Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- The controversial Gupta family have made their 2017 debut, saying that court action by finance minister Pravin Gordhan and subsequent affidavits by South African banks are part of a politically motivated smear campaign against them – with the intention being to destroy all their businesses in South Africa. The family say they are victims in the conspiracy, and will prove it in court.
- The ANC wants AU chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa to publicly renounce and distance themselves from endorsements from the ANC Women’s League and Cosatu, respectively, so as to uphold the party’s stated intention to keep all ANC succession talk under wraps until later in the year. According to the party, the two front-runners can accept nominations and endorsements at a later stage.
- The City of Cape Town has estimated the total cost of damage done by wildfires in Somerset West at R60 million – double the damage done by similar fires that ravaged the southern Cape Peninsula in 2015. The Somerset West fire was nearly extinguished, but flared up again, and is now burning through Hottentots Holland. Over 10,000 hectares of land has been torn apart by the blaze.
- While the petrol price increased in January and is likely to hike again in February, local economists say that it won’t be all doom and gloom for fuel prices in South Africa in 2017, with prediction that – barring any major local or global economic shock – prices should remain flat throughout the year as oil prices stabilise.
- South Africa’s rand put in modest gains on Monday, supported by higher gold and platinum prices but constrained by a broadly dollar strength. The JSE is likely to track European markets down, as talk of a ‘Hard Brexit’ kicks up. On Tuesday the rand was trading at R13.63 to the dollar, R16.56 to the pound and R14.46 to the euro.