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Reserve Bank leaves repo rate unchanged at 3.5%
25 March 2021, 6:02 PM

The Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee has decided to keep the repo rate unchanged at 3.5%.

The decision means the prime lending rate remains at 7%.

The decision was announced by Reserve Bank Governor, Lesetja Kganyago, this afternoon.

Kganyago says the bank expects inflation to remain well contained for the rest of the year before edging up to the midpoint of the target range next year.

“Local food inflation is slightly lower than previous expected and should remain broadly continue to higher local crop production, oil prices have increased sharply this year and are expected to remain at this level over the forecast horizon, electricity and other administered price remain upside risk to the inflation trajectory against this background MPC decided to keep rates unchanged at 3.5 percent. The decision was unanimous,” he says.

The Reserve Bank Governor has warned that the new wave of COVID-19 infections is likely to weigh on economic activity both globally and locally.

He says the distribution of vaccines will be slow, contributing to uneven pace of global economic recovery this year and next.

Despite the risk of COVID-19, the bank expects the economy to grow by about 3.8% this year.

Reaction to the announcement:

In reaction to this, economist at BNP Paribas, Jeff Schultz, says: “It’s warning of a third wave of infection also toning down its CPI number even beyond 2021.

On balance while its quarterly projections model suggests that we could see rate hike this year it will be data dependent I don’t think the Central Bank is in a big rush to raise rates in what is still a fragile economic recovery.”

Consumers have been advised to take advantage of the current low interest rate environment and pay-up their debt.

Justice Zondo reprimands Mpofu over Gordhan outburst
25 March 2021, 3:26 PM

Chairperson of the State capture commission, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, has reprimanded advocate Dali Mpofu for his conduct at the Commission in Johannesburg.

On Tuesday, Mpofu was cross-examining Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan over allegations levelled against him by former SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane, who was being represented by Mpofu.

The advocate burst under pressure during the session, telling Gordhan and his legal counsel to shut up.

Mpofu cross-examines Gordhan:

Zondo says such conduct is unacceptable.

“No legal practitioner including Mr. Mpofu has the right to begin to tell any other person in this commission to shut up. That power belong to the chairperson of the commission and even I will not use the words shut up. That conduct is unacceptable to this commission and it is important that the public and other legal practitioners should know that this conduct is not acceptable,” says the Deputy Chief Justice.

Earlier on Thursday, judgment in the commission’s case against former president Jacob Zuma was reserved in the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg.

The commission wants the highest court in the land to send Zuma to jail for two years for defying its order to appear before it.

 

Amandla Dance Teatro artists back on stage with a new musical
22 March 2021, 9:43 PM

The Northern Cape multi-award-winning Amandla Dance Teatro artists are back on stage for the first time since the relaxation of the COVID-19 restrictions with a new musical, Mwana Wa Mvula.

The cast is happy and excited to be back on stage. And despite the financial strain they are experiencing due to COVID-19, the first show was free for children.

“We are struggling. The struggling economy, it’s COVID and the industry has been hit very hard. It’s been a big problem but all in all, we had to make this free for the kids,” says Amandla Dance Teatro co-director, Mkhululi Mabija.

Artists say despite the financial challenges they are facing, they are driven by their passion for the arts.

The musical storyline depicts a journey of a rainmaker, Lerumo, whose spiritual gift clashes with his father’s Christian beliefs.

“My character in the play; I’m a other fighting for the rights of women and the rights of our children,” says actress, Kediemetse Oliphant.

Actor Duncan Matloko says: “The story is more about me being born and then the father denies the family gift.”

“The message is that when you are a father of a gifted child, don’t be jealous. You must always be there for your child,” adds Obakeng Moapesi, another actor.

The Mwana Wa Vula Musical will go on until the end of April:

African countries keen on AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine: WHO
22 March 2021, 8:47 PM

No countries in Africa have refused the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine due to any remaining health concerns, a senior official of the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday.

Mariangela Simao, WHO assistant director-general for drug access, vaccines and pharmaceuticals, told a news conference: “It has all returned to normal, we don’t have any countries refusing the AstraZeneca (vaccine) on the African continent.”

WHO senior adviser Bruce Aylward said: “There’s a lot of confidence” in the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

Earlier today, AstraZeneca announced that the vaccine was found to have been 79% effective at preventing symptomatic illness in a large United States trial and is 100% effective against severe or critical disease and hospitalisation.

The news came as many countries resumed using the vaccine after its benefits were found to outweigh the risks following investigations into reports of blood clots.

AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is safe, says European Medicines Agency:

South Africa on the other hand suspended its rollout of the vaccine in February after a small study showed that the vaccine has limited efficacy against the dominant variant discovered in the country.

The country’s Health Ministry has sold the one million doses to 14 African countries.

AU says AstraZeneca vaccine benefits outweigh risks:

 

 

Brown confirms Brian Molefe’s Eskom appointment was unprocedural
22 March 2021, 8:02 PM

Former Public Enterprises Minister, Lynne Brown, has confirmed the Eskom board did not follow proper procedures when Brian Molefe was appointed.

Brown said she takes the blame for approving Molefe’s permanent appointment as Eskom CEO without a competitive process. She was testifying at the commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture.

Previous witnesses have testified that Molefe’s appointment was predicted by the Gupta family and their associates.

Molefe joined Eskom in 2015 following the suspension of four executives and was later joined by then Transnet CFO Anojh Singh – whose appointment was also found to be unlawful.

Brown’s testimony is in the video below:

On the issue of the then Public Enterprises Department’s Director-General Richard Seleke, Brown has denied knowing that his CV and those of other board members came from a third-party email address. It is alleged that a third-party email address linked to Gupta business associate, Salim Essa, was used to interfere in the appointment of boards of State-Owned Enterprises.

Brown served under former President Jacob Zuma from 2014 until she was fired in 2018. She wrapped up her Eskom-related testimony on Monday.

On Tuesday, the commission will kick off its proceedings with SARS-related testimony from the former partner at BAIN SA, Athol Williams, and SARS employee, Vlok Symington.

At 4pm, former SARS boss, Tom Moyane will cross-examine Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin
Gordhan.

Weather

 

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