Ex-South Africa leader is defiant as corruption case starts

SOUTH AFRICA (washingtonpost.com) - Former South African president Jacob Zuma sat in the dock of a packed courtroom on Friday to face corruption charges and emerged defiant, telling supporters that the case against him was politically motivated. Zuma, 75, appeared relaxed during the brief hearing at which his case was adjourned until June 8. While a lengthy court battle is expected, the spectacle of Zuma appearing before a judge less than two months after his resignation was a victory for opposition figures and activists who have fought for years to call him to account. Sixteen charges of fraud, racketeering and money laundering were recently reinstated after being thrown out nearly a decade ago. They relate to an arms deal in the 1990s, when Zuma was deputy president. The case fueled the public anger that finally forced Zuma from power in February, though other scandals hurt him and the ruling African National Congress party that eventually instructed him to resign. At the hearing, Judge Themba Sishi said Zuma was free “on warning.” He could face several years in prison. State prosecutor Billy Downer suggested that Zuma’s trial start on Nov. 12, though a lawyer for Zuma said the defense would not agree to any trial date for now. In the meantime, the defense is expected to challenge a decision by the National Prosecuting Authority to reinstate charges against the former president. Outside the courthouse, Zuma sang and swayed on a stage before a large gro

This is how many millionaires live in South Africa right now

SOUTH AFRICA (businesstech.co.za) - New World Wealth has published its South African Wealth Report for 2018, showing how wealth trends have shifted among the country’s richest people. According to the report, South Africa is currently home to 43,600 high net worth individuals (HWNIs) – people who have total wealth higher than $1 million – at the end of 2017. This is up from the 40,400 recorded at the end of 2016, and climbing from the 38,500 recorded in 2015, when millionaire growth declined to levels last seen in the middle of the global economic crisis of 2008. HWNI growth in 2017 was in-line with overall wealth growth in South Africa, where total private wealth increased from $670 billion at the end of 2016 to $722 billion at the end of 2017. Of this, HWNI wealth rose from $284 billion to $306 billion, staying at 42% of total private wealth. South Africa HWNI stats at the end of 2017 Total private wealth held in SA amounts to approximately US$722 billion. Around US$306 billion of this is held by HNWIs. The average South African individual has net assets of US$12,900 (wealth per capita), which is the second highest level in Africa, behind Mauritius. SA is home to 43,600 HNWIs, each with net assets of US$1 million or more. SA is home to 2,200 multimillionaires, each with net assets of US$10 million or more. SA is home to five billionaires, each with net assets of US$1 billion or more. The growth was supported by a strengthening rand (moving from

SA most unequal country in world: Poverty shows Apartheid’s enduring legacy

SOUTH AFRICA (timeslive.co.za) - South Africa is the most unequal country in the world. This is according to a new report by the World Bank that listed 149 countries. The report analysed South Africa’s post-apartheid progress‚ focusing on the period between 2006 and 2015. The report found the top 1% of South Africans own 70.9% of the country’s wealth while the bottom 60% only controls 7% of the country’s assets. Neighbours Namibia and Botswana were second and third. Zambia‚ Central African Republic‚ Lesotho‚ Swaziland‚ Brazil‚ Colombia and Panama completed the top 10. More than half of South Africans (55.5%) or 30-million people live below the national poverty line of R992 per month. This number increased since 2011. The groups worst affected by poverty are black South Africans‚ the unemployed‚ the less educated‚ female-headed households‚ large families and children. The official unemployment rate was 27.7% in the third quarter of 2017 while youth unemployment was 38.6%. The report found poverty has a “strong spatial dimension” which demonstrates the enduring legacy of apartheid. “Poverty remains concentrated in previously disadvantaged areas‚ such as the former homelands.” Former head of the African Union Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said in the report that inequality remains “stubbornly high”. “South Africa as one of the most unequal countries in the world‚ with consumption inequality having increased si

South Africa hails ‘retraction’ of Australian minister’s offer to white farmers

SOUTH AFRICA (The Guardian) - The Australian home affairs minister, Peter Dutton, has denied that the Australian government retracted his offer for white South African farmers to come to Australia on humanitarian visas. A spokesperson for Dutton reportedly issued the denial after the South African government claimed Australia had gone back on plans to offer fast-track humanitarian visas to “persecuted” white farmers. The difference of opinion suggests Australia has attempted to smooth over offence caused by Dutton but will still consider white South African farmers for humanitarian visas, despite the United Nations high commissioner for refugees warning that refugees should be prioritised. Dutton triggered outrage in March when he said the farmers deserved “special attention” for visas to Australia on humanitarian grounds. He said the home affairs department was examining options to enable the farmers to flee their “horrific circumstances” for a “civilised country”. His offer was in response to a pledge by the South African government to enact land expropriations without compensation to redress the land confiscations of the colonial and apartheid era. The Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and foreign minister Julie Bishop both appeared to publicly contradict suggestions of “special attention” by stressing the non-discriminatory nature of the humanitarian visa program. However, neither explicitly rejected the claim South African

Online retail trends in South Africa

SOUTH AFRICA (Media24) - After a few years hovering around the 1% mark, Spree predicts online shopping’s share of total retail sales in South Africa will increase exponentially over the next three years, rising to about 4% by 2021. Barriers to entry such as lack of internet access and limited online payment methods are being overcome. There are also improvements in the experience and convenience of online shopping that will draw shoppers online. In mid-2017, total sales at Spree were up 88% year-on- year, sales on the shopping app more than doubled and daily transactions increased by 76%. If this growth continues and is mirrored by other players we will see online retail gaining serious ground and growing market share measurably over the next couple of years. Globally, online retail currently stands at 11% of all retail sales with China coming in well over 20% and large markets such as the UK and Germany standing at 18% and 11% respectively. This is according to the Centre for Retail Research, Emarketer and Internetretailer. Barriers have fallen New research from #AfterAccess showed that 55.5% of South Africans now have a smartphone – and this figure is rising steadily. The connectivity gap is no longer a major barrier. Many South Africans leapfrogged the desktop stage straight to mobile so the growing penetration of smartphones is likely to deliver a big boost for online retail. Technological advancements and our increasingly digital lifestyle al