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SOUTH AFRICA


  
  

 

Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 159,886 104,235 113,300 29
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 2,780 2,600 2,820 93
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on South Africa



Update No: 094 - (01/06/10)

World Cup in every part of public life
South Africa's hosting of the World Cup will give gross domestic product a 0.5% boost this year. The tournament is expected to inject R93bn into the economy, driven by government infrastructure spend, organising spend and the arrival of 350,000 foreign visitors in the country for the tournament. "This is significant, as a large part of South Africa's overall growth will come from a single event," said Gillian Saunders, principal of Grant Thornton Strategic Solutions whose report was recently released. While the new estimate in arrival numbers is a significant drop from Grant Thornton's 2008 prediction that 483,000 foreign visitors would travel to South Africa, the updated study shows that fans will stay longer, watch a greater number of matches and spend more than previously expected. The average visitor will stay for 18.7 days, spend R30,000 and watch five matches. The comprehensive report provides the clearest picture yet of the effect the World Cup will have on South Africa's economy and is far more upbeat than recent predictions in the tourism industry, which have put the number of visitors as low as 150,000.

Justice (off the Field)
South Africa has set up more than 50 special courts to provide fast justice during the World Cup, officials said May 24. Justice Ministry spokesman Tlali Tlali said the 56 courts around the country would start operations immediately and wind up two weeks after the month-long tournament ends on July 11. South Africa has also built holding cells in several of the 10 World Cup soccer stadiums to handle hooligans and others who commit offences during matches. The courts have been established to accelerate cases involving foreign fans so that they can be dealt with before either suspects or witnesses leave the country. Tlali said the courts, housed in existing judicial facilities, would apply normal legal processes. "There will be no leniency and no different standards will apply." South Africa is one of the world's most violent countries outside a war zone and crime has been one of the biggest concerns of tournament organisers. It has also been partially blamed for lower than expected foreign bookings for the soccer spectacular, now put at around 300,000 compared to an original estimate of 450,000.

World Cup cargo
The economically damaging two-and-a-half-week-long Transnet strike ended May 27 after the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) accepted an improved pay offer of 12% from the utility. The strike has cost the economy billions. Over 65 percent of staff at Transnet reported for work May 25 following the prolonged protest action. Transnet said employees reported for work after one of the two unions-the United Transport and Allied Trade Union (Utatu), terminated its strike on May 21. The transport utility which is responsible for freight, rail, pipeline and port services said it had been able to move all critical flows including World Cup cargo and jet fuel. Transnet said the violence and vandalism it had experienced due to strike action that began on May 10 had been managed. Over 30 arrests have been made that include a striker who was arrested with a petrol bomb. Meanwhile, a strike at Eskom ended May 27 after just one day when the Utility won a court interdict forbidding the strike. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) had been on strike May 25 for a housing allowance, even before substantive pay talks. The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has hinted at possible strike action during the World Cup. Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven says the union federation and its affiliates will turn to industrial action at any time if necessary. "Nobody ever wants a strike... but we can't expect workers to give up their constitutional rights based on the hosting of a sporting event", says Craven.

The African National Congress (ANC) does not expect its labour ally COSATU to embark on strike action during the soccer World Cup, ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe said May 28. COSATU has stated that it may strike over power price increases during the month-long World Cup, action which could affect the event and embarrass President Jacob Zuma's government. "Our understanding is COSATU has made it clear over and over they are not intending to strike. We take that in good faith that there will not be any strikes during (the) World Cup," Mantashe said. Economists and the central bank have criticised recent strikes, saying unions are trying to hold the government and state enterprises to ransom by staging walkouts close to the World Cup to extract pay hikes above inflation of 5.1 percent. Mantashe said that South Africa was fully prepared for the World Cup. "We will host the best World Cup ever. People who come to the World Cup will feel the warmth and generosity of the South African people. We want to send this message despite all that is reported in the papers."

Sadness for Opening Ceremony
A South African opera singer chosen by Nelson Mandela to perform at the World Cup opening ceremony has died from meningitis, his record label Epic Records has said. Siphiwo Ntshebe, 34, was admitted to hospital in Port Elizabeth and died May 25. He was due to perform his new track Hope at the opening ceremony in Johannesburg on June 11. Epic boss Nick Raphael said Ntshebe's death was "a tragedy for all those who believe in the power of music". World Cup opening ceremony producer Lebo M added: “Siphiwo is a true South Africa World Cup legacy, gone too soon. “May his spirit lead us to June 11 2010. “May his soul rest in peace and may Siphiwo’s spirit of hope centre us all.” Ntshebe began singing at the age of five and trained in South Africa and Australia before winning a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London in 2004. Industry figures said the tenor was poised on the brink of global stardom after being signed by a major record label and collaborating on his signature anthem ‘Hope’, featuring the voice of Nelson Mandela

