Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- Over R250,000 has been raised for SABC journalists that were fired from this week, as the broadcaster heads toward a showdown with regulator, Icasa. A crowdfunding campaign was launched to finance the legal battle eight journalists will engage in, after being fired for standing up to the SABC’s censorship policy. Icasa, meanwhile, is warning the group to stop delaying the implementation of its order to reverse the policy.
- The IMF says that corruption is killing opportunity in South Africa, and that the country needs to start taking reforms seriously. The global finance group said that South Africa must make job creation a priority, and it needs to clamp down on anti-competitive behaviour by big businesses. The group recently cut South Africa’s growth prospects to just 0.1% for 2016.
- South Africa’s rand fell more than one percent and stocks dipped on Tuesday as a strong dollar, weakness in global stocks and a pullback in commodity prices weighed on emerging markets. On Wednesday the rand was trading at R14.28 to the dollar, R18.71 to the pound and R15.73 to the euro.
- In global news: Profit taking weighed on Asian stocks on Wednesday after a record run on Wall Street showed signs of petering out, while the dollar hovered near a four-month high against a basket of currencies following upbeat U.S. data. The S&P 500 pulled back from record highs on Tuesday, while the Dow industrials edged up for an eighth straight day of gains.
- Oil futures rose in Asian trading on Wednesday but gains were limited and U.S. crude traded sideways in advance of the release of official weekly inventory figures later in the day. Brent crude was up 18 cents at $46.84 a barrel, while U.S. crude CLc1 was up 4 cents at $44.69 a barrel, after initially trading higher then falling.
In other news: The Momentum-Unisa SA Household Wealth Index found that the real worth of households grew by 3.9% between the fourth quarter of 2015 and first quarter of 2016 – an increase of R67.8-billion.