Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- As opposition parties laid it on thick against president Jacob Zuma and the ANC in the SONA debate held on Tuesday, the ruling party rallied around its leader and backed him all the way. The party also refuted claims by the DA that the ANC was adopting EFF policies through it fresh ‘populist’ approach, saying Zuma was just pushing what was said in the freedom charter.
- Jacob Zuma’s son Edward and Black First Land First lead Andile Mngxitama are peddling rumours that finance minister Pravin Gordhan is preparing to fire SAA chair Dudu Myeni, as part of a contingency plan ahead of the minister being fired. The rumour is reportedly circulation through a WhatsApp message. National Treasury and SAA have both expressed confusion over any such plans.
- The Institute of Security Studies has questioned the accuracy of Stats SA’s Victims of Crime Survey, saying that by grouping various crimes together, the stats body may be skewing the results. The survey found that households experienced a sharp decline in home robberies and housebreakings during the last five years. The ISS argues that these are two very different categories of crime, and grouping them together isn’t reflective of reality.
- Proponents of the South African sugar tax say that claims from the beverage industry that thousands of jobs will be lost as a result of the tax is nothing more than scare tactics. According to supporters, the tobacco industry made similar claims when taxes and restrictions were placed on that industry – claims which never came to fruition.
- South Africa’s rand raced to its firmest in more than 15 months against the dollar on Tuesday, helped by improved risk appetite and jobs data suggesting the economy is improving. On Wednesday, the rand was trading at R13.09 to the dollar, R16.33 to the pound and R13.85 to the euro.