News in South Africa 13th February:
1. State of the Nation Address 2020:
This evening, president Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the State of the Nation Address, which may include more details about a plan to address youth employment.
The high rate of youth unemployment in South Africa is unacceptable, says President Cyril Ramaphosa. “Any country that is serious about its development, prosperity and its future cannot be complacent that such a large percentage of the population of working age is languishing in unemployment,” the president said.
Speaking at the gathering, ahead of his State of the Nation Address on Thursday, Ramaphosa said addressing youth unemployment remained his priority.
He said that, after promising last year that he would develop a comprehensive plan that would be coordinated from the Presidency to create opportunities for youth, the implementation of the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention had now got under way.
2. No load shedding:
Eskom says it is not planning to institute rotational power cuts on Thursday as it has seen a “number of improvements in the power system”.
Its emergency reserves of diesel and water are also at adequate levels.
“However, we remind customers that load shedding can be implemented at short notice if there is a change in the system performance. Eskom will communicate if there is any shift and will provide a prognosis for tomorrow later today. ”
3. Retail sales fell in December:
Retail trade sales decreased by 0.4% year-on-year in real terms in December, according to figures released by Statistics SA on Wednesday. Sales volumes rose marginally by 0.8% in the fourth quarter of 2019, when compared with the same period last year. The country ended 2019 with a meagre 1.2% growth in retail trade sales for the year.
This comes as the local retail industry continues to grapple with one of the toughest periods in its recent history. Consumer confidence slumped deeply into negative territory in 2019, while consumer inflation closed the year at 10-year low.
In the past, even in difficult periods, the festive season has been seen retailers do better. But South Africa has started to buck this trend as December sales shrank 2018 and 2019.
Statistics SA said that, when seasonally adjusted, retail trade sales decreased by 3.1% in December 2019 compared with November 2019. In November, seasonally adjusted retail trade sales had increased by 3.1% from October, boosted by Black Friday.
4. AngloGold sells last SA asset:
Mining company AngloGold Ashanti has sold the last of its South African businesses, in a R4.4 billion transaction with Harmony.
The deal, announced this week, brings to a close the long history the firm, and its predecessors, has had in South Africa.
Now, AngloGold Ashanti has sold its last South African assets to Harmony Gold in a deal worth about R4.4 billion.
Since taking control of the company in 2018, Chief Executive Officer Kelvin Dushnisky has shifted the company’s focus towards more profitable mines in Australia, Ghana, and the Americas.
5. SAB announces retrenchments:
SA Breweries is the latest company to announce retrenchments: 500 jobs could go. But unions are fighting back.
The Food and Allied Workers Union says it is considering opposing AB InBev’s plans to retrench staff on the grounds that it considers the retrenchments a contravention of the terms of the company’s merger with SAB Miller.
However, the company insists that it is in compliance with the merger conditions.
The merger was finalised in October of 2016 and created the largest beer brewer in the world. The merger underwent tight scrutiny by Parliament and the Competition Commission as it took place.
AB InBev served staff with notice of intention to retrench in terms of Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act at the end of January.