5 important things happening in South Africa today

 ·27 Mar 2024

Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:

  • MTN fends off SARS court case: African telecom giant MTN has successfully fended off allegations by the South African Revenue Service (SARS) that the royalties paid to MTN by its international operations from 2009-2012 were kept as low as possible to avoid paying maximum taxes in SA. The tax court ruled that it appeared that MTN had no incentive to lower the royalties. [Business Day]

  • SA maize harvest shrinks: According to the government’s Crop Estimates Committee (CEC), the maize harvest for the 2023/24 season is expected to be 19.3% lower than the previous season. The CEC predicts that the total harvest for 2024 will be 13.26 million metric tonnes, as opposed to the 16.43 million metric tonnes the season before. This decrease in yield is mainly attributed to high temperatures and insufficient rainfall experienced throughout the country. [News24]

  • SCOPA chair wants former PRASA board declared delinquent:  Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa has called for the former PRASA board of directors – whose decision to cancel security contracts contributed to large-scale theft and vandalism of infrastructure – to be declared delinquent to prevent their future appointment on any other board. [GroundUp]

  • Controversial intelligence laws overhaul approved by MPs: The General Intelligence Laws Amendment Bill has been passed in the National Assembly, marking a rare agreement between the ANC and DA amidst widespread opposition. It quickly advanced in just four months but faced criticism for its broad definitions of national security and the extensive powers it grants to state security officials. [Daily Maverick]

  • Markets: The South African rand weakened against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday after a drop in local employment figures in the fourth quarter, as well as the imminent interest rate decision. On Wednesday (27 March), the rand was trading at R18.99 to the dollar, R23.98 to the pound, and R20.53 to the euro. Oil is trading at $85.47 a barrel. [Reuters]

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