This Reuters article identifies a number of reasons for the Rand’s plummet:
- Slow growth; inflation increasing at a faster pace than income
- Decreased foreign demand for South African products
- Strikes and other labor issues decreasing current output and spooking foreign investment
- Investors “dumping” currency and bonds
- Downgraded credit rating for the nation
- Decrease in government and private spending
Changes in I, G, AF, NX …do you see the ISLM curves moving?
Former Ambassador Don Gips suggested the ANC faces a pivotal moment in the next few months: whether or not to allow challenges to their political hegemony. Electoral reform is one element of broader change, typified by the potential move away from proportional representation (which decreases a party’s ability to control who goes to Parliament, since the people, not the party bosses, elect MPs). This article’s author channels Plato in wondering whether the masses are educated enough for the power of direct vote, or whether it is a necessary risk in a fully democratized South Africa.
We’ve all heard of Alexandra – the township located in Gauteng which recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. Alex, as it is more popularly known, is home to 170,000 South Africans, and more alarmingly, a growing population of rats.
The old buildings, leaking sewage and piles of rotting food have provided an ideal environment for rats to breed. There have also been reports of children’s fingers being bitten while they sleep.
The rodents have been such a nuisance in Alex that city officials have launched a new scheme intended to incentivize residents to catch and turn in rats. In late 2012, city officials distributed cages and a local NGO sponsored by the mobile phone company 8ta sponsored phones for the volunteer rat-catchers.
In another instance, owls were given to three local schools because of their rat-catching expertise.
Read the original article here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/29/south-african-authorities-offer-free-phone
A recent Grant Thornton International Business Report on women in business revealed that South Africa is one of the leaders in plans to hire more women. The report surveyed 12,000+ mid- and large-sized business in 44 countries. It found that only 28% of senior management positions were filled by women in South Africa, but this rate is not significantly different from the global average of 24%, which has remained static since 2009.
Full article: http://www.southafrica.info/services/rights/women-120313.htm#.UT78qxyG1yw
The African Development Bank (AfDB) predicts that despite the global economic slowdown, sub-Saharan Africa is expected to see economic growth of 6.6 percent in 2013. As the leading economic power within the continent, South Africa has developed and strengthened strategic alliances with economic blocs such as BRICS and the European Union, a role which allows it to increasingly act as a spokesperson for Africa in various international negotiations. However, some experts now warn that South Africa’s growing role in the leadership of Africa is coming at the cost of increased resentment amongst other African countries because of its seeming tendency of not consulting other nations before engaging in international discussions.
Experts point out two key reasons for this emerging trend. Firstly, most African countries do not enjoy the special relationships within blocs such as BRICS that South Africa is privy to. Secondly, the steady growth of regional economies in Africa has also helped undermine South Africa’s right to be the key gateway for the continent.
Full article here: http://allafrica.com/stories/201303111843.html?viewall=1
South Africa’s provincial government in Gauteng is looking to introduce a controversial bill that would ban the sale of alcohol on Sundays. Two years ago, Premier Nomvula Mokonyane stressed concern over the abuse of alcohol in the country. Then just last year, Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Elizabeth Thabethe cited that abuse was particularly high among youth and pregnant women – calling for measures (i.e. raising the legal age of consumption from 18 to 21) to curb the trend. The introduction of this bill marks the governments first steps in attempting to introduce legislation to radically alter the existing liquor policies. Once the details of the bill are published, the public will have 14 days to respond – followed by the law appearing in newspapers for 7 days along with public hearings. After this, the Premier will evaluate the constitutionality of the bill and, if approved, will convert it into an act.
In a 570 million dollar deal, the South African media giant Napsers seeks to consolidate the Russian internet-classified market. The deal will merge two of Naspers’ internet sites with its main rival, Avito.ru, to create the third biggest classifieds site in the world (after Craigslist and China’s 58.com). Naspers will also invest 50 million dollars into the partnership. This move aligns well with Naspers’ overall growth strategy as it continues to acquire disruptive media businesses in emerging countries. Avito.ru represents such an opportunity, as it establishes Naspers entrenched foothold in the high-growth Russian online marketplace.
Full article: http://techcrunch.com/2013/03/11/russias-avito-becomes-worlds-3rd-biggest-classifieds-site-after-naspers-deal/
Mandela’s wife, Graca Machel, made headlines this week after she remarked that South Africa is “an angry nation” and “on the precipice of something very dangerous with the potential of not being able to stop the fall.”
Though recent events, like the murder of the Mozambican taxi driver by police, would paint South Africa as a violent country, statistics show a different picture. Crime levels have been dropping since 2000 and murders are down by ~25% since 2002. However, there is a reported sense of unrest among citizens and many believe that the levels of anger and aggression are rising.
I’m not sure how much we’ll get to experience about this subject while we’re in South Africa, but an interesting perspective to think about.
Full article: http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/11/those-who-love-south-africa-ask-if-its-existentially-violent/
Neslon Mandela was released from the hospital recently but one of his long-time friends and his attorney during the 1960s treason trial, George Bizos, said that while Mandela is aware of currents political events, he forgets at times that his fellow anti-apartheid activists are dead.
If you are interested in Mandela’s life, I found Long Walk to Freedom to be a very interesting read. Mandela wrote most of this autobiography secretly while he was imprisoned on Robben Island and he covers the anti-apartheid movement until shortly after his release.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu picks up where Mandela leaves off at Long Walk to Freedom and describes the establishment and workings of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in No Future Without Forgiveness.
Though not directly related to apartheid, Diamonds, Gold, and War: The British, the Boers, and the Making of South Africa is also very helpful to understand the underlying dynamics in the country.
Interesting article on South Africa’s role amongst leading emerging economies, in the lead up to the upcoming BRICS conference. The article suggests that South Africa is only included in the group as a representative of growth potential on the greater African continent, and further suggests that South Africa itself is an undesirable model of economic evolution for Africa as a whole.http://www.iol.co.za/business/opinion/columnists/sa-must-weigh-costs-and-benefits-of-its-brics-membership-1.1483915#.UT5LyVe6wZs