Economy

Karel | Nov 20, 2018
The National Assembly’s Finance Standing Committee Fakes It
Charles Simkins
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Aug 22, 2018

On 14 August 2018, representatives of the World Bank presented their ‘systematic country diagnostic’ report entitled An incomplete transition: Overcoming the legacy of exclusion to the National Assembly’s Finance Standing Committee.

The Davis Tax Committee Wealth Tax Report - An Overview
Charles Collocott
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Jul 26, 2018

In anticipation of the Davis Tax Committee Wealth Tax Report, the HSF published a series of briefs last year on a wealth tax and whether it was viable method to raise revenue in South Africa. In March this year the Davis Tax Committee published its report on the matter, which this brief considers in the light of the HSF’s work.

Eskom’s 2018 Financial Results
Anton van Dalsen
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Jul 24, 2018

This brief provides a commentary on the main features of Eskom’s 2018 annual financial statements, released on 23 July 2018.

Can we start the long haul now?
Charles Simkins
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Jul 12, 2018

We live in a vertiginous age, in a Dadaesque social and political world. Can the ground be prepared for economic recovery in this politically unstable environment?

Reflections on the Minimum Wage Bill
Jade Tess Weiner
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Jun 13, 2018

This brief considers the current status of the National Minimum Wage Bill, its limitations and whether its impact will achieve its intended purpose – to advance economic development and social justice.

The PIC and GEPF - An Update
Charles Collocott
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Apr 18, 2018

This brief is a follow up on the PIC and GEPF briefs published in the second half of last year. It takes a look at the challenges still facing these organisations in light of the Executive changes and other occurrences that have happened since.

Wealth Taxes VI: Land Tax
Charles Collocott
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Apr 05, 2018

This is the sixth brief of a seven part series and it considers land tax a possible form of wealth tax in South Africa.

Wealth Taxes III: Problems
Charles Collocott
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Apr 04, 2018

This is the third brief of a seven part series and it deals with the problems with wealth taxes. The first brief provided a conceptual framework and the second dealt with the rationales for a wealth tax.

Wealth Taxes II: Rationales
Charles Collocott
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Apr 04, 2018

This is the second brief of a six part series and it deals with the rationales for a wealth tax. The first brief provided a conceptual framework, and the third discusses the problems.

Wealth Taxes I: Conceptual Frame
Charles Collocott
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Apr 04, 2018

This is the first brief of a seven part series. It provides a conceptual framework on wealth taxes. The second brief deals with rationales for wealth taxes, and the third discusses the problems with them.

Cape Town Round Table: 6 February 2018 - The Budget, Growth & Debt - Beyond The Political Noise: Structural Change Is Urgently Needed
Rafael Friedman
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Feb 15, 2018

The Helen Suzman Foundation’s Round Table took place surrounded by banners advertising a State of the Nation Address on 8 February that was not delivered. Instead, an ANC process, drawn out for over a week, has resulted in its National Executive Committee recalling Jacob Zuma from his ‘deployment’ as president of the Republic, ending in his resignation on 14 February.

Municipal Consumer Debt
Helen Suzman Foundation
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Feb 13, 2018

This brief considers the latest figures, composition, causes and consequences of South Africa’s municipal consumer debt. It also discusses programmes instituted by government and State Owned Enterprises dealing with current issues around municipal consumer debt.

Structural Adjustment
Charles Simkins
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Dec 05, 2017

The ratings agencies have put South Africa on terms. Everything now depends on the outcome of Moody’s rating review for downgrade, which may not conclude until after the Budget is presented in February 2018.

The Public Protector’s Bankorp Report
Anton van Dalsen
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Jun 22, 2017

This brief by Anton van Dalsen is intended to provide more detail on the recent Public Protector’s report and on some very disturbing aspects that it contains.

THE PUBLIC INVESTMENT CORPORATION AND THE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES PENSION FUND - AN OVERVIEW
Charles Collocott
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Jun 14, 2017

This Brief by Charles Collocott considers the overall structures of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) and Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), with a focus on transparency and the framework within which they invest. The need for transparency has been highlighted since the PIC invested over R 1 billion in Independent Media in 2013. The framework for investment is of particular interest since the National Treasury has recently stated that the PIC could possibly become the equity partner in loss-making South African Airways.

Reflections on the Downgrades by the Ratings Agencies
Agathe Fonkam
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May 23, 2017

This brief is a summary of the most recent decisions taken by the credit ratings agencies on South Africa's credit rating following the cabinet reshuffle in March this year. Standard and Poor's and Fitch downgraded the countries foreign currencies to non-investment grade, while Moody's has put the country's sovereign ratings on review for downgrade. The economic implications of the downgrade are evaluated

AGAINST ECONOMIC RECKLESSNESS II - THE VALLEY OF TRANSITION
Charles Simkins
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May 05, 2017

The first brief in this series by Charles Simkins considered reactions to the removal of Ministers Gordhan and Jonas, and the consequent ratings downgrade. Not surprisingly, a number of different and incoherent implicit assumptions were found. This brief sets out a framework for a more coherent assessment of the issues at stake.

AGAINST ECONOMIC RECKLESSNESS III - IT’S NOT ON TOP, IT’S INSIDE
Charles Simkins
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May 04, 2017

The first brief in this series by Charles Simkins considered reactions to the dismissal of Minister Gordhan and Deputy Minister Jonas, and the downgrades which followed. The second brief outlined a way of thinking systematically about the choices now facing South Africa. This brief will suggest ways in which thinking about transformation can be made more productive and more consistent with support for South African democracy.

