Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- The ANC, having suffered a major blow in big metros in the latest elections, is looking at its options – including how to work with the EFF to maintain control of Joburg and Tshwane, and seriously considering forcing an election re-run in those hung metros. A re-run becomes more and more probable when no coalitions can be formed in metros where parties could not win outright majorities.
- The ongoing petrol strike in South Africa is set to escalate, as union Ceppwawu is set to intensify its strike action in four provinces. The strike is now in its second week as wage talks have deadlocked. While petrol station workers are not part of the strike, they have been impacted, as fuel stations across Gauteng run dry.
- South Africa’s rand touched a new 10-month high against the dollar early on Wednesday as the greenback sank after weak U.S. productivity data again pushed back expectations of a Federal Reserve rate hike. On Thursday, the rand was at R13.35 to the dollar, R17.37 to the pound and R14.91 to the euro.
- In global news: Asian shares fell on Thursday, reversing recent gains following losses on Wall Street, though regional currencies rose after Beijing let the Chinese yuan strengthen to mark the one-year anniversary of a landmark devaluation. Broad risk sentiment remained on the back foot as Singapore, the region’s bellwether for trade, cut its economic forecast for the year.
- Oil prices fell early on Thursday as a build in U.S. crude inventories and record Saudi Arabian production weighed on markets. U.S. crude futures were trading at $41.34 per barrel, down 37 cents, or 0.9 percent, from their last settlement, while Brent crude futures were at $43.72 a barrel, down 33 cents, or 0.8 percent.
In other news: On Thursday, all candidates for the role of the next Public Protector will be interviewed for their suitability. The decision to hold all 14 interviews on the same day has been criticised, saying interviewees will not get a fair shot. The candidates will be locked up so they cannot see the publicly broadcast interviews.