Saturday 21 October 2017
(AFP (eng) 10/19/17)
The South African government on Thursday removed the head of troubled state-owned airline South African Airways (SAA), which is deeply in debt and struggling to stay in the air. Chairwoman Dudu Myeni, a close ally of President Jacob Zuma, will be replaced by Johannes Bhekumuzi Magwaza, the finance ministry announced in a boardroom sweep-out. Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba "hopes that the new board... will implement the airline's structural strategy and bring it to financial stability," it said in a statement. The government was last month forced to bail out the loss-making carrier to avoid it defaulting on a 3 billion-rand ($221 million) loan, and refinancing of further debt is under negotiation.
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
Rent-a-room giant Airbnb said Tuesday that it had provided accommodation for 1.2 million visitors to Africa over the last year -- double the previous year as tourism expands across the continent. The website now offers more than 100,000 accommodation options in Africa, global public affairs director Chris Lehane said on a visit to Johannesburg. "It's an incredibly rich and diverse continent, an incredibly dynamic place, certainly a big part of our future," Lehane told AFP. Airbnb was founded in 2008 and offers accommodation ranging from single bedrooms to whole homes in 65,000 cities in 191 countries. The company announced Tuesday that it would invest $1 million (850,000 euros) in Africa by 2020 to "promote and support community-led tourism projects". "For...
(APA 10/16/17)
APA-Dakar (Senegal) - The president of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, will deliver the Norman Borlaug Lecture on Monday 16 October as part of the World Food Prize events taking place from October 16 to 20, 2017 in Des Moines, Iowa, USA. The Norman Borlaug Lecture under the title: “Betting on Africa to Feed the World”, will be held on World Food Day, October 16, in conjunction with the annual World Food Prize celebration. AfDB President Adesina will receive...
(AFP (eng) 10/10/17)
Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is set to accelerate to 3.4 percent next year, the International Monetary Fund said Tuesday, citing Nigeria's recovering oil and agricultural sectors. The IMF said in its latest World Economic Outlook report that the region would grow by 2.6 percent this year after 1.4 percent in 2016. "Growth is expected to rise gradually," it said, while noting that the rate would be uneven and "barely above population growth". GDP in the west African powerhouse Nigeria...
(APA 10/09/17)
APA-Pretoria (South Africa) - South Africa’s central bank on Monday refuted claims that it has instructed banks on what steps they should take against auditing firm KPMG, which has fallen from grace for its close working relations with the controversial Gupta family, APA has learnt. The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) said it “has not instructed banks on what steps they should or could not take with regards to their contracts with KPMG.” “As stated by SARB Governor Lesetja Kganyago in a statement issued at the Monetary Policy...
(APA 10/09/17)
APA-Pretoria (South Africa) - South Africa’s main power utility Eskom on Monday expressed concern at media reports on its newly-appointed interim group chief executive Sean Maritz, only days after his appointment. “We have noted with concern recent media reports with unsubstantiated allegations against Mr Maritz. We plead that he be given a chance to lead Eskom,” the power utility said. The media reports come after Eskom’s announcement on Friday that it had appointed Maritz to the top post. The Eskom Board announced that it has decided to rotate the current executives for this role to “ensure exposure” to the senior management. Maritz was the utility’s Chief Information Officer and Group Executive for Information...
(APA 10/09/17)
APA-Mbabane (Swaziland) - Swaziland has decreased the maximum amount of maize meal that individuals can purchase from South Africa from 100 kilograms to 20 kilograms per household, APA learns here on Monday. This, according of the Ministry of Agriculture, is a result of good maize harvest that the country enjoyed in the 2016/2017 season and also the heavy decline in maize prices realised in regional markets. The amount of maize meal that a household could purchase from neighbouring South Africa...
(Reuters 10/06/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa’s finance minister ordered the government pension fund on Friday to investigate possible irregularities at the fund to help ally concerns that politicians are trying to “influence” it. The Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which holds a large chunk of government bonds and stakes in leading South African companies, has come under the public spotlight after reports that the finance ministry had requested 100 billion rand ($7 billion) from the fund to bail out struggling state firms...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/05/17)
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - KPMG’s new chief executive in South Africa said on Thursday she would make sweeping changes to ensure the firm did not repeat “greatly disappointing” work it did for business friends of President Jacob Zuma. Nhlamu Dlomu, who took up the top job in South Africa after most of the local board was sacked last month, said an announcement would be made in the coming days about an independent inquiry into its work at firms owned by...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/05/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa’s mining lobby has rejected talks with the mining ministry over changes to the industry’s charter, which include raising targets for black ownership, saying the matter will have to be settled in court. “We are of the view that engaging with the minister directly is not going to achieve a set of results for the industry that is workable,” Roger Baxter, chief executive of the Chamber of Mines, told Reuters on the sidelines of a mining...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/05/17)
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (HLT.N) plans to spend $50 million over the next five years to add 100 hotels to its chain in Africa, it said on Thursday, joining other chains keen to tap growing business and international travel on the continent. One property will open in the Kenyan capital Nairobi by the end of this year and another in the Rwandan capital Kigali in 2018, it said in a statement. There was 11 percent growth in...
