Tag: South Africa

Source: Business Insider SA

China’s leading e-hailing service is expanding into South Africa, challenging a market dominated by Bolt and Uber. The official launch, which brings DiDi Chuxing to Cape Town, follows a successful pilot programme conducted throughout March in Gqeberha.

Founded in 2012, DiDi Chuxing is the world’s largest e-hailing service, with an estimated 550-million users and more than 30-million drivers across 16 countries. The tech company’s latest foray into the South African market comes amid talks of a public listing after raising $21.2-billion (R315-billion) in venture capital, with major backing from SoftBank Group.

By comparison, Uber has an estimated 93-million active users and 4-million drivers in 80 countries.

On 1 March, DiDi launched a limited pilot programme in Gqeberha to gauge interest in the South African market. The trial signed up more than 2,000 drivers who provided transport to 20,000 residents, according to Stephen Zhu, the head of DiDi’s international business.

The South African version of the app has been officially unveiled and is available for download but is limited to users in Cape Town. The first phase of the expansion focuses on recruiting drivers who won’t need to split their fares with DiDi – noted as a “0% commission” by the e-hailing service – for the first month after signing-up on the app.

The number of available drivers is limited during the recruitment phase though, which increases waiting time and prices, especially during peak traffic hours.

DiDi currently offers “express” transport to passengers, which is charged at a base fare of R15 and a distance rate of R10 per kilometre. These fares are, however, subject to “dynamic pricing” fluctuations which are similar to Uber’s surge pricing. During peak hour traffic or when drivers are limited, fares are increased according to a standard rate multiplier.

DiDi’s “express” service is the equivalent of Bolt’s standard ride and UberX, in terms of passenger capacity.

In addition to being more expensive than both Uber and Bolt, DiDi’s passenger service is currently limited to the “express” offering, while the other two competitors offer even more affordable options through compact rides.

 

Source: MyBroadband

South Africa has 121 “major restrictions” and 97 “moderate restrictions’”from other countries in place because of the 501Y.V2 COVID-19 variant which is widespread in the country.

This was revealed by travel website Skyscanner which has developed a mapping tool that shows COVID-19 travel restrictions around the world.

The Skyscanner map uses data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and is regularly updated with the latest restrictions.

According to the Skyscanner map from Friday 26 March 2021, the following restrictions were in place:

  • 121 major restrictions – Travel here may be suspended, the country may be closed, or entry only possible if you are a citizen and/or meet strict requirements.
  • 97 moderate restrictions – Travel here is possible if you meet certain entry regulations which can include taking a COVID-19 test. You
  • may also be required to quarantine upon arrival and/or return.
    7 low restrictions – You can travel here and likely won’t need to quarantine when you arrive or return.

The map below shows major restrictions (red), moderate restrictions (orange), and low restrictions (green). Countries where the restrictions are unknown are presented in grey.

SA Flyer Magazine editor Guy Leitch said because the 501Y.V2 Covid-19 variant is commonly referred to as the “South African variant”, it attached a stigma to the country.

South Africa’s slow vaccine rollout is another aggravating factor. To date the country has only vaccinated 231,605 people, well below its own targets.

“It is no surprise at all that IATA describes us as one of the worst red-flagged countries in terms of international travel,” he said.

Although moderate restrictions allow for some travel, it has been shown that quarantine requirement stops travel in its tracks.

“We have seen draconian quarantine requirements put in place by many European countries. Most of them require at least a week in isolation,” he said.

Apart from the limits on South Africans travelling to other countries, international travellers to South Africa have also plummeted. This hit the local economy hard.

Travel and tourism contributed 7% to South Africa’s economy in pre-pandemic times and accounted for 1.5 million jobs.

This industry is under severe pressure and many hotels and other businesses have already closed down.

The local airline industry is also suffering because of limited local travel and far lower volumes of international travel.

“It is a great tragedy and it the damage caused to the local travel and tourism industry cannot be overestimated,” he said.

