Wednesday 23 August 2017
(Bloomberg 08/23/17)
It’s payback time for South African President Jacob Zuma as his ruling African National Congress censures its lawmakers who openly backed a move to oust him, increasing his sway over who’ll succeed him. The ANC fired Makhosi Khoza as chairwoman of parliament’s public service committee last week after saying it would punish three legislators who announced they’d back an opposition motion of no confidence in Zuma. It then wrote to Derek Hanekom, the head of its disciplinary committee, rebuking him for his Twitter postings calling for the president’s removal. The ANC’s response shows the balance of power within the party is still tilted in favor of Zuma, who’s due to step down as its leader...
(Bloomberg 08/23/17)
The Gupta family are selling their assets in South Africa to little-known companies as their access to banking facilities dries up and allegations intensify that they used their friendship with President Jacob Zuma to wield undue influence over his administration. On Wednesday they announced the sale of a coal business to a Swiss company that has no history in the commodities business, after saying this week that they plan to sell their media unit to a former government spokesman in a deal the family are funding themselves. They have said that without banking facilities they won’t be able to pay workers. “The Guptas allegedly use very elaborate structures to do their business and may be selling assets to circumvent their...
(Bloomberg 08/22/17)
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress should initiate disciplinary action over allegations that President Jacob Zuma and members of a family in business with his son have looted state coffers, according to a member of his cabinet who is running to replace him as party leader. “The ANC should act decisively on anybody in authority who is suspected or alleged to be doing wrong,” Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said in an interview Sunday in the northeastern town of Polokwane...
(Bloomberg 08/22/17)
Shoprite Holdings Ltd. reported full-year earnings in line with analyst estimates as Africa’s largest food retailer boosted market share in South Africa ahead of a partial tie-up with clothing and furniture specialist Steinhoff International Holdings NV. Headline earnings per share, which exclude one-time items, rose 12 percent to 10.07 rand in the 12 months through June, the Cape Town-based company said in a statement on Tuesday. The board declared a full-year dividend of 5.04 rand a share, an increase of...
(Bloomberg 08/22/17)
All eight South African Airways flights between Harare and Johannesburg were canceled on Saturday when the Zimbabwe government demanded a foreign operators permit, a day after an Air Zimbabwe plane was grounded in the South African city for similar reasons. The decisions to halt the flights came as Zimbabwe seeks diplomatic immunity in South Africa for President Robert Mugabe’s wife, Grace, after she was charged with assault in Johannesburg. The Wednesday request is being considered, officials said. On Friday, the...
(Bloomberg 08/21/17)
Oakbay Investments, the company controlled by the Gupta family that’s having its last bank accounts closed, agreed to sell its South African media interests to management and an ally of the friends of President Jacob Zuma. Oakbay will get 300 million rand ($23 million) for Infinity Media, which operates news channel ANN7, and 150 million rand for its two-thirds stake in the publisher of The New Age newspaper, the company said in a statement on Monday. The assets will be...
(AL Jazeera 08/21/17)
Breeders say open trade will stop poachers slaughtering rhino but activists say legal sales could fuel illegal hunting. An online auction of rhino horn is set to open Monday, after a court in South Africa approved the site which has outraged conservationists. South African authorities had refused to issue a permit in a move to ban the three-day auction, which they feared would undermine a global ban on rhino trade. But the High Court in Pretoria on Sunday ruled in...
(Bloomberg 08/21/17)
GreenWish Partners, a renewable energy company run by a former Morgan Stanley executive, is planning to invest $800 million on solar-powered telecommunications towers across Africa. The project could fuel economic growth by providing power for essential services. Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest rates of energy access in the world and is home to about half of the world’s 1.2 billion people without reliable electricity, according to the International Energy Agency. The problem extends to businesses as well as households, cutting...
(Bloomberg 08/18/17)
A year ago, South Africa’s biggest gold producer was churning cash, sizing up acquisitions and plotting expansion projects. Today, Sibanye Gold Ltd. is making losses and shutting mines. The main difference between then and now? A big rebound in the rand. High costs and labor-intensive operations mean that Sibanye and other South African producers are highly leveraged to one of the world’s most volatile major currencies. Sibanye expects to report a first-half loss of at least $360 million, compared with...
