Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Load shedding: There is no load shedding expected today.
- Signs of things to come: The market reaction to Moody’s slashing South Africa’s growth forecast to just 0.7% signals anticipation that the economy is heading towards full junk status. The news led to capital outflows, with commentators noting that this means investors are on a lookout for a downgrade come March, when Moody’s is expected to deliver a market review. There is still hope for a reprieve, but it all boils down to how government can appease agencies with a solid budget speech. [Bloomberg]
- Now it’s their turn: MPs are getting ready to pick apart president Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address, with the next two days set aside for rebuttals and debate about what the president said. Opposition parties have already criticised the president for being vague on any solid plans to help the economy – while the ANC is likely to offer support to the president. Ramaphosa will have an opportunity to reply to the debate on Thursday. [EWN]
- Not running at a loss: The South African Post Office and social grants agency Sassa have assure beneficiaries that social grants will continue to be paid on time each month, despite reports of the process causing the Post Office to lose R60 million a month. The reports suggested that the losses would put the entire system at risk, causing worries over whether South Africa’s most vulnerable could be left in the lurch. The Post Office says the R60 million is a cost figure, not a loss figure. [IOL]
- Political turncoats: As many as 15 ANC councillors have been expelled from the party for voting with the DA and EFF to topple the party’s own mayors. This is a result of internal factional battles within the party. While internal politicking is the business of the parties involved, these events are happening in volatile municipalities – like in Mpumalanga – where service delivery protests are frequent. Councillors are reportedly inciting protests as a political tool in the battle. [City Press]
- Markets: South Africa’s rand took a knock on Monday after ratings firm Moody’s cut the country’s growth outlook to under 1% for 2020, citing widespread blackouts which impacted the country’s struggling mining and manufacturing sectors. The news sent the rand back over R15 to the dollar. On Tuesday the rand is at R15.02 to the dollar, R19.53 to the pound and R16.27 to the euro. [XE]