LATEST ARTICLES

aYo partners With Clickatell To Launch WhatsApp Customer Channel

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African insurtech aYo Holdings has launched a WhatsApp channel in its markets across Africa to make it easier for its customers to communicate with the company without the need for phone calls or in-person interactions.

The new channel will allow aYo’s customers to submit documents as part of the claims process and access content like FAQs, videos, voice notes, and brochures using WhatsApp. Eventually, the company plans to build out the channel to the point where customers can sign up for cover and submit claims.

The new WhatsApp channel is the result of a newly signed partnership with Clickatell, which provides mobile messaging, engagement, and commerce solutions to companies that conduct business with mostly mobile-based customers.

Heidi Badenhorst, group head of strategy and special projects at aYo Holdings, said the Clickatell solution would make the process of getting cover easier than ever for its customers and provide an improved customer experience.

“We’re growing rapidly across Africa, and we’re constantly looking for ways to make our customers’ lives better and easier. WhatsApp is widely used in all our markets and offering them this channel will make it easier for customers to sign up for insurance, communicate with us, and upload and submit claims from their mobile phone,” said Badenhorst.

“The benefit of WhatsApp is that we can build intuitive button or picture-based journeys to make it easy for our customers who may not be able to read or understand lengthy customer processes.”

The new channel is already available in all of aYo’s active markets – Uganda, Ghana, Zambia, and Côte d’Ivoire. To access it clients can either click on the WhatsApp link in an SMS, save the country specific WhatsApp number and send Hi, or scan the QR code and then follow Menu options.

aYo, which is 100% owned by telecommunications giant MTN, has evolved into a major player in the African microinsurance market, using a ‘pay as you go’ insurance model that gives policyholders the flexibility to have the cover they need at any given time.

Clickatell’s SVP of Enterprise Sales: Growth Markets, Werner Lindemann, said the partnership would help aYo provide a convenient, optimal customer experience by making connections, interactions, and transactions accessible anytime, anywhere using WhatsApp.

“African consumers love chat, and the broad reach of WhatsApp makes it the perfect channel for aYo to serve its customers,” said Badenhorst.

President Ramaphosa Receives Just Energy Transition Framework

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President Cyril Ramaphosa says the Just Energy Transition (JET) Framework will serve as a key evidence-based guide for policy making for South Africa’s transition from a carbon intensive economy towards a greener and cleaner economy.

The framework was presented to him by the Presidential Climate Committee (PCC) on Tuesday.

“As this Just Transition framework underscores, combating climate change is not only an environmental imperative, but an economic one as well. This framework is an evidence-based document and a victory for evidence-based policymaking.

“The publication of this framework must now serve as a call to action to each of us to embrace the opportunities presented by a low-carbon, inclusive, climate resilient economy and society,” he said.

The PCC has held stakeholder engagements, community dialogues and colloquiums in a bid to conduct robust research and analysis and hear views on South Africa’s transition in a bid to leave no-one behind.

President Ramaphosa hailed the thorough work done by the PCC and highlighted that the framework has the potential to revolutionise the country.

“It sets out the skills development, economic diversification, social support, governance and finance mechanisms required to make low carbon economy a reality. It advocates for a massive expansion of renewable energy, battery storage, new energy vehicles, green minerals and the hydrogen economy.

“It calls for the creation of long term decent work that mitigates losses from the decline in fossil fuel usage. Green, as the common expression goes, is the new gold,” he said.

The President emphasised that the JET framework will have implications for the education and social security sectors and will also require work to be done to ensure that the framework finds expression within government plans and budgets.

“In education, one of the immediate implications is re-skilling and upskilling the workforce, so that they are able to adapt to new technologies. The challenge we face is to overhaul the education system from basic education level, so that learners are thoroughly prepared for green jobs as part of the new economy.

“Also important is the need to provide comprehensive social security safety for displaced workers and communities. We envisage that this support will include mechanisms that promote entrepreneurship and self-employment where possible, complemented by social protection funds,” President Ramaphosa said.