 

859 hours of loadshedding in 2020

By Kaylynn Palm for EWN

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on Tuesday said for almost 10% of 2020, there was load shedding.

A report compiled by the council said the country endured 859 hours of blackouts last year.

The council’s Jarrad Wright said: “Possibly going forward, it doesn’t seem like it is going to look good, which is why our biggest recommendation is procurement that talks to a customer response and enabling regulatory frameworks especially for large customers to start to self-supply for themselves.”

He’s suggested the problem be tackled in various ways: “We can’t just rely on the coal fleet returning and it seems like it has not and doesn’t look like it will as its eligibility level declined from 2019 from 67% to 65% in 2020.”

He said during the COVID-19 lockdown last April, electricity demand went down significantly but when the country came out of the risk-adjusted strategy, it shot back up.

“Nothing really changed in terms of energy availability and as a result of that, there was a return to load shedding.”

SA’s jobless grows to 7.2m

By Siphelele Dludla for IOL

South Africa’s unemployment rate increased by 1.7 percentage points to an unprecedented 32.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared from 30.8 percent in the previous quarter.

This is the highest jobless rate since the start of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) in 2008, with more people entering the labour market and actively looking for jobs.

The unemployment rate according to the expanded definition of unemployment, however, decreased by 0.5 of a percentage point to 42.6 percent in the fourth quarter compared to the third quarter.

Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) said that the number of unemployed persons increased by 701 000 to 7.2 million compared to the third quarter of 2020.

StatsSA said the number of discouraged work-seekers increased by 235 000, or 8.7 percent.

The number of people who were not economically active for reasons other than discouragement decreased by 1.1m between the two quarters, resulting in a net decrease of 890 000 in the not economically active population.

The QLFS also showed that the number of employed persons increased by 333 000 to 15 million in the fourth quarter of 2020

StatsSA said this resulted in an increase of 1 million in the number of people in the labour force.

The statistics agency said employment increased in all sectors in the fourth quarter, with formal and informal sector employment, private households and agriculture all recording positive outcomes.

The formal sector in South Africa accounts for 69.9 percent of total employment.

StatsSA said that trade, construction and agriculture had higher employment shares relative to their gross domestic product (GDP) contribution.

Employment increased in all industries, except finance and mining, with community and social services, construction recording the most gains.

 

How the tech sector can uplift South Africa

By Riaz Moola, founder and CEO of HyperionDev

South Africa finds itself at a difficult moment. Unemployment has hit a record high of more than 30% according to the most recent government Quarterly Labour Force Survey. During 2020 alone, some 20million jobs were shed – and the effects of the national lockdown and its regulations continue to be felt by businesses, many of whom had to shutter shops or scale back operations to comply with restrictions to combat the spread of the virus.

However, the tech sector finds itself uniquely positioned to accelerate social change, rebuild the economy, boost education and health, and improve access to a better life with greater opportunities. Here are four ways that ICT businesses can play their part.

1. Provide innovative solutions to new problems

Part of technology’s contribution to our society is its capacity for invention and innovation. Established tech companies and start-ups both have an opportunity to help South Africa rethink the way its businesses, systems, and society works. A great example is how tech has helped brick-and-mortar businesses overcome the forced closures during lockdown.

Thanks to new communication technologies, online services, and digital transformation, thousands of businesses were able to revitalise their operations and increase their reach beyond the single street in their business district. Businesses have been able to reimagine themselves because of better access to tech that makes them more agile and less complex. One example of this is Yoco, a tech company that allows small businesses to process card payments without having to pay for costly bank swiping terminals or connect to complex systems.

2. Improve education and access to a better life

With a changing world comes ever-changing requirements. Part of South Africa’s troubles lie in the difficulty people experience in accessing a world-class education that prepares them for a fruitful and rewarding future. The need for better access to high-quality education in South Africa, where cost places it out of reach, is all too clear. According to StatsSA data from 2020, the number of South Africans aged between 15 – 24 years who were not in education, employment or training was recorded at 34.1%. Around 41.7% of all South Africans under the age of 35 (totalling 20.4 million people) are not currently in employment either. It’s alarming and worrying.

