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Five things making headlines in South Africa today

Gold miner wage negotiations to kick off, Woolworths recalls rice product, Discovery responds to HMI, Atlantic Leaf results.

Here’s what caught our attention on Wednesday:

1. Wage negotiations in the gold mining sector kick off

Wage negotiations between mining sector unions and gold producers are expected to kick off on Wednesday. Gold mining companies such as the AngloGold Ashanti, Harmony Gold, Sibanye-Stillwater and Village Main Reef will be present. Meanwhile, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, the National Union of Mineworkers (Num), Solidarity and Uasa will be representing mineworkers. Bloomberg is reporting that Num will demand R9 500 for entry-level surface workers, and R10 500 for entry-level underground workers. 

2. Unions to reach out to finance minister on Eskom

The threat of a strike is no longer but unions representing Eskom workers are now asking to meet with finance minister, Nhlanhla Nene, public enterprises minister, Pravin Gordhan and the utility board to find middle ground and speed up negotiations. Eskom’s latest offer of 7.5% is being considered, but workers are demanding an 8% increase for this year. Negotiations will enter into their fourth round if the latest offer is rejected.

3. Woolworths withdraws rice product from shelves

In a precautionary measure, Woolworths announced a recall of its frozen savoury rice mix from shelves. The product contains sweetcorn from the Greenyard Factory in Hungary, which has been implicated as the potential source of a listeria outbreak in Europe. The instruction to recall the product was issued by the Hungarian Food Safety Agency, Reuters is reporting.

4. Discovery responds to HMI report

The Health Market Inquiry report, which was released last week, highlighted the lack of competitiveness in South Africa’s healthcare industry. It specifically made mention of four dominant players in the market, one of which was Discovery, which holds at least 55% of the market. Discovery claims that it has grown organically over 25 years and its dominance is not due to an uncompetitive market, but due to continuous innovation and operational efficiency.

Read the full story: Discovery Health responds to detractors

5. Atlantic Leaf Properties results

Mauritian-based real estate company, Atlantic Leaf Properties, which is listed on the JSE, is due to release its first quarter financial results for the financial year 2019 on Wednesday.

Update to follow.  

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