The President acknowledged that the framework will require significant resources to be pulled from both government and the private sector.

“There will be need for significant capital mobilisation from both public and private sources. Now that we have this framework we will be able to proceed apace with harnessing the benefits of the Just Energy Transition Partnership we concluded with the governments of the US, United Kingdom, Germany, France and the EU last year,” he said.

The partnership – which is worth up to $8.5 billion – is expected to assist South Africa on its decarbonisation journey.

Commission Deputy Chairperson Vali Moosa said the JET framework is platform upon which South Africa can springboard the economy towards a low carbon emissions and addressing climate change.

“While the framework is not an implementation plan, it presents an organising frame for us to coordinate our efforts around the just transition.

“It is a foundation for more work to follow, underpinned by significant mobilisation towards social inclusion and help reach our climate goals, with a high degree of trust between all parties and a requisite policy intervention led by government, driven by industry and entrenched in our communities,” Moosa said. – SAnews.gov.za

 

Browser Cookies Make People More Cautious Online, Study Finds

Website cookies are online surveillance tools, and the commercial and government entities that use them would prefer people not read those notifications too closely. People who do read the notifications carefully will find that they have the option to say no to some or all cookies.

The problem is, without careful attention those notifications become an annoyance and a subtle reminder that your online activity can be tracked.

As a researcher who studies online surveillance, I’ve found that failing to read the notifications thoroughly can lead to negative emotions and affect what people do online.

How cookies work

Browser cookies are not new. They were developed in 1994 by a Netscape programmer in order to optimize browsing experiences by exchanging users’ data with specific websites. These small text files allowed websites to remember your passwords for easier logins and keep items in your virtual shopping cart for later purchases.

But over the past three decades, cookies have evolved to track users across websites and devices. This is how items in your Amazon shopping cart on your phone can be used to tailor the ads you see on Hulu and Twitter on your laptop. One study found that 35 of 50 popular websites use website cookies illegally.

European regulations require websites to receive your permission before using cookies. You can avoid this type of third-party tracking with website cookies by carefully reading platforms’ privacy policies and opting out of cookies, but people generally aren’t doing that.

One study found that, on average, internet users spend just 13 seconds reading a website’s terms of service statements before they consent to cookies and other outrageous terms, such as, as the study included, exchanging their first-born child for service on the platform.

These terms-of-service provisions are cumbersome and intended to create friction.

Friction is a technique used to slow down internet users, either to maintain governmental control or reduce customer service loads. Autocratic governments that want to maintain control via state surveillance without jeopardizing their public legitimacy frequently use this technique. Friction involves building frustrating experiences into website and app design so that users who are trying to avoid monitoring or censorship become so inconvenienced that they ultimately give up.

Browser cookies explained.

How cookies affect you

My newest research sought to understand how website cookie notifications are used in the U.S. to create friction and influence user behavior.

To do this research, I looked to the concept of mindless compliance, an idea made infamous by Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram. Milgram’s experiments – now considered a radical breach of research ethics – asked participants to administer electric shocks to fellow study takers in order to test obedience to authority.

Milgram’s research demonstrated that people often consent to a request by authority without first deliberating on whether it’s the right thing to do. In a much more routine case, I suspected this is also what was happening with website cookies.

I conducted a large, nationally representative experiment that presented users with a boilerplate browser cookie pop-up message, similar to one you may have encountered on your way to read this article.

I evaluated whether the cookie message triggered an emotional response – either anger or fear, which are both expected responses to online friction. And then I assessed how these cookie notifications influenced internet users’ willingness to express themselves online.

Online expression is central to democratic life, and various types of internet monitoring are known to suppress it.

The results showed that cookie notifications triggered strong feelings of anger and fear, suggesting that website cookies are no longer perceived as the helpful online tool they were designed to be. Instead, they are a hindrance to accessing information and making informed choices about one’s privacy permissions.

