May 12th, 2024 | Business, Economics, Practice



  • The first quarter, economically speaking, has come and gone. Data from Stats SA show a steep drop in manufacturing output, primarily owing to a steep decline in the production of motor vehicles and accessories. Unfortunately, this decline is echoed by a BETI plunge in March and the BER reporting a PMI (still in positive territory though) and business confidence drop. All told, Stats SA reported the biggest seasonally adjusted quarterly GDP shrinkage in one and a half years.
  • Paradoxically, Moneyweb reported that excellent vehicle exports helped push our trade balance into positive territory!
  • Good news of sorts is that our FDI inflows increased substantially over the past five years.
  • The Rand exchange rate has appreciated significantly.


News of interest:

  • BusinessDay reports that our ‘extortion economy’, nurtured in the Cape Province, is growing.
  • The National Veldfire Act compels municipalities, SOEs and organs of state to join fire protection associations.
  • An interesting extract, published by MarginalRevolution, shows that IQ/cognitive ability (unsurprisingly) does have an effect on earnings. A similar note, on our wage gap, confirms the mainstream belief that a 50-year-old white Gauteng male, holding tertiary qualifications, and is the highest average income in South Africa. The worst earners are young black females in Limpopo and the Eastern Cape.
  • Should an employer differentiate between the home use of alcohol and cannabis when it comes to admitting employees into the workplace:
  • BNP Paribas opened here in 2012 and has officially closed down.



There is little earth-shaking news in the property market.

Redefine has commented that South Africa suffers from an oversupply of office space.


The lag in property price growth and high interest rates, has resulted in homes, which can be partially sublet or used for multi-generational living, has become more popular. Similarly, group-buying of holiday homes is on the rise.

FNB expects the US to keep interest rates at a higher level for longer (September?). This results in its prediction that the cutting cycle of interest rates in South Africa will be shallower and delayed. The effect of this will be a lower growth in property prices this year.


A publication by ph attorneys on what a landlord could charge ‘extra’ over and above rental is worth noting, in passing:





Hard news



  • New conveyancing fees, effective from 16 May, have been announced; ask me for a copy.
  • Master’s news: delays in obtaining trust and estate files from the Master is caused by a change in offsite archiving contractors; especially business trusts, which require regular changes of trustees, are affected. Part of the difficulty is that the contractor is obliged to digitise a file before release thereof to the relevant Master – the Master in Pietermaritzburg has over 300,000 affected files, and there appears to be no end in sight for this process.



Oxford Economics, an independent advisory firm, has reported on what has become a newsworthy topic, i.e. the possibility of an ANC/EFF coalition, saying that such an event would raise our political/economic risk. Business especially has picked up on this topic, as such a coalition could potentially negatively affect South African economic prospects.

Whilst on the topic of elections, the mere presence of Nummawan has, true to his form, sown havoc in MK.



“The winner has many friends, the loser has good friends.”


Lighten up

I customarily make light of a topic touched on in the text above, in this case, Muslim divorces. Interestingly, there is virtually nothing on the net dealing with the light-hearted side of Muslim marriages. It appears that marriage and divorce are not topics to be dealt with lightly in that culture.

Muslims, in our part of the world, are typically good business persons, and might appreciate the following cartoon:




Written by: Daan Steenkamp 



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