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Tough times ahead for consumers following VAT increase

Finance minister Malusi Gigaba tabled his 2018 Budget speech on Wednesday. He described the budget as tough, but hopeful and said it required the ministry to make difficult, but necessary trade-offs, to ensure that it becomes a platform for renewal, inclusive growth and job creation. He announced an increase in VAT from 14 percent to 15 percent and said the new tax measures to increase VAT and personal income tax will raise an additional 36 billion rand in 2018/19. On the 1st of April, old age grants will increase from R1600 to R1690 and child support grants will go up from R380 to R400. The cost of fuel will increase by 52c per litre. Government will also phase in free higher education to students from poor and working class families. In light of the water crisis looming in the country, government has set aside 6 billion Rand in its 2018/19 budget for drought relief. Sakina Kamwendo spoke to Senior Economic Analyst at FNB, Jason Muscat ; Chairman & Chief Executive at Pan-African Research, Iraj Abedian and Regional Manager at Black Sash, Evashnee Naidu

Mixed reaction to proposed Mining Charter

The Chamber of Mines says it is encouraged by President Cyril Ramaphosa's commitment, during his State of the Nation Address last week, to resolve the impasse over the Mining Charter, and to facilitate a process of developing a New Charter through negotiation. This comes as both government and the Chamber have been accused by the communities affected by mining, of making deals behind closed doors. The Mining Affected Communities United in Action, Macua, have also expressed their disappointment at the Chamber of Mines which agreed with the Presidency to postpone a high court application challenging the Mining Charter. The third version of the Mining Charter proposes among others, an increase in the ownership targets for historically disadvantaged South Africans to 30%; the creation of more onerous ownership requirements for suppliers to the industry and also demands that research and development be focused locally, ideally at previously disadvantaged universities. On the Forum@8 Sakina Kamwenso spoke to Natural Resources Manager for Action-Aid South Africa, Christopher Rutledge ; (Mining expert, Peter Leon ; mining and labour analyst, Mamokgethi Molopyane

DA squabble with De Lille a sign of deeper issues in the party: Political Analysts

On the Forum@8 this morning we shine a light on South Africa's main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance after it recently made headlines regarding its internal squabbles. The current debacle around mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille and the party officials as well as breakdown in coalitions have dominated the news. In Johannesburg the party faced accusations of nepotism and tender fraud. The party is also facing criticism on how it is handling the water crisis in the city of Cape Town. According to analysts, the party's internal problems are doing serious damage to its image and will undermine its attempts to portray itself as a viable alternative to the ANC. Sakina Kamwendo spoke to Political analyst from the University of North West, Theo Venter and Political analyst at the Xubera Institute for Research and Development, Mr Xolani Dube

Civil society organisations react to Ramaphosa's maiden SONA

President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered his maiden State of the Nation Address on Friday. The State of the Nation Address allows the country to reflect on the achievements and challenges experienced over the past year, and it offers the President a chance to set out government's key policy objectives and deliverables for the year ahead. Sakina Kamwenso spoke to Activist and Executive Director SECTION27, Mark Heywood; Senior Economist: Alternative Information and Development Centre and Treasurer of the United Front in Johannesburg, Miselo Bayi

SAFM listeners express mixed reactions to Zuma resignation & Ramaphosa swearing in as state president

On the Forum@8 this morning we wrap up the week long developments that have culminated in the resignation of Jacob Zuma as the President of South Africa. Opposition parties and civil society groups welcomed the resignation. There were also reactions trending on social media from Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta praising Zuma for his role in enhancing relations between the two countries to Minister Fikile Mbalula thanking him for giving him an opportunity to serve. Elvis Presslin opened the lines for the listeners to have their say on the latest developments