World Cup Will Change the World's Perception of South Africa
The FIFA 2010 World Cup will forever change the world's perception of South Africa says President Jacob Zuma. Addressing the Tourism Indaba opening ceremony in Durban May 8 Zuma said it is in the hands of South Africans to make the soccer spectacle kicking off June 11 the best one ever. "It is in our hands to unite our country, our continent and the world in a foot-balling feast. It is in our hands to recast our country as a nation of peace, a place of prosperity and a mainstay of progress on the African continent," said Zuma. Zuma said the Indaba has for the past 20 years showcased the country's natural beauty and its friendly people adding that it has also ensured that this year, the country breaks the 10 million mark for tourist arrivals. He said scores of tourists are expected to arrive in the country during the tourism low season and that the expected influx of people has led to the upgrading of facilities and skills in the tourism sector that will continue to exist even after the World Cup. He further welcomed the 3.6 million job opportunities that will be created by the month-long spectacle. "The World Cup has not only revitalised our economy, but also given impetus to infrastructural development and job creation," he said. One of the benefits of the upcoming spectacle is the revitalization of the public transport network with over 9.6 billion dollars already having been spent on road infrastructure. The other benefit is the Rea Vaya bus service operating between Johannesburg and Soweto transporting 20,000 people a day. "It is this legacy that impacts upon the lives of the poorest of the poor that is most meaningful to us," said Zuma. By 2020 South Africa will have over 85 percent of any city's population living within a kilometre to an Integrated Rapid Public Transport Network feeder or corridor. Zuma also highlighted the legacy of the five brand new stadiums calling them the crown jewels of the World Cup. "Together with our other five refurbished venues, they glitter across our landscape, a permanent legacy of the FIFA 2010 World Cup," he said confessing that the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban is one of his favourites. "We are geared up to demonstrate to all that we will deliver the best soccer world cup ever. But a soccer game is only 90 minutes, the major part of our visitors" time will be spent in your hands," he said.

State Will Deliver a Safe, Secure World Cup
South Africa's security forces are ready for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, says National Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele. At a police simulation exercise in Durban May 13 at the newly built King Shaka International Airport, Cele said over 40,000 police officers would be ready to deal with any eventuality. During the exercise, the police's bomb disposal, hostage negotiators, tactical, search and rescue units had to demonstrate their ability to deal with a simulated airplane hi-jacking incident, a first for KwaZulu-Natal in relation to preparation for the World Cup. Cele said: "I am indeed confident that with all the training, equipment and manpower we have, we will deliver a safe and secure World Cup. "We have even gone a step further in encouraging our members to be ambassadors for the police and country, indicating our commitment to making this the most beautiful World Cup." The demonstration was then moved to the Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu, north of Durban. There were displays of vehicle hijacking situations, parachuting and crowd management simulations. "The show of support by the local community at the Princess Magogo Stadium reinforces the ties the police and community shares", said Cele. Cele also launched the Good Ambassador Campaign of the South African Police Service (SAPS), which aims to promote the Batho Pele principles and aims to instil a spirit of goodwill by SAPS members and South Africans.

Cosatu May Strike During World Cup
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) said May 27, it could not guarantee that the Soccer World Cup would not be disrupted by strikes, including possible protests over recent electricity tariff increases. The federation said June fell within the collective bargaining season - a process that would proceed regardless of the World Cup. Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi dismissed as unfair suggestions that the unions must be restrained in their demands until after the tournament, when no such appeals were being made on employers. "We can't be asked to moderate when other fellows are not moderating at all," he told a media briefing after a Cosatu central executive meeting. Vavi said strike action over power tariffs depended on the legal process and also mediation by the African National Congress's (ANC's) transformation committee chaired by Enoch Godongwana, the deputy minister of public enterprises. The ANC invited Cosatu, along with the Federation of Unions of South Africa and the National Council of Trade Unions, to deliberate on the energy crisis. Godongwana said an initial meeting had taken place. He described it as "fruitful" and "cordial", but not a replacement for the government process. "There is an engagement, we agreed that we need to have a common appreciation facing the industry." However, Vavi said in the event of a strike the union federation should not be blamed for the timing because officials had dragged their feet since Cosatu gave notice for protest action back in April. A meeting on May 25 failed to take off as respondents said they did not have a mandate, but agreed to respond in writing to issues raised in the notice before the June 14 meeting. Executive director of the National Economic Development and Labour Council Herbert Mkhize said the notice was filed on April 1, ascribing the delays to it being "very complex". The notice cited six government departments and related agencies, including at least three business associations. "Just imagine the nightmare of trying to synchronise diaries," Mkhize said. However, he said the process was now on track and the respondents were due to come with mandated positions in June. Vavi, while admitting to improved relations within the ruling alliance under President Jacob Zuma, said the ANC had to put the alliance at the centre of decision-making or face resistance from Cosatu members. The federation would convene a special national congress to reconsider its relationship with the ANC should the party not confirm that the alliance, along with the ANC itself, was the "strategic political centre". Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini said the union was still pushing its campaign for lifestyle audits, though it had resulted in attacks on Vavi.

