South Africa


STUART THEOBALD: Investors should keep a close eye on the fundamentals in 2022

Jan 11, 2022

It is hard not to have a sense of apprehension going into 2022. Interest rates in SA are trending up from a 50-year low as we enter an upward cycle. Inflation in big markets is at levels not seen for...

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STUART THEOBALD: Investors should keep a close eye on the fundamentals in 2022

Jan 11, 2022

It is hard not to have a sense of apprehension going into 2022. Interest rates in SA are trending up from a 50-year low as we enter an upward cycle. Inflation in big markets is at levels not seen for...

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: A year of noise and choices lies ahead

Dec 21, 2021

SA has a habit of slowing down into major political events. Time seems to almost stand still. We saw it this past year with the municipal elections.

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: Extremes and choices in the year ahead

Dec 6, 2021

Screeching down the runway — in Ethiopian Airways’ shade-of-green seats — I had three flights ahead over the next 24 hours to try get home to the UK before red-list travel restrictions came into...

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STUART THEOBALD: Omicron’s timing couldn’t be worse for leisure and travel industries

Nov 29, 2021

Our tourism industry desperately needed a strong December and that has been torn away in an instant. It is the most vulnerable corner of the economy and the distress there will inevitably spill into...

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: Seeming inaction over July unrest deters investment

Nov 22, 2021

The lack of justice being done, or seen to be done, shows a shocking lack of leadership, writes Peter Attard Montalto

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What COP26 means for South Africa

Oct 25, 2021

In the run-up to the Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Ireland, from October 31 to November 12, South Africa is trying to commit […]

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: Orthodoxy does not mean policy is cast in stone

Oct 18, 2021

Maybe there is some SA exceptionalism that creeps into the demands to destroy orthodoxy.

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STUART THEOBALD: Policy digs us into a hole instead of helping SA mine private investment

