Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- Despite warnings that SAA is on the brink, and strike action could push it over the edge, unions have committed to a total shutdown of the airline on Friday. The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and the South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) say the strike is retaliation for retrenchments and not meeting wage demands. SAA has cancelled almost all domestic flights scheduled for Friday and Saturday. [Enca]
- Soweto residents have lost a court bid to try and force Eskom to reconnect their power, and to cap monthly charges at R100. The case was thrown out of the High Court on formalities and procedural grounds, with the matter reading more like a petition than an actual legal case. Soweto residents owe Eskom over R18 billion, with approximately only 10% of residents actually paying their electricity bills. [Moneyweb]
- Media reports, citing unnamed sources, say that it has been all but confirmed by Absa that former South African Reserve Bank deputy governor Daniel Mminele will be appointed chief executive of the bank. Mminele was pegged for the position earlier in the year, following his stepping down from the Reserve Bank, and Absa delaying appointing a new CEO lining up with the end of his cool down period from SARB. The bank declined to comment. [Reuters]
- The new South African-born US ambassador to South Africa, Lana Marks, has finally arrived, almost 3 years after being appointed. According to Marks, her goal is to boost US trade with South Africa, and has warned against other nations – like Russia or China – who are also vying for SA’s attention through trade, saying the country must not risk its sovereignty. She also expressed the US government’s confidence in President Ramaphosa. [City Press]
- South Africa’s rand ended firmer on Wednesday, boosted by signs the Federal Reserve would keep US interest rates steady in the near future. The rand has been aided by three US rate cuts this year, which have boosted attractiveness of the returns it offers. On Thursday, the rand was at R14.93 to the dollar, R19.17 to the pound and R16.43 to the euro.