SITUATION REPORT

Geostrategic Insights Leading Up to South African Power Cuts

As a third of South Africans are out of work and angry at the African National Congress (ANC) for not creating more jobs, they are also dealing with the worst rolling blackouts on record that has left households without power for up to ten hours a day, in a challenging geostrategic environment. Hoping to make their voice heard, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) called for a national shutdown on Monday, March 20.

January 26, 2023

Infrastructure Risk Rating Raised to Medium Amid Power Crisis*

The country experienced more than 200 days of power cuts, known as “load shedding”, in 2022 and everyday thus far in 2023

The CEO of the state power utility, Eskom, presented parliament with a plan to address the energy crisis and decrease load shedding, yet shedding is likely to continue over the next two years

Despite efforts to restore capacity, poorly maintained power plants were expected to continue to break down leading to increases in load shedding over the following months

Businesses were predicted to experience operational disruptions in the form of power outages and increased operating costs due to the need to run generators

February 23, 2023

Immediate Departure of State Power Utility CEO Underscores Continued Crisis*

Andre De Ruyter’s exit was predicted to negatively affect investor confidence amid the ongoing power crisis due to the uncertainty surrounding the future of Eskom’s leadership

Despite increased government intervention, including assuming a large portion of Eskom’s debt, the power utility is likely to continue to struggle to meet the country’s energy generation needs over the coming year

Businesses were predicted to experience increased power cuts over the coming months resulting in a rise in operational disruption and operating costs due to generator use

March 17, 2023

Hotspot is Triggered Near Pretoria Due to Unrest

The EFF planned to protest across the country as part of its national shutdown against scheduled load shedding, to denounce the struggling economy, and call for the resignation of President Cyril Ramaphosa

The Western Cape High Court gave the EFF the green light to protest but prohibited them from participating in looting or vandalism

March 17, 2023

Control Risks’ Analysis Predicts National Shutdown Will Cause Operational Disruption*

Police Minister Bheki Cele announced police would deploy across the country during a national shutdown led by the opposition EFF on March 20

The EFF aimed to use the shutdown to strengthen its support base ahead of the2024 general elections, as well as to discredit the ruling African National Congress (ANC)

The protests were predicted to temporarily impact operations in major urban centers such as Johannesburg and Pretoria, as well as interrupt travel throughout the country

While widespread unrest and direct targeting of businesses seemed unlikely, there was still a potential for incidental geostrategic risks. Businesses in close proximity to protesters could face disruptions to their operations

March 19, 2023

As PulseAI Stability Drops, AI-Enabled Events and Human-Verified Events Bring Awareness to Unrest

PulseAI’s stability score began its descent, dropping three points in 24 hours as the planned protests loomed

In Braamfontein, Gauteng, locals allegedly gathered and blocked roads for a nationwide protest against corruption and power outages; police fired stun grenades to disperse crowds

Amnesty International South Africa called for restraint from security personnel as the EFF rejected the deployment of 3,000+ South African National Defense Force (SANDF) members to manage the protests

March 20, 2023

As PulseAI Craters Below its 60-Day Average, Two Unrest Hotspots are Triggered

As the EFF led thousands of protesters throughout Tshwane, many businesses were forced to close for the day

Bus service, Putco, originally planned to run routes as usual but was forced to suspend operations after several buses were attacked or hijacked

As of Monday evening, 87 protesters were arrested in relation to public violence

As irritations rose and protests began forming, our clients had already been prepared for months for unrest in the country, thanks to our in-depth analysis of the strategic landscape. Seerist doesn’t just provide real-time alerts; our experts are on the ground providing forward-looking, geostrategic insights so that our clients have more time to make critical decisions and protect their people and resources. What we see, saves.

*Analysis provided by strategic partnership with Control Risks

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