The Big Winners and Losers from the Vodacom/Neotel Tie-Up

The biggest announcement of the month – and possibly of the year for the ZA IT world – is that Vodacom has concluded its negotiations to acquire Neotel. 

The big winner is obviously Vodacom, which now has a fixed-line infrastructure so that it can offer a full range of services. 

This will make it an even bigger player in South Africa.

The big loser is likely to be Telkom, which struggled and failed to launch an efficient mobile offering.   It is still an important player with a massive network, but the latest announcement that it is targeting white males in a new retrenchment exercise has led to a lot of resentment and annoyance.. especially among white males.

Another loser is likely to be DSTV, the dominant supplier of satellite TV services.   If Vodacom and Neotel can really get their act together with a TV offering into our living rooms – which is something Telkom has disastrously failed to do – and can find the right partners and content, it should be able to poach a lot of customers from the established player.

Competition is only good if you have robust and well-run competitors, and I have a strong suspicion that the Vodacom/Neotel union will bring the SA market exactly what it needs.

Which should mean that another big winner – will be the consumer. 

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Die Vine Intervention. The High Road – Director’s Reserve

A rousing red from the Cape is the focus of the latest Die Vine Intervention wine tasting podcast.
Food and wine guru Michael Olivier introduces a red blend, the High Road Director’s Reserve.
John Fraser is joined on the tasting panel by Tsogo Sun Group Sommelier Miguel Chan, analyst Chris Gilmour and economist Mike Schussler. The panel also chat about some of ZA’s barmy liquor sales restrictions….

Should Wine Farms charge for Tastings?

Visiting wine expert Robert Joseph gave an interesting speech in Cape Town this week, and I can’t say I agree with all of it.  However, he did make an interesting comment when he questioned the wisdom of wine estates charging visitors for tastings.   According to a news release on his speech, he said that those wineries which seem to think that they don’t charge for tastings are wrong: 

“Everybody who walks through your door is paying you – with his or her time. They could be spending – note the term – that hour on the beach, or shopping or in a gallery. Charging for tastings means that you are not doing anyone a favour, and you have to offer value for your customers’ money,” said Joseph.  

I have had some wonderful tastings in the Cape Winelands, but I have also left a tasting room without paying the designated fee, because the service was unimpressive, and the estate (Kanonkop) had none of its finer wines on offer. In fact, it had just two offerings and wanted to be paid for a thimbleful of each.  

But what do our experts make of it all?

Wine scribe and vendor Neil Pendock:

At the Pendock wine gallery @ taj (the Taj Hotel in CT) we do both. When an exhibition opens during the First Thursdays perambulation around Cape Town every month, tastings are free and the curator speaks about the wines which constitute the exhibit.  Otherwise we charge R30 to taste 6 wines to cover our costs, as we buy the wines from producers and receive very limited tasting stocks.  It’s like admission to museums and public art galleries. Some charge, some do not, depending on finances and philosophy. We wish all our tastings would be free, but cannot afford to do so.

Warwick CEO Mike Ratcliffe:

If you give something away, it loses its value. If you charge a fair amount of money for a service or product that you are offering, you should be sure to over-deliver in every aspect of that service or product. Quality wine consumers are not looking for free wine – they are looking for value – at every price point. Quality wine consumers are searching for authentic wine experiences. Activities like tasting, touring, education, food pairing and nature all play a role in delivering the appropriate experience. On the other hand, the tasting is in effect the sales pitch and this delicate balancing act should be acknowledged. A sale is not the stated intention. At Warwick our stated objective for providing a tasting is start a relationship that can be carried forward for years to come. We believe wholeheartedly in reimbursing any tasting fees fully at purchase and this has worked well for more than a decade. Follow us @WarwickWine and join the conversation.

