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Finweek - English

Finweek - English 4/09/2021

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Finweek is South Africa’s leading financial weekly magazine focusing on investment. With its brisk, creative and authoritative analysis of business and investment issues, it’s an essential business tool in the daily battle for competitive advantage. Today's business decision-makers have to cope with increased pressure on their time and are expected, more than ever before, to succeed in the face of stiffer competition. Finweek provides relevant information in quick bytes, along with award-winning investment advice.

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South Africa
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25 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
from the editor

In this edition of finweek, the dichotomy of South Africa’s economy is strongly brought to the fore. On the one hand we have ambitious business people (such as Sibanye-Stillwater’s CEO Neal Froneman and Thakadu’s Ruli Diseko) with an international view of business; and on the other hand, this ambition is hindered by insufficient electricity from Eskom and political uncertainty. Let alone the poor implementation of the government’s vaccination programme. Yet, despite all this, South Africans are a hopeful bunch. As a former editor of this publication once put it most succinctly, and I take the liberty to rewrite her words somewhat: “South Africans have the superhuman ability to step away from the edge of chaos when things are looking at their worst.” This was the case with the birth of our…

4 min.
the future of the farm

Agriculture is not what it used to be. My grandfather was an ostrich farmer in the Klein-Karoo, with a small dairy on the side to make ends meet. He raised seven children and supported a handful of farm workers on a small plot of land that was more likely to deliver soil erosion than bumper crops. From what I remember he had a tractor and a combine harvester and a lot of grit. And that is still largely my mental picture of agriculture today: the lonely farmer toiling away on his tractor, praying for rain. That view, though, is utterly outdated. Agriculture, as Forbes magazine noted in February, is one of the most innovative industries at present. Investment in artificial intelligence (AI) agricultural technology is skyrocketing. PwC predicts that Internet-of-Things-enabled agriculture…

1 min.
“the disappointment … has been in how our financial sector has managed the covid guarantee fund.”

— President Cyril Ramaphosa criticised SA banks for failing to manage and administer the R200bn loan guarantee scheme that was supposed to rescue small businesses affected by Covid-19 from collapse and job losses, during an address at a masterclass arranged by the National School of Government. Ramaphosa said the country’s financial sector is highly monopolised and highly profitable, but has failed to address challenges faced by struggling entrepreneurs during the pandemic. The big four banks previously said there hasn’t been much demand for additional financing after the government-backed plan was announced.…

4 min.
double take

THE GOOD The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) left the repo rate unchanged at 3.5% in a unanimous decision, saying overall risks to the inflation outlook appeared to be balanced in the near and medium term. In an article written exclusively for the finweek newsletter by Mariam Isa and published after the announcement, SARB governor Lesetja Kganyago indicated that SA should be able to contain its own inflation even if US price pressures mounted, which would mean the country would gain in competitiveness. Updated forecasts from the Monetary Policy Committee showed SARB expects inflation to rise to 4.4% by the end of 2021 and hover at around 4.5% for the next two years. THE BAD While SARB may have found favour for holding the repo rate steady, the same cannot be said for…

4 min.
thakadu banks on battery-driven surge in nickel demand

Having taken a leap of faith in 2015, commodities entrepreneur Ruli Diseko is not going to be rushed into hasty decisions today. His Thakadu Group recently announced the commissioning of a $20m (R298m) nickel sulphate refinery, which is located on the premises of Sibanye-Stillwater’s Marikana platinum group metals (PGM) facilities, near Rustenburg in the North West province. Nickel sulphate is a refined form of the nickel metal that is of interest to manufacturers of electric car batteries. In fact, one of Diseko’s first calls after deciding to make the investment in 2016 was to Tesla, the US carmaker. The company liked what Thakadu was hoping to offer, and it provided an early signal to Diseko that he was on the right track. Soweto-born Diseko, a UCT commerce graduate, began working life as a…

3 min.
annus horribilis for viljoen

It has been a year since Natascha Viljoen walked through the doors at Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) as its new CEO – a period described by industry colleague Bernard Swanepoel, a nonexecutive director of Amplats’ rival Impala Platinum, as one that “has been truly horrible” for her. Swanepoel was speaking at his Joburg Indaba PGM industry day, an online conference, where he wanted to know from Viljoen how difficult it was to compete for capital in the Anglo American group, which is an 80% shareholder of Amplats, as the group had so many high-quality assets spread across the world. Owing to the ever improving “optics” of the PGM basket price – which includes not just platinum and palladium, but high-riding metals such as rhodium and now iridium – Amplats can offer up…