5 important things happening in South Africa today

 ·5 Apr 2024

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

  • Tobacco industry takes SARS to court: Tobacco manufacturers, represented by the Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association, are taking the South African Revenue Service (SARS) to court to try block a rule mandating CCTV in their warehouses. This measure aims to curb the illicit cigarette trade, which costs the government more than R20 billion annually. [Moneyweb]

  • Rampant water cuts seen as a national security threat: Ahead of the 29 May elections, South Africa’s security cluster has identified major disruptions in water supply as a key national security threat, noting that the issue transcends mere service delivery and poses a risk to the country’s stability. [News24]

  • Private sector takes a hit: The S&P Global SA purchasing managers’ index (PMI) released on Thursday showed that business volumes declined at the sharpest rate in more than two years, falling to 48.4. This indicates that demand levels in South Africa’s private sector continued to worsen as a result of stronger price pressures, load-shedding, drought conditions and wider economic uncertainty. [Business Day]

  • Nine months of paid suspension for Eskom head: The security chief at Eskom has been on paid suspension for nine months, pending an investigation into a contract awarded in July 2022. Despite the lengthy suspension, initiated in June last year over a contract with Fidelity Services to probe coal theft at its coal stations, Eskom has yet to start a disciplinary hearing. [News24]

  • Markets: South Africa’s rand was relatively steady against a softer US dollar on Thursday, shrugging off a disappointing local survey that showed private sector activity in the country had contracted. On Friday (5 April), the rand was trading at R18.76 to the dollar, R23.58 to the pound, and R20.33 to the euro. Oil is trading at $90.91 a barrel. [Reuters]

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