Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- South Africa’s government is bracing for an unfavourable review of the country’s final investment grade credit rating on Friday, bringing an exodus of foreign money from an already debt-riddled economy a step closer. Ratings firm Moody’s is expected to deliver its review today, following a bleak mid-term budget speech on Wednesday. The group has South Africa at one notch above junk status with a stable outlook. Many anticipate a rating hold, but an outlook drop to negative. [Reuters]
- Finance minister Tito Mboweni says there is no need for alarm over threats form union NUM to shut down the country’s power supply, adding that government will engage with the union. The union does not agree with the plan to split Eskom, saying it will cost jobs. Mboweni said discussions need to be had so that the union understands the difficult position South Africa is in that necessitates the plan, as well as the sale of state assets that are draining the fiscus. [EWN]
- Cabinet will be ready to make a decision on e-tolls in two weeks’ time, says Transport minister Fikile Mbalula. Mbalula was directed by cabinet to do more work on the proposals for a solution to the e-toll impasse in Gauteng, with the minister now proceeding to hold more consultations with stakeholders. The solution to e-tolls, where only 205 of motorists actually comply with the system, was supposed to be heard in August. [Media24]
- Former president Jacob Zuma is at risk of losing his Nkandla homestead, after he defaulted on payments on the loan he took out from VBS. Zuma has reportedly been failing to pay back the R7.3-million loan he received from VBS Mutual Bank since August 2018. This was revealed by the bank’s liquidators, who are trying to recover money from former executives that looted the bank to the tune of R2 billion. [ENCA]
- South Africa’s rand extended losses against the dollar on Thursday after Finance Minister Tito Mboweni gave a bleak budget speech a day earlier in which he slashed growth forecasts and predicted ballooning debt, raising fears of a ratings downgrade. On Friday, the rand was at R15.06 to the dollar, R19.51 to the pound and R16.81 to the euro.