Tech companies can address this problem on two fronts: by improving the ease of access to education through digital and remote technologies, and by modernising educational curricula to include technical skills that today’s business landscape requires.

South Africa has already seen a wave of start-ups dedicated to democratising access to education. Organisations like the FunDza Literacy Trust push for more accessible reading and better education development. Start-ups like Snapplify create entire e-learning platforms for organisations, while coding skills bootcamps like ours at HyperionDev make access to key digital and developer skills simpler and more equitable.

Accessibility is at the heart of these movements. Enabling South Africans with low-bandwidth access to participate in affordable and high-quality educational resources from wherever they may be – provided they have a cellphone – is a big step in the right direction. The tech sector can greatly improve the South African outlook by making these initiatives accessible.

3. Champion sustainable growth and inclusion

Those operating in the tech sector are often the vanguards of progressive values, since their expertise lays the foundation for economic, social, and technological evolution of all other industries. This is why it’s important for us to be the pioneers of social change by holding and pursuing a set of core values and practices that further the public good.

This can be as simple as providing financial, technical, or organisational support to causes that aim to uplift others. Clothing company Patagonia famously donates 1% of its pre-tax income to charities and non-profit organisations that are committed to preserving and restoring the natural environment. But contributions don’t need to be financial, of course: using your tech company’s talents and expertise in partnerships that deliver social value are just as necessary. There are numerous collaborative efforts – such as the recent partnership between Vodacom and Microsoft to improve learners’ access to education – that will play their part in driving our country forward.

4. Promote impact investment

Impact investment is a relatively new concept which goes beyond the pure financial gains that traditional investment schemes focus on. Impact investments are capital and VC fund-raising initiatives that deliver positive social, economic, or environmental change.

To narrow the skills gap crisis and tackle unemployment in South Africa, HyperionDev has launched an impact investment campaign that allows members of the public to become equity stakeholders in the company as it expands into UK and US markets. Through these investment contributions, as much as R3.5 million in coding scholarships will be made available to get more people skilled for jobs in a 4IR economy in the company as it expands into UK and US markets. Through these investment contributions, as much as R3.5 million in coding scholarships will be made available to get more people skilled for jobs in a 4IR economy – delivering positive social impact every step of the way.

Through a combination of these and other initiatives, the tech sector could bring a definitive end to some of South Africa’s most pressing socio-economic woes.

Sustainable technology group Rubicon is bringing a Tesla Model X Performance Edition all-electric SUV into South Africa next week, according to an article by MyBroadband.

  • The aim is to raise the profile of renewable energy in South Africa
  • The vehicle will be used for marketing initiatives within the Rubicon Group to promote Tesla Powerwall and officially launch Rubicon’s entry into the electric vehicle charging space in South Africa
  • This initiative does not signal the arrival of Tesla vehicles in South Africa
  • Rubicon aims to highlight all forms of electric mobility, and accelerate the South African vehicle industry and lobby government towards an all-electric future
  • South Africans will be able to see up close what the car looks like
  • The vehicle will move between major city centres over the next few months in conjunction with a number of marketing events for Tesla Powerwall and electric vehicle chargers from EVBox, Delta, and EO Charging

 

 

 

Who pays taxes in South Africa?

National Treasury and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) have published the annual Tax Statistics for 2020.

The 2020 edition provides an overview of tax revenue collections and tax return information for the 2016 to 2019 tax years, as well as the 2015/16 to 2019/2020 fiscal years.

