 June, President Cyril Ramaphosa said that although he had hoped to reduce the number of portfolios, it had not been possible as he wanted his cabinet to include all the parties in the Government of National Unity.

These are the ANC, DA, PA, IFP, Good, PAC, FF+, UDM, Al Jama-ah, Rise Mzansi and the United Africans Transformation.

Tuesday 2 July 2024
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed his youngest cabinet
  • Average age of the GNU cabinet is 55. In 2023, it was 60
  • Siviwe Gwarube is the youngest minister at 34

The average age of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ministers is 55. It is his youngest cabinet since he became president in 2018. His previous cabinet had an average age of 60.

The government of national unity’s youngest minister is Basic Education Minister Siviwe Gwarube, who is 34. Ronald Lamola, who was 35 when he was appointed in 2019, was previously the youngest-ever minister.

Of the 32 ministers:

  • The youngest are from the Democratic Alliance – with four of the six DA members under 40
  • Eight ministers are in their 40s
  • Eight ministers are in the 50s
  • 10 ministers are in their 60s
  • One minister is in her 70s
  • One minister’s age could not be confirmed
The median age of the current cabinet is 55, which is younger than the previous cabinet’s median age of 64. South Africa’s median age, the mid-point with half the population older or younger, is 27.8.

Tuesday 2 July 2024
  • Cyril Ramaphosa added seven deputy ministers to his new government
  • At 43, it is the highest number of deputies in two decades
  • Since 2004, the average size of the cabinet has been 31 ministers

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed 32 ministers and 43 deputy ministers on 30 June. It’s the most deputy ministers appointed in two decades and an increase of seven from 2023.

Ramaphosa’s new government of 75 ministers and their deputies is the biggest since 2014, but only by three. The second-biggest was 10 years ago under then-president Jacob Zuma when there were 72 ministers and deputies.

Since 2004, the average number of ministers in the Cabinet has been 31.

Ministers can introduce bills, make key decisions for their portfolios and are held accountable for their department’s performance. Deputy ministers assist in the work of the ministers. Unlike ministers, deputies do not form part of the Cabinet.

As of April 2024, government ministers earn an annual salary of R2.7-million. Their deputies earn R2.2-million.

Monday 1 July 2024
  • Facebook leads in South Africa with 54% highly active users
  • TikTok is popular among younger users, with 25.1% usage surpassing Instagram’s 19.7%
  • WhatsApp dominates instant messaging with 68% usage

Facebook remains the most widely used social media platform in South Africa with 54% highly active users – people who have accessed the platform in the past 7 days.

More businesses (78%) are active on Facebook than any of the other platforms, according to the Social Media Landscape Report 2024.

About one-third of TikTok’s 15- to 24-year-old users are highly active. Overall, 25% of users are highly active, up from 21% in 2022. Business use of TikTok is also increasing, with one-third of SA’s big brands now on it, up from 1% in 2020.

Instagram has high usage among younger people and has 19.7% highly active users overall.

LinkedIn’s highly active users have remained steady at 6.6%.

Active users on X have decreased to 11% from 12.9%. Use by businesses has fallen sharply from 90% in 2018 to 51% in 2024.

WhatsApp is the biggest instant messaging platform with 68% usage.

Monday 1 July 2024
  • Table Mountain National Park attracts 2.8-million visitors in 2023
  • Almost 1-million people took trips on the mountain’s aerial cableway
  • A record 3.46-million visitors visited the iconic landmark in 2017

The number of visitors to the Table Mountain National Park in Cape Town climbed to 2.8-million in 2023. This is a 56% increase on 2022, or an additional 1-million visitors.

The national park is home to Table Mountain and is a Unesco-designated World Heritage site. It had 3.16-million visitors in 2019, close to its record of 3.46-million set in 2017.

Also on the rise are visitors to the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway. Numbers shot up 44% last year to close to 1-million tourists, according to Wesgro, the tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape. The last time visitors to the cableway were over 1-million was in 2019.

This post-pandemic recovery is mirrored elsewhere, with tourist traffic to the rest of the Western Cape growing by more than a third to 7.7-million. Wesgro’s research shows the domestic market is helping to boost numbers.

Thursday 27 June 2024
  • Quarter of mobile subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa use mobile internet
  • Smart phone price hinders connection
  • 15% of people live in areas with no internet coverage

Only one in four of mobile subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa use mobile internet, according to GSMA Intelligence’s The Mobile Economy in Sub-Saharan Africa 2023 report. The cost of smartphones is a key reason why.

Smartphones comprise only 51% of mobile connections in Sub-Saharan Africa and many people who live in areas with coverage still don’t use mobile internet.

As of 2022, only about 15% of people lived in areas that aren’t covered by mobile networks, and they are mainly remote or rural.

The technology in most parts of the continent is predominantly 2G and 3G. South Africa is in the process of retiring 2G and 3G. But things are changing rapidly. 4G connections are expected to almost double by 2030 to 49% of total connections, the GSMA says.

Wednesday 26 June 2024
  • Transnet transported 58m fewer tonnes in 2023 than in 2013
  • Railway capacity issues threaten coal export sale
  • South Africa is one of world’s largest coal exporters

Transnet transported 58-million fewer tonnes of coal, iron ore and other commodities in the 2022/3 financial year than it did 10 years ago, with coal making up a third of its freight.

The state-owned entity attributed its reduced rail capacity to underinvestment in network rehabilitation, vandalism, disputes over locomotive contracts, and sabotage.

This capacity issue is a problem for producers like Thungela, which might need to stockpile export-bound coal, resulting in fewer tonnes of coal exported. Such disruptions have severe economic implications for South Africa, a leading coal exporter.

Transnet’s general freight business saw a decrease of 11-million tonnes in 2022/23 compared with 2021/22. This was due to a weak economic climate and ‘operational challenges’.

Monday 24 June 2024
  • Over 53,700 students didn’t graduate due to unpaid fees
  • Some universities prohibit students with outstanding debt from graduating
  • At others, students participate in the ceremony but don’t receive degrees

It has been a bleak graduation season for more than 53,700 students who didn’t receive their degrees from 13 South African universities in 2023 and 2024 because of unpaid fees. This is according to the Department of Higher Education, Science and Innovation in response to EFF MP Vuyani Pambo’s April question to the department.

Some universities such as UCT prohibit students from attending the graduation ceremony if they still owe the university money, using this as a way to encourage students to repay their debts. This does not apply to students who have received support from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

Other universities like Nelson Mandela University, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University and the University of Johannesburg still allow students to participate in the ceremony. But instead of being handed a degree, students receive a degree confirmation letter or the transcript.

Monday 24 June 2024
  • 400 jobs at risk in Media24 restructuring
  • Daily Sun circulation down 95% over 10 years
  • Rapport most resilient but still down 68%

The news that Media24, South Africa’s biggest media group, is planning to close 5 of its print publications is unfortunately far from surprising. Most journalism outlets have been experiencing declines for the past 20 years and they’ve been in free fall for the past 10.

As disturbing as this decline is, it’s hard to look at the circulation numbers of the newspapers in question without wondering how it’s taken so long for this decision to be made. Soccer Laduma has declined from a total circulation of just over 317,000 to 40,000. Daily Sun has plummeted from 283,000 to barely over 10,000.

Media24 told staff on 18 June that it was looking at closing the print publications of Soccer Laduma, Daily Sun, Rapport, City Press and Beeld.

The publishing group said the closures would put 400 jobs at risk.

Friday 21 June 2024
  • Korean romantic dramedy King the Land was the most watched
  • Median watch time was 1,00,000 hours across 15,994 titles
  • 22 titles on Netflix were watched for over 200-million hours

The most-watched Netflix show from July to December 2023 was King the Land, a Korean romantic dramedy. The 16-episode series, about a hotel concierge (Im Yoon-ah) entangled with the hotel magnate’s rebellious son (Lee Jun-ho), was watched for 630-million hours by 33.2-million unique viewers.

One Piece, an adaptation of the popular manga, was the second most-watched show, according to Netflix’s What We Watched Engagement Report released in May 2024. The report provides data on 15,994 titles on the platform.

The two most-watched movies were Leave the World Behind and Heart of Stone.

Netflix subscribers watched 22 titles for over 200-million hours. Across 15,994 titles, the average viewing time was 5.6-million hours.

The average is skewed by the most-watched titles, with the median watch time 1-million hours, indicating that while some shows reached high viewership numbers, the majority of Netflix titles attracted smaller audiences.

Friday 21 June 2024
  • Almost 9-million refugees were hosted by African countries at the end of 2023
  • More than half were living in just four countries
  • UN Refugee Agency estimates there are more than 30-million refugees globally

At the end of 2023 there were 31.6-million refugees around the world, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). About 8.9-million had fled their homes in African countries, 6 in particular: Sudan, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Somalia, Central African Republic and Eritrea. Most of them were hosted in neighbouring countries.

Just over 8-million refugees were hosted by African countries. More than half were in just 4 countries: Uganda, Chad, Ethiopia and Sudan. But the conflict in Sudan, which broke out in April 2023, forced 1.2-million to flee, the UNHCR estimates. Most of them went to Chad and the Central African Republic.

Fighting in eastern DRC and insecurity and flash floods in Somalia displaced more than a million people, many fled to Kenya and Ethiopia.

The UNHCR says 75% of refugees are hosted in low- and middle-income countries. But more than half of the people who are forcibly displaced remain in their home countries.

Thursday 20 June 2024
  • Copper price nudges $11,000 per tonne
  • Copper vital for telecoms, power generation and renewables
  • IEA predicts only 80% of copper demand will be met by 2030

Copper prices have hit new highs over the past month as demand for the metal grows and experts predict a shortage in years to come.

Copper is a key material in sectors including telecoms, power generation, and construction. Copper is used in wiring for broadband networks and for transformers and generators in the power production industry. The transition to renewable energy has further amplified copper demand. The International Energy Agency estimates that each megawatt of wind and solar energy consumes between 3 and 5 metric tonnes of copper.

Electric vehicles also drive copper demand, using approximately 83kg of copper per vehicle compared with 23kg for traditional cars.

Recycling accounts for 35% of copper supply, but it’s insufficient to meet booming demand. The IEA warns that by 2030, only 80% of copper demand will be met, ensuring high prices persist as industries expand and push for sustainable energy solutions.

Thursday 20 June 2024
  • Most-ever international travellers recorded by CT International in 2023
  • Total passenger numbers exceed 10m for first time post-pandemic
  • December 2023 saw a peak season high of 302,656 international passengers

A record 2.75-million international passengers passed through Cape Town International Airport last year, surpassing the previous high of 2.4-million set in 2018.

The airport recorded more than 300,000 international travellers a month in December, January and March, which helped push the annual number of passengers over the 10-million mark for the first time since the Covid pandemic upended global travel.

Travel restrictions took Cape Town’s numbers to a precipitous 2.4-million in the 2020/21 financial year, the Airports Company of South Africa data shows.

More than 7.1-million passengers used the domestic terminal in the year ending March 2023.

Passenger numbers at OR Tambo International in Johannesburg, the country’s busiest airport, have also increased since Covid, but the 7-million international passengers recorded in 2023 were still 2-million below the 9.2-million recorded in 2018.

Wednesday 19 June 2024
  • South Africa’s employee engagement is 29%, above global average (23%)
  • 11.7% are miserable, seeking new job. This is below global average (15%)
  • High engagement leads to lower absenteeism, increased productivity

More of South Africa’s employees feel involved in and enthusiastic about their work than those in other parts of the world.

According to Gallup’s latest State of the Global Workplace report, 29% of South African employees surveyed are engaged. This percentage has been steadily increasing and is significantly higher than the sub-Saharan Africa (20%) and global (23%) averages. In comparison, about 17% of those surveyed in Kenya and Nigeria were engaged employees.

The proportion of actively disengaged employees in South Africa has been falling over the past few years. These, Gallup explains, are employees who have a miserable job and are actively seeking a new one. At 11.7%, South Africa’s rate is lower than both the global (15%) and regional (17%) averages.

Engaged employees have higher levels of wellbeing, lower absenteeism rates and are more productive, says Gallup.

Monday 17 June 2024
  • There are 89 cellphones for every 100 people in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • With 167 phones per 100 people, South Africa is well above global average of 108
  • Only 36% of people in Africa use the internet. World average is 63%

African countries have leapfrogged fixed-line technology and gone straight to mobile. There are 89 mobile phones for every 100 people living in the countries classified as Sub-Saharan Africa by the World Bank, but fewer than one landline (0.6) per 100 people (2022 figures).

Some African countries, such as South Africa (~167) and Kenya (~122), are well over the world average of 108 mobile phones per 100 people. Nigeria is close with ~102.

But the percentage of people in Africa who use the internet remains low: 36% compared with 92% in the US, according to World Bank 2021 figures. The global average was 63%.

There were 489-million unique mobile subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2022, according to a recent GSMA report. That’s less than half (43%) of the population.

Only 287-million of them used mobile internet – a penetration rate of 25%. The cost of smartphones is a key reason why.

Monday 17 June 2024
  • At nearly 34%, inflation in Nigeria is at a 28-year high
  • Food inflation surged to 40.66% in May
  • State may temporarily suspend food import duties

Nigerians are facing steep increases in food prices as inflation figures hit record highs. In May 2024 food inflation increased to 40.66%, almost 16 percentage points higher than the May 2023 inflation rate of 24.82%.

Headline inflation (covering all consumer goods) increased to 33.95% according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). This is a 28-year high not seen since March 1996.

NBS said increases in the prices of semovita, oatflake, yam flour, garri, beans, Irish potatoes and yams contributed to the year-on-year increase in the food inflation rate. Meat, cooking oil and non-alcoholic beverages have also contributed.

Some relief may be on the horizon, Bloomberg reports. The government may suspend import duties on food staples as well as drugs and other essential items for 6 months to slow inflation. Authorities are also in talks with labour unions to increase the minimum wage.

Friday 14 June 2024
  • SA lowest unemployment rate: 16.2% in 1995
  • Unemployment rate has remained above 30% since third quarter of 2020
  • 30 years: Stats SA developed 3 surveys to collect unemployment data

South Africa’s unemployment rate has become a pressing issue for the country in the 30 years since the transition to democracy. The lowest recorded rate was 16.2% in 1995.

Although the methodology used to track unemployment has been refined over the years, this figure still stands in stark contrast to the highest rate of 35.3%, recorded in the fourth quarter of 2021. The most recent unemployment rate is 32.9%.

Statistics SA defines the unemployment rate as the proportion of people in the labour force between 15 and 64 who were not employed but available for work and actively looking for it. This number first surpassed 30% in 2003 and has consistently stayed above this threshold since the third quarter of 2020.

The so-called expanded unemployment rate, which includes discouraged job seekers, has remained above 40% since mid-2020, highlighting the country’s broader economic challenges.

Friday 14 June 2024
  • SA’s Members of Parliament earn R1.27-million a year
  • It’s a salary of R106,200 a month. SA’s median salary is R5,200
  • MPs’ salaries have increased by 29% in 10 years

The monthly salary of a South African Member of Parliament is 20 times the country’s median monthly salary of R5,200.

The country’s 400 MPs received a R300,000 pay rise in April, with salaries increasing to R1.27-million a year. This works out at R106,200 a month. Ten years ago, MPs earned R989,900 a year, or R82,490 a month.

MP salaries increased by 29% between 2014 and 2024, which is below inflation of 63% over the same period.

Public office bearers usually receive an annual salary increase in April. In 2016, however, no increases were granted because of the ‘dire state of the economy’. And in early 2020, during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, MPs salaries dipped slightly.

Friday 14 June 2024
  • MultiChoice’s SA subscribers shrink to 8.6-million
  • Poor performance blamed on tough economic conditions
  • Revenue per user in rest of Africa is also declining

MultiChoice has lost 11% of its total customer base, ending its financial year with 20.9-million subscribers. Its South African subscriber base has contracted by 8% to 8.6-million, according to the group’s latest results.

The JSE-listed company has, until now, managed to consistently grow its customer numbers, holding steady through Covid-19. It blames the fall in numbers on a ‘challenging consumer environment’.

Owner of DStv, Showmax and SuperSport, Africa’s largest pay-TV operator stretches to Ethiopia, Ghana and Nigeria. Its rest of Africa numbers are also headed downward, falling by 1.8-million subscribers.

Its reported average revenue per user is a slim R170, with the rest of Africa segment dropping by almost a third to R113. Although twice as firm in SA, local average revenue per user is now R254, a way off the R335 it hit in 2018.

The group is in talks with France’s Groupe Canal+ about a R30-billion takeover deal.

Thursday 13 June 2024
  • Average SA employee spends 3 years 1 month in their job
  • Restaurant and hotel workers have lowest job stability
  • Telecoms experts and marketing professionals stay the longest

The average South African employee spends 3 years and 1 month in their job before moving on. This is according to the latest jobs report by online jobs portal Pnet.

While the average time in a position is just over 3 years, roles with higher expertise demands, such as those in business and management, tend to see people staying longer in their jobs (4 years and 10 months on average).

At the top of the jobs stability charts are telecommunications experts (5 years 2 months) followed by marketing professionals (4 years 11 months).

At the bottom end of the scale are restaurant and hospitality workers who typically stay in their jobs for 2 years and 5 months.

Other roles that average under 3 years include legal workers (2 years 6 months), science and technology professionals (2 years 8 months) and those working in any of the design, media, arts, engineering or architecture sectors (2 years 11 months).

Wednesday 12 June 2024
  • Basal cell carcinoma is most commonly diagnosed cancer in SA
  • 3 of the 10 most prevalent cancers are skin cancers
  • Breast cancer has the second-most diagnoses

In 2022, 14,319 people in South Africa were diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer. Two other skin cancers – squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma – also featured in the 10 most common cancer diagnoses that year.

In South Africa, high levels of ultraviolet radiation from the sun put residents at greater risk of developing skin cancer.

Basal and squamous cell carcinomas are also known as non-melanoma cancers, which means they can usually be treated successfully if they are detected early enough. Melanoma, which can start as a new growth or in an existing mole, is considered more serious because of how quickly it spreads.

About a quarter of diagnosed cancers were prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women, according to the National Cancer Registry.

Nearly 4% of cancers diagnosed had spread so extensively at the time of diagnosis that their origin could not be determined.

Wednesday 12 June 2024
  • 28-million people receive grants in 2024 – up from 2.5-million in 1996
  • 13.2-million children benefit from the child support grant
  • A pandemic relief grant introduced in 2020 extended to 2025

Ten times as many people in South Africa receive grants in 2024 compared with 1996. Almost 30 years ago the largest group of beneficiaries were the elderly; in 2024, it is children.

The gradual rollout of the child support grant from 1998 and the introduction of the temporary Covid-19 SRD grant in 2020 have contributed to the increase in the number of people benefiting from grants rising from 25-million to 28-million.

The government introduced the Covid-19 grant for people between 18 and 60 who required financial support due to government restrictions during the pandemic because they had no work and weren’t benefiting from other grants. This grant’s deadline has been extended to March 2025 and benefits 9-million people. It is considered a test case for the rollout of a basic income grant offering R350 a month – the lowest of the grants. The child support grant and grant-in-aid follow at R530 each.

Tuesday 11 June 2024
  • Despite recent upturn, SA’s murder rate still lower than 1994
  • Risk of being killed has dropped one-third in 30 years
  • Sharp increase in violent crime recorded after 2020

Since the transition to democracy in South Africa, the murder rate has dropped by one third. Last year, the risk of being murdered was 45 murders per 100,000 people. Thirty years ago, it was 68 per 100,000.

Although the rate has fallen, the number of people being murdered is still high. Between April 2022 and March 2023, almost 27,500 people were killed, according to data from the SA Police Service. This is an average of 75 murders a day.

The lowest murder rate in the past three decades was recorded in 2011/2, when it was 30 per 100,000 people. The rate remained in the 30s until a lockdown-related dip in 2020, after which it has taken a steep turn up again.

There are complex factors for the high rate, say researchers, including tightened economic challenges, a drop in police numbers, increased access to firearms as well as a rise in organised crime.

Tuesday 11 June 2024
  • New HIV infections increased rapidly in the early days of democracy
  • By 2004, average life expectancy had dropped from 62 years (1994) to 54 years
  • By 2024 5.86-million people were on antiretrovirals and life expectancy was 66.2 years

The HIV epidemic took a heavy toll on South Africa. The signs were there in 1994, when an estimated 380,000 people were newly infected with HIV. Six years on, new infections had reached over half a million a year. All the while deaths from Aids steadily increased to a heartbreaking 270,000 in 2004, according to the Thembisa 4.7 model.

Average life expectancy dropped from 62 years in 1994 to 54 years in 2004.

Since then, there has been impressive progress in reducing Aids deaths thanks to a massive rollout of antiretrovirals which started in 2004.

In 2024 an estimated 7.8-million people are living with HIV, which is 3-million more than in 2004, but 5.86-million people are taking antiretrovirals. The average life expectancy in 2024 is 66.2 years.

Monday 10 June 2024
  • Akani Simbine has won six of the last six 100m races he’s run
  • His unofficial 9.90sec in April is the 3rd fastest this year
  • The SA record holder is on track for a blistering 2024 Olympics

When South African sprinter Akani Simbine won at the Oslo Diamond League meeting on 30 May, it was his sixth 100m victory in six races.

His winning time of 9.94 seconds was his first official sub-10 performance of the season. Outshining Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs, who came 4th with a time of 10.03, the South African is now in 6th position on World Athletics’ 2024 rankings.

Two weeks earlier, Simbine ran a sub-10 in Atlanta, but his 9.90 seconds was not ratified because it was on a street track. That time (unofficially) put him in joint 3rd position on the world rankings, behind Jamaican Oblique Seville (9.82) and American Noah Lyles (9.85).In 2014, Simbine became the first South African to break the 10-second barrier. His 2021 time of 9.84 is the 20th fastest in the world. The SA 100m record holder is well on track for the Paris Olympics in July.

Tuesday 4 June 2024
  • 16.3-million South Africans voted in 2024 national elections
  • Voter turnout below 60% for first time since 1994
  • Turnout in 2019 was 66%, with 17.7-million people voting

Less than 60% of registered voters chose to cast their ballots in the 2024 national election. The turnout was the lowest in democratic South Africa’s 30-year history. In the last elections in 2019, a voter turnout of 66% was recorded.

Although the voters roll increased by over a million people since the 2019 election, fewer people headed to the polls. In 2024, 16.3-million people cast their ballot compared with 17.7-million in 2019.

The ANC received 40.18% of the vote, the DA 21.81%, the MK Party 14.58% and the EFF 9.52%.

The 2024 election was the first time voters cast 3 votes (national, provincial and regional) and had to vote at the station where they had registered.

Fifteen African countries held elections over the last 2 years. Tunisia recorded the lowest turnout at 11.4%, followed by Nigeria at 26.7%. Sierra Leone had the highest at 82.8%. Zimbabwe had a voter turnout of 67.4%.

Monday 3 June 2024
  • Anglo American employs almost 60,000 people globally
  • South Africa makes up 60% of its workforce
  • The miner is now focusing on renewable energy metals

Anglo American employs almost 60,000 people globally, with South Africa accounting for 60% of its workforce.

Founded in South Africa in 1917, the diversified miner is listed in London and has recently been subject to unsuccessful takeover attempts by Australian miner BHP.

Anglo CEO Duncan Wanblad has outlined plans to turn Anglo into a radically simpler business, which include splitting off De Beers, its diamond business, as well as its nickel and platinum assets. It also plans to divest from its steelmaking coal assets.

Over the past year, Anglo American has been focusing on renewable energy metals such as copper and high-quality iron ore.

Anglo first entered Canada in the 1960s and has 1,200 people working on its diamond mines there. It opened its first South American office in the 1970s and still has valuable iron ore assets in Brazil, where its workforce numbers 4,000 employees.

Friday 31 May 2024
  • Gerda Steyn holds SA record for women’s marathon (2:24:03)
  • She has broken both of Frith van der Merwe’s 3-decade records
  • Steyn smashed 96km Comrades record by over 9 minutes

South Africa’s female marathon record-holder is Gerda Steyn, who recorded a time of 2 hours 24 minutes and 0.3 seconds at the Valencia marathon in Spain in December 2023.

She also holds the record for the Comrades Ultramarathon, obliterating Frith van der Merwe’s long-standing 1989 record by more than 9 minutes last year, breaking the tape at 5:44:54 for the 87.7km down run.

Steyn was also the one to smash Frith’s 30-year-old Two Oceans record, which she did in 2019. She has since broken the record every time she’s run it. Her latest record-breaking run was in April, when she completed the 56km race in 3:26:54.

Frith and Gerda have both won the Two Oceans and the Comrades in the same year.

Steyn, who was born in 1990, only started running seriously in her mid-20s. Her first marathon was in Dubai in 2014.

Thursday 30 May 2024
  • Cigarette butts are the most-collected items on beaches globally
  • Almost 16-million bits of trash were picked up in 2022
  • Most of the 4,000 tonnes of trash is single-use plastics

Every year thousands of volunteers around the globe take part in the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup. This initiative aims to remove trash from the world’s shorelines, identify the source of debris and use the data to change behaviour.

In 2022, almost 470,000 volunteers covered 24,958km of beaches, where they collected millions of items that should have been thrown away. The most common find was cigarette butts (1.9-million). These contain toxic chemicals such as arsenic, nicotine and heavy metals which leech into the sand and sea water.

The second-most retrieved item picked up off beaches was plastic drinking bottles, with 1.2-million collected in 2022.

