| Africatime
Sunday 30 April 2017
(AFP (eng) 03/31/17)
South Africa's rand plunged five percent Friday after President Jacob Zuma sacked his finance minister and made ten new cabinet appointments in a dramatic reshuffle that has fuelled fears of a split in the ruling African National Congress. The decision to fire Pravin Gordhan rocked investors, who had come to view him as a trusted operator and safe pair of hands who had stressed his intention to intention to rein in spending, tackle graft and reduce the budget deficit. Now there is a fear his removal could persuade investors and voters that once-booming South Africa is heading toward fiscal and political instability. The rand dived to 13.4618 against the dollar in Asia on Friday, from 12.7933 before the news was...
(AFP (eng) 03/31/17)
European stock markets fell on Friday as investors digested economic data on the last day of the first quarter, while London faced pressure from South Africa's political turmoil. Around midday in London, stocks were down by half a percent, with South Africa-exposed companies sliding after President Jacob Zuma sacked his respected finance minister. Frankfurt and Paris stocks sagged on news of a sharp slowdown in eurozone inflation, which dampened the chances of a European Central Bank interest rate hike any time soon, dealers said. European markets also slid as investors positioned themselves and closed their books on the final day of the quarter of 2017. Traders shrugged off an overnight rally on Wall Street, which was buoyed by news that...
(APA 03/31/17)
South Africa and Oman have agreed to increase cooperation between them to enhance trade relations during a two-day business forum held in Johannesburg, APA has learnt. Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and his Omani counterpart, Ali Bin Masoud Al-Sunaidy, said their countries were committed to ensuring that the overall trade and investment relations between them are amplified. According to Davies, the forum was an opportunity for both South African and Omani officials to work energetically to ensure that the untapped opportunities between the two countries are explored. “There are a number of realities in the world that create a necessity for us to strengthen our relationship. My counterpart, Dr Ali Bin Masoud Al-Sunaidy, has briefed me on how Oman...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/31/17)
South Africa's Democratic Alliance, the largest opposition party, said it would ask a court on Friday to block the appointment of new cabinet ministers after President Jacob Zuma roiled markets by sacking Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. "We will this afternoon file papers in the Western Cape High Court seeking an urgent interdict to halt the swearing in of Jacob Zuma’s compromised cabinet members, and the implementation of his reshuffle," the Democratic Alliance said in a statement. (Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana Ed Stoddard; Editing by Joe Brock)
(AFP (eng) 03/31/17)
Pravin Gordhan, who was sacked late Thursday, was admired by many ordinary South Africans -- an unusual achievement for any finance minister. He held onto the purse strings for longer than many analysts expected after he was parachuted into the job in 2015 to calm markets when a little-known lawmaker lasted just four days in the post. But Zuma's desire to appoint a loyalist to the treasury ultimately cost Gordhan his portfolio, which he had also held from 2009 to 2014. Softly-spoken and measured in public, but tough behind the scenes, 67-year-old Gordhan earned an international reputation for fiscal prudence and for taking a firm stand against corruption. Gordhan's name alone stabilised the markets which had been gripped by panic...
(AFP (eng) 03/30/17)
South African President Jacob Zuma has vowed to sack his respected finance minister, a government coalition party confirmed Thursday, in a move which could split the African National Congress (ANC). Zuma has been at loggerheads with Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan for months, and this week abruptly ordered him to return home from a foreign investment trip as speculation rose of a dramatic political showdown. Gordhan is supported by several senior ministers and many international investors, as well as being widely admired by ordinary South Africans and veterans of the anti-apartheid struggle. He has campaigned for controlled spending and against corruption
(Bloomberg 03/30/17)
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress has a choice: It can help President Jacob Zuma, or it can help the country. Its survival as a respected national force depends on doing the latter. Support for the ANC has fallen amid charges of corruption and incompetence. Now Zuma is embroiled in a struggle with his finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, and other cabinet members, claiming that Gordhan and his allies are seeking to undermine him. Zuma’s possible firing of Gordhan rattled investors, sparking talk of a downgrade of South African bonds to junk status -- a setback that would raise the country’s debt burden and deter badly needed foreign investment. Underlying this recent volatility is a deeper malaise. Economic growth under Zuma...
