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Top 5 on Fin24: Gordhan vows to revive SOEs, solid GDP growth and SARB nationalisation on ice

Mar 06 2018 17:08

Cape Town - A roundup of Tuesday's top economic and finance reads on Fin24.

Gordhan vows to reverse state capture tide, revive SOEs

New Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan on Tuesday revealed that his immediate focus would be on revitalising state-owned entities (SOEs) and reversing the tide of state capture that has gripped key sectors of the economy.

The appointment of new boards at several public entities, including operational changes, was expected in the next three weeks, Gordhan told members of the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) at a conference in Pretoria.

"It won't be an easy task, nonetheless it is not impossible," he said, adding that change was expected in state power utility Eskom following the appointment of a new board.

"There is a huge need to restructure the state entities to function in the public interest, not just to serve a few people," said Gordhan.

GDP growth surprises on the upside - Stats SA

iStock_sa economy

The South African economy grew by 1.3% in 2017 compared to 2016 and following an increase of 2.3% in the third quarter of 2017.

The annual growth exceeds National Treasury’s expectation of 1% growth announced during the National Budget Speech in February, Statistics SA said on Tuesday.

"In a time when good news seems hard to come by, the latest gross domestic product (GDP) results provide some cautious cheer," Stats SA said in a statement.

"After a wobbly start to 2017, which saw economic activity contract in the first quarter, the economy saw sustained growth for the remainder of the year. The fourth quarter experienced the highest growth rate of 2017, with the economy expanding by 3.1% quarter-on-quarter - seasonally adjusted and annualised."

Consumers have a right to safe products - Davies

Owners of food facilities where listeriosis has been detected need to “clean up their act”, according to Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies. He was briefing members of the portfolio committee on trade and industry on Tuesday.

Davies said the Department of Trade and Industry has been working with the health and agriculture, forestry and fisheries department once it was brought to their attention that there have been high instances of illness and death from listeriosis.

“The same as with motor cars which catch fire, the product is recalled. Owners of facilities have now got a job to clean up their act, a literal description of what they need to do,” he said.

Listeriosis outbreak puts fragile value chain in spotlight - expert

The ripple effect of the outbreak of listeriosis in certain processed meat products in South Africa has identified the fragility of the industry's value chain, Professor Andre Louw, chair of Agribusiness Management at the University of Pretoria, told Fin24.

He said the outbreak has shown this is something that can occur right from the production stage up to supermarkets, finally impacting consumers.

"The fact that it is contagious is of concern and implies further action needs to be taken from a health and safety point of view," said Louw.

He pointed out that initial uncertainty about the source of the outbreak and the fact that it could not be determined accurately at first led to some speculation.

ANC withdraws motion to debate nationalisation of SA Reserve Bank

SARB governor Lesetja Kganyago. (File, Bloomberg)

An ANC parliamentary motion to debate the nationalisation of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has been withdrawn to allow the party to consult further on the matter within its structures and with key stakeholders.

The debate was set to take place in Parliament on Tuesday afternoon.

The Reserve Bank raised concerns at the time that changing its ownership structure could raise financial and economic risks for South Africa, especially at that time when political tensions were running high.

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Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi has announced that processed meat was the source of South Africa’s latest and worst listeriosis outbreak on record.

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