Altogether, volunteers cleared close to 16-million pieces of rubbish from beaches, most single-use plastic items. The campaign says some of the more unusual finds include a pack of playing cards picked up on a beach in Africa and a set of dentures found on a Caribbean coastline.

Tuesday 28 May 2024
  • Companies listed on South Africa’s JSE at 30-year low
  • Listings peaked at 669 in 1998, but now at 294
  • JSE introducing reforms in attempt to offset losses

The number of companies listed on the JSE, South Africa’s securities exchange, has reached a 30-year low.

Listings peaked at 669 listings in 1998, but the dot-com crash led to 128 companies delisting within 2 years. There was a brief resurgence between 2003 and 2008 with the introduction of AltX, which targets small- and medium-sized enterprises. This was cut short by the global financial crisis.

Delisting is a global phenomenon and not isolated to South Africa, says Sam Mokorosi, JSE’s head of origination and deals.

Companies often delist due to mergers, acquisitions or relocating abroad, but the JSE has struggled to attract enough new listings to offset these losses.

Mokorosi said high IPO activity is typically driven by GDP growth and supportive sector policies.

To boost listings, the JSE is reducing listing bureaucracy, introducing dual-class shares, revising auditor accreditation and allowing secondary listings for companies primarily listed on the Hong Kong Exchanges.

Tuesday 28 May 2024
  • Most SA voters tend to vote early in the morning
  • In the last election, most had voted with the first 4 hours
  • Voter turnout in 2019 was 66%, the lowest since 1999

Most South African voters are early birds, choosing to exercise their democratic right first thing in the morning, according to data from the Electoral Commission of SA.

In 2014, more than half of the people who voted had made their mark within the first 2 hours of the polls opening. In 2019, more than half voted within the first 4 hours.

It doesn’t take long to vote. The average time spent in the queue for both elections was 16 minutes.

Voter turnout dropped to 66% in 2019, the lowest recorded since 1999. The IEC says this is because of the increase in the number of registered voters.

Voting stations in South Africa are open from 7am to 9pm on 29 May. Anyone already in the queue before closing time will be allowed to cast their vote.

Monday 27 May 2024
  • Tigst Assefa holds the women’s marathon record of 2:11:53
  • World No 1 is confident she will run sub-2:10 marathon
  • First time the men’s record dipped below 2:10 was in 1967

Tigst Assefa set the world record at the Berlin marathon in September 2023 with a time of 2 hours 11 minutes and 54 seconds. She shaved off more than 2 minutes from Brigid Kosgei’s record set in 2019.

Assefa’s time is 4:29 faster than Peres Jepchirchir’s new record for a women’s-only marathon (2:16:16), set in London in April.

The World No 1 says she is strongly confident she will run a sub-2:10 marathon.

In 2011, governing body World Athletics decided that only times from women’s-only marathons would count, citing concerns that male pacesetters provided female runners with an ‘unfair advantage’ and threatened the ‘overall integrity of the sport’. By 2021, the ruling was that both categories would be recognised but tracked separately.

The first time the men’s record hit below 2:10:00 was in 1967. The record time for men is 2:00:35, set by the late Kelvin Kiptum.

Friday 24 May 2024
  • Durban docking numbers hold steady despite increase in traffic
  • Wait time at SA’s busiest port is at least 4 days
  • Its container terminal has not been upgraded since 1963

Despite the spike in attacks on shipping vessels in the Red Sea sending more ships along Africa’s coast, traffic at Durban’s port has held steady.

According to Transnet statistics, 744 ships arrived at Durban in the first quarter of this year, which is 29 fewer than the 773 ships that arrived in the same period last year.

A possible reason for this is the time ships have to wait to dock at Durban, South Africa’s busiest port. In mid-April, the wait time was an average of 4 days, according to Portcast’s port congestion dashboard. This was an improvement from March, when the wait time was 7 days.

Durban has long been known to have congestion issues, Transnet chair Andile Sangqu acknowledged at a media briefing in April. He said the Durban container terminal, which handles about 65% of the port’s container cargo, had remained unchanged since 1963.

Wednesday 22 May 2024
  • Price of peanut butter has risen by 19% in a year
  • Hike driven by local and global shortage of peanuts
  • SA farmers are planting beans over peanut crops

The cost of a 400g jar of peanut butter has increased by 19% in a year, with a shortage of peanuts and high sugar prices contributing to the hike. The average price increased from R38.75 to R46.15 between March 2023 and 2024, according to Statistics SA.

Tiger Brands, which manufactures Black Cat, says 70% of its peanuts are locally sourced. But it says South African farmers are not planting as many peanuts and groundnuts, choosing other in-demand crops such as white beans, sugar beans and soybeans instead.

Drought and floods in South America has also led to pressure on supply and fewer peanuts are being imported. Argentina has had 3 years of drought, while floods in Brazil affected their peanut crops.

Peanuts from other African countries are generally not imported as they have a risk of high aflatoxin levels. Several SA brands of peanut butter were recalled this year after testing found high levels of aflatoxin, a toxin produced by fungi.

Tuesday 21 May 2024
  • 82 of the world’s 100 fastest women are from Ethiopia and Kenya
  • Rift Valley produces great middle- and long-distance runners
  • High-altitude training a factor in runners’ performance

Of the world’s 100 fastest female runners, 86 are African. Of those, 82 come from Kenya and Ethiopia.

Tegla Loroupe, the first African female athlete to set a world marathon record, is Kenyan, as is Faith Kipyegon, who became the first woman to break the 3.50 barrier for the 1,500m in June last year. A week later, she set a world record for the 5,000m.

Many of these elite East African runners were born in particular regions in their home countries. The Rift Valley in Kenya, for example, has produced some of the world’s finest runners.

Researchers say a combination of factors make the people living in the Rift Valley strong distance runners, including high-intensity training at high altitude, running from a young age, a traditional starch-heavy diet and a strong motivation to make good money.

Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir won £44,000 when she set the new record for a women’s only marathon in London in April with a time of 2:16:16.

Monday 20 May 2024
  • Shell says it plans to sell South African downstream assets
  • These include 591 fuel stations and its Durban refinery
  • The group retains rights to explore Wild Coast and Karoo

Shell has confirmed that it plans to sell its South African downstream assets – its service stations and refinery. It will, however, retain its upstream business – the explorative and extractive activities in the Karoo and off the Wild Coast.

The energy group owns about 40,000 fuel service stations around the world. Half the stations are in the Americas. There are 591 retail outlets in South Africa, its 13th-most among the 61 countries where Shell has a presence.

Its refinery in Durban has been inactive since the end of March 2022, when Shell and BP decided to suspend operations and spending.

Shell said in May its decision to divest in South Africa was part of a comprehensive review of its global operations. For the past 10 years, it has been selling off downstream assets in Australia and Africa. It has also been scaling down in Malaysia and South America.

Thursday 16 May 2024
  • Cable theft is escalating to new highs in Joburg
  • City Power calls in military assistance due to sophisticated criminals
  • Cable theft prolongs power outages, damages costly infrastructure

Johannesburg is facing a copper cable theft crisis. Between July 2022 and June 2023, there were an average of 6 thefts a day. This is an increase from 6 years ago, when there were an average of 4 a day.

The highest number of cable theft incidents in a month was July 2022, when there were 273 incidents, according to City Power’s latest annual report.

The theft has become so bad that City Power has turned to the military for help.

‘The people who attack our network are highly sophisticated and militarised. The type of firearms they carry, we cannot withstand it as civilians, and we have called on law enforcement to assist us,’ Sergeant Thela, general manager of risk and security at City Power, told Newzroom Afrika last week.

Cable theft was behind the fire on the M1 highway earlier this month. It will cost Joburg R23-million to repair. Residents in parts of the city lost power for a week.

Thursday 16 May 2024
  • Ioannis Theodosiou is the highest-earning SA e-sports player
  • Football and shooting games yield top earnings
  • Most top 10 earners play Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Twenty-five-year-old Ioannis Theodosiou is the top-earning South African e-sports player. His winnings to date amount to $196,451 (R3.7-million). Theodosiou, who goes by the player name JT, won most of his money by playing Counter-Strike Global Offensive. CS:GO is a first-person shooter game.

Half of the South Africa’s top 10 highest-earning pro gamers also compete in the same game.

Football games such as Fifa and Rocket League, where soccer is played with flying cars, are responsible for 39% of the winnings. Julio ‘Beast’ Bianchi ranks third on the earnings list with $73,020 in winnings from Fifa 21.

The current most-successful pro gamer in terms of earnings is 30-year-old Johan Sundstein from Denmark, who has won more than $7-million. Sundstein, who plays Dota 2, has played more than 130 tournaments. Dota, which is short for Defense of the Ancients, is a multiplayer online battle arena game.

Wednesday 15 May 2024
  • Commercial ships are bypassing Durban because of congestion
  • Ships waited an average of 4 days to dock in Durban in April
  • Average wait time in Mombasa and Pointe Noire is under 2 days

Ships avoiding attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea are sailing past the Cape of Good Hope. Neither Cape Town nor Durban have seen an uptick in ships docking to refuel.

One reason why ships bypass Durban is because of how congested it is. In mid-April, the average wait time was 4 days, according to Portcast, which tracks global shipping carriers. 

The average wait time at Mombasa in Kenya or Pointe Noire in the Republic of Congo is less than 2 days. In China’s Shanghai port, where 336 ships were waiting to dock between 15 and 21 April, the wait time was 1.1 days.

Mombasa and Pointe Noire have seen a marked increase in the number of ships docking. According to the Portcast dashboard, Point Noire’s vessel count rose from a 3-month average of 15 ships to 20 ships in one week in December 2023. Mombasa’s rose from an average of 15 vessels a week to 23.

Tuesday 14 May 2024
  • Most expensive guitar sold on auction belonged to Kurt Cobain
  • The Nirvana leads’ 1959 Martin D sold for $6-million in 2020
  • David Gilmour’s black Strat sold for nearly $4-million

The most expensive guitar sold at auction is a 1959 Martin D-18E. It belonged to Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain, who played it for their performance on MTV Unplugged in 1993. The guitar sold for $6-million in 2020.

The world’s second-most expensive guitar was also once owned by the grunge-rock pioneer. His 1969 Fender Mustang sold for $4.6-million in 2022. Cobain plays it in the band’s Smells Like Teen Spirit 1991 music video, which has been viewed on YouTube 1.8-billion times.

A third Cobain instrument – a 1993 Fender Mustang – sold for $1.59-million, fetching the 10th highest price paid for a guitar at auction.

The ‘Black Strat’ owned by Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour sold for $3.97-million when it went on auction in 2019. This is the guitar played in the Comfortably Numb solo, Gilmour’s No 1 from 1970-1986.

The iconic modified instrument is the subject of a book by Phil Taylor, Gilmour’s guitar technician.

Monday 13 May 2024
  • 117,000 South Africans were living in the US in 2020
  • Sharp uptick in South Africans being granted US residency
  • America is the top destination for SA asylum-seekers

About 117,000 people born in South Africa were living in the United States in 2020, up 80% in two decades.

The US is also the preferred destination for South African refugees seeking asylum.

Statistics SA’s latest migration report does not give reasons why South Africans sought asylum in the first place, but it does show that one-third of the total 4,258 asylum-seekers in 2022 hoped to get into the US.

Their chances appear to be pretty slim. According to the US Department of Homeland Security, 56 South Africans were granted asylum between 2013 and 2022. There are three years (2014, 2016 and 2017) when data was ‘withheld to limit disclosure’, so that number may be higher.

People seeking residence status in the US for more conventional reasons seem to be more successful. There was a sharp uptick in the number of South Africans obtaining permanent residence in 2022.

Thursday 9 May 2024
  • Red Sea crisis is rerouting cargo ships around Africa
  • Number of ships round the Cape is almost double
  • South Africa is not benefiting from the surge in traffic

South Africa’s ports are missing out on revenue generated by the increase in commercial ships being rerouted around the southern tip of Africa.

Iran-backed Houthi rebels started targeting ships on the Red Sea in solidarity with Palestinians in November 2023. More than 50 ships were attacked between January and March this year.

As a result, shipping companies are choosing to avoid the Suez Canal. About one-tenth of maritime trade volume usually passes through the Suez Canal, but the ships are now being sent via Africa instead.

The number of ships rounding the Cape of Good Hope has almost doubled to 7,078 so far this year from 3,815 in 2023, according to PortWatch, a project of the IMF and Oxford University.

The number of ships docking at Durban, SA’s busiest port, has not increased, however. This may have to do with the waiting time. In mid-April, ships had to wait 4 days to dock.

Tuesday 7 May 2024
  • South Africa sold 1,080 electric vehicles last year
  • The UK sold more than 450,000
  • China sold the most electric vehicles, 8.1-million

South Africa is way behind countries such as the UK when it comes to sales of electric vehicles. Although the countries have similar-sized populations – 60-million for South Africa and 67-million for the UK – the latter sold hundreds of thousands more EVs last year.

South Africa only sold 1,080 electric vehicles in 2023, according to the International Energy Agency, an independent organisation that focuses on the global energy sector. More than 450,000 were sold in the UK and 8.1-million were sold in China, the most in the world.

The high price range, lack of variety and charging stations are some reasons why South Africans have been slow to take to the green road.

Most of the electric vehicles available in SA are high-end cars from manufacturers such as Volvo, Porsche and Mini. With a starting price of R687,000, the GWM ORA 03 is one of the cheapest EVs in South Africa, according to cars.co.za.

Monday 6 May 2024
  • Green hydrogen contributes only 4% of global CO2 reduction
  • But it is key for decarbonising challenging industries like mining
  • It enables emission reduction for steel smelting, ammonia production

Although green hydrogen’s contribution to reducing global carbon dioxide emissions is pegged at only 4%, it could help decarbonise the industries that have been notoriously difficult to clean up:

– The mining industry plans to use green hydrogen to power large fleets of supersized trucks

– Green hydrogen aviation fuel will help clean up air travel

– The intense heat produced by hydrogen can be used to smelt steel and other metals instead of coal

– The large amounts of CO2 produced by ammonia and methanol production will be eliminated by green hydrogen

No emissions are created by the production of green hydrogen, which uses renewable resources such as wind or solar.

Using it to clean up South Africa’s domestic industries would help the country avoid carbon tax penalties imposed by its trading partners, especially the EU.

Green hydrogen could also create a much-needed export revenue stream.

Friday 3 May 2024
  • 40% drop in South Africans returning home in past decade
  • Fewer than 28,000 citizens returned to SA in 2022
  • Western Cape has overtaken Gauteng as province of choice

The number of South Africans returning to live in the country has dropped by nearly 40% in the past decade.

According to Statistics SA’s latest migration report, just under 28,000 citizens returned to South Africa in 2022. This is almost 18,000 less than 11 years ago, which is when the previous census was conducted.

Returning South Africans choice of province has also shifted, with 35% choosing the Western Cape in 2022. A decade previously, only 23% chose the Western Cape whereas almost 39% chose Gauteng.

The number of South Africans living in foreign countries has steadily been increasing, Stats SA data shows. In 2000, there were about 500,000 South Africans living abroad. In 2020, this had climbed to just over 900,000.

The UK is home to the largest number of South African ex-pats, with 247,336 living there. Second-most popular destination is Australia (199,690), followed by the US (117,321), Canada and New Zealand.

Friday 3 May 2024
  • A record 91 journalists were killed in 2023
  • 80% of those deaths were in Israel-Gaza
  • 1,600 journalists killed since 1st World Press Freedom Day

An unprecedented 91 journalists and media workers were killed last year while doing their jobs, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

More than 80% of these deaths were journalists working in the area of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

So far this year, 20 of the 22 journalists killed were working in the same area. This brings the total journalists killed in the Israel-Gaza war since the Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October 2023 to 97.

Since 1992, which is as far back as the data goes, an average of 53 journalists have been killed annually. A notable number of journalists have lost their lives in Iraq (249) and Syria (142).

World Press Freedom Day, which falls on 3 May this year, was established by the UN to remind governments of their role in defending journalists and upholding free speech.

More than 1,600 journalists have been killed since it was first commemorated in 1994.

Thursday 2 May 2024
  • Traditional hydrogen production from fossil fuels may shift to green
  • Green hydrogen offers carbon-neutral alternative for diverse applications
  • South Africa is poised to become a market leader

Expert opinion is mixed about the central role hydrogen will play in curbing global warming. But South Africa looks set to become a bigger player in the global hydrogen market, which will bring billions of dollars into the fiscus.  

Today 99.9% of hydrogen is extracted from fossil fuels, usually gas. It is used mostly for refining oil and making industrial chemicals such as ammonia (used in fertilisers, solvents, explosives) and methane (used in plastics). 

New green hydrogen is made using solar and wind power to perform water electrolysis, resulting in the creation of environmentally friendly hydrogen fuel. It will be used more widely, including in fuel cells for cars, for powering buildings and even as next-generation zero-emission jet fuel. Green hydrogen is carbon neutral to produce, and it emits only harmless water vapour when used.

Thursday 2 May 2024
  • South Africa eyes massive green hydrogen production for export markets
  • Plans to double hydrogen production could boost GDP significantly
  • Abundant renewable resources, expertise, and platinum reserves drive optimism

South Africa has ambitious plans to produce green hydrogen on a massive scale and figures on exporting to countries with aggressive carbon dioxide emission targets to meet. Green hydrogen is critical for decarbonising heavy industries and transport sectors.

Locally, South Africa uses 2.4-million tonnes of grey hydrogen a year, made mostly by Sasol. It is a mere 2% of global hydrogen production, but the government is looking to double it, starting with several high-profile green hydrogen projects. If realised, these green hydrogen projects could add nearly R180-billion a year to the GDP.

This bullish outlook rests on three things South Africa has in abundance:

– Lots of sun and wind for making renewable energy

– Expertise in our own, patented Fischer-Tropsch process for producing hydrogen, and

– 70% share of global platinum reserves essential for making the electrolysers used to separate hydrogen from oxygen in water

Monday 29 April 2024
  • 900,000+ South Africans were living abroad in 2020
  • UK is home to the most SA expats (247,000 residents)
  • Australia, New Zealand have doubled in popularity since 2000

Just more than 900,000 South Africans were living abroad in 2020, according to Statistics SA’s Migration Profile Report for South Africa 2023. That number has been steadily increasing since 2000, when it was about 500,000.

The UK is home to the most South African expats, with about 247,000 living there in 2020. The number has increased by about 80% since 2000.

Australia and New Zealand are among the top 5 chosen destinations for South Africans, with about 273,000 South Africans there in 2020. This is more than double the 106,000 who lived there in 2000.

The US is the third most-popular destination. About 117,000 people born in South Africa were living in the US in 2020, up 80% from 20 years ago.

Canada seems to have cooled off because the number of South Africans living there has increased by only 30% since 2000.

Friday 26 April 2024
  • 52 parties will contest the 2024 South African elections
  • 4,272 candidates will vie for parliamentary seats
  • The oldest presidential candidate is Jacob Zuma, who is 82

There are 52 parties officially contesting South Africa’s national elections, which will be held on 29 May. The 4,272 candidates have an average age of 46, with a third younger than 40. The oldest candidates are 84 and the youngest 18.

The oldest presidential candidate is 82-year-old Jacob Zuma, the former president who is a member of uMkhonto Wesizwe (MK). The party was registered in September last year. One of the youngest is Vuyolwethu Zungula, the ATM’s 36-year-old leader.

The ANC, DA, EFF, Freedom Front+, African Transformation Movement (ATM), PAC and the United Africans Transformation parties have the most candidates with 200 each.

In the last election 5 years ago, there were 3,536 candidates from 48 parties. The candidates’ average age was 43. The oldest candidate was 90.

The National Assembly has 400 seats – 200 are assigned from the national election ballot and the rest from the regional lists.

Thursday 25 April 2024
  • 54% of South Africans living in the UK hold degrees
  • Only Nigerians have a higher proportion of highly qualified people
  • Less than one-third of people born in England have degrees

More than half (54%) of South Africans aged 16 and older who live in the UK have higher education qualifications, according to the Office of National Statistics.

Of the migrant populations living in the UK, the Nigerians have the largest proportion of qualified people, with 68% holding higher education qualifications, such as a degree.

Around half of UK residents born in India, Italy and Germany have higher education qualifications, compared with less than one-third of people born in England.

The number of South Africans living in the UK has increased by 80% since 2000 to about 247,000, according to Statistics SA’s latest migration profile report. The last UK census, which was conducted in March 2021, says there were 205,000 South Africans living in England and Wales alone.

There are just more than 900,000 South Africans living abroad. The UK is top destination of choice, followed by Australia and the US.

Thursday 25 April 2024
  • Joburg has highest number of dollar millionaires in Africa
  • South Africa tops the continent with 37,400 millionaires
  • Aliko Dangote of Nigeria is Africa’s richest in 2024

There are 37,400 dollar millionaires living in South Africa, more than double any other African country. Egypt, in second place, has 15,600 dollar millionaires and Nigeria has 8,200, according to the latest Africa Wealth Report published by Henley & Partners.

Johannesburg has 12,300 people with assets worth more than $1-million, the most of any city in Africa. Three of the top 10 places with the most millionaires are in the Western Cape: Cape Town (7,400), the Cape Winelands (Stellenbosch) and the Garden Route. Durban, Umhlanga and Ballito as well as Pretoria also fall within the top 10.

Forbes 2024 lists Nigerian industrialist Aliko Dangote as the continent’s richest person with a net worth of $13.5-billion. He is followed by South Africa’s Johann Rupert ($10.1-billion) and the Oppenheimer family ($9.4 billion).

The data tracks the movements of more than 150,000 individuals.

Wednesday 24 April 2024
  • South African expats in Oceania more than double in two decades
  • 273,000 South Africans are living in Australia and New Zealand
  • They’re highly educated: 43% have a bachelor’s degree or higher

Almost a third of South Africans living abroad are in Australia and New Zealand. In 2020, about 273,000 South Africans lived in those two countries, according to Statistics SA’s Migration Profile Report for South Africa 2023.

Australia and New Zealand are among the top 5 most-popular countries for South Africans to move to. In the past 20 years, the number of South Africans in Australia has increased by 150% and by 190% in New Zealand.

South Africans who have moved to Australia are also often highly educated: 43% have a bachelor’s degree or higher. One third (36%) of the South African-born people living there were working as professionals and 15% as managers, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Just over 900,000 South Africans were living abroad in 2020. The number increased from 500,000 in 2000.

Wednesday 24 April 2024
  • SA’s murder rate is outpacing number of experts who do autopsies
  • Shortage can affect quality of evidence and trial outcomes
  • Gauteng has 16 forensic pathologists, KwaZulu-Natal has 2

The number of annual murders in South Africa has risen 36% since 2017, but the number of experts qualified to carry out autopsies has remained relatively static with about 50 forensic pathologists working for the state in 2023.

Solving crimes is more difficult without enough forensic experts to analyse the evidence. Forensic pathologist Prof Ryan Blumenthal says the shortage can delay court cases and compromise legal proceedings. ‘Examinations may be rushed due to increased workload [which] might mean evidence is not as reliable, affecting trial outcomes.’

Gauteng and the Western Cape have 16 forensic pathologists each, whereas most other provinces only have 1 or 2. KwaZulu-Natal, SA’s second-most populous province, has 2 forensic pathologists.

In the US, official guidelines recommend that forensic pathologists perform no more than 250 autopsies annually. SA does not have similar standards in place.

Tuesday 23 April 2024
  • 60% drop in SA children adopted by foreigners since 2006
  • 108 inter-country adoptions were recorded in 2022
  • Admin burden and pushback from SA government partly to blame

Fewer South African children are being adopted by foreigners, with the number dropping almost 60% since 2006, when 256 children found new families.

Only 108 inter-country adoptions were recorded in 2022, according to Statistics South Africa’s latest Migration Profile Report.

The government’s promotion of reunification over adoption is part of the reason for the decrease, says Robyn Wolfson Vorster, a child protection activist and the founder of For the Voiceless.

She says the government is resistant to adoption between people of different races as well as to inter-country adoptions, which it believes promotes child trafficking. The adoption process by foreigners carries a particularly heavy administrative burden.

Just over 12% of children in South Africa have lost either one or both of their parents, with the highest number of orphans in the Free State (16%), according to the 2022 General Household Survey.

Tuesday 23 April 2024
  • SA has 50 forensic pathologists instead of the 330 it needs
  • Gauteng has 16 forensic experts for a population of 15-million
  • Almost 22,000 bodies were admitted for autopsies in 2023

A country ideally needs 6 forensic pathologists per million people, says specialist forensic pathologist and author Prof Ryan Blumenthal. Instead of the 330 South Africa should have, there were only about 50 working in the public sector in 2023.

Gauteng, which is home to 15-million people, has 16 forensic pathologists in public service, according to the provincial department of health. In 2023, almost 22,000 bodies – about 60 a day – were admitted for autopsies in the province. This is an increase of 45% from 2006, which is as far back as the data goes.

If they were to have performed all the necessary autopsies, the forensic pathologists would have had to assess 1,367 bodies each. Given that it takes about 3 hours per body (longer in more gruesome or complicated cases), each forensic pathologist would have had to work 12-hour shifts for 7 days a week to get their jobs done.

Friday 19 April 2024
  • Credit applications are increasing despite repayment struggles
  • The rate of approval has declined significantly
  • The number of consumers in arrears has tripled since 2007

South Africans’ appetite for debt has increased even though one-third of the country’s 27-million credit holders are struggling to pay back their loans.

According to data from the National Credit Regulator, there were 15.5-million credit applications between July and September last year. Only 31% of these applications were approved, which is a significant decrease from 2007 when about 60% of loans were approved.

