Flash Briefing: Ace runs out of luck as CR cracks his whip; PIC weighs in on gold mines’ merger; FDI up; SA bonuses up

  • ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule has been given 30 days to step aside from his role or face suspension and disciplinary action by the party. President Cyril Ramaphosa says this time cannot be not be used to review the decision of the ANC Integrity Commission. Magashule faces more than 70 counts of corruption and fraud. He has appeared in court in connection with the R233m asbestos roof audit scandal in the Free State. The ANC Integrity Commission made its finding in December 2020, but Magashule has refused to step aside. On Sunday, chaotic scenes reportedly broke out when Magashule’s supporters objected to the suggestion that he be given just a week to step aside.
  • Africa’s biggest fund manager and a key investor in South African gold companies said any consolidation in the sector must benefit the country as well as shareholders, reports Bloomberg. The Public Investment Corp., which manages R1.91trn ($128bn) of mainly South African government worker pensions, has a broader mandate than purely shareholder returns, said Mdu Bhulose, portfolio manager for mining and resources at the money manager. It also considers potential job losses, the welfare of communities in which mining companies operate as well as the interests of the broader South African economy, he said. That will affect the way it assesses, proposals, he said. Bhulose’s comments come amid speculation that Johannesburg-based AngloGold Ashanti and Gold Fields, could be takeover targets for foreign buyers because of their relatively low valuations. Neal Froneman, the chief executive officer of South African gold and platinum miner Sibanye Stillwater, has said the three companies should combine to avoid being bought by companies based elsewhere. “Is this going to be a value destructive deal for the country?,” Bhulose said of the PIC’s approach to potential takeovers in an interview last week. “We look at returns, but also what impact it will have for all other stakeholders.” The PIC is the biggest shareholder in AngloGold, holding 11.9%, and the second-largest in Gold Fields with 9.6%. In Sibanye, its 15.9% holding is the biggest of any investor.
  • South Africa recorded foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows of R16bn ($1.07bn) in the fourth quarter from outflows of R12.2bn in the third, the central bank said on Tuesday. The South African Reserve Bank said in its Quarterly Bulletin that the inflows in the latest quarter were caused by non-resident parent entities increasing equity investments and granting loans to domestic subsidiaries, reports Reuters. The country saw FDI inflows of R51.1bn for all 2020, down from inflows of R74bn in 2019. Portfolio investments, reflecting a record of buying and selling of securities such as bonds and shares, recorded inflows of R24.1bn in the October-December quarter compared with outflows of R39.5bn the quarter before. Annual portfolio outflows, however, were at R159.3bn against inflows of R87.5bn in 2019.
  • More than 500,000 people lost full-time jobs in 2020 in South Africa, while many who remained employed lived off smaller incomes, says TimesLive. StatsSA says that total gross earnings decreased by about R36bn – or about 5%. But, there was a slight increase in salaries between September and December when lockdown regulations were eased – and employers were generous with bonuses, with StatsSA recording an increase from about R50bn in bonus and overtime payment to about R90bn in the last three months of the year.

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