Five things making headlines in South Africa today

Ramaphosa’s Sona, Magashule names chairs of key portfolios, Peregrine results, calls for PIC to appoint an independent chairperson and more.
President Ramaphosa preparing his speech ahead of 2019 Sona in Cape Town, where he will be delivering it. Picture: Jairus Mmutle, GCIS

Here’s what caught our attention on Thursday:

1. All eyes on Ramaphosa as he prepares to deliver Sona

President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to deliver this year’s second state of the nation address on Thursday evening. Since winning the national elections a month ago, Ramaphosa has been heeding calls to spur economic growth and create jobs, especially for the youth. The president is expected to announce more support for debt-laden Eskom which investors will be watching closely for. The rand this morning was at R14.27 to the dollar at 8:03am.  

Read: Five things to watch in President Ramaphosa’s Sona

2. Zuma allies appointed in key parliamentary portfolios

The ANC’s secretary-general, Ace Magashule, who was a Zuma ally and has many a controversy linked to his name, on Wednesday announced nominations for key portfolios is parliament. Bloomberg is reporting that many of the names announced have links to Zuma’s graft-tainted tenure. The nominations include former deputy finance minister, Sfiso Buthelezi to head the budget appropriation committee, former mines minister, Mosebenzi Zwane to head the transportation committee and Supra Mahumapelo as chairman of the tourism committee. Bloomberg is reporting that Magashule says the members were nominated after a collective decision.

Read: Zuma allies get top posts in setback for Ramaphosa

3. Peregrine results

Financial services provider, Peregrine Holdings, is reporting a 7% decrease in ongoing segmental headline earnings per share to 152.9 cents on the back of a drop in the performance earned in Stenham and Peregrine Capital, as well as earnings from Java Capital, for the year ended March 31, 2019. The company says the period was characterised by a challenging global and local financial market. A tough local trading environment also impacted results.

Total operating revenue decreased by 4% to R1.6 billion, while operating expenses decreased by 5% to R1.2 billion, due to cost containment initiatives.

Headline earnings attributable to ordinary shareholders amounted to R439 million, down from R504 million in 2018, while headline earnings per ordinary share decreased to 210.8 cents. A final dividend of 100 cents per share has been declared.

4. Revelations out of the PIC inquiry

The inquiry into alleged impropriety at the Public Investment Corporation kicked off again this week. The inquiry revealed that a PIC governance workshop has recommended that the asset manager appoint an independent chairperson, with substantial background knowledge in investments or business, instead of, what they say is, an ex officio chairperson, Moneyweb is reporting.

Finance minister, Tito Mboweni is yet to appoint a board to the PIC after the resignation of the previous board.

The governance workshop also recommended that the board be appointed via a nominations committee within the PIC, instead of being appointed by the finance minister.

Read: Report: PIC must appoint independent chairperson

5. Num against Eskom split 

The National Union of Mineworkers (Num) says it is against President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plan to split Eskom into three entities, namely generation, transmission and distribution. Num is citing concerns of job cuts. Num President Joseph Montisetse says there is “uncertainty” rather than job security at Eskom, adding that the company could return to profit by investing in coal mining, exporting the fuel and selling more electricity to South Africa’s neighbours.

Read: Eskom union to Ramaphosa: no job cuts, no split, fire the board


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