And, as suspected, cookie notifications also reduced people’s stated desire to express opinions, search for information and go against the status quo.

Cookie solutions

Legislation regulating cookie notifications like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and California Consumer Privacy Act were designed with the public in mind. But notification of online tracking is creating an unintentional boomerang effect.

There are three design choices that could help. First, making consent to cookies more mindful, so people are more aware of which data will be collected and how it will be used. This will involve changing the default of website cookies from opt-out to opt-in so that people who want to use cookies to improve their experience can voluntarily do so.

Second, cookie permissions change regularly, and what data is being requested and how it will be used should be front and center.

And third, U.S. internet users should possess the right to be forgotten, or the right to remove online information about themselves that is harmful or not used for its original intent, including the data collected by tracking cookies. This is a provision granted in the General Data Protection Regulation but does not extend to U.S. internet users.

In the meantime, I recommend that people read the terms and conditions of cookie use and accept only what’s necessary.The Conversation

Elizabeth Stoycheff, Associate Professor of Communication, Wayne State University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

SA’s Pension Funds’ Infrastructure Projects Investment Capped At 45%

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Pension funds will from next year be permitted to invest 45% of their capital in infrastructure projects, the National Treasury has announced.

This comes after the Department on Tuesday published the final amendments to Regulation 28 of the Pension Funds Act.

Regulation 28, issued in terms of section 36(1)(bB) of the Pension Funds Act, protects retirement fund member savings by limiting the extent to which funds may invest in a particular asset or in particular asset classes, and prevents excessive concentration risk.

The Treasury said the regulations widen the scope of potential investments for retirement funds but continues to leave the final decision on any investment to the trustees of each fund, who determine the investment policy for any fund.

“These amendments follow two rounds of public comments in 2021. The aim of the amendment is to explicitly enable and reference longer term infrastructure investment by retirement funds, by increasing maximum limits that funds may invest in.

“To this extent, the amendments introduce a definition of infrastructure, and sets a limit of 45% for exposure in infrastructure investment. To further facilitate the investment in infrastructure and economic development, the limit between hedge funds and private equity has been split. There will now be a separate and higher allocation to private equity assets, which is 15% increased from 10%,” said the department.

Retirement funds will continue to be prohibited from investing in crypto assets. The excessive volatility and unregulated nature of crypto assets require a prudent approach, as recent market volatility in such assets demonstrates.

Treasury said a limit of 25% has been imposed, across all asset classes to limit exposure of retirement funds to any one entity (company), not just infrastructure. However, it said, one exception to the per entity limit, is debt instruments issued by, and loans to, the Government of the Republic and any debt or loan guaranteed by the Republic.

“The asset allocation to housing loans granted to retirement fund members will be reduced from 95% to 65% in respect of new loans only. This is meant to curb abuse of the housing loan scheme by fund members. The National Treasury is mindful of the important role played by housing ownership in wealth creation and in retirement and will continuously monitor this area of investment.

“As part of aligning various regulatory approaches and achieving consistency, only investments in CISCA approved hedge funds will be permitted. The reporting exclusion on look-through of CIS and insurance policies has been removed to enable the regulators to collect important statistics on underlying exposures, as part of understanding and monitoring linkages in the financial system and for proactive supervision.”

The department said amendments will take effect on 3 January 2023, to enable regulators and fund managers to comply with the new regulations. FSCA is in the process of finalising the standard on reporting requirements aligned to the revised Regulation 28 and will issue it for public comment soon. – SAnews.gov.za

State Capture Crimes To Be Investigated, Prosecuted

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Both the heads of National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) have vowed to work together to ensure that the architects and foot soldiers of State Capture are brought to book and face the full might of the law.

