Monday 20 November 2017
(Financial Times 09/20/17)
Consumer price growth in South Africa picked up in August after striking its lowest level since 2015 in the previous month, underscoring the complex situation for the country’s central bank as it looks to bolster economic output but ease inflation. The consumer price index rose 4.8 per cent in August from the previous year, up from 4.6 per cent in July, according to official statistics. Economists had forecast a reading of 4.9 per cent. Africa’s most industrialised economy emerged from recession in the second quarter, and the central bank cut rates for the first time in five years in July in a bid to spur growth. Price growth has fallen from highs of more than 6 per cent earlier in...
(Bloomberg 09/20/17)
South African programs to add coal and gas power generation from independent providers should wait until policies are updated and the nation’s future needs are clearer, said Energy Minister Mmamaloko Kubayi. The government is also seeking a “middle ground” with developers in a program to add renewable-energy projects, she said in a phone interview Tuesday. Kubayi announced earlier this month that the long-delayed contracts must be signed by the end of October, but not before pricing was renegotiated to make the deals more attractive to state-owned power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. South Africa expanded the so-called independent power-producer
(Independent Online 09/20/17)
Data released on Wednesday morning by Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) showed that consumer prices (CPI) in South Africa increased 4.8% year-on-year in August, higher than a 4.6% rise in July which was the lowest inflation rate since September of 2015. The increase in the CPI was fuelled by transport prices rose faster in August while food cost increased the least since November of 2015. The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) at the conclusion of its July Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting said that it expected headline inflation to slow to 5.4% in the fourth quarter of this year, although the MPC indicated at the time that the forecast did not adjust for the latest consumer price index print before that...
(Bloomberg 09/20/17)
If South Africa’s central bank cuts interest rates again this week, just don’t accuse it of doing so for the sake of “socioeconomic well-being.” The institution has been fighting off a bid by the nation’s anti-graft ombudsman to change its mandate away from targeting inflation to focusing on the financial health and quality of life of its citizens. But officials might be about to deliver their second rate reduction this year, a move that could inadvertently conform to that alternative agenda. Reserve Bank policy makers in Pretoria will emphasize that a cut, anticipated by almost all economists surveyed by Bloomberg, is intended to revive economic growth at a time when inflation is well within its target range. That would chime...
(Eye Witness News 09/20/17)
Former President Kgalema Motlanthe says that he previously raised his concerns about the party and its current leadership to internal structures. Former President Kgalema Motlanthe says the fact that former African National Congress (ANC) leaders like himself are speaking out against the current leadership of the party shows that the organisation is in a big crisis. Motlanthe says that given President Jacob Zuma's high frequency of indiscretions and wrongdoings not having him in office could create a new environment. He says that he previously raised his concerns about the party and its current leadership to internal structures. "The fact that we are at a point that we are speaking out means that we are in a deep crisis, otherwise under...
(Independent Online 09/20/17)
The world Bank on Tuesday slashed the country’s economic growth outlook for this year to 0.6%, from 1.1% it forecast earlier in the year, and said that South Africa’s second quarter growth of 2.5 percent would be insufficient to restore positive per capita gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the year. However, the bank said it expected South Africa’s economic growth for next year to be 1.1 percent, with a growth of 1.7 percent expected in 2019 supported by an improvement in commodity prices and strengthening balance sheets of households. Paul Noumba Um, World Bank country director, said in an environment, where the national budget was constricted, South Africa could turn to encouraging private innovation as one of the several...
(Eye Witness News 09/20/17)
Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown issued a statement expressing her disappointment at what she called Eskom’s 'inappropriate and tardy responses' in a report on its dealings with the Gupta-linked company. Eskom has met Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown's deadline to respond to specific questions about the utility's relationship with Trillian. Brown issued a statement on Friday expressing her disappointment at what she called Eskom’s “inappropriate and tardy responses” in a report it handed in over its dealings with the Gupta-linked company. Eskom had claimed that payments of R1.6 billion to Trillian and consultancy firm McKinsey were above board, but it then emerged that a New York-based firm had in fact red flagged these transactions and recommended a legal review. Brown...
