Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa insists that South Afica’s “political challenges” can be overcome. Speaking at a Black Business Council dinner in Sandton on Wednesday night, Ramaphosa urged the group to ensure that radical economic transformation took place urgently. “Our political life at the moment is fractured, with public sentiment appearing to be more polarised and public discourse more charged than any other time since 1994,” he said.
South Africa’s credit rating will be downgraded further if political uncertainty triggered by the recent firing of the finance minister continues to stall economic reforms warn Standards & Poors. “There are risks that potential growth outcomes could be weakened, especially with uncertainty that’s been brought along in a year where you may not get strong decisions for strong reform programs,” said Gardner Rusike, the associate director and lead analyst for South Africa at S&P.
The Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution has threatened to sue President Jacob Zuma if he doesn’t sign the FICA anti-corruption bill immediately. Zuma has had almost two months to sign the bill which was readopted by Parliament at the end of February and which is required for SA to meet its international commitments to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). These include instituting measures to strengthen the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism as provided for in the bill.
The ANC stopped the City of Tshwane’s campaign to collect about R8.6 billion in outstanding debt from its customers dead in its tracks, claiming the Democratic Alliance (DA) administration did not consult with them. A source in the ANC said while he did not condone the ANC stopping the DA, they were fearful this campaign would put the DA streets ahead in the 2019 elections. “We (the ANC) had 20 years to do what the DA, who are very good administrators, are doing now. We made a huge mistake,” the source said.
South Africa’s Sibanye Gold led the bourse lower on Wednesday as it prepared to raise cash to fund an acquisition in the U.S. as well as a weaker bullion price. On the foreign exchange market, the rand was little changed. On Thursday, the rand was at R13.28 to the dollar, R17.00 to the pound at R14.25 to the euro.