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There’s another royal baby on the way!

The Queen’s granddaughter Zara Tindall and husband Mike Tindall are expecting their second child! A Buckingham Palace spokesperson recently revealed the exciting news but according to The Mirror, has given no further information. The pregnancy comes one year after the couple tragically lost their second child in December 2016, just weeks after Zara (36) announced her pregnancy. The baby would have been the Queen and Prince Philip's sixth great-grandchild. The pair has a three-year-old daughter named Mia. The happy news comes just after the couple celebrated Christmas in Australia with little Mia. Former rugby player Mike (39) once said that Mia gave them the strength to get over the miscarriage. "One thing you do learn is how many other people have to go through the same thing. The biggest thing you can have is an outpouring of support. Social media was a good thing for once,” reports The Mirror. The Queen and the royal family are "very pleased" to hear the couple's news, reports Metro UK,
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Real matric pass rate is 37.3 %, says DA

The real matric pass rate is closer to 40%, if the number of Grade 10s from 2015 who later became dropouts is taken into account, the Democratic Alliance said on Friday. "The 2017 national matric pass rate for candidates who wrote the exams was 75.1%, while the 'real' pass rate – the number of Grade 10s from 2015 who passed Matric 2017 – was only 37.3%," DA MP Nomsa Marchesi said in a statement. "This is cause for serious concern, rather than celebration." According to Marchesi, 41% of students who in 2015 enrolled for Grade 10, did not make it to matric.
"It is clear that the schooling system is failing our learners not just in matric, but long before they reach the final years of school." Meanwhile, President Jacob Zuma welcomed the improvement in the pass rate from 72.5 to 75.1%. "The president has noted the consistently improving pass rate since the dawn of freedom and democracy in the country,” read a statement from the Presidency. Zuma said that those who failed or did not achieve a university pass should not lose hope. "There are still plenty opportunities to be explored to fulfil their dreams." He reminded those who failed that they would have a chance to write supplementary exams – and those who did not make it to university, that they should approach Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges and other vocational training centres. 'Obsession with the matric pass rat
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5 important things happening in South Africa today

  • Minutes from a recent Eskom meeting show that the Gupta-owned Tegeta mining group is threatening to cut coal supply to the power utility, just as it was discovered that thousands of tons of coal have gone missing. Tegeta is demanding that Eskom pay more for its coal, meanwhile, Eskom is threatening legal action.
  • National treasury is working on introducing strict new conditions for its guarantees to state-owned companies. Ratings agencies highlighted guarantees being dished out by government as one of the biggest risks on SA’s books. One of the restrictions will be a limit on how big the guarantee can be, and another is to force re-application rather than simply rolling over.
  • Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi says there is no way that over R9.2 billion worth of e-toll debt owed by motorists will be written off. He said that any decision to do so would have to be done at cabinet level, and there was no intention to do so. The e-toll default bill is increasing by R230 million every month.
  • Naspers CEO Bob van Dijk says that the accusation leveled against Multichoice, around apparent kickbacks paid to the SABC to influence TV laws, is Multichoice’s problem, not Naspers’. He said Multichoice is one of 100 companies under the Naspers umbrella, and needs to deal with its own problems.
  • South Africa’s rand steadied against the dollar on Tuesday, holding near a five-week
JMPD

65 000 people applying for 1 500 JMPD jobs ‘shows desperation’

The fact that 65 000 people applied for 1 500 Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) trainee positions shows the youth are desperate for decent jobs, the Inkatha Freedom Party said on Wednesday. Unemployment figures would continue rising if government continued to ignore its responsibility toward South Africans, in particular the youth, national chairperson Blessed Gwala said in a statement. Youth unemployment could result in crime and drug and alcohol abuse. "Why are they being told that they are future leaders of the country while they languish in abject poverty and share a crowded house with their parents? It will be difficult, if not impossible for our youth to take on responsible positions if they are left without hope at this age," Gwala said.
The IFP believed the private, government, and education sectors needed to collaborate to determine what knowledge and skills young people should be taught to find rewarding work.
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Zuma announces free higher education for poor and working class students

President Jacob Zuma has announced that government will subsidise free higher education for poor and working class students. He said in a statement on Saturday that the definition of poor and working class students will now refer to "currently enrolled TVET Colleges or university students from South African households with a combined annual income of up to R350 000" by the 2018 academic year. The Higher Education Minister would revise this amount periodically in consultation with the Finance Minister. "Having amended the definition of poor and working class students, government will now introduce fully subsidised free higher education and training for poor and working class South African undergraduate students, starting in 2018 with students in their first year of study at our public universities," Zuma said.
"Students categorised as poor and working class, under the new definition, will be funded and supported through government grants not loans." This effectively means that Zuma has overruled the recommendations of the Heher Commission into the Feasibility of Fee-Free Higher Education and Training. Zuma's announcement comes on the day the ANC's watershed 54th elective conference is expected to begin. A new leader of the party will be elected at the conference. The Heher Commission had previously found that there is currently no capacity for the state to provide free tertiary education to all students. The report re
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South Africa President Zuma’s New Year message

