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Top5 on Fin24: Reaction to Zuma's #StateCapture commisison, and SA business confidence on the up

Jan 10 2018 18:02

Cape Town - A roundup of Wednesday's must-read financial and economic news. 

Zuma said to allow Gupta probe in bid to keep job

President Jacob Zuma's decision to appointment a commission to probe allegations that his son’s business partners had exerted undue influence over state decisions, is a move aimed at defusing calls for him to step down immediately, three ruling-party officials with knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday.

Zuma announced the formation of the commission late on Tuesday, two days after he agreed to the probe in a private meeting with Cyril Ramaphosa, the newly appointed leader of the ruling African National Congress, the officials said.

They asked not to be identified because the talks weren’t publicly disclosed.

The President appealed a court ruling ordering him to initiate the inquiry headed by a judge nominated by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, as directed by the nation’s graft ombudsman, despite the ANC adopting a resolution that the investigation should proceed.

READ: Zuma said to allow Gupta probe in bid to keep job

Lynne Brown reacts to Zuma's state capture announcement

A spokesperson for Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has welcomed the announcement by President Jacob Zuma of an inquiry into state capture, saying this is the best route to restoring confidence in state entities. 

On Wednesday morning Colin Cruywagen, Brown's spokesperson, said the minister welcomed the appointment of Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo to lead the commission.

"She (Brown) has said many times that a commission is the best route to restoring confidence in state-owned companies," he said. 

Public power utility Eskom, which falls under Brown's portfolio, has since last year been the focus of a separate inquiry in the National Assembly. 

For seven weeks between mid-October and early December, Parliament's oversight committee on public enterprises investigated the mismanagement of public funds at Eskom, in a process commonly referred to as the state capture or Eskom inquiry. 

This process, which is separate from Zuma's commission, is set to continue in 2018. 

READ: Lynne Brown reacts to Zuma's state capture announcement

Business confidence on the up

Business confidence in South Africa seems to have improved slightly in December, according to the Business Confidence Index (BCI) released by the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) on Wednesday.

According to Sacci, the improvement in business confidence is only partially due to recent political developments in SA. These would include the recent election of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa as ANC president, and no further downgrades by ratings agencies in December.

Sacci said political developments in the wider Southern African region also contributed to raising business expectations, including political developments in Zimbabwe.

The BCI was up 1.3 index points in December 2017 to 96.4. It had also showed an improvement in November 2017.

READ: Business confidence picks up after developments in SA, Southern Africa

Hot spots in Cape Town property market

Cape Town remains a popular choice among property investors and buyers, according to Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive of Pam Golding Properties.

The Atlantic Seaboard, which is space-constrained because of the mountains and the sea, continues to deliver high property prices.

As for the city centre, Golding said the "development boom" continues. The Silo and Roggebaai districts in the Waterfront Marina Estate are examples. They include 5-star hotels, head offices of big companies and top-end motor dealerships.

The trend for contemporary mixed-use developments - retail, offices and residential units - will continue in the Harbour Arch development by the Amdec Group. It will be Cape Town's largest mixed-use development in the CBD, ultimately consisting of seven individual tower blocks - similar to Melrose Arch in Johannesburg.

READ: Hot spots in Cape Town property market

Ramaphosa to be the face of SA economy at Davos

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Pic: Gallo Imag

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will again lead South Africa’s delegation at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the elite annual meeting of billionaires, businessmen and politicians.

For the second year in a row Ramaphosa will be the face of the South African economy at the 48th World Economic Forum annual meeting, held from 23-26 January in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.

Davos provides an important platform to market and showcase South Africa to global business and other key international stakeholders. Last year Ramaphosa partnered with then finance minister Pravin Gordhan to promote South Africa’s economy, after President Jacob Zuma withdrew at the last minute.

READ: Ramaphosa to be the face of SA economy at Davos

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