Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- The FBI investigation into allegations of money laundering by Gupta-linked companies could extend to any entity that may have passed money through the US banking system. Any money wired through the US would give the bureau jurisdiction over the matter, meaning the Guptas themselves may not be able to escape prosecution in the states if found to be directly involved.
- Deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa has defended Treasury’s action of taking money out of the country’s emergency funds to bail out SAA. Parliament has heard from legal advisors that the move may have been unlawful. Ramaphosa said that the bailout was necessary to avoid a catastrophic impact from SAA defaulting, making the move valid.
- The Hawks have confirmed that they will be investigating the Masterdeeds data leak, which saw the personal information of over 60 million South Africans exposed this week. The investigative unit could not elaborate on the nature of the case, but said it would be led by the Cyber Crime Unit.
- The DA government in Joburg has been hit with allegations of a ‘jobs for friends’ scandal, after claims emerged that a member of the mayoral committee for finance was “enriching his friend” by facilitating access to lucrative tenders. The committee member confirmed the friendship, but insisted that he discouraged the individual from tendering for contracts.
- South Africa’s rand firmed on Thursday, snapping a three-day losing streak, helped by some investors taking profits from the dollar’s recent rally and short covering triggered by the currency approaching technical support levels. On Friday the rand was trading at R13.59 to the dollar, R17.84 to the pound and R16.07 to the euro.