State of the Nation Address tonight....
President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers tonight his first State of the Nation speech since the ANC extended its quarter-century rule after last month’s election. His address to Parliament in Cape Town is scheduled to begin at 19:00.
Here are five key things to watch out for:
1. A rescue plan for ESKOM
Ramaphosa’s office has said he’ll announce new measures to ease the crisis. Eskom, which supplies most of South Africa’s electricity, has wracked up close to R500bn in debt and is at risk of insolvency.
The utility got a three-year, R69bn bailout in the February budget, but that won’t nearly be enough to stabilise its finances. The National Treasury would probably breach its expenditure ceiling and deficit targets if it’s forced…
Standard Bank now leading lender through Green Governance
While the CEO of FNB counts the remaining peanuts, while Nedbank’s employees still wonder what is so green in their Green Account and ABSA is busy switching between Comedy Channel and Bloomberg on their telly, Standard Bank has taken a big step by setting a precedent for a “Green Board resolution”!
The board of every bank in South Africa should have started this week with a new item on its to-do list: publishing its policy on lending to coal-fired power projects and coal mines. A shareholder resolution to exactly that effect was passed at Standard Bank’s AGM last week, and there is no question that similar requests will be made to every other bank in the country.
“There are of course other banks in South Africa financing coal and f…
The End is coming for SAA....
South African Airways (SAA) has requested another ZAR 4bn from the government in an attempt to keep the struggling airline afloat, according to a report by the Sunday Times. The airline continues to operate at a loss and has a ZAR 3.5bn short-term loan which will be depleted at the end of June 2019, along with a long-term ZAR 9.2bn loan.
SAA board member Martin Kingston said that the board was worried about the state of the economy and how it may impact the government’s decision to bail out the airline. Economist Mike Schussler told the Sunday Times that the airline is “indebted to the nth degree”, and that it probably wouldn’t survive. “The end of the line is coming soon. We are in a deep crisis, we cannot save every SOE and I think …
Who governs amidst the current Policy Chaos?
The word “chaos” has many synonyms – for instance, confusion, pandemonium, disarray and turmoil. All these words describe the ANC’s current policy stance on a number of matters, including the SA Reserve Bank.
A modern democracy rests on the division of powers between the legislative, the executive and the judiciary. This is the principle foundation of all modern, successful countries.
Under the leadership of its secretary general, Ace Magashule, the ANC clearly does not understand this basic principle. In Mr Magashule’s mind, the ANC as the majority party clearly usurps the roles of the legislative and executive branches of government.
With this misconstrued role for the ANC in mind, Magashule pronounces on important policy matt…
FNB stops Service in favour of Profits
The elder generation might bath in fond memories of BOB Slips and BOB Saving Cards used years back, when First National Bank was an insignificant member among banks like Trustbank, Volkskas, United and Allied. Although not the oldest bank in South Africa as stated on their webpage – that was Lombaard Bank – it still dates back to 1938 and became a division of First Rand Limited in 1998, halfway during the 2-year-long investigations into the bank about ZAR 26bn stolen from the government during the apartheid era. The investigators claimed later that FNB unlawfully received hundreds of millions of Rand from SARB. The money was disguised as ‘lifeboats’ for covering bad loans and until to date those stolen funds have yet to be recovered.
Interest Rates remain unchanged
The SA Reserve Bank’s monetary policy committee has again decided to keep the repo rate unchanged at 6.75%, a decision widely expected by analysts. The central bank’s governor Lesetja Kganyago made the announcement at a media briefing in Pretoria yesterday afternoon.
The repo rate is the benchmark interest rate at which the Reserve Bank lends money to other banks. Changes in the repo rate affect the prime lending rate, which is the lowest rate at which banks start lending to clients. With the repo rate unchanged, the prime lending rate will remain unaltered at 10.25%.
The bank last hiked the repo rate in November 2018 from 6.5% to 6.75%. The MPC kept rates on hold at its two last meetings in January and late March. Kganyago said …
Sixth Elections: How hard will the ANC be punished for State Capture?
South Africans will deliver their verdict on an ANC government whose last term of office has been beset by corruption, state capture and poor governance when they go to the polls in the country’s sixth democratic election on Wednesday.
Voting stations countrywide will open their doors at 07:00 and will remain open until 21:00. More than 27m South Africans out of an eligible voting population of almost 35m have registered to vote.
The governing ANC will be looking to limit the damage wrought on its support base by years of scandal, while the DA – the official opposition – is under pressure to maintain its growth trajectory. Julius Malema’s EFF, formed in 2013 when he led his supporters out of the ANC, looks set to be the big winners…
The Rand Exchange Rate one Day before Elections
One final day to go and the torturous period of electioneering formally draws to a close. We look forward to some calm returning post the official announcements on Saturday once the dust settles.
As we wind down, the latest IRR poll suggests that the ANC will finish off close to 53% with the EFF at 14% and the DA at 24%. The important number is the combination of the ANC and the EFF and the possibility that combined they can reach a two-thirds majority to allow them to force a change to section 25 of the constitution. Although the market has often felt that the best outcome would be a stronger ANC showing to give President Ramaphosa the mandate for reforms, the more logical best-case outcome might be for a smaller ANC win and a less …
ELECTIONS 2019: T minus 3 Days
5 May 2019, Sunday, and South Africa’s stadiums fill one more time not with sports, but with supporters attending the final rally of their political party in the upcoming national general elections on coming Wednesday, 8 May 2019.
The democratic and now constitutional right to vote was hard fought for 25 years ago, under a liberation movement, which called itself the African nNtional Congress. This freedom movement has virtually fought in the trenches of South Africa’s Apartheid politics, using legal and illegal means alike – at that time “for the greater good”! The goal was achieved, the apartheid era came to an end, the first elections took place in 1994 and the iconic leader of the liberation movement, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela bec…
ANC and DA are about to lose Majorities in Gauteng and the Western Cape
The DA’s majority in the Western Cape is under threat, the ANC is losing more support in Gauteng and the EFF is on the growth path nationally. These are some of the key findings contained in the the Criterion Report, a quarterly market research survey conducted by the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) into voter preferences, attitudes and the South African political landscape, which was updated and published today!
It has found that, nationally, the ANC majority is in the balance at 49.5% support down from 54.7% in February, while the EFF continues to grow, from 12.2% in February to 14.9% in April. The DA has remained stable at 21.3%. The report noted a small growth in black support for the DA. "As of April, the DA has…