AGAINST ECONOMIC RECKLESSNESS I - FIVE ILLUSTRATIVE QUOTES AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS
Charles Simkins
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May 04, 2017

This is the first in a series of three briefs by Charles Simkins. It considers five reactions to the dismissal of Minister Gordhan and Deputy Minister Jonas, and the consequent downgrades. The second brief outlines a framework for understanding the choices now facing South Africa and the third deals with aspects of a route forward for empowerment.

SOUTH AFRICA AND THE RATINGS AGENCIES - II FITCH
Agathe Fonkam
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Sep 08, 2016

The first brief in this series discussed the current view of the South African economy held by Moody’s rating agency. The next brief will set out the position of Standard and Poor's.

SOUTH AFRICA AND THE RATINGS AGENCIES - I MOODY'S
Agathe Fonkam
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Sep 08, 2016

South Africa is in the middle of controversies relating to the SA Revenue Service, the Hawks, the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, the National Treasury, and State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs). There are also serious tensions within the government and the ruling party. South African government bonds have lost money for investors as bond yields have increased. This could get worse if the Minister of Finance is to be replaced by someone who is less trusted by investors. There are conflicts between the National Treasury and the SOEs (for instance Eskom, Denel and South African Airways) all of which revolve around the resistance of the Treasury to finance their respective bailouts. The biggest specialist investor in fixed interest in South Africa, Futuregrowth, has taken the decision to suspend financing any new loans to some SOEs, setting conditions for resumption. A Danish Bank (Jyske Bank) has withdrawn financial support from Eskom. Moreover, the IMF reduced its projections of growth in South Africa between April and July 2016, now expecting growth of 0.1% in 2016 and 1.0% in 2017. These recent developments will have an impact on the rating agencies in their next review. In this series of three briefs, one on each rating agency, an account will be given of how agencies evaluated the South African economy in their most recent reviews. Given the deterioration in outlook, there is serious cause for concern about their next reviews.

Informal Trading in Johannesburg
Amy Meyer
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Mar 17, 2015

Informal Trading has always been a part of South Africa's economy, 30% of which occurs in Gauteng. With an unemployment rate of 25.2%, Informal Trade is, for many South Africans, the "alternative to unemployment", and should be viewed as a way to "address unemployment" and "reduce vulnerability"

The 2015/16 Budget and Development
Eythan Morris
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Feb 26, 2015

This brief focuses on how the Budget proposals impact on development. The short term outlook for economic growth is relatively poor, so a better framework for development is needed to offset resource constraints of the current economic outlook. The Budget speech announced steps to improve investment, including investment in human capital and infrastructure, contain corruption, and lower the burden of regulation.

THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT AND THE MINIMUM WAGE
Charles Simkins
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Nov 10, 2014

The minimum wage issue has been rumbling for some time. The Parliamentary Labour Committee has started hearings on the topic. Business Day reported on 5 November that the Deputy President will chair a committee on the issue which will include six Cabinet Ministers, among them the ministers of labour, economic development and finance. NEDLAC has been given the task of producing a report on the technical aspects of its introduction by July next year.

Let a Hundred Black Industrialists Bloom
Charles Simkins
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Sep 23, 2014

For some time now, the creation of a hundred black industrialists has been on the government’s agenda. It was discussed at the National Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Summit in October 2013. Last month, the Deputy Minister of Trade Industry, Mzwandile Masina, announced that it was to be done in the next three years.

THE SOUTH AFRICAN ECONOMY IN THE SHORT RUN
Charles Simkins
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Jul 29, 2014

Hardly a week goes by without some fresh depressing news about the current state of the South African economy. The Reserve Bank has twice this year reduced its growth forecast for 2014, from 2.8% at the beginning of the year to 2.1% and most recently to 1.7%. It has also reduced its forecasts for 2015 and 2016. Standard and Poor’s and Fitch have downgraded South Africa’s credit rating and Moody’s has put it on negative watch. The Minister of Finance has warned recently that the period ahead will not be easy.

Business Licensing Bill pt. II
Eythan Morris
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May 23, 2013

The proposed Business Licensing Bill, which has been lambasted by critics as draconian and impossible to implement, will be significantly redrafted to take account of public submissions, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies promised last week. This brief examines the new developments.

Business Licensing Bill
Eythan Morris
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May 09, 2013

This Brief summarises some of the aspects of the Business Licensing Bill and considers what it could mean for business. It showcases State and Private Sector views on the Bill and concludes with some comments from the HSF

Social Security and Opportunity: Growing the Economic Cake
Andre Dumon
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Apr 25, 2013

In this brief the concept of increasing social security is looked at as being complimentary rather than opposed to economic growth. The author argues that in order for social security to become more comprehensive in South Africa, it needs to be made more sustainable through increasing economic opportunity so that people may become less dependent on the State for their micro-economic security.

2011-2012 Consolidated General Report on National and Provincial Audit Outcomes
Ashleigh Fraser
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Mar 14, 2013

The South African Auditor-General Terence Nombembe released the 2011-2012 Consolidated General Report on National and Provincial Audit Outcomes on 12 March, 2013. Whilst Nombembe’s address may have come across as being positive, his sentiments were contradicted by many negative audit outcomes. This brief examines the 2011-2012 Report and highlights the weakness of auditees, causing stagnation and regression.

Zimbabwe I - Demography & Economy
Charles Simkins
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This, the first of two briefs examining the prospects for Zimbabwe following the presidential succession, will consider the demographic and economic context. The second brief will discuss the political implications.