About 6-million people were three or more months behind on their repayments last year, which is three times higher than the number of consumers who were in arrears in 2007.

Lending institutions generally have a low tolerance for risk, says Ans Gerber, the head of data insights at Experian, a credit bureau. They also take into account the ability of consumers to pay back their loans, which is being constrained by high-interest rates and South Africa’s high cost of living.

Wednesday 17 April 2024
  • 30% of SA’s registered 7,000MW of private generation is wind power
  • The two largest wind farms can generate 200MW each
  • Northern Cape has the most registered private wind projects (703MW)

Almost 7,000MW of private energy generation had been registered by the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) by the end of March 2024. About a third of this is wind power, mostly for wind farms.

The largest wind projects in SA are Hendrina South in Mpumalanga and Mulilo De Aar 2 South in the Northern Cape, each registered to generate 200MW. These facilities were two of seven wind farms registered in March 2023. Their combined capacity of 1,058MW was half the total power registered with Nersa between 2018 and 2024.

The Northern Cape has the highest number of registered private wind projects at 703MW, followed by the Western Cape (547MW) and the Eastern Cape (392MW). Two wind farms on the border of the Northern and Eastern Cape have a combined capacity of 290MW.

Farms and a fishing company registered the remaining wind power, with projects of 1MW or less.

Tuesday 16 April 2024
  • One-third of SA’s 27-million credit holders can’t repay debt
  • 10-million are +3 months behind, adversely listed or facing judgments
  • Despite the challenges, appetite for credit is increasing

Almost one-third of the people in South Africa with credit are struggling to repay their debts. That’s 10-million people who are 3 months or more behind in debt repayments, or who are facing legal action and adverse listings, according to Credit Bureau Monitor data for September 2023. That’s 10-million out of the 27-million South Africans with credit.

Part of the increase is because more people have access to credit today than they did previously. In 2007, for example, 16.8-million people had credit and 6-million were behind with their repayments. That’s nearly 36%, marginally lower than today’s ratio of 37%.

Most of money owed is for mortgages and vehicle loans, as well as debt on credit and store cards. The Credit Monitor Bureau collects the data from credit providers, courts and utility service providers.

Tuesday 16 April 2024
  • 27-million South Africans have credit, up from 16.8-million in 2007
  • Mortgages make up just over half of the country’s R2.3-trillion debt
  • Banks provide 80% of consumer credit

South Africans are R2.3-trillion in debt, according to the National Credit Regulator’s consumer credit market report. This includes home and car loans as well as credit and store cards.

South Africans’ debt comprises mortgages (52%); secured credit, which includes pension-backed loans, furniture and motor accounts (22%); credit facilities, which include bank overdrafts, credit, garage and retail cards (14%). Other debt, such as unsecured and short-term loans, makes up 12%.

The number of credit consumers in South Africa has doubled in the past 16 years, but the growth includes the number of consumers with access to credit. In 2007, 16.8-million people had credit. By 2023, the number had grown to 27-million.

A third of people with credit are struggling to repay their accounts.

Banks granted 80% of consumer credit. Retailers granted 4% and non-bank financiers provide 8%. The remaining 8% is attributed to ‘other credit providers’.

Monday 15 April 2024
  • Instant coffee prices have increased by 40% in 2 years
  • A 250g bag cost R42 in 2022, now it’s R59
  • High global demand, supply issues are driving up prices

250g of instant coffee would have cost you R42 in January 2022. In February 2024, that price had increased by 40% to R59.

The spike stems from a worldwide increase in demand for Robusta beans, which are used to make instant coffee. This is raising green coffee commodity prices, explains Mota Mota, Nestlé’s head of external communications in east and southern Africa.

Soaring shipping costs as well as supply issues in Vietnam and Brazil are also driving up the price.

As the biggest exporter of coffee in the world, Brazil exported $8.86-billion worth of coffee (20%) in 2022, according to the Observatory of Economic Complexity, a tool focused on international trade data. The second-largest, Vietnam, exported 7%.

Disruptions in weather or supply significantly impact prices. ‘[This] has indeed affected Nestlé’s production. As a result, this rise in prices has recently reached record high levels,’ Mota said.

Thursday 11 April 2024
  • In 2015, Gautrain made 50% more passenger trips than now
  • 7-million trips were made between April 2022 and March 2023
  • Trip numbers fell to 2.6-million during the Covid-19 pandemic

Five years after opening to the public in 2010, Gautrain was making around 15-million trips a year. Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and trips on the urban high-speed train dropped to 2.6-million. Although things have started to improve, rates are still far from what they used to be.

In the 2022/23 financial year, the number of trips increased to 7-million, a 64% increase on the year before. However, numbers would need to double to match what they were in 2015/16.

‘Like most public transport systems, Gautrain has had to adapt to a new normal of a society that no longer requires public transport in the same shape and form as before,’ says William Dachs, the CEO of the Gautrain Management Agency.

Gautrain operates across Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni and connects to OR Tambo International Airport. The agency has recently introduced promotions such as student discounts and half-price trips in efforts to attract commuters.

Tuesday 9 April 2024
  • SA’s power utility lost 32% of its capacity to breakdowns in 2023
  • It’s the most energy lost to breakdowns in 14 years
  • Unprotected strikes and operational issues contributed to capacity loss

Eskom’s ability to generate electricity in 2023 was significantly affected by breakdowns at its power plants. The power utility says these included electrical trips at generating units, outage ‘slips’ as well as boiler tube failures, which prevent the creation of steam to drive power-generating turbines.

Eskom CEO Calib Cassim said, however, that these were not the only causes of the 32% unplanned capacity loss. An unprotected employee strike in mid-2022 had a devastating effect on the system. The protest action, which fell within the 2022/23 financial year, was sparked by a failure in wage negotiations after the National Union of Mineworkers’ demanded a 15% increase.

Cassim has suggested that either deliberate sabotage or neglect of power stations during the stayaway exacerbated the coal-handling operations. Eskom had to pay R2.5-billion in overtime because of breakdowns at its power plants. This is an increase from the R2.1-billion paid in 2022.

Monday 8 April 2024
  • Almost 50% of couples married for <10 years divorce
  • Highest number of divorces happen after 5 years of marriage
  • 58 of divorces between 2019-2022 were after 50+ year marriages

The frequency of divorce generally declines after the fifth year of marriage. Of the couples who went their separate ways between 2018 and 2022, 58 had been married for more than 50 years.

Nearly half of the couples (48%) who filed for divorce had been married for a decade or less, according to data from Statistics SA. The highest number of couples called it quits after 5 years.

The year with the most divorces registered in the past four years was 2019 with a total of 23,710 cases. This is followed closely by 2022, with 20,196 divorce cases registered.

In 2022, more than 80% of divorces were from first-time marriages, with more wives than husbands filing the divorce. Less than 2% of people were divorcing after at least their third marriage.

Statistics SA collects this data through surveys conducted at divorce courts.

Friday 5 April 2024
  • Cocoa thrives in equatorial regions with high rainfall
  • 70% of the world’s cocoa is from West Africa
  • Indonesia and the Philippines produce half the world’s coconuts

Cocoa, like many food crops, is consumed globally but produced regionally. Cocoa trees predominantly grow in countries within the belt between 10° north and south of the equator, with West Africa contributing two-thirds of global cocoa production. Their natural habitat is in the lower storey of rainforests where rainfall is high throughout the year, and the temperature is relatively uniform.

Sunflower oil production is centred in Ukraine and Russia, notably affected by price spikes during the Ukraine-Russia conflict. China is the producer of various staple foods such as mushrooms and spinach, with over 90% grown within its borders. Indonesia and the Philippines produce half of the world’s coconuts, while Turkey leads in hazelnut production, and olives are primarily from Spain, Italy, and North Africa.

In the southern hemisphere, Madagascar produces a third of the world’s vanilla, while Peru and Bolivia dominate quinoa production, and Brazil and Bolivia are known for Brazil nuts.

Thursday 4 April 2024
  • Chocolate prices are surging in 2024
  • Poor cocoa harvests in West Africa are impacting supply
  • Additional pressure comes from spiking sugar prices

Indulgence is turning to luxury as chocolate prices skyrocket in 2024. This Easter, six white chocolate eggs cost R65, up R10 from last year. The price of a Lindt bunny leapt from R45 to R60 and even a modest 80g chocolate bar cost more than R20.

A key reason is falling cocoa production in west Africa. Producer of 70% of the world’s cocoa beans, the area is being hard hit by changing climate conditions.

Cocoa bean prices on the ICE exchange in London increased by 49% between July and December 2023 and by 93% between January 2024 and March 2024, according to Tiger Brands, which owns Beacon.

Adding to the cost pressure for South Africans is a recent increase in the price of sugar, imposed by the SA Sugar Association. Globally, the industry is also under pressure with droughts in sugar-producing countries such as India and Thailand compounding pricing challenges.

Thursday 4 April 2024
  • Cocoa prices are skyrocketing due to limited production in west Africa
  • Bad weather and illegal mining are exacerbating production challenges
  • Cocoa futures have doubled since January, reaching $9,000/tonne

Cocoa prices have risen because most of the cocoa is grown in just a handful of countries in west Africa.

Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, which account for more than 60% of global cocoa production, have been hit by bad weather related to the El Niño phenomenon, resulting in hundreds of thousands of hectares in lost production.

There are other confounding factors, such as illegal mining, which has overtaken many farms in Ghana and degraded the land, making it unsuitable for cocoa production.

Because cocoa bean production has dropped, the price of cocoa in global markets has increased dramatically. In New York, cocoa futures prices have doubled since January from just over $4,000 per tonne to more than $9,000/tonne this week. Cocoa futures are financial contracts that allow buyers and sellers to agree on the delivery of cocoa at a predetermined price.

Thursday 28 March 2024
  • Only 20 people have ever completed the 100-mile Barkley Marathons
  • 15 of the races run since 1986 have recorded a finisher
  • Total elevation gained is the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest — twice

Every year, about 40 ultramarathoners line up at the start of the Barkley Marathons, a gruelling 100-mile (160km) race in the Frozen Head State Park in Tennessee, US. But in its 38-year-old history, only 20 people have successfully completed the race.

This year, a record-setting 5 runners made it to the end under the cut-off time of 60 hours. Among them was Jasmin Paris, the first woman to finish the race. She did so with just 100 seconds to spare. Also at the end was Jared Campbell, who first ran in 2012. He has completed the course 4 times.

The course, through mountainous terrain and thick woodland, is unmarked and exceptionally tough. The elevation gain of 18,300m is the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest — twice.

Since its inception in 1986, only 15 races have recorded finishers. The first person to finish was Mark Williams, who completed the course in 59:28:48 in 1995. The race record-holder is Brett Maune, who ran 52:03:08 in 2012.

Monday 25 March 2024
  • South Africa achieves highest voter registration in over two decades
  • Majority of registered voters are women, totalling 15-million
  • Gauteng leads in registered voters, followed by KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape

South Africa has achieved a significant milestone by recording the highest number of people registered to vote in over two decades. The Electoral Commission of South Africa has added 9.6-million people to the voter’s roll between 1999 and 2024. However, despite this increase, the number of people registered to vote in the 2024 elections is only 1.1-million more registrations compared with the 2019 election cycle.

The Electoral Commission of South Africa has reported that women constitute the majority of registered voters, with 15-million women registered to vote in 2024. Gauteng has the highest number of registered voters, followed by KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

The goal is to have 27.8-million people vote on 29 May when the country goes to the polls. However, it is worth noting that not all registered voters turn up to vote on election day. In 2019, only 66% of registered voters voted.

Friday 22 March 2024
  • Shoprite’s workforce exceeds 150,000, second only to government
  • Sixty60 and Pick n Pay’s ASAP have over 4-million downloads each
  • Sixty60 covers 505 locations, ASAP 400

In 2023, Shoprite had a workforce of 153,726 employees, which was over 60,000 more than Pick n Pay. According to Shoprite’s quarterly report issued in March 2024, the number of people it employed had increased to over 160,000. This makes Shoprite the second-largest employer in South Africa after the government. On the other hand, Pick n Pay’s employee numbers have remained relatively static, hovering around the 90,000 mark since 2019.

Shoprite’s Checkers Sixty60 and Pick n Pay’s ASAP delivery apps have become an integral part of South African culture. Although it is difficult to obtain exact numbers on home deliveries and app downloads, it appears that Checkers Sixty60 might be slightly ahead. The service covers 505 locations compared with Pick n Pay’s 400. In its 2023 integrated report, Pick n Pay reported ‘over 4-million installs,’ while Checkers Sixty60 claimed 4.5-million downloads of their app in a recent promotional video.

Wednesday 20 March 2024
  • Shoprite’s annual revenue in 2023: R215-billion
  • Pick n Pay made R109.3-billion the same year
  • Shoprite achieved R10-billion in revenue every 15 days in 2023

In 2007, Shoprite and Pick n Pay were on par in almost every respect: They had roughly the same revenue and employed the same number of people (~60,000).

Just over a decade later, it is different. Shoprite started pulling ahead of Pick n Pay in 2008. Since then, it has rapidly been increasing its dominance.

In 2023, Shoprite reported an annual revenue of R215-billion. It is R106-billion more than Pick n Pay for the same period. Shoprite makes more than R4-billion a week in revenue, or nearly R600-million a day.

Those are eye-watering numbers. Even people inside Shoprite seem awed by the success. Shoprite CEO Pieter Engelbrecht said in a presentation: ‘I joined Shoprite in ‘97, and in those days, it took 19 years to do R10-billion in revenue. Today, we do R10-billion in revenue every 15 days.’

Wednesday 20 March 2024
  • Shoprite grew from 1,581 to 3,543 stores between 2014-2023
  • The majority of Shoprite’s stores are in South Africa
  • Shoprite operates in 10 African countries, mostly in southern/eastern Africa

Except for a brief time in the early 2010s, Shoprite has always had more stores than Pick n Pay. In the past three years, it has been on a new store drive.

Started as an 8-store family franchise in the Western Cape in 1979, Shoprite now has more than 3,500 stores. It adds a new store every day.

Between 2014 and 2023, the number of Shoprite stores (including franchises) increased from 1,581 to 3,543. Pick n Pay went from 1,128 to 2,204 stores over the same period.

Almost 90% of Shoprite’s stores are in South Africa. It has a presence in 9 other countries on the continent, mostly in southern and eastern Africa, including Namibia (163 stores), Eswatini (62) and Zambia (52). It has 7 stores in Ghana.

Over 90% of Pick n Pay’s stores are in South Africa. The remaining stores are in 7 countries, including Zimbabwe (72) and Namibia (35).

Thursday 14 March 2024
  • ANC declared R148.4-million in donations; majority from trusts and mining
  • Batho Batho and Chancellor House donated exclusively to ANC
  • United Manganese of Kalahari provided significant ‘in-kind’ donation to ANC

The African National Congress (ANC) disclosed to the Electoral Commission of South Africa that it had received R148.4 million in donations between April 2021 and December 2023.

Over half of this financial support came from established trusts such as Batho Batho and Chancellor House, with an additional quarter sourced from mining companies.

Notably, Batho Batho and Chancellor House solely allocated their contributions to the ANC, collectively providing R82.5 million, which constituted 19% of the total donations declared to the IEC.

Among the ANC’s top backers is the United Manganese of Kalahari, offering a significant R30 million, half of which was categorised as ‘in kind’ donation. This classification signifies contributions in goods, services, or assets.

Furthermore, Botho Botho Commercial Enterprises, Harmony Gold, and African Rainbow Minerals, affiliated with billionaire Patrice Motsepe, collectively donated R29.3 million.

Thursday 14 March 2024
  • Moshal and Oppenheimers donated R149-million to political parties
  • Fynbos Ekwiteit and Fynbos Kapitaal gave R65-million to DA
  • African Rainbow Minerals and Harmony Gold split donations among parties

Billionaire businessman Martin Moshal and the Oppenheimers, Africa’s third-richest family, have donated a total of R149-million to political parties between April 2021 and December 2023. This amount constitutes one-third of the R437-million funding declared to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC).

Investment companies Fynbos Ekwiteit and Fynbos Kapitaal, both of which have Capitec founder Michiel le Roux as a director, contributed 15% to the declared donations. Their entire amount of R65-million was given to the DA.

African Rainbow Minerals and Harmony Gold’s donations were split between the ANC (R5.85-million from each company), the DA (R2.12-million from each), the EFF (R1.1-million from each), the IFP (R344,000 from each) and Freedom Front Plus (R242,000 from each).

All political parties must declare any donation exceeding R100,000 to the IEC. The amount of R100,000 is cumulative, which means that donations from the same entity must add up to this amount before they can be declared.

Wednesday 13 March 2024
  • In 2023, African countries imported 9,723MW of Chinese solar panels 
  • South Africa imported 4,343MW (45%) of the solar panels
  • Egypt imported 1,017MW (10%) of the solar panels

In 2023, global imports of solar panels from China surged to 219,082MW, marking a significant increase from the previous year’s 164,164MW. However, Africa’s share in these imports remained disproportionately low, accounting for a mere 4%.

South Africa emerged as the primary importer in 2023, acquiring nearly half of the total imports to Africa, amounting to 4,343MW.

Other African nations also contributed to the import statistics, with Egypt securing 1,017MW, representing approximately 10% of the total and Nigeria securing 9% with 861MW. Egypt built its 1,650MW solar park Benban in 2018 and commissioned it a year later.

Africa has 60% of the world’s solar potential, which makes it ideal to adopt solar energy on the continent, but its uptake of Chinese solar panels remains modest.

As the world transitions towards renewable energy sources, bridging this gap and fostering greater access to solar technology in Africa could be pivotal in addressing energy poverty and achieving sustainable development goals.

Thursday 7 March 2024
  • Viewers are benefitting from Netflix v Showmax battle
  • 16 shows commissioned in SA by Netflix, 3 in Nigeria
  • Netflix invested $125m in SA, $23.6m in Nigeria

Showmax and Netflix are battling for streaming dominance in Africa. Netflix says it commissioned 16 shows in South Africa and 3 in Nigeria between 2016 and 2021. Netflix also licensed 283 shows in Nigeria and 173 in South Africa.

On Showmax’s website, a section on local original content displays 39 shows produced in South Africa and 14 in Nigeria.

Netflix says it spent $125-million in operations in South Africa between 2016 and 2022. This includes the 16 films and mini-series Netflix commissioned, such as the teen drama Blood and Water and the comedy mini-series How to Ruin Christmas.

In the same period, Netflix invested $23.6-million in Nigerian content resulting in 3 commissioned titles and 283 licenced ones.

At the top of Netflix’s most-watched shows between January and June 2023 is Unseen: Season 1, a South African thriller starring Gail Mabalane.

Wednesday 6 March 2024
  • Netflix and Showmax are in fierce competition for African streaming dominance
  • Showmax leads streaming services in Africa with 2.1-million subscribers 
  • But Netflix has 1.2-million South African subscribers, outpacing Showmax 

US-based Netflix is expanding its operations in Africa, where it hopes to become the largest digital streaming company. Its competition, especially in South Africa, is MultiChoice’s Showmax.

Specific subscriber numbers for these services in Africa are hard to come by. Late last year, global tech research company Omdia declared Showmax the new leader, with 2.1-million subscribers on the continent in November 2023 compared with Netflix’s 1.8-million subscribers.

The bulk of these subscribers are in South Africa, where the streaming audience still favours Netflix. There are 1.2-million Netflix subscribers in South Africa versus Showmax’s 937,000 subscribers, according to the UK’s Digital TV Research.

Amazon Prime trails some way behind Showmax, with 391,000 subscribers. Disney+ has 312,000 subscribers directly paying for the platform from South Africa. Digital TV Research did not include subscribers who get Disney+ through their DStv package.

Tuesday 5 March 2024
  • Vividendi’s Canal+ is looking to become Africa’s dominant broadcaster
  • French company to make firm offer to buy SA’s MultiChoice in April
  • Africa’s TV services are split between MultiChoice, Canal+ and Shahid

Canal+ looks poised to become the dominant provider of satellite TV in Africa. Already the most popular choice in French-speaking Africa, it recently grew its stake in South African pay-TV group MultiChoice to 35%. This triggered a mandatory offer, according to company rules set by South Africa’s Takeover Regulation Panel (TRP).

Although Canal+ said it was not obliged to make an offer to shareholders as it has limited voting rights as a foreign-owned company, the TRP disagreed. Now Canal+ has said it will make a firm offer by 8 April.

The continent is split three ways when it comes to TV services: southern and eastern Africa are dominated by MultiChoice, the parent of DStv, SuperSport, Showmax and GOtv; central and west Africa are dominated by Canal+; and the Shahid network dominates north Africa. The divisions are mostly along language lines: English, French and Arabic, respectively.

Monday 4 March 2024
  • 30% of women killed in 1,200 cases reported in the media were shot
  • In 20% of the cases, women were stabbed to death
  • Mass killings in the Eastern Cape pushed up shooting deaths in 2023

About 30% of the women killed in almost 1,200 cases in the past 5 years were shot, data collected from media reports shows. And almost 20% of the women in the female murder cases collected by The Outlier were stabbed to death.

The South Africa Police Service released its official crime statistics in February, which show that 3,880 women were murdered in South Africa in 2023. This is an increase of 24% over 2021’s 3,121 cases reported.

The official SAPS data only tracks the number of women killed. Data collected by The Outlier between 2018 and 2023 from reports in English-language media shows that shooting deaths have significantly risen in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal regions in the past two years. There was a sharp increase in shootings recorded in the Eastern Cape last year, partly because of several mass killings in the province.

Wednesday 28 February 2024
  • 28 of 2023’s top 100 grossing movies had female protagonists
  • Only 35% of all speaking roles were played by women
  • Only 18% of films had more female than male characters

Despite the pink halo cast by Barbieland, less than a third of 2023’s biggest films were told from the perspective of a female character. At 28%, it is even lower than the previous year’s 33% and the lowest percentage of movies with a female protagonist since 2017.

The study of last year’s top 100 grossing movies in the US shows that just 35% of all speaking characters were women, a decrease from 37% in 2022. Ten years ago, women held 30% of speaking roles. In 2002, when the study began, it was 28%.

In their analysis of more than 2,200 characters, researchers at San Diego State University found that more men than women had speaking roles in a staggering 77% of the movies. Only 18% had more female than male characters, and 5% featured equal numbers of female and male characters. The number of women in major roles remained at 38%.

Tuesday 27 February 2024
  • Cape Town’s fire season got off to an early start
  • Double the alerts in 3 months compared with past 6 years
  • Highest number of alerts in the past decade was in 2015

Cape Town’s 2023/24 fire season has got off to a busy start earlier than in previous years. The region’s fire season typically runs from November and peaks in February or March the following year. By the end of January, however, the 4th highest number of fire alerts in the past decade had been recorded.

Satellites have picked up more than double the number of fire alerts over Cape Town in the past 3 months than in any of the previous 6 years. Two-thirds of the alerts were in December 2023, which makes it the month with the third-highest number of fire warnings in the past 12 fire seasons, after March 2015 and January 2017.

The alert data is from NASA Earth and does not necessarily indicate the exact number of fires. The satellite, says Stellenbosch University’s Dr Heath Beckett, only passes over SA about twice a day.

Tuesday 27 February 2024
  • 325 rhinos were killed in KwaZulu-Natal in 2023
  • Nearly all of them were killed in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park
  • There has been a 219% increase in the number of rhinos poached in KZN since 2021

Rhino poaching in South Africa is better than it used to be, according to numbers released by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment. 499 rhinos were killed in 2023, which is 51 more than in 2022, but still a long way off the 1,054 killed in 2016. But poaching in KwaZulu-Natal is rising at an alarming rate, especially in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, run by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.

Since 2021, which is roughly when the Covid pandemic ended, rhino poaching in KwaZulu-Natal has increased by 219%, from 93 rhinos to 325 in 2023. Sadly, 307 rhinos were killed in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park alone, that’s 62% of the national total. Up to 2021, most rhinos were poached in areas run by SANParks, which manages 19 national parks around the country, the largest of which is the Kruger National Park. But poaching numbers in SANParks reserves have been decreasing steadily since 2016. In 2023 there were 78 rhinos killed, all of them in the Kruger Park. 81% of the rhinos were killed on state properties, 19% on privately owned reserves or farms.

Monday 26 February 2024
  • Almost 11 women are murdered every day in South Africa
  • 3,880 women were murdered in 2023, up from 3,121 in 2021
  • Globally, 2022 recorded highest number of women killed in 20 years

The murder rate for women in South Africa has increased from 10 murders per 100,000 women in 2021 to 13 per 100,000 in 2023, according to the latest crime statistics released by the SA Police Service.

Put another way, 3,121 women were reported killed in 2021, which is an average of 8.6 women killed a day. In 2023, this increased to 3,380 women – or 10.6 women reported killed a day.

Female homicide is also increasing globally, with 2022 recording the highest number of women reported killed in the past 20 years, according to a UN Office on Drugs and Crime report. That same year, Africa recorded the highest number of female victims since 2013.

The majority of intentional homicides of women and girls are gender-related, the report states. These can be driven by social norms about masculinity and male entitlement, but there often isn’t enough information to identify what motivated them.

Thursday 22 February 2024
  • Cape Town recorded its highest number of fire alerts in 2015
  • 2023 alerts were concentrated around Simon’s Town
  • Collected by Nasa satellites, alerts track activity not the exact number of fires

Using Nasa Earth data on fire alerts in Cape Town for the past 10 years as an indicator of activity reveals patterns across the different years. The highest number of alerts in the past decade, for example, was recorded in 2015. Represented by the blue dots, these were mostly in the Hout Bay area. The majority of the 2023 alerts on the Cape Peninsula (red dots) were concentrated further south, closer to Simon’s Town.

