Messages syndicated by several WhatsApp groups from the Weather Service last week foretold what many experienced at the weekend. Chilly, wet weather and load-shedding reminded us to expect a cold and dark winter.

“Apologies, bahlali (residents),” Johannesburg’s City Power tweeted a few minutes before 6pm on Friday, announcing further unplanned outages in Alexandra, Orchards and Observatory, Gauteng. Cold comfort. A few days earlier the governor of the Reserve Bank had suggested that “electricity and other administered prices”, continue to pose a risk to households and firms. With the fuel levy reprieve ending and tariff hikes from Eskom ominously near, it could not get any colder or more distressing...

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