FIFA Rewards Stadium Workers
They have worked for months and sometimes through the night to ensure that South Africa delivers its promise to the world. Hundreds of men and women who helped build the country's world class stadiums were rewarded May 3 for their hard work when the LOC and FIFA announced that each worker will get two complimentary tickets to watch the opening match of the tournament. Not only will the workers have an opportunity to watch some of the world's finest footballers in action, they will also be able to blow their vuvuzelas and be part of the electrifying atmosphere that is set to occupy the new stadia across the country. At least 52,000 tickets have been set aside for construction workers to watch the opening match between South Africa and Mexico on June 11. The initiative is part of FIFA's ticket fund, that will also see 66,000 World Cup tickets being distributed to several organisations focusing on health, education and environmental issues. FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke, speaking to workers at Soccer City stadium May 3, said the world football body had recognised that not all South Africans would be able to afford tickets for Africa's first ever World Cup. "So we took a decision that this must be an African world cup and hence FIFA and our official partners are making these tickets available to South Africans," Valcke said. FIFA also recognised that without the hard work and extra hours put up by the workers, South Africa would probably not have met some of the infrastructure deadlines ahead of the tournament. "You have not only built stadiums, you build beautiful stadiums, the world is amazed by your work-well done!" said Valcke, who has been in South Africa since 2007 when work in most of the 2010 stadiums was only beginning. The ticket fund initiative will not end when the final whistle is blown for the tournament. The projects are expected to benefit South African beyond the tournament through legacy programmes that will be in place throughout the continent.

World Cup Electricity
A group of 16 diesel-powered generators, each with a capacity of 1MW, will power all the operations at the World Cup's International Broadcast Centre, Rupert Soames, CEO of UK-listed generator supplier Aggreko, said May 21. The 16MW capacity is twice that needed to power all the servers, satellites, temperature control and other equipment at the centre, located in the Nasrec complex next to Johannesburg's Soccer City, but there was plenty of spare just in case, Soames said. "People are always nervous about power. Power can fail and can fail in bad moments," he said. The centre, which will supply images and sound to all 204 countries broadcasting World Cup games, will rely solely on the generators for power and not the Eskom-fed national grid. Aggreko, which formed a joint venture with local empowerment company Shanduka to supply power to the centre and Fifa's local headquarters, will also locate generators with 1,5MW of capacity at each stadium to power their broadcasting operations

Loudmouth
The outspoken leader of the youth wing of the ANC, Julius Malema, has to toe the party line or face expulsion, ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe said May 28. "If anyone crosses the line he may have his membership summarily suspended... That goes not just for Malema but for everyone," Mantashe said. Malema was fined 10,000 rand ($1,321) and had to make a public apology earlier in May after the ANC took disciplinary action against him for defying orders from Zuma to cease making inflammatory and racially tinged comments. The controversial leader of South Africa's youth league has defended his behaviour after being disciplined by the ruling ANC. Julius Malema had provoked anger with a series of outbursts about race, Zimbabwe and President Jacob Zuma. In an interview May 25, he refused to admit he had done anything wrong, and brushed aside the measures taken against him. In a clear reference to in-fighting in the ruling party, he said he felt let down by those he had relied on. Mr Malema's brash populism has won him some support amongst poorer South Africans. However, his racially charged outbursts have also angered and embarrassed many. Malema added that South Africa's economy remained racially divided. "I am fighting for the emancipation of blacks and Africans in particular, politically, socially and economically," he said. "There are racial divisions in this country and the economy continues to grow but the gap between the haves and have-nots continues to grow. It's racialised." Asked what he thought of Zimbabwe's land redistribution policy under Robert Mugabe, he described it as "very good except the violent part of it". "In South Africa we must use the democratic means to redistribute the land," Malema said. Mr Malema was earlier forced to make a public apology and told by the ANC to undergo anger management. Officials had found he had brought the party into disrepute by criticising President Zuma. Mr Malema had criticised Mr Zuma for rebuking him over comments he had made publicly backing Robert Mugabe. He apologised "unconditionally" for dividing the ANC.

Economy Improving
South Africa's economy grew at its fastest pace in nearly two years in the first quarter of this year, driven mainly by robust expansion in manufacturing, mining and financial services. Overall output jumped 4,6% compared with the final quarter of last year, beating consensus forecasts for a 4,3% rise and quickening from 3,2% in the previous quarter, official data showed May 25. The pace of growth also exceeded the Reserve Bank's estimate for a first-quarter rise of 3,7%. Compared with the first quarter of last year, the economy grew by 1,6% - ending four quarters in a row of contraction during the recession. "The outcome is good news for the economy," the Treasury said. A sustained expansion would lead to "a stronger growth rate" than expected in the February budget this year, it said. The data backed the view that South Africa's economy will grow at least 3% this year after shrinking by 1,8% last year, its first contraction since 1992. That is well above the Treasury's budget forecast for growth of 2,3%. But local markets shrugged off the news, which paled in comparison with jitters over the deepening debt crisis in southern Europe. The Treasury also highlighted the issue, saying that slower growth in Europe emanating from the fiscal crisis posed a "potential risk" to the improved growth outlook. The Bureau for Economic Research (BER) has revised its growth forecast for South Africa this year up to 3,4%, saying that if the global recovery continues, the outlook "is fairly promising". Its previous growth forecast for this year, affirmed in February, saw the economy expanding by 2,7% and quickening to 3,5% next year. Its latest forecast for next year, released at its annual conference in Johannesburg April 22, was little changed at 3,55%.