Food and wine guru Michael Olivier:

I know Robert Joseph and admire much if what he talks and writes about.  Having worked at Boschendal in the 1980s, we were inundated on Friday afternoons with students who wanted to have wine for free.  I think much the same happened in Stellenbosch where most of the wineries were close to the University. I feel that to charge for a tasting is fair if the amount is refunded when a purchase is made.

Lawyer Emile Myburgh:

For us lawyers, time IS money.  While I’m tasting wine, I could be billing time, in fact, maybe I should bill the winery for my time.  

Bartinney CEO Rose Jordaaan:

We don’t currently charge for tastings on the estate as we feel that people have made an effort to come and experience the Bartinney story on-site.  We do charge for tastings at the Bartinney Wine Bar (in Stellenbosch), however!  We also only offer the 3 Bartinney wines to taste, not the other brand offerings we produce (eg the Noble Savage collection, the Brut Savage, Elevage). And we also reserve the right not to allow tastings of wines which are almost sold out.   We want people who visit Bartinney to feel they have received a treat and something special and are as privileged to be here as we feel privileged they have made the effort to come.

Former SATSA CEO Michael Tatalias:

There certainly is something to be said for a small charge – in that it forces the wine farmer to consider their wine tasting and customer interaction as a business – where the focus needs to be on superior customer service, and the farmer needs to apply significant thinking to the whole experience to make it an event worth paying for. Also it makes them consider it a business (either on its own, or a supplement to the winery itself, and thus a potential income earner), which means that days open and hours open have to be aimed at the tourists, not at what suits the farmer – which then forces the farmer to hire dedicated staff, and that is good news.  Far too many farms offer a slapdash experience, and are never open on Sundays or public holidays – when the local tourist wants to spend money. Also they need to decide if and how to deal with different types of tourists: local, international; kombi loads, cars/self-drives, coach loads. All need to be handled differently, and carefully so as not to overwhelm other user groups. But to make it too expensive to keep the riff-raff away is also risky, as it is very easy to out-price oneself.  The price needs to be realistic, and to cover only an aspect of fixed costs (like the wines used, or the staff on duty).  Farmers considering charging need to go and benchmark the opposition, and see what is charged by very well-known establishments (great brands) and see what the customer experience is like, plus ease of access (road conditions, signage, etc). Will you offer food, and if so of what quality?  Kanonkop and Warwick are across the street neighbours, and have completely different approaches to customer service and the experience on offer – both work, and Warwick needs to be different, as Kanonkop is/was the established brand. Other top brand wine experiences: L’Ormarins is different (given Johann Rupert’s resources), but the Franschhoek Motor Museum is a great way to add value to the wine experience, where the wine tasting is secondary to the cars – but right there and very accessible with excellent levels of staff service, food and tea. And they only charge for the people actually doing a wine tasting. Overall, I reckon it is a good thing to consider an entrance fee, or at least a tasting fee – as it forces the farmer to think carefully through the options and take it seriously and treat it like a proper business.  Far too many farms do not.  The old advice is also true – if you aren’t going to do it well, don’t offer it at all.

Jeremy Sampson, Executive Chairman of InterbrandSampsonDeVilliers:

I totally agree with the concept of providing value.  However, that means different things to different people around the world. In South Africa I suspect that to some the prevailing culture is that anything that is free gets little or no respect, and is open to potential abuse. The writer has a background in journalism, is based in the UK and travels the wine world as a commentator of note, so knows how to write a good story.  Locally it is at the discretion of the farm/estate to decide on the need to have an entry fee (as at Vergelegen) and/or a tasting fee that can fall away if purchases are made.  Wine estates sometimes think visitors simply want to drink and perhaps buy wine – and some do – but many will have children in tow and will want to enjoy the total brand experience of being in the country in idyllic surrounds as at Spier, Fairview, Warwick, and many others. The writer is correct that everyone has options as to how they ‘spend’ their time, a reason to make an estate a seductive destination brand of note, that the visitor will return to – and to charge what the market will stand.

