South Africa’s current account deficit narrowed in the fourth quarter of last year to 5.1 per cent of GDP from 6.4 per cent in the third quarter. But the good news was tempered by the fact that the improvement came primarily from a slump in imports rather than an export recovery.
The current account deficit – along with the country’s budget deficit – is seen as a key forward indicator of South Africa’s vulnerability to further weakness in its currency, the rand, which has depreciated by around 19 per cent to R10.88 against the US dollar over the last year (see chart). Continue reading »
By Kevin Lings of Stanlib
Nelson Mandela has had an unprecedented calming and positive influence on South Africa’s political, economic and social environment for almost 25 years. His life-long quest for peace and reconciliation disarmed even the staunchest opponent, allowing diverse groups of people to work together in a way that seemed unimaginable prior to the ending of apartheid. It is time for the political, business and labour leadership of South Africa to honour his legacy and move this country forward to the benefit of all. Continue reading »
South Africa’s ruling ANC party have won every election for almost 20 years. But mounting criticism of the government along with a handful of new political parties are threatening the ANC’s dominance. Andrew England reports from a competitive campaign trail
Picture: BBC News
By Adam Green of This is Africa
Is the ANC’s dominance of South African politics waning? Unhappy miners, poor service delivery and the arrival at the polls of the ‘born free’ generation (those born after 1993) have led to predictions of a decline of ANC at next year’s election. In one report this week, analysts from Nomura said the party’s share of the 2014 vote could drop to 56 per cent from 66 per cent in 2009.
Not if you listen to the new leader of the ANC Youth League, Mzwandile Masina (pictured). He believes those courting the mining vote may be wasting their time. Continue reading »
It’s been a rocky start to the week for South Africa, with the hunt for an urgent solution to its mining chaos going nowhere. On Tuesday Jacob Zuma, the president, once again called for a peaceful resolution to the troubles rocking the sector after Monday’s fatal shooting of a union leader. He had made similar calls last week, as the sector’s troubles contributed to GDP growth at a fresh low of 0.9 per cent in the first quarter and the rand tumbled dramatically to record lows – its fall exacerbated, critics said, by Zuma’s failure to act. Continue reading »
“What’s The Economist?” asks Trevor Manuel with a smile when questioned about the newspaper’s recent criticism of South Africa’s Black Economic Empowerment programme (BEE). The article claimed BEE was enriching a tiny black minority, but failing to engineer the broad socio-economic transformation that it intended.
Manuel, South Africa’s planning minister, is no blind follower of ANC policy – recently attracting criticism after chiding his colleagues for blaming South Africa’s woes on apartheid. But he argues that employment equity is a “constitutional imperative”, and criticises the “malignant compliance and foot-dragging” of some companies in the past. Continue reading »
It’s been a messy fight with violent protests and hostile exchanges between the parties. Monday’s announcement of a farmworkers wage hike may cool some temperatures for now, but the battle is far from over.
Labour minister Mildred Oliphant said the new minimum wage level will increase to R105 per day, up from the current R69. Some workers welcomed the news, but made it clear they still want to put up a fight for their initial demand of R150 per day. Continue reading »
It’s been a tricky few days for South Africa’s electricity public utility Eskom. Strikes, controversy over political breakfasts, allegations of spying on unions and others, anger over price hikes: it’s a lot to contend with.
At Eskom’s Medupi site in Limpopo, strike action has halted construction of the R91bn ($10bn) coal-fired power plant. It was hoped work could resume on Thursday (Jan 24), but talks have yet to produce an agreement. Continue reading »
When Cyril Ramaphosa was elected deputy president of the governing African National Congress last month his re-emergence into the top echelons of South Africa’s politics was widely welcomed.
Yet as Ramaphosa has settled into his new job, the old rifts between public and private sectors have rapidly resurfaced, laced with bellicose language. Have we enetered a new period of ANC/corporate mistrust? Continue reading »
Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s president, is known for his jovial demeanour. At African National Congress events, you can count on him to open and close his appearances by leading a boisterous round of singing, accompanied by hip-swinging dancing that belies his 70 years. When he’s delivering a speech, he’ll often break into a chuckle – even at his own expense as he can sometimes labour his way through prepared statements. Continue reading »
South African president Jacob Zuma was re-elected as ANC party leader on Tuesday, meaning he will almost certainly win a second term in the 2014 elections. The markets reacted positively to the news, with the rand strengthening 0.8 per cent to the dollar, at around 8.56.
But given that the rand has rallied in recent weeks, how significant is Zuma’s reappointment for the South African currency? Continue reading »
The tricky beast of nationalisation is on the agenda at the ANC’s Mangaung conference, where party members are meeting to elect leaders and discuss key decisions on critical policies.
A rejection of outright nationalisation has been set out, but analysts say that the looming alternative of higher taxation is a bitter a pill to swallow for investors and the country’s struggling mining industry. Continue reading »