Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- Businesses and industry bodies have voiced their concerns over the ANC’s plan to cut out South Africa’s courts in the process of expropriating land without compensation. BUSA and BASA and SAPOA oppose the move, saying that the land debate has already brought uncertainty into the market, and this new position by the ANC will do even more damage. The ANC wants the power to decide which land gets expropriated without paying to be given to the minister of land reform, rather than by the South African courts. [Moneyweb]
- The World Health Organisation has upgraded the global risk level of the Wuhan coronavirus to high, having previously said it was moderate. An international health emergency has not yet been declared. The virus has now claimed over 100 lives, prompting countries like the USA to issue travel warnings. The virus has knocked global markets, including South Africa, as concerns over the spread of the virus weigh on sentiment over emerging markets, and industries like tourism. [ENCA]
- The DA’s new and interim leadership may face challenges when the party goes to vote on its permanent leaders in May. Gauteng chair Mike Moriarty has confirmed he will challenge Helen Zille for the position of Federal Chairperson, while interim party leader John Steenhuisen is expected to be challenged for the top spot by Western Cape leader Bonginkosi Madikizela. The party has shown some division since former leader Mmusi Maimane stepped down in 2019. Maimane is expected to start a new political movement. [TimesLive]
- SA Express is fighting back against a court application to force it into business rescue. The airline admitted that it owes money to a number of creditors, but says it has a plan to pay – specifically, it has been given confirmation from government that R164-million has been made available for the 2020/21 year, and that it is in the process of finding private equity partners. Like its sister airline, SAA, SA Express is facing financial pressures. [ENCA]
- South Africa’s rand plunged to a one week-low while stocks sank by more than two percent on Monday as the outbreak of a deadly virus in China worsened, dimming demand for risk assets globally. Fears around the potential economic damage of the coronavirus outbreak intensified as the death toll rose to 81, with investors fretting over the impact on travel, tourism and broader economic activity. On Tuesday the rand was at R14.60 to the dollar, R19.06 to the pound and R16.09 to the euro.