Market Commentary | The week that was
President Cyril Ramaphosa: South Africa’s political landscape is still quite shaky in the wake of speculations that President Cyril Ramaphosa will battle to keep his post. According to media sources, Ramaphosa will submit legal documents to the court today to contest the Section 89 report on the Phala-Phala farm theft. The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ANC will also convene today, and the matter will be debated during tomorrow’s parliamentary sitting.
Ambulance shortage: SA has less than half the ambulances it needs to meet the needs of its population, Health Secretary Joe Furla told parliament. This desperate shortage means patients who need urgent care face long, life-threatening delays. The government, on average, is aiming for a ratio of 1 ambulance per 10,000 people, but due to staffing shortages, the National Department of Health says it needs 6,824 ambulances to reach that target. Only 49% of the department’s ambulances are currently operational.
Postbank loses over R18-m to Cybercrime: The state-owned entity lost more than R18-m in 3 months due to cyber-criminal attacks. Postbank CEO Lucas Ndala said the incidents are mostly related to the SA Social Security Agency (SASSA) beneficiary grant payments. Postbank intends to spend R400-m to improve its IT structures to counter future attacks.
Markets: South African markets were shocked by the Section 89 panel’s findings last week. The rand plunged sharply on speculation that Pres Ramaphosa might resign. This led to the rand trading at R17.90 to the US dollar, before settling around R17.60 - 2% weaker on the day, after a press conference by the president was cancelled. Brent crude is trading at $86 a barrel.
Looking at the week ahead: This week’s economic data releases will include South Africa's third quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and current account balance.