Monday 22 May 2017
(The Guardian 05/20/17)
Report questions why taxpayers should finance the project, which would have an export edge over Australia’s coal ports. An Australian government agency is considering a multi-million dollar loan to a South African coal mine that would be in direct competition with the Adani Carmichael coal mine. The Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (Efic) is considering the loan to develop the Boikarabelo coal project in Limpopo Province, South Africa. The Boikarabelo mine has approval to extract 32m tonnes a year of raw coal, making it of similar size to some proposals in Australia’s Galilee Basin. With Efic’s help, the project could lead to the development of one
(Bloomberg 05/19/17)
The International Monetary Fund raised its forecast for economic growth in South Africa, saying that the end of the worst drought in more than a century will lift agricultural production while rising commodity prices will boost mining. The Washington-based lender forecast growth of 1 percent for Africa’s most-industrialized economy in 2017, up from the 0.8 percent prediction it made in April. The consumer inflation rate will probably fall below the 6 percent upper limit of the central bank’s target rate in the second half of this year, it said in a statement after a so-called Article IV visit by officials this month. “Following last year’s near-stagnation, there are signs that a modest improvement in the pace of economic growth is...
(Bloomberg 05/18/17)
After months of attacks by opposition parties, labor unions and the courts, South African President Jacob Zuma now appears to be on a collision course with a more dangerous adversary: his own ruling African National Congress. ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe said this week that the party told Zuma’s administration to rescind a decision to reappoint Brian Molefe, who’d been implicated in a graft probe, as the head of the state power utility. Last month three of the party’s top six...
(Bloomberg 05/18/17)
Steinhoff International Holdings NV plans to list its African assets separately as the acquisitive retailer seeks a new prize for shareholders following this year’s failed merger talks with Shoprite Holdings Ltd. The company said Wednesday it will seek to list businesses including clothing retailer Pepkor and furniture chain JD Group Ltd. on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, about 18 months after moving its primary listing to Frankfurt from the South African commercial hub. The new business could be worth as much...
(Bloomberg 05/17/17)
The newly reinstated head of South Africa’s power utility has been accused of attempting to influence a former minister, reversed plans to close power plants that his predecessor claimed weren’t needed, and set the country’s ruling party against its president. He’s only been back on the job for two days. Brian Molefe, who returned as Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd.’s chief executive officer on Monday to staff posters welcoming back ‘Papa Action,’ was moved to tears when he left the role...
(BBC News Africa 05/17/17)
South African police say four people have been arrested in connection with the murder of former actor on popular local TV series Generations. Mandla Hlatshwayo and his friend were shot after confronting a group of men who had robbed women of their mobile phones in a pub in Soweto. The suspects were found in possession of drugs and an unlicensed gun. South Africa has one of the highest murder rates in the world with more than 50,000 cases reported every...
(Bloomberg 05/16/17)
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress told President Jacob Zuma’s government that it should rescind a decision to reappoint Brian Molefe as the chief executive officer of the state power utility, Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., party Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe said. ANC officials told the government of their position at a meeting Monday attended by Zuma, Mantashe said by phone from Johannesburg. The ANC previously condemned the reappointment of Molefe, who resigned as head of Eskom in November after a graft probe questioned his conduct. “They should look into that; ideally they should reverse that decision,” Mantashe said on Tuesday.
(AL Jazeera 05/16/17)
Court hears case for secret ballot in no-confidence motion against Jacob Zuma amid allegations of intimidation of MPs. South Africa's top court is debating whether legislators can cast secret ballots in a no-confidence vote in President Jacob Zuma as hundreds protest in Johannesburg demanding his removal. Zuma, who has been implicated in a series of corruption scandals, has survived similar votes in the parliament the past. Baleka Mbete, parliament speaker and a senior official of Zuma's African National Congress (ANC),...
(BBC News Africa 05/16/17)
South Africa's biggest mobile phone operator, Vodacom, is buying a 35% stake in Kenya's largest mobile firm, Safaricom, for $2.6bn (£2bn). The stake in Safaricom is being sold by Vodafone as part of its drive to streamline its African businesses. The deal will extend the South African firm's influence in Kenya. It will also help increase the use of Safaricom's popular M-Pesa money transfer service across Africa. M-Pesa, launched 10 years ago in Kenya by Safaricom, lets people without bank...
(Bloomberg 05/15/17)
Vodafone Group Plc is simplifying its holdings in sub-Saharan Africa, selling a $2.6 billion stake in Kenya’s Safaricom Ltd. to its majority-owned Vodacom Group Ltd. The all-share deal will transfer a 35 percent stake in Safaricom to Vodacom in return for stock in the Johannesburg-based unit, raising the parent’s stake in its South African business to about 70 percent. Bloomberg News reported the deal on Sunday. The transaction gives Vodacom greater access to products such as M-Pesa, Safaricom’s fast-growing mobile-banking...
(Bloomberg 05/12/17)
South Africa’s ruling party said the state-owned power producer’s decision to reinstate Brian Molefe as chief executive officer is “unfortunate and reckless” because none of the graft accusations against him have been set aside. Molefe, who resigned from Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. in November, will return as CEO on Monday, Khulani Qoma, a spokesman for the producer’s board, said by phone on Friday. The Public Protector found in a report last year that Molefe favored the Gupta family, which is...
(Bloomberg 05/12/17)
South Africa’s four biggest banks, criticized by President Jacob Zuma for doing too little to boost black participation in their companies, haven’t done themselves any favors. In the past decade, three boards have backslid on racial diversity and none of them reflects the country’s demographics. Of South Africa’s population of 56 million people, about 81 percent are black Africans, 8.1 percent are white and the rest are Indian, Asian or from a group referred to locally as coloreds, who were...
(Bloomberg 05/11/17)
Protests in South Africa over a lack of access to housing, water and electricity that erupted in Johannesburg at the start of the week spread to parts of the capital, Pretoria, with police firing rubber bullets at a group who looted shops, barricaded roads and set tires and trash bins alight. Several people who joined the demonstrations in the Laudium township, southwest of Pretoria, were arrested and will face charges of public violence, Isaac Mahamba, a senior superintendent for the...
(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,...
(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...
(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...
(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...
(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...
(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...

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