Opposition chief whips react to Zuma resignation

On the Forum@8 we focus on the decision by President Jacob Zuma to resign as president of the country. His resignation comes after the ANC's National Executive Committee affirmed it's decision to recall him. Yesterday, ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile told a media in Parliament that the party would table a motion of no confidence in Zuma, should he not resign. Opposition political parties have welcomed Zuma's resignation saying they hope this marks the beginning a of a new era. Sakina Kamwendo spoke to DA Chief Whip, John Steenhuisen ; Chief Whip of COPE, Deidre Carter and UDM Chief Whip, Nqabayomzi Kwankwa

"ANC must not be treated like a WhatsApp group": ANC spokesperson, Pule Mabe

The African National Congress has officially recalled President Jacob Zuma and the preside is to respond this morning at ten. According to the ruling party the decision by the NEC to recall president Zuma was taken after exhaustive discussion on the impact such a recall would have on the country, the ANC and the functioning of government. Addressing the media, ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule also revealed that the collective view of the NEC is for Cyril Ramaphosa to take over. Sakina Kamwendo spoke to ANC National spokesperson, Pule Mabe.

Zuma tenure synonymous with meetings that go into the night and decisions made in the night: Lukhona Mnguni

The African National Congress will hold a media briefing at noon Tuesday, at which it's expected to formally announce the decisions taken by its NEC on President Jacob Zuma's future. The briefing follows the marathon meeting held by the party's National Executive committee in Irene outside Pretoria on Monday night. It is understood that the party has decided to recall president Zuma. Sakina Kamwenso spoke to Political Analysts, Lukhona Mnguni and Professor Somadoda Fikeni.

ANC NEC to meet on Monday amid calls for Zuma to step down

Pressure has been mounting for the ANC to remove President Jacob Zuma as head of state. A planned march to the Union buildings will take place of Monday as some members of the ANC and SACP in Gauteng on Sunday called for the party's top six to recall President Jacob Zuma or face a country wide shutdown. Over the weekend, ANC National Chairperson Gwede Mantashe confirmed to the SABC that the party's top 6 met without Zuma. He said there is agreement on the end game and that what is being discussed is the timing and the process that should be followed. Sakina Kamwendo spoke to United Democratic Movement leader, Bantu Holomisa; Democratic Alliance Chief Whip, John Steenhuisen and Deputy Secretary of Economic Freedom Fighters, Hlengiwe Mkhaliphi....

I tried rugby but quit because I was getting more injuries in rugby than I would as a boxer : Brian Mitchell

On the Forum@8 this morning we are in conversation this morning with a former professional boxer who is quite possibly the best South African boxer of all time, Brian Mitchell. Mitchell is the former WBA and IBF junior lightweight undefeated champion, who in 1991 also captured the IBF Junior Lightweight Title with a decision win over Tony Lopez. The world recognised his qualities after 12 defences of his WBA title outside South Africa by inducting him into the Boxing Hall of Fame in 2009. He joined Sakina Kamwendo in studio.

Grade 12 learners "forced" to take contraception will receive counselling: North West department of education

On the ForumAt8 we focus on the Grade 12 learners in the North West who say they were tested for pregnancy and forced to take birth control injections at school. Some of the female learners at the Pitso-Letlhogile Secondary School in Phaposane village, outside Vryburg say inquired why they were being forced to take contraceptives as they are not sexually active. Sakina Kamwendo spoke to Professor Priscilla Reddy of the Human Sciences Research Council, Tshidi whose younger sister was tested and Maropeng Seshibe who is the Director for Labour Relations in the North West department of education

President, Jacob Zuma is on his way out: Analysts

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete has announced that the State of the Nation Address, which was due to be delivered on Thursday, has been postponed. She says parliament concluded that it was unlikely that the speech would take place without any disruptions. Mbete indicated that as Parliament was preparing to write to President Jacob Zuma to request the postponement of his address, he was also requesting a postponement. In the request, the Office of the President is citing certain developments which make it not conducive to successfully hold the sitting and deliver the address. SONA was scheduled for the 8th of February and Mbete indicated a new date would be announced soon. Political parties have welcomed the decision. Sakina Kamwendo spoke to Associate Professor in Public Law at the University of Cape Town, Professor Richard Calland and Political analyst, Aubrey Matshiqi

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