Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- With the DA set to gain mayorship in two (maybe all three) hotly contested metros in the country, the ANC has come out firing, saying that it expects any DA/EFF partnerships to fail. The EFF said it will not enter any coalitions, but would vote with the DA in Joburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay. The ANC said the EFF has more in common with it than the DA, in terms of policy.
- Striking workers and employers in the SA petroleum industry have signed a wage deal, putting an end to the three-week long fuel strike which left parts of the country without fuel, and motorists stranded. The 15,000 striking workers were demanding a 9% wage increase, while employers were offering 7% and an inflation plus 1.5% increase over two years. The workers eventually accepted the deal.
- South Africa’s rand retreated further against the dollar on Wednesday as risk sentiment switched, with investors now seeing a greater chance of rate rises in the United States. On Thursday, the rand was trading at R13.30 to the dollar, R17.38 to the pound and R15.05 to the euro.
- In global news, Asian shares are on track for their biggest single-day rise in nearly two weeks while the greenback retreated after minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest meeting showed that the chances of a September rate hike are looking pretty slim.
- Oil prices dipped in early trading on Thursday as the prospect of record Saudi output weighed on markets and as traders cashed in on profits following an almost uninterrupted price rally this month of nearly 20 percent. International Brent crude oil futures were trading at $49.67 per barrel, down 18 cents from their last close.
In other news: A Pretoria man is claiming R1.3 million in damages after his neighbour was found guilty of defaming him over Facebook. The neighbour posted false accusations on the social media site, calling the man a ‘Peeping Tom”, paedophile and child molester, which led to threats of physical violence from strangers. The neighbour was angry that the man requested she remove chickens and “40-60 rabbits” being kept in her unit.