Flash Briefing: Changes coming to Berkyville; New SAA flights to China; How word sees SA election

By Alec Hogg

Here’s today’s Biznews Flash Briefing:

  • There was another record turnout at Saturday’s Berkshire Hathaway AGM where chairman Warren Buffett (88) and his deputy Charlie Munger (95) answered five hours of questions from shareholders. Once again, succession planning was front and centre as a number of questioners asked for more exposure to the group’s operational heads Ajit Jain and Greg Able. Buffett suggested there could be a significant change next year in the hugely popular two man show that draws over 40,000 people to Omaha…” Highlights from the AGM are on Biznews now.
  • Still in the US, president Donald Trump’s prospects for re-election in 2020 could be higher than most pundits are predicting. Since he took office, the Wall Street Journal and NBC News have conducted regular polls, 20 so far, on his performance. In the latest of these, for the 19th time a majority disapproved of Trump’s overall job performance, but that number is now down to just 51% with 44% approving. More significantly, in the latest poll 51% gave the controversial president a thumbs up for the way he is handling the economy while 41% disapprove. This is the third successive poll showing a majority supported Trumponomics, suggesting a block who don’t like the man but do enjoy his economic management, could vote for Trump come re-election time.
  • The South African election gets the full treatment in the Wall Street Journal this morning. Our US partner reckons that heading into Wednesday’s elections, support for the ANC is the lowest since democracy began in 1994. Good news for Team Ramaphosa, however, is the leading US business title concludes that superior organisation, unparalleled reach into rural areas and what for many voters is a lack of viable alternatives will ensure the ANC wins a majority. Biznews Premium subscribers can access the full story through their automatic membership of wsj.com. Another global media group, Bloomberg, is also telling its readers the ANC will win but with a slight fall in the 62% majority it attained five years ago.
  • In a strong signal of the country’s shift to the east, from September South African Airways will initiate another direct service to China. There will now be three flights a week from Johannesburg to Guangzhou, formerly known as Canton, which is in Southern China and has a population of 15 million people. Guangzhou is a major commercial centre with a 2,00-year history and was a major terminus of the maritime Silk Road. SAA chief executive Vuyani Jarana, appointed in 2017 to lead the airline’s turnaround, says the new route is aiming at the business market and will complement the airline’s popular flights to Hong Kong.