Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- The SAA strike is moving ahead today, with unions threatening to keep it going until the airline’s leadership caves into its demands. SAA meanwhile says that a ‘no work, no pay’ policy will apply. Employees are demanding wage increases and a stop to planned retrenchments. SAA says it has no money for either, offering a 5.9% increase pending the availability of financing. The group has not turned a profit in 8 years. [IOL]
- KwaZulu Natal authorities are on high alert as extreme weather conditions are expected to continue in the province. A tornado struck the province earlier this week, while high speed winds continued yesterday. School kids have been told to stay home, and residents urged to seek shelter. Heavy rains, mudslides and gale force winds are forecast for the next two days. [Enca]
- While South Africa may have dodged a recession in the second quarter of the year with a surprise jump in GDP growth of 3.2%, data coming from the country’s various sectors show that the third quarter was not so fortunate. Manufacturing numbers, metal production, and mining data are all down, while retail was flat, and confidence levels were low. All indicators point to a possible decline in Q3. [Daily Maverick]
- Fresh allegations of looting in government, this time concerning R600 million reportedly stolen from the State Security Agency. Approximately 30 SSA agents, current and former, are said to have pulled the money from an SSA-linked slush fund. The agency had previously told government that it had identified corrupt activity within, and had approached the Hawks to take the appropriate steps. [Mail & Guardian]
- South Africa’s rand firmed on Thursday, bucking a risk-off trend in global markets, but equities were pulled lower on weak Chinese data and doubts about whether Beijing and Washington will reach a trade deal anytime soon. On Friday the rand was at R14.79 to the dollar, R19.05 to the pound and R16.31 to the euro.