For all the latest news in South Africa, be sure to check out our daily wrap of major headlines on Tuesday 25 February.
As South Africans await, with baited breath, a pivotal Budget Speech due to be delivered by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni on Wednesday, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader, Julius Malema, downplays the issue of an arrest warrant emanating from a court no-show. In sports news, the Proteas put in their final preparations ahead of the T20 series decider against Australia.
Today’s latest news in South Africa, Tuesday 25 February
Budget Speech 2020: Mboweni between a rock and a hard place
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is putting the final touches on his 2020 Budget Speech; an address which will, undoubtedly, have far-reaching consequences for businesses, consumers and potential investors. Mboweni’s position, although unenviable, presents South Africa with two vastly different paths.
Rewind to the 2018 Budget Speech, where Mboweni quoted Charles Dickens, noting that the country found itself in ‘the worst of times and the best of times’ – South Africa’s economic prospects, damaged primarily by Eskom’s numerous failures and, as a consequence thereof, a looming credit downgrade, are worse off than before.
While Mboweni is expected to address key focus areas, namely:
Citizens will be looking to the finance minister to provide practical steps to grow the economy, alleviate the tide of job losses and unburden mounting debt. Unfortunately for Mboweni, reforms undertaken by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) have already landed the minister, and his contestation of said commitments, in hot water.
Julius Malema downplays ‘arrest warrant’
EFF leader Julius Malema is not particularly perturbed by the recent issuing of an arrest warrant following his failure to appear in court on five counts of discharging a firearm in public. On Monday, the East London Magistrate Court confirmed that a warrant of arrest had been issued, adding, however, that the warrant would be stayed until 8 May.
Malema stands accused of discharging an automatic rifle during the EFF’s fifth-anniversary celebrations at the Sisa Dukashe stadium in Mdantsane in 2018.
EFF spokesperson Vuyani Pambo noted that Malema’s legal team had come to an agreement with prosecutors regarding the warrant, saying:
“Our lawyers together with the prosecutor agreed with the Magistrate that there’ll be a withheld warrant of arrest; which simply means that the accused doesn’t have to appear until trial, so essentially that is the agreement.”
Malema will need to appear before the East London Magistrate Court on 8 May in order to avoid arrest.
Zondo Commission: To be continued
The Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, will continue its work for another year, following an extension granted by the North Gauteng High Court. This is the second extension which has been granted.
Attempts to uncover, and hold accountable, those responsible for the looting of state funds will last until 31 March 2021. The Zondo Commission, instituted in August 2018, was originally intended to wrap up proceedings within 180 days.
In order for the latest extension to be properly ratified, President Cyril Ramaphosa will need to amend the original proclamation accordingly.
SA Express hopes to spread its wings
Public Enterprises Deputy Minister Phumulo Masualle says there is still a commercial case for SA Express, and that it can play a critical role as a feeder airline to service secondary routes and key cities in the Southern African region.
Masualle said this after engaging the business rescue practitioners of SA Express, which was placed under business rescue on 6 February 2020 by an order of the Johannesburg High Court.
The business rescue process was as a result of legal action undertaken by service provider Ziegler. The service provider, whom SA Express had contended in its responding papers to the legal action, had been engaged irregularly by the previous management of the airline. (Source: SAnews)
SA’s Van Rooyen banks R9m and rises to 40th in World rankings after third in Mexico
South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen rose 12 spots to a career-high 40th in the world golf rankings released on Monday.
Van Rooyen finished in a tie for third at the PGA Tour’s World Golf Championships – Mexico Championship on Sunday. Van Rooyen carded rounds of 70 62 67 and 70 to finish on 15-under, three behind American Patrick Reed who claimed victory.
Van Rooyen turned 30 on Friday, and his birthday present to himself would be the R9m paycheque he received for his top finish.
The European Tour event winner has already secured an invite to The Masters in April, and now will have a pretty good idea of his playing schedule leading into the year’s first Major. (Source: ANA)
South Africa vs Australia third T20I at Newlands: Preview
South Africa levelled matters in Port Elizabeth but will have to break Australia’s five-match winning streak in T20Is at Newlands to win the series.
Australia have lost just once in the shortest format at the venue, and that was in the very first T20I played at Newlands when they were stunned by Zimbabwe.
The tourists feel that they blew a chance to clinch the series when they fell short chasing 159 to win at St George’s Park.
The Proteas will be desperate to give themselves a lift with a first series win of the home summer.
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