Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- Saudi Arabia has committed to investing over R130 billion in South Africa, particularly in the energy sector, the presidency announced this week. This is 10% of the $100 billion in foreign investment that president Ramaphosa is trying to draw to South Africa. [Reuters]
- The decision to hike VAT to 15% has been deemed ‘constitutionally suspect’ by the South African Human Rights Commission. The Commission described the higher VAT as a regressive tax, and criticised government’s decision to go that route, considering its impact on poorer households. [News24]
- Energy experts say that Eskom will likely have to reduce staff numbers to balance out wage increases. Eskom has reportedly moved its wage offer higher than 7%, but no public number has yet been stated. Unions have been demanding 8% in 2018, and 8.5% for the next two years. Eskom initially said it could afford a 0% increase. [EWN]
- Scandal-hit Steinhoff rallied over 30% on Thursday after the group announced a clear path to restructuring its debt. While the rally was considered steep, it is off a low base. The share ended the day at R2.88 – which is still over 95% off from where it stood before the crash. [IOL]
- South Africa’s rand regained as much as 2% on Thursday after an easing in the sell-off on emerging markets stemming from fears of a trade war between the United States and China. On Friday the rand was trading at R13.27 to the dollar, R17.48 to the pound and R15.47 to the euro.