(Bloomberg 09/20/17)
Amidst a clamor for yield which recently saw investors lapping up bonds from a country some couldn’t even place on an Asian map, South Africa’s latest debt sale had a lukewarm reception. The nation had to pay more to sell 10-year Eurobonds Tuesday than it did on 12-year debt last year, and managed to attract only $2.1 billion in bids for the $1 billion offered. By comparison, Ukraine received bids for three times the $3 billion it offered in its first foray into the market since Russia invaded the Crimea in 2014, while Tajikistan got $3.1 billion of orders in a debut sale of $500 million of securities. South Africa’s $1 billion of 10-year debt was sold to yield 4.85...
(AFP (eng) 09/19/17)
The South African glamour model who accuses Zimbabwe's first lady of battering her with an electrical plug launched a legal bid on Tuesday to have Grace Mugabe stripped of her immunity. Gabriella Engels and her lawyers sought to persuade the North Gauteng High Court to allow them to proceed with their effort to have Mugabe's diplomatic immunity lifted. Engels, 20, claims that Mugabe beat her repeatedly with an electrical cord in a Johannesburg hotel on August 13. A public spat followed in which Engels and critics of President Robert Mugabe sought to...
(Times Live 09/19/17)
The World Bank on Tuesday halved its 2017 growth forecast for South Africa after the economy fell into recession earlier this year. It said in a report that 2017 growth would probably be 0.6 percent, down from an earlier estimate of 1.1 percent. Growth is seen ticking up to 1.1 percent next year and reaching 1.7 percent in 2019. But the bank warned any prospect of recovery would "remain fragile" unless South Africa succeeds in becoming more productive. "South Africa is not benefiting from the global economic rebound. South Africa is well placed in exports markets but we don't see the country's exports breaking into new markets," World Bank southern Africa specialist Sebastian Deussus said. President Jacob Zuma last month...
(Financial Times 09/19/17)
Firm loses 2 contracts as other companies review ties in wake of political scandal. KPMG has lost at least two audit contracts in South Africa and faces widespread client reviews after the accounting firm became embroiled in a high-profile political scandal involving South Africa’s billionaire Gupta family. Sasfin, the South African financial services company that has been audited by KPMG for 18 years, said on Tuesday it would search for a new auditor “in view of the well-publicised concerns recently raised with regard to KPMG”. KPMG has already lost South African-listed asset manager Sygnia as a client
(APA 09/19/17)
South Africa has lost its long-standing top spot regarding investments in Africa, according to Rand Merchant Bank’s latest “Where to Invest in Africa” report for 2018, APA learnt on Tuesday. This is the first time that South Africa has fell from grace since the report was initiated seven years ago, the report said. Nigeria, on the other hand, has for the first time not featured in the Top 10 list due to the erosion of its short-term investment appeal by recessionary conditions, according to the report. The report focuses on the main sources of dollar revenues in Africa, which allows it to measure the most important income generators and identify investment opportunities. Egypt displaced South Africa largely because of its...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/19/17)
A South African broker and an energy investment firm fired KPMG on Tuesday, two of a host of local firms weighing whether to ditch the auditor to distance themselves from a scandal involving business friends of President Jacob Zuma. Sasfin (SFNJ.J) and Hulisani (HULJ.J), both relatively small financial companies based in Johannesburg, announced they would drop KPMG [KPMG.UL] due to reputational risk. KPMG, one of the biggest and most influential names in accounting, cleared out its South African leadership on Friday after it found that work done for firms owned by the Gupta family “fell considerably short” of its standards. It found no evidence of crimes or corruption, however. “In view of the well-publicized concerns recently raised with regard to...
