Tuesday 17 October 2017
(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 new measures to a bench of judges. The charter, which was published in the Government Gazette in June, is “a living document that’s the subject of the court,” Zwane said in a speech in Johannesburg...
(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 reveals the deep fractures within the ruling African National Congress over Mr Zuma’s scandal-hit leadership — including his ties to the Gupta business family — as Cosatu and the Communist party are part of the ruling African National Congress alliance...
(Bloomberg 09/28/17)
As the battle to succeed South African President Jacob Zuma as leader of the African National Congress grows increasingly fractious, party Treasurer-General Zweli Mkhize is emerging as a possible compromise choice to keep the continent’s oldest political movement from tearing itself apart. While the race for the top job is widely seen as a head-to-head contest between Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the president’s ex-wife and former chairwoman of the African Union Commission, Mkhize, a 61-year-old medical doctor, has two advantages: he’s stayed above the infighting and has strong support in his home region of KwaZulu-Natal, which has the most ANC members of the nation’s nine provinces.
(Bloomberg 09/28/17)
South Africa’s potential bailout of the state-owned airline could place pressure on the nation’s finances because other government-run companies that are cash-strapped and mismanaged may come to expect the same, Moody’s Investors Service said. “It generates moral hazards because then larger state-owned enterprises see it and there perhaps will be the perception that the government will always come and bail out, without reforms,” Zuzana Brixiova, Moody’s senior vice president for sovereign risk and its lead analyst for South Africa, said...
(AL Jazeera 09/28/17)
Trade union confederation says time has come for 'workers and citizens to stand up and push back against this rot'. Thousands of workers have taken to the streets in cities across South Africa to protest against government corruption, state capture and job losses. The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP), both in alliance with the ruling ANC, say the strike on Wednesday is largely against corruption, but the call to take to...
(Bloomberg 09/27/17)
South African Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said he won’t ask Africa’s biggest money manager to provide funds to bail out state-owned companies that will put the pensions of government workers at risk. “There is no attempt to dip into pensions for reasons that are unscrupulous,” Gigaba told reporters in Pretoria on Tuesday after a meeting with the board of the Public Investment Corp. The event was scheduled after media reports said that the National Treasury is seeking to use PIC...
(Bloomberg 09/27/17)
South Africa’s biggest labor organization urged workers to strike on Wednesday to protest against what it called “the cancer of corruption” spreading among business and government leaders and threatening the nation’s democracy under President Jacob Zuma. The action is the boldest step yet by the Congress of South African Trade Unions to pile pressure on Zuma, whom it helped to win control of the ruling African National Congress in 2007 and then turned against after he fired Pravin Gordhan as...
(Bloomberg 09/27/17)
The South African High Court in Pretoria has restricted access to 1.75 billion rand ($130 million) in rehabilitation-trust accounts for two mines owned by companies linked to the politically connected Gupta family, according to The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse, a civic action group. The interim order directs India’s Bank of Baroda to continue to hold the trust funds of the Optimum and Koornfontein coal mines in accounts in the trusts’ names, the group said in an emailed statement Tuesday. The...
(Bloomberg 09/27/17)
Studio 189, a label founded by actress Rosario Dawson and fashion executive Abrima Erwiah, is reinvesting in its African roots. It’s hard enough to build a fashion brand, let alone an empire. Rare is the person who makes a mission of using fashion to build communities. Such is the case with Studio 189, a label founded by longtime friends Abrima Erwiah (formerly a marketing executive at Bottega Veneta) and Rosario Dawson (an enduring star most recently seen in Netflix’s Marvel...
(Bloomberg 09/26/17)
David Mabuza, premier of South Africa’s Mpumalanga province, said the ruling African National Congress needs to coalesce around a unifying candidate at a December conference where leaders will be elected to end infighting that is damaging the party. Factions backing Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the former head of the African Union and an ex-wife of South African President Jacob Zuma, and Cyril Ramaphosa, the country’s deputy president, are “far apart,” Mabuza said on Monday on The Justice Factor, a program screened by...
