Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- A senior State Security Agency (SSA) official has corroborated key aspects of a whistleblower’s testimony that the SSA was involved with the Public Protector’s remedial action for Absa bank – where she overreached her mandate in ordering that the Constitution be changed to alter the Reserve Bank’s mandate. The whistleblower said via affidavit that the Public Protector was handed a typed note containing the order, written up by the SSA. [News24, amaBhungane]
- A court ruling has opened the door for a class action lawsuit against credit providers who have been drawing in billions of rands through predatory interest and other fees, targetting some of the poorest people in the country. The Cape High Court has affirmed the intent behind the National Credit Act that says credit providers may not charge more than double the outstanding amount of a loan – including admin and legal fees associated with it. Providers were sticking to this, but adding legal and processing fees which were adding thousands to the money owed. [Moneyweb]
- Eskom COO Jan Oberholzer says that whether people believe it or not, there was definitely sabotage at Eskom’s Tutuka power station, and the SAPS are investigating the matter. The executive also said that the sabotage wasn’t the cause of stage 6 load shedding, but it did have an impact. He blamed widespread corruption and greed for the persistent problems at the power utility, which he said ran straight through the company all the way to suppliers and contractors. A plan to resolve issues at Medupi and then other stations will be implemented from early January. [City Press]
- Over R1.6 billion is lost through debit order fraud in South Africa, but the new DebiCheck system hopes to stamp out this activity within the next year. DebiCheck launched in November, and makes sure that all debit orders against consumers’ accounts are with their express permission. However, rogue debit order collections will take some time to be pushed out. The group says by November 2020, all new debit orders will have to be approved this way, and all old orders that are not will be cut. [IOL]
- Overnight trade saw the rand briefly break below the R14.35/$ mark, as markets continue to thrive on the trade agreement news. At the weekend, a White House official announced that a “phase one” trade deal had been completed, although the details still remain elusive. For buyers of foreign currency, these are excellent levels. However, should the euphoria continue we can even look for a break below the R14.30 mark. On Tuesday the rand was at R14.36 to the dollar, R19.09 to the pound and R16.01 to the euro.