7 things you need to know before you go to SA

South Africa has a lot of natural appeal, in its wildlife and national parks and mountain scenery. But it has many more layers to it than that. It’s got diverse, rich culture, urban grit and world-class wine and dining – and then of course there’s also the apartheid legacy, which bears learning about. Here are seven things you need to know before you go.     A South African braai is absolutely a must-do on your trip. Expect plates laden high with salty, perfectly cooked meat, cooked over an open fire. Ribs, chicken, sausages, thinly sliced beef steaks – you definitely won’t go hungry. And they do Nando’s even better than Nando’s ‘Chicken dust’ is the strange-sounding origin of the UK’s favourite cheeky restaurant, and my God is it good. Straight up chicken grilled and spiced right in front of you, it’s fresh and totally delicious. There’s no mango and lime option here, though: prepare to set your mouth on fire. But even more popular is pap Less palatable to the taste buds of the uninitiated is South Africa’s staple food, pap. It’s almost impossible to describe, but it’s somewhere between porridge and rice, and tastes of, well, not a lot. Personally I was glad to be rid of the stuff, but for a lot of South Africans it’s the taste of home. Safari is every bit as exciting as you think it will be. Going on safari is a bucket-list staple and it is just as fun as it sounds. Even if you don’t get to spot one of the big five,

SA is running out of water

Reservoirs in Cape Town, the jewel of South Africa's Western Cape region, are nearly empty. Amid its worst drought since records began, the city — and the Western Cape province more broadly — is speeding towards a so-called Day Zero. This is when dam levels fall to 13.5 percent capacity, meaning that the taps must be turned off, forcing 4 million residents to instead queue for water. Day Zero is currently projected to fall on July 15, although has been forecast as early as April. Cape Town's population has been living on 50 liters of water a day, a limit that can be maintained by flushing the toilet just once daily and limiting showers to 10 liters. Plugs have been removed from rooms of luxury hotels to prevent guests from taking baths. Staggered tariffs on water consumption have also been imposed.
Measuring the impact to South Africa's fundamentals
The drought has not been factored into the South African Reserve Bank's economic growth projections for this year. "Developing an estimate is tricky and not straightforward — we are, however, looking into it," the institution told CNBC via email. "We need to get low consumption but we don't want to collapse the economy," Ian Neilson, Cape Town's deputy mayor and head of the water response team, told CNBC via telephone. "It's critical to ensure that there is business continuity," he added. Supporting business is key to South Africa's political agenda, more broadly. New President Cyril Ramaphosa is taske

SA traces deadly listeria outbreak to meat product

South Africa's health ministry is warning consumers to avoid "all processed meat products that are sold as ready-to-eat" after tracing the source of deadly listeria outbreak to a sausage meat product. "As of 02 March 2018, a total of laboratory-confirmed cases have risen to 948, still counting from January 2017," Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi said Sunday in remarks published on the website for South Africa's National Institute of Communicable Diseases. "Of these 948, a total 659 patients have been traced and 180 of them have unfortunately died." Officials have identified a meat product known as "polony" from the Enterprise Food-Production facility in Polokwane in South Africa as the source of the outbreak, Motsoaledi said. In a statement on posted to its Twitter account, Enterprise said it was working with all relevant authorities to recall its products. "We have suspended operations at both Enterprise manufacturing facilities (Polokwane and Germiston) and have stopped supply to retailers," the company said.

Sick children

Motsoaledi said the listeria had been traced to the product after nine children under the age of 5 presented at a hospital in Soweto, Johannesburg, on January 12 with febrile gastroenteritis. Samples of polony manufactured by Enterprise as well as another company were taken from their daycare center. Products manufactured at Enterprise's Polokwane factory subsequently tested positive for the strain that was later found to be responsib