The unemployment rate for the first quarter of 2010 increased 0,9% from the pervious quarter to 25,2%, Statistics SA said May 4 as it released the Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the first quarter of 2010. The figure represents a 1.7% increase from a year earlier. The number of unemployed persons increased by 145,000 between Q4 of 2009 and Q1 of 2010. The number of discouraged work-seekers also increased to 153,000. The data indicates that between Q1 of 2010 and Q4 of 2009 some industries lost jobs while other created jobs resulting in a net loss of 171,000 jobs across all industries. Most of the job losses were in Finance (126,000), followed by Construction (64,000) and Trade (48,000). Jobs gains were observed in Agriculture (35,000), Private Households (34,000) and Community and Social Services (29,000). The year-on-year comparisons show that job losses were experienced in all industries except Transport and Community and social services where 16,000 jobs were created within the two industries. Trade accounted for 196,000 of the job losses experienced between Q1 of 2009 and Q1 2010 followed by Manufacturing (173,000), Private households (130,000) and Construction (105,000).

Gold
Gold prices have reached new peaks as investors seek a safe haven from volatile equity and currency markets with concern spreading about contagion from the European debt crisis. While the rally was good news for the global gold mining industry, South Africa could miss out as a strong rand and rising costs offset the price rise. The rally comes amid lingering concern that South Africa's challenges, such as rand strength, power failures, higher mining costs, and striking workers, may put a damper on local prospects. Analysts expect South Africa's gold output to slip further this year, to about 200 tons, which should see the country drop to fourth place among gold producers, behind China, the US and Australia. South Africa fell last year from second spot to third, behind China and Australia. South African companies may not benefit fully from the higher gold prices.

Warm wishes from Washington
US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has congratulated South Africa on the progress it has made in the 16 years since it attained freedom. Thousands across the country marked the country's first democratic elections April 27 by celebrating Freedom Day. "On behalf of President Barack Obama and the American people, I congratulate the people of the Republic of South Africa as you celebrate the sixteenth anniversary of your democracy. "The April 27, 1994 elections were the culmination of decades of struggle and opened a new era of equality and opportunity in South Africa," said Clinton. She said South Africa's story serves as an inspiration to people around the world who are yearning to be free. "Your progress is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the transformative power of democracy," she said. Clinton said the partnership between South Africa and the US is rooted in shared values and common aspirations. "Our two countries share the goal of ridding the world of discrimination in all its forms, promoting broad-based prosperity and opportunity, and supporting democracy and the rule of law," she said. Clinton added that the two countries had much to learn from one another and that there is a lot to accomplish together. "The US-South Africa Strategic Dialogue that we launched last month (March) provides a framework for meeting our common challenges," she said.

Union Accepts Transnet's 12 Percent Offer and Ends Strike
The economically damaging two-and-a-half-week-long Transnet strike ended May 27 after the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) accepted an improved pay offer of 12% from the utility. The strike has cost the economy billions. Merina Willemse, an economist at the Efficient Group, said her research showed industry lost as much as R25bn of its output in the first two weeks of the strike. She said the R25bn cost consisted of R800m lost by agriculture, R6bn by mining and quarrying, R5,4bn by manufacturing, R600m by electricity, gas and water, R6,3bn by wholesale and retail, and R6,2bn by transport. The total equalled a loss of 1% of the predicted growth in gross domestic product that SA would have achieved this year, Willemse said. Satawu members who had rejected 8% and 11% before settling on 12%, would return to work May 28 and May 31. Satawu's general secretary, Zenzo Mahlangu, said the pay deal was a psychological victory for the union. "Some people will ask if it was worth it striking longer after Transnet revised its offer from 8% to 11%. We feel it was, even if our workers lost three weeks of pay," he said. All workers would receive an additional 1% payment next month. This would compensate for the money lost by the "no work no pay rule" during the strike. The nominal pay increase was 11%. Transnet's acting CEO Chris Wells said while critical commodity flows had moved throughout the strike, it would take months to unwind backlogs. "Our rail and pipeline teams have kept the jet fuel supply at capacity and the supply of petroleum by our pipelines to the inland market continued as normal. The port teams have worked hard to bring in every ship and handle every Fifa-related container delivered to our ports and move priority containers," he said. Even though the various industries that suffered because of halts to SA's transport could recover, some permanent damage may have been dealt to its trade relations. Willemse was hopeful Transnet could recover about 75% of its losses but was concerned about agriculture's recovery because of the number of importers who had to cancel contracts due to the strike. "Many foreign importers have cut contracts with fruit manufacturers because of how the strike basically made exporting produce impossible. This has resulted in a worsening of import- export relations and I'm worried the loss of trust means it will take the fruit makers months to rectify," she said. A 3,5% pay increase offered to Eskom employees was described by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), as a "serious insult". Satawu's strike at commuter rail operator Prasa continued May 27, but Prasa CEO Tumisang Kgaboesele said an offer had been favourably received by office bearers.

