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Five things making headlines in South Africa today

Fikile Mbalula to appear before state capture inquiry, load shedding eases, Globe Trade Centre results, Saica responds to high failure rates, rand update.

Here’s what caught our attention on Friday:

1. Former police minister to appear before Zondo Commission

South Africa’s former police minister and former sports and recreations minster, Fikile Mbalula is expected to take to the stand at the state capture inquiry on Friday. According to News24, Mbalula says he is willing to come forward to confirm Trevor Manuel’s testimony, which stated that Mbalula had broken down at an NEC meeting after revealing that he had engaged with one of the Gupta brothers. According to reports, Mbalula says he wants to ‘amplify the truth and put it into context’.

2. Load shedding eases on Friday

After a week of disrupted power and stage four load shedding across South Africa, Eskom is said to be easing power cuts by dropping to stage two load shedding from 9am to 11pm on Friday. Eskom says this is due to a shortage of capacity. During his Human Rights Day speech on Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa gave assurance that the power crisis will pass – but made no mention of when…

3. Globe Trade Centre results

Real estate development company, Globe Trade Centre released results for the year ended December 31 2018, in which it highlights a 22% growth in gross margin from rental activity to 111 million euros, and a 47% increase in profit before tax and fair value adjustments to 65 million euros. The company, which has major presence in Europe mainly, is reporting a 44% decrease in earnings per share to 0.19 euros. A proposed dividend of 0.37 Poland zloty is being declared, up 12%.

4. Saica responds to increasing failure rates

A Moneyweb investigation into the examination process for accountancy board exams, revealed that the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) flunked nearly a third of the candidates who sat for the exam last year. The investigation claims that 32% of candidates failed the exam, which is an increase from 20% and 11% who failed in the previous two years. Saica says no particular reason can be given for the failure rate, but that they are being analysed.

Read more here.

5. Rand update

The rand reversed some losses on Wednesday on the back of consumer price inflation, which increased to 4.1% in February, in line with expectations. However, the local currency was mainly helped the US Federal Reserve’s decision to abandon plans to raise interest rates this year. Developments in the US-China trade deal remains a concern as far as emerging market currencies are concerned. On Friday, the rand was sitting at R14.22 to the dollar at 8:20.

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