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Five things making headlines in South Africa today

Steinhoff: one year on, GEPF results, Q3 account deficit, Sacci business confidence, Eskom hinders economic growth.

Here’s what caught our attention on Thursday:

1. Steinhoff demise – a year on

It’s been a year since Markus Jooste quit as Steinhoff’s CEO and a year since the accounting scandal unfolded. In that time, we have seen changes to the parent company, the break up and listing of Pepkor, but Jooste made an official public appearance only once. The retailer issued a statement on Thursday saying the forensic investigation, conducted by PwC, is expected to be completed in February 2019 and financial statements for 2017/2018 are expected to be released in April 2019.

Read: One year on and Steinhoff’s Jooste is still left in peace 

2. GEPF report

The Government Employment Pension Fund released its annual report on Wednesday, in which it highlighted portfolio growth of 8.3%, attributable to its investments and fixed income deposit bonds. The fund however adds that due to its membership drop, it plans to cut implement cost containment strategies to improve performance.

Read: GEPF deflects write-offs, portfolio up 8.3%

Listen: GEPF: Recovery from Steinhoff still possible 

3. Q3 current account

Current account deficit widened slightly in the third quarter from the second quarter while a narrower quarterly trade surplus was recorded. Current account deficit widened to 3.5% of gross domestic product (GDP) in the third quarter, from 3.4% in the second quarter, the South African Reserve Bank said.

4. Sacci business confidence

South Africa’s business confidence rose for a third consecutive month in November, boosted by higher export and import volumes and manufacturing output. Sacci business confidence index rose to 96.1 in November from 95.8 in October. 

5. Eskom hinders economic growth

Power cuts being rolled out by Eskom is the biggest crisis South Africa is currently facing. Economists are estimating major losses to the economy, especially as we enter into the festive season. An article on Moneyweb indicates that load shedding costs the economy more than R2.1 billion a day and the risk of  a total grid collapse or blackout.

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