The hot, dry summer months mark the start of Cape Town’s fire season, which traditionally starts in November and peaks in February or March the following year. The extent of the Cape’s most recent fire season is still to be determined, although satellites have detected more than double the number of fire alerts compared to any of the previous 6 years.

Note that fire alerts indicate activity and not necessarily the exact number of fires.

Thursday 15 February 2024
  • Cocoa prices have risen by 68% in the past year due to extreme weather in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana
  • Extreme weather in West Africa damaged the cocoa harvest, affecting global supply

The price of cocoa, the key ingredient of chocolate, increased by 68% in the past year. The reason? Extreme weather conditions in two West African countries, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. Together they produce 58% of the world’s cocoa.

Cocoa trees grow best in the belt between 10° north and south of the equator. The trees’ natural habitat is in the lower storey of rainforests where rainfall is high throughout the year and temperatures are uniform.

Heavy rains in 2023 damaged the crop in those two countries, but shifting rainfall patterns and hotter temperatures in West Africa lie at the root of a bigger problem. Researchers project that by 2050 the areas suitable for cocoa production will shrink dramatically.

About 73% of the world’s cocoa beans come from Africa. Cameroon and Nigeria follow Ecuador to make up the top 5 cocoa-producing countries.

Thursday 15 February 2024
  • The world record has been broken 7 times by Kenyans since 2003
  • Ethiopian athletes have broken the record twice in the same period
  • Kelvin Kiptum set the current world record at just 23 years old

The news this week of the death of Kenyan athlete Kelvin Kiptum in a car accident was devastating. Kiptum was the current world marathon record holder, a record he set last year in Chicago at just 23 years old. During the race he took 34 seconds off the previous record set by compatriot Eliud Kipchoge in a time of 2:00:35, just shy of the magical sub-2-hour mark.

Kipchoge previously ran a marathon in 1:59:40 during a special time-trial event, but no-one has ever run under 2 hours during an open event. With his time just 35 seconds off the 2-hour mark, Kiptum seemingly had the talent and potential to be the first to run under the 2-hour record.

His untimely death at just 24 years old leaves an enormous hole in Kenyan and world athletics.

He was also the latest in a long line of African runners, especially Kenyans, who dominate the marathon distance. Six Kenyans have broken the world record since 2003. Kipchoge and Ethiopia’s Haile Gebrselassie have each broken the record twice since 2003.

Wednesday 7 February 2024
  • The minimum wage is just over R4,000 per month
  • Taxi travel can cost R1,600 per month
  • Electricity costs another R900

The minimum wage in South Africa is R25.42 an hour. This equates to just over R4,000 a month for 20 days’ work. Last year it was R23.19 an hour.

It’s an amount that doesn’t go far in South Africa in 2024.

The bulk of a minimum wage could easily be swallowed up by basic services like transport and electricity, leaving very little for food, rent, schooling costs and so on.

Using data published by the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity Group (PMBEJD), taxi transport can easily cost R1,600 a month for someone travelling between their home and the nearest business district. This assumes they travel 5 days a week, and take two taxis in each direction.

PMBEJD collects prepaid electricity data from the Msunduzi Municipality and, in July 2023, the cost per kilowatt-hour of electricity increased from R2.25/kWh to R2.59/kWh. Typical usage is 350kWh a month, meaning many households spend about R900 a month on electricity.

Friday 2 February 2024
  • 85% of 1,310 Nersa-registered projects are under 1MW
  • Agriculture and real estate businesses lead <1MW installations
  • Solar dominates <1MW installations, except in 4 projects

Between 2018 and 2023 1,310 energy projects were registered with the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa). The majority of these projects (85%) were under 1MW.

The majority of the Nersa registrations under 1MW are by businesses taking charge of their electricity security after severe blackouts in the past 3 years.

Agriculture and real estate businesses registered over half of these <1MW energy installations. Unsurprisingly, solar made up the vast majority of these. The few exceptions were:3 businesses registered wind energy, andCathedral Peak Hotel in KwaZulu-Natal registered a hydropower plant in 2019Almost a quarter of the 1MW and smaller installations are in the economic hub of Gauteng.All the smaller registered energy projects in the province are solar PV, presumably rooftop and parking lot cover installations. 40% of the installations were for the real estate industry, which includes malls, office buildings and residential properties.

Thursday 1 February 2024
  • 1,310 energy projects registered with Nersa between 2018 and 2023
  • 85% of projects under 1MW serve businesses and farms

Between 2018 and 2023, businesses registered 1,310 energy projects with the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa).

The majority of these projects (85%) were under 1MW. A 1MW installation is roughly enough to power 650 average homes. These ‘smaller’ installs are primarily those done by businesses, farms and shopping centres looking to bolster their energy supply against the threat of loadshedding. In the last 3 years, the country experienced 495 days of blackouts.

Nersa’s registrations do not include the much larger REIPP projects like the solar and wind farms that are focused on putting power into the national grid.

Of the 1,310 projects licensed, 1,109 have been installs of under 1MW. There are also 130 projects between 1MW and 10MW and 71 projects larger than 10MW. The caption of this chart has been updated.

Wednesday 24 January 2024
  • Only 30% of matric learners took science; and about half scored 40% or more
  • Only 17% who wrote science achieved the 60% needed to study a science degree at university
  • The government has a target of 450,000 students for university maths and science by 2030

Only 30% of the matric class of 2023 wrote the science exam. About half of those learners who did take the exam got 40% or higher. The pass mark in South Africa is 30%.

This is important because students need to pass 4 subjects with at least 50% to study at a university. And for studying subjects like maths and science at university, you need to get 60% in those subjects in high school.

Only 30% of the learners who wrote science in 2023 managed to pass with 50% or higher, and only 17% got the 60% needed to study a science, technology or engineering degree at university.

This is a worry because the government wants 450,000 students to be ready to study maths and science at university by 2030.

Maths and science degrees fall within the critical skills needed in South Africa for jobs such as engineers, physicists, actuaries and scientists.

Wednesday 24 January 2024
  • South Africa’s HIV prevalence rate in pregnant women is 27.5%.
  • It’s the first time it has dropped below 30% since 2004.
  • The prevalence rate is lower in all 9 provinces than it was in 2019.

HIV prevalence among pregnant women in South Africa has dropped to below 30% for the first time since 2004. The latest HIV prevalence rate is 27.5%, down from 30% in 2019.

The Antenatal HIV sentinel surveillance survey has been conducted annually since 1990 and every two years since 2015 among pregnant women (age 15-49) attending government antenatal clinics around South Africa.

The latest survey between 28 February and 8 April 2022 comprised 37,828 pregnant women at 1,589 public health facilities.

HIV prevalence has decreased in all 9 provinces since 2019. The highest is in KwaZulu-Natal 37.2% (down from 40.9%). The lowest is in the Western Cape at 16.3% (down from 17.9%).

The decline could be because women with higher HIV prevalence have aged out of the 15-49 age group and have been replaced by younger women with lower HIV prevalence.

Go to Bhekisisa.org.za for in-depth coverage of the survey findings.

Tuesday 23 January 2024
  • A third of the 2023 matric class wrote maths
  • But only 20% of them passed with at least 60%

The proportion of the matric class writing maths has been decreasing since 2009. For the past 4 years, one-third of learners wrote the NSC maths exams.

In 2021 and 2022, 80% did not pass the subject with 50% or more. In 2023, that improved to 73%. But, even fewer achieved the 60% needed for a science, technology, or engineering degree.

In 2021, for example, only 13% scored 60% or more in maths. This year, 16% achieved a 60% in maths, which is higher than the target of 40,355 set by the Department of Basic Education for 2024.

However, the low number of learners taking maths puts a damper on the government’s plan to have 450,000 learners eligible to study maths and science at university by 2030.

In 2023, only 262,016 learners wrote maths, which is about 1,500 more than in 2022. However, a lot of work will need to be done in the next seven years to meet the target.

Tuesday 23 January 2024

Data is everywhere. It’s not just about numbers: data gives you insights about people and the world they live in

Learn how to go beyond spreadsheets, algorithms and mathematical calculations to tell compelling stories

Using two easy-to-use tools you’ll learn how to make beautiful graphs and graphics that will get what you want to say across effectively in reports, presentations and on social media.

Who is this course for?

This 4-hour workshop is for anyone who wants to learn how to communicate effectively with graphs and graphics, such as people working in communications, PR or HR. No previous experience or special skills are necessary, this is a beginner-level course. But an openness to trying something new is compulsory.

What skills will you learn?

We will show you how to:

• Identify the stories that data tells us – and then communicate them effectively

• Take data from a spreadsheet or table and make it into an eye-catching static or interactive graph using Flourish, an online data visualisation tool

• Make interactive graphs that can be published on a website

• Turn a static graphic into an eye-catching social media post using Canva, an online design tool

Find out more, sign up: learning.theoutlier.co.za

Saturday 20 January 2024
  • The ANC has seen a huge drop in declared donations in 2023
  • The DA has the most donations disclosed by a party in a year
  • New party Build One South Africa is in the top 4 for donations declared this year

The Democratic Alliance has surged ahead of the African National Congress when it comes to declared political donations, the latest Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) declarations report shows. The DA disclosed donations of R59.5-million for the year up to the end of September 2023, more than double the R22.8-million disclosed by the ANC. This is a huge drop in funding for the ANC compared with 2022.

Action SA, founded in August 2020 by former DA mayor Herman Mashaba, reported donations of R19.4-million. Those three parties account for 97% of the total donations up to September 2023.

Since 2021, only 5 parties have disclosed donations of R1-million or more in a year, the IEC’s report shows. The Economic Freedom Fighters disclosed R3.1-million in 2021, R400,000 in 2022, but it has disclosed zero donations for 2023 so far.

Build One South Africa, founded in September 2022 by former DA leader Musi Maimane, has disclosed R3.1-million for 2023. All registered political parties are required to disclose donations above R100 000 to the IEC. The latest report does not include the last 3 months of 2023, so with elections looming, there should be an uptick in donations.

Wednesday 17 January 2024
  • South Africa had 6 weather-related disasters in 2023, the second highest in Africa
  • Two-thirds of Africa’s disasters in the past 20 years were flood-related
  • Droughts caused 11% of disasters

South Africa had 6 weather-related natural disasters in 2023, all of them floods or storms, according to EM-DAT, a database of global disasters. The only African country to have fared worse is the Democratic Republic of Congo, which had 7.

The Christmas floods in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal, are the latest to be recorded on the database, along with floods and landslides in parts of the DRC.

South Africa has had the second-highest number of natural disasters (59) in Africa in the past 20 years. Kenya has the most with 60.

Two-thirds (67%) of Africa’s disasters were floods and 11% of Africa’s disasters were drought-related (143 in total). Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia have been the most drought-hit, with 9 each. South Africa has had 5, which is the 7th highest.

Since 2003, tropical cyclones have caused 96 disasters. Madagascar has been hit by far more tropical cyclones than any other African country. EM-DAT lists 42 cyclone-related disasters in Madagascar since 2003. Mozambique is next with 15.

Wednesday 27 December 2023
  • South Africa is Africa’s largest wind and solar power producer
  • Egypt, Morocco led until 2014; Kenya now fourth in renewables
  • SA’s renewable programme (REIPPPP) was introduced in 2011

Africa’s wind and solar power generation capacity is led by 5 countries, with South Africa being the largest producer.

Egypt and Morocco were early starters in wind and solar power and led production from the early 2000s until 2014 when South Africa surpassed them. SA’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP) was introduced in 2011 and kick-started the renewables drive in the country. SA has since become the largest producer of wind and solar power on the continent.

More recently Kenya has emerged as a renewable generator, jumping into fourth place on the continent in just the past 5 years.

Of the 3 largest economies on the continent, both Egypt and South African have growing wind and solar production. Nigeria is mostly focused on gas and hydro power.

Despite leading in wind and solar power South Africa still relies heavily on coal, producing more than 10 times as much coal-based power as wind in 2022.

Tuesday 26 December 2023
  • Barbie led at the box office in 2023, earning $1.4-billion
  • It is in the top-20 highest-earners since 1977
  • 40% of the top-100 earners are in the action sci-fi genre

Barbie, The Super Mario Brothers Movie and Oppenheimer were the top-performing films at the box office in 2023. Barbie and Super Mario both earned more than $1-billion, putting them in the top-20 highest-earning movies released since 1977.

Barbie has a way to go on her tippy-toes to reach the top earners, Avatar (2009) and Avengers: Endgame (2019), which have earned close to $3-billion each.

There’s a clear pattern in the top 100: 40% are in the action sci-fi genre. Five Avengers films are in the top 20. Star Wars has 2 in the top 20.

Animated movies are also box office favourites – there are 23 in the top 100 – as are adventure fantasies like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Carribbean – there are 22 in the top 100.

Newer films are more likely to earn more revenue for obvious reasons, which makes Titanic, a romantic drama released in 1997, a real outlier at number 4.

Sunday 17 December 2023
  • Top show – The Night Agent: Season 1 with 812m hours
  • Just 24 titles exceed 200m hours watch time
  • Median watch time across all titles: 700,000 hours

From January to June 2023, The Night Agent: Season 1 was Netflix’s most-watched show, with viewers dedicating more than 812-million hours to it. In second place was Ginny & Georgia Season 2, while its predecessor ranked 9th.

The top 10 shows each garnered viewership exceeding 200-million hours.

The Netflix ‘What We Watched’ engagement report covers 18,000 titles aired by the network between January and June 2023.

Only 24 of the 18,000 plus titles were watched for more than 200-million hours and the average viewing time was 5.13-million hours, though this was heavily influenced by the top-ranking shows.The median watch time was 700,000 hours.

All but one of the top 10 shows were distributed globally by Netflix. The exception was the Spanish-language La Reina del Sur. Season 3 of the show was the 7th most-watched title, racking up almost 430-million hours of viewing.

Sunday 17 December 2023
  • The Night Agent Season 1 most watched on Netflix
  • 2.4% of top 1,000 shows watched >200m hours
  • Median watch time was 700,000 hours across 18,000 titles

The most-watched Netflix show from January to June 2023 was The Night Agent Season 1. Subscribers spent more than 812-million hours watching the show. Ginny & Georgia Season 2 was the second most-watched show. Season 1 of Ginny & Georgia is in 9th spot.

This is according to Netflix’s ‘What We Watched’ engagement report released in December 2023, which provides data on 18,000 titles on the platform.

The top 10 shows were all viewed for more than 200-million hours. Of the more than 18,000 titles only 0.13%, or 24, were watched for more than 200-million hours.

The average viewing time was 5.13-million hours but this was skewed by a few top titles. The median watch time for the 18,000 titles was 700,000 hours, indicating that while a few shows such as The Night Agent reached high viewership numbers, the majority of Netflix titles attracted much smaller audiences.

Friday 15 December 2023
  • Having 12 people for Christmas lunch will cost about R2,700
  • Turkey is the most expensive item, potatoes are the cheapest
  • Dessert takes up about 21% of the budget

Hosting a traditional Christmas lunch for 12 of your favourite friends and family this year is going to cost you about R2,700.

You’ll need to budget about a third of that for the main course. A 6kg turkey, which should feed 12 to 15 people, is the most expensive item at R90 a kilo or R540. At a recommended 200g per serving, gammon works out to be a much more reasonable option, costing R179 for 1.9kg.

Laying on drinks – sparkling wine, wine, Coca-Cola and beer – will cost about R890, while dessert will eat up about 21% of your budget. Even though no one really enjoys it, no Christmas table is complete without a fruit cake (R170 for 800g). And don’t forget the crackers, which cost R260 for 12.

This menu was collated with prices collected at a well-known retailer in the Rosebank Mall in Johannesburg on 12 December.

Thursday 14 December 2023
  • 23% of parties win seats in their first national election
  • The DA won a 10th of Parliament in its first election
  • Parties founded by ANC members won 25 to 30 seats 

Only 14 of 64 political parties have managed to secure a parliamentary seat in their first election in 2 decades of elections in South Africa. The Democratic Alliance secured 50 seats in its 2004 debut — a first for a new party in 2 decades. Two-thirds of parties haven’t won a seat in their first election.

Former ANC members founded the political parties Congress of the People and the Economic Freedom Fighters. Cope secured 30 seats in its first election in 2009. The EFF won 25 seats in 2014.

Former Pan Africanist Congress member Patricia de Lille was the first woman in South Africa to establish a political party. In 2003 she founded the Independent Democrats. It secured 7 seats in 2004. The party merged with the DA in 2010. 8 years later, De Lille resigned from the DA and established Good, which won 2 seats in the 2019 election.

Thursday 14 December 2023
  • The Weather Service has issued 27 heatwave warnings this year
  • Half the warnings were for Gauteng, North West, Free State 
  • High temperatures were recorded in November, with some hitting 40ºC

The South African Weather Service has published 27 heatwave warnings on social media platform X up to 5 December 2023, 11 more than in 2022. Half of the warnings were for parts of Gauteng, North West and the Free State in the 2-and-a-half months since October.

SAWS declares a heatwave when for 3 consecutive days the maximum temperature at a place is 5ºC higher than the average maximum temperature for the hottest month for that place. Most of the persistent heatwave warnings were in November. SAWS can’t yet confirm if heatwaves occurred at the places for which it issued warnings. But it did confirm that parts of South Africa experienced extremely high temperatures in November.

Between 23 and 28 November, for example, 22 weather stations recorded their highest maximum temperatures for the month. On 27 November, Orania and Kuruman hit temperatures of 40ºC for the first time and Bloemfontein and Mokopane came close with a sweltering 39.6.

Thursday 14 December 2023
  • Tourist accommodation market is nearly back to pre-Covid levels
  • Campsites in 2022 were near 90% of 2019 booking levels
  • Hotels still the most popular, chosen by 2/3 holidaymakers

The South African tourism accommodation market has almost recovered to pre-Covid levels according to Stats SA. In 2022 the accommodation industry generated R23-billion, a recovery on the previous two years, but still R10-billion less than the R33-billion earned in 2019.

All types of accommodation have seen a good recovery since 2020 led by caravan parks and campsites. Both were back up to almost 90% of 2019 booking levels in 2022. Hotels, self-catering establishments and bed and breakfasts have also started to recover, ahead of guesthouses.

Generally speaking hotels tend to be the most popular type of holiday accommodation with 2 out of 3 holidaymakers opting for a hotel room. Further behind is self-catering accommodation, bed and breakfasts and guesthouses. Camping sites make up the smallest portion.

Peak seasons for holidaymakers are June and December while December is usually the period with higher overall revenue for accommodation providers.

Tuesday 12 December 2023
  • Women earned $290-million less than men in 2023 World Cup 
  • Prize money for Wafcon 2022 was 16% of Afcon 2021
  • Women’s Champions League winners earned $16-million less than men 

Women players across the continent are increasingly raising their voices against inequality. In the build-up to the 2023 World Cup, Nigeria and South Africa protested against the lack of contracts, poor pay and sub-par pitches. Zambia and Sierra Leone are the only African countries who pay their national players equally.

Fifa increased the women’s prize money pool to $150-million in 2023. The men’s purse in Qatar in 2022 was $440-million. Fifa says it’s aiming for parity by the next men’s and women’s tournaments.

When the Senegalese men’s team won Afcon 2021, they received $2.5-million. Wafcon 2022 winners, South Africa, made just 16% of that ($400,000).

The prize money for Wafcon has been increased to $2.4-million in 2024, with the winners earning $500,000.

Caf introduced a purse for the Women’s Champions League of $1.55-million in 2022. The prize money for the men’s tournament was $17.6-million in 2021.

Monday 11 December 2023
  • 4 African football tournaments for men exist, 1 for women
  • The first Women’s Champions League was held in Egypt
  • Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies has won 2 of the 3 events

The only continental tournament that exists for female club footballers to showcase their talents is the Women’s Champions League. There are 4 such competitions for male teams in Africa.

The Women’s Champions League is part of the Confederation of African Football’s 2021-2025 Action Plan to grow the women’s game. The competition, which consists of 8 teams, was first held in Egypt in 2021 and since then top-division clubs from 13 countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Kenya, have participated in 3 editions of the game.

South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies won the inaugural edition in Egypt. Morocco’s AS FAR dethroned Sundowns to win the competition in 2022 in their home country.

This year the Champions League was hosted in November by Côte d’Ivoire, and Mamelodi Sundowns won for the second time, beating first-time finalists SC Casablanca, from Morocco. Sundowns beat the team in a stunning 3-0 win.

Monday 11 December 2023
  • Eskom needs to add 14,218km of transmission lines
  • It has a 9-year deadline
  • Eskom took 15 years to install 7,200km of transmission lines

Eskom has signed up 6,180MW of independently produced renewable power in its last 4 bid windows. It’s a 10th of Eskom’s generation capacity. But Eskom is only using a third of this renewable power, according to its daily generation reports. In November, Eskom used an average of 2,100MW of renewable energy. Eskom’s own wind farm generates 100MW.

To integrate new renewable energy generated in the Northern, Eastern, and Western Cape into the national grid, Eskom must add 14,218km of transmission lines by 2032. The deadline for this addition is 9 years away. Over the past 15 years, Eskom installed 7,200km of transmission lines at an average of 451km per year. To meet the 2032 deadline, Eskom will need to triple its efforts.

The Transmission Development Plan outlines two deadlines for Eskom: 2,893km of transmission lines installed by 2027 and 11,325km by 2032. These lines will extend the 350,000km-long national grid.

Friday 8 December 2023
  • Over 95% of children aged 6 to 10 attend schools
  • In 1996, only 77% of children that age attended school
  • The school-going age for children was lowered in 2004

School attendance across the country has improved significantly since 1996, with more than 95% of children between the ages of 6 and 10 enrolled in school last year. In 1996 just 77% of children in the same age group attended school.

Although just around 5% of 6 to 10 year old kids were not in school last year, the percentage equates to around 200,000 people missing from the school system, according to Census 2022.

Out of the ages in this comparison, the 10-year-old category is the only one to remain at over 90% attendance since 1996.

The official school-going age was lowered from 6 to 5 years old in 2004 and this appears to have improved the overall attendance rate, with 92% of 5-year-olds enrolled in school in 2022, versus just 23% in 1996. From the age of 6 upwards enrolment rates are at least 95%.

Friday 8 December 2023
  • 29% of female footballers weren’t paid for World Cup qualifiers
  • 66% took unpaid or holiday leave to join the event 
  • Only one-third of Caf member associations paid players’ salaries

There is a genuine interest in football in Africa, but because the women’s game is a long way from being fully professional, players are unable to dedicate all their energies to the game and are often forced to play outside the continent to make a decent living.

The Confederation of African Football’s (Caf) survey of member associations shows that in 2022 only 12 of Africa’s national leagues had contracts with all their players. Of those 12, only 4 national leagues paid all their players a salary.

A player survey by Fifpro, a trade union representing international professional footballers, showed that over one-third of Caf’s female footballers believed payments need ‘extreme improvement’. The same survey showed that around 29% of female international players were not paid for participating in World Cup qualifying matches. Two-thirds had to take unpaid leave or holiday leave from another job to play for their national team.

Thursday 7 December 2023
  • South Africa is Africa’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases 
  • SA plans to reduce emissions to 2001 levels by 2030 
  • SA emits an estimated 500-million metric tonnes a year 

South Africa, the continent’s biggest emitter, has set a target to reduce its emissions to between 350-million and 420-million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents per year by 2030. Greenhouse gas equivalent is a measure used to standardise the effects of various greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.

The world needs to limit the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere to stop temperatures from rising above the 1.5°C target set at the United Nations Paris climate meeting in 2015. 193 countries have set targets to cut their emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

In 2020, Climate Watch estimated South Africa’s emissions at 500 million tonnes a year. South Africa contributes almost 20% to Africa’s greenhouse gas emissions. The second biggest emitters are Nigeria and Egypt. Electricity generation is the biggest contributor to South Africa’s emissions because of its reliance on coal.

Thursday 7 December 2023
  • Around 151,000 female African footballers are Caf members
  • Over 60% of the footballers are younger than 21 
  • SA contributes the most players to the talent pool 

There are about 151,000 female footballers registered with the Confederation of African Football (Caf) and more than 60% of them are 20 years old or younger. South Africa accounts for over 30% of registered players on the continent. This is largely because other countries have very few locally based female players. Even Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, who are dominant on the international stage, have very little to show domestically.

Only 9 countries have a sponsored women’s football league: Botswana, Cameroon, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, South Africa and Tanzania.

The group is made up of 62% of development players below the age of 20 years, while 38% are experienced players 21 years and older.

Of the 52 Caf members that participated in a 2022 survey, 71% had grassroots programmes to cultivate talent and 82% had partnered with schools to give young footballers a start.

Wednesday 6 December 2023
  • 55,000 government employees earn over R1-million per year 
  • Almost half earn between R350,000 and R600,000 annually
  • The average salary in South Africa is R312,000 per year 

Ten years ago, there were 10,000 government employees in South Africa earning more than R1-million. In 2023, it’s 55,000.

South Africa’s public servants are some of the best-paid in the world. With a wage bill of R724-billion, the country spends more on salaries in relation to its gross domestic product than Australia, China, Spain and the UK. An annual salary of R1-million (R83,300 a month) is more than 3 times the average South African wage of R312,000 (R26,000 a month).

The top earners in the public sector are senior managers, heads of departments or highly skilled experts, such as doctors. Salaries for public servants have increased by an average of 1.5% a year since 2014, which is above inflation. Nearly half of the government’s 1.3-million-strong workforce earns between R350,000 and R600,000 a year. 10 years ago, 80% of government employees earned less than R350,000 annually.

