Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- Uncertainty over the future of finance minister Nhlanhla Nene has left markets jittery, as pressure mounts for the minister to resign. Nene reportedly asked president Cyril Ramaphosa to relieve him of his duties, though the president said he was unaware of such a request. Nene confessed to having regular contact with the Gupta family before the state capture scandal broke. [M&G]
- The International Monetary Fund has cut South Africa’s growth forecast for the next two years, calling for reforms. The 2018 forecast has been cut from 1.5% to 0.8%, while the IMF urged government to bring policy certainty, and improve the efficiency of state-owned companies. [Reuters]
- The South African Reserve Bank wants more competition in the banking sector, and is willing to issue new licences – though with caution. The central bank said that over the past decade the ‘big four’ banks’ market share has decreased from 93% to 85%, and it expects this to drop to 75% over the next decade. [City Press]
- Zulu king Goodwill Zwelenthini is partnering with Afrikaner rights group AfriForum, in a united push against land expropriation without compensation. The Zulu king has demanded that the government give him assurances – in writing – that the government won’t take his land. His trust owns almost a third of all land in KwaZulu Natal. [eNCA]
- South Africa’s rand weakened more than 1% on Monday over a newspaper report that Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene had asked President Cyril Ramaphosa to sack him rocked the currency. On Tuesday, the rand was trading at R14.85 to the dollar, R19.45 to the pound and R17.07 to the euro.