Risk Alert

Risk Alert | Expropriation by stealth?

Risk Alert | Expropriation by stealth?

In this week's exclusive client Risk Alert, Bheki Mahlobo and Frans Cronje unpack the concepts of custodial and regulatory takings, and how these legal mechanisms could be used to advance expropriation efforts in South Africa by stealth.
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They ask: what are the ideological drivers behind these and other policies?

Mahlobo and Cronje also return to the issue of terrorism in Mozambique, and the growing threat of Jihadism in the region.

Risk Alert | Where to for the world’s economy?

Risk Alert | Where to for the world’s economy?

12 April 2021 - In this week's client Risk Alert, Bheki Mahlobo and Frans Cronje focus exclusively on the broader economic outlook for the world’s key markets.
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Mahlobo and Cronje also look at the short, medium and longer-term prospects for global commodities, markets and the Dollar. 

Will the Biden administration’s ‘infrastructure’ plan deliver sustainable growth?  

Risk Alert | What is going on in the ANC?

Risk Alert | What is going on in the ANC?

5 April 2021 - In this week's exclusive client Risk Alert, Bheki Mahlobo and Frans Cronje outline three interpretations of recent events in the ANC.
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Mahlobo and Cronje also look into the likelihood of a third wave of Covid-19 infections in South Africa.

With Parliament set to push through Expropriation legislation as well as amend the Constitution, what will the government do with its new powers?

Risk Alert | New political formations on the horizon?

Risk Alert | New political formations on the horizon?

In this week's exclusive client Risk Alert, Bheki Mahlobo and Frans Cronje discuss the likelihood of an emergence of two new political formations from rival factions of the ANC.
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Mahlobo and Cronje also lay out three scenarios for Jacob Zuma, following the Zondo Commission’s appeal to the Constitutional Court to jail him for contempt.

Internationally, Mahlobo and Cronje look at recent events in North Korea, Turkey, Israel, China and the United States.

Risk Alert | The Public Protector and the balance of power in the ANC

Risk Alert | The Public Protector and the balance of power in the ANC

22 March 2021 - In this week's exclusive client Risk Alert, Bheki Mahlobo and Frans Cronje reflect on the significance of last week’s vote in Parliament on the fitness to hold office of the Public Protector.
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What does this vote say about the balance of power within the ANC and the prospects for policy reform in the country?

Cronje and Mahlobo also dissect the ongoing delays to South Africa’s Covid-19 vaccination programme and whether this may increase the likelihood of a ‘third wave’ of infections.

Risk Alert | Three big tests for the ANC

Risk Alert | Three big tests for the ANC

16 March 2021 - In this week's exclusive client Risk Alert, Bheki Mahlobo and Frans Cronje identify three ‘referendums’ to determine the ANC’s potential for reform.
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Will the private sector move on vaccines amidst ongoing delays by the state, they ask?

Mahlobo and Cronje conclude by discussing the prospects for the US Dollar and the South African Rand.

Risk Alert | Have SA’s courts been compromised?

Risk Alert | Have SA’s courts been compromised?

8 March 2021 - In this week's exclusive client Risk Alert, Bheki Mahlobo and Frans Cronje highlight the risk to the integrity of South Africa’s judiciary.
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Ongoing wage negotiations with public sector unions seem likely to undermine the Finance Minister’s plans to curtail spending, they argue. 

What do ongoing delays with South Africa’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout say about the relationship between private healthcare providers and the state, they ask?

Risk Alert | South Africa’s fiscal quagmire

Risk Alert | South Africa’s fiscal quagmire

In this week's exclusive client Risk Alert, Bheki Mahlobo and Frans Cronje discuss National Treasury’s economic growth, deficit and debt outlook for South Africa.
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The country’s low growth outlook will undermine prospects for any recovery in employment levels, while poor school outcomes continue to hinder labour absorption. 

Is the global economy entering a period of sustained recovery?

Risk Alert | Is the global economic recovery underway?

Risk Alert | Is the global economic recovery underway?

