Happy Birthday, Tata Madiba
Birthday wishes were pouring in for former president Nelson Mandela as he turned 95 on Thursday, with a tangible sense of celebration in the country as millions of pupils sang “Happy Birthday Madiba” and South Africans from all walks of life geared up to pay tribute to their national treasure. In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly declared July 18 as Nelson Mandela International Day, in honour of Mandela’s lifelong commitment to human rights, conflict resolution and reconciliation. South Africans and people around the world have been called on to observe the day by giving at least 67 minutes of their time to help create a better tomorrow for all.
EU - SA Summit focussing on easier Trade, Growth & Employment
South Africa will push for greater flexibility on agricultural exports to Europe in the upcoming SA-EU summit, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said on Tuesday. “There are still some outstanding matters of give and take,” Davies told reporters in Pretoria. He was speaking ahead of the 6th South Africa-European Union summit in Pretoria on Thursday.
The South African delegation will be led by President Jacob Zuma, who will meet European Council president Herman van Rompuy and EU Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso. Davies said he was confident the talks would prove fruitful, but said there were some delicate trade subjects up for discussion.
Outlining the trade relationship between South Africa and the EU bloc, he said the le…
Rate cut rather improbable
The size of risks is increasing to the dovish side on growth and to the hawkish side on inflation. However, they continue to balance out, which suggests rates should remain stuck at this week’s meeting. Don’t the weak local data and slower growth in China mean the MPC wants to cut? We believe the MPC is very focused on the China growth issue as the key new marginal negative external growth risk for South Africa. China has become the number one export market for a number of commodities, and has been instrumental in South Africa’s robust export growth over the past year. China’s slowdown and the possibility that growth there may be as low as 7% this year is a key drag on South Africa, but not a big or sharp enough shock to push the MPC in…
Zuma Shuffle or Harlem Shakes?
In what is probably not the last reshuffling of cabinet posts before the upcoming national elections in 2014, a ceremony was held on 10 July 2013 at the presidential guesthouse ‘Sefako Makgatho’ in Pretoria and under the ever watchful eyes of presiding Constitutional Court Judge Johan Froneman a variety of new ministers and deputy ministers were sworn in.
In a rather aggressive stance, Zuma refused to comment on any of the reasons, he might have had for the changes in cabinet. The following overview should give clarity to the new ministers at the helm of their various departments (former in brackets):
Energy: Ben Martins (Dipuo Peters)
Transport: Dipuo Peters (Ben Martins)
Human Settlements: Connie September (Tokyo…
Bribes are still common for most South Africans
The SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) on Wednesday called for a crackdown on corruption. CEO Naren Rau said: “Sacci wants all stakeholders to crack down on corruption on every level for the sake of social cohesion and economic growth.” According to Transparency International’s latest Global Corruption Barometer between 40 – 50% of South Africans had paid a bribe over the past year. "This puts South Africa at roughly twice the global average of around 25%. “Bribery and corruption erodes the very foundation of society and dampens economic growth and job creation.” Rau said bribery was not only an additional cost to the economy, but also an additional tax on the private sector and the most vulnerable members of society were often …
Rand and Gold in Transition
Over the past 18-24 months, the Rand and gold have both receded about 30%-35% in value. Both reflect global tendencies and local events weighing on these key prices. During 2003-2011 gold increased nearly 8-fold to peak at over $1900. The Rand moved in a 5.50-7.50 trading range throughout the 2000s decade, except between mid-2001 and mid-2002 when it experienced a blowout towards 14:$. After this late-2001 event, it clawed back all its losses, becoming even seriously overvalued during 2004-2005 (coinciding with the meteoric rise of the gold price towards $1000 and beyond. In other words, never a dull moment, for most of the past decade reflecting exceptional global events (China-driven globalisation, Anglo-Saxon and European financial cr…
Is there Good News these Days?
Winter-solstice, the shortest day of the year was on 21 June and one must wonder, if short days shouldn’t be appreciated in light of the current news headlines: “Horror Hike in Petrol Price”, “Mandela on Life Support”, “Burning Barricades on Cape Town Highway” or “more than 100 Rhinos Poached so far in 2013”. Comes evening, breathing, another day over, …relived! – Really? Is there nothing positive which brightens dark and bitter cold winter evenings? I beg to differ, there is lots!
Where to start? Maybe with the increased income of the government. Although on our shoulders, it has to be noted that the government revenue increased by more than 11% compared to 2012, while expenditure is down 2,2% and thus bringing the fiscal deficit d…
FDI into SA slumps
Foreign direct investment (FDI) flows into South Africa decreased by 24% between 2011 and 2012, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad). The Unctad World Investment Report released on Wednesday shows that South Africa recorded a decline from $6bn (R60.6bn) in 2011 to $4.6bn (R46.46bn) in 2012. Unctad said this was largely due to net divestment in the third quarter of 2012 as a foreign mining company offloaded its stake in a local subsidiary. However, South Africa was Africa’s third-largest recipient of FDI inflows in 2012, after Nigeria and Mozambique. Although the decrease in FDI represented a 24% year-on-year reduction, it was above the pre-recession average of $3.9bn (R39.39bn) a year. Furthermore,…
Japan to increase Engagements in Southern Africa
Japan has shown itself amenable to supporting beneficiation in South Africa and increasing its automotive parts production base here, says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies. Davies said talks at the recent Tokyo international conference on African development in Yokohama, Japan, had confirmed that the Asian nation was increasingly interested in expanding into Africa and using South Africa as a springboard. A near-completed study on economic co-operation between Japan and South Africa had delivered proposals for projects that would improve skills and competitiveness in the local component production sector, the minister said. Preliminary findings prepared for the conference included deploying Japanese master trainers to South Africa …
IDC offering Investment Support to Hospitality Sector
The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) is keen to partner with investors who want to diversify their tourism product offering, including adventure sport. In order to prepare the local tourism industry for growth and the creation of employment opportunities, a diversification of product offering is needed, said Christine Engelbrecht, head of the Tourism Strategic Business Unit (SBU) at the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). This must include developing untapped tourism nodes such as sports and adventure tourism. She said following a turbulent run prompted mainly by the global economic crisis and ensuing recession, local tourism is slowly rediscovering its growth momentum. “We probably won’t be seeing an immediate return to th…