 

 

Dino Fagas from Prosopa restaurant in Pretoria:

I agree that wineries should charge for tastings, but perhaps should waive this charge if someone buys at least a case of wine, or wines for a minimum qualifying value.  Also they should know when trade people are there (or if trade people introduce themselves with a business card) so they do not get charged – because they are the ones promoting their wines in stores, etc.  People are there to see and taste what the wineries have to offer. They choose to be there instead of on the beach. In Europe you even pay to be on the beach!   Wineries spend good money refurbishing their tasting rooms and making their offerings more attractive in order to promote their brands further. And, at the end of the day, they are there to make a profit.

Corlien Morris from Wine Concepts:

I’m afraid I don’t think there’s a blanket rule for this one. Some farms have small productions of pretty expensive wines and they can’t just simply open bottle after bottle for free. However there’s always a way to handle this in order to get the best of both worlds.  A farm on Stellenbosch main routes would definitely get streams of students drinking away in the tasting room if everything’s for free, where the guy out in the sticks would probably be all too happy with every single person who made the effort to drive all the way out to his farm. Then we also have to remember that today’s student is tomorrow’s CEO and if you treat him well as a student he will support you when he actually has the money to do so. My feeling is that a minimal fee would keep the drinking student out and bring the really interested student closer.  For the guy on the highway, I think it’s fair to charge a fee for tasting, but it makes sense to waive the fee should the customer actually purchase a minimum amount of wine. What’s the minimum becomes the next question, then? I know there are farms who offer free tastings; however there’s a fee if you wish to taste their top super-expensive flagship wine, selling for over R500 a bottle. That also seems fair to me. I don’t mind paying for a tasting, but then the person on the other end must know what they’re talking about and give me value for my money and not simply pour wine after wine and leave me to figure things out for myself. I don’t like paying for bad service!  Give me an experience and the money is all yours.

Conclusion:

If you charge me to taste your wines, make it a pleasurable experience, offer a good variety, and make me feel special.  And refund the fee if I buy a bottle or more.  If you have turned your wine farm into a family fun park, and it is noisy and unpleasant, with an over-crowded tasting room, then forget it.   Offer me a relaxed cellar tour and a tasting with your winemaker.  As they used to do at Klein Constantia and still do at Warwick.   Then you will have a friend, a fan, a brand ambassador, and a customer for life.     

Tweets of the Day:

Simon Rademan™ (@simonrademan): Soup should be seen, and not heard

NotKennyRogers (@NotKennyRogers):  I’m pretty sure Billy Joel could write an entirely new “We Didn’t Start The Fire” just based on stuff that has happened this week.

Funny Tweets(@Funny_TweetsQ):  Whenever you feel sad, just remember that somewhere in this world there’s an idiot pulling a door that says “PUSH”.

 

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Die Vine Intervention: 2013 Ayama Chardonnay

Once again food and wine guru Michael Olivier guides a quartet of inquiring palates to a fine Cape wine. This week it is a woodless chardonnay – the 2013 from Ayama.
John Fraser battles with little success to keep order in the Johannesburg studio with Tsogo Sun’s group sommelier Miguel Chan, Barclays Africa’s Chris Gilmour and economist Mike Schussler.

ZA Business calls on New Government to hit the Ground Running on Boosting the Economy

Top economist Raymond Parsons says the hesitation and waiting must end now that the ANC has been re-elected in this month’s national poll, and that moves to boost the economy must be unleashed.

He was addressing the media at the Johannesburg HQ of Business Unity South Africa (BUSA), in a discussion on the economic prospects for President Zuma’s second term. 

Parsons, who is a former BUSA Deputy CEO, said that there is now a degree of certainty following the election, and that while business had been in a holding pattern, the National Development Plan (NDP) must now be implemented. 

He called for “an implementation plan, with timelines” to move from strategy to action.

“We want to see the government hitting the ground running,” said Parsons.   

