BizBriefing: Motion of no confidence in Ramaphosa, DA questions costs of field hospital, Mr. Price takes Covid-19 hit

By Melani Nathan 

  • The speaker of South Africa’s lower house of Parliament has authorised a vote on a motion of no-confidence in President Cyril Ramaphosa, according to a parliamentary official. The request for the vote was made by the African Transformation Movement which has only two seats in the 400-member National Assembly, meaning it has little chance of succeeding, reports Reuters. Ramaphosa’s predecessor as head of state, Jacob Zuma, survived many no-confidence votes before being ousted by Ramaphosa’s allies in the ANC in February 2018. According to the Constitution, a motion of no confidence in the president needs to be supported by a simple majority or at least 201 lawmakers in the National Assembly to pass.
  • According to experts, there is no single reason for Africa’s seemingly remarkable escape from the worst of Covid-19 thus far. The fact remains that South Africa built hospitals in preparation for  a disaster that hasn’t happened. Jack Bloom, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health, asks why these Covid-19 field hospitals are being kept operational, at great expense. Only 34 patients have been admitted to the 1,000-bed Nasrec field hospital so far this month, but R380 a day is being paid for each empty bed. This means that about R380 000 a day is being paid for empty beds in terms of a 6 month contract with the Johannesburg ExpoCentre. The contract expires on 31 January next year so the last three months of the contract is likely to cost more than R32m. Fewer than 10% of the NASREC beds were used at the peak of the epidemic in July.
  • Mr. Price has reported a 24.8% decline in half-year headline earnings, due to the impact of coronavirus lockdown restrictions, which cost the South African retailer R1.8bn in lost sales in April. The clothing and homeware retailer said its basic headline earnings per share  fell to 333 cents in the 6 months ended September 26 from the 443 cents a year earlier. The group said it will resume dividend payments and declared an interim dividend of 210 cents per share.
  • StatsSA has released South Africa’s Producer Price Index for October. Headline PPI measures the cost to producers who manufacture goods. The annual percentage change in the PPI for final manufactured goods was 2,7% in October 2020. From September to October the PPI for final manufactured goods increased by 0,4%.  PPI for final manufactured goods for October 2020 was up 2,7% year on year.
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