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Rand pauses slide as risk clouds gather
9 October 2019, 3:05 PM

South Africa’s rand was little changed early on Wednesday as traders took profits on the dollar and braced for more volatility, with hopes fading for a trade truce between the United States and China.

At 0645 GMT the rand was up 0.1% at 15.2575 per dollar, a small move off its overnight low of 15.3050.

On Tuesday, the rand shed nearly 1% as risk sentiment was battered by the standoff between the United States and Turkey over Syria and then by Washington’s imposing visa restrictions on Chinese officials.

The rand is one of the most liquid and frequently traded emerging-market currencies, and a high degree of foreign investment makes it sensitive to offshore events and swings in risk sentiment.

“The rand’s underperformance yesterday could continue through the week, with key topside resistance levels in the 15.40-15.50 region likely to be eyed as investors will be hard-pressed to look favourably on a rand,” ETM Analytics said in a note to clients.

The local session will see the release of September business confidence index, followed by the release after the close of the Federal Reserve’s minutes of its last meeting.

The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s monthly Business Confidence Index fell to a three-decade low in September, underlining the fragile state of Africa’s most advanced economy.

Bonds were slightly higher, with the yield on the benchmark 2026 paper down 1.5 basis points to 8.265%.

Zimbabwe doctors defy government ultimatum to end strike
8 October 2019, 6:01 PM

Striking Zimbabwean doctors defied a government ultimatum to return to work on Monday, after rejecting a 60% pay rise offer they say is not enough to keep up with soaring prices of basic goods.

The southern African nation’s economy is grappling with its worst crisis in a decade, with triple-digit inflation, rolling power cuts and shortages of US dollars, medicines and fuel that have revived memories of the 2008 hyperinflation under late President Robert Mugabe.

The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA), the union for junior and middle-level doctors in the public sector, on Monday pulled out of the Health Apex Council that represents public health workers in negotiations with the government, saying it no longer served their interests.

The association said the government offer was “ridiculous” as it would take their monthly salaries to around 1.700 Zimbabwe dollars ($111), well below their demand of a 400% salary hike.

More than 100 of its members marched at the main Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare on Monday demanding higher pay and vowing not to return to work.

The doctors have been on strike for more than a month, which has seen some patients being turned away from public hospitals already struggling with shortages of medicines.

ZHDA said in a statement that the government was not willing to address their concerns but had instead responded with “intimidation and threats of disciplinary action or dismissals.”

“The will and desire is there but the means to execute their the doctors duties does not exist,” it said.

Health Minister Obadiah Moyo, who on Saturday issued the ultimatum for doctors to return to work on Monday or face disciplinary action, said he could not immediately comment.

Tapiwa Mungofa, the ZHDA treasurer, later told reporters that the World Health Organisation and other United Nations agencies should help raise funding for Zimbabwe’s health sector and broker a solution to end the strike.

The doctors want their salaries indexed to the US dollar because the Zimbabwe dollar is losing value against the greenback while earnings are being eroded by inflation, which the International Monetary Fund said stood at nearly 300% in August.

The government lifted the price of diesel and petrol by up to 27% on Saturday, which was followed by increases in the prices of goods like sugar, cooking oil and milk and transport.

Last week, President Emmerson Mnangagwa pleaded for time and patience to revive the economy.

Hopes that it would quickly rebound under Mnangagwa, who took over after Mugabe was deposed in a coup in November 2017, have faded fast, as Zimbabweans grapple with inflation that has eroded earnings and savings.

Bafana’s injury list grows longer
8 October 2019, 5:48 PM

The Bafana Bafana camp continues to be affected by injuries ahead of their crucial international friendly match against one of the top West African sides, Mali, in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.

All the players have arrived in camp following the arrival of Percy Tau and Kamohelo Mokotjo from Belgium and England respectively on Tuesday morning. Tau who got injured during club Brugge’s 4-0 win over Gent this past weekend was being attended to at the hotel by the medical team when other players were training this morning at FNB stadium according to media officer Matlhomola Morake.

Supersport United duo of Dean Furman and Ronwen Williams, along with French-based striker  Lebogang Mothiba watched the training session from the sidelines. Another French-based player Bongani Zungu looks to be a serious concern ahead of this game.

