Zuma’s Tax Chief Ousted Ahead of South Africa Ratings Decision

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Mark Kingon was appointed acting head of South Africa's tax office on Tuesday, hours after President Cyril Ramaphosa suspended his predecessor and days before a Moody's review that could see the country lose its last investment-grade credit rating. The move was seen as a signal of intent to ratings agencies and investors that had lost faith in Africa's most developed economy under former leader Jacob Zuma. It follows a cabinet reshuffle which sacked or demoted several allies of Zuma, who was forced to step down by the ruling ANC last month. Ramaphosa suspended Zuma-appointed Tom Moyane late on Tuesday, saying he had failed as head of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and had lost the confidence of taxpayers. Kingon, SARS chief officer for business and individual taxes, was announced as acting commissioner on Tuesday. Mindful that investors who finance its big budget and current account deficits have lost confidence in South Africa, Ramaphosa has begun to reform the economy and state-owned companies like power utility Eskom and South African Airways. A test of whether his early changes have helped shift sentiment will come on Friday when credit rating agency Moody's completes a review that could see it downgrade South Africa's local and foreign debt to "junk" status. "This (Moyane's suspension) is a clear sign to Moody's that strong steps are being taken to turn financial institutions around," said Joon Chong, partner in Webber

British tourists capture South Africa’s beautiful tourist spots

If South Africa’s tourism board have got any sense, they’ll be picking up the phone and offering George Cotterhill a job, after he crafted a mesmeric three-minute video exhibiting the best things Mzansi has to offer. His whirlwind tour of the Western and Eastern Capes (uploaded to Vimeo) features everything you could wish to see on a truly South African holiday. We try our best not to succumb to jealousy, but there’s very little we can do to stave off the FOMO whilst watching this. Tourist hotspots in South Africa He and his partner first take on the hikes of Table Mountain and Lion’s Head. Then, the pair hit wine country for an unforgettable Franschhoek visit. They eventually make their way down the Garden Route, before ending up on Safari in Shamwari, EC. Their adventures across land, air and sea have become a hypnotic “must-watch” featurette for any proud Saffer or expat feeling like they’re due a return home. Clip of South Africa’s scenery goes viral Cotterhill felt the love from his viewers, too. The footage has been viewed over 15,000 times, and users of the Vimeo site praised him for the “beautiful job” he did of capturing South Africa in all of its glory. The British filmmaker took it all in his stride, re-iterating his feelings that SA was “an amazing country”. However, we aren’t the first gorgeous part of the world that’s received the George Cotterhill treatment. Santorini (Greece), Amsterdam (The Netherlands) and the

Former President Zuma Will Face Prosecution in SA

Shaun Abrahams, the national director of public prosecutions at the National Prosecuting Authority, announced on March 16 that Zuma will face sixteen charges of corruption and money laundering. The governing African National Congress (ANC), which Zuma dominated during his years as party president and state president of South Africa, has restricted itself to affirming its confidence in the South African judicial system in its official statements. The Rand, South Africa’s currency, remained steady following the announcement. Prosecution follows nine years of legal efforts by Zuma, at the taxpayers’ expense, to get the charges set aside. They date from an arms deals in the 1990s, and the prosecuting authority set them aside in 2009 shortly before Zuma was elected state president. In 2016, the High Court reinstated the charges and Zuma lost his legal battle to overturn that ruling. Now, Abrahams says that prosecution will proceed, and that “there are reasonable prospects of a successful prosecution.” Abrahams has widely been seen as a political ally of Zuma, with critics claiming that Zuma irregularly appointed him director of public prosecutions to forestall his own prosecution. In the end, the courts sided with the critics and required current President Ramaphosa to appoint a new director within sixty days of its ruling. That time period has not yet lapsed, so Abraham remains in office. His replacement will be responsible for the prosecution of Zuma, but it is not