Wednesday 6 December 2023
  • 6,800 hours of loadshedding in 2023 so far
  • Most of the year has been under stage 4
  • 1,060 hours of stage 6, five times that of 2022

By early December Eskom had shed more than 6,800 hours of electricity in 2023. This is almost double the amount lost in 2022. For 8 years, stage 2 was the most common stage of loadshedding. However, 2023 saw a shift: South Africa saw 1,940 hours of stage 4 loadshedding, the most common stage. Stages 3 and 6 followed. The country only had 1,326 hours with no loadshedding. This was a drop from 4,980 in 2022.

South Africa had more hours of stage 6 loadshedding in 2023 than in any previous year. It first had stage 6 in 2019.

Eskom struggled with breakdowns, costing it a third of its generation in 2023. 9 years ago, breakdowns affected just over a tenth of its generation.

In May South Africa imported over 880MW of solar panels from China. It coincided with the month with the highest stages of loadshedding.

Tuesday 5 December 2023
  • Sub-Saharan Africa is the third biggest plastic polluter into water
  • SA ranks among Africa’s top 3 worst water pollution contributors
  • In 2018, SA dumped 107,000 tonnes of plastic into water

The amount of plastic waste in Sub-Saharan Africa will quadruple by 2060. The region will be one of the world's biggest sources of plastic pollution in rivers, lakes and oceans, according to projections by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Worldwide plastic use will triple in the next 40 years. It will increase the most in developing countries in Asia and Africa.

In 2022, 175 countries voted to create a treaty to eliminate plastic pollution. Countries at the United Nations aim to finalise the treaty by next year.

In 2019, 22-million tonnes of plastic, most of it mismanaged waste, made its way into rivers and oceans.

South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria are the 3 biggest contributors to plastic pollution in Africa. In 2018, South Africa 'leaked' around 107,000 tonnes of plastic into water ecosystems, according to a study by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Monday 4 December 2023
  • China loaned African countries $170-billion over 20 years, primarily to develop infrastructure
  • The transport sector received R49-billion, some of which was spent on SA’s locomotives
  • The biggest portion went to the energy sector, although no new projects have been added since 2020

China committed about $170-billion in loans to African countries between 2000 and 2020. Most of it was to develop infrastructure under the Belt and Road Initiative, a grand plan to connect Asia with Africa and Europe.

About 70% of the money was funnelled to 10 countries, with Angola receiving the most. It spent a third of its $45-billion on Sonangol, the state-owned oil company.

Nearly a third of the loans was directed to the transport sector. The biggest amounts funded railway projects in Kenya, Ethiopia and Nigeria as well as South Africa’s Transnet locomotives.

About $60-billion was spent on energy projects, including the Kusile and Medupi coal power stations.

Chinese loans tapered off during the Covid-19 pandemic and no new energy projects have been added since 2020.

Monday 4 December 2023
  • HIV-related deaths in South Africa have decreased by 82% since they peaked between 2004 and 2006
  • More people in South Africa are aware of their HIV status than 5 years ago
  • Over 90% of adults on antiretroviral treatment are virally suppressed

World Aids Day was on 1 December and South Africa has something to celebrate. There are fewer people living with HIV than there were 5 years ago. More people are aware of their HIV status and 91% of adults who know their status are on antiretroviral treatment. About 94% of those adults are virally suppressed.

These are the findings of the 6th South African National HIV Prevalence, Incidence, Behaviour and Communication Survey conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and its partners.

There are about 7.8-million people living with HIV in South Africa, the HSRC estimates. Earlier this year, the World Health Organisation said there were about 39-million people worldwide living with HIV and 25.6-million of those were in Africa.

The WHO said about 380,000 deaths in 2022 could be attributed to HIV-related causes, a decrease of 56% from 2010.

In South Africa, HIV-related deaths have plummeted by 82% since the 2004 to 2006 period, when they peaked at an estimated 250,000 deaths a year.

Wednesday 29 November 2023
  • Almost 60% of SA grant recipients who have bank accounts depend on private institutions to deliver their money
  • State-owned Postbank administers payments, but its service is unreliable
  • Postbank lost 1.8-million customers in the past year, while Capitec grew its grantee customer base by 54%

Each month the money for 19-million people who rely on SA Social Security Agency grants is paid into 12-million bank accounts. An increasing number of these (59%) are at commercial banks, with the remainder paid via the Postbank or the Post Office.

State-run Postbank took over the administration of payments in October 2022, the third change in 5 years. The transition has been difficult and there are regular reports of delays and other ‘glitches’.

As a result, grantees have been seeking more reliable options. In the past 12 months, Capitec Bank increased its number of grant account holders by almost 1.1-million to 3-million while Postbank lost 1.8-million customers.

Thursday 23 November 2023
  • 26.8-million South Africans were registered to vote in the 2019 election
  • Since 2009, the number of people casting their vote has hovered around 18-million
  • Voter turnout at the last election was 66%, the lowest in 20 years

Every election cycle, an average of 1-million additional South Africans register to vote. Many of them are young, first-time registrants.

Despite this increase in registered voters, the number of people who head to the polls has been around 18-million since 2009.

Young voters aged 18 to 19, with their freshly issued ID cards, usually record a high turnout (80%). But it’s a different story for 20- to 29-year-olds. In 2019, only 56% of registered voters in this age group voted, which was 10% below the national average. Theirs was one of the lowest turnouts, with only the over-80s lower at 50%.

Tuesday 21 November 2023
  • More than half a million identity documents are unclaimed in South Africa
  • Almost a quarter (112,000) of these are in Gauteng
  • About 7% have been applied and paid for online, but have not been collected

There are more than 500,000 unclaimed South African identity documents at home affairs offices, banks and mobile units around the country.

Almost 112,000 of the abandoned IDs are in Gauteng, the highest number of all the provinces. The home affairs office with the most is in Gqeberha, Eastern Cape, where 8,350 IDs remain unclaimed.

About 7% of the unclaimed IDs were applied and paid for online but have not been collected from banks. Officials say that time and financial constraints, system downtimes, incorrect contact details and applicants who have relocated are some of the reasons why IDs are not collected.

Friday 17 November 2023
  • South Africa has 51 solar farms
  • The solar farms have a combined capacity of almost 2,800MW
  • About 20,000 people are employed by the solar industry

Despite its more than 2,500 hours of sunshine a year, the uptake of solar power in South Africa has historically been slow. This has been changing, largely thanks to Eskom’s woes and rolling power cuts. There are now 51 operational solar farms in the country. As part of SA’s independent power producer programme, they have a combined potential of almost 2,800MW.

Two-thirds of South Africa’s solar farms are in the Northern Cape, which has a solar capacity of 1,995MW.

The solar industry employed about 20,000 people in 2022. That number could grow this year, with R12-billion worth of solar panels imported into South Africa between January and June 2023.

Solar makes up just 3% of South Africa’s energy mix and the country is still far from meeting its Renewable Energy Masterplan target of 6,400MW of solar power by 2030.

Wednesday 15 November 2023
  • Joburg Water said there were an average of 4 water pipe bursts per kilometre in Johannesburg last year
  • This is 40% higher than the number of bursts in 2015
  • The city is replacing around 1% of its ageing 12,364km water pipe network each year

Joburg has a water infrastructure problem. Between 2015 and 2022, burst pipes increased from 273 per 100km to 391 per 100km or about 4 holes in every 1km pipe.

Joburg Water said in its 2022 annual report that it lost water worth R1.5-billion to leaks, an increase of R621-million from the R878.4-million lost to leaks in 2018.

Joburg Water says the pipe bursts occur when water fluctuations lead to air pockets, and too much pressure of water hitting an air pocket results in a pipe breaking. It is exacerbated by old infrastructure.

In 2022, Joburg Water replaced 100km of its 12,364km water pipe network.

Tuesday 14 November 2023
  • 712 fully electric vehicles were sold in SA in the first nine months of 2023
  • 502 electric vehicles were sold in the whole of 2022
  • Volvos and BMWs are among the most popular electric vehicle choices for South Africans

The market for electric vehicles in South Africa is still small but it’s growing quickly. 712 electric vehicles have been sold in South Africa in the first nine months of 2023. This is 40% more than were sold in the whole of 2022. And 2022 electric vehicle sales were already more than double the previous year.

Despite heading for a record year of sales, fully electric vehicles make up just 0.3% of South Africa’s passenger vehicle sales.

Electric vehicles still fall at the high end of the market with most buyers opting for the Volvo XC40, BMW iX or BMW X3, which cost between R1-million and R2-million. In the first 9 months of this year, 351 electric BMWs were bought and 144 Volvos. This is followed by 72 Minis and 69 Mercedes.

Friday 10 November 2023
  • Only 6% of the 1,000 Nobel Prizes awarded since 1901 have been to women
  • Just over half of the 65 prizes awarded to women have been given in the past 20 years
  • Three African women have won the peace prize and one the literature prize

Four women won Nobel Prizes this year – Claudia Goldin (economics), Narges Mohammadi (peace) and Anne L'Huillier (physics) – which brings the total number of prizes awarded to women to 65. That’s a mere 6% of the 1,000 prizes awarded since 1901.

Just over half of those, 35 prizes, have been since 2003. Nineteen women have won the peace prize, three of them Africans: Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan, and Helen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee from Liberia. South African Nadine Gordimer was one of 17 female literature prize winners.

The first woman to win a Nobel prize in 1903, for physics was Marie Curie, for her research into radioactivity. She won it again in 1911. Her daughter, Irène Joliot-Curie, won the chemistry prize in 1935, also for work in radioactivity.

Wednesday 8 November 2023
  • 15% increase in food poverty line is the biggest in the past decade
  • Monthly child grants are more than 30% less than the cost of a minimum nutritional diet
  • Rocketing food costs push the poverty line up by almost R100/month

South Africa's child support grant has been below the food poverty line – the amount it costs to buy the food needed to meet a child's basic nutritional needs – for more than a decade, and the gap is growing.

Every year, the government increases the grant by an average of R20, but recent food price increases have been far higher than in previous years. The most recent poverty line is R750 a month, which is 15%, or nearly R100, higher than it was a year ago. The gap between the child grant and the food poverty line now stands at R250.

In 2012, the child support grant covered 76% of the minimum amount of food for a month prescribed by the poverty line. The latest grant covers only 67%.

Tuesday 7 November 2023
  • It was 20% more expensive to buy eggs in October than in September
  • There are fewer eggs available in stores after 1 in 5 egg-laying hens died because of avian flu

It was expensive to buy eggs in October. The cost of 60 eggs rose from R136 to R162 between September and October, according to prices collected by the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group, which tracks the cost of food for families living on low incomes.

Supermarket shelves have been low on eggs the past few weeks because of an avian flu outbreak, which led to 1 in 5 egg-laying hens being culled or dying, the Financial Mail reported.

The country has had outbreaks before, but the usual control methods have been less effective this time around, says Shahn Bisschop, a specialist poultry vet from the University of Pretoria.

Thursday 2 November 2023
  • 1 in 3 South Africans has a matric
  • 1 in 10 people has a tertiary qualification
  • The number of people with no, little or only primary education has dropped from 43% to 18%

Leaving school with a matric certificate opens doors for further studies, internships and work.

The percentage of South Africans over 20 years old who have completed high school has more than doubled from 16% in 1996 to 38% in 2022.

In 2022, 12% had also pursued further education after high school. More people see the benefit of staying in school for longer – with the percentage of people with only primary education or less decreasing over the last 26 years.

In 1996, almost 1 in 2 people had only a primary education. In 2022, the percentage had dropped to 18%.

Tuesday 31 October 2023
  • 40% of children in South Africa did not attend early childhood development  programmes in 2022 to prepare them for formal schooling
  • More than half of the children in the Northern Cape and North West did not attend any ECD programmes
  • The Western Cape had the highest rate of attendance

The first 4 years of a child's life have a big impact on their future. Good early childhood development (ECD) programmes help to build language and numerical abilities that lay the foundation for achievement in school and future job prospects.

The government's goal is to ensure that all children have access to quality ECD programmes by 2030. It has a fair way to go, because 2.2-million children aged 0 to 4 do not attend an ECD programme. That's 2 out of 5 of our under 5s, according to Census 2022, who will start formal school at a disadvantage to their classmates who attended playgroups, creches or pre-schools.

Thursday 26 October 2023
  • The IEC says R337-million has been donated to political parties since April 2021
  • The ANC and the DA received 78% of all political donations
  • 3-year-old ActionSA received 19% of all donations, the third highest

All political parties in South Africa must disclose any donation above R100,000 to the Electoral Commission – thanks to the Political Party Funding Act. Since the reports were made public in April 2021, donations of R337.16-million have been recorded; 97% of this is split between 3 parties – the African National Congress 41%, the Democratic Alliance 37% and ActionSA 19%.

The DA has 35 individual donors, compared with the ANC's 18. ActionSA, which is only 3 years old, has received R64-million. This is 18 times more than the R3.5-million the Economic Freedom Fighters have reported to the IEC.

Tuesday 24 October 2023
  • More than 5-million South Africans have a post-school qualification
  • The most popular field of study is education, especially for women (72%)
  • Women are making inroads in engineering, with the proportion of women qualifying in it approaching a quarter

There are 5-million people in South Africa who have a tertiary qualification – about 2-million more than there were in 2011, according to the latest Census. The most popular field of study in 2022 was education (almost 800,000), followed by engineering (630,000) and business, economics and management sciences (610,000). Although the number of women studying education still outstrips the number of men by 40%, there’s been a shift in engineering in the past decade. It may be male-dominated (78%), but the proportion of female engineers has grown from 15% to 22%. Women don't seem to be making much headway in computer and information science, however. The proportion of women qualifying in this field has dropped from 43% to 39%.

Friday 20 October 2023
  • South Africa have won 4 of the 5 Rugby World Cup matches they have played against England, 2 of which were finals-England have played in 4 Cricket World Cup finals but have only won once-The Proteas have never made the finals

In a sporting coincidence, South Africa will face England in two World Cup matches on Saturday, 21 October. The fierce rivalry between the Springboks and the Red Roses dates back to their first encounter in 1906. Their World Cup history is more recent – they have faced each other 5 times since South Africa's readmission in 1995. The Boks have won 4 of those matches, 2 of which were Cup finals (2007 and 2019). The South Africans have been world champions 3 times, while England have only held the title once (2003).

The Proteas' record against the English cricket team is less impressive. Despite South Africa winning 4 of their 6 World Cup encounters, they've never made it to the final. England have played in 4 final matches, but only won one (2019).

Wednesday 18 October 2023
  • An average of 83 people are murdered every week in the Western Cape
  • 130 people were killed in one week in September 2023

The Western Cape experienced one of its deadliest weeks at the end of September 2023 when 130 people were murdered. This is higher than any other week in the past 5 years, according to police records that The Outlier has been tracking. On average, 83 people are murdered in the province in a week – that's the equivalent of almost 12 people a day. Between 24 and 30 September 2023, Gugulethu recorded the highest number of homicides (13), including 2 incidents in which 10 people were killed. Gugulethu has a police-to-population ratio of 1:874, while the national ratio is 1:413, according to figures from the Western Cape government.

Monday 16 October 2023
  • There are 2.4-million people in South Africa who were born outside the country, which is 4% of the population- The number of migrants has increased by 11% since the last census in 2011- The top 5 countries of origin remain Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, Malawi and the UK

Just over 2.4-million people, or 4% of South Africa's population, were born outside the country, according to Census 2022. This is an 11% increase since the last census in 2011. Between the 2001 and 2011 censuses, the increase was 113%. The top 5 countries where migrants were born remain Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, Malawi and the UK. Just over 1-million people from Zimbabwe live in South Africa, a 51% increase since 2011. The number of people from Malawi and Ethiopia has doubled. People from the other countries of origin in the top 10 – the UK, Namibia, India, Nigeria and Zambia – have decreased since 2011. Half of all international migrants live in Gauteng and 16% live in the Western Cape.

Friday 13 October 2023
  • Gauteng has 4-million internal migrants, the most of all of South Africa’s provinces
  • The Western Cape has the second-highest number with 1.7-million people
  • The Eastern Cape and Limpopo have the highest number of people who leave to live elsewhere in the country

Gauteng is a magnet for migrants. It's not only foreigners who are drawn to South Africa's economic hub: 4-million people who live there have migrated from another part of the country, according to Stats SA's Census 2022. The Western Cape has 1.67-million internal migrants, the second-highest number. Those 2 provinces account for 70% of the country’s internal migrants.

Limpopo is the birthplace of about a third of the internal migrants living in Gauteng. Two-thirds of the Western Cape's migrants are from the Eastern Cape. The Eastern Cape had the highest 'out-migration' numbers, 2-million people, followed by Limpopo, 1.66-million people.

The Western Cape is the place people are least likely to leave – for another part of South Africa at least – which could explain why it’s now the third most-populous province.

Wednesday 11 October 2023
  • More than half of Africa’s 138,000 dollar millionaires live in just 5 countries
  • The richest man in Africa is Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote, who has a net worth of $13.5-billion
  • Joburg is home to 14,600 dollar millionaires, the most of any African city

More than half of Africa's 138,000 dollar millionaires live in South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya and Morocco. South Africa has the most, and Johannesburg is the city with the highest number of people (14,600) with assets worth more than $1-million. Africa's wealthiest individual is Nigerian industrialist Aliko Dangote, who has a net worth of $13.5-billion. He is followed by South Africa's Johann Rupert ($10.7bn) and Nicky Oppenheimer ($8.4bn). Three-quarters of Africa's 23 dollar billionaires live in South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt – which is also where you’ll find 9 of the continent’s 10 wealthiest people.

Wednesday 11 October 2023
  • Only 6% of South Africa's households have a landline, according to Census 2022-There's a working cellphone in 92% of households-One in 5 households still does not have access to internet services

When was the last time you phoned someone under the age of 70 on a landline? Can't remember? That’s not surprising, because only 6% of South Africa's households have a landline, according to Stats SA's Census 2022. These days, if you're going to contact somebody, you're going to use a cellphone. Nearly all (92%) households own a working cellphone. A lot has changed in the past 20 years. In 2001, one in 4 households (24%) had a landline and only 32% had a working cellphone. Nowadays, a family is more likely to have satellite TV (56% of households) than a landline. Owning a cellphone, however, doesn't necessarily mean a household has access to the internet. One in 5 households (21%) still has no access to internet services.

Monday 9 October 2023
  • Low-pressure systems known as cut-off lows are the leading cause of weather-related deaths in South Africa, say scientists
  • Cut-off lows can sometimes cause heavy downpours and strong winds, with flooding exacerbated by human factors such as urbanisation
  • The floods in the Western Cape in September were caused by a cut-off low

Cut-off lows are low-pressure systems that develop south of South Africa. They get cut off from the prevailing westerly winds and move north, bringing much-needed rain and sometimes snow to the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. About 11 cut-off lows pass over South Africa a year, but only one is likely to bring strong winds and heavy rains that cause flooding. Since the 1980s, more than 20 have resulted in fatalities, making them the leading cause of weather-related deaths in South Africa. The problems are exacerbated by urban development and poorly maintained infrastructure.

Friday 6 October 2023
  • South Africa’s 34 operational wind farms are adding more than 3.3GW to the national electricity grid
  • More than a third of the operational wind power is in the Eastern Cape
  • Two farms in the Northern Cape have 122 turbines between them and generate more than 275MW

There are 34 wind farms marked as 'operational' on the Department of Energy's database. These are adding a combined capacity of more than 3.3GW to South Africa's electricity grid. More than a third of the operational wind power is in the Eastern Cape, between Cookhouse and Humansdorp. But the largest power block is in the Northern Cape where, according to MyBroadband, two adjacent farms – Khobab and Loeriesfontein 2 – have 122 turbines between them and generate more than 275MW.

Thursday 5 October 2023
  • Almost 1-million babies are born in South Africa every year-A C-section in a private hospital costs an average of R53,100-A newborn baby can use 12 nappies a day, at a cost of about R1,040 a month

We all know that raising children costs money, but how much does it cost to have a baby? In 2022, Discovery Health says, a planned C-section in a private hospital cost an average of R53,100 whereas a vaginal delivery costs R30,400. Midwife-assisted births at home cost about R16,000, according to figures from two birthing centres. A baby can go through 12 nappies a day – or 360 nappies a month, which is about R1,040. Add to that a 1.8kg tin of formula at R464 for a well-known brand. And so it goes… But despite the costs, 949,757 babies were born in South Africa in 2021.A version of this chart was first published on 27 September 2023. We’ve taken your comments into consideration and changed the brand of nappies, which has affected the price. Amendments to the average cost of C-sections and vaginal births were made after Discovery revised the costs.

Wednesday 4 October 2023
  • French bulldogs are the most-registered purebreds in South Africa-Registration of the Frenchie has increased by almost 2,000% in 10 years-A purebred French bulldog can cost R80,000

Nothing, not even the deep devotion of a Golden retriever, can touch the stratospheric popularity of the French bulldog in South Africa. Figures from the Kennel Union of Southern Africa show 1,298 Frenchies were registered last year compared with 66 in 2012 – that's close to a 2,000% increase in just 10 years.

Comical and friendly, the stocky, flat-faced, bat-eared pup offers a lot in a small package. They've certainly gained attention on social media – there are 38.7-million posts tagged with #frenchbulldog on Instagram – and count celebrities as owners including Lady Gaga, Megan Thee Stallion and Dwayne Johnson.

But they are dogs prone to breathing, spinal, eye and skin conditions. Weighing an average of 10kg, they come with a hefty price tag of between R25,000 to R80,000.

Monday 2 October 2023
  • Londoners travelling to work by car spend the equivalent of almost 41 working days in peak traffic a year – longer than anywhere else in the world-The worst South African city for commuters is Pretoria, where drivers spend 18 working days in traffic

London has the slowest rush-hour traffic, with the average car commuter travelling 14km/h in peak hour and losing 325 hours a year – the equivalent of almost 41 working days, according to data from TomTom, the navigation technology company which collects data in 390 cities.

In South Africa, Pretoria is the most congested with commuters losing the equivalent of 18 working days to sitting in traffic. In Cape Town, drivers spend 16.5 working days in traffic, while Joburgers lose 15 working days, moving at an average speed of 37km/h. Durbanites positively speed along at 41km/h.

Travel time is affected by the number of cars, the road infrastructure, speed limits and traffic management, such as out-of-order traffic lights.

Thursday 28 September 2023
  • In 2022/3, the government spent more money servicing its debt than it paid for health services
  • Over the next 3 years, the government will spend R1.1-trillion to pay off the interest and part of its debt
  • 14% of its total budget of R2.17-trillion was allocated in 2022/3 on servicing its R4.7-trillion debt

South Africa spends more on servicing its R4.7-trillion debt than it spends on any other service, bar education and social grants. In 2022/3, it spent R307.2-billion honouring its debt – R47.7-billion more than it spent on health and R79-billion more than it spent on safety and security. The only two other items in its R2.17-trillion budget that cost the government more are social welfare (+R51-billion) and education (+R127.9-billion). The government says it has set aside R1.1-trillion to service its debt in the next three years. Fuelled by pandemic borrowing and slowing economic growth, government debt increased by R792-billion between 2020/1 and 2022/3.

Wednesday 27 September 2023
  • About 1-million babies are born in South Africa every year-A C-section in a private hospital costs an average of R49,200-A newborn baby can use 12 nappies a day, at a cost of about R2,100 a month

We all know that raising children costs money, but how much does it cost to have a baby? In 2022, Discovery Health says, a planned C-section in a private hospital cost an average of R49,200 whereas a natural birth cost R25,100. Midwife-assisted births at home cost about R16,000, according to figures from two birthing centres. A baby can go through 12 nappies a day – or 360 nappies a month, which is about R2,100. Add to that a 1.8kg tin of formula at R464 for a well-known brand. And so it goes… But despite the costs, 949,757 babies were born in South Africa in 2021. A new version of this chart was published on 5 October with updated costs.

Tuesday 26 September 2023
  • Chinese exports of solar panels account for 80% of the global market
  • Exports to Africa increased by 187% in the first half of 2023 compared with the same period last year
  • South Africa has imported panels equivalent to 3.7GW in 7 months

African imports of solar panels from China are increasing rapidly, driven largely by South Africa, according to data released by Ember, which tracks Chinese customs data. Chinese exports account for about 80% of the global solar panel market. In the first 7 months of 2023, South Africa imported panels equivalent to 3.7GW, up from 0.6GW in the same period last year. South Africa was the 20th largest solar power producer in the world in 2021 – and the largest producer in Africa. It generated 6.65 terawatt hours (TWh), compared with world No 1 China’s 327TWh that year.

Friday 22 September 2023
  • An average South African braai for 10 people costs close to R1,500-Five years ago, the same braai cost R1,044 (38% less)-The price of biltong has increased by 60% to an average of R400/kg

To have 10 friends over for a Heritage Day braai (barbeque) 5 years ago would have cost you R1,044. In 2023, according to the latest data from Stats SA, the same braai – meat, beer, potatoes and some sides – will cost you R1,437, or 38% more.

Of all the items on our 'braai day' shopping list, biltong has increased the most (60%) since January 2017, which is when Stats SA started recording the price: 1kg of biltong will cost you R400; 5 years ago the same amount cost R250. The price of a 2-litre tub of ice-cream has shot up 53% from R49 in 2017 to R76.

Thursday 21 September 2023
  • 41 countries recognise sign language as an official language-It has legal status in 4 African countries: Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe and South Africa-There are 40-million people in Africa who have moderate or higher levels of hearing loss

Almost a quarter of the world’s countries recognise sign language as an official language.