(Bloomberg 10/04/17)
South Africa’s government is open to talks over the country’s much-criticized mining charter but the industry must do more to benefit the black majority, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane said. The mining industry, represented by the Chamber of Mines, has rejected the government’s new rules, saying extra levies and black-economic empowerment requirements threaten to curb the appeal of investing in projects. A judicial review of the legislation is scheduled to be held in December, in which Zwane must justify the...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/29/17)
South Africa must sort out its political problems in order to kickstart structural reform and unlock economic growth, central bank governor Lesetja Kganyago told Reuters on Thursday. Speaking on the sidelines of a conference organised in London by the Bank of England, Kganyago also said financial market inflation expectations seemed to be out of kilter with reality. He added that he was happy with the South African Reserve Bank's independence following a flurry of criticism earlier this year. South Africa...
(Xinhuanet 09/29/17)
With South Africa's "strike season" in full swing, the Department of Labor on Thursday warned against frequent strikes that is harming both the economy and the labor force. In its latest Industrial Action Report, the department said the South African labor market lost a total of 946,323 working days as a result of 122 work stoppages last year. This represents a 4.7-percent increase in working days lost in 2016 as compared to 903,921 days in 2015, according to the report...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/29/17)
South Africa’s central bank has told top lenders they cannot fire auditor KPMG [KPMG.UL], entangled in a scandal involving friends of President Jacob Zuma, because it might undermine financial stability, two sources with knowledge of the matter said. KPMG sacked its South African leadership two weeks ago after it found work the accounting firm had done for companies owned by the Gupta family “fell considerably short” of its standards. KPMG has said it will ask a senior legal figure to...
(Eye Witness News 09/29/17)
Eskom has also confirmed that former acting CEO Matshela Koko's disciplinary hearing is scheduled to commence within the next two weeks. Almost 20 hours after Eyewitness News revealed that Eskom's chief financial officer Anoj Singh has been suspended, the utility has now finally confirmed the sanction. It released a statement a few minutes ago, saying Singh who was on special leave has now been suspended pending a disciplinary hearing. Eskom has also confirmed that former acting CEO Matshela Koko's disciplinary...
(AFP (eng) 09/29/17)
Government shutdowns of the internet have cost sub-Saharan Africa about $237 million since 2015, according to a study released Friday, as authorities increasingly implement planned disruptions. At least 12 countries have had internet shutdowns, often before elections or when protests erupt, with mobile internet networks most recently suspended in Togo during opposition demonstrations. "Internet disruptions, however short-lived, undermine economic growth, disrupt the delivery of critical services, erode business confidence, and raise a country’s risk profile," the CIPESA report said. The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) released its...
(Financial Times 09/28/17)
Cosatu backs Ramaphosa to succeed the president as ANC leader. South Africa’s biggest trade union federation brought thousands of workers on to the streets of cities to protest against corruption under President Jacob Zuma, and demand that Cyril Ramaphosa, the deputy president, replace him. Wednesday’s national strike, organised by Cosatu, which has 1.7m members, and the South African Communist party, took place in Johannesburg, Cape Town and other big cities across the country. That the protest was even called for...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/28/17)
South Africa’s economic growth will be significantly hampered by increasing political uncertainty in the run-up to the ruling African National Congress’s leadership contest in December, Fitch said on Thursday. In a report released by its BMI research arm, Fitch said a turn to more “radical rhetoric and policy positions by the traditionalist wing of the party” would weigh on investor confidence. “Mining and manufacturing activity are likely to be hit especially hard by the political challenges, as the elevated policy...
(Bloomberg 09/28/17)
South Africa’s notoriously volatile rand has been sailing into calmer waters in recent months, with price swings narrowing to the lowest level in almost three years. That’s about to change, options pricing suggests. The rand’s three-month implied volatility against the dollar has soared relative to actual fluctuations as the ruling African National Congress’s leadership contest approaches, suggesting traders are paying up for protection ahead of an event that may introduce two-way risks for the currency. The ANC, which has ruled...

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