(Bloomberg 03/30/17)
Russia can add South African President Jacob Zuma to its list of reasons for the ruble’s seemingly unstoppable rally. Just last week the ruble was competing with the rand for investors lured by high interest rates in the two emerging-market nations. Now, thanks to Zuma’s move to wrench back control from his market-friendly finance minister, traders are fleeing the rand in droves. If they’re looking for somewhere to put that money, Russia may be the obvious choice, according to to Societe Generale SA and Schroder Investment Management. “The ruble may now appear more attractive by comparison,” said Phoenix Kalen, director of emerging-market strategy at SocGen in London, who recommends buying the ruble against the rand. “Investors are hungrier than ever...
(Bloomberg 03/30/17)
South African President Jacob Zuma faces a rebellion within his own party if he fires Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, with about 12 ministers considering resigning their positions and then fighting for the president’s removal, according to four people familiar with the situation. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and some deputy ministers may also resign, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information isn’t public. The officials would keep their seats in parliament and possibly support or abstain from a vote of no confidence in the president if it’s called by the opposition or by members of the ruling African National Congress, they said. The rand strengthened. Zuma told the ANC’s top six members and officials of the South...
(Bloomberg 03/30/17)
When companies design development programs for areas near their operations in South Africa that are required to win government approval for licenses, local communities are often not consulted and have no right to veto the mines, according to a group that’s lobbying for stronger regulation. In five case studies of mines ranging from platinum and coal extraction to clay, the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, based at Johannesburg’s University of the Witwatersrand, found that most communities were unaware of the commitments companies made in the social plans and in almost all cases those promises weren’t fulfilled. The plans, along with legislation demanding greater black ownership of assets that account for about half of South Africa’s exports, are supposed to be...
(Times Live 03/30/17)
If there were a Champions League of own goals South Africa would surely be the log leader, with yesterday's dramatic recall of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan from an international roadshow to investors and ratings agencies being the season's highlight. The facts of Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas's recall from their London trip were still unfolding yesterday but the uncertainty and potential ramifications of the move were predictable all the same. The rand immediately weakened on the news and speculation flared that the recall presaged a cabinet shuffle long predicted. The script playing out goes to the heart of the ANC's factional struggle as Jacob Zuma and his allies move to assert absolute control over the reins of power -...
(Bloomberg 03/30/17)
A South African holding company part owned by a businessman linked to the Gupta family’s Oakbay Investments Ltd. is applying for a court ruling to force authorities to decide on whether to grant it permission to buy the local unit of Habib Overseas Bank Ltd. The application by closely held Vardospan Ltd. to the high court in Pretoria seeks to force the South African Reserve Bank, the Registrar of Banks and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to make a decision by Friday on whether to allow the purchase, according to papers filed to the court. That’s because the purchase of the majority stake in the Habib unit is conditional on permission being obtained by the end of the week. Vardospan is...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/30/17)
Drought conditions associated with an El Nino weather pattern are likely to reoccur in a few months time, the South African government said on Thursday. "Recurrence of El Niño drought conditions likely ... The next summer season has increased the likelihood for the development of El Nino conditions which are often associated with drought and water scarcity as seen recently in South Africa," the government said in a statement. The previous El Nino, which faded in May of last year, brought widespread drought to southern Africa, hitting crop production and fuelling inflation across the region while leaving millions in need of food aid. South Africa's weather service and global forecasters have predicted that El Nino will form again in the...
