“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 »