Friday 23 June 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 05/11/17)
Lawyers for South African President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday requested legal permission for an appeal against a High Court order to give reasons for his decision to fire finance minister Pravin Gordhan in a cabinet reshuffle, eNCA television said. Gordhan's firing led to sovereign debt downgrades, large street protests and calls for Zuma's resignation.The president has never given specific reasons for removing Gordhan and replacing him with Malusi Gigaba. Zuma's spokesman and lawyers were not immediately available to comment on the request for an appeal. The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), which requested the High Court order, also called for a no-confidence motion against Zuma in parliament saying his cabinet changes were harmful to the economy. "The President is clearly hell-bent...
(Financial Times 05/11/17)
Tourism minister tells South Africa that Marxism has had ‘dire consequences’. A Zimbabwean cabinet minister has warned South Africa against copying Harare’s disastrous land reform agenda. Zimbabwe collapsed into economic chaos after President Robert Mugabe implemented a land reform programme in 2000 that led to the seizure of white-owned commercial farms and the eviction of 5,000 mostly white farmers and 150,000 black farm labourers. This year President Jacob Zuma called for radical land reform in South Africa, abandoning “willing buyer, willing seller” policies and suggesting the country’s constitution be changed to allow land to be expropriated without full compensation. Julius Malema, the populist leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, who broke away from South Africa’s ruling African National Congress, often...
(Bloomberg 05/11/17)
Some of the banks accused of manipulating trades in the rand are objecting to the complaint by South Africa’s Competition Commission, calling it vague and embarrassing, and demanding it be amended or dropped “The commission has failed to plead the material facts necessary to sustain the allegation that there was an agreement, or agreements,” between the lenders of colluding to fix the value of the currency, lawyers for Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a documents published on the Pretoria-based Competition Tribunal’s website on Wednesday. “The necessary details of any such agreement(s) -- i.e., when, where, how and by whom they were concluded -- are also lacking.” The New York-based lender was named among 14 banks as respondents in...
(Bloomberg 05/10/17)
Cyril Ramaphosa’s campaign to become South Africa’s next president has gone into overdrive. After months of playing coy about his aspirations to become the next leader of the ruling African National Congress, the deputy president has started crisscrossing the country speaking out against corruption. He’s picked up endorsements from labor unions, church leaders and some of the ANC’s most respected leaders, including former president Kgalema Motlanthe and ex-finance minister Pravin Gordhan. Ramaphosa’s biggest electoral asset may be his boss, the increasingly unpopular President Jacob Zuma, who’s indicated that he wants to be succeeded by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, his ex-wife and former head of the African Union Commission.
(Financial Times 05/10/17)
South African stocks hit an 11-month high on Tuesday, as markets calm a month after the surprise ousting of the country’s finance minister, but analysts warned that political worries could rear their heads again soon. The FTSE/JSE All-Share index climbed 1 per cent today, hitting a high of 54,255, its highest level since June 2016. Bank stocks, which were particularly badly hit by the sacking of finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy in an extensive cabinet shake-up, have yet to fully recover, but the Johannesburg Stock Exchange Banks Index has picked up 8 per cent from the lows hit after the reshuffle. The rand, similarly, has recovered from its lows but settled around weaker levels than before Mr Gordhan’s...
(Voice of America 05/10/17)
In South Africa, President Jacob Zuma launched the country’s new state-of-the-art Metrorail, dubbed the “People’s Trains.” The event was seen as an opportunity for Zuma to shore up popular support amid mounting political tensions and an upcoming no-confidence vote in parliament. Zuma rolled out the first phase of a $4-billion, 20-year project to modernize public transport. Commuters have in the past resorted to burning trains in anger at the aging current fleet of trains for arriving late and constantly breaking down. Zuma unveiled the new trains, outfitted with air-conditioning, CC-TV cameras and other features, in Pretoria. He pleaded with people not to burn or vandalize them. “This is a government who is trying to better our lives in anyway. Bit...
(Business Day 05/10/17)
The contracts between the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) and the workstreams, appointed by Minister Bathabile Dlamini, are irregular. This is according to a letter, seen by Business Day, sent to Sassa CE Thokozani Magwaza from Treasury on May 5. Treasury did not approved the deviation from normal tender processes that led to their installation, meaning such an installation was illegal. “Sassa did not report the deviation within a prescribed 10 days or request prior approval from National Treasury in terms of instruction Note 3 of 2016/17,” Treasury’s chief director of supply chain management, governance,monitoring and compliance, Solly Tshitangano wrote in the letter. “Taking into account the non-compliance raised above, all contracts concluded should be regarded as irregular.” Magwaza...