Four African countries – Kenya, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe – have given the language, which uses hand movements and facial expressions to communicate, official recognition. It was signed into law as South Africa’s 12th official language in July 2023.

Almost 40-million people in Africa have moderate or higher levels of hearing loss, according to the World Health Organization. Of these, 4-million live in South Africa.

An official language has legal status and must be integrated into day-to-day state business and the education system.

Wednesday 20 September 2023
  • The South African government’s total debt is R4.7-trillion
  • Debt increased by R792-billion in the 2 years after the Covid pandemic
  • Factors such as loadshedding and the failure of state-owned companies are adding to the burden

South Africa's debt has been spiralling since the 2008 global financial crisis. Exacerbated by pandemic-related borrowing in 2020, the government's total debt is now R4.7-trillion. Most of the funds have been raised on the domestic bond market. Factors such as failing state-owned companies, wasteful expenditure, loadshedding and unemployment mean the economy isn’t generating enough tax to balance the budget. With an election in 2024, spending is likely to remain high, with the debt burden rising even further.

Wednesday 20 September 2023
  • There was a slight uptick in inflation from 4.7% in July to 4.8% in August after slowing for four consecutive months
  • Sugar, sweets and deserts increased by 18.5% between August 2023 and 2022
  • The price of cooking oil decreased by 13.6%

It's getting more expensive to have a sweet tooth. Sugar, sweets and desserts have increased by 18.5% over the past year. It's the highest increase of all the food items. Vegetables cost 16.6% more in August 2023 than in 2022. Although milk, eggs and cheese are 11.9% more expensive, it is now almost 14% cheaper to buy cooking oil. Food and the cost of electricity – which went up by 15.1% – contributed to the slight increase in year-on-year inflation.

Tuesday 19 September 2023
  • There are 20,583 Airbnb listings in the broader Cape Town area-There are 10,985 individual hosts in Cape Town-17 hosts are connected to between 50 and 150 listings each

There are more than 20,500 Airbnb listings in the broader Cape Town area, most of which are in the city bowl and Atlantic seaboard. There are 10,985 individual hosts in Cape Town – 40% have just 1 listing; 12% have 2 listings.

There are, however, 12 hosts connected to between 50 and 100 listings, and 5 with more than 100 listings. These 17 hosts are linked to 1,443 (17%) of the listings.

Hosts with multiple listings are more likely to be running a business, are unlikely to be living in the property, and may be in violation of short-term rental laws designed to protect residential housing, says advocacy group InsideAirbnb.

Monday 18 September 2023
  • 87% of TV owners are not paying SABC licence fees-The 'evasion' rate was 69% in 2019-The SABC raised R815-million from licence fees in 2022

The SABC has all but lost the battle to enforce TV licence fees. In a parliamentary briefing in September 2023, SABC board chair Khathutshelo Ramukumba said the 'evasion' rate was about 87%. In 2019, it was 69%. There were 10.5-million owners liable for TV licence fees in 2022. Of these, 1.9-million settled their fees in full or in part. Annual TV licence fees raised R815-million for the state-owned broadcaster in 2022, R152-million less than in 2019.

Thursday 14 September 2023
  • Women make up 35% of board members in the JSE’s Top 40 companies
  • One quarter of senior executive positions are held by women
  • Only 1 company has gender parity or better at both board and executive level

Women hold 180 of the 515 board positions (35%) at the JSE's Top 40 companies. Despite making up 46% of South Africa’s economically active population, they hold 115 of the 468 executive positions (25%). That women are not better represented at the C-suite level 'reflects the lack of progress in ensuring that corporate culture supports the advancement of female employees,' Just Share says in a new report. There are 5 female chairpersons and 4 female CEOs in the Top 40. Bidvest is the only company with gender parity or better at board and executive level: 75% of its board are women, and 50% of its executives. Only two other companies have more than half their board seats filled by women: Impala Platinum and Exxaro.

Wednesday 13 September 2023
  • The average game time of players in the 2022/23 DStv Premiership was 1,080 minutes – the equivalent of 12 matches-More than half the players only played for 720 minutes. The league's minimum game time is 2,790 minutes-11 players clocked up more than 3,000 minutes, while one in every 10 players did not play at all

The average time spent on the field by DStv Premiership players in the 2022/23 season was 1,080 minutes. With a match being 90 minutes long, this is the equivalent of 12 matches. It is also significantly less than the league minimum of 2,790 minutes, which was made up of 30 league matches and one Nedbank Cup match. More than half the 621 players only played for 720 minutes (8 matches) or less, with 76 not playing a single minute all season. The busiest players, who also played intercontinental fixtures, spent three times longer than average on the field. These 11 players played the equivalent of 40 matches.

Tuesday 12 September 2023
  • Africa has 60% of the world's solar potential, but it produces less than 2% of its solar power-France generated almost as much power as 54 African countries combined-Three African countries – South Africa, Egypt and Morocco – produce more than 70% of the continent's solar power

As the second-biggest continent, Africa has 60% of the world's solar potential, but it produces less than 2% of the world's power. Even far smaller regions such as Oceania and Latin America generate more than Africa. With a total production of 17 terawatt hours – a unit of energy equal to generating 1-trillion watts for one hour – all of Africa produces less than some countries in Europe, such as Italy (25TWh) and Spain (27TWh). In 2021 France produced almost as much as the whole of Africa (15.7TWh). South Africa, Egypt and Morocco produce more than 70% of Africa’s solar power. Coal-dependent South Africa generated 6.7TWh, or 40% of the continent's total solar power, in 2021.

Monday 11 September 2023
  • Nearly 8 in 10 government schools in South Africa do not have access to a library
  • Almost all government schools in the Eastern Cape and Limpopo do not have libraries
  • An estimated 81% of grade four learners could not read for meaning in 2021

It's difficult to instil a love of reading in young school children when 77% of South Africa's public schools do not have libraries. The Eastern Cape and Limpopo are the worst off where 93% of the schools in both of those provinces have no library facilities.

Barely a quarter (3,311) of government schools have access to a stocked school library.

An estimated 81% of grade four learners cannot read for meaning, according to a 2021 survey by the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, which assesses reading comprehension in different countries.

Monday 11 September 2023
  • The African Union has been granted permanent membership of the G20
  • The G20 – the Group of 20 – is a club of countries that meets to discuss global economic and political issues
  • South Africa was previously the only African country with a seat at the G20

The Group of 20 (G20), which until 9 September 2023 comprised 19 countries and the European Union, granted the African Union permanent membership at its 2023 summit in India.

The G20 represents 85% of global gross domestic product, 75% of global trade and about two-thirds of the world's population. It's a forum where leaders discuss and shape international economic co-operation.

The AU, which has 55 membership states, was granted permanent membership on a par with the European Union. South Africa was previously the only African country with a seat at the G20.

Friday 8 September 2023
  • There’s a 30cm difference between the tallest Bok player (Snyman) and the shortest player (Kolbe)
  • The average height of the Bok squad is 1.86m
  • The average South African man is 1.68m tall

It’s sometimes hard to remember that South African scrum-half Faf de Klerk is a little taller than the average South African man (1.68m) when he’s standing next to the national team’s man mountain RG Snyman. At 2.06m, the Springbok lock is the tallest player in the squad.

As with most sports, size really does matter on the rugby field – and it determines which position you’re likely to play. The average height of the SA squad’s locks is 2.02m, while their scrum-halves average 1.82m.

The two tallest players at the 2023 Rugby World Cup are Australia’s Rory Arnold and Scotland’s Richie Gray – both locks and both 2.08m.

Thursday 7 September 2023
  • Africa accounts for only 3% of global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels but experiences disproportionate impacts of climate change-African countries are seeking climate finance to support efforts to address climate change impacts and reduce emissions, including investing in renewable energy resources

Africa is responsible for about 3% of global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels, yet it experiences the effects of climate change disproportionately. According to the World Meteorological Organisation, more than 110-million people in Africa were directly affected by 'weather, climate and water-related hazards' in 2022, which also caused billions of rands of economic damages. The continent needs money to cope with the impacts of climate change as well as to reduce its carbon emissions in line with global efforts to keep temperature increase in check. Climate finance was a key topic at the 2023 Africa Climate Summit. The continent's leaders want the countries most responsible for polluting the atmosphere with the greenhouse gases that cause climate change to help pay to reduce the damage it causes in Africa and to develop its renewable energy resources.

Tuesday 5 September 2023
  • More South Africans are getting to know their neighbours’ names compared with 3 years ago
  • Neighbours are more willing to look out for each other when they know each other
  • Residents in Gauteng are more likely to ask their neighbours to watch over their homes in 2022/3 than they were in 2019/20

Gautengers are getting friendlier, according to a new survey. Almost 90% now know their neighbours' names and they’re also much more willing (88%) to ask their neighbours to watch their homes than they were three years ago (77.6%). The Statistics South Africa Governance, Public Safety and Justice survey measures the levels of crime experienced by households and individuals. It shows that people are more willing to look out for each other when there are strong community bonds. They’re more likely to report suspicious activity on a neighbour's property and are more willing to watch over each other’s children or homes.

Monday 4 September 2023
  • Almost 4,000 schools in South Africa have structures made from or containing asbestos
  • The education department has missed its own deadline to eradicate asbestos from schools by seven years
  • The use and trade of asbestos is banned in South Africa because of its health risks

Nearly 40% of the 3,912 schools in South Africa partially or entirely built of asbestos are in the Eastern Cape. In KwaZulu-Natal, almost 1,000 schools have asbestos structures that need to be replaced or rebuilt.

Under the Norms and Standards for Public School Infrastructure, the education department was committed to eradicating asbestos from schools by 29 November 2016. Asbestos was often used in construction as it is strong and fire resistant, but its use and trade was banned in 2008 as the fibrous material can cause lung problems and cancers.

Wednesday 30 August 2023
  • The government plans to plant 10-million trees in 5 years to make cities, towns and townships greener-Almost 3-million trees have been planted since the project's launch in 2021-Nearly two-thirds of the trees are indigenous, the rest are fruit trees

Almost 3-million trees have been planted by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment since the launch of its 10 Million Trees project 2 years ago. Trees and forests act as carbon sinks by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. They also help reduce the heat created by cities' concrete structures. Local governments and municipalities from Cape Town to the northern townships of Tshwane are planting waterwise and indigenous trees as well as fruit trees to help address food security. The goal is to plant 2-million trees a year at schools, in villages and townships as well as along roads in urban areas.

Tuesday 29 August 2023
  • Ghana is the world's largest importer of used clothing and the US is the largest exporter-Almost half of the used clothing is of such poor quality that it gets dumped-Environmental activists accuse wealthy countries of using Africa as a dumping ground

With an estimated 15-million items of used clothing arriving every week, Ghana was the world's largest importer of used clothing in 2021. Around 40% of the items are dumped because they are not wearable. Most of the rest goes to the Kantamanto market in Accra, where the surrounding areas and rivers are littered with the world's clothing.

Greenpeace says overseas countries are avoiding the responsibility of disposing of textiles properly by disguising their clothing exports as donations. The US and China are the world’s largest used clothing exporters.

Saturday 26 August 2023
  • Ethiopia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iran and Argentina have been invited to join Brics.
  • If they all accept the invitation, Brics will expand from 5 to 11 members from 1 January 2024.

Six countries were invited to join the Brics grouping of major emerging economies at its summit held in Johannesburg from 22 to 24 August 2023. Five countries are in the Middle East and Africa: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Egypt and Ethiopia. The sixth is Argentina. If all the countries accept the invitation the bloc with increase from five members – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – to 11 on 1 January 2024. Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister has said on Al Arabiya TV that his country will review the details of membership before making a decision to join.

Friday 18 August 2023
  • Players at the 2023 Women’s World Cup will be paid 25c to the $1 their male counterparts received last year-The prize money has increased 2,000% since female players were first paid in 2006-Fifa said it could not guarantee the distribution of prize money directly to players

The Women's World Cup has been held since 1991, but no prize money was awarded until 2007, when Fifa handed out $5.8-million. This year's $110-million may represent a 2,000% increase, but it doesn’t come close to the $440-million paid to male players at last year's tournament in Qatar.

Fifa announced all 732 players at the 2023 showcase would be paid at least $30,000, with the amount increasing as they progress. In Qatar, each (male) player was paid at least $391,000. Several countries, including South Africa, have been locked in contractual disputes with their national football federations over payment of the fee. Fifa aims to reach equal pay for the next instalment of the World Cups.

Thursday 17 August 2023
  • Zimbabwe heads to the polls on 23 August to elect its president and cabinet
  • Zanu-PF, which has governed for 43 years, won 50.7% of the vote in the 2018 elections
  • 6.6-million people have registered to vote, the most of any election in the country’s history

Zanu-PF has led Zimbabwe since its independence in 1980. In the last general election in 2018, it won by a slim margin, achieving 50.7% to the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance's 44.4%.

Incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa's main challenger in this year's election is expected to be Nelson Chamisa, who left the MDC-A to found the Citizens Coalition for Change.

The ruling party lost ground to the MDC-A in eight provinces in 2018. A record 6.6-million people have registered to vote in this year’s poll on 23 August.

Wednesday 16 August 2023
  • The textile and fashion industry is one of the largest consumers of water, using 79-trillion litres a year-Because cotton production is so water-intensive, it takes the equivalent of 3 years of one person's drinking water to make one T-shirt from crop to end product

The textile and fashion industry is one of the heaviest consumers of the world's water. It uses more than 79-trillion litres of water a year – enough to fill 31.6-million Olympic-sized swimming pools. The industry has a long supply chain – from production to retail – and each has an environmental impact. Take cotton, for example. Between 7,000 and 29,000 litres of water are used to produce 1kg of raw cotton, depending on where it's grown. One T-shirt can take up to 2,700 litres of water to make. That's enough drinking water for one person for 3 years.

Tuesday 15 August 2023
  • South Africa’s prisons have been over capacity for the past decade
  • On average, one in three prisoners does not have a bed
  • About one-third of the 143,000 people in prison in 2021/2 were unsentenced

The sentences of almost 9,500 non-violent offenders, including former president Jacob Zuma, were remitted on 11 August. This is the third time Cyril Ramaphosa will release prisoners in an attempt to ease overcrowding in South Africa’s 243 prisons. For the past 10 years, an average of one in three prisoners has not had a bed. About one-third of the 143,000 people in prison in 2021/2 were waiting for their cases to be finalised.

Monday 14 August 2023
  • With a salary of £350,000 a week, Egypt's Mohamed Salah was the highest-paid African player in the English Premier League last season-Debutant Kalidou Koulibaly's £15.3-million a year pushed Thomas Partey, Ghana's most expensive player of all time, into third position-Salah and Koulibaly were the only two Africans in the top 10 highest-paid players in the league

Egypt's Mohamed Salah became the highest-paid player in Liverpool's history when he signed a new contract worth more than £18.2-million a year for 2022/23 – that's £350,000 a week. Thomas Partey may be Ghana's most expensive player of all time, but he dropped into third position on the salary table, overtaken by Kalidou Koulibaly. The Senegalese defender was paid more than £15.3-million with Chelsea last season. He doubled his earnings last month when he moved to Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia.

Friday 11 August 2023
  • 96% of all malaria deaths are in Africa-It kills nearly 500,000 African children under 5 a year-The world's first malaria vaccine will be deployed in 12 countries from the end of 2023

Malaria is one of Africa's deadliest diseases, recording 95% of the world's cases. Despite being treatable, it kills nearly 620,000 Africans every year; 76% of those deaths are children younger than five. The world's first malaria vaccine will be deployed from the end of 2023. An initial allocation of 18-million doses will be sent to 12 countries considered to be among those that carry the heaviest burden of the disease. Trials in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi found that there was a 30% reduction in severe malaria infections and a 10% decline in deaths among fully vaccinated children.

Friday 11 August 2023
  • Around 500,000 people in Cape Town rely on minibus taxis to get to work or school
  • The SA National Taxi Council brought the city to a halt in an 8-day protest, which severely affected transport services

Nearly 500,000 people in Cape Town used minibus taxis to travel to and from work and school in 2020. According to StatsSA's National Household Travel Survey, 325,000 of these people were travelling to work and 147,000 were learners – about a quarter of all commuters and a fifth of all learners. The city's learners and workers were left stranded in August 2023 by an 8-day South African National Taxi Council strike. Santaco's protest centred on a city by-law that allows authorities to impound vehicles for violations. Both private and public transport services were severely affected.

Thursday 10 August 2023
  • Eskom is spending an average of R3-billion a month on running its open-cycle gas turbines
  • The turbines, which run off diesel, are meant to be used in emergencies and peak periods
  • The power utility doubled its diesel bill between its 2021/22 and 2022/23 financial years

Eskom's two open-cycle gas turbines, Ankerlig and Gourikwa, which run off diesel, were designed to be used during peak periods and in emergencies. But the power utility has been using them more often. In its 2022/23 financial year, Eskom reports that it generated 3,018 gigawatt hours (GW/h) of electricity from its open-cycle gas turbines – a big increase on the 1,826GW/h it generated from them in 2021/22. Its diesel bill more than doubled from R8.6-billion in 2021/22 to R21-billion in 2022/23. So far this financial year – April, May, June and July – Eskom has spent an average of R3-billion a month on diesel. Last year’s average monthly spend was R1.8-billion.

Wednesday 9 August 2023
  • The number of people getting married in South Africa have been steadily decreasing for over a decade-Marriages dipped to their lowest during 2020, thanks to the Covid-19 lockdowns-December remains the most popular month to get married

South Africans aren’t getting married as often as they used to. More than 106,500 civil marriages were recorded in 2021 compared with just under 172,000 in 2009, that’s a drop of just over a third (38%). December is the most popular month for weddings, although the number of December weddings has also been decreasing since 2009. January, February and the winter months, June and July, are generally the least popular months for weddings. Covid-19 had a big effect on weddings: only 384 couples got married in April 2020, thanks to the hard lockdown that month, and just over 600 people tied the knot in May. In all, just over 89,000 civil marriages took place in 2020.

Tuesday 8 August 2023
  • Ghana has become the 29th African country to abolish the death penalty-It has 176 people on death row, but no one has been executed there since 1993-Three African countries carried out executions last year: Egypt, South Sudan and Somalia

Ghana is the 29th African country to abolish the death penalty, although you can still be executed for high treason. Despite not having executed anyone for 30 years, it has 176 people on death row. Their sentences are expected to be commuted to life. In the past five years, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea and Zambia have abolished the death penalty. Of the 25 African countries that still have capital punishment on their law books, 19 have not executed anyone in the past decade. At least 35 people were put to death in Egypt, South Sudan and Somalia last year.

Monday 7 August 2023
  • Politicians – from members of parliament to ministers – received a 3% pay rise in July. The last time they had a raise was in 2019-The average member of parliament earns four times the average salary in South Africa-Two-thirds of registered taxpayers earn less than R150,000 a year

It was a happy July for public office bearers. President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a pay increase of 3%, backdated to 1 April 2022. The last time they had a pay raise was in 2019. The average member of parliament is in the top 2% of the taxpayers and out-earns the average salaried worker four times. The average South African salary, according to Stats SA, is R25,304 – roughly R303,000 a year. Two-thirds of the country’s registered taxpayers live on R150,000 or less a year.

Friday 4 August 2023
  • South Africa produces the most beer in Africa
  • China produces the most beer in the world
  • Of the 189-billion litres made last year, a fifth of it was in China

South Africans love their beer, but it might be news to some people that the country is the 12th biggest beer producer in the world. It's also by far the biggest in Africa. South Africa produced almost twice as much beer as Nigeria in 2022. But South Africa pales in comparison with China, which produced 36-billion litres in 2022 – that's 20% of the world's beer. More than 189-billion litres of the brew were produced globally last year. The top-12 beer-producing countries were responsible for two-thirds of that total.

Thursday 3 August 2023
  • Almost 80% of South Africa's tourists in June 2023 came from African countries-One in four visitors was from Zimbabwe-Most said they were on holiday. Only 3% came for business

Most of South Africa's tourists in June 2023 came from other African countries. In fact, one in four visitors arrived from Zimbabwe, more than from Europe, the Americas and Asia combined. Most visitors said they came for a holiday. Only 3% came for business. South Africa's other neighbours – Mozambique, Lesotho, Eswatini and Botswana – were the source of 46% of holiday visitors.

Wednesday 2 August 2023
  • The average cost for our basket of 12 staple items in July was R480, which is slightly cheaper than last month
  • Based on our basket, there’s a price difference of R84 between the most expensive and the cheapest retailers
  • The price of sunflower oil is one of the main reasons for this

The Outlier's grocery basket covers the prices of the same 12 staple items from eight retailers: Woolworths, Checkers, Pick n Pay, Spar, Food Lover’s Market, Shoprite, Boxer and Makro. In July, the average cost was R480, slightly cheaper than in June. Woolworths was the most expensive retailer based on our basket, at R510.88. All the other retailers came in at under R500. The difference between the cheapest and most expensive basket is R84, which is much bigger than June’s difference of R55. A drop in the price of sunflower oil is the main reason for this.

Tuesday 1 August 2023
  • Dlaminis had the most babies in South Africa in 2021-The surname is of eSwatini origins-The second-most popular surname in the country is Nkosi, which is of Nguni origin

In 2021, more than 7,000 babies with the surname Dlamini were born in South Africa. The surname has eSwatini origins and translates to variations of ‘one who eats during the day’, according to Professor Sihawukele Ngubane of the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The Nkosi surname belongs to 6,499 babies born in 2021. It is an Nguni word meaning chief.

Monday 31 July 2023
  • After withdrawing from the Black Sea Grain Initiative on 17 July, Russia offered 6 African countries free grain
  • African leaders, including SA president Cyril Ramaphosa, say they would prefer the deal be reinstated

The Black Sea Grain Initiative is a UN-brokered deal that allowed Ukraine to ship grain through a Russian blockade from July 2022. About 32.9-million tonnes of grain and oilseeds was shipped to 45 countries, including 10 in Africa. Russia pulled out of the deal on 17 July and bombed Ukraine’s ports, destroying 60,000 tonnes of grain. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on 27 July that he would send free grain to Zimbabwe, Mali, Central African Republic, Burkina Faso, Eritrea and Somalia. African leaders, including South African president Cyril Ramaphosa, responded that they would rather the grain deal be reinstated.

Friday 28 July 2023
  • Nigeria’s petrol price more than doubled after it scrapped its fuel subsidy
  • Despite this, its fuel price remains one of the lowest in Africa

After Nigeria’s fuel subsidy was scrapped by President Bola Tinubu in May, the price more than doubled from 238.11 naira per litre to 545.83 naira per litre.

The subsidy, introduced in the 1970s, was expensive for the government. PWC estimates it cost $30-billion over 18 years.

It also created an incentive for smuggling petrol to neighbouring countries, where it was sold at higher prices. An estimated 58-million litres a day was smuggled out of the country in 2022.

Nigeria’s fuel price remains one of the lowest in Africa. In July it was 617 naira per litre ($0.78). South Africa’s fuel price on 24 July was $1.26 per litre, Ghana’s was $1.14 and Kenya’s was $1.38.

Thursday 27 July 2023
  • Since October 2021, 20 councillors who sit on the country's municipalities were shot dead-The murder rate in South Africa is 45 per 100,000 people. It’s six times higher among ward councillors-Nearly half of the murdered councillors were in KwaZulu-Natal municipalities

Every five years 4,500 councillors (including mayors) are elected to ensure the delivery of services across South Africa’s municipalities. Since the lead-up to the last local government election on 1 November 2021, 20 councillors were shot dead. The country's national murder rate for the year ending March 2023 was around 45 per 100,000 people. For ward councillors the murder rate is nearly six times higher: it's closer to 260 murders per 100,000 for the same time period

Wednesday 26 July 2023
  • The 2023 Netball World Cup runs from 28 July to 6 August in Cape Town- Netball players are usually taller than average. South Africa’s squad averages 1.8 metres- The tournament’s tallest player is 2.06m. At 1.66m, SA’s captain is one of the shortest

In a sport like netball, being tall is an advantage. The average height of the Spar Proteas squad, South Africa’s national team, is 1.8 metres. Being tall is especially important for players in scoring and goalkeeping positions. The tallest player at this year’s Netball World Cup is Sri Lanka’s shooter Tharjini Sivalingam, who is 2.06m tall. Players in positions where speed and agility matter are often shorter. SA’s centre and captain Bongi Msomi is 1.66m tall. The 2023 Netball World Cup is being played in Cape Town from 28 July to 6 August.

Tuesday 25 July 2023
  • A new study shows most of South Africa’s drowning victims are children younger than 10 years old-Four out of five drowning victims are male-Most of the drownings happen in freshwater, like streams, ditches and stormwater pipes

Almost half (47%) of drowning victims in South Africa are children under 10 years old, according to a study that looked at South African Police Services’ drownings data over a six-year period, from 2016 to 2021. The study was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Four out of five children who drown are younger than five. That’s nearly one young child a day over a the six-year period.

An overwhelming majority of the victims are male (81%). Studies show males are more likely to engage in risk-taking behaviour than females.

Most drownings happen in fresh water (eg dams, lagoons and reservoirs). The rest happen in the ocean, pools, homes and unspecified areas.

Monday 24 July 2023
  • A quarter of the Billboard Hot 100 songs for 22 July 2023 were Taylor Swift songs-7 of the top 20 were by Taylor Swift-4 of these were new entries with “I Can See You (Taylor’s Version)” entering the charts at # 5

Taylor Swift’s dominance over the charts continued last week with 25 of the top 100 songs by her. The release of ‘Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)’ is the singer’s 12th #1 album. Only The Beatles, Jay-Z and Drake have had 12 or more #1 albums.