22 February 2021 - In this week's exclusive client Risk Alert, Bheki Mahlobo and Frans Cronje look beyond South Africa to determine the key trends influencing the global environment.
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As the world emerges from the rubble of the Covid-19 crisis, Cronje and Mahlobo explore the drivers of the economic recovery.

What factors could derail the recovery, they ask?

Risk Alert | The SONA and the policy soul of the government

Risk Alert | The SONA and the policy soul of the government

15 February 2021 - In this week's exclusive client Risk Alert, Bheki Mahlobo and Frans Cronje look beyond the State of the Nation Address and peer into the “policy soul” of the ANC government.
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Cronje and Mahlobo examine six key indicators to determine the policy and ideological orientation of the government.


These indicators reveal a policy framework increasingly hostile to investment and growth in the country.

Risk Alert | Has SA procured enough vaccines?

Risk Alert | Has SA procured enough vaccines?

8 February 2021 - In this week's exclusive client Risk Alert, Bheki Mahlobo and Frans Cronje discuss whether South Africa has procured sufficient vaccines to meet the needs of the country.
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What does the risk of SA falling behind the world in its vaccine response tell us about post-Covid economic recovery prospects?

Mahlobo and Cronje also warn that new stimulus measures in the United States may lead to future inflation risks.

Risk Alert | Inside the mind of the ANC

Risk Alert | Inside the mind of the ANC

1 February 2021 - In this week's exclusive client Risk Alert, Frans Cronje and Bheki Mahlobo discuss the growing ideological hostility towards the private sector within the ANC.
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Cronje and Mahlobo also warn of ‘hairline cracks’ that are beginning to emerge inside South Africa’s banking sector.

They conclude with an early take on China’s relationship with the United States in the Biden era.

Risk Alert | Eskom a ‘hard ceiling’ on SA’s growth prospects

Risk Alert | Eskom a ‘hard ceiling’ on SA’s growth prospects

25 January 2021 - In this week's exclusive client Risk Alert, Frans Cronje and Bheki Mahlobo unpack the latest data on energy availability in SA.
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Cronje and Mahlobo also explore the reasons for the declining competitiveness of SA's mining sector.

They conclude by highlighting some new (and old) risks in America’s politics. 

Risk Alert | The tortoise and the hare

Risk Alert | The tortoise and the hare

18 January 2021 - In this week's exclusive client Risk Alert, Frans Cronje and Bheki Mahlobo warn that ongoing delays in the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine may hamper South Africa’s re-integration into the global economy.
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What does the re-definition of beaches under the latest Lockdown regulations say about the ideological leanings of the ruling party and the competence of the government itself, they ask?

Cronje and Mahlobo also highlight recent calls by the South African Communist Party (SACP) for the government to pursue a prescribed assets programme.

Risk Alert | SA and the world in 2021

Risk Alert | SA and the world in 2021

11 January 2021 - In the first Risk Alert of 2021, Frans Cronje and Bheki Mahlobo look back on their 2020 projections to determine where they got it right and where they got it wrong in what was an eventful and tumultuous year.
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Cronje and Mahlobo also identify the key trends that will shape South Africa and the world in 2021.

Risk Alert | Will SA return to hard lockdowns over the festive season?

Risk Alert | Will SA return to hard lockdowns over the festive season?

14 December 2020 - In this week’s client Risk Alert, Bheki Mahlobo and Nicholas Babaya dissect SA’s economic data to determine whether the post-lockdown recovery will be sustainable over the medium term.
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Will SA return to hard lockdowns over the festive season, they ask?

Mahlobo and Babaya also look at the performance of the UK and Eurozone economies following the re-introduction of lockdown restrictions.

Risk Alert | Wage freezes already beginning to thaw

Risk Alert | Wage freezes already beginning to thaw

7 December 2020 - In this week’s client Risk Alert, Frans Cronje and Bheki Mahlobo discuss what public sector wage negotiations reveal about South Africa’s broader policy direction.
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Are prescribed assets really off the table, or will ‘infrastructure bonds’ be used to plug the government’s expenditure gaps with private savings?

Cronje and Mahlobo also consider whether South Africa may see the reintroduction of hard lockdowns in the near future.

