Tue Oct 25 21:07:38 SAST 2016

ConCourt ruling just what doctor ordered for SA Inc

The Times Editorial | 05 April, 2016 00:18

The keenly awaited ''Zuma dividend'' - the lift our economy would have received had the president stepped down after Thursday's devastating Constitutional Court judgment - has been put on hold.

The rand strengthened to its highest in four months on Friday when it was announced that Zuma would address the nation on the judgment, which found that he had violated the constitution by disregarding the public protector's findings on the wholesale splurging of public money on his private home.

The currency gave up some of its gains when it became apparent that the president was determined to weather the storm.

But the rand, which had been on an upward trajectory ahead of the ruling, mainly because of dovish comments by the US Federal Reserve on future interest rate hikes, remains relatively strong and was at 14.65 to the dollar at 3pm yesterday.

The weaker dollar, generally higher metals prices and a significant narrowing of the trade deficit from R18-billion in January to R1.1-billion in February, are all helping to support the beleaguered currency.

Friday's disclosure by the Treasury that tax collections had, for the first time, exceeded R1-trillion, suggesting that our revised Budget deficit target is achievable, is also a big positive for currency and country.

Equally significant was the fact that Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his reputed Nemesis, SARS commissioner Tom Moyane, were present at the tax announcement, suggesting that relations between the two men, while not warm, are at least improving.

Investors, and the rating agencies, need to be assured that our critically important state institutions retain their integrity and are working together for the greater good.

We might have to endure many more months of Zuma but the fact that a court has forced a sitting president to repay millions of rands to the fiscus, and has affirmed the authority of the public protector, is a massive plus for South Africa Inc.


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