He suggested that government could triple the size of the economy in the 16 years to 2030 with a successful economic strategy, and “that is a prize worth seeking.”

He claimed the NDP would lead to a more predictable and certain policy network, and so business must make sure the NDP will prevail.

He said business must become more proactive, to influence government well in advance of policy formation, as opposed to reacting after the event. 

And he also called for more business unity among the country’s different business groupings, “with one telephone number for government to call.”

Parsons suggested that the NDP has identified lack of trust as a serious constraint, and said that closing the trust deficit is going to be a “top priority” for business.

Parsons questioned whether the ANC’s tripartite alliance with partners COSATU and the Communist Party has run its course.  He suggested ANC policy is “diluted” through this alliance.  And he wondered whether the economic cost of the alliance now outweighs its political benefits… 

Theo Venter from the NWU University Business School said at the presentation that it is unlikely Zuma will serve a full five year term in office, but suggested that he is not likely to leave office soon.

He said the ANC will need time to regroup and see where it is heading, and the ANC will take a decision to “protect the dignity of the man” – maybe by saying his health is poor. 

“I don’t see that happening early,” he said. 

Parsons suggested that Jacob Zuma’s legacy should be an economic turnaround, and that business should support this. 

Responding to Parsons’ comments on the tripartite alliance, Venter suggested that the problems in SA education will never be resolved until the strong link between government and the unions is broken.

BUSA’s acting CEO Cas Coovadia concluded that “we talk a hell of a lot in SA”, but there has been too little discussion on the “hard issues”.  He said business should take the lead.

Hard issues that worry him include corruption, labour issues, inequality, and the business environment – with concerns such as FDI, employment, education and SMEs. 

He also expressed concern about service delivery. 

He noted there is resentment about the wide gap between basic pay in SA and executive salaries, and said this must be discussed. 

Coovadia agreed with Parsons on the need for greater unity, and said there needs to be a common agenda for business – and added that he is not interested in “turf issues”.  He said BUSA itself must concentrate on strategic issues, leaving matters like trade visits to other business organisations. 

He also called for reform of NEDLAC – the forum which brings together business, labour and government. 

 

Conclusion:

The SA economy did pretty well until Jacob Zuma came to power, and business may be a tad optimistic in suggesting that the NDP will solve much.  Certainly, the SA institute of Race Relations has claimed, with some credibility that its ambitious goals just cannot be funded.  However, there is every reason to support a more robust dialogue between business and government.   One indication of the President’s willingness to boost the SA economy will come when he announces his new Cabinet.   The same old faces are likely to repeat the same old mistakes.  

Tweet of the Day:

Fake Dispatch (@Fake_Dispatch): FAKE DISPATCH GARDENING AND MARITAL ADVICE: Q: My wife wants to plant one tree, but I want two. How can I stand up to her? A: Grow a pair.

 

ZA Confidential is a subscription newsletter.   For subscription details or any other communication, please contact:    zaconfidential@gmail.com

ZA Confidential Interviews New WOSA Chairman Michael Jordaan

Corks have been popping in the ZA wine industry with the news that one of this country’s most respected businessmen – ex FNB CEO Michael Jordaan is now chairman of Wines of South Africa, or WOSA.   It is an industry with many challenges, ranging from fierce foreign competition to less than helpful government regulation.  He is a wine farmer himself, and is well equipped to take on this task.

ZA Confidential caught up with Michael to get his perspective on his new challenge:

ZAC:  How much work do you think is needed to get the industry to band together and to work together?

MJ: My sense is that the industry has matured over time from one where we saw everyone else as a competitor to one where all producers/ winemakers know that we can all benefit from export growth. We realise we do not compete against each other abroad but against a host of new world nations such as Australia, Chile and the USA. The debate is more on how best to position SA as a wine producing nation.

ZAC: What do you see as the biggest threats/challenges?

