Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- The rift in the ANC’s alliance is widening, as the SACP has come out strongly supporting finance minister Pravin Gordhan in the ongoing “war” between him and president Jacob Zuma. The SACP said that Zuma wielded too much power and subscribed to the narrative that Gordhan was being hounded to weaken and capture Treasury. It is speculated that another Cabinet reshuffle is on the cards, and many SACP ministers 0 including Gordhan – will lose their positions.
- The controversial Gupta family have made a decision to sell their shares in the local businesses over time, reportedly for the benefit of the employees and future growth prospects of the companies. However, the family denied they were preparing to flee the country, as was reported over the weekend. Despite selling off their businesses, investigations into government contracts and alleged state-capture will continue.
- The special committee to oversee state-owned enterprises was conceived as early as 2013, but president Jacob Zuma was never recommended to head it. It was recommended that the ministries of finance, public enterprises and trade and industry be involved – instead, the presidency appointed Zuma to be in charge. The move is widely seen as a power grab, though the presidency has said there is “nothing sinister” going on.
- South Africa’s rand and bonds rallied on Friday as soft economic growth data in the United States ahead of a speech by the Federal Reserve chair upped bets the bank could delay hiking lending rates. On Monday the week opened with the rand trading at R14.32 to the dollar, R18.80 to the pound and R16.05 to the euro.
- Oil prices fell about 1 percent on Monday as Iraq’s production rose and Iran said it would only cooperate in producer talks to freeze output if fellow exporters recognised its right to fully regain market share. Brent crude oil futures were trading at $49.40 per barrel, down 52 cents, while U.S. crude futures were down 58 cents at $47.06 a barrel.
In global news: Most Asian share markets tumbled on Monday while the U.S. dollar added to gains made after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen indicated a U.S. interest rate increase remains on the cards for this year.