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While you were sleeping: 31 March 2017

By John Stupart 31 March 2017

Zuma sacks Gordhan, enacts his own night of the long knives. Rand plummets, and the country begins to react.

TGIF, 31 March 2017

“Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.”
John Lennon

 
 

STORY OF THE DAY

TRAINSPOTTER: WAR

By RICHARD POPLAK

The Zuma Presidency has ended. The Zuma dictatorship has begun. His surprise not-surprise Cabinet reshuffle, which ousted Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas from the Finance Ministry, has already tanked the rand. But it’s going to get much, much worse. And so this enormous act of disrespect was also a declaration of war, and on Friday, South Africans wake up to a worse version of their old country. The time has come to fight for a new one.

 
 
 

Zuma axes ministers in the dead of night

It came at midnight. A cowardly time to enact major government change, but for President Jacob Zuma, perhaps the perfect time. Minister Pravin Gordhan was sacked, with a replacement toadie well entrenched in his stead. If South Africans were looking for “that moment” when the country descended into a dictatorship, this was a pretty good moment.

 

The butcher’s bill

In the end Malusi Gigaba was made Gordhan’s replacement-puppet. Nobody really saw it coming, but the shift also replaced Gordhan’s deputy Mcebisi Jonas with Sfiso Buthelezi. The official reasoning of Zuma’s reshuffle was to “improve efficiency and effectiveness”. If the aim is improve the efficiency by which the state coffers can be looted, jolly good then.

 

The reaction

Not all were asleep at such a ridiculous time, however. Reaction to Zuma’s overtures at entrenching his domain was swift, and it was scathing. Save South Africa, among others, were not content to wait until interns woke up in the morning to write a response. They called for South Africans to “act now”. More specifically, a march. Today. At 10am in Pretoria’s Church Square. If you’re around and about, your tea break can wait for once.

 

The cost. Literally.

The rand tanked predictably. Hovering under R13 to the dollar before the Zuma Overture began, the currency plummeted to a disturbing R13.42 by the morning. When markets open again on Friday, expect all gains made by Gordhan and his ministry to be erased completely. Anyone planning on shorting the rand could not have orchestrated the plummet better.

 
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IN NUMBERS

13.42

The cost of a dollar, as of 6am, SAST.

 

FACTS OF THE DAY

Today in 1989 the Eiffel Tower was opened.

The measurement “lbs” derives from the latin “libra poundo”.

 

FEATURED ARTICLES

TRAINSPOTTER: WAR

BY RICHARD POPLAK

 

OPINIONISTAS

Heady times for the judiciary in South Africa

A column by LAWSON NAIDOO

 

The Other News Round-Up: Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye

A column by MARELISE VAN DER MERWE

 
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Weather
BFN: min: 16° max: 31°, sunny
CPT: min: 15° max: 21°, PM rain
DBN: min: 21° max: 34°, sunny
EL: min: 22° max: 27°, cloudy
JHB: min: 11° max: 28°, sunny
KIM: min: 20° max: 33°, sunny
NLP: min: 12° max: 32°, sunny
PMB: min: 16° max: 35°, sunny
PE: min: 18° max: 23°, PM rain
PTA: min: 12° max: 29°, sunny

Financial Data
Oil=$52.75
Gold=$1,241.39
Platinum=$947.85
R/$=13.42
R/€=14.34
R/£=16.77
$/€=0.92
JSE All Share=52,261.18
DJIA=20,728.49
FTSE 100=7,369.52

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