(Xinhuanet 03/30/17)
The African Union (AU) is extremely appalled by the attacks against African students in Noida and other cities in India. The pan-African bloc has deplored the violence unleashed during the riot that started on Monday targeting Africans of various nationalities, particularly Nigerians, which resulted in loss of innocent lives and serious injuries, the AU said in a statement. The attacks have also resulted in the displacement of many Africans from their normal places of residence, thereby putting their lives in serious danger, it said. AU has expressed heartfelt condolence to the families of the deceased; and it wished speedy recovery to all those who have sustained injuries. AU has called on the Indian authorities to provide all necessary support to...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/17)
The funeral of celebrated South African anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada on Wednesday was transformed into a rally against President Jacob Zuma, who had been barred from the event. The family of the African National Congress (ANC) stalwart, one of Nelson Mandela's closest colleagues in the struggle against white minority rule who died on Tuesday aged 87, had asked Zuma to stay away. It was however attended by vice president Cyril Ramaphosa, cabinet ministers and all of the country's living post-apartheid former presidents. South Africa was thrown into political turmoil on Monday when Zuma ordered the respected Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to return early from
(AFP (eng) 03/29/17)
President Jacob Zuma will not attend the funeral on Wednesday of celebrated South African anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada, who in recent years had become fiercely critical of the government. While most of the country's leadership will be present, Kathrada's family asked Zuma to skip the event, the president's office said in a statement. "President Zuma will not attend the funeral and memorial service in compliance with the wishes of the family," it said. Kathrada, one of Nelson Mandela's closest colleagues in the struggle against white minority rule, died on Tuesday, aged 87. After his retirement from politics in 1999, Kathrada kept a low profile, but in recent years had chosen to speak out. He openly criticised the current African National...
(Cnbc Africa 03/29/17)
South Africa's political and economic stability stumbled further into uncertain territory Tuesday as speculation rose over the potential dismissal of the county's Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan. Eyebrows were raised and the rand fell Monday as President Jacob Zuma suddenly recalled Gordhan and National Treasury Director General Lungisa Fuzile from an investor roadshow to the U.K. and U.S. The President gave no justification for the decision, which has done little to pacify markets and commentators. Media reports from Bloomberg suggest that President Zuma told senior officials Monday evening that he plans to dismiss Gordhan, while analysts anticipate a potential wider cabinet reshuffle as the President attempts to overhaul the ruling African National Congress (ANC) ahead of his scheduled retirement at the...
(Bloomberg 03/29/17)
South African President Jacob Zuma is taking a gamble as he ups the ante in his battle with Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan for control of the nation’s finances. If he fires Gordhan, as he told Communist Party officials that he planned to do according to three people with knowledge of the matter, he risks a market meltdown and a revolt by opponents in the ruling African National Congress. If he doesn’t, he’d appear weak as he seeks to secure his choice as successor as party leader in December. Zuma ordered Gordhan to cancel a roadshow and to return home from London on Monday. The turmoil has caused the rand to plummet. Zuma delayed the start of a cabinet meeting until...
(Financial Times 03/29/17)
Pravin Gordhan has clashed with the president as the Treasury roots out cronyism. Concern that Jacob Zuma, the South African president, was preparing to fire Pravin Gordhan as finance minister sent the rand plunging against the dollar for the second consecutive day. Mr Zuma rattled investors by ordering Mr Gordhan to return immediately from an overseas investor roadshow on Monday. The decision triggered speculation that a cabinet reshuffle was imminent, with media reporting that Mr Zuma had already told other politicians of his intention to dismiss Mr Gordhan for blocking his policies. The rand fell by nearly 3 per cent against the dollar on Tuesday as the finance minister returned from London, where he was meeting investors. The currency cut...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/17)
The final day of the deciding third Test between New Zealand and South Africa was abandoned because of persistent rain in Hamilton on Wednesday, giving the Proteas a 1-0 series victory. The umpires called the game off as further showers swept across the ground just after the scheduled lunch break. New Zealand, who were in command after four days, were left frustrated to be denied the opportunity to draw level and snap a 13-year winless streak against South Africa. Play was to have resumed at 10.30am (2130 GMT Tuesday) with South Africa 80 for five in their second innings, requiring a further 95 runs to make New Zealand bat again. The decision to call off the game ensured South Africa...

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