News in South Africa 12th October:

1. Ramaphosa economic recovery plan:

President Cyril Ramphosa has called a joint sitting of both houses of Parliament to outline his plan for “South Africa’s economic reconstruction and recovery plan”.

Ramaphosa wrote to National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise and National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Chairperson Amos Masondo about his intention to call a joint sitting of the two houses, Parliament announced in a statement on Friday afternoon.

The joint sitting is planned for 14:00 on Thursday 15 October.

Ramaphosa economic recovery plan
“President Cyril Ramaphosa attends Basic Education Lekgotla, 21 Jan” by GovernmentZA is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

It is somewhat unusual for the President to take this step other than for the annual State of the Nation Address (Sona). However, last year, after a public outcry over gender-based violence and femicide, Ramaphosa also called for a special joint sitting, where he announced a plan to deal with the scourge.

Due to the devastation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the country’s economy is set to contract anywhere between 7% and 13% this year.

2. Land redistribution bill gazetted:

The inter-ministerial committee on land reform on Sunday announced that the revised Expropriation Bill was gazetted on Friday and is now subject to parliamentary processes.

The bill is part of the government’s comprehensive approach to land reform and redressing spatial inequality and improving access to services and opportunities.

It is set to replace the current Expropriation Act of 1975 and its framework legislation on how the land would be distributed.

Addressing the media virtually on Sunday afternoon, Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille said expropriation of property with nil compensation “is not a silver bullet”.

“It is only but one acquisition mechanism that in appropriate cases will enable land reform and redress, as agreed by the Presidential Advisory Panel Report on Land Reform and Agriculture.”

What the bill states re nil compensation:

  • It may be just and equitable for nil compensation to be paid where land is expropriated in the public interest, having regard to all relevant circumstances, including but not limited to where the land is not being used and the owner’s main purpose is not to develop the land or use it to generate income but to benefit from appreciation of its market value;
  • Where an organ of state holds land that it is not using for its core functions and is not reasonably likely to require the land for its future activities in that regard, and the organ of state acquired the land for no consideration;
  • Notwithstanding registration of ownership in terms of the Deeds;
  • Where an owner has abandoned the land by failing to exercise control over it; Where the market value of the land is equivalent to, or less than, the present value of direct state investment or subsidy in the acquisition and beneficial capital improvement of the land;
  • When the nature or condition of the property poses a health, safety or physical risk to persons or other property; and
  • When a court or arbitrator determines the amount of compensation in terms of section 23 of the Land Reform (Labour Tenants) Act, 1996 (Act No. 3 of 1996), it may be just and equitable for nil compensation to be paid, having regard to all relevant circumstances.

3. More strikes this week:

The Gauteng Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) will on Monday march to the ANC headquarters and the office of premier David Makhura to “defend” the constitution and highlight the plight of the poor.

“We have taken a decision that our comrades in the ANC leadership and government must act on the fundamental principles of our struggle for justice and freedom, or they will face the full uncompromising wrath of the masses,” the MKMVA said.

The MKMVA marchers will be joined by members of the SA National Civics Organisation (Sanco), Congress of SA Students (Cosas), and the SA National Cargo Transport and Drivers Association (Sancatdra).

Post Office workers plan to strike over concerns that their medical aid and retirement benefits – which were deducted from their payslips but not paid to administrators – might have been misappropriated by the parastatal. The Post Office says this is due to its financial crisis due to a “dramatic decline” in revenue.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) gave the industrial action notice to SAPO on Friday saying that the strike will commence on 14 October. CWU general secretary Aubrey Tshabalala said SAPO has violated a number its obligations to workers as stated on their employment contracts.

4. PPE corruption investigated:

Government’s resistance to transparency and accountability underpins the widespread corruption taking place in relation to Covid-19 procurement, a new investigation has revealed.

AmaBhungane has followed the trail of just some dodgy tenders related to the pandemic and has raised red flags in many government processes.

Conflict of interest, irregular rewards, a lack of due diligence, nepotism, failure to follow up – these are just some of the common denominators in the corrupt activity uncovered.

5. Rand in markets today:

While most data and events continue to be overshadowed by the run up to the US election, US corporate earnings, retail sales and the Federal Reserve meeting with the World Bank will give an indication of how the US is faring on its road to recovery.

On Friday, the White House announced that it is preparing a $1.8 trillion coronavirus relief offer – its largest yet. This could put US government finances under pressure, and the prospect weighed on bonds and the dollar.

The rand is starting the week at R16.48/$, R19.48 to the euro and R21.48 to the pound. The rand is still benefiting from a bout of dollar weakness – which also bolstered the gold price.

All information sourced from articles posted by: Business Insider, BusinessTech, News24, Moneyweb, TimesLive, Fin24, and AmaBhungane.

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