Daily News Brief

Daily News Brief
photo by: Brakpan Herald

Stats SA: SA GDP Falls By 3.2% In Q1, Biggest Drop In 10 Years

South Africa’s economy shrank by 3.2% in the first three months of the year, Stats SA announced on Tuesday.  A decrease had been predicted by analysts and the SA Reserve Bank, who earlier flagged depressed expenditure and investment in the economy, weak consumer demand, the negative impact of load shedding and recurring falls in mining production. But the size of the contraction came as a surprise. Investec’s Annabel Bishop, for example, had predicted that real GDP was likely to contract by -1.9% in Q1. 

Kieswetter Lifts Tax Return Exemption From R350K to R500K

Newly appointed South African Revenue Service Commissioner Edward Kieswetter says people who earn less that R500,000 a year are exempt from filing tax returns this season. Kieswetter has launched the 2019 tax filing season at a briefing in Pretoria where he committed the revenue service to better educating taxpayers on their obligations. He was speaking at a briefing in Pretoria where is also expected to discuss his first month in office.

Kieswetter Commits To Implementing Recommendations Nugent Commission

South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Edward Kieswetter said he took the findings of the Nugent commission of inquiry seriously and would implement the recommendations as required.  He was speaking at a briefing in Pretoria where he revealed the revenue service’s plans for the 2019 tax season that kicks off next month. Kieswetter warned that Sars was working closely with law enforcement agencies to track down and prosecute people and companies not paying their dues. The 2019 tax filing season officially starts next month.

State-Owned Entity Departures Could Delay Cyril Ramaphosa’s Reform

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s mission to fix two of the country’s most troubled state-owned companies, power utility Eskom and South African Airways (SAA), could take longer than planned after their chief executives quit within a week of each other. Investors say the CEOs’ resignations could slow the implementation of turnaround plans seen as critical to shoring up confidence in the country’s economy, which has for years struggled to grow and whose last investment-grade credit rating is hanging by a thread.

Lesufi: Those Involved In Deadly Forest High Fight To Be Prosecuted

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said that he would not be laying blame following the death of a grade 8 pupil from Forest High School in southern Johannesburg on Monday. Two other boys were wounded and rushed to the hospital. It’s believed that there was a fight between two rival groups in the school, which had been going on for some time. Lesufi said that all law enforcement agencies must now work together to ensure that those who were involved were prosecuted.

Woman Injured In Klapmuts Farm Attack

A woman has been injured in an attack at a Klapmuts farm, in the Western Cape. It’s believed armed men entered her home while she was with her two children on Tuesday morning. Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer said: “I will be visiting the Klapmuts farm’s patrol unit to establish the facts but I’m certainly concerned about the criminality and brutality of these farm attacks happening here in the Western Cape.”

Rape, Assault, Exclusion Of Women Continues To Plague Universities – Report

The rape and assault of female students and the exclusion of women in certain academic disciplines continue to plague the country’s universities, says the Commission for Gender Equality. The commission’s report on gender transformation in tertiary institutions has been tabled in Parliament and it shows how slow the pace of gender transformation is in the country’s universities. The report also notes how in 2017 an intruder broke into a computer laboratory at Nelson Mandela Metro University, raped one female student and sexually assaulted another.

Zuma Connection Helped Guptas Buy SABC Footage For Peanuts, Inquiry Told

Former ANN7 news editor Rajesh Sundaram said that the Gupta family used their friendship with former President Jacob Zuma to buy historic archive material from the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) worth millions of rand for far less below the material’s value.  Sundaram is testifying at the state capture commission about his time at the Gupta-owned channel. Sundaram said that the SABC did a big favour for ANN7, thanks to Zuma.

What To Look Out For

Pravin Gordhan To Answer Public Protector Mkhwebane Over Gupta Investigation, Sars Rogue Unit

Tensions between the Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane and Pravin Gordhan are likely to worsen. Mkhwebane wants answers from the Public Enterprises minister as she investigates his meetings with the Gupta family and his involvement in the so-called Sars rogue unit. Mkhwebane has given him 10 days to respond to her questions.