Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- President Jacob Zuma has downplayed the Sassa grants crisis, saying that grants will be paid on 1 April – and he encouraged ministers to not answer any questions about the matter, as it just fuels speculation. He said everyone should just calm down and wait to get paid, and that you can only call it a crisis if the payment is missed.
- South Africa’s Competition Commission has ruled that Japanese company, Kawasaki K-line, is guilty of price fixing, market division and collusive tendering involving the transportation of Toyota vehicles from South Africa to other countries by sea. The group was ordered to pay R200 million in penalties, with the commission warning other companies that they will face a similar fate for colluding.
- A new assessment done by Alexander Forbes has found that just 42 of 150 asset managers in South Africa are black-owned, and they handle only around 5% of the industry’s assets. Conversely, the top five asset managers in the country control 52% of all assets. Just two black asset managers handle funds of more than R50bn; 12 have funds of between R5bn and R50bn; and 28 have assets under management of less than R5bn.
- Former president Thabo Mbeki believes that removing president Jacob Zuma (hypothetically speaking) would not change anything in the greater scheme of things. According to Mbeki there are a problems in the ANC which are the responsibility of the collective leadership – and removing one man will do little to change that. He said you would need to change the entire ANC national executive committee to make any real changes.
- South Africa’s rand strengthened on Monday, firming with fellow emerging market currencies as risk demand recovered globally and data suggested an improving local economic outlook. On Tuesday, the rand was at R12.99 to the dollar, R15.88 to the pound and R13.75 to the euro.