Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Load shedding: There is no load shedding expected today.
- SONA reaction: Experts, economists and analysts say president Ramaphosa’s 2020 SONA was more of the same, ringing with empty promises and impossible dreams. It was described as doubling down on failed policies, while doing nothing to address the many concerns that have been raised, like expropriation without compensation. Others have cast doubt on the state’s capacity to follow through on any of the promises made – particularly as they are the same promises that were made in 2019, which saw little to no implementation. [BusinessTech]
- Covid-19 evacuation: South Africa’s government is reportedly quietly working on a plan to evacuate South African citizens from Chinese areas where the Covid-19 virus is spreading. The plan is to quarantine a number of South Africans who have been in China in the small Free State town of Thaba Nchu, 63km from Bloemfontein, the Mail & Guardian reports. The SANDF has been asked to help. [M&G]
- SAA retrenchments: SAA’s business rescue practitioners have called the Labour Court application by two unions to stop retrenchments at the failing airline a “publicity stunt”, where they’re trying to show they can stop the process. However, under business rescue laws, the company is protected from legal challenges, unless applied through the High Court, thus making the union’s attempts futile. The Labour Court is expected to rule on the matter on Friday. [TimesLive]
- More job cuts: More jobs are on the line in South Africa, this time as Tongaat Hullett moves to shut down some sugar milling operations. The move could see a further 390 people lose their jobs, taking the total number of South African jobs being axed to over 10,000, with the likes of Telkom, Massmart, SAB, and mining groups looking to retrench workers. South Africa’s unemployment rate is already at a record high of 29.1%. [Business Day]
- Markets: South Africa’s rand was slightly weaker on Thursday ahead of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation address, with investors treading cautiously before hearing the government’s plans to grow a limping economy. On Friday, the rand was at R14.94 to the dollar, R19.46 to the pound and R16.17 to the euro. [XE]