Four of Swift’s albums are in the top 10. 11 are included in the top Billboard 200.

She is also the only living artist to have 10 albums in the top 200 simultaneously. This has only been achieved by four other acts: Prince, David Bowie, Whitney Houston and The Beatles.

Friday 21 July 2023
  • The winner of Tour de France 2022 completed the 3-week race at an average speed of 42km per hour-The 2022 edition of the race was 3,344km in total-The longest edition of the race was 5,745km in 1926

The Tour de France is a gruelling 3-week test for cyclists and typically covers around 3,500km. The 2022 race winner, Jonas Vingegaard of Denmark, completed the 3,344km route at an average speed of 42.03km per hour. Vingegaard is the current leader and likely winner of the 2023 race which finishes in Paris on Sunday.

Earlier editions of the race often covered longer distances. The longest race was 5,745km and was completed in just 17 separate stages. Today’s race is typically made up of 21 stages.

Crashes and injuries often force riders to withdraw from the race. In 2022 there were 176 riders at the start and 135 at the finish. 64 riders started the 1903 race and 21 finished. Only 41 of 126 riders completed the longest race in 1926.

Thursday 20 July 2023
  • Four of South Africa's top 20 chess players are teenagers. The youngest is 13-The highest-ranking woman is ranked 45th. She is 16-South Africa cannot compete in international competitions because Chess SA has been suspended by Sascoc

South Africa has only one grand chessmaster, Kenny Solomon. The four teenagers joining him in the top ranks include 13-year-old Caleb Levitan, the youngest FIDE master in the country. Chloe Badenhorst (16) is the highest-ranked woman at number 45.

The Commonwealth Championships were to be held in South Africa in July 2023, but governing body Chess SA has been suspended by the Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee because of alleged irregularities. The tournament will be held in India in October.

Gauteng Chess president Vicky Magu says the suspension means players can’t receive national colours or compete overseas. The court case is ongoing.

Wednesday 19 July 2023
  • The ninth instalment of the Fifa Women’s World Cup kicks off on 20 July-South Africa, Nigeria, Morocco and Zambia are the only African teams represented at the 32-team tournament-Banyana Banyana head in as African champions. They are ranked behind Nigeria in the Fifa Women’s rankings

The 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup will be played in Australia and New Zealand from 20 July to 20 August.

Africa will be represented by Nigeria, which has played in every edition of the competition, followed by South Africa, the African champions. It is Banyana Banyana’s second appearance at the World Cup. Morocco and Zambia make their debuts this year.

Although Africa is almost equal to Europe in terms of Fifa member countries, it has a third of the representation at the tournament.

Wednesday 19 July 2023
  • Inflation decreased to 5.4% in June from 6.3% in May-It is the lowest level since October 2021 when inflation was 5%-Vegetables, sweets, breads and cereals have increased in the past year. The price of cooking oils has decreased

Inflation has decreased to its lowest level in 20 months. It is also the third month in a row where inflation decreased.

It decreased from 6.3% in May to 5.4% in June. Stats SA’s Consumer Price Index measures monthly changes in prices for a range of products.

Tuesday 18 July 2023
  • Two new statues of Nelson Mandela are being unveiled to commemorate the former president, who was born on 18 July 1918-There are at least 40 public statues of Mandela around the world, 19 are in South Africa-At 9 metres, the statue at the Union Buildings is the tallest figurative sculpture

Two new bronze statues of Nelson Mandela will be unveiled in the Eastern Cape on Mandela Day, which commemorates his birthday on 18 July. One is outside the Nelson Mandela Museum in Mthatha, the other in Qunu, the village where Madiba spent his childhood. The two statues cost R3-million. There are at least 40 statues of Mandela around the world. The tallest figurative sculpture is at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, which is 9 meters high. Mandela was South Africa’s first democratically elected president. Note – Edited to clarify that the Union Building sculpture is world’s tallest figurative statue.

Tuesday 18 July 2023
  • Shaka kaSenzangakhona became king when he forcefully assumed power and established the independent Zulu kingdom in 1818-The main function of the Zulu kingdom today is as custodian of Zulu traditions and customs-Reigning monarch Misuzulu kaZwelithini is the ninth Zulu king

Between the 1600s and mid-1800s, members of the Zulu clan lived

peacefully among other Nguni clans in present-day northern KwaZulu-Natal. Shaka Zulu became chief in 1816. Two years later, he took power by force and established the Zulu kingdom, known today as AmaZulu – South Africa’s largest ethnic group.

The Zulu kingdom is a far cry from the self-sufficient powerhouse that Shaka built, and it functions today mainly as the custodian of Zulu traditions and customs. It is still a player in the country’s politics and the king is paid a salary by the state.

Reigning king Misuzulu was appointed in 2021 and crowned on 29 October 2022. He is the third son of Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, who was king for 53 years.

Friday 14 July 2023
  • Fending off challenges by TikTok, old-school social media platforms Facebook (84%) and LinkedIn (76%) remain the favourites of South African businesses-Fewer companies are spending money on Facebook, but they are still spending the bulk of their social media budgets on the Meta app-Businesses using LinkedIn dropped from 80% to 76%, but it gobbled a quarter of the ad spend

Although less than 60% of South Africans say they use Facebook, it is still the social media platform of choice for major SA brands.

In 2023, 84% of companies surveyed as part of the SA Social Media Landscape report using Facebook as a marketing platform. This is up from 81% last year, but down 12 percentage points from 2021’s 96%.

Despite attempted challenges from Instagram and upstart TikTok, local brands are still choosing to spend the majority of their social media budget on Facebook.

Most of the companies (64%) spend less than R10,000 a month on social media advertising, with only 13% spending more than R50,000 a month.

Business usage of LinkedIn, the ‘sober professional social platform’, dropped from 80% to 76%, but it saw a healthy share of ad spend.

Thursday 13 July 2023
  • Nigeria and South Africa have the highest unemployment rates in Africa. According to their own statistics agencies, both are above 30%-Nigeria is adopting the International Labour Organisation’s method of calculating employment statistics, which estimates the country’s unemployment rate as 6%-The change comes at a time when the country is battling spiralling inflation

Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, has one of the highest unemployment rates at 30%. Once it adopts the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO’s) methodology, its unemployment rate could be as low as 6%. The ILO’s methodology sees an employed person as anyone who works at least 1 hour a week. Nigeria’s statistics bureau required 20 hours a week. Nigerians are facing increasing economic hardship. Inflation is over 22%, the value of the naira is falling and the state has dropped fuel subsidies.

As South Africa already follows the ILO’s, there are only a few percentage points between the Stats SA estimate and the ILO’s of 30%.

Wednesday 12 July 2023
  • A 2.5kg of Selati white sugar now costs R70 at some stores
  • The average price of sugar has increased by 18% since June 2022
  • In June 2022, the average price of a 2kg bag of Selati white sugar was R52.74

At some retailers, the price went up significantly between May and June. This brand of sugar was most expensive at Checkers and Shoprite in June, costing R69.99 for the 2.5kg bag.

The price surge stems from substantial increases that were passed on by the South African Sugar Association to all producers and customers due to cost pressures, according to an email reply from the Woolworths press office. The association said it could not respond to our questions.

Tuesday 11 July 2023
  • In 2022 half of the world’s diamonds were mined in Africa
  • Botswana is the second-biggest diamond producer. The Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa are also in the top five
  • Russia produces the most diamonds by volume but the value of Botswana’s diamond output is higher. In 2022 it was worth $4.7-billion; Russia’s was $3.5-billion

Botswana has a reached a new agreement with DeBeers which gives it a larger portion of the diamonds mined in the country to sell. Under the new agreement the state-owned Okavango Diamond Company (OKD) will get 30% of the diamonds mined by Debswana, a joint venture between the Botswana government and De Beers. OKD previously got 25%, with the remainder going to DeBeers. By the end of the 10-year agreement OKD’s share will increase to 50%.

Monday 10 July 2023
  • Kabelo Matsunyane (24), was the youngest jockey in the 2023 Durban July field and the winner-The oldest rider, Piere Strydom (57), took second place-Winchester Mansion, the winning horse, broke its neck when it was 1 year old

The youngest and oldest jockeys in the race vied for the top spot at the 2023 Hollywoodbets Durban July at Greyville on 1 July.

Twenty-four-year-old Kabelo Matsunyane ended up taking the win with horse, Winchester Mansion. The jockey and his team took home the almost R3-million prize for first place.

The winning horse reportedly broke its neck as a yearling when he ran into a pole according to owner Gaynor Rupert, wife of South African billionaire Johann Rupert.

Piere Strydom (57), veteran jockey and the oldest competitor in the line-up took the second spot after coming out of retirement earlier this year.

Strydom has won the Durban July four times in 2016, 2012, 2001 and 1996.

Friday 7 July 2023
  • 7 July is Kiswahili day
  • The United Nations established the day in 2017 to recognise the culture, history and literature of Kiswahili speakers
  • It’s the official language of Tanzania and Kenya

There are 2,171 living languages in Africa. Kiswahili is one of them and is a lingua franca throughout East and Central Africa. Swahili developed over hundreds of years of trade between the Middle East and East Africa. Swahili is derived from the Arabic phrase ‘of the coast’.

Thursday 6 July 2023
  • Over 39,000 pieces of trash were collected by volunteers from beaches around South Africa in 2021 during the International Coastal Cleanup campaign
  • Cigarette butts were the most common find on SA’s beaches
  • Since 1986, volunteers across the globe have collected 59.4-million cigarette butts from beaches

Every year thousands of volunteers take to beaches around the world to rid the sands and waters of trash as part of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup.In 2021, 1,442 volunteers covered 89.4km of South African beaches where they collected more than 39,000 items that should have been thrown away, including 4,000 cigarette butts. Though small, cigarette butts are not harmless. They are made of cellulose acetate, a man-made plastic, and contain toxic chemicals.It’s a global problem. More than 1-million cigarette butts were found on beaches around the world in 2021.

Wednesday 5 July 2023
  • In July 2022, the average price of a 2-litre bottle of sunflower oil was R115.74 between four stores – Pick n Pay, Woolworths, Checkers and Spar
  • A year later, the average price is R83.24, a decrease of more than 28%
  • Russia and Ukraine are the two largest producers of sunflower in the world and the invasion of Ukraine pushed up prices in early 2022

The June 2023 grocery basket marks a year since we started collecting and comparing grocery prices. We started collecting prices for four stores and now collect eight. Last year sunflower oil saw a large price increase as a result of the Ukraine war, poor climate conditions and poor harvests. Ukraine and Russia are the two largest producers of sunflower oil in the world. A year later the sunflower oil is one of the few items in our basket that has decreased in price compared with a year ago.

Tuesday 4 July 2023
  • We’ve added spaghetti, peanut butter, oats and tea to our monthly grocery basket
  • The price of sugar has increased by 18% on average since June 2022
  • The sunflower oil price has stabilised after a tumultuous 2022

We’ve been collecting our grocery prices for exactly a year and since June 2022 a lot has changed. We started out comparing the prices of nine basic goods across four retailers: Woolworths, Checkers, Pick n Pay and Spar. That has now doubled to eight retailers with the addition of Food Lover’s Market, Shoprite, Boxer and Makro.For June’s new basket of 12 staple items, Pick n Pay was the most expensive at R505.88.For the third month in a row, Makro’s basket emerged as the cheapest option at R450.99.

Monday 3 July 2023
  • For the past two years, Cape Town has had very wet Junes but overall the city is actually getting drier
  • This has been confirmed by historical records and SA Weather Service rainfall measurements
  • So far this year looks as though it will have the most rain since 2015

The latest United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report confirmed by historical drying trend over especially the extreme western parts of South Africa, said Dr Andries Kruger, the chief climate scientist from the South African Weather Service.

‘On the other hand, with a warming atmosphere, the air can hold more moisture [water vapour]. Therefore short-term rainfall episodes are likely to become more extreme, with a probability of higher 24-hour rainfall amounts,’ he said.

Thursday 29 June 2023
  • Max Park holds 6 different world records for the Rubik’s cube- He also holds 4 average speed world records which are based on 5 consecutive attempts with 3 counting- His 3:13 record time for the 3X3X3 broke the previous 3:47 time set by Yusheng Du in 2018

Most us have tried to solve the Rubik’s cube but none of us has been as successful at “cubing” as Max Park who earlier this month set a world record of 3.13 seconds for solving the traditional 3X3X3 cube.Max Park of the US is the undisputed champion of the cube. As a child his autism meant he lacked the fine motor skills to perform many everyday tasks. He overcame this and today he holds the 3X3, 4X4, 5X5, 6X6, 7X7 and the 3X3-one-handed cube records.

Thursday 29 June 2023
  • There have been eight magnitude 4.0 or bigger seismic events in South Africa since June 2018
  • Earthquakes measuring between magnitude 4.0 and 4.9 are considered minor. Anything above 6.0 on the Richter scale will damage buildings.
  • A seismic event is a sudden change in tension in the earth’s bedrock, causing rocks to break

In the early hours of Sunday 11 June 2023, Johannesburg residents were woken by a 4.7 magnitude earthquake. South Africa does not sit on tectonic plate fault lines. However, many of SA’s cities like Johannesburg, are built around mines which can lead to seismic activity says Professor Andrzej Kijko of the University of Pretoria’s Natural Hazard Centre. The effects of mining can have effects even after mining operations have ceased.

Thursday 29 June 2023
  • Cape Town has experienced one of the wettest Junes since 1990
  • The heavy rains were mainly caused by a higher-than-average frequency of cold fronts
  • Severe rainfall events are likely to become more common; but floods are not unusual in Cape Town, and they have become more damaging because of the increase in the population.

Cape Town gets most its of rain in the winter months – June, July and August – but after higher than average rainfall since March, more rain fell in the first six months of 2023 than in the whole of 2017. The impacts of high rainfall events like those that occurred in June have been getting worse as more people build homes in high-risk areas. A city official said that between 2020 and 2021, 189 informal settlements were created in Cape Town and 60% of them are considered high risk.

Wednesday 28 June 2023
  • Champions Mamelodi Sundowns won the most matches, winning 21 out of their 30 league matches- Chippa United recorded the most number of losses but they did not end up getting relegated- Marumo Gallants, which did get relegated, drew in nearly half of their matches

There is a lot to play for in the DStv Premiership and, as such, every result matters. Sundowns has now won 13 league titles since 1996, and this season’s was their sixth successive title. Based on their position on the log, clubs could find themselves competing among the very best in Africa, or going down to the second-tier Motsepe Foundation Championship. Maritzburg United, which registered the highest number of losses, and Marumo Gallants were relegated this season.

Saturday 24 June 2023
  • A padel ball court costs around R1-million to build- There are 180 padel courts in SA- The first two SA courts were built in Cape Town in 2020

Somewhere between squash and tennis, padel is now one of the fastest growing sports in the world. Padel is played on a court slightly small than a tennis court and is surrounded by a glass wall. The walls play a part in the game like they do in squash. The equipment looks not unlike a beach bat and ball set but comes with a heftier price tag, and an hour on a court could set you back R600 for a foursome.

Friday 23 June 2023

If you’re familiar with Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns’ logos, you’ll notice that there’s star above both of them. This is a reward system used for clubs that win the CAF Champions League

Thursday 22 June 2023

Melokuhle, which means ‘to uphold beautiful things’ in isiZulu, is still the most common name for newborn girls in South Africa. It is also one of the favourite names among parents of baby boys.Enzokuhle, also a name popular on both lists over the past few years, fell out of the top five in 2021. The name is isiZulu for ‘do good things’. It was the most popular name for new babies in the country in both 2017 and 2018.

Wednesday 21 June 2023
  • Vegetables were 20.8% more expensive in 2023 than in 2022
  • Most vegetables increased by 20% over the last year
  • Inflation decreased to 6.3% in May from 6.8% in April

Your eyes weren’t deceiving when you saw the price of a bag of onions in May. The price of this cook’s staple has increased by 70% and now costs more than R10 a kilo than it did in 2022

Wednesday 21 June 2023

Inflation decreased to 6.3% in May from 6.8% in April.

Tuesday 20 June 2023

By 18 June 2023, 128mm of rain had fallen in Cape Town. Previous high was 229.4mm for the whole of June 1994

Friday 16 June 2023

Marumo Gallants, who finished 10th on the log, can’t compete in next season’s DDC as their senior team has been relegated to the Motsepe Foundation Championship.

Friday 16 June 2023

The DDC produced a total of 707 goals – an average of 2.95 goals per match.

Thursday 15 June 2023

Johannesburg relies on 59 water reservoirs to supply its 6-million residents with water. The city’s two biggest reservoirs are in Yeoville and Bryanston, each with a capacity to hold 102,000 kilolitres (kl) – equal to almost 41 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Wednesday 14 June 2023

Cape Town got its first clean audit in six years.

Wednesday 14 June 2023

A clean audit doesn’t guarantee good service delivery but it’s a good start. There are only nine municipalities that have managed to get clean audits for at least seven years in a row.

Wednesday 14 June 2023

The price of a barrel of crude oil is a big driver in the increase in the petrol price – it costs almost a third more than it did in 2019 – driven up over the past year because of the war in Ukraine. But it is not the only factor. South Africa buys its oil in US dollars, and since January 2019, the US dollar exchange rate went from R14.9 to the dollar to R18.99 – making the crude oil we buy that much more expensive.

Tuesday 13 June 2023

11.9% drop in electricity generated in SA

Monday 12 June 2023

In May 2023, we switched over to the cheapest, most comparable sunflower oil, milk and toilet paper brands on offer at the different retailers. We did this because it has become increasingly difficult to compare the same brands between retailers.

Monday 12 June 2023

Friday 9 June 2023

The 2022/23 DStv Premiership season produced 503 goals, an average of 2.1 per match. The most offensive team lifted the league title – Mamelodi Sundowns scored 52 goals this season, an average of 1.73 goals per match.

Thursday 8 June 2023

Every month, 10,000 people arrive in Joburg, says the MMC for Environment and Infrastructure Services Jack Sekwaila. The city’s growing population and industries mean more waste. But people moving to Joburg is not new.

Wednesday 7 June 2023

Four years ago, a litre of 95 Octane cost R16.76. It now costs R22.63.

Wednesday 7 June 2023

Tuesday 6 June 2023

China’s economy boomed in the 1990s when half of its 1.1-billion people were 24 years old or younger. India also reached 1-billion people in the mid-1990s but it did not follow China’s rapid economic growth.

Monday 5 June 2023

The G20 is a bloc of the world’s 19 biggest economies and the European Union. All but three of the 19 countries will be at zero growth by the end of the century.

Friday 2 June 2023

Half of the people living in Africa are 19 years old or younger, which makes it the youngest continent. With an average birth rate of 4.3 children per woman, its population is projected to nearly triple by the end of the century.

Thursday 1 June 2023

South Africa’s top-flight teams managed an average of 2.1 goals per match, short of the 2015/16 peak of 2.34 goals per match.

Wednesday 31 May 2023

The monthly reports by energy regulator Nersa listing newly registered generation projects give some idea of the likely distribution of future power projects. The Northern Cape is a standout, largely because of its solar potential. Solar makes up the majority of projects, particularly those in Limpopo, North West and the Free State. The bulk of the wind projects are in the Eastern and Western Cape.

Tuesday 30 May 2023

A deal is only included in SIPRI’s trade register “if reliable information has been verified that an order has been placed or deliveries have begun”, says the Swedish think tank. Most of the countries South Africa exported arms to bought armoured personnel carriers (APCs). It delivered 1,372 APCs between 2017 and 2022, according to SIPRI.

Monday 29 May 2023

In two years the payload for road freight transportation has increased by 20% thanks to the problems on Transnet’s rail lines.

Monday 29 May 2023

R181-billion. That’s how much the treasury has given Eskom since 2016 to help keep things running. And Eskom is not alone. The government has granted R331.2-billion in bailouts to state-owned companies in the 10 years since 2013.

Thursday 25 May 2023

Between 2015 to 2021, South Africa lost about 5% of its total primary forest area. More than 6,000ha – or 6,373 rugby fields – of primary forest has been destroyed.

Wednesday 24 May 2023

As the DStv Premiership season comes to a close, we may see the end of some of its long-standing relationships. Kaizer Chiefs captain Itumeleng Khune’s contract expires in June. Although he says he is not planning to slow down, Chiefs have not given any indication whether they will extend their relationship with their longest-serving player.

Tuesday 23 May 2023

Tuesday 23 May 2023

Monday 22 May 2023

Thursday 18 May 2023

Eskom has received bailouts in 2016, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023. Other big recapitalisations were for SAA, Sasria (as a result of the July 2021 riots) and Sanral.

Wednesday 17 May 2023

We’re all feeling particularly wet in Joburg, with the city receiving 66.4mm of rain so far this month. The wettest May was recorded 26 years ago when 46.8mm fell in a single day. Given that we’re only halfway through the month, we could very well be on track to break the record.

Monday 15 May 2023

South Africa is a country rich in solar, wind and water resources, but you wouldn’t think so if you looked at our electricity mix. Although renewable energy sources have slowly been on the increase since 2010, non-renewable resources still account for most of our electricity supply, the majority of which is coal.

Friday 12 May 2023

Namibian international and reigning PSL footballer of the season Peter Shalulile became the seventh South African-based player to reach 100 goals in the PSL era when he scored a brace against CR Belouizdad at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Algeria last month.

Thursday 11 May 2023

Thirty-four of the 43 goalkeepers who made appearances in the DStv Premiership last season were able to keep clean sheets – that’s a game in which the opposition is prevented from scoring – in all the matches that they played in.

Wednesday 10 May 2023

Most of a municipality’s revenue comes from government grants and the sale of electricity. Metros and provincial capitals get almost a third of their revenue from selling electricity.

Tuesday 9 May 2023

Many of the everyday items in our homes and grocery baskets will long outlast us, but not in a good way. In fact, every plastic toothbrush that has ever been made still exists somewhere. That’s a crazy thought. Some more sustainable options include Faithful to Nature’s bamboo toothbrush and Kindbrush.

Monday 8 May 2023

In March 2023 more than 187,000 overseas tourists arrived in the country, the majority from the UK, USA, and Germany.

Europeans make up the majority of ‘overseas’ tourists during this period, accounting for just over 120,000 of the 187,000 arrivals.

Monday 8 May 2023

Eskom is responsible for 43% of SA’s greenhouse gas emissions thanks to its dependence on coal. Road transport emits 10%, acc to SA’s latest greenhouse gas inventory published by the DFFE.

Friday 5 May 2023

Most evenings Eskom uses Twitter to share details of the current demand for electricity and how much power is actually available. A typical tweet also includes details of renewable power available and open-cycle gas turbines in use. For power and data nerds it’s a lot of useful information in a concise package and also a good view of the power(less) situation in South Africa.

Friday 5 May 2023

Thursday 4 May 2023

South Africa first competed in the Olympics in 1904, and was banned for 6 editions between 1965 and 1988. All in all, we have won 89 medals: 27 gold, 33 silver and 29 bronze. 38 of these have been won since the apartheid-era sports ban was lifted.

Thursday 4 May 2023

The Tokyo Olympics in 2020 was South Africa’s worst performance at the Games since the dawn of democracy, with only 3 medals to show for it. It was also the greatest indication that we have not done enough over the years to foster sports at grassroots level. Our most successful year was at the 2016 Summer Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro when Team SA scooped 10 Olympic medals, followed by the 2004 Games in Athens and the 2012 Games in London with 6 medals each.

Wednesday 3 May 2023

Emissions peaked in 2009 and had dropped by 11% by 2019. Then in 2020, because of the Covid lockdowns, emissions dropped again, by nearly 6%.

Friday 28 April 2023

This month we’ve added two new outlets to the list: Makro and Boxer.

Friday 28 April 2023

In the meantime, these are the running prices for the main retailers from August 2022 until this month. The chart leaves out the June and July 2022 prices where we adjusted the quantities.

Wednesday 26 April 2023

11 municipalities are run by mayors in coalitions with bigger parties. Most of these (7) were formed by the ANC bolstering a smaller party.

Wednesday 26 April 2023

The Premier Soccer League (PSL) was founded by 18 member clubs in 1996. Today, less than half of those clubs remain.

Wednesday 26 April 2023

South Africa’s municipalities have managed to double their Eskom debt in three years – and just five municipalities are responsible for at least half of what is owed.With Eskom battling to keep the lights on, this is turning out to be a big problem.

Tuesday 25 April 2023

Boxing SA recorded 743 licensed boxers in 2017/18, the highest number of licensed boxers in the past seven years, but only 51 of those were women. The number of licensed female boxers barely changed at all between 2015 and 2022.

Monday 24 April 2023

10 by-elections have happened since our last newsletter, bringing the total to 120 since 1 November 2021. The reasons are:47 ward councillors have died (+4);

35 councillors have resigned (+6);

17 councillors have had their party membership terminated;

the Ditsobotla council was dissolved (leading to 20 by-elections); and

legal action has led to one by-election.

Friday 21 April 2023

Nelson Mandela set the tone when he said in 1997 that “ours could not be a genuine democracy unless the complete emancipation of women was an inherent part of any process of democratisation”.If gender parity in the workplace is a measure of that, then President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet is doing well. It is split evenly between men and women. This is a first for South Africa.

Thursday 20 April 2023

South Africans have collectively made almost R17-million in winnings off this first-person shooter game. Almost R3-million of that belongs to Johnny Theodosiou, South Africa’s highest-paid e-sports player. All his winnings come from playing CS:GO.