This is according to a joint statement by the two bodies in the wake of the release of the final tranche of the State Capture Commission report by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

“The final Zondo report provides additional impetus for increased cooperation and urgency in execution of respective NPA/DPCI mandates. Important progress has already been made: 86 investigations have been declared by the ID, 21 matters enrolled in court, and 65 accused persons are appearing in court on alleged state capture crimes.

“The NPA and DPCI recognise the damaging impact of corruption on the rule of law and South Africa’s development prospects. They recommit to enhancing collaboration and sharing of resources and expertise, to ensure the most effective prosecution-guided approach to these complex matters,” the statement read.

The NPA and the Hawks have formed a joint task team to tackle the 150 recommendations and reports pertaining to the two units.

Some of these are already receiving attention with 86 investigations declared by the NPA’s Investigative Directorate (ID), 21 matters enrolled in court.

Some 65 accused persons have appeared in court on alleged state capture crimes.

“Additional seminal matters will be enrolled before the end of September 2022. Seminal matters refer to cases involving the alleged architects of state capture, including influential persons and private sector actors, and/or large sums of money. These cases will be handled by a dedicated teams of investigators and prosecutors who have the necessary expertise in prosecution-guided processes involving complex matters.

“The teams will be sufficiently resourced and co-located either in the NPA or the DPCI offices. The NPA and DPCI are harnessing all their resources and expertise, reprioritising matters to ensure that state capture cases proceed as a matter of urgency in our commitment to ensure accountability and uphold the rule of law,” the statement read. – SAnews.gov.za

Vodacom Business Is Digitising The Retail Industry

How the customer is served has been one of the biggest evolutions in the retail industry’s digital transformation journey. Today’s customer wants omnichannel options, and each channel, whether in-store or online, must be a well-oiled machine delivering seamless, effective service. Today’s customer also prefers retailers to understand their needs and cater to them with greater personalisation than ever before.

“Meeting these customer needs requires a connected, digitised supply chain,” says Lerato Motsoeneng, Managing Executive for Retail and Logistics at Vodacom Business. “Without the right digital infrastructure in place, retailers can’t evolve their user experience.” This infrastructure enables the creation of a retailer’s online presence and e-commerce platform, but it also powers in-store activity such as payments – when a payment system is offline, trade is lost. Connectivity enables a retailer to offer in-store Wi-Fi to customers as well, and, from this, insights can be gleaned from usage data to drive more personalised marketing efforts.

Connecting retailers to their suppliers

Connectivity also enables door-to-door delivery, which has been particularly pertinent in supporting a fast-growing online retail sector: groceries. Even in the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, 54% of South Africans were buying more groceries online. “Two years on, customers no longer think twice about purchasing their groceries online, knowing that it’s secure and they’ll quickly be delivered right to their door,” adds Motsoeneng.

This means that retailers also need to be connected to their suppliers more than ever before to enable them to keep up with the online shopping demand brought about by the pandemic. 

To this end, Vodacom boasts a platform, the Trading Bridge, which drives operational efficiency between trading partners, connecting retailers to their preferred suppliers. One of the many benefits of the Trading Bridge platform is the ability to manage the information flow between trading partners to improve supply chain efficiencies and business service levels. The platform currently supports over 3000 Corporates and SME trading partners.

The future of smart retail

The future of smart retail is underpinned by the ability to have reliable cost effective ICT infrastructure. To this end, Vodacom Business has introduced and is deploying Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) technology at various retailers, allowing our customers to have a digital future ready network.

SD-WAN is a technology that enables agility by simplifying network management without sacrificing reliability or quality. Retailers using the scalable Vodacom Business SD-WAN solution can enjoy improved network connectivity and security, cost savings, and better business visibility enabling increased efficiency. This solution streamlines networks across multiple locations locally and internationally. As a result, retailers are uniquely equipped with a single-pane view of all data across multiple assets, locations and resources (such as the people involved, from staff to suppliers).

As supermarket and hypermarket retailers have a lot of cost pressures, driving efficiency is key to survival in difficult economic trading conditions. “Fortunately, many have unlocked this efficiency with Vodacom as their digital partner of choice,” concludes Motsoeneng.