The ruling alliance under President Jacob Zuma, said the ANC had to put the alliance at the centre of decision-making or face resistance from Cosatu members. The federation would convene a special national congress to reconsider its relationship with the ANC should the party not confirm that the alliance, along with the ANC itself, was the "strategic political centre". Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini said the union was still pushing its campaign for lifestyle audits, though it had resulted in attacks on Vavi.

Outrage As Refugee Camp in South Africa Faces Closure
There has been an angry response to plans by South African officials to shut a refugee camp in the Western Camp, which is still home to many hundreds of displaced Zimbabwean nationals. More than five months ago, about two thousand Zimbabweans were forced to flee their local communities near the farming town of De Doorns, after South African residents threatened them with violence, accusing the foreigners of stealing their jobs. The locals burned down and destroyed shacks belonging to the foreigners in informal settlements in the area, who in turn fled to the local town, where a refugee camp was set up as a temporary measure on a sports field. But out of sight has not been out of mind and the xenophobic tensions have continued to simmer, with local residents still issuing threats against the Zimbabweans. Earlier this year, local community leaders threatened to 'braai' foreigners if they came back, clearly stating that they were not welcome. The Zimbabweans in the meantime have been left, seemingly forgotten, in a camp that has drastically deteriorated, with little access to food or clean water. When the camps close at the end of May the Zimbabweans are now expected to be reintegrated into the same communities that they were forced to flee. Breede Valley Mayor, Charles Ntsomi, told a media conference in Cape Town that they wanted the camp shut before the start of the football world cup kick off in South Africa in June. He said it was vital to reintegrate the occupants at the camp saying "South African law does not allow" the camps to continue. But he referred to the imminent start of the football tournament as the "crux of the matter," saying: "We don't want to see people in camps during the World Cup." Braam Hanekom from the refugee rights group PASSOP, told SW Radio Africa May 11 that he is "shocked and appalled" by the plan to close the camp, calling it "illegal and impossible." "The displaced have suffered great emotional distress and much financial loss, thus many lack the confidence to reintegrate and the ability, means and resources to relocate or repatriate. It is unacceptable and an attempt by government to intimidate them into leaving," Hanekom said. He added: "Provincial government should take responsibility to ensure the safety of the displaced and ensure that they are provided with basic assistance before any closure is considered." Hanekom explained that only the courts have the legal authority to order an eviction of such a nature, adding that the matter will be taken to the courts if the local government "continues down this path." Hanekom said the camp has become an 'embarrassment' for the government so close to the World Cup, but emphasised that "closing the camp for the sake of the tourists will not make this problem go away." He added that there are still fears of 'clean up campaigns' ahead of the tournament, with refugees being rounded up and removed by police countrywide. "What we've found now is that Zimbabweans in particular would rather return to Zimbabwe than stay in South Africa, because of fears of what will happen when the football is finished," Hanekom said.

Zuma Takes a Pounding in Parliament
President Jacob Zuma's Cabinet took a drubbing from MPs in all parties May 11 for failing to answer parliamentary questions properly and for being contemptuous of the legislature. During the debate on Parliament's budget vote, all parties bemoaned the way in which the executive answered questions, with even the presiding officers - National Assembly speaker Max Sisulu and National Council of Provinces chairman Mninwa Mahlangu - agreeing the answering of questions needed improving. All the controversies of President Jacob Zuma 's first year in office were thrown at him as opposition parties levelled unprecedented criticism at the head of state. In response to a lacklustre speech from a subdued-looking Zuma, opposition leaders mentioned his private life, increased spending on his spousal office, failure to control African National Congress Youth League leader Julius Malema and Zuma's failure to declare his financial interests on time as evidence of a poor performance from the president in the past year. Leading the charge was leader of the Democratic Alliance in Parliament Athol Trollip, who said that the recent resignations in the Presidency were an indication that it was not a happy or well- organised place. Trollip asked Zuma what had caused him at last to act against Malema. "Your lack of decisive leadership regarding the unacceptable behaviour of the ANC Youth League, and its leadership in particular, has allowed the South African political discourse to descend into the gutter. "It is now time for you to take control and do what is necessary to prevent the further unravelling of our national thread. The hosting of the 2010 Soccer World Cup is a once in a lifetime opportunity to do just this. "You also need to understand that your nondisclosure of financial interests, as required by the Executive Members Ethics Act, has been a lamentable transgression, especially considering your claim that your administration would seek to combat corruption. Your explanation for this non-compliance can at best be described as a red herring and at worst (as) simply disingenuous." Trollip also accused Zuma of paying lip service to accountability because his much-vaunted performance contracts for Cabinet ministers were without sanctions for failure. His ministers had also ignored Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe's instructions about answering parliamentary questions and "this is not only an arrogant disdain of the opposition, it is, more worryingly, a disdain for Parliament and the constitution". Congress of the People chief whip Mbhazima Shilowa began by declaring that his party would oppose the budget vote. Among other reasons he mentioned the President's private life. United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa said nothing had been done to alleviate the condition of those who still lived in apartheid dumping grounds and, "As long as we fail as a country to acknowledge this main cause of conflict in this country, namely an economic policy that fails to include all South Africans, we are heading for a major disaster." Patricia de Lille, the Independent Democrats' leader, also took aim at the situation in the Presidency, saying it continued to be plagued by bickering and squabbles. "Your bloated office even failed to advise you to declare your interests. It is not good for a president to break the law and ignorance of the law is no excuse."