Ramaphosa Confronts Land Reform in SA

The predominance of white ownership of land [PDF] is taken by many—perhaps most—South Africans as emblematic of the persistence of apartheid injustice. Hence, there have long been calls for the expropriation of white-owned agricultural land without compensation. That was a central tenant of the Pan-African Congress, a liberation-movement rival of the now-governing African National Congress, and of the Economic Freedom Fighters, at present the third largest party in parliament. (It has 25 seats compared to 89 for the Democratic Alliance and 249 for the ANC.) At its December 2017 party convention, the ANC also supported expropriation without compensation and on February 27, 2018, parliament overwhelmingly voted to begin a process that would amend the constitution to allow for expropriation of without compensation. The persistent poverty of much of its black majority is the greatest challenge to South Africa’s democratic government. Inequality of wealth largely follows racial lines. In 2015, more than 55 percent of South Africans were poor. According to Statistics South Africa, less than 1 percent of the total white population was poor, while 63 percent of black people, 37 percent of coloured people, and 7 percent of Indian/Asian people were poor. The nine percent of South Africa’s population that is white holds the lion’s share of the country’s wealth. Most blacks see their poverty as the direct consequence of apartheid. While it is true that since the transition

The 5 most popular car brands in SA

Naamsa has released its latest vehicle sales and exports report, with over 92,124 vehicles sold in the first two months of 2018. In an analysis of the data, Absa said that this amounts to a 6.6% decrease when compared to the 98,587 vehicles sold in the first two months of 2017. Of these cars sold, Absa said that 84% were sold by dealers to the public, 9.7% went to the rental industry, 2.6% were sold to government and 3.7% were sold to corporates. Cars sold in South Africa Of the 46,347 new vehicles sold in South Africa in February 2018, passenger vehicle sales accounted for 67.3% (31,200) of the sales. When looking at the five brands which were the most popular amongst South African drivers during this time period, Toyota was by far the most popular local brand at 10,264 passenger vehicles sold – with the Fortuner, Etios and Corolla all featuring on the top 10 best-selling cars list. Volkswagen was second with 7,519 cars sold (more than half of which was made up by the Polo and Polo Vivo), and Ford was third with 5,654 cars sold. In contrast 27,473 cars were exported in February 2018 with Mercedes exporting 10,891 vehicles, Volkswagen exporting 6,427, and Toyota exporting 5,346. Bestselling vehicles in South Africa Below are the 10 best-selling passengers cars of February 2018, as provided by Naamsa:
  1. Volkswagen Polo – 2,847
  2. Volkswagen Polo Vivo – 2,044
  3. Toyota Corolla/Auris/Quest – 1,302
  4. Hyundai Gr

Woman mauled to death at ‘lion whisperer’ reserve in South Africa

The 22-year-old was killed at a camp run by a world-renowned "lion whisperer" who has appeared in several films and documentaries.

A young woman has been mauled to death by a lioness at a wildlife reserve made famous by a world-renowned "lion whisperer".

The 22-year-old was visiting a camp run by Kevin Richardson at the Dinokeng Game Reserve in Gauteng, near Johannesburg, when she was attacked on Tuesday morning.
She had been accompanying a friend for an interview with the manager of the camp, and the pair were taking photos as they prepared to leave before the lioness encountered her. It had been pursing an impala at the "Big Five" reserve, which is home to lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos and buffalo. Mr Richardson, who has appeared in several documentaries and films as a result of the relationships he has developed with big cats and hyenas, said he was "saddened and shocked" to hear of the incident. "Myself and an experienced colleague took three lions walking in the reserve, as we do on a weekly basis, as part of their exercise and stimulation regiment," he explained. "We assessed the landscape for other Big Five animals and as per procedure sent out a notification that we were walking in the reserve. "One of the lionesses charged off after an impala and must have run 2 to 2.5km, where she encountered the 22-year-old outside th

Does South Africa really need a stronger rand?

