Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- Ratings agencies have long warned that further pressure on government debt would undoubtedly put South Africa at risk of a credit downgrade – a particularly worrying point when it comes to Moody’s, which is the only firm keeping the country above junk status. With the new proposed R59 billion bailout for Eskom, this scenario is fast becoming reality, with warnings that South Africa’s credit rating is now at risk.
- A new investigation by Scorpio connects the dots in the Vrede dairy farm scandal, implicating current ANC secretary general Ace Magashule, former agriculture minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson, provincial agriculture MEC Mosebenzi Zwane and others in working with the Guptas and Gupta-linked companies to extract millions of rands from the project, which never delivered on its promises. [Daily Maverick]
- Following a court ruling making private use of cannabis legal, as well as the descheduling of some types of CBD oils and the setting aside of land for cannabis farming, now South African academics and researchers are opening up to the plant. Researchers from the Vaal University of Technology have a acquired a permit to study cannabis, particularly its medicinal uses, and training traditional healers in its use. [City Press]
- Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane said she would not have opposed Public Enterprise Minister Pravin Gordhan’s interdict against her report, had he not insulted her. But because Gordhan had called her incompetent and acting unlawfully, she felt compelled to ensure that someone was held to account for her report’s findings. Gordhan has argued to the courts that there is no need for urgent action on almost decade-old claims that have already been dismissed in court. [EWN]
- South Africa’s rand edged weaker on Tuesday, losing momentum as the dollar surged and the appeal of the local currency waned after the IMF cut its growth forecast for the economy. On Tuesday, the rand was at R13.94 to the dollar, R17.34 to the pound and R15.54 to the euro.