Flash Briefing: SA business sentiment at one-year low; Hawks circle in on ‘corporate looters’; ANC/DA in full campaign mode

  • South African business sentiment dropped to a one-year low in September as economic activity continued to be hamstrung by restrictions to curb the coronavirus pandemic and unease persisted following deadly riots in July. A confidence index compiled by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry dropped to 91, from 91.9 in August, the group said Monday. “The present business climate appears to have levelled out, with the business confidence index maintaining pre-Covid-19 levels,” it said. “Compared to a year ago when the business climate was still on its initial recovery path, the September 2021 level of the business confidence index reflects a much improved business climate despite the lagged effects of the July 2021 disruptions.” While Africa’s most industrialised economy continues to benefit from a windfall as a result of high international commodity prices, it is “imperative” that output expands by more than 3% a year, the chamber said.
  • Both the Hawks and SARS are circling in on companies that scored millions from dodgy PPE contracts in South Africa, with at least 33 companies connected to ‘politically exposed individuals’ in the crosshairs. Despite the SAPS’ claims that it has been cleared of wrongdoing in the rampant looting of PPE contracts, the Hawks have announced that investigations are underway. SARS, meanwhile, is looking at 52 companies that received money from PPE contracts and have been non-compliant in their tax affairs. The companies in question received R1bn in contracts.
  • South Africa’s politicians are into full campaign mode, with parties spreading out over the weekend to shoot their shot with the electorate. The DA’s campaigning around Cape Town hit a hurdle when the party contradicted statements from its leader, John Steenhuisen, about using golf courses as land for development – while the ANC has continued its strategy of admitting it has not done enough and promising to do more. However, the ruling party made it clear that it is not looking at coalitions or partnerships in any municipality, saying it’s all or nothing for governance in the country.
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