(Mail & Guardian 05/10/17)
It has been widely reported, in both Kenya and South Africa, that the Kenyan government has issued a travel advisory, warning Kenyans against travel to South Africa. South Africa, apparently, is too dangerous. Except that’s not what happened. “The Government of the Republic of Kenya has not issued any travel warning barring her citizens from travelling to South Africa,” said Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a statement. According to the ministry, the warnings about crime and insecurity in South Africa – including that “the diplomatic community is being openly attacked in residential areas and in the central business district” – was contained in an internal memo circulated to senior ministry officials only. A travel advisory is official advice from...
(Business Day 05/10/17)
The SABC wants the Broadcasting Act to be changed so that those watching TV via electronic devices can be charged a TV licence fee. The shock proposal was made by acting CEO James Aguma in Parliament on Wednesday while presenting a corporate plan for the 2017-18 financial year to the portfolio committee on communications. The cash-strapped SABC is scrambling to find new revenue streams amid plummeting audience rates that are repelling advertisers who used to spend hundreds of million of rand buying airtime space. Aguma urged MPs to support his idea so that those viewing SABC programmes via devices, such as cellphones‚ tablets and laptops, could be brought into the SABC revenue stream. He believed a majority of non-payers of...
(Fox News 05/10/17)
After five years of no major attacks on merchant vessels, piracy around the Horn of Africa seemed to be on hiatus. Acts of piracy in those treacherous waters have fallen sharply since 2012, according to statistics released by the United States Navy. The Navy credits aggressive patrolling by international forces and increased vigilance by the commercial shipping industry for the decrease. However, in the past month, Somali pirates have intercepted five ships, raising concerns that piracy has returned to the Indian Ocean, beginning with the kidnapping of a Sri Lankan crew from the Aris 13 oil tanker on March 13th (they were later released without a ransom). Nobody thinks the problem will end until a stable government is restored in...
(Business Day 05/09/17)
Political uncertainty domestically and a ratings review by Moody’s are the main risks the rand faces The rand was slightly weaker against the dollar on Tuesday afternoon, in volatile trade. The local currency weakened to R13.71 to the dollar in earlier sessions, but improved to R13.58 in intraday trade. Local political uncertainty and a ratings review by ratings agency Moody’s were the main risks the rand was facing. In April‚ Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings downgraded SA’s debt to "junk" status after President Jacob Zuma fired Pravin Gordhan as the finance minister in a Cabinet reshuffle. Moody’s was expected to visit SA in May, before announcing its country rating in the weeks thereafter. At 3.33pm‚ the rand was at...
(BBC News Africa 05/09/17)
Riots have hit a small town in South Africa after a magistrate granted bail to two white farmers accused of murdering a 16-year-old black boy. Anger erupted in the maize producing town of Coligny, after residents learned that the two suspects had been freed on Monday. Three houses were torched and white-owned shops looted. The violence over the death highlights prevailing racial tensions in parts of post-apartheid South Africa. Apartheid was a legal system of discrimination that existed in South Africa until the country's first democratic elections in 1994. Pieter Doorewaad and Phillip Schutte allegedly assaulted Matlhomola Moshoeu and then threw him out of a moving car. Local media report that the two farmers caught Mr Moshoeu stealing sunflowers on...
(Business Day 05/09/17)
The finance minister told the standing committee on finance that his wife did not influence his work, despite what was suggested in a TV interview. Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba was forced to defend both his wife and his economic adviser, while also dishing out marital advice, in his first appearance before his parliamentary oversight committee. Appearing before the standing committee on finance on Tuesday‚ Gigaba was asked by EFF MP Floyd Shivambu whether his wife Norma had been attending official government meetings with him. This comes after his wife told a TV station in an interview — which has sparked outrage on social media — that she had helped improve IT processes related to the management of passport applications during...