Risk Alert | Violence and anarchy in SA

Risk Alert | Violence and anarchy in SA

30 November 2020 - In this week’s client Risk Alert, Frans Cronje and Bheki Mahlobo highlight the growing risk of violence and anarchy in South Africa.
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Do the police, army and intelligence services have the capacity to counter these multiple threats?

Cronje and Mahlobo also consider the short-term global risk equation going into 2021.

Risk Alert | Austerity or reform?

Risk Alert | Austerity or reform?

23 November 2020 - In this week’s client Risk Alert, Frans Cronje and Bheki Mahlobo discuss the botched retrenchments at the SABC and what the resultant backlash signifies about power dynamics within the government.
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As organised business groups lobby for civil service job cuts, will austerity measures strengthen anti-reform and anti-business activists within the Tripartite Alliance?

Cronje and Mahlobo conclude by turning their attention to East Asia, where a new multilateral trade agreement promises to strengthen China’s hand in the region.

Risk Alert | Why Ace Magashule’s arrest won’t stop corruption in the ANC

Risk Alert | Why Ace Magashule’s arrest won’t stop corruption in the ANC

16 November 2020 - In this week’s client Risk Alert, Frans Cronje and Bheki Mahlobo discuss the arrest of ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule.
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Does Mr Magashule’s arrest signal a shift in the ANC’s approach to corruption within the party or will it be business as usual?

Mainstream analyst and media opinion may have misread last week’s by-election results and what these signify for the status of the major parties.

Cronje and Mahlobo also review a number of global flashpoints including nuclear capabilities in Iran, the further capitulation of Hong Kong to Beijing, and tensions within Boris Johnson’s government over a UK-EU Brexit deal.

Risk Alert | Which way will the Rand go?

Risk Alert | Which way will the Rand go?

9 November 2020 - In this week’s client Risk Alert, Frans Cronje and Bheki Mahlobo give their view on the Rand and whether there is an upside risk in the currency strengthening.
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What is going on with Covid-19 in Europe and America and what does this mean for the global economy?

As a new era begins in America, how will markets and business react to the new balance of power?

Risk Alert | How accurate are Treasury forecasts?

Risk Alert | How accurate are Treasury forecasts?

2 November 2020 - In this week’s client Risk Alert, Frans Cronje and Bheki Mahlobo analyse the growth, debt and deficit projections presented by the Finance Minister at last week’s mini-budget.
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In the absence of structural reform, what are the risks associated with the government’s current fiscal trajectory?

Cronje and Mahlobo also look abroad to renewed Covid-19 risks in Europe as well as this week’s election in America.

Risk Alert | Who will win the race in America?

Risk Alert | Who will win the race in America?

26 October 2020 - In this week’s client Risk Alert, Frans Cronje and Bheki Mahlobo draw on the CRA’s electoral tracker to determine who is most likely to win the US presidential election on 3 November.
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While Mr Biden still appears well ahead in the electoral college vote, several swing states could tip the balance in favour of Mr Trump.

On the domestic front, Cronje and Mahlobo look ahead to this week’s interim budget speech and present the CRA’s growth estimates for the medium term.

Risk Alert | Quackery in the Union Buildings

Risk Alert | Quackery in the Union Buildings

19 October 2020 - In this week’s client Risk Alert, Frans Cronje and Bheki Mahlobo highlight how proponents of ‘Modern Monetary Theory’ appear to be influencing the economic policy agenda in the Union Buildings.
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A slightly reworked Expropriation Bill opens the door to expropriation without compensation across various asset classes, including (but not limited to) land.

The IMF has revised its global growth estimates upwards, while India forges ahead with long-awaited reforms.

Risk Alert | Real reform or simply good PR?

Risk Alert | Real reform or simply good PR?

12 October 2020 - In this week’s client Risk Alert, Frans Cronje and Bheki Mahlobo discuss recent attempts by the ANC government to swing the narrative on corruption and policy reform.
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Is the power of trade unions in South Africa on the decline following last week's failed attempt at a national strike?

Will Joe Biden sustain his lead in the build-up to next month's US presidential election?

