Exclusive Survey: Top Economists Warn ZA Economy Will Limp Ahead

On the back of yesterday’s 1.4% number for ZA’s third quarter GDP growth, ZA Confidential approached a cluster of our top economists to get their views on the outlook for the rest of this year, and for next. The numbers make depressing reading.   We need growth of 5% to 6% a year to make at least some dent in the current horrible unemployment problem – which Investment Solutions has identified as South Africa’s new National Scar. No one in our team of 14 top economists believes we will come close to this in 2014 or 2015.   And if Eskom continues to apply the brakes to the economy, we will have a very rocky – and a rather dark – ride. For 2014, estimates for GDP growth for the full year range from 1% to 1.6% – a feeble performance.   For next year, a slight lift is expected, with our economists predicting annual growth for 2015 to range between 1.4 and 2.6%, once again a poor show.

Expert                                                                 2014 GDP (%)         2015 GDP (%)

Dawie Roodt of the Efficient Group                  1.3                        1.6

Azar Jammine of Econometrix                           1.4                        2.5

Ian Cruickshanks of the SAIRR                          1.25                       1.5

Prof Raymond Parsons of NW University        1.5                         2.5

Iraj Abedian of Pan African                                1.2                         1.4

Dennis Dykes of Nedbank                                 1.4                         2.5

Ettienne le Roux of RMB                                    1.3                         2.4

Sizwe Nxedlana of FNB                                      1.5                         2.3

Annabel Bishop of Investec                               1.5                         2.5

Craig Pheiffer of Absa                                        1.4                         2.6

Professor Eltie Links                                            1.4                         1.9

Luke Doig of Credit Guarantee                          1.3                         2.0

Peter Attard Montalto of Nomura                     1.6                         2.5

Mike Schussler……………………………….1.0………………….. 2.2


This economy is limping along, and without a few economic miracles the misery of low growth and high unemployment will continue to plague us.

Tweets of the Day:

Funny Tweets (@Funny_TweetsQ):   People who say ‘age is just a number’ are stupid. Age is clearly a word.

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Red Card for Nedbank’s Green Wine Evening

Operating on the fringes of the SA wine industry, through the Die Vine Intervention wine tasting podcasts which I record with living legend Michael Olivier, I am always happy to be invited to a wine tasting, and looked forward to the recent Nedbank Green Wine Awards evening in Johannesburg.

I am not sure whether this was a consolation prize from Nedbank for having (once again) forgotten to invite ZA Confidential to their annual media bash, but along with one of ZA Confidential Associates, I went along to the evening event. Even though it cut down on the time available to spend around the corner at the FNB Whisky Festival – to which we had received several invitations and free passes. None from FNB.

So what was the wine evening like?   I certainly applaud the initiative to promote green practices in South African winemaking, and was happy to sample this year’s winners, even though none seemed to reach the mix of quality and low price which I look for when buying wine.

I would have organised it differently…..

  1. When we were called to sit down, the wines were not yet poured.  Instead, we waited while some patronising presenters gave us a master-class in how not to address an audience.
  2. The wines were not poured in the order in which they were to be tasted, and instead of this being an efficient, enjoyable process, the speeches went on and on.  And on.  Far too much detail.  And I do know what a spit bucket is for, and did not need to be given instructions.   Although by the end of the tasting I was very tempted to pour the contents over the organisers.
  3. The attendance was terrible, with around 30-40% of the seats unoccupied.  Those there seemed to mainly be Nedbank staffers, in detention for bad behaviour. How can you give away food and wine and still fail to fill a venue?  I am baffled.
  4. There was a pleasant buffet afterwards, but when I went to the bar to get a last glass of wine to wash down my cheese, I was told we had had our lot.  No more wine…   Fortunately I managed to hijack a few dregs from a kind waitress.   When my mate Norman asked for a beer, he was asked to pay for it.  And to add insult to injury, as we left we spotted a few of the immensely tedious speakers at the bar, with what appeared to be their own private cache of wine bottles.
  5. I think the big problem was that Nedbank threw money into staging an event, with no clear focus of who they were aiming it at.  If their own staff, and those who do not know from which end of a bottle one extracts the cork, then that would have been fine.  But don’t invite in outsiders to a kindergarten event.


Bravo to Nedbank for promoting green wine. Red card to Nedbank for showcasing it so poorly.

Tweets of the Day:

Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow): Why did Beethoven sell his chickens? Because all they said was “Bach Bach Bach” #ClassicJokeFriday

Secret Tips (@Funny_Truth): If you expect something in return for being a nice person, you aren’t a nice person.

PUNS (@omgthatspunny): Have you bought yourself a boomerang yet? I heard they’re making a comeback.

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

Die Vine Intervention. Zonnebloem Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Legend in his own lunchtime Michael Olivier introduces the tasting panel to a crisp and fruity Cape white wine – the 2104 Zonnebloem Sauvignon Blanc.

The Johannesburg studio is invaded by Gumtree SA’s Jeff Osborne, top Economist Dennis Dykes from Nedbank and Corlien Morris from Wine Concepts in the Bluebird Centre.

After the tasting, the panel chats about the challenges of getting the people who serve wine in restaurants up to standard.

Malcolm MacDonald handles the technical side of the recording and may be heard slurping in the background..

Die Vine Intervention: KWV Cape Ruby and Red Muscadel

Celebrity food and wine superstar Michael Olivier introduces a duo of delights from KWV – two fortified wines of class and character. They are the Cape Ruby, a Port by any other name, and the Red Muscadel.

The sweetish wines are balanced by the savory comments of a stellar tasting panel: branding veteran Jeremy Sampson, Cova consultant Duane Newman, and Tsogo Sun’s group sommelier Miguel Chan, who also poured the wines and did the washing up afterwards.

John Fraser hosted the tasting and was attacked unfairly by an angry mob over his tendency to slip a few ice cubes into over-heated wines.

Foxwood Chenin Blanc and Shiraz

Food and wine sage Michael Olivier uncorks two corkers from Foxwood – the 2012 Chenin Blanc and the 2011 Shiraz.

John Fraser tries and fails to keep order in the Johannesburg Studio with guests Miguel Chan from Tsogo Sun, Duane Newman from Cova Advisory, and branding legend Jeremy Sampson.

Die Vine Intervention: A pair of Zaccagnini’s

IL Bianco di Ciccio

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo


Food and wine expert Michael Olivier introduces two wines from Italy to the Die Vine Intervention Tasting panel of Tsogo Sun’s Miguel Chan, Cova Advisory’s Duane Newman, and Interbrand’s Jeremy Sampson.

Unusual for the team to stray from South Africa, but still a lot of fun.

Here is the podcast: