Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- Public enterprises minister Lynne Brown has again denied being captured in the Gupta saga, and has effectively said that all testimony to the portfolio committee’s panel of inquiry that implicates her is a lie. Yesterday, former Eskom chair Zola Tsotsi admitted to the panel that there was interference at Eskom, and that Brown took instruction from the Guptas on board appointments.
- Finance minister Malusi Gigaba has apparently walked back on his stance on nuclear energy, saying that South Africa will proceed with its planned build at a scale and pace the country can afford. Gigaba gave a sliver of hope in his mini-budget speech when he said there were no plans for nuclear, and that there was definitely no money for it.
- Black Friday is hitting South Africa tomorrow, and analysts have warned that it may not be the boon for retail that many believe. The sale often comes at the cost of the much longer, and more important festive season shopping, as many hold out for one day of good deals over a week or two of constant economic activity.
- Ahead of a possible ratings downgrade, economists are split over whether it’s a good idea to effectively ‘take your money and run’ from South Africa. Some say offshore investment will undoubtedly yield better returns, but others warn to avoid knee-jerk reactions, and to rather diversify to hedge risks.
- South Africa’s rand unexpectedly raced to its firmest since the dismal October budget on Wednesday as investors hedged bets it will fall sharply when credit ratings decisions are announced on Friday. On Thursday the rand was at R13.85 to the dollar, R18.46 to the pound and R16.39 to the euro.