South Africa’s government believes the country’s energy prices are so high they are causing business to close and holding back investment.

The country’s department of energy points to two recent cases which it states was the “tipping point”: the closure of South Africa’s only zinc refinery, run by Exxaro Resources, and the decision by minerals company Tharisa to build a new operation in China. Both firms said energy prices played a pivotal role in their decisions.

Now the government wants a radical rethink on energy tariffs. Energy department director-general Nelisiwe Magubane said: “We are very, very concerned. If we want to create jobs then we have to have reasonably priced electricity. If it is unaffordable then we are not going to create those jobs.”

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