(Voice of America 09/25/17)
African first ladies and activists hailed progress that some governments on the continent are making on gender equality. They met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. “We used to have 23 percent female representation in parliament but, with the stroke of a pen it went up to 48 percent. So, we managed to double our female representation with that decision,” said Namibia’s first lady Monica Geingos at a roundtable invitation-only event co-hosted by the...
(Financial Times 09/23/17)
Government departments told to examine relationships with firm after political scandal. South Africa’s finance minister has told all government departments to review their relationship with KPMG in response to the accounting firm’s role in a political scandal over links between the Gupta family and President Jacob Zuma. In a statement published yesterday, South African finance minister Malusi Gigaba, who was appointed in March, said he had “deep concerns about audit matters currently surrounding KPMG”. “These developments further threaten to undermine...
(Bloomberg 09/23/17)
South Africa’s Treasury is pressuring the continent’s biggest money manager to provide as much as 100 billion rand ($7.6 billion) to fund struggling state companies, according to two people with knowledge of the situation. The Public Investment Corp., which manages state-employee pension funds and has about 1.86 trillion rand in assets, has been asked by the Treasury to buy its entire 12-billion-rand stake in Telkom SA SOC Ltd. to pay for a bailout of South African Airways, said the people,...
(Bloomberg 09/23/17)
Much of the focus around Indian mining tycoon Anil Agarwal’s pursuit of Anglo American Plc has been the company’s South African operations. But Botswana could be similarly important. Botswana is the source of about two-thirds of Anglo’s diamonds and the country is a major stakeholder in De Beers, the world’s biggest gem producer. There are few countries as dependent on a single commodity as Botswana is with diamonds and the nation is highly protective of the industry. So far Botswana...
(Bloomberg 09/22/17)
South African Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has instructed Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. to begin legal action against companies including McKinsey & Co. over their involvement in disputed contracts at the country’s state-owned electricity company. Brown ordered Eskom to start taking legal steps against consultancy firms McKinsey and Trillian Capital Partners Ltd., as well as suspended acting Chief Executive Officer Matshela Koko and Chief Financial Officer Anoj Singh, who is on special leave, her spokesman, Colin Cruywagen, said by phone...
(Bloomberg 09/22/17)
Africa’s biggest fund manager may be dumped by a labor federation representing 230,000 South African state workers because it’s concerned that the funds of its members may be used to bail out mismanaged state-owned companies. The Federation of Unions of South Africa, the country’s second-largest labor union grouping, is considering replacing the state-owned Public Investment Corp. with privately owned fund managers to oversee the pension funds of the state workers, including nurses and teachers, that it represents. “There is nothing...
(Bloomberg 09/22/17)
Companies controlled by the Guptas lost a court bid to prevent Bank of Baroda from shutting their accounts, which would leave the politically connected family without banking services in South Africa from the end of this month. Judge Hans Fabricius dismissed the application of 20 companies linked to the Gupta family and awarded costs against them at the Pretoria High Court on Thursday. The Bank of Baroda was the family’s last hope after a series of lenders, including South Africa’s...
(Bloomberg 09/22/17)
With its surprise decision to leave rates on hold on Thursday, South Africa’s central bank may have shut its policy-easing window. Forward-rate agreements, which had been pricing in a 25 basis-point reduction in the benchmark rate this year, now suggest the South African Reserve Bank will be forced to stay put as central banks around the world move toward tighter policy. The rate on contracts starting in three months jumped 19 basis points, moving to within 10 points from the...
(Bloomberg 09/21/17)
The top leadership of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress starts meeting on Friday in a bid to heal a bitter split in the key region of KwaZulu-Natal that could derail its plans to elect a successor to President Jacob Zuma as party leader in December. The three-day meeting comes after the High Court annulled the election of Zuma allies as the province’s party leadership because the conference that chose them wasn’t lawfully convened. While the officials who lost the...
(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...

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