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Top 5 on Fin24: Zuma exit, unemployment relief and debt headache

Feb 13 2018 18:51

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

BLSA calls for swift action as Zuma now isolated

President Jacob Zuma is now isolated. He can delay - but his political demise has virtually been signed. 

This was the reaction of political analyst Daniel Silke after the ANC's national executive committee announced its decision to recall Zuma after days of deliberations and a marathon 13-hour meeting on Monday.

Business Leadership South Africa said it’s now important to end the two-week chaos and urged the ANC’s new leadership to act swiftly, but constitutionally, in removing their "deployee" from the high office.

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule on Tuesday afternoon confirmed the party had decided to recall Zuma, and that Cyril Ramaphosa would deliver the State of the Nation Address (SONA) if it does take place. 

Magashule reiterated there was no deadline for Zuma to resign.

The rand, which initially strengthened to R11.88/$, dipped 0.29% to R11.98 by 17:58 as traders were unconvinced that Zuma would depart soon.

Unemployment rate drops to 26.7%

The unemployment rate declined to 26.7% in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to the quarterly labour force survey released by Statistics South Africa on Tuesday.

This comprises 5.9 million people, based on the official definition of unemployment which includes those who are not employed but actively looking for jobs.

However, this is 12.7 percentage points away from the 14% targeted in the National Development Plan for 2020, according to statistician general Risenga Maluleke, who delivered the results in Pretoria. The NDP target for 2030 is 6%.

This is 1 percentage point down from the unemployment rate of 27.7% recorded for the second and third quarters of 2017.

WATCH: How debt creates economic apartheid

debt large

The voice of South African consumers has still not been heard with regards to the Draft National Credit Amendment Bill, according to Summit Financial Partners CEO Clark Gardner.

Gardner was speaking to Fin24 about the bill, reckless lending, and the lack of financial justice for the economically disempowered after his input into public hearings around amendments to the National Credit Act in early February.

With consumers at times still paying 300% to 400% interest per year for credit, he argued the amendments that came out of the hearings were driven by the credit industry and lawmakers, and that the Act as it stands amounts to a "whole lot of white noise that you can’t implement”.

SA economy high on Zexit euphoria but budget will be real test - economists

As the country awaits the final exit of President Jacob Zuma, economists believe the climate of renewed hope bodes well for South Africa’s future.

Fuelling optimism was the belief that pro-business new ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa will get South Africa’s lacklustre economy going when he takes over from President Jacob Zuma.

However, economists said next week’s Budget Speech could be a crucial indication of whether the tide has turned in South Africa.

Lullu Krugel, chief economist for PwC Africa, said there is a lot of positive sentiment as the markets prepare for a new presidency they perceive as pro-business.

The rand is firm. For the first time, the Reserve Bank could talk to investors at the World Economic Forum in Davos without having to explain the poor conditions back home and at last week's Mining Indaba, business confidence was probably at its highest level in 10 years, said Krugel.

Twitter reacts to #Zexit with #ZumaIsGoneParty memes

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