Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- With election week upon us, political parties have concluded their campaigning and will now wait for the result of Wednesday’s vote. The ANC is expected to face its toughest election to date, with polls showing the party losing support in key metros. Economists and investors will look to the vote as a census of sorts into how strong the ANC’s alliances are – and how likely president Jacob Zuma will remain at the helm.
- SAA is continuing to bleed money, having lost R1.4 billion in the first quarter of this year – counter to chairwoman, Dudu Myeni’s assertions that the group was starting to see money come in. The group needs guarantees of R5 billion or more from government, which government won’t grant until a new board is in place. However, Myeni is doubling down on power – and the board will now have control of low-cost airline, Mango, as well.
- South Africa’s rand rallied to its firmest against the dollar in more than eight months after recording a larger-than-expected June trade surplus on Friday. On Monday, the rand was trading stronger against global currencies, hitting R13.89 to te dollar, R18.39 to the pound and R15.52 to the euro.
- In global news: Asian shares hit a one-year high on Monday after disappointing U.S. economic growth data reduced expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in the next few months.
- Oil prices started August trading with fresh falls on Monday after several bearish reports, including rising output from OPEC, a rise in U.S. drilling and weak economic data from Asia. Brent crude was at $43.72 per barrel , up 19 cents from its last close in July; U.S. crude was at 41.76 per barrel, up 16 cents from July’s last close.
In other news: Despite having passed away almost 3 years ago, former president Nelson Mandela is playing a key role in the 2016 municipal elections. While the Democratic Alliance continues to evoke Mandela’s name in its campaigning, the ANC spent a large part if its rallies focusing on Mandela’s opinion of the DA while he was alive, highlighting his views that only the ANC could run South Africa.