MJ: The challenge is how to lift the brand of SA in general and specifically our wine producing heritage, diversity and quality.

ZAC:  AT FNB you drove a lot of innovation.  Is there also room for more of this in the wine industry?

MJ: I hope so – certainly there is scope for using social media much more given how inherently social wine enjoyment is.

ZAC:  The Treasury recently launched a discussion document on wine taxes, looking at health issues.  Are you not worried that the industry is a soft target, and is perceived as bad, with a negative image?

MJ: Scientific opinion is that responsible wine usage (a glass a day) is actually healthy. Nevertheless taxes on alcohol is a reality in nearly all countries. Jokes about “sin taxes” aside, the Treasury proposals recognise that the industry is an important job creator and export earner.

ZAC:  Is enough being done to promote wine tourism, given the way in which so many estates now offer so more than just tastings?

MJ: Generally tourism in SA still has major growth potential. Our wine estates are amongst the most beautiful in the world and can certainly be used much more to help both the tourism industry and subsequent wine exports.

ZAC:  Since leaving FNB you have launched a venture capital operation, you chair Mxit and you are a non-executive director at the JSE Ltd. You also lecture.  And now this wine post.   Are you not over-stretching yourself?

MJ: My board positions are ideal for me in that I can contribute strategically but do not have operational responsibilities. Since leaving FNB I have been able to structure my life to spend more time with my family and friends as well as look after my health. Chairing WOSA is about giving back to SA and an industry that I feel passionate about.

Conclusion:

We have long held Michael in high esteem, and are convinced that his appointment is a good move.  

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Will Higher Booze Taxes Drive us to Drink?

These are taxing times.   And it could get worse for those of us who enjoy a glass or ten of something boozy from time to time.  Citing health concerns, the National Treasury has released a discussion paper about booze taxes, launching a process which will inevitably end up in high taxes on wines and spirits, beer, cider, port and all those other delights.    ZA Confidential would be happier about paying more tax if a convincing argument could be made that this would make a real difference to health, and is not just a back-door way of grabbing more of our money for the government to spend.  Oh, and why are booze taxes always referred to as sin taxes?  I know we are all sinners, but to suggest there is something sinful about wine puts a question mark over the actions of a certain well-known prophet, whose party trick (every pun intended) was to turn water into wine!   But what do our experts make of it all?

Chris Gilmour from Barclays Africa:

The first point to note is that alcohol, taken in moderation, is good for you. Red wine has been proven to reduce harmful cholesterol, while beer prevents kidney stone formation. The watchword, of course, is moderation. But I believe that the great majority of alcohol drinkers do, in fact, drink in moderation. It is a relatively small minority who spoil it for the majority. And yes, if the total cost to society of alcohol abuse were factored into the selling price of alcoholic beverages, then the price of beer, wines and spirits would undoubtedly rise. But why stop at alcohol? Why not do the same for junk food, salt, and virtually all carbohydrates….the list is virtually endless.  And yes, there is a duty by government to protect the vulnerable in society from the impact of alcohol abuse. So, for example, education about the impact of alcohol on foetal alcohol syndrome should be more readily available. And the same goes for over-indulgence in anything. But as the old saying goes…you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink (no pun intended).   There is a danger in over-burdening the alcohol industry with regulatory costs that inevitably get passed onto consumers. And that is in the realm of smuggling of poor-quality alcohol products. If excise duties and other costs are reflected in significantly higher selling prices, then the likelihood is that ersatz products, on which no duties or taxes are payable, will find their way into the market. So government needs to balance its priorities very carefully when deciding on whether or not to burden the consumer and the alcohol industry with more regulation and costs.

