Miners pollute Mpumalanga water; Naspers gets SA CEO; No QE in SA; Business Confidence ticks up

By Linda van Tilburg

  • South African coal mines operated by companies such as Glencore and Anglo American are polluting parts of Mpumalanga province as they fail to comply with their water licenses, according to the Centre for Environmental Rights. The centre’s study found “gross violations and water pollution by the operators”. It also found “massive failures” by the Department of Water & Sanitation to effectively regulate water licenses. The Centre says that the pollution of South Africa’s precious water resources occurs on an egregious scale and that coal is particularly harmful, with acid mine drainage from coal mines polluting surface and groundwater with acid, salts and metals. Glencore, Anglo American and South32 said they plan to respond to the report.
  • On the JSE Anglo shares fell by 2.3% and Glencore shares traded 1.27% lower  after the news. Truworths extended its 5% loss of the day before, by slumping another 2%. The gold miners however shone again with Harmony Gold gaining 3.66%, Sibanye-Stillwater rose 2.54% and Anglogold Ashanti was up just over 2%. Northam Platinum also rose by 3.67%. After the news that Afrimat will not be buying Australian-listed Universal Coal shares, its share price jumped by 5.67%. The JSE closed slightly lower yesterday.
  • News that South African business confidence measured by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry ticked higher in June, did little to boost the Rand. The Rand traded flat, closing a cent up from its opening price of R14.08 to the dollar. Business confidence went up from 93 in May to 93.3 in June, but remains below levels from a year ago after weak economic data and power blackouts in the first half of 2019. The gauge has been below 95 for the past five months, close to the three-decade low of 89.6 in August 2017.
  • The South African government won’t consider using quantitative easing to help rescue Eskom. That is according to Deputy Finance Minister David Masondo. He said he did not believe that quantitative easing will be able to help the power utility as countries that have used it, have zero percent interest rates and that was not the situation in South Africa. The idea was raised by ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule to address Eskom’s R440bn debt burden and it was also shot down by President Cyril Ramaphosa and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni.
  • Naspers has appointed Phuti Mahanyele-Dabengwa as CEO of its South Africa business. It’s a newly created executive position, and Mahanyele-Dabengwa will report directly to CEO Bob van Dijk. Her responsibilities will include leadership of Naspers’s flagship South African units, Naspers Foundry and Naspers Labs and she will be based in Johannesburg. Mahanyele-Dabengwa was previously executive chair at Sigma Capital, a privately held, majority black-owned investment group. “Her significant investor and board experience across varied sectors makes Phuti the perfect match for this important role at Naspers,” Van Dijk said in a statement. The appointment comes as Naspers prepares to list its international consumer Internet assets, including its 31.2% stake in Tencent, in Amsterdam, with a secondary inward listing in Johannesburg. The new company, called Prosus, is expected to attract a valuation north of $100bn.
  • Tesla has silently returned to growth mode in the second quarter setting a record for deliveries and beating Wall Street expectations. This relieves some pressure on Elon Musk to prove that demand remains strong for the electric-car maker’s vehicles. The Silicon Valley auto maker delivered a total of 95,200 vehicles in the three months that ended June 30, a sharp increase from a year ago as the company worked to boost production.
  • And with the spotlight on polluters, Global food giant Nestle has developed new paper packaging for some of its snack bars, a technology it hopes to scale up and extend to other confectionery products as it tries to make all its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025. After encouraging results in the UK and good feedback from retail customers, the bars will now be available in more than a dozen European countries, including Germany and Ireland and eventually it will come to our shores.