No Changes in Sight for NPA for Now – Zuma
President Jacob Zuma says any possible restructuring of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has been deferred pending the finalisation of what the cluster must first conclude. Speaking during a reply to a Parliamentary debate on the Presidency's Budget Vote on May 13, Zuma said the Justice Crime Peace and Security cluster is in the process of negotiating its delivery agreement. He said ministers are still to conclude delivery agreements within their clusters and that these detailed delivery agreements will clarify roles, mandates, resources and other critical information. "We urge Honourable Members to bear with us while we conclude this groundbreaking process which will truly change the way government works. We will put the interests of the country and the Constitution first in going about this very important task of ensuring that justice is dispensed fairly," Zuma said. Members of the opposition should give ministers an opportunity to complete their performance agreement with the President. There has been a call for the agreements to be made public, but Zuma said the process was still underway. Zuma said Minister in the Presidency for Performance and Monitoring Collins Chabane is still to negotiate delivery agreements with all partners that are responsible for a particular outcome, and these would be concluded by July. Meanwhile, Zuma called on political leaders to work towards the promotion of national unity and social cohesion. He strongly dispelled any notion that minority groups lived in fear in South Africa, as suggested by one leader of the opposition. "We reiterate that we must discourage anyone, regardless of their grievances, who tries to take our country back to the divisive past of racism and division," Zuma said. During the debate on Wednesday, FF Plus leader Pieter Mulder claimed many South Africans experience uncertainty with regards to the future of the country, citing crime and racial tensions. But Zuma cautioned against anyone, regardless of their grievances, who tries to take the country back to the divisive past of racism and division. "South Africans both black and white have accepted each other as compatriots and live in harmony in the country of their birth. South Africans are optimistic about this country," Zuma said. He said despite the challenges the country was facing, South Africans remained hopeful that things will get better each day. It was the responsibility of leaders to nurture that hope and work together to create a positive climate in which people can work together, and in which the country can succeed and thrive. "We must all make all our people comfortable and secure and not seek to make one section of society insecure, for example by exaggerating fears of the minority community," said Zuma.

Manyi's 'Push for BEE Deals' Angers Norwegian Envoy
Jimmy Manyi's two jobs have come back to haunt him again as he finds himself at the centre of a diplomatic complaint that highlights the potential conflict of interest between the two roles he occupies. The Department of Labour's director-general is at the centre of a diplomatic complaint from Norway's ambassador to SA, Tor Christian- Hilda, reportedly for promoting private business interests. The ambassador sent a letter of complaint to International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane after a meeting with Manyi in March. At that meeting, Manyi reportedly tried to broker deals for private businesses instead of focusing on the government's "decent jobs" programme, for which the meeting was called. Manyi has been criticised for potential conflicts of interest as he has remained president of the Black Management Forum while working as a senior public servant. Manyi denied May 27 that he used the meeting to promote personal business dealings with the Norwegians. He said he offered to do a presentation on empowerment codes for Norwegian companies in SA. Mahlatse Mminele, a spokesman for the Department of International Relations and Co-operation, confirmed the complaint. "I am quite aware about the story as we received the correspondence," Mminele said. Norwegian embassy spokeswoman May-Elen Stener said a meeting would be held soon with Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana to clear up the matter. "We had a meeting with Manyi to discuss how we could help to push the agenda to create decent work opportunities for SA. However, he raised issues that we did not like," Stener said. SA is one of the developing countries targeted by the Norwegians for assistance on employment projects. Manyi said he was "surprised and very disappointed that this issue is coming up now" as he did not discuss business during the courtesy visit by the Norwegians. "I don't have time for business as I work 24 hours, and you can check my records," he said. Manyi said it was his duty to meet international investors to discuss issues that would have a positive effect on SA's economy. That was the context in which he raised the issue of doing a presentation on empowerment codes at no cost to the Norwegians. "I strongly believe that as a good corporate citizen I have the duty to promote South African interests, and to attract foreign direct investment." Manyi questioned the timing of the complaint as he came to hear about it four weeks ago, a month after the meeting. He said he had explained the meeting to Mdladlana. Mdladlana's spokesman did not respond to requests for comment. The Freedom Front Plus said that Manyi should be fired as director-general of the Department of Labour.

