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Aug 24, 2015

South Africa’s state giants hobble economy

JOHANNESBURG, Aug 24 (Reuters) – The state-run corporations
that have shaped South Africa’s economy and been part of its
every day life for nearly a century are mostly in a state of
collapse, threatening to crush already weak growth.

Economists estimate that underperformance and inefficiency
in state-owned firms ranging from power utility Eskom to South
African Airways (SAA) to the postal service is lopping 2-3
percentage points off annual growth.

Jul 1, 2015

S.Africa sells Vodacom stake to raise cash for utility Eskom

JOHANNESBURG, July 1 (Reuters) – South Africa’s government
has sold its stake in mobile phone firm Vodacom at a 10
percent discount to market prices to raise funds for
cash-strapped power utility Eskom, the Treasury said
on Wednesday.

President Jacob Zuma’s government has been seeking to sell
non-core assets to help plug Eskom’s funding gap of up
to 200 billion rand ($16 billion) through to 2018 as the utility
struggles to keep its ageing fleet of mostly coal-fired plants

Jun 19, 2015

For villagers, black central banker a symbol of ‘new’ South Africa

MARIBANA, South Africa (Reuters) – For the residents of Maribana village, South African Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago is the embodiment of how life has changed for the better for blacks since the end of white minority rule two decades ago.

Appointed last year to the helm of Africa’s most important central bank, Kganyago has come a long way from the school boy who attended classes under a tree in the 1970s because the single block of classrooms could not house all the pupils.

Apr 30, 2015

South African tourism stung by anti-immigrant violence

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s tourism industry is likely to take a hit following a wave of xenophobic attacks this month, a setback for the country which has worked hard to clean up its image as a hub for violent crime.

Seven people have been killed in the attacks, which mostly targeted African immigrants. Police and soldiers have brought the unrest under control but the damage may already have been done for the tourism sector, which supports one in 12 jobs.

Apr 19, 2015

South Africa’s ‘Rainbow Nation’ turns dark as immigrant attacks rise

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – When he heard angry screams and the hammering of hatchets on the door of his shack last week, Malawian Folias Sakai thought he was about to become the eighth person to be killed in anti-immigrant attacks that have swept South Africa this month.

Instead Sakai managed to escape the mob by scrambling over the metal rooftop of his shack in a Johannesburg slum into the safety of a nearby alleyway.

Feb 25, 2015

South Africa raises income tax rates for first time in 20 years in gloomy budget

CAPE TOWN, Feb 25 (Reuters) – South Africa will increase
income tax rates for the first time in 20 years, Finance
Minister Nhlanhla Nene said in a gloomy budget speech on
Wednesday, as he cut growth forecasts for an economy beset by
chronic power shortages.

Nene also widened budget deficit estimates for Africa’s most
developed economy and said the government would have to borrow
more domestically and in global markets to plug the funding gap.

Dec 12, 2014

S.Africa’s ANC eyes state sell-off to ease power crunch

JOHANNESBURG, Dec 12 (Reuters) – Financial problems at South
Africa’s Eskom have pushed the governing ANC to look into
selling stakes in state companies to free up funds to update the
utility and ease power blackouts.

President Jacob Zuma’s African National Congress has long
been reluctant to sell company stakes to ease the strain on the
budget, for fear of upsetting powerful labour union allies who
say this would cause job losses.

Nov 11, 2014

South Africa’s ailing economy puts investment grade credit status in jeopardy

JOHANNESBURG, Nov 11 (Reuters) – South Africa risks losing
its coveted investment grade credit status within five years if
it fails to recover from an economic slump that prompted a
downgrade by Moody’s last week.

Moody’s decision piled more pressure on President Jacob
Zuma’s administration as it struggles to rein in public debt,
now nearing 50 percent of economic output, compared with about
27 percent just five years ago.

Oct 17, 2014

South Africa’s economic doldrums heighten disillusionment with ANC

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 17 (Reuters) – Finance Minister Nhlanhla
Nene will have his work cut out at next week’s budget to try and
reassure disillusioned South Africans that the government still
has gas in its tank to pull the economy out of the doldrums.

Twenty years after Nelson Mandela swept the African National
Congress to power, pledging to unleash the economy and ensure
universal access to quality education, jobs and houses, very
little of the optimism that engulfed the country then remains.

Sep 13, 2014

Pistorius found guilty of culpable homicide

PRETORIA (Reuters) – Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide on Friday, escaping the more serious charge of murder for the killing of his girlfriend, and will now battle to avoid going to prison.

The 27-year-old double amputee, who became one of the biggest names in world athletics, stood impassively in the dock, his hands folded in front of him, as Judge Thokozile Masipa delivered her verdict.