Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- Coalitions in major metros are already hitting problems, with the EFF threatening to remove DA mayor in Joburg, Herman Mashaba, over his plan to split up and sell waste management group, Pikitup. EFF’s policies are centred around nationalisation – the opposite to Mashaba’s plan. However, Mashaba says no process to privatise the company are underway.
- Treasury has blocked Eskom from simply giving a R855 million coal contract to the Gupta-controlled Tegeta Exploration without following an open tender process. The contract is the same one which Eskom gave the Gupta company a R586 million extension to previously. If Treasury had not blocked the deal, Tegeta would have received R1.7 billion without an open tender.
- Finance minister has once again defended his decision to snub the Hawks’ demand he appear for a warning statement. Gordhan said that the process of making a warning statement is completely option (equal to the ‘right to remain silent’) and that he was not going to play along with the Hawks’ plan to publicly humiliate him. He accused the Hawks of leaking the letter to create a ‘media frenzy’.
- President Jacob Zuma has submitted his replying affidavit to the Supreme Court of Appeal in the case of 783 charged of corruption leveled against him. As revealed by the DA, the president’s focus in his appeal is that there was a political conspiracy against him, and that his case is ripe for appeal in order to obtain legal clarity on “whether the NPA may…discontinue the prosecution on the basis of allegations of abuse of process.”
- South Africa’s rand tumbled to its weakest in three weeks on Wednesday after reports that a large asset manager was halting loans to state-owned firms, spooking investors already concerned about the management of the economy. On Thursday, the rand was trading at R14.70 to the dollar, R19.32 to the pound and R16.40 to the euro.
In global news: Asian shares dipped on Thursday after lower crude oil prices dented Wall Street and a pair of Chinese manufacturing surveys did little to inspire investors as markets waited to see if U.S. employment data could put the Federal Reserve on track to hike interest rates.