Wednesday 19 April 2023

Tuesday 18 April 2023

In the first three months of 2023 more than 2,400 MW of power projects have been registered, more than the number registered in 2022 and more than all the projects registered in the previous 5 years.

Friday 14 April 2023

In 2022, 8% more operational renewable energy became available in South Africa. The country gained 495MW of electricity from resources like solar photovoltaic power (75MW) and wind power (420MW). Concentrated solar power has remained steady since 2019.

Thursday 13 April 2023

What you need to know about the district municipality

Council seat: Moorreesburg

Municipalities in district: Bergrivier, Cederberg, Matzikama, Saldanha Bay and Swartland

Population: 464,056 (2020 estimate)

Audit results: 12 years of clean audits

Wednesday 12 April 2023

The ANC appears to be better at gender representation in local government than the DA. Nearly half of the mayors in 177 ANC-led municipalities are women. 20% of the DA’s 35 mayors are women.

Tuesday 11 April 2023

The Treasury has made audit opinions for 2021/22 available for 191 municipalities. Four stood out because they had gone from really bad opinions in 2010, to good, clean ones.

Thursday 6 April 2023
  • Pit toilets should have been removed from schools by 2016

At least three young children have died after falling into a pit toilet at school since the Department of Basic Education (DBE) declared basic pit latrines illegal in 2013. These toilets should have been removed from all public schools by 30 November 2016. They weren’t.

Wednesday 5 April 2023

In some of the municipalities, the main parties lost ground. In Msunduzi, the IFP increased its share of the vote to 58% in a by-election and won a ward council seat from the ANC. In a Swellendam by-election the Patriotic Alliance got 30% of the votes, a huge increase after barely featuring in 2021.

Tuesday 4 April 2023

In December 2022, Unisa spent over R1-million on diesel for generators because of loadshedding, more than 5 times what it was spending in 2022.

Tuesday 4 April 2023

The University of Pretoria spends at least R500,000 a day on diesel to run the generators on campuses and residences at the lowest stage of loadshedding.

Rikus Delport, the university’s director of institutional advancement, says each stage increases the cost by R500,000 and the institution is spending up to R2-million a day during stage 4.

In an answer to a parliamentary question, the minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation provided the daily or monthly expenditures on diesel for a number of South African universities, and the amounts varied… by a lot.

Monday 3 April 2023

For the first time this year, the SPAR basket was not the most expensive, in fact, it came in at the second-cheapest price. Checkers took the priciest spot by R15.46 in comparison with Food Lover’s Market’s bag of goods which was the most affordable at R399.70.

Monday 3 April 2023

Nearly a third of all species assessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are threatened with extinction. This is any species that falls into one of three IUCN categories: vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered. Out of all the species, cycads are the worst off – 69% of all assessed cycads are threatened.

Friday 31 March 2023

Boxing South Africa’s revenue grew steadily between 2017 and 2021, with the bulk of its income coming from government grants and subsidies. The federation is the administrator and regulator of professional boxing in South Africa.

Thursday 30 March 2023

In 2016 and 2021, 26-million people registered to vote in the local government elections. In 2016, 15-million voted on the day. This dropped to 12-million in 2021.

Thursday 30 March 2023

In the past 22 years, the number of political parties has increased dramatically, but voter turnout has decreased.

Wednesday 29 March 2023

The South African government, which spent about R30-billion on the 2010 Fifa World Cup, will spend less than 1% of that amount on the 2023 Netball World Cup. Netball is South Africa’s most popular women’s sport.

Wednesday 29 March 2023

The Premier Soccer League (PSL) brings in more than R300-million in revenue from sponsorships, and part of that includes the prize monies that its member clubs win for participating in its affiliate competitions.

Tuesday 28 March 2023

2020 had the most protests (1,378). Policing of lockdown restrictions, gender-based violence, lack of personal protective equipment for critical employees working during the Covid-19 lockdown and electricity outages were the leading reasons behind the high number of protests in 2020, the ISS says.

Tuesday 28 March 2023

7% of the people living in South Africa have no water infrastructure. Although this is an improvement from 2000 when 16% did not have access to water infrastructure, it still means 4-million people don’t have access.

Monday 27 March 2023

An anonymous man in his 50s became South Africa’s biggest PowerBall winner of all time when he won R232-million in February 2019. The winning ticket was bought at an OK Mini Mart in Tygerdal, Cape Town.Other big winners include a grandfather from Bloemfontein, a holidaymaker in Mossel Bay, a pensioner from Johannesburg and a woman who had lost her job because of the pandemic.

Friday 24 March 2023

Twelve percent of the 479 goals scored in the DStv Premiership last season were scored from the penalty spot, with Golden Arrows being awarded the most penalties. The team managed to score nine out of its 12 penalty kicks.

Thursday 23 March 2023

The pensionable age for government employees is 60 years, but 19 of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s 30 cabinet ministers are older than that.

Thursday 23 March 2023

Wednesday 22 March 2023

Inflation increased to 7% in February, up slightly from 6.9% in January.

Tuesday 21 March 2023

There are 56 tropical cyclones listed in the Emdata international disaster database that hit Southern African countries between 2000 and 2023.Freddy, which recently dissipated after 35 days, may be the longest-lasting on record.

Tuesday 21 March 2023

The Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity Group has built up an important database of the cost of groceries that low-income households buy regularly. Two years ago, the basket cost just over R4,000. Today, the same items cost just under R5,000, an almost 25% increase.In October 2020, the survey was expanded to include prices from Durban, Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Springbok in the Northern Cape. It previously only collected prices in Pietermaritzburg. The number of items in the basket was also expanded from 38 to 44 items during this expansion. Since February 2019 the price of a basket of goods has increased by 60%.

Monday 20 March 2023

As much as 76% of food waste in South Africa occurs in the early stages of production (losses before and after harvesting, processing and packaging). Almost a quarter of food waste happens during the retail (6%) and consumption stages (18%).

Friday 17 March 2023

The Motsepe Foundation says it is donating R150-million to the government for the development and growth of school sports and choral music for boys and girls. It builds on the foundation’s partnership with the Department of Education, which began in 2016. It has spent R70-million to date.

Friday 17 March 2023

Not many of South Africa’s public schools participate in formal sporting programmes that have a direct pathway to national structures. The Eminent Persons Group (EPG) report, which is produced by the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, measures the level of inequality in sports. Hopefully, the findings will be used to address the lack of transformation in the country’s national sporting teams.

Thursday 16 March 2023

South Africa has 42 mayors under the age of 40.More than 70% of the youthful mayors are from the ANC; five are from the DA, and two are from the IFP.

Wednesday 15 March 2023

Launched in 2014 as the Multichoice Diski Challenge, the DStv Diski Challenge is aimed at improving developmental football in South Africa. But unlike football leagues elsewhere in the world, the PSL has not given its member clubs any mandate to retain players from its development academies or its reserve leagues.

Wednesday 15 March 2023

Seven clubs have won the top-flight league title in the league’s 27-year history. The now defunct Manning Rangers were the first PSL-era club to win the league title. Current champions Mamelodi Sundowns have won a record 12 league titles.

Tuesday 14 March 2023

One hundred municipalities owed Eskom money at the end of 2022. That’s more than a third of SA’s municipalities, and they owed R56.3-billion.

Monday 13 March 2023

Only 29 of South Africa’s 257 municipalities got five or more clean audits in the past 11 years.Nineteen of those municipalities are in the Western Cape, three are in Mpumalanga and three are in KwaZulu-Natal. Mpumalanga’s Ehlanzeni district got nine clean audits. But none of the municipalities in Limpopo, North West or the Free State managed to get one.

Friday 10 March 2023

One of the highest bungee jumps in the world is from the Bloukrans Bridge on the Garden Route. Since 1990, people have been chasing adrenaline by plunging 216m from the bridge near Nature’s Valley in the Western Cape.

Thursday 9 March 2023

An average of 76 people were murdered a day in South Africa last year, more than three murders every hour.

Wednesday 8 March 2023

The South African women’s cricket team was the only African team to play in the 2023 ICC T20 Women’s World Cup. They had a phenomenal run at the tournament, winning three out of their six matches.

Tuesday 7 March 2023

Only 29 of South Africa’s 257 municipalities got five or more clean audits in the past 11 years.Nineteen of those municipalities are in the Western Cape, three are in Mpumalanga and three are in KwaZulu-Natal. Mpumalanga’s Ehlanzeni district got nine clean audits. But none of the municipalities in Limpopo, North West or the Free State managed to get one.

Tuesday 7 March 2023

Cape Town held its first electric grand prix in the middle of one of South Africa’s darkest bouts of loadshedding on 25 February. It was thrilling.The 2.9km track proved to be one of the world’s fastest, and Nissan’s Sacha Fenestraz set a Formula E record for the fastest lap when he clocked 1:07.848s during qualifying.Pascal Wehrlein holds the top spot for the fastest lap during a race while driving the Tag Heuer Porsche (1:07.968) in May last year in Berlin.

Monday 6 March 2023

Every month we take a look at the in-store prices of the same basket of goods across six major retailers – Shoprite, Checkers, Pick n Pay, SPAR, Food Lover’s Market and Woolworths.

Monday 6 March 2023

For chicken breasts, Food Lover’s Market was the most affordable option at R69.99 a kilogram versus Woolworths at R124.99.

Friday 3 March 2023

In the latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey from StatsSA, the Western Cape has the highest number of employed people since 2008. Its unemployment rate is 22.5%, well below the national rate.

Thursday 2 March 2023

Thursday 23 February 2023

Gold mining accounts for more deaths than any of the other sectors. Since 2013, about 40% of deaths have been at gold mines. Next is platinum (about 30% of deaths) and then coal (10%).

Thursday 23 February 2023

Clean audits are rare for SA municipalities.

Wednesday 22 February 2023

Wednesday 22 February 2023

Wednesday 22 February 2023

Tuesday 21 February 2023

SA’s youngest Premiership coaches

Tuesday 21 February 2023

Top 20 male surfers worldwide

Monday 20 February 2023

State of disaster: most declarations are for floods and droughts

Monday 20 February 2023

In 2017, 55 people were killed a day in South Africa. In 2022 that number rose to 74.

Friday 17 February 2023

The EFF gained ground in Mamusa’s last two local elections

Friday 17 February 2023

10 years of municipal audits

Thursday 16 February 2023

Thursday 16 February 2023

Nigerians will head to the polls on 25 February to vote in their general.

Wednesday 15 February 2023

There have already been 11 coaching changes made by eight DStv Premiership clubs this season and perhaps the most significant was witnessing the controversial co-coaching appointments coming to an end at two of the four clubs that had this arrangement this season.

Wednesday 15 February 2023

Wednesday 15 February 2023

Wednesday 15 February 2023

Tuesday 14 February 2023

Number of clubs which started the season with new coaches

Tuesday 14 February 2023

Several DStv Premiership clubs and coaches have tried to make their relationship work more than once, but some have proven to be inseparable over the years.

Tuesday 14 February 2023

These coaches keep popping up

Tuesday 14 February 2023

Of 15 chocolates we looked at, Crunchies had the highest sugar content per 100g

Monday 13 February 2023

Eskom faces a lot of problems: it has had three chief executives since 2018, it is R396.3-billion in debt, its elderly power stations need constant maintenance, and it doesn’t have enough electricity to supply South Africa.It also has to deal with the fact that municipalities haven’t been paying for the power it supplies. By the end of March 2022, municipalities owed Eskom R44.8-billion.

Friday 10 February 2023

The Al Jama-ah party, of which Amad is a member, has just three council seats in Joburg and Amad’s mayorship is at the mercy of his coalition partners: the EFF and the ANC.

Thursday 9 February 2023

Ramaphosa devotes 5 minutes on average to energy during SONA

Wednesday 8 February 2023

128 women have been heads of state or govt since 1960. Half of them were in the past 12 years

Tuesday 7 February 2023

South Africa Rugby Exports

Monday 6 February 2023

It’s normal in South Africa for almost half of the matric maths group to fail the subject. Last year, 45% of the learners failed maths and the year before that 42% failed.

But learners at fee-paying schools are far more likely to pass maths than learners at no-fee schools. No-fee schools tend to be in low-income and rural areas

In this year’s matric maths exams, half of the learners from no-fee schools passed. In fee-paying schools, two-thirds (68%) passed and in independent (private) schools 72% passed.

Monday 6 February 2023

No-fee schools have the lowest proportion of bachelor’s passes

Monday 6 February 2023

Spike in KZN rhino poaching

Friday 3 February 2023

Smaller parties gained ground in last three Mafube local elections

Thursday 2 February 2023

Greenhouse gas emissions during production vs processing

Wednesday 1 February 2023

Most of the DStv Premiership players in 2021/22 were between 25 and 29 years old.

Wednesday 1 February 2023

What makes up the fuel price?

Tuesday 31 January 2023

DStv Premiership core players

Monday 30 January 2023

How powerful is your passport?

Monday 30 January 2023

The Seychelles has the most powerful passport in Africa with visa-free access into 153 countries

Monday 30 January 2023

DStv Premiership players with the most game time in 2021/22

Monday 30 January 2023

148 SA-based players played more than half the game time in 2021/22

Thursday 26 January 2023

The City of Joburg shares a 1.6bn-kilolitre water allocation with 11 other municipalities. It’s water use grew by 11% over 5 years, what does that mean?

Wednesday 25 January 2023

Your grocery basket: Jan 2023

Tuesday 24 January 2023

Most DStv league players are aged between 25 and 29 years of age

Monday 23 January 2023

Gautrain users on the increase after Covid-19 decline

Friday 20 January 2023

ANC has the youngest mayors

Thursday 19 January 2023

How much land is required to produce 1kg of these foods

Thursday 19 January 2023

How much water is required to produce 1kg of these foods

Tuesday 17 January 2023

782 goals were scored in SA’s premier women’s football league

Tuesday 17 January 2023

2023 Netball World Cup Groups

Tuesday 17 January 2023

Fifa Women’s World Cup Winners

Thursday 15 December 2022

E.coli levels at Durban’s beaches

Wednesday 14 December 2022

The cost of a mince pie

Tuesday 13 December 2022

2022 loadshedding more than 3 times previous years

Friday 9 December 2022

Past Netball World Cup winners

Friday 9 December 2022

Top 10 African netball teams

Friday 9 December 2022

Africa at the Netball World Cup

Friday 9 December 2022

Many African states have fewer than 2 doctors per 10,000 people

Thursday 8 December 2022

A litre of 95 unleaded petrol is 59c more expensive than last month

Thursday 8 December 2022

Africa’s 25 active satellites

Wednesday 7 December 2022

Two out of five working age people live in SA’s metros

Monday 5 December 2022

2021/22 was the lowest scoring season in the last 10 seasons

Monday 5 December 2022

Most successful MTN 8 teams

Monday 5 December 2022

Most appearances in 2021/22

Friday 2 December 2022

Uptick in electric vehicle sales

Friday 2 December 2022

Electric vehicle charging stations

Thursday 1 December 2022

Loadshedding daze

Tuesday 29 November 2022

Unemployment drops to 32.9%

Monday 28 November 2022

Murders by month in South Africa

Monday 28 November 2022

11 women killed a day in SA

Friday 25 November 2022

SA alcohol prices 2017-2022

Thursday 24 November 2022

None of the dams that supply Gauteng with water are in Gauteng

Thursday 24 November 2022

Most of Gauteng’s main water supply dams are full

Wednesday 23 November 2022

SA’s green hydrogen plan

Wednesday 23 November 2022

South African inflation rises to 7.6% in October

Tuesday 22 November 2022

SA’s overseas visitors pick up

Tuesday 22 November 2022

Tuesday 22 November 2022

Monday 21 November 2022

Stockpiling football players

Friday 18 November 2022

Thursday 17 November 2022

Most common surnames in SA

Wednesday 16 November 2022

SA dams are fuller than last year

Tuesday 15 November 2022

SA food prices 2017 – 2022

Monday 14 November 2022

African CO2 emissions in 2021

Friday 11 November 2022

Thursday 10 November 2022

Average price of petrol in Southern Africa for the last three months

Thursday 10 November 2022

Game Time

Wednesday 9 November 2022

Prison Break

Tuesday 8 November 2022

Nuclear bomb squad

Tuesday 8 November 2022

Record number of students registered to write matric 2022

Tuesday 8 November 2022

Temperature extremes

Tuesday 8 November 2022

Tuesday 8 November 2022

Thursday 3 November 2022

Student vs staff at SA varsities

Wednesday 2 November 2022

Streaming music costs in SA

Thursday 27 October 2022

9 women killed a day in SA

Wednesday 26 October 2022

Before the Covid-19 pandemic diabetes was the leading cause of death of South African women

Wednesday 26 October 2022

Joburg had 10 & NMB 9 mayors between 2011 and 2022

Tuesday 25 October 2022

Your grocery basket: October 2022

Monday 24 October 2022

2022/23 DStv player signings

Thursday 20 October 2022

Top chess players in South Africa

Thursday 20 October 2022

Previous FIFA World Cup Winners

Wednesday 19 October 2022

Qatar 2022 spots by continent

Tuesday 18 October 2022

41 African countries have never qualified for the FIFA World Cup

Monday 17 October 2022

Same-sex marriages are legal in 33 countries* globally. SA is the only country in Africa where it is legal.

Friday 14 October 2022

Thursday 13 October 2022

SA’s top 10 radio stations

Thursday 13 October 2022

Business funding for R&D almost halved between 2017 and 2019

Wednesday 12 October 2022

Trucking all over South Africa

Tuesday 11 October 2022

Two centuries of SA’s Rain Queens

Monday 10 October 2022

How likely are you to get into these SA varsities?

Friday 7 October 2022

Gauteng kidnapping soars

Thursday 6 October 2022

How much paper is recycled annually in South Africa

Wednesday 5 October 2022

Selling electricity made up to a third of metros’ revenue in 2021

Wednesday 5 October 2022

Loadshedding daze

Tuesday 4 October 2022

Top 20 skateboarders in SA

Monday 3 October 2022

KZN precincts show an increase in home robberies

Monday 3 October 2022

Fewer home robberies reported in Gauteng’s pre-Covid hotspots

Monday 3 October 2022

Feeling powerless

Thursday 29 September 2022

Countries with the most shark attacks

Wednesday 28 September 2022

Flood risk in Africa

Tuesday 27 September 2022

Your grocery basket: Sept 2022

Thursday 22 September 2022

Off the rails

Wednesday 21 September 2022

South African inflation drops to 7.6% in August

Thursday 15 September 2022

Top 10 domestic films in 2021

Wednesday 14 September 2022

Building plans approved

Tuesday 13 September 2022

Life expectancy setback

Monday 12 September 2022

South African sunflower oil prices continue to soar

Friday 9 September 2022

Melting away

Thursday 8 September 2022

Gauteng malls with solar power

Wednesday 7 September 2022

Residential burglaries have not returned to pre-Covid numbers

Tuesday 6 September 2022

Casinos lose out to Covid-19

Tuesday 6 September 2022

South Africa’s casinos

Tuesday 6 September 2022

Petrol is R3 cheaper in September than two months ago

Monday 5 September 2022

Smells like teen spirit

Friday 2 September 2022

History of monkeypox in Africa

Friday 2 September 2022

Global spread of monkeypox

Thursday 1 September 2022

Top 10 box office films in SA – 2021

Wednesday 31 August 2022

The long and short of it

Tuesday 30 August 2022

Angola’s 2022 elections

Tuesday 30 August 2022

What do kings/queens earn in SA?

Tuesday 30 August 2022

Kingships in South Africa

Monday 29 August 2022

Fruitless and wasteful

Monday 29 August 2022

Comrades Marathon 2022: Age

Monday 29 August 2022

Comrades Marathon 2022: Gender

Friday 26 August 2022

Friday 26 August 2022

Friday 26 August 2022

Friday 26 August 2022

Friday 26 August 2022

Thursday 25 August 2022

Your grocery basket: August 2022

Wednesday 24 August 2022

Top 8 animal exports from Africa for introduction into the wild

Wednesday 24 August 2022

South African inflation hits 13-year high of 7.8% (again)

Tuesday 23 August 2022

Average annual rainfall across South Africa 1901-2021

Monday 22 August 2022

SA’s pro esports top earners

Friday 19 August 2022

Public health legal costs balloon

Friday 19 August 2022

Medical claims booming

Friday 19 August 2022

More than 6,000 reported patient injuries at GP hospitals

Friday 19 August 2022

SA’s surgical staff shortages

Friday 19 August 2022

Murders by month in South Africa

Thursday 18 August 2022

Coal clusters: Power plants in SA

Wednesday 17 August 2022

School toilet deadline missed

Tuesday 16 August 2022

A third of inmates in South African prisons are awaiting trial

Tuesday 16 August 2022

How Kenya voted in 2022

Monday 15 August 2022

SA’s ageing power infrastructure

Thursday 11 August 2022

Rhino poaching going up in KZN

Thursday 11 August 2022

Average annual temperatures across South Africa 1901-2021

Wednesday 10 August 2022

Women less likely to be employed

Wednesday 10 August 2022

Only a quarter of the people who earn over a R1m a year are women

Wednesday 10 August 2022

Women earn 20% less than men

Wednesday 10 August 2022

More women earn STEM degrees

Wednesday 10 August 2022

Percentage of female graduates

Wednesday 10 August 2022

Girls do better at maths and science

Wednesday 10 August 2022

More girls pass metric than boys

Monday 8 August 2022

TV streaming options in SA

Friday 5 August 2022

Friday 5 August 2022

48 cases reported in which police accused of killing their partner

Friday 5 August 2022

Majority of police reported for killing partners died by suicide

Wednesday 3 August 2022

We have had a slight reprieve on petrol this morning. 95 octane will cost you R1,32 less a litre at R25,42 but this is still R7,12 more expensive than a litre of petrol in 2021.

Wednesday 3 August 2022

SA climbers on Mount Everest

Tuesday 2 August 2022

World’s biggest CO2 emitters

Tuesday 2 August 2022

The energy sector produces the most greenhouse gas emissions

Tuesday 2 August 2022

Kenyans voting in elections

Tuesday 2 August 2022

Tuesday 2 August 2022

Half of SA dams are 50+ years old

Monday 1 August 2022

SA average annual temperatures

Saturday 30 July 2022

Friday 29 July 2022

Your grocery basket

Thursday 28 July 2022

Commonwealth gold medals won

Thursday 28 July 2022

Goals scored by Banyana Banyana at WAFCON

Wednesday 27 July 2022

How far does your passport go?

Tuesday 26 July 2022

Pothole Patrol pulverises pits

Monday 25 July 2022

How big were the PSL’s winning squads in the last ten seasons?

Friday 22 July 2022

Local non-fiction books dominate

Wednesday 20 July 2022

Inflation hits 13-year high at 7.4%

Wednesday 20 July 2022

Tuesday 19 July 2022

70% of SA schools without libraries

Monday 18 July 2022

16 ward councillors died since November 2021 local elections

Monday 18 July 2022

PSL league-winning players ageing upwards since 2012/13

Friday 15 July 2022

African population to boom

Wednesday 13 July 2022

South African music festival prices

Tuesday 12 July 2022

New reign of Africa’s fighting kings

Monday 11 July 2022

2021/22 DStv Premiership wrap

Thursday 7 July 2022

Most-used emojis worldwide

Thursday 7 July 2022

Where are most rhinos poached?

Thursday 7 July 2022

How old are LeTour 2022 riders?

Thursday 7 July 2022

2022 loadshedding on track to be second highest year to date

Wednesday 6 July 2022

Monday 4 July 2022

Highest scoring and conceding DStv Premiership teams: 2021/22

Monday 4 July 2022

July fuel price edges towards R27

Friday 1 July 2022

Thursday 30 June 2022

Wednesday 29 June 2022

Monday 27 June 2022

Monday 27 June 2022

Wednesday 22 June 2022

SA inflation hits 5-year high

Tuesday 21 June 2022

Player acquisitions in the DStv Premiership since 2019

Friday 17 June 2022

Wednesday 15 June 2022

Public holidays across Africa

Tuesday 14 June 2022

Less than 40% of matric pupils wrote maths in 2021

Monday 13 June 2022

392 schools had no matric pupils writing maths in 2021

Thursday 9 June 2022

Top five highest paid African players in the Premier League for 2021/22

Wednesday 8 June 2022

Post-Covid tourism to SA picks up

Tuesday 7 June 2022

Monday 6 June 2022

Friday 3 June 2022

Thursday 2 June 2022

Thursday 2 June 2022

Tuesday 31 May 2022

29 years of the CAF Super Cup

Tuesday 24 May 2022

Monday 23 May 2022

SA national team rankings globally

Monday 23 May 2022

CAF Champions League Winner

Friday 20 May 2022

Friday 20 May 2022

Thursday 19 May 2022

Africa’s big hydropower producers

Wednesday 18 May 2022

Are Kaizer Chiefs tickets expensive?

Monday 16 May 2022

Most schools in SA are part of the SA Schools Athletics programmes

Tuesday 10 May 2022

Monday 9 May 2022

Thursday 5 May 2022

Cooking oil: a slippery slope up

Thursday 28 April 2022

Monday 25 April 2022

Tuesday 19 April 2022

Thursday 14 April 2022

Tuesday 12 April 2022

Tuesday 12 April 2022

Saturday 9 April 2022

Saturday 9 April 2022

Thursday 7 April 2022

African coronavirus variants of concern

Thursday 7 April 2022

Vaccinated populations across Africa

Thursday 7 April 2022

Thursday 7 April 2022

32 years of petrol prices compared

Thursday 7 April 2022

Minimum wages around the world

Thursday 7 April 2022

Petrol price breakdown