Published: Sun, February 25, 2018
Culture | By Henry Herrera

Africa's Ramaphosa: Land Expropriation Won't Be 'Smash and Grab'

Africa's Ramaphosa: Land Expropriation Won't Be 'Smash and Grab'

Ramaphosa will be in the House for his first question and answer session as president of the country on 14 March.

In addition to the all-important budget statement, February also saw a changing of the guard in South African politics, with the scandal plagued Jacob Zuma resigning from office in order for his reformist deputy Cyril Ramaphosa to take the helm.

"This is partly because the budget measures (with the 1ppt rise in the rate of Value-Added Tax, even ahead of an election) demonstrate political resolve to try to rein in the fiscal deficit".

It is hoped that the increase, coupled with adjustments to income tax brackets, will raise some 36 billion rand ($3 billion) for the public purse in 2018-19.

The first increase in the sales tax since 1993 comes just over a year before national elections and could backfire on the African National Congress because it will affect its largely poor and middle-class supporters. They acquired a private jet and mansions from Cape Town to Dubai. "If you live on an extremely tight budget and have to count every rand you have, it will affect what you can buy".

Then in June past year the amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism and the Daily Maverick website's Scorpio unit unveiled the so-called Gupta Leaks - a trove of more than 1 million electronic documents.

For years, brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta were ranked among South Africa's most prominent businessmen and socialized with the ruling elite, including their friend, then-President Jacob Zuma.

Growth rose to 0.9 percent last year from a paltry 0.3 percent the previous year.

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"This is line with our forecast for continued South African rand (ZAR) gains over the course of this year, in part also reflecting a weaker Dollars, with an eventual test of 11.00 remaining possible".

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, whose position is uncertain now amid talk of an imminent reshuffle by President Cyril Ramaphosa, announced the weak growth estimates and rising government debt in October a year ago.

Gigaba, who is widely seen as a Zuma loyalist, jokingly asked Ramaphosa "how much time do I have, sir?" as he started to deliver his speech.

"President Ramaphosa, I want to on behalf of the DA congratulate you, wish you well and I want you to know, if you act in interests of the people of South Africa, we will cooperate as best we can", said Mmusi Maimane.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has received messages of congratulations from a number of Heads of State and Government during a round of telephone calls on Sunday afternoon.

"The markets believe Ramaphosa is good for our economy", said Ken Swettenham, a financial analyst at Liberty Life.

But opposition parties remained unconvinced.

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