South African rand slightly weaker ahead of budget speech

South African rand slightly weaker ahead of budget speech

"The expropriation of land without compensation is envisaged as one of the measures that we will use to accelerate the redistribution of land to black South Africans", said Ramaphosa, who was sworn into office to succeed Jacob Zuma as president last week.

According to Gigaba, lower-income households will not suffer too greatly from the rise in Value-Added Tax, due to the zero-rating food items - such as maize and beans.

"I would like to use this opportunity to address what role I played in my capacity as a Lonmin director in the events of that tragic week", said Ramaphosa in an address to parliament in Cape Town. "If you live on an extremely tight budget and have to count every rand you have, it will affect what you can buy".

That is barely in line with population growth and far short of the 3% expansion for 2018 Mr. Ramaphosa had envisaged when he campaigned to become ANC leader a year ago, and of the 5% growth he had foreseen for the period after 2023.

Like most of South Africa, the Democratic Alliance (DA) is brimming with optimism about the potential change in direction national government will take under Ramaphosa.

"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".

The budget allocates an additional R57bn over the next three years to finance a plan announced by Zuma late last year to fund tertiary education for poor students.

The 46-year-old has been accused by opposition parties and civil-society groups of helping members of the wealthy Gupta family-close friends of the former president-gain South African citizenship when he was home-affairs minister and of appointing executives at state companies that gave the family lucrative contracts when he was minister of public enterprises.

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.

The ANC took a political gamble by increasing sales tax ahead of elections next year as new President Cyril Ramaphosa seeks to stabilise debt and prevent a third junk credit rating. "There is positive sentiment". The ruling party may be banking on stronger growth this year boosting income, allowing it to provide relief and placate voters in next year's budget.

"I will try very hard not to disappoint the people of South Africa", Mr Ramaphosa said in ending his speech to parliament shortly after it elected him.