Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- Union federation Saftu is expected to bring the country to a standstill today, as its members go on a nationwide strike over the national minimum wage. Workers are expected to assemble in all major metros and march to the relevant local government departments. Motorists have been warned to factor in possible delays, particularly in travelling to airports. [EWN]
- SARS has reportedly paid out an R89 million VAT payment claimed by a Gupta-owned company to a third party. The VAT payment was meant for Optimum Coal, but was paid to a seemingly unrelated account. A previous, similar VAT payment to the Guptas has come under scrutiny for possibly breaking finance laws. [Times Select]
- South African Airways wants another R5 billion bailout from National Treasury, as it needs money to cover historic debt and running costs. New CEO Vuyo Jarana said that the airline had a negative balance sheet of R9.2 billion, with debt maturing in March 2019, posing a challenge. [Business Day]
- Finance minister Nhlanhla Nene has appointed a 9-person panel to review the zero-rated VAT items to cushion the blow of the recent VAT hike on poor households. The panel includes economists, government officials and law experts. No timeline has been set for the panel to do its work. [Huffpo SA]
- South Africa’s rand reversed early gains and traded weaker for a second day on Tuesday, as further gains for US Treasury yields supported the dollar and dented appetite for emerging market assets. On Wednesday the rand was trading at R12.37 to the dollar, R17.28 to the pound and R15.11 to the euro.