(Bloomberg 08/17/17)
Companies controlled by the Gupta family, whose accounts are being closed down by Bank of Baroda, said they’re taking legal action against the lender to try and stop the termination, which comes after South Africa’s four biggest lenders cut banking services for the family that’s in business with a son of President Jacob Zuma. A number of companies forming part of the Gupta-controlled Oakbay Group “are presently involved in litigation against the Bank of Baroda concerning its unlawful attempts to close the companies’ accounts, and particularly in light of the unreasonable notice period given,” Gary Naidoo
(Bloomberg 08/16/17)
South Africa’s credit rating may be cut to junk if its policies become “even less predictable” or shift in a way that could undermine the economy, Moody’s Investors Service said. Policy uncertainty and political turmoil have increased in the last two months as the nation’s anti-graft ombudsman instructed lawmakers to change the central bank’s mandate, the mines minister published new regulations that the industry says undermine investment and President Jacob Zuma’s defeat of a no-confidence motion in parliament weakened the rand. South Africa entered a recession in the first quarter.
(Bloomberg 08/16/17)
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress won’t try to expose its lawmakers who voted in secret with the opposition in the no-confidence motion against President Jacob Zuma, the party’s secretary-general said. “There will be no witch hunt for those who voted with the opposition,” Gwede Mantashe said in a post on his Twitter account on Tuesday. “We don’t know who voted what way.” More than two dozen members of the ANC backed the motion of no confidence in the president...
(Bloomberg 08/14/17)
South African President Jacob Zuma indicated that ruling party lawmakers who backed an opposition attempt to oust him should face disciplinary action and said he may consider firing his higher education minister, who has criticized his leadership. More than two dozen members of the ruling African National Congress backed a motion of no confidence in the president on Aug. 8, which the main opposition Democratic Alliance filed after he unilaterally fired his respected finance minister and two ratings companies responded...
(The Guardian 08/14/17)
PR company summoned before disciplinary committee, accused of divisive social media campaign in South Africa to benefit billionaire Gupta family Bell Pottinger, the public relations company founded by Margaret Thatcher’s spin doctor Lord Bell, will on Friday be hauled before the public relations and communications association (PRCA) disciplinary committee over allegations it ran a secret campaign to stir up racial tension in South Africa on behalf of billionaire clients. Mmusi Maimane, leader of South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance party, has...
(Bloomberg 08/14/17)
The U.S. will probably maintain its current levels of aid to Africa despite President Donald Trump’s proposals to slash funding, according to Bill Gates, the world’s richest man. Trump said in May his government would no longer allocate funding for family planning, a move that has the potential to undermine aid programs in the poorest countries in the world. However, with Congress in control of the budget, it’s unlikely that all cuts proposed by the Trump administration will go ahead...
(Financial Times 08/12/17)
Businesses hold off investment as bitter divisions rack ANC. Kutlo Marumo, the man who makes President Jacob Zuma’s trademark leather jackets, emblazoned with the black, green and gold insignia of the African National Congress, should be doing a roaring trade. South Africa’s ruling party is gearing up for a five-yearly conference where thousands of delegates will elect a new leadership and the jackets are a favourite of ANC members. But even Mr Marumo is feeling the pinch as a string...
(Bloomberg 08/11/17)
South Africa could escape a further slide to junk status on Friday in the same way the nation’s leader, Jacob Zuma, defeated a parliamentary rebellion and clung onto power -- comfortably but not without some sweating. Moody’s Investors Service is scheduled to release a ratings review two months after it cut the local- and foreign-currency assessments to one level above junk, citing risks to growth and fiscal strength due to the political outlook. That was after it put South Africa...
(Bloomberg 08/09/17)
South African President Jacob Zuma narrowly overcame a bid by opposition parties to topple him through a no-confidence motion in parliament. The real loser may be his own party, the African National Congress. Ruling party lawmakers rallied round Zuma, a 75-year-old former intelligence operative who’s been implicated in a series of scandals, to defeat the motion by 198 votes to 177. With support for the ANC waning as a result of Zuma’s misrule before elections in 2019, it’s a decision...
(CNN 08/09/17)
South Africa's scandal-hit President Jacob Zuma has survived an ouster attempt in the country's National Assembly. A motion of no-confidence in Zuma was defeated by 198 votes to 177. Even though the ballot was held in secret, the opposition was not able to persuade enough members of Zuma's ruling African National Congress to side with them. Members of the ANC sang in celebration even before the result was formally announced. "I would like to thank you very much," Zuma told...
(Bloomberg 08/09/17)
The South African rand fell for a second day against the dollar after President Jacob Zuma survived a no-confidence vote that could have brought an end to his administration. The decline marks a swift turnaround for the rand, which was the best-performing major currency on Monday as the secret ballot was announced. It saw the single biggest losses among Eastern European and African currencies on Wednesday. Despite the abrupt change in fortunes, the result is unlikely to be a trigger...

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