(The Associated Press 05/09/17)
South Africa's president is appealing to the public for any information about a New York-based UNICEF official who was reported missing after going for a mountain hike in Cape Town. The office of President Jacob Zuma said Monday that Charlotte Nikoi, a Ghanaian citizen, arrived in Cape Town on March 17 to celebrate her wedding anniversary with her family. Nikoi was reported missing on March 21 during a hike on Table Mountain. Zuma is asking anyone who may have information about the United Nations employee to help police. The Cape Times newspaper says Nikoi is an associate director for human resources at the U.N. children's agency. The newspaper quotes husband Chris Nikoi as saying his wife sent him a telephone...
(Xinhuanet 05/09/17)
China's new-generation training vessel set sail on its maiden voyage Tuesday from the port city of Dalian, Liaoning Province, northeast China, to South Africa. The 340-million-yuan (50 million U.S. dollars) ocean-going vessel is China's most advanced cruise training ship. The 199.8-meter ship, "Yupeng," is owned by Dalian Maritime University. During its maiden voyage, 87 graduating students joined the crew to undergo training. It was also loaded with four locomotives and other equipment produced by China's rolling-stock maker CRRC Corp. Ltd. for customers in South Africa. Founded in 1909, Dalian Maritime University is one of China's largest maritime universities. The school already owns and operates another ocean-going training vessel, "Yukun," that boasts more than a 10,000 deadweight tonnage. The new ship,...
(Business Day 05/09/17)
Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba had been "quite effective" in conveying the message that the fiscal objectives of government have not changed, outgoing director-general of the Treasury Lungisa Fuzile, said in Parliament on Tuesday. Fuzile was answering questions by members of the finance committee on the Treasury’s annual performance plan. He said Gigaba had been very clear in telling investors that nothing would change in the government’s fiscal stance unless a slowdown in economic growth required it. Fuzile did not believe government guarantees to state-owned enterprises were "going to explode" any time soon, although they were of concern to credit ratings agencies. The largest guarantee is the R350bn for Eskom to build Medupi and Kusile of which it has so far...
(AFP (eng) 05/08/17)
A South African court Monday granted bail to a man charged with conspiracy to assassinate top politicians including President Jacob Zuma in an apparent bid to enforce a change of government. Elvis Ramosebudi, 33, allegedly approached private companies to fund his plot before he was arrested on April 26. Calls have mounted in recent months for Zuma -- mired in corruption scandals -- to step down, and on Friday three former presidents made an unprecedented joint call for dialogue to end the country's political crisis. A magistrate in Johannesburg granted Ramosebudi 3,000 rand bail ($222, 202 euros) and ordered him to report to the police three times a week. He was also told not to interfere with witnesses in the...
(Business Day 05/08/17)
The South African Revenue Service annual performance plan identifies a number of risks facing the tax authority Public perceptions of poor state delivery and corruption pose a threat to revenue collection, according to the South African Revenue Service (SARS) annual performance plan for 2017-18. On Tuesday, SARS commissioner Tom Moyane is due to brief Parliament’s finance committee on the plan. Its tabling in March was delayed when then finance minister Pravin Gordhan expressed his reservations about it, saying he wanted to review the document "with the required due diligence". Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba is also expected to appear before the MPs on Tuesday
(Times Live 05/08/17)
Backers of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa want him to quit the post if President Jacob Zuma fails to endorse him as his successor. The pro-Ramaphosa lobby, including regional and provincial ANC leaders, took the decision at an inaugural meeting of the group on Monday. However, some of Ramaphosa's backers believe that the president's detractors should remain in the cabinet to avoid a situation in which Zuma allies are allowed free rein. The lobby group also wants the ANC constitution to be amended to create positions for a first and second deputy president, one to be deployed in the government and the other to serve full time at Luthuli House. Brown Mogotsi, the organiser of the lobby group, said Zuma should...
(Business Day 05/08/17)
The ANC must "elect the right leaders" in December if it hopes to win the 2019 general elections with an overwhelming majority. So optimistic is ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa that he believes his embattled party can surprise many and get more than a two-thirds majority come 2019. "If we take the right steps‚ make good promises and elect the right leaders we will be able to get an overwhelming majority‚" Ramaphosa said, addressing party members at the Joza Multipurpose Centre in Grahamstown on Sunday during a Cadres Forum that drew a crowd of more than 2‚000 ANC supporters. "In my view we can get 75% as long as we do the right things and take the right decisions. It...

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