Deadly listeria could herald tighter food safety rules in SA

LONDON, March 16 (Reuters) - A huge and deadly outbreak of listeria in South Africa could alter the country’s approach to food-borne disease and prompt improvements in food safety standards, a leading health official said on Friday. The World Health Organization’s top specialist on global food safety likened the South African outbreak’s potential impact to the “mad cow disease” BSE crisis in Europe that began in the 1980s and a vast E-coli outbreak traced to “Jack in the Box” burgers in the United States in 1993. “I’m convinced we’re going to be talking about this outbreak for the next 20 years,” Peter Ben Embarek, who manages the WHO International Food Safety Authorities Network, told Reuters. “This could be the crisis that will finally make at least South Africa - and possibly the whole of Africa - realize the importance of food safety and food-borne diseases and the need to invest in improving things.” At least 180 people have been killed in South Africa since January last year and almost 1,000 infected in the world’s worst recorded listeria outbreak. Health authorities there say the disease – which in severe cases can cause fatal bloodstream infections and meningitis – is likely to claim more victims before it is brought under control. In the 1993 “Jack in the Box” outbreak, 732 people - most of them children under 10 - were infected with Escherichia coli traced to back to contamination in the restaurant chain’s “M

A new deal for SA

A month has passed since Cyril Ramaphosa, the head of the African National Congress (ANC), replaced Jacob Zuma as South Africa’s president. Ramaphosa, a former protégé of Nelson Mandela, has reinvigorated the country with his competence and commitment to t But while South Africa has taken the road less traveled – bucking the global trend toward populism and authoritarianism – the country remains at a crossroads. Zuma’s departure did nothing to address the imbalances that are undermining the economy. If South Africa is truly to turn a corner, inequality must be addressed; the majority of the country’s citizens must believe that they can achieve a brighter future. In South Africa, poverty, inequality, and ethnicity overlap, to the disadvantage of a majority of the country’s 57 million people. With a per capita income of $13,000 last year (measured by purchasing power parity), South Africa is a middle-income country similar to Brazil, Mexico, and Thailand. But the headline figure masks a level of inequality that is particularly acute. For example, in 2010, South Africa’s richest 10% accounted for 53% of total consumer spending. Compare this to Brazil in 2000, when the richest 10% of Brazilians accounted for 47% of total household spending. At the time, that made Brazil one of the world’s most unequal middle-income states. While Brazil’s income gap has closed slightly since then – as has Mexico’s and Thailand’s – South Africa’s has not. I

Ramaphosa reboots South Africa’s renewables programme

New renewable energy deals point to a fundamental shift in South Africa’s energy investment priorities

The government of new South African president Cyril Ramaphosa is wasting little time in redefining the country's approach to the energy sector, pushing ahead with an independent power project (IPP) programme for the renewables sector and signalling greater efforts to mobilise gas-fired power projects. A last-minute court challenge from a union is unlikely to slow progress. Energy minister Jeff Radebe said in early March that state-owned utility Eskom would sign agreements for 27 Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Projects (REIPPPs). The move is an effort to reboot the country's renewables programme, which is still in its infancy, following two years of delays under former president Jacob Zuma, who was replaced by Ramaphosa in February. These 27 projects are expected to add 2.3 gigawatts (GW) of capacity to the grid and the REIPPP programme as whole is intended to boost capacity as much as 30GW over coming years. Some 55 REIPPP accords have already been signed, but only around 20 are fully operational. These have power capacity of some 3 gigawatts of power, including wind, photovoltaic solar, concentrated solar and hydro projects, according to the South African Wind Energy Association. Radebe has also played up prospects for gas projects, which have played a minimal role in energy provision thus far. No fresh gas projects have been announced,


The Swedish company is the biggest music streaming company in the world. JOHANNESBURG - Global music streaming provider Spotify is set to launch its services in South Africa on Tuesday, marking its entry into Africa, where there is a rapid uptake of smartphones and improving telecommunications infrastructure. The Swedish company, launched in 2008 and available in more than 60 countries, is the biggest music streaming company in the world and counts services from Apple Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google Play as its main rivals. The South Africa launch comes as Spotify prepares for a direct listing for its shares on the New York Stock Exchange, which will let investors and employees sell shares without the company raising new capital or hiring Wall Street banks to underwrite the issue. Further details about the South Africa service, pricing and content will be announced on Tuesday, the company said. An increase in connectivity across South Africa, helped by higher investment in infrastructure, as well as a growing uptake in credit cards and bank accounts has drawn global video and music streaming providers. Its music streaming market is dominated by players such as Apple Music, Google Play, France’s Deezer and Simfy Africa, with only a few local operators such as mobile phone operator’s MTN and Cell C with MTN Music+ and Black. Internet and entertainment firm Naspers also recently launched music streaming platform Joox, from China’s Tence