Avon Pledges Funds To Renovate Nursery School Affected By Floods In Kwa-Zulu Natal

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The torrential floods that wreaked havoc in Kwa-Zulu Natal couldn’t have come at a worse time for the children of the Embo community in Hillcrest, whose nursery school was devastated by the rains that engulfed the province recently.

Before the floods, the facility was already derelict and dilapidated due to shortage of funds to undertake regular maintenance. School Principal Ms Buyisiwe Ngongoma explains that the roof was caving in, the cupboards in the kitchen were mouldering, the only personal computer and printer were malfunctioning, the security doors were rickety, the playground was rundown, and the general appearance of the facility was falling apart.

The floods worsened the condition of the facility and rendered it inhospitable.

Global beauty company, Avon Justine, stepped in to alleviate the plight of the facility by pledging a donation of R150 000 towards repairing the creche. The donation is part of Avon Justine’s Thuthukisa Together programme. Through the Thuthukisa programme, which is an isiZulu word that translates to building together, Justine has raised over R3 million to help develop, support and build up impoverished communities.

“This donation will be a lifesaver for the creche and for the children who depend on this facility for learning and for interaction. The floods have worsened an already desperate situation that was created by theft and vandalism. The student population has grown remarkably over the past few months and the damage resulting from the rains has been very distressing and demoralising to the children. The donation has come at an opportune time and it will go a long way towards renovating the creche and making it as child-friendly as possible,” said Ngongoma.

In addition to repairing structural damage to the creche, Ngongoma said the money will also help to purchase extra mattrasses and blankets for the facility to make up for additional enrolment of more children and will also help to spruce up the playground which is lying fallow.

“Early childhood development is cited as a crucial stage in children’s development. It is therefore that children should be afforded a conducive environment where they can learn and play during this important formative stage. Our ongoing support for this facility stems from our appreciation of the importance of early childhood development and harnessing our footprint and the power of our brand to make a positive difference to the community of Embo and the children of this area who depend on this facility. For monitoring reasons,  this donation is just a small gesture to be paid in 2 tranches to a total of R300 000 that will help the creche to get back on its feet and continue to serve the noble mandate of being a haven for children of this community,” said Mafahle Mareletse, Managing Director, Avon Justine Turkey, Middle East & Africa.

Avon Justine has a long-standing partnership with the creche and has supported it with funding over the years.

SA Software Engineers Are Moving To Europe, Without Leaving Home

Companies looking for local software engineers might find they have lost them to Europe – without them leaving the country. This is because, while South African developers’ skills are increasingly in demand across Europe, they no longer need to emigrate to land these jobs.

The past two years have been a massive learning experience for everyone, not least of all companies which have discovered that much of the work that they insisted could only be done from an office, could, in actual fact, be done remotely.

Remote isn’t new, but it has changed things

Europe has always been a popular destination for skilled South Africans looking for growth opportunities, increased earning potential and the chance to work for global companies. However, the cost of moving and red tape have always stood in the way. The ability to work from anywhere has overcome this.

“Being able to choose where your ‘office’ is has opened up amazing opportunities for local developers,” says Stephen van der Heijden, VP Community at OfferZen. “Between 2019 and 2022 we’ve seen a 14% decrease in the number of South African developers looking to move abroad and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this number continue to drop.”

For the more than 120,000 developers in South Africa, access to reliable, high-speed internet, close alignment of time zones and familiarity with remote work means that they’re ideally positioned to take advantage of opportunities in Europe.

“Our State of the Software Developer Nation Report found that nine out of 10 South African developers already work in some kind of remote setup: 51% fully remotely, 41% in a hybrid environment, and only 8% still holding down a traditional office job,” says van der Heijden.

South African developers remain in demand 

It’s no surprise why South African developers are in demand. Google research indicates that South Africa outranks all other countries on the continent in both the penetration rate and variety of digital skills.

