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Has the ANC KwaZulu-Natal PEC removed Mayor Zandile Gumede?
12 August 2019, 9:21 PM

There are unconfirmed reports that embattled eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede has been removed from her position by the ANC’s KwaZulu-Natal  Provincial Executive Committee (PEC).

The PEC has been meeting to decide Gumede’s fate.

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has however said that it will brief the media on Tuesday about the outcomes of the PEC meeting.

On Thursday last week, the Durban Commercial Crimes Court amended Gumede’s bail conditions, allowing her to interact with the municipal manager and the chief financial officer.

She faces fraud and corruption charges related to a R208 million solid waste tender.

On Sunday, the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal had promised to take a final decision on the embattled eThekwini mayor. The provincial party leadership met on Sunday to discuss Gumede’s fate.

In last week’s meeting, no agreement was reached on the future of Gumede who the ANC has placed on a leave of absence for the past two months.

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Rand weakens by more than 3% to US dollar
7 August 2019, 7:43 PM

The rand has weakened by around 3.3% to the US dollar in August alone on the back of escalating trade tensions between the US and China.

The rand has traded at its weakest level of R15.11 to the dollar before easing to R15.07 at the close.

The local currency faced further volatility following a scathing review by Moody’s rating agency which questioned Eskom’s financial sustainability and the multi-billion rand bailout from government.

Moody’s is the last of the three major rating agencies which still hold South Africa a notch above junk status.

Chief Investment officer of Makwe Fund Managers, Makwe Masilela says, “Because South Africa is a net importer, this is supposed to be inflationary and worse out of those. I think the biggest chunk comes from oil accounting for 40%. But I think we need to remember that the minute the rand weakens does not necessarily mean that all imports have to go up. Some of these prices you have just work in a three-month kind of a thing. So, it does not mean prices automatically go up. The problem is if it gets to stay like this forever, then we’ll definitely start feeling it.”

Labour federations embark on massive drive to have workers tested for HIV/AIDS
6 August 2019, 10:05 PM

Labour unions representing workers in different sectors such as mining, retail and farming have launched an HIV response campaign named Qina Msebenzi Uphile.

The campaign was launched in Johannesburg on Tuesday to raise awareness about the disease in the workplace.

Close to 8 million South Africans are living with HIV.

The unions were represented by trade federations Cosatu, Nactu and Fedusa.

Cosatu’s HIV Coordinator Charles Mkhubane says, “This project, it means a lot to us as Cosatu, because we all know that the mining sector, as well as the mining communities, are the key and vulnerable population as far as the NSP is concerned. It was really important for us to partner with ‘Show Me Your Number’ for this project to contribute towards the bigger campaign launched by the State President. We believe that mineworkers will benefit of this initiative.”

Eskom urgently needs turnaround plan: Moody’s
6 August 2019, 9:44 PM

South Africa’s state power utility Eskom urgently needs a turnaround plan as its capital structure is unsustainable, credit ratings agency Moody’s said on Tuesday in a report which sent the rand to a two-month low.

A week ago, Eskom reported a mammoth R20.7 billion annual loss, and its outgoing chief executive said the firm needs to change its outdated business model to escape a “death spiral”.

“The company’s operational and financial performance has deteriorated, indicating the extent of the challenges facing Eskom in meeting its debt obligations absent government support,” Moody’s said in a note.

“The current capital structure is not sustainable … indicating a strong and urgent need for a longer term strategic turnaround plan.”

The rand gave up its gains against the dollar and sharply reversed course after the report was published to hit its lowest since June 7. It traded down 0.4% at 14.9725 rand per dollar by 1519 GMT.

Struggling Eskom, which supplies more than 90% of the power in Africa’s most industrialised economy but is dependent on government bailouts, is deep in crisis as its sales decline while debt-servicing costs soar.

It is regularly cited by ratings agencies as one of the main threats to South Africa’s creditworthiness and economic growth.

Eskom’s financial woes stem from a steep run-up in its salary, fuel and debt-servicing costs over the past decade, and it has also been hampered by mismanagement and corruption scandals under previous executives.

In July, the government proposed an extra R59 billion rand of support for Eskom over the next two years, in addition to R230 billion in bailouts spread over the next decade.

Moody’s said the cash injections from the state were credit positive for Eskom but would do no more than stabilise the company’s debt burden, and a long-term solution would still be needed.

Motorists set to pay more for fuel
6 August 2019, 8:10 PM

Motorists will have to fork out 11 cents more for a litre of petrol from midnight Tuesday. Diesel will cost 13 cents less per litre and illuminating paraffin 2 cents a litre.

The Energy Department has attributed the price adjustments to an increase in oil prices.

A prospective petrol station owner Sipho Masombuka says he needs an assurance over the future viability of the retail fuel sector before he can invest.

“I’m looking at the carbon emission problem that is experienced currently. At the same time, I am looking at the social group or social organisation that are pushing that everybody must be environmentally friendly and I am looking at the financial injection that the whole world is putting on the new technology, especially looking at the solar cars; and at the same time, vice versa at the petroleum space. If you merge the two you’re looking at the powerhouse of all these entities and the future for petroleum. To me, in the next 50 years, I doubt people will be using cars that are driven by fuel.”

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