Here’s what caught our attention on Friday:
1. Standard Bank job cuts
One of South Africa’s biggest lenders, Standard Bank announced on Thursday that it would be implementing mass job cuts as it plans to close 91 of its branches. The bank says at least 1 200 jobs will be cut as it seeks to go more electronic. Other banks in South Africa may potentially reduce headcount in the future as well.
Read more here
2. Load shedding to continue
Power disruptions are likely to be the order of the day on Friday, as Eskom confirms that it will be implementing stage 2 load shedding, and warned of it extending into the weekend. According to Eskom’s website, the utility is once again experiencing high demand or urgent maintenance is needed to performed at certain power stations. On Thursday, reports indicated that power trips at its Kusile power plant resulted in widespread power outages.
Read more here.
3. Nene spills more details to Zondo Commission
Former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene appeared before the Zondo Commission on Thursday, where he concluded his testimony. Nene confessed to meeting with the Gupta family more than four times, as he previously stated. According to EWN, Nene told the commission that he previously lied and had actually met with the Guptas at least eight times, furthermore stating that he had ‘taken the easy way out’. Nene resigned in October after telling the commission about his initial visits to the Gupta family.
4. Amplats hands out land to communities in SA
Platinum mining company, Anglo American Platinum is handing out land to communities ahead of South Africa’s plans to expropriate land. Bloomberg is reporting that over 270 hectares of land will be handed out to people staying in Rustenburg, an area known for its rich concentration of the ore. The company says it is seeking a ‘constructive and sustainable solution’ away from expropriation.
Read more here.
5. Rand update
The rand took a turn for the worse as negative data from global events had investors turning away from emerging market currencies on Thursday. On the local front, weak manufacturing and mining data also negatively impacted the rand. On Friday, the local currency was sitting at R14.48 to the dollar at 8:37.