President Jacob Zuma has called for renewed efforts to boost inclusive economic growth and improve the lives of poor and working-class South Africans. In a statement released on Sunday, he touched on the country’s economic woes in 2017 and said improving the quality of life of the South African people, especially the poor and the working class, remained a key priority of the government. “Significant strides” were made in 2017 in fighting poverty, inequality and unemployment, Zuma said, without addressing rising unemployment further. “Despite serious challenges on the economic front, together we made substantial progress in providing basic services such as electricity, housing, roads, water and sanitation, healthcare, social grants, as well as accessible education. He touched on free tertiary higher education for low- and middle-income families, but again failed to discuss how it would be funded.
EO102 South Africa

South Africa – Economic forecast summary

Economic growth is projected to pick up moderately in 2018-19, as stronger activity in trading partners boosts exports. Investment will support growth in 2019 on the assumption that business confidence increases and policy uncertainty fades. Despite persistently high unemployment, private consumption will expand as wages increase moderately and food prices stabilise. Falling inflation leaves room for a moderately expansionary monetary policy to support activity. Unexpected slippage of the budget deficit is contributing to growth in the short term, but is also creating more pressure to contain rising public debt and is raising the risk of a further credit downgrade. Improving the efficiency of public spending and better controlling the deficits of state-owned enterprises are necessary to raise fiscal credibility and create room for public investment to foster growth and reduce social inequality. The high dependence on external financing is the main source of financial vulnerability. Low investor confidence and credit rating downgrades in 2017 have contributed to a net outflow of foreign investment. To cushion the transmission of external shocks to the financial system, implementation of the financial sector regulatory reform should be accelerated and foreign-currency-denominated debt issued by private entities further monitored.
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South African Economy Submersion into Slowness

The SA economy has gone into recession, at the same time that it tries to absorb continued political shockwaves in the wake of GuptaLeaks and the recent cabinet reshuffle. Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) announced on Wednesday, that the economy shrank by 0.7% in the first quarter of 2017. This is the second consecutive quarter that the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) declined following a 0.3% contraction in the fourth quarter of 2016. Two consecutive quarters of negative growth is the most widely accepted definition of a recession, according to StatsSA and the last one experienced by the country followed on from the global financial crisis during 2008 and 2009. Despite hopes that a recovery in the agriculture and mining sectors would save South Africa from a contraction – steep declines in a host of other sectors outweighed the potential gains. The trade and manufacturing sectors “were the major heavyweights that stifled production, with trade falling by 5,9% and manufacturing by 3.7%” StatsSA said. Meanwhile the electricity, gas and water industry contracted by 4.8%, according to the agency, due largely due to a decreases in electricity produced in the first quarter. The amount of water distributed also decreased driven by continued restrictions in some parts of the country still recovering from the drought, is said. The news comes after a late night cabinet reshuffle by Jacob Zuma, prompted ratings agencies to downgrade South Africa
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World Bank slashes South Africa’s economic growth outlook

The world Bank on Tuesday slashed the country’s economic growth outlook for this year to 0.6%, from 1.1% it forecast earlier in the year, and said that South Africa’s second quarter growth of 2.5 percent would be insufficient to restore positive per capita gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the year. However, the bank said it expected South Africa’s economic growth for next year to be 1.1 percent, with a growth of 1.7 percent expected in 2019 supported by an improvement in commodity prices and strengthening balance sheets of households. Paul Noumba Um, World Bank country director, said in an environment, where the national budget was constricted, South Africa could turn to encouraging private innovation as one of the several ways in which to improve the lives of the poor. “South Africa’s productivity growth is diverging from global growth and the country risks falling further behind its peers. This would be to the detriment of the poor, for whom a growing economy is necessary for jobs, and a sustainable system of social grants,” Noumba Um said. Last month Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) said South Africa’s weak economic growth, high unemployment, and greater household dependency on credit and policy uncertainty condemned 30.4 million into poverty between 2011 and 2015. The World Bank report also found that productivity in South Africa fell by 6 percent between 2007 to 2016 and attributed this to insufficient private sector investment in inn
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What to expect in 2018 in SA

What to expect in 2018

Nel told MyBroadband there have been a few consolidations in 2017 that will come to fruition next year, and consumers will reap the benefits. “South Africa is still a tumultuous market for any businesses to operate in, but uncertainty only fuels classifieds from the ground up,” he said. “A weaker economic outlook and high unemployment creates greater consumer interest and participation in the space, because of the ease of entry and associated cost savings.” This should see new players enter the market, coupled with increased marketing spend and investment from established businesses. Nel said Gumtree will also remain true to its goal of helping South Africans trade successfully. “We’ve been the number one classifieds platform in terms of our size and popularity for a number of years now, but we’ve never taken that for granted.” “2018 will see a renewed focus on the quality of the user experience, their needs, concerns, and goals.” The platform will also offer its clients improved advertising services through Gumtree Media. “South Africa is on the cusp of a new, smarter era of online advertising and Gumtree will lead the charge,” said Nel.