The highlights of the statistics include:

  • Tax revenue collected amounted to R1 355.8 billion, growing year-on-year by R68.1 billion (5.3%), mainly supported by Personal Income Tax (PIT) which grew by R35.3 billion (7.2%).
  • 1,776,301 (40.9%) of assessed taxpayers were registered in Gauteng;
  • 580,464 of assessed taxpayers lived in the Johannesburg Metro and were taxed on an average taxable income of R512,785;
  • 1,171,410 (27.0%) of assessed taxpayers were aged between 35 to 44 years;
  • 2,352,902 (54.2%) of assessed taxpayers were male and 1,985,021 (45.8%) were female;
  • The assessed taxpayers had aggregate taxable income of R1.6 trillion and a tax liability of R360 billion. Their average tax rate was 22.5% compared to 21.6% in the previous tax year;
  • Income from salaries, wages and other remuneration, as well as pension, overtime and annuities, accounted for 77.6% of total taxable income;
  • Out of the 780,480 companies assessed as at the end of July 2020 for tax year 2018, 25.2% had positive taxable income;
  • 46.6% had taxable income equal to zero and the remaining 28.2% reported an assessed loss.

 

What Black Friday shoppers want this year

Source: Finder.com

‘Tis the season to spend and save, with festive sale events like Black Friday and Boxing Day fast approaching. So how many people in South Africa are planning to hit the sales this year? And how much of a discount will entice them to shop?

Financial comparison site  Finder.com polled 1 524 South African adults to find out, and according to the research:

  • Men are more interested in shopping the sales than women
  • Millennials are more likely to be enticed by a discounted item
  • South Africans have a favourite retailer
  • People are looking to save on family-oriented products

70% of South Africans will be shopping this year’s festive sales if the price is right. That’s the equivalent of around 27-million people. On average, it’ll take a discount of 52% to make South African customers purchase an item.

Men are more interested in shopping the sales than women
Men are slightly more likely to be enticed by the sales than women, with 73% of South African men saying they’ll shop for an item for the right price compared to 68% of women who said the same.

It looks like men are more tempted by smaller discounts too. About 22% of men say that a discount of 5-25% off would be enough to motivate them to make a purchase, compared to just 14% of women.

Millennials more likely to be enticed by a discounted item
Those aged 25-34 are most likely to purchase a discounted item in the sales compared to all other age brackets. 76% of people in this age range say they’ll purchase an item on sale at the right price, while just 61% of 55-64-year-olds and those aged 65 and above say the same.

Those aged 18-24 need the deepest discounts of at least 55% to entice them to shop. Other age brackets say they’ll purchase an item if it’s discounted by anywhere from 47% to 53%.

Who are the most popular retailers in South Africa?
Search volume data from Ahrefs suggests that one of the most popular places for South Africans to go for Black Friday deals is online platform Takealot. Other popular online shopping destinations include Makro, Game, Checkers and Hi Fi Corp.

South Africa’s most searched retailers are:

  • Game
  • Makro
  • Takealot
  • Checkers
  • Pick n Pay
  • Evetech
  • Incredible Connection
  • HiFi Corp
  • Edgars

What are people looking to buy on Black Friday?

In terms of specific products, search volume data from Ahrefs suggests that South Africans have historically looked for deals on flights, though 2020 will probably dampen people’s interest in travel. Other popular items include gadgets, specifically laptops, the PlayStation 4, phones and the Xbox.

In terms of branded searches, telecommunications company Vodacom is one of the most common brands specifically searched for on Black Friday, along with Telkom and Kulula.

How does South Africa compare?

Of the 12 countries included in this study, South Africa ranks first for the highest percentage of people who will be enticed by the sales (70%). This is followed by France (66%). Meanwhile, Italy has the smallest number of festive sales shoppers (50%), followed by New Zealand (53%) and the UK (56%).

However, in terms of the discount required to entice shoppers, Spanish adults actually require the highest discount of 60% off to motivate a purchase. People from France and Mexico also require steep discounts to entice them to shop, at 59% off and 58% off respectively. Meanwhile, Canadians say they’ll need the smallest average discount at just 42% off, followed by people in Hong Kong (44% off) and Ireland (45% off).