Risk Alert | The risk of unemployment

Risk Alert | The risk of unemployment

5 October 2020 - In this week’s client Risk Alert, Frans Cronje and Bheki Mahlobo explore the complicated nature of South Africa’s official unemployment statistics.
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What is the risk of the growing unemployment problem to the ANC government and the country as a whole?

While some moves are being made to assuage public opinion on corruption in the ANC, Cronje and Mahlobo caution against being distracted by what they term ‘political rabbits.’

Risk Alert | SAA handling indicative of broader policy reform outlook

Risk Alert | SAA handling indicative of broader policy reform outlook

28 September 2020 - In this week’s client Risk Alert, Frans Cronje and Bheki Mahlobo discuss the government’s retreat from its assurance that it would not provide bailout financing for SAA, suggesting that this is a useful measure of broader prospects for policy reform.
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Cronje and Mahlobo also warn that fears of second wave Covid-19 infections in Europe might rattle markets and policy makers.

Who will emerge victorious in the US Presidential race?

Risk Alert | SA compares poorly to global peers

Risk Alert | SA compares poorly to global peers

14 September 2020 - In this week’s client Risk Alert, Bheki Mahlobo and Frans Cronje compare South Africa’s 2020 growth and deficit projections to the forecasts of other emerging markets.
Risk Alert | ANC retreats from SARB nationalisation, prescribed assets

Risk Alert | ANC retreats from SARB nationalisation, prescribed assets

21 September 2020 - In this week’s client Risk Alert, Frans Cronje and Bheki Mahlobo discuss the ANC’s strategic retreat from Reserve Bank nationalisation and prescribed assets.
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Cronje and Mahlobo argue that these risks may be delayed, but not entirely removed.

Will there be peace and stability in the Middle East following the normalisation of various Arab countries’ ties with Israel?

Risk Alert | 5 ways ANC cadres could avoid corruption charges

Risk Alert | 5 ways ANC cadres could avoid corruption charges

7 September 2020 - In this week’s client Risk Alert, Frans Cronje and Bheki Mahlobo argue that mainstream analysts may have misread the ANC’s supposedly tougher stance on corruption.
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Cronje and Mahlobo outline five ways in which ANC members implicated in corruption could avoid having to ‘step aside’ from their positions.

Although the global recovery continues, there are a variety of indicators that suggest the world is entering a more erratic recovery phase.

Risk Alert | Corruption an existential threat to the ANC

Risk Alert | Corruption an existential threat to the ANC

31 August 2020 - In this week’s client Risk Alert, Dr Frans Cronje and Bheki Mahlobo look at the ANC’s debilitating corruption dilemma.
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Will there be a more aggressive approach from President Ramaphosa in tackling corruption?

In lieu of prosecutions, can internal disciplinary processes succeed, given how widespread corruption is within the National Executive of the party?

These and other key questions are discussed against the backdrop of the ANC’s deep and persistent factional divisions.

Risk Alert | Terrorism in Africa: is SA under threat?

Risk Alert | Terrorism in Africa: is SA under threat?

24 August 2020 - In this week’s client Risk Alert, Dr Frans Cronje and Bheki Mahlobo discuss the growing threat of Salafi-jihadisim in Sub-Saharan Africa.
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Will South Africa's security be threatened by terrorism over the medium-term as a consequence?

Despite assurances of party leaders, the ANC remains committed to prescribed assets in South Africa, and we explore the ideological drivers behind this.

Risk Alert | Has SA really passed its Covid-19 peak?

Risk Alert | Has SA really passed its Covid-19 peak?

17 August 2020 - In this week’s client Risk Alert, Dr Frans Cronje and Bheki Mahlobo discuss a new trend in South Africa’s Covid-19 data: sharply decreasing testing numbers.
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As belated attempts are made to reopen the economy, has South Africa really passed its peak, as we have confidently argued over the last two weeks?

Also assessed is the track record of Kamala Harris, the Democratic Party nominee for Vice President of the United States.

Risk Alert | Will Tito Mboweni deliver another Budget speech?