(APA 09/19/17)
South African President Jacob Zuma, who is attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on Tuesday, has urged the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) to work closely together to make the Paris Agreement a success. "Climate change is a global challenge that requires no one to be left behind,” Zuma told a meeting of the CAHOSCC held at the UN headquarters. “The whole world affirmed this in Paris and Marrakech (Morocco) when the Paris Agreement entered into force on the 4th of November last year." Zuma said negotiations on the Paris rule-book must remain on track and ensure that there was sufficient clarity on parties' commitments under their Nationally Determined...
(Bloomberg 09/19/17)
As global companies implicated in a graft scandal in South Africa scramble to contain the damage to their reputations, politicians and law enforcement agencies are prevaricating and stalling official investigations. The scandal has revolved around members of the wealthy Gupta family, who are friends of President Jacob Zuma and have been accused of looting billions of rand in taxpayer funds and exerting undue influence over the state. Accountants KPMG LLP, public relations firm Bell Pottinger LLP, consultancy McKinsey & Co. and software company SAP SE are among the companies that have been implicated in facilitating, being party to or turning a blind eye to their deals. Zuma and the Guptas deny wrongdoing. Eight top executives at KPMG’s South African office...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/19/17)
South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) will hear the state’s appeal against the six-year murder sentence handed to Paralympic gold medallist Oscar Pistorius on Nov. 3, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said on Tuesday. The state will argue that six years in jail is too lenient a sentence for the murder by Pistorius of Reeva Steenkamp, his girlfriend, in 2013. “The state, in the papers, we stipulate clearly that the sentence imposed is shockingly low,” said NPA spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku. “The presiding officer has the discretion to deviate from the minimum prescribed sentence when compelling and substantial circumstances exist. But... with this matter, the presiding officer exercised that discretion in a very lenient manner.” Women’s rights groups in a...
(Bloomberg 09/19/17)
Sasfin Holdings Ltd., a South African financial-services company, said it’s firing KPMG LLP as its independent sponsor and searching for a new auditor, becoming the second company to announce it has dumped the firm because of work it did for the politically connected Gupta family. The decisions were based on “the well-publicized concerns recently raised with regard to KPMG,” Johannesburg-based Sasfin said in an emailed statement on Tuesday. Deloitte & Touche LLP has been chosen as a sponsor, which provides advice and services related to a company’s listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. The role as Sasfin’s auditor, which KPMG held for the past 18 years, has also been put out to tender, it said. Eight top executives at KPMG’s...
(Times Live 09/19/17)
Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize on Tuesday wriggled her way out of media questions about the sudden suspension on Monday of her director-general‚ Mkuseli Apleni. Mkhize‚ who paid a surprise visit to the Pinetown Home Affairs office‚ said she would not give reasons on Apleni's precautionary suspension - but she justified her terse statement on Monday. "There are stages in dealing with an inquiry. The first stage is the most important one where the matter is internal‚ is closed to allow [for] employer and employee relationship to be handled with sensitivity. So that's the only reason I can give why we were so limited in terms of information. We are limited by the prescripts of public service that bind us‚"...
(Bloomberg 09/18/17)
Pravin Gordhan, who was ousted from his post as South Africa’s finance minister in March, slammed KPMG LLP after it withdrew a report on the country’s tax agency that was used as evidence in a police probe against him and led to the removal of senior staff. The auditing firm said on Friday that its conclusions and recommendations in a report for the South African Revenue Service about a unit that allegedly spied on politicians should no longer be relied on. It said the evidence provided to KPMG doesn’t support the interpretation that Gordhan knew, or ought to have known, that the unit was established and operating unlawfully. “Very good people were severely intimidated due to the KPMG report,” Gordhan...
(Xinhuanet 09/18/17)
South Africa will sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons next week during the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Presidency said on Sunday. President Jacob Zuma will ink the treaty on behalf of South Africa on September 20, presidential spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga said. Signature of the treaty reflects South Africa's continued commitment towards the achievement of a world free from the threat posed by nuclear weapons, Ngqulunga said. This will ensure that nuclear energy is used for peaceful purposes only, he added. The Presidency issued the statement as Zuma arrived in New York to attend the UN General Assembly session which is under the theme: "Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent...

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