Tito’s growth plan clash; Boris shuts Parliament; Economic growth stunts SARS; Motus accelerates; Great Whites left False Bay

By Linda van Tilburg

  • Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s new growth plan may put him on a collision course with cabinet colleagues, fellow ruling party members and labour unions. Mboweni envisions the state relinquishing its near monopoly of electricity, ports and rail services, relaxing rules to make it easier to do business and privatising assets to stabilise its finances. One of the more contentious suggestions is to sell some of Eskom’s plants subject to power off-take agreements. He also favours maintaining a flexible exchange rate, inflation targeting and sustainable fiscal policy. Bloomberg reports that some of the proposals conflict with calls within the ANC and its unions for the government to play a more interventionist role in tackling poverty and unemployment. The Mboweni paper has not been presented to Cabinet yet and its adoption is not assured.
  • Acting SARS boss Mark Kingon said the revenue collector will miss its revenue target for the sixth consecutive year. The target was set at R1.422 trillion for the present fiscal year. Growth in the country was not enough for SARS to meet its revenue targets, he said at the Tax Indaba in Sandton. Kingon said collecting taxes was a struggle as every aspect of the economy had a bearing on the ability of SARS to collect. Growth was lower than expected at the start of the fiscal year and had a direct bearing on revenue estimates. Kingon said with retrenchments, lower salary adjustments, lower bonus levels and less share options taking place SARS was not seeing the growth they expected in terms of employment taxes.
  • In the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set himself on a warpath with other lawmakers as he decided to suspend Parliament for five weeks from 12 September which means Britain is heading full steam for a no-deal Brexit unless the EU blinks first. The Queen approved his request to prorogue; in terms of the Constitution she has no other choice but opposition leader Jeremey Corbyn has also asked for a meeting with her saying Johnson was stifling voices its representatives and said he and other MPs opposing a no-deal Brexit would do everything in their power to prevent the country crashing out. The Confederation of British Industry said only a deal could protect the economy and analysts said a disruptive break could cause a recession. The pound fell by 0.5% to both the euro and the US dollar.
  • Locally listed UK property company Hammerson came under pressure due to Brexit concerns and the sliding pound with shares falling more than 6% in yesterday’s trade on the JSE. The JSE closed firmer yesterday with gains in resource stocks. Anglo Platinum, South 32 and Sibanye Gold rose by more than 5%, with Implats, Exxaro and Sasol gaining around 4%. Motus shares accelerated by more than 11% after the release of the company’s results. The company recorded an 11% increase in revenue from used vehicles while revenue for new vehicles fell d by 2%. Motus said the current buying-down trend has been advantageous for the company.
  • The great draw card for South Africa’s diving and ‘Sit in a cage while a Great White watched you’ industry has been hit by the disappearance from Great White sharks from False Bay. Sightings of Great Whites have reduced to 50 in 2018 and this year none have been seen at Seal Island, a one-time feeding ground off the coast. The Cape Town municipality said whale carcases removed from the Bay had not indicated any feeding or bite marks. Local media have speculated that the arrival of pods of orcas, which eat sharks or over-fishing may be the reason for their disappearance.