Risk Alert | Will Tito Mboweni deliver another Budget speech?

10 August 2020 - In this week's Risk Alert, Dr Frans Cronje discusses rumours of the departure of South Africa’s finance minister, Tito Mboweni.
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Dr Cronje also reveals the underlying reasons for the recent turning of public opinion against the ANC government.

Finally, Dr Cronje contemplates the veracity of 'Second Wave' fears, and the implications for the nascent global economic recovery.

Risk Alert | Has SA reached its Covid-19 peak?

Risk Alert | Has SA reached its Covid-19 peak?

This week, Dr Frans Cronje argues that Covid-19 infections have already peaked in South Africa, which could herald rapid economic and social reopening into the spring.
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The shrinking tax base and growing public expenditure heightens the possibility of the country falling into a debt trap, he says.

Dr Cronje also assesses the validity of the ‘Second Wave’ thesis and the consequences for the global economy.

Risk Alert | Can IMF funding lead to policy reform?

Risk Alert | Can IMF funding lead to policy reform?

27 July 2020 − This week, Dr Frans Cronje discusses the policy and ideological significance of soon-to-be-announced IMF funding for South Africa in the midst of the country’s growing fiscal crisis and governance failures.
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On the international front, Dr Cronje assesses the purported ‘second wave’ of Covid-19 infections in the US and Europe, as well as the ongoing tit-for-tat posturing between the US and China.

Risk Alert | SA jobs bloodbath and four risks for the global economy

Risk Alert | SA jobs bloodbath and four risks for the global economy

20 July 2020 - This week, Dr Frans Cronje discusses the results of a recent survey which revealed that an estimated 3 million jobs may have been lost as a consequence of the lockdown.
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Government plans to introduce a basic income grant to offset the social and economic impact of the lockdown will put even more pressure on the already strained fiscus. Government may make a move on private pensions to finance the grant programme, he argues.

Although the global economy appears to be bouncing back after Covid-19, Dr Cronje highlights four risks which may derail this recovery.

Risk Alert | ANC policy papers show little sign of reform

Risk Alert | ANC policy papers show little sign of reform

13 July 2020 - This week, Dr Frans Cronje highlights three policy papers which entered the public domain last week from within the government and the ANC. Neither paper puts forward anything by way of substantive structural reform, he argues.
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With manufacturing and trade volumes increasing across the developed world, we see the likelihood of South Africa de-coupling from the post-Covid-19 global recovery continuing to grow.

Risk Alert | SA GDP contracts for third consecutive quarter… and counting

Risk Alert | SA GDP contracts for third consecutive quarter… and counting

6 July 2020 - This week, CRA analyst Bheki Mahlobo discusses South Africa’s chronically underperforming economy.
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As GDP declined by 2% in Q1 2020, South Africa’s recession continued for the third consecutive quarter under President Cyril Ramaphosa. Further contractions of over 30% are expected in Q2 as a consequence of the government-imposed Lockdown.

This comes amidst signs of a robust post-Covid-19 global recovery driven by gradual re-opening in the developed world.

Risk Alert | Next steps for SA: will fiscal pressure breed reform?

Risk Alert | Next steps for SA: will fiscal pressure breed reform?

29 June 2020 - This week, Dr Frans Cronje, argues that fears of a “second wave” of Covid-19 infections in America are misplaced, but that such fears might nevertheless rattle financial markets.
Risk Alert | Debt and deficits likely to balloon in Tito's Emergency Budget

Risk Alert | Debt and deficits likely to balloon in Tito's Emergency Budget

22 June 2020 - Dr Frans Cronje discusses this week’s emergency budget, which will likely reveal that economic growth will contract by at least -7% for 2020.
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Capacity shortfalls at Eskom and a limited appetite for structural reform will put a hard cap on economic growth prospects going forward, he says.

On the international front, Dr Cronje discusses recent clashes on the border between China and India, as well as simmering tensions between North and South Korea.

Risk Alert | Can SA take advantage of stronger global commodity prices?

Risk Alert | Can SA take advantage of stronger global commodity prices?