  South Africa’s new president calls the current optimism experienced in the country as “a new dawn.” It’s a sentiment the country’s volatile currency seems to have embraced, pushing below 12 rand to $1 when Cyril Ramaphosa took over the ruling party. The currency, which has risen by some 15% in the last couple of months, maintains its newfound confidence as Ramaphosa became the country’s fifth president and brought back finance minister Nhlanhla Nene—whose 2015 axing first triggered the rand’s downward spiral. Once pegged to the country’s vast gold reserves, the rand used to be 2:1 to the pound and nearly as strong as the dollar until a generation ago. Today, however, it seems pegged to the anxiety of post-apartheid South Africa. A stronger rand may boost the national psyche, but it’s really not clear if South Africa really wants its currency to keep getting stronger. A malleable currency South Africa’s currency is prone to manipulation, though. Last year, the country’s Competition Commision found that 17 banks, both local and international, were colluding on the rand dollar exchange rate to turn a profit. Like Turkey, Russia and Brazil, South Africa’s economy allows large amounts of capital to flow in, making their currencies attractive to forex traders, explains Dinham. The rand was ranked the 20th most traded currency in 2016, with daily trades accounting for 1% of the global daily currency trading market, according to the trien

South Africa’s New President Names Allies and Rivals to Cabinet

CAPE TOWN — President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa announced the makeup of his first cabinet on Monday night, appointing well-respected officials to key positions but naming as his deputy a provincial power broker with a history of poor management.

In forming his cabinet 11 days after being sworn in as president, Mr. Ramaphosa also retained some allies of his scandal-plagued predecessor, Jacob Zuma, apparently trying to balance the competing factions inside the African National Congress, the governing party. Mr. Ramaphosa has pledged to make clean government a priority.

Although Mr. Ramaphosa succeeded in forcing Mr. Zuma to step down as president, the composition of his first cabinet underscored the enduring influence of Mr. Zuma and his supporters, experts said.

“In recent weeks, a lot of people seem to have forgotten that there are many in the leadership that are not enthusiastic about the new direction taken by Ramaphosa,” said Steven Friedman, a political analyst at the University of Johannesburg. “There is a substantial number of people in the cabinet who supported Zuma, though, in the key ministries, Rama

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How people feel about selling, buying and renting homes in South Africa right now

Positivity surrounding South Africa’s improved political situation, as well as some greater optimism regarding the country’s economic prospects, have carried over to the property market. This is according to Absa’s latest Homeowner Sentiment Index (HSI), which measures sentiments of South African consumers with regard to various aspects of the residential property market. The overall HSI score, which reflects the percentage of survey respondents with positive sentiment regarding residential property market conditions, was only marginally higher at 82% in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared with 81% in the third quarter. The main reasons mentioned by survey respondents which impacted their perceptions regarding the property market in the fourth quarter were the following:
  • Property is a secure asset (33%).
  • Property still increases in value (28%).
  • A home is essential (11%).
Buying property Property-buying sentiment remained on an upward trend in the fourth quarter of 2017, increasing to 70%, after a low of 60% in the first quarter of the year. The main reasons mentioned in favour of buying property were the following:
  • Property prices are relatively low and there are bargains in the market (29%).
  • Property still increases in value and is a good investment (23%).
  • The rand exchange rate is strong (9%).

The busiest shopping malls in South Africa

New data from Lightstone Explore reveals which shopping malls in South Africa drew in the most foot traffic over the 2017 festive season. The information was included in the group’s festive season review, which together with car tracking group Tracker, looked at the movement of over 150,000 drivers and travellers between 1 and 31 December 2017. While the likes of Black Friday may drive a lot more foot traffic to malls with the lure of specials and sales, the December festive period is still the time when shops see the most visits. “Most individuals will visit a mall at least once during the holiday period,” Lightstone said. The below graph rates the most visited shopping centres over December 2017:   Sandton City in Johannesburg ranks as the most visited mall, with over 44,600 people passing through over December – a 3% increase from the norm. However, it’s malls like Gateway and The Pavilion in Durban, where the biggest jumps are seen. “The increase in number of visits indicates the escalation from November to December 2017, while it is expected that the number of visits increase at the coast with the migration of inland visitors,” Lightstone said. Dwell Time percentages indicate the increase in the duration of visits in specific centres with Gateway Theatre of Shopping achieving the highest lift. This can be credited mostly to its sheer size but also to the mix of offerings the shopping centre has for the entire family, the data gr