Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is concered about president Jacob Zuma’s late decision to launch a judicial commission of inquiry into state capture, saying that crucial evidence may have been lost or compromised in the time since she recommended the inquiry be set up. She specifically pointed to phone records, which are only available for a certain amount of time.
- South African pharmaceutical company, Aspen Pharmacare, says it is aware of speculation that a group of investors who recently published a report into Steinhoff’s accounts is going to publish a similar report on its business, however it maintains that its financials are clear and nothing like Steinhoff. The group’s share price dipped on Tuesday.
- Insiders have pointed to an urgent behind-the-scenes attempt to remove Zuma as president, with speculation that today’s ANC NEC meeting will at the very least discuss the possibility of recalling him. Legal experts have pointed out, however, that the NEC’s decisions have no legal bearing, and Zuma will have to resign or be impeached for a legal exit.
- The World Bank’s economic outlook for South Africa is not high, with an expected GDP growth rate of 1.1% in 2018 – one of the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa. The group expects the 2017 GDP figures to show just 0.8% growth for the year. It said that business sentiment in South Africa was still low, but improving.
- South Africa’s rand strengthened on Tuesday, touching its highest level in two sessions, after rumours that President Jacob Zuma had stepped down spurred a temporary rally in the currency against the greenback. On Wednesday, the rand was at R12.35 to the dollar, R16.71 to the pound and R14.74 to the euro.