Economic Growth Brings Cautious Optimism
Growth in South Africa may have accelerated in the first quarter of this year, but its domestic engines are still not running fast enough for comfort, or to offset fallout from Europe's sovereign debt crisis. The 4,6% leap in overall output announced May 25 certainly beat expectations, and was well above the pace of 3,2% recorded in the final quarter of last year. But the robust rise was driven mainly by manufacturing and mining - the two sectors which rely most heavily on global demand. That poses a lot of questions about the sustainability of the economy's recovery, given the weak state of consumer spending and heavily indebted households. "SA's recovery is still characterised as one driven by growth in the rest of the world, rather than an economy firing on its own momentum," said Standard Chartered's regional research head for Africa, Razia Khan. "It's a respectable enough performance, but that is nothing to write home about." Respectable growth was not enough in the context of last year's hefty job losses and an unemployment rate of 25,2%, she said. Other analysts were circumspect. "It's good news but we mustn't be complacent," said Business Unity SA's deputy CE, Raymond Parsons. "We're still midway between an economic recovery on the one hand and sustainable growth on the other," he told Business Day. "Behind those numbers still lies a lot of economic hardship." At first glance, the Statistics SA data look impressive, showing that most sectors either clocked up faster growth or stopped shrinking in the first quarter of this year. But the impetus came from industries which are supported by global demand - mining and manufacturing. Mining was the star performer, surging 15,4% compared with the previous quarter, when it grew by a meagre 4,6%. Although the sector only accounts for 5,2% of gross domestic product (GDP), it contributed 0,8 percentage points to growth during the first quarter of this year. Manufacturing rose by 8,4%, slowing from 10,1% in the previous quarter but still making the biggest contribution to GDP as it comprises 15,1% of output, making it the economy's second-biggest sector. Financial services, the biggest sector, grew 2,5%, quickening from 2,1% in the fourth quarter of last year. That contributed 0,5 percentage points to the quarterly growth rate, which is seasonally adjusted and annualised. The most positive news came from SA's beleaguered wholesale and retail trade sector, which grew 3,3% - its first quarterly increase in two years. Retail and wholesale trade makes up less than 12% of overall output but is SA's biggest employer after the state, accounting for about a fifth of jobs in the formal economy. It has been hardest hit by the global and domestic downturn, even though the Reserve Bank has cut interest rates by 5,5 percentage points to boost flagging domestic demand. Analysts believe that trade will get a boost from spending linked to the Soccer World Cup, which starts June 11, with an expected tourist influx. The data showed that agriculture grew 3% after shrinking for four quarters in a row, buoyed by a bumper maize harvest. But it only accounts for 2,1% of GDP. Construction grew by 2,1%, down from 3,6% in the previous quarter - which was also unwelcome news, though not entirely unexpected. General government services, the economy's third-biggest sector, grew by just 2,8%, down from 5,1% in the previous quarter. Nedbank recently raised its forecast for growth this year to 3%, up from 2,8% a few months ago. That is in line with consensus estimates, but well above official forecasts for expansion of 2,3% this year after the economy contracted 1,8% last year. Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has said growth is likely to exceed the Treasury's expectations this year. The International Monetary Fund has also said it may revise its growth forecast for SA up from 2,6%, to closer to 3%.

Retail Sales Turn the Corner at Last
Retail sales grew for the first time in 14 months in March, beating consensus forecasts for a modest rise and showing that the economy's most beleaguered key sector is finally recovering. Retail sales rose 1 % compared with the same month last year, after falling 1,3% in February, figures from Statistics SA showed May 19. Markets had predicted a muted rise of 0,4%, but the range of forecasts was wide. Analysts said the sector, which is the economy's biggest employer, was finally responding to a rebound in consumer spending, the main growth engine, in the fourth quarter of last year. "At last we start to see the consumer spending side picking up," said Elize Kruger, an economist at KADD Capital in Johannesburg. But she warned that the data should be viewed warily in the context of high household debt levels and heavy job losses last year. "I think it will remain a bumpy ride for consumers, given that debt levels are still high and we still have a difficult job market out there." Household debt hovers near a record peak at 79% of overall disposable income, and the economy shed 870000 jobs last year. Lower inflation and interest rates, along with a boost from the World Cup, are expected to support consumer spending and retail sales in the coming months. But growth in the sector will not be robust after a contraction of 4,9% last year, adjusted for inflation. "Today's data indicate that the retail environment has turned the corner," said Standard Bank economist Shireen Darmalingam. But she also said caution should prevail, as households continued to reduce their debt. "A full recovery in retail sales will depend on the rate at which households' financial positions improve and with a more solid increase in overall confidence." Higher petrol prices, combined with hikes in electricity, water, and toll fees, will curb the recovery in the sector, which accounts for nearly 14% of the economy. Concerns over employment also weigh on sentiment, with official data showing that the economy shed more jobs during the first quarter of this year, taking the jobless rate above 25% - a five-year peak.