What South Africa could look like in 2022

Economic growth and investment in South Africa is set to rebound following several years of economic and political decline, say economists in a new PwC report. The country remains a promising investment destination with a bright future, and retained many strong fundamentals and positive factors for investment in spite of the above-mentioned declines. The country is certainly in a better place now than where it was when previous rating actions took place in late-2017, the report said. “Our economists see a 75% probability of improved economic growth in South Africa over the next five years under the leadership of President Cyril Ramaphosa, compared to the preceding years,” PwC said. PwC economist Christie Viljoen, said: “South Africa, like other emerging markets, has a critical need to attract foreign investment while at the same time driving economic transformation. At the time of writing this report, the most likely scenario is that President Ramaphosa is able to make the necessary changes and reforms to help economic growth accelerate to 3% by 2022.” The report argues that the time is right for investing in South Africa, for both domestic and international investors, as president Ramaphosa takes over leadership of the party and government. There is a high probability that the South African economy will be in a much healthier position over the next five years compared to the start of 2018. South Africa experienced a decline in economic and political co
Mercedes-Benz G 500 Limited Edition, 2017; designo platin magno; Polster designo Leder Nappa Schwarz;Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 12,3 l/100 km; CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 289 g/km*Mercedes-Benz G 500 Limited Edition, 2017; designo platinum magno; upholstery in black designo nappa leather;Combined fuel consumption: 12.3 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 289 g/km*

Diesel vs Petrol in SA

37% of South African motorists say they will still choose diesel vehicles over petrol vehicles even though recent studies show up to 38,000 people die prematurely as a result of diesel engines exceeding their stated emissions standards. This is one of the findings in a recent survey by the Automobile Association (AA). According to the data, 56% of respondents say they prefer diesel over petrol engines, with only four percent say knowing of the deaths related to exceeding emissions standards will change their minds. “South African motorists must, however, begin to realise diesel engines may be on their way out. Internationally car makers are being forced to adhere to stringent emissions standard or face hefty fines. “These car makers are grappling with tough choices to either re-engineer existing (diesel) engines are huge costs, restrict sales of some profitable models, or risk hundreds of millions of euros in penalties. While this is not yet a big debate in South Africa, the impact of these decisions will have far-reaching consequences for the local market,” the AA said. Sales of diesel vehicles also tell a story, specifically in Europe. Sales of diesel cars in Europe were sharply down in 2017 sparking concern that the decline in second-hand values would lead to a total collapse of the diesel vehicle market. Mounting pressure on international car makers to meet imminent European emissions standards for new vehicles is also foretelling the fast-tracking

South Africa opposition leader says economy is now in excellent hands

It's not often that a political opposition leader is so positive about his or her ruling counterpart. But Mmusi Maimane, leader of South Africa's main opposition party the Democratic Alliance (DA), is keen to praise the appointment of new President Cyril Ramaphosa. "I wish him well, I hope he succeeds at his job," Maimane told CNBC in an interview last week. Ramaphosa assumed office last month after South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) finally loosened scandal-ridden former President Jacob Zuma's grip on power. Ramaphosa legitimizes South African politics, Maimane explained. "I'm glad that (Ramaphosa has) been elected because suddenly we can contest on the terrain of policy," he said. Maimane himself is the charismatic black chief of a party traditionally associated with South Africa's white minority population. Elected to the leadership in 2015, he is known for his youth and skill as an orator. Despite the ANC's stronghold on South African politics since 1994's first election after the ending of apartheid, the DA has made gains with each vote, most recently winning nearly 27 percent of the electorate in 2016's local government elections. "Maimane benefits from his age (he is 37) in a country where younger voters (the fastest-growing political constituency) increasingly are disillusioned with the older generation of politicians who they feel are detached from the issues younger people face," William Attwell, practice leader for sub-Saharan A