Although African companies are having to compete for talent with their European counterparts in an already competitive market, the benefit for the continent is that these skills aren’t lost to local enterprises forever. Also, while this trend may be causing short term pain for companies looking to beef up their IT teams, governments across the continent are investing heavily into ICT and STEM skills.

“Local companies may have to compete with Europe today but recruiting skills from the rest of the continent presents a real opportunity,” says van der Heijden. “And like South Africans working for European companies, these developers don’t need to be physically in South Africa to meet the needs of their employers.”

The silver lining for Africa

“The shift to remote has changed the way almost every company thinks about how they operate and South African companies need to keep up with the trend. They’re now not just competing with other local companies, but with almost every forward-thinking organisation in the world,” he says.

“This requires a fundamental rethink in how companies recruit and retain staff. Even if someone isn’t looking to move overseas, the ability to work remotely changes their expectations. You can’t have a ‘Cape Town-based job’ anymore. If the person with the skills lives in George, Hammanskraal or Hoedspruit, then that’s where the job will be based.”

If this isn’t how you’re thinking about the future of your company, now’s the time to start, he advises.

Why The South African State Should Not Subsidise Minibus Taxi Owners

Andrew Kerr, University of Cape Town

Millions of South Africans rely on minibus taxis to get around. Without these vehicles, people wouldn’t be able to get to work, school or simply visit friends and family. Data from Statistics South Africa’s Quarterly Labour Force surveys suggest that there are around 250,000 minibus taxi drivers in the country; there are likely about the same number of minibus taxis.

Statistics South Africa’s 2020 National Household Travel Survey, meanwhile, indicates that 60% of households report taxis as their main mode of transport and the 2014/5 Living Conditions Survey showed that 79% of households reported spending money on taxi fares in the last year. The 2020 Travel Survey also shows that households’ most common complaint about public transport centred on the cost of taxis: they were too expensive. As an example, someone living in Khayelitsha, and working an eight-hour day at the minimum wage in central Cape Town, 27km away, would earn R184 a day and pay R48 for a return trip on a taxi – 26% of their gross earnings.

Rising petrol costs, because of the war in Ukraine and trade disruptions, have amplified calls by taxi associations, the Competition Commission and others for the state to increase subsidies to minibus taxis. The only direct subsidies paid to minibus taxi owners is the scrapping allowance, which they receive if they scrap old taxis. Taxi operators complain that this is unfair, and that taxis should be subsidised like buses and trains.

I am an associate professor in economics who has studied the taxi industry and transport costs for 10 years. I’ve taken hundreds of taxis over this time, partly to set up the site Taximap, which helps taxi commuters find taxis. But I do not believe that minibus taxi operators should receive new operating or capital subsidies. That’s because minibus taxi owners already benefit from two implicit but extremely valuable subsidies.

Flouting labour laws

The first is that most taxi owners do not abide by labour laws when employing drivers. That substantially reduces owners’ operating costs. The second is that while taxi associations seem to be de facto cartels, the state does not enforce competition law in the taxi industry. The industry’s prices and profits would be lower if laws were enforced.

My analysis of Statistics SA’s 2019 Quarterly Labour Force Survey data shows that 70% of taxi drivers earned less than the national minimum wage of R20 an hour and 75% work more than the legal maximum of 55 hours per week.

If all drivers earning below the minimum wage were paid the minimum wage but worked the same number of hours as they did before, the estimated taxi driver yearly wage bill would increase by about 30-40%. So, ignoring labour laws substantially reduces the cost of operating taxis.

Train and bus companies, meanwhile, are almost all formal. They are required to pay their drivers and other employees’ wages that are determined in bargaining councils and which, at R50 per hour for bus drivers, are two and a half times the national minimum wage.

Bus drivers may also work only the maximum number of hours permitted by law before qualifying for overtime pay. They’re also entitled to paid leave and various conditions of service that do not exist in the taxi industry.