Miguel Chan.  Chief Sommelier, Tsogo Sun:

Prohibition in the 1930s in America has shown the world the folly of authorities trying to regulate the alcohol industry for the betterment of society, and to prevent and control alcoholic consumption, thinking it will reduce the state’s expenses in dealing with issues related to alcohol abuse.   We all know so well that prohibition backfired against the authorities and no matter how harsh the penalties were, they did not have a single effect in reducing alcohol consumption.  In fact all they did was to increase illegal supplies through various and effective undercover channels, and product disguise.  This is exactly what may happen should the authorities proceed in enforcing and increasing the taxes.   Not only will it not benefit the consumers, it will affect the production side (distillers, brewers and wineries) but also the delivery and service side (hotels, restaurants, bars), which is a huge job creator and will have a drastic effect in the long term, as this will put service providers under huge pressure.   Indirectly it will make South Africa uncompetitive as a tourism destination, and this will result in a reduction in consumption. They have to realise there is no overnight answer and solution to alcohol-related issues in society.  This will take time to adjust, and the only way out of it is through educating young generations about the benefits and dangers of alcohol consumption.  This should rather start as early as possible in schools, so that they can make better decisions and appreciate the product better, and in moderation, when they grow up. 

Duane Newman from Cova Advisory:

The debate around what is the most effective way to tax the alcohol industry has been a long drawn out one. In the past it has been dominated by one large industry player, but now there is more competition, which means more consultation is needed to get agreement on the way forward. It is vital that the taxing of alcohol is part of a broader health strategy, and it needs to be led by the health department.  It is important to decide what role taxes need to play in reducing consumption, taking into account the unrecorded consumption increases if prices increase beyond a certain price point.  Also SA has a large poor population – which also impacts how you tax alcohol. This has manifested itself in the lack of increases in excise tax on traditional African beer. It is hard to determine the price elasticity, but international experience has shown that an increase does result in a reduction in consumption.  In South Africa beer is still the product which is consumed the most – about 45% of total consumption, so whatever changes are made need to take the product mix into account. As the World Health Organisation found in their studies, “pricing policies” is one of the 10 policy instruments that can be used to reduce consumption. The question is: has South African considered the other 9 carefully enough or are we looking at raising more tax? 

Mario Pretorius from Telemasters:

Since Noah, we have grappled with the separation of personal choice and its effect on innocent bystanders.  The proposed amendments offers no solution, only a justification for a tax increase and social tinkering. We will shortly succumb to the legalisation of Marijuana and more, yet the mechanisms of control evade the participants and the authorities.  Make liquor sellers liable for consequences. This may lead to a 2-drink-max rule at pubs. Licence purchasers to drink responsibly. The possibilities of modifying behaviour to couch enjoyment without serious consequences is surely possible, but with maximum intoxication targets driving State revenues, we’re serving two disparate gods. Jacking up prices will separate the illusion of ‘good, natural products’ like beer and wine from ‘cheap intoxication stuff’ that is poised to flood the market. Powdered alcohol, anyone?  

Chris Hart from Investment Solutions:

One hopes that the tax review on the alcohol industry is aimed at helping to underpin the South African economy and to improve employment.  The wine industry, for example, is a critical cornerstone of the local economies in the Orange River Basin and Western Cape, for example.  We need to look at a tax regime that is more about enabling these industries to help underpin employment, but also the value-add of that industry, so that better wages can also be afforded.  This is an industry that is also important for exports and tourism, and we need to find a way that South Africa is a more competitive destination.  The beer manufacturing industry is also of huge interest, especially with the craft beer industry taking off.  This is another way to create more jobs and enhance the tourism appeal of South Africa.  The danger is if the tax review is looking to curb consumption, where the majority are moderate and responsible consumers – which means that you constrict the industry without necessarily resolving the problem of alcohol abuse.   Furthermore, when taxes become too high, they end up creating a space which is lucrative for criminal activity – and South Africa’s crime problem is much bigger than its alcohol abuse problem. 

Conclusion:

Let us by all means have an open, honest and comprehensive discussion of alcohol taxes.  And then let’s throw all the conclusions in the bin and head off to the pub.