15 June 2020 - This week, CRA analyst, Bheki Mahlobo explores whether South Africa can take advantage of increased commodity prices as the world begins to emerge from the Covid-19 crisis.
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Mahlobo also discusses the prospects for reform in South Africa’s electoral system, as well as recent polling which suggests high demand for deregulation of the labour market.

Risk Alert (Week of 08 June 2020)

Risk Alert (Week of 08 June 2020)

This week, Dr Frans Cronje discusses the implications of a recent ANC policy document which seeks to empower the state to direct a greater share of economic activity and to finance such activity by tapping private savings.
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Internationally, Dr Cronje highlights how markets and employment numbers in the developed world are beginning to rebound despite enormous global geostrategic volatility.

Risk Alert (Week of 1 June 2020)

Risk Alert (Week of 1 June 2020)

This week, Dr Frans Cronje raises concerns about South Africa’s Covid-19 testing and tracing capabilities as the country enters level 3 of its Lockdown.
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On the international front, Dr Cronje notes that R remains below 1 for much of Europe, America, and Asia, signalling the early stages of a global recovery.

Beyond Covid-19, Dr Cronje highlights the restrictions on Hong Kong’s autonomy by Beijing, as well as growing Russian influence in Libya.

Risk Alert (Week of 25 May 2020)

Risk Alert (Week of 25 May 2020)

Following President Ramaphosa’s announcement last night, Dr Frans Cronje argues that support for the economic lockdown has largely collapsed within the government and that the move to level-3 will see a significant degree of economic reopening.
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CRA calculations reveal that South Africa’s R rate remains above 1, suggesting that the pandemic is still expanding exponentially more than 60 days after the country recorded its 100th case.

Risk Alert (Week of 18 May 2020)

Risk Alert (Week of 18 May 2020)

This week, Dr Frans Cronje, argues that South Africa’s purported move to Lockdown Level 3 remains vague, with no clear benchmarks attached to the various levels, and no plan in place to manage the transition.
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Globally, Dr Cronje observes that the continued posturing between the USA and China will be tempered by both nations’ interdependent trade relationship.

Expect a stuttering economic re-opening in Europe and the UK if Covid-19 reproductive rates remain below 1.

Risk Alert (Week of 11 May 2020)

Risk Alert (Week of 11 May 2020)

This week, Dr Frans Cronje considers tensions between the United States and China, and the prospects for both economies in a post-Covid-19 global recovery.
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Domestically, Dr Cronje highlights the recent statements made by President Ramaphosa in favour of “Radical Economic Transformation”  as well as the isolation of the Finance Minister within the cabinet.

Risk Alert (Week of 4 May 2020)

Risk Alert (Week of 4 May 2020)

This week, Bheki Mahlobo argues that the move from Stage 5 to Stage 4 lockdown represents a political response to public frustration at the lockdown, rather than a substantive change in policy.
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Mahlobo notes that the reform faction of the ANC remains a minority, with the securocrats and ideologues controlling the balance of power.

Internationally, Mahlobo highlights the risk of South Africa’s foreign policy stances undermining longer term access to western funding.

Risk Alert (Week of 27 April)

Risk Alert (Week of 27 April)

CRA Research Assistant, Bheki Mahlobo argues that this week’s expected move from phase 5 to phase 4 of the South African lockdown may do relatively little to restore much by way of domestic economic activity.
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Mahlobo notes that the weakness of South Africa’s stimulus position, combined with the flaws in the new lockdown model could see a major crisis in which public confidence in the government collapses just as the South African infection curve escalates and millions of people are forced to come to terms with deepening impoverishment.

Risk Alert (Week of 20 April)

Risk Alert (Week of 20 April)

This week, Dr Frans Cronje considers the proposal by the European Commission to reopen the economies of Europe, and contrasts this with the recent tightening of restrictions in Japan.
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On South Africa, Dr Cronje discusses the growing likelihood of increased stimulus spending and highlights the prospect of money-printing as a medium-term risk.

Dr Cronje also reflects on the risks attendant to a premature re-opening of South Africa’s schools, which, he argues, would undermine much of the effect of the lockdown to date.