Cartel-like behaviour

Taxi associations are groupings of independent business owners that get together and fix one price for each route that they control, which all members must charge. This is the textbook definition of a cartel and is illegal under the Competition Act

The Competition Commission’s recent market enquiry into land-based passenger transport acknowledged the Department of Transport’s concern that taxi associations fixed prices. Yet in the report’s findings about price setting, price fixing was not even mentioned. Instead the commission suggested that taxis should receive more subsidies. This failure to apply competition law is a very important implicit subsidy.

Taxi associations maintain and grow their power for two reasons. First, they enforce each taxi owner charging the same price. Second, they actively work to prevent the entry onto routes of non-association members, who in a freer market would enter to take advantage of the high profits and eventually drive down profits and prices – to the benefit of taxi users.

The threat of, and actual, violence is the main way in which associations prevent entry. But they also work with public officials, who in many cases have decided that taxi associations should have the final say on who can get a license for the route they control.

Taxi owner profits

Given these two valuable implicit subsidies it shouldn’t be surprising that owning a taxi is generally extremely lucrative. The City of Cape Town conducted its own surveys of taxis from 12 associations 11 years ago, finding that annual profits were around R70,000 a year ($9000 in 2012), when vehicle values were probably around R100,000- R200,000 ($12000-$24000 in 2012). This represents a 30-70% annual rate of return on capital invested.

Taxi associations often charge extremely high joining fees. The Competition Commission’s report mentions fees from R10,000 to more than R200,000. When I talked to taxi drivers in Cape Town during my journeys, many were desperate to become owners despite these high fees. Why would someone want to pay such a large amount of money to be able to operate an apparently unprofitable business? The obvious answer is that many taxi owners actually make large profits.

Transport planners, policy makers, taxi representatives and commentators ignore or deny this. They often argue that there is an “oversupply” of taxis. They then conclude that taxis operate at very low profit levels and should be subsidised. But subsidising taxi owners who belong to associations that resemble cartels is likely to lead to higher profits for owners, with little benefit to taxi users.

Minibus taxi operators provide a valuable service to many people in South Africa, which the state has been unable to provide. They receive little direct subsidy but two very substantial implicit subsidies. Instead of the state further subsidising taxi owners, policy makers should be thinking creatively about ways to enhance competition, reduce violence and enforce existing regulations.The Conversation

Andrew Kerr, Associate Professor, University of Cape Town

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Minister Gwede Mantashe Announces Fuel Hikes From Wednesday

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Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe on Monday announced fuel price hikes amid fears that the cost of food and other goods will be affected.

The minister said that based “on current local and international factors”, the fuel prices for July 2022 will be adjusted as follows:

❖ Petrol (both 93 ULP and LRP): two hundred and thirty seven cents per litre (R2.37 per/l) increase;

❖ Petrol (both 95 ULP and LRP): two hundred and fifty seven cents per litre (R2.57 per/l) increase;

❖ Diesel (0.05% sulphur): two hundred and thirty one cents per litre (R2.31 per/l) increase;

❖ Diesel (0.005% sulphur): two hundred and thirty cents per litre (R2.30 per/l) increase;

❖ Illuminating Paraffin (wholesale): one hundred and sixty six cents per litre (R1.66 per/l) increase;

❖ SMNRP for IP: two hundred and twenty one cents per litre (R2.21 per/l) increase;

❖ Maximum LPGas Retail Price: two hundred and eighteen cents per kilogram (R2.18 per/kg) decrease.

The fuel prices schedule for the different zones will be published on Tuesday, 5 July 2022.

Before the announcement, the Democratic Alliance said it, “believes that further fuel price hikes, such as the one anticipated this Wednesday, will push tens of millions of South Africans even deeper into a financial and humanitarian crisis”.

However, Mantashe said the adjustment of fuel prices effective on Wednesday was based on current local and international factors.