Which country has the most Black Friday shoppers?
Black Friday is synonymous with hoards of Americans breaking through the front doors of stores all across the country. But as far as the Internet is concerned, the US no longer has the top spot for Black Friday shoppers.

Brazil is the country with the highest search interest in Black Friday, according to an analysis of historical search data from SEMrush. Interest in the shopping holiday peaked and hit new highs in November 2020, jumping up 22.36% from the previous year. Brazil also accounts for 13.20% of all global searches for the term “Black Friday”.

The US doesn’t place silver either: that post is taken by France. Like Brazil, France also saw a jump in search interest year-on-year, jumping 22.22% between November 2019 and November 2020. France makes up 10.78% of all searches for the term “Black Friday”, which is quite impressive, considering that France only accounts for 0.84% of the population.

The US doesn’t even get the bronze on its own, sharing the podium with Germany for the second year in a row, with search interest in both nations increasing by the same amount over the last 12 months (22.28%). Both nations made up 8.82% of the search volume for the term “Black Friday”, but Germany is far outperforming in terms of its population size, with Germany accounting for 1.07% of the world’s population, compared to the 4.25% that the US represents.

South Africa ranked equal 27th overall for Black Friday search volume. Search volume has increased by 22% from November last year to November 2020.

SA moves to Level 1

Source: BBC

President Cyril Ramaphosa last night announced that, following consultations with health experts and officials from across South Africa, the country would lower its current alert Level 2 to Level 1 from midnight on 20 September.

This means that, as of Monday 21 September:

  • Social, religious, political and other gatherings will be permitted, as long as the number of people does not exceed 50% of the normal capacity of a venue, up to a maximum of 250 people indoors and 500 people outdoors
  • The maximum number of people who can attend a funeral is increased from 50 to 100
  • Venues for exercise, recreation and entertainment – such as gyms and theatres – currently limited to 50 people, will be allowed to accommodate up to 50% of their venue’s capacity
  • The national 22:00 – 04:00 curfew will start two hours later
  • Alcohol will be permitted for on-site consumption in licensed establishments
  • International travel would resume from 1 October. Those arriving in South Africa must present a negative coronavirus test taken within three days of travel.

A further stimulus package was being drawn up to rebuild an economy that has been savaged by the lockdown.

By Mfuneko Toyana for Reuters

Africa’s most industrialised nation has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, recording the seventh-largest number of cases worldwide, although it has seen fewer deaths than some other badly affected countries.

Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted a 47.3% contraction because of the lockdown restrictions, which were among the harshest in the world.

“This is the first time in history that the South African economy has contracted for four straight quarters,” Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke told a news conference.

The rand fell roughly 1% against the dollar on the dismal data to trade at 16.9325 per dollar.

Joe de Beer, another top official at Statistics South Africa, said that after adjusting for inflation the economy was roughly the same size in the April-June quarter as in the first quarter of 2007.

Most sectors declined steeply except for agriculture, which grew 15.1% in the second quarter from January-March, helped by fruit and nut exports, and better-than-average winter rainfall.

Mining declined 73.1%, manufacturing 74.9% and construction 76.6%. Gross domestic product (GDP) for the whole economy shrank 17.1% from the same period in 2019.

Jeff Schultz, economist at BNP Paribas, said the global impact of the pandemic coupled with the recent return of power cuts by ailing state utility Eskom would hamper any economic recovery.

“It will take a very long time to get to pre-pandemic levels,” he said.

The government expects a GDP decline of at least 7% in 2020, a worrying prediction in a country where unemployment was at around 30% before COVID-19.

Pamela Mutandwa, 37, who runs a roadside vegetable stand in Pretoria, said times were hard. “It was really difficult during lockdown. There were no people buying and I struggled. When I opened in 2009 there were more customers.”

Tlouama Abrama, 31, a petrol attendant, said he was disappointed by the government’s economic policies. “They should be doing more to revive the factories around here so people can get jobs. Their policies are not working.”

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