Tweets of the day:

Mark Twain (@MarkTwainQuote):  Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

Jerm (@mynameisjerm): Zuma said, yesterday, that people who are worried about Nkandla are clever. Put another way, he said most ANC supporters are stupid.

 

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ZA Economy is Struggling

Three horrible batches of economic data have come out just days ahead of the general election on Wednesday. At the end of last week the vehicle manufacturers’ association Naamsa announced a year-on-year slump in vehicle sales for April of 10.7% – slightly shrunken to 10% if you believe the front page headline in today’s Business Report. Today we saw the unemployment rate for the first quarter of this year jumping to 25.2 %, from 24.1 % in the final quarter of 2013. And the final blow came with the latest Kagiso Purchasing Managers’ Index – the PMI – which fell by 2.9 index points to 47.4 in April – the lowest level since July 2011.   One the face of it, this trio of trouble suggests an economy which is floundering. But what do our experts make of it?

Ian Cruickshanks from the SA Institute of Race Relations:

There has been a succession of poor economic data, with today’s PMI and unemployment data, lower car sales numbers last week, and meanwhile there is slower growth in our partner trading countries. All this will have a negative impact on GDP growth, which is unlikely to be more than 2% in 2014. We have a ripple impact from the platinum mining strike, as those companies supplying goods and services to the platinum sector are slowing down, and in some cases closing down.   Surely government should have noticed this, as revenue from the fiscus is also going to be constrained, affecting the ability to boost social grants and other benefits. It is surprising that the JSE All-Share Index is at an all-time high, despite the dismal economic data. This data will mean no growth in jobs of any significant extent this year.

Nedbank Economic Unit on unemployment data:

The unemployment rate is likely to remain high in the short term given weak domestic demand, rising input costs, labour disputes, significant infrastructure constraints and other regulatory issues in some of the key sectors. Today’s figures provide further evidence that local economic performance is still well below potential. However, we anticipate that the Reserve Bank will tighten policy gradually by a cumulative 50 basis points over the next few months as inflation rises above the target range.

Investec on the PMI:

Fundamentally, weak activity in the production side of the economy, coupled with the slowing momentum in household consumption demand will be reflected in equally soft GDP readings. A low interest rate environment remains appropriate against a backdrop of subdued economic climate. We continue to expect that the SARB will maintain its measured pace of monetary policy normalisation and only deliver one more interest rate hike this year of 50 basis points, in July.

Conclusion:

The numbers are awful and reflect an economy which may not be in crisis, but which is limping along. The unemployment numbers were particularly shocking – indicating that more and more South Africans – and particularly young people- are struggling to find a meaningful role in the labour force.   The millions of jobs promised by President Jacob Zuma have not materialised.   However, his ANC supporters are unlikely to defect in sufficient numbers to oust him.    The challenge for the next Zuma regime will be to create a more business-friendly environment, and we will be closely watching to seen what transpires.  

 

 

Tweet of the Day:

Funny Tweets (@iQuoteComedy):  yeah baby i am an ANIMAL in bed. more specifically a koala. i can sleep for 22 hours a day

 

ZA Confidential is currently being relaunched after a period in which editor John Fraser has been working full-time on a book project, assisting Glenn Silverman and Chris Hart of Investment Solutions with their new book on the BRICS, scheduled for launch in August.

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2013 Landskroon Sauvignon Blanc

It’s a Cape white in the glasses of our Die Vine Intervention team this time – a crisp and refreshing 2013 Sauvignon Blanc from Landskroon.

As usual, food and wine guru Michael Olivier introduces the wine from the Cape – to a tasting panel in our Johannesburg studio: economist Mike Schussler, Tsogo Sun’s group sommelier Miguel Chan, Chris Gilmour from Barclays Africa and host John Fraser.
As well as discussing this wine, they ponder the merits of selection boxes of wine, one of which has been on sale at Makro with a picture of Michael Olivier and some of his recipes….