5 important things happening in South Africa today

 ·9 Nov 2023

Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:

  • No country worth calling our home: Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said the government needs to close the taps in public procurement in its fight against corruption. Though legislation is in the pipeline to overhaul the procurement system, Zondo said it must be implemented now. “The levels of corruption in our country have reached completely unacceptable proportions, and unless something very drastic and effective is done, soon we will have no country worth calling our home.” [EWN]

  • Completely new budget: The unprecedentedly large spending reallocations outlined by the National Treasury in the “grim” medium-term budget policy statement (MTBPS) are so far-reaching that they constitute a new budget rather than an in-year adjustment to the February budget, said economist Michael Sachs. He added that substantially reduced core spending on government services over the medium term to accommodate rising debt service costs would lead to a deterioration in services and a weakening of the state. [Business Day]

  •  10,000% markup: Transnet and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) have won a court order blocking pension payouts to two former employees accused of inflating the price of breathalyser straws by a staggering 10,000%. Instead of paying 29 cents each for the straws, the employees are alleged to have colluded with three suppliers to pay R29.29 for each straw. [News24]

  • Private sector ports are needed now: The Western Cape provincial government is sounding loud warning noises about the escalating dysfunction at the Port of Cape Town. Stellenbosch University professor Jan Havenga and his colleagues have calculated the direct cost to the economy of the underperformance at Transnet’s ports jumped by more than 40% to R15.5 billion over the past three years. “Fixing Transnet’s management and turning around its port operations is crucial and urgent, and we need the private sector to operate the ports.” [Business Day]

  • Markets: South Africa’s rand weakened against a stronger dollar on Wednesday as the greenback recovered from a sharp selloff last week. On Thursday (9 November), the rand was trading at R18.48 to the dollar, R22.70 to the pound and R19.79 to the euro. Oil is trading at $79.68 a barrel. [Nasdaq]

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