Political and Business Leaders meet to accelerate Africa's development
Against the backdrop of the world's greatest sporting event, South Africa will be host to a meeting between civil society and some of the greatest political and business minds from Africa and the world. The inaugural African Leadership Retreat (ALR) will take Place from the 4th to the 13th of July. The attendants will gather to discover, address, and create strategic investment and partnership opportunities, within the sectors of Oil, Gas and Mining, Infrastructure, Energy, Telecoms and Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Tourism, Banking and Financial Institutions, Investment Climate and Foreign Direct Investment, and Branding Africa. The ALR will be held over eight days, at venues in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg. Confirmed luminaries include Graça Machel; Hon. Olusegun Obasanjo, former Nigerian President; Paulo Gomes, Former Board Member of the World Bank Group; Jerry Rawlings, former Ghanaian President; Mohamed Ibrahim, founder of Celtel, the continent's largest cellular network operator; Sir Sam Jonah, former president of Anglo Gold Ashanti, and Moctar Fall Former Vice Chairman of JP Morgan Chase Emerging Markets. ALR is an opportunity to set new benchmarks for the sustainable expansion of the African continent, and effect positive change for its people and for generations to come. In a joint brainstorming effort with civil society, the Thought Leaders will propose recommendations contributing to setting up a vision for 2020. This will lead to a report proposing a leapfrog approach to accelerate the emergence of the continent. Indeed, Africa's blank canvass makes it best placed to leapfrog old economies with legacy technologies, sustainable alternatives, renewable energy and new thinking process. Subsequent to the event, the Africa 2020 proposed vision will be brought to public consultation. ALR is not just another event; it is the beginning of the Africa 2.0 movement!
The outcomes will be sustainable with an ultimate goal to benefit many on the continent, not just a few. "We are acting to change, not speaking about change. Let's build a better Africa for all" says Mamadou Kwidjim Toure, Founder of ALR.

Confidence Up, But Consumer Spending Low
Business confidence rose in April while the mood in financial markets soared to a near three-year peak, reaching levels seen just ahead of the global crisis and recession, surveys showed May 5. The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) said its business confidence index (BCI) edged up to 84,2 points from 83,2 in March, continuing its slow but steady ascent since the start of this year. The main economic restraint, which was still curbing business activity, was low levels of household consumption, it said. This is worrying as consumer spending is the economy's main growth engine. A separate survey showed that investor appetite for SA climbed to its highest level in the first quarter of this year since the second quarter of 2007, just before the global financial crisis erupted. The Maxim-ETM investor confidence index (ICI) surged to 105,9 points in the first quarter of this year, up from 94,4 in the previous quarter, and 64,7 in the same period last year. "The latest ICI reading is indicative of the major turnaround in confidence brought about by global monetary stimulus and bail-outs," ETM said. A revival in offshore investor appetite has sparked large capital inflows into local stocks and bonds this year. But local investors were more wary, opting to rotate from cash into bonds rather than shares. The improvement in SACCI's index last month was led by a strong pickup in exports and imports, driven by global demand. But some key local components - including manufacturing, retail sales and construction, weighed on the index. This implied "a drawn-out recovery from the recession," the SACCI said. But it said that the positive trend was expected to gain momentum, mainly due to export-led demand driven by the global recovery. It also warned that the debt crisis in some European economies could deepen and slow the global recovery, which would in turn affect SA. SACCI CEO Neren Rau said May 5 that hefty job losses were largely to blame for the reluctance of consumers to spend. SA's jobless rate rose to 25,2% in the first quarter of this year from 24,3% in the fourth quarter of last year, partly due to seasonal effects. But the 171000 jobs shed in the period startled analysts who had expected a more modest decrease. "Unemployment is a big contributor to low spending ... the crisis may have passed but the consequences continue to dog us," Rau said. Consumers with jobs were being wary and company liquidations were still rising, he said. Rau said he was also concerned by a leap in the number of "discouraged" work seekers who had stopped looking for jobs. In the past year, it rose to 1,8-million from 1,2-million. The Soccer World Cup was also so far "failing to provide the real economic stimulus" which business had hoped for. "Business is not banking on it any more but it should push the next BCI up more strongly." Rau said there might be "marginal benefits" from another cut in interest rates but he would not advocate going beyond that. ETM said that bonds were likely to remain the "big winner" in asset allocation by fund managers, with inflation falling and sovereign credit rating affirmations for SA.
 

 

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