Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- The National Minimum Wage Bill comes into effect as of today, as many employees head back to work for the new year. Millions of workers are expected to benefit from the new set rate of R20 per hour – however, unions have expressed concern over possible job losses. The DA says the bill will lead to as many as 750,000 job losses. [TimesLive]
- Education experts have hit back at Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, over his comments that private school pupils were given “free marks” through Umalusi adjusting IEB matric maths marks upwards. They said Lesufi was fundamentally incorrect in his assertion, and that standardisation work should be left to the experts. 
- Absa faces an uphill battle convincing investors that it can regain the market share lost to its competitors while it operated under Barclays. The group used to the be top bank in South Africa, but lost out to FirstRand, Standard Bank and even Capitec in almost all markets. [Bloomberg]
- Former president Jacob Zuma is set to become a ‘recording artist’ through an unspecified agreement with the eThekwini municipality to record his favourite struggle songs. The songs will be recorded in April 2019, and will reportedly serve to preserve Zuma’s heritage. [eNCA]
- South Africa’s rand and stocks edged up in the final trading session of the year on Monday buoyed by hints of progress in trade talks between China and the United States, but that capped off a year of hefty decline for both. On Wednesday, the rand was at R14.39 to the dollar, R18.33 to the pound and R16.48 to the euro.