Bidvest Wits goalkeeper Brandon Petersen and Cape Town City’s Thamsanqa Mkhize have been withdrawn because of injuries.  Ricardo Goss of Wits and Bloemfontein Celtic’s Tshepo Rikhotso have been called up to replace them.

Meanwhile, after helping Supersport United to their third MTN8 title this past weekend, striker Bradley Grobler is hoping to transfer this form to the national team.

Grobler has scored a total of seven goals and provided three assists from 10 matches in all competitions this season and he’s hoping that come Sunday at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium, he will start firing for Bafana.

Grobler’s career has been ravaged by injuries especially after returning from Turkey and this also stalled his progress at the international level. What is he doing differently this season that has kept him on the field?

LISTEN | Grobler looks to continue firing

Grobler scored the all-important winning goal when United beat Highlands Park 1-0 at Orlando stadium this past weekend. It was also the first trophy to be won by their head coach at the club Kaitano Tembo. Grobler also dealt with a question today, that was insinuating that Tembo and Bafana newly appointed head coach Molefi Ntseki were low profile type of coaches.

With some injury doubts at Bafana this week especially around the attackers like Tau and Mothiba, this could also open the opportunity for Grobler especially after such a fine start into the new season. Will Ntseki’s system also work into his favour?

LISTEN | Grobler looks to adapt to Bafana tactics 

Parents withdraw learners from school citing safety concerns
8 October 2019, 3:55 PM

Tiphembeleni Primary School in KaNyamazane, in Mbombela remains locked.  Parents at the Mpumalanga school have withdrawn their children, fearing for their safety. This is the second week of no schooling.

Parents say the 47-year-old facility is a disaster waiting to happen.  Built in 1972, the school infrastructure is no longer what it used to be.

One of the parents, May Lubambo, has decried the state of the school saying,  “We need our children to be safe in this school. We need our MEC to attend to our grievances, as from last week the MEC doesn’t want to come to the school. That’s the problem that we have. The children won’t come to school until it’s safe. We can’t allow our children to come to this school when we know it’s not safe.’

The parents want the government to address the infrastructure challenges before pupils can return to class.

The Provincial Education Department claims a contractor has been appointed to attend to the school, but is unable to access the school due to the protest.

Head of Communication at the Mpumalanga Department of Education, Jasper Zwane says, “We have already appointed a constructor to start building. We are appealing to parents to refrain from disturbing the learning activities when raising their grievances. We will be meeting with the parents to try and resolve this impasse.”

A meeting to resolve the impasse is scheduled for Thursday.

Springboks thump Canada, march into quarterfinals
8 October 2019, 2:30 PM

South Africa have booked their place in the quarter-finals of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan with a 66-7 bonus point win over Canada in their final pool match in Kobe.

The Springboks ran in ten tries to one, with Cobus Reinarch getting a first-half hat-trick.

The Boks were up against a Canadian team ranked 22nd in world rugby, it would be all about attitude if the Green and Gold was to get what they needed out of this match.  Canada was reduced to 14 men late in the first half after foul play.

It was one-way traffic as soon as the referee blew the whistle, Sbu Nkosi added his name to the score sheet in the 6th minute and Damian De Allende opened the scoring.

The third try arrived in the 10th minute as Cobus Reinarch showed just why he is one of the best players in the English premiership, executing an audacious chip and chase after finding the gap.  Reinarch then went on a scoring spree, with a quickfire hatrick in 11 minutes.

The Boks also bagged the bonus point within the first twenty minutes of the match. They were launching attacks from everywhere in the park at the Kobe Misaki Stadium.

By the half-hour mark, the Springboks had scored six tries, with Warrick Gelant dotting down for his third try in test rugby.

Four minutes before half time, with Canada desperate to get on the score sheet, disaster struck, as Josh Larsen received a straight red card for a shoulder charge, the Canucks were down to 14 men.

Frans Steyn scored on the stroke of halftime through an intercept, the Boks had seven tries, they were 47 nil up after the first forty minutes.

Despite everything seemingly going against them, Canada persevered and opened the scoring in the second half, Matt Heaton crashed over to the delight of the many neutral supporters in attendance.

Schalk Brits took on four Canadian defenders to score his second five-pointer of the 2019 world cup, and get South Africa going in the second half.

Fists started rolling in as Damian Willemse, who was parachuted into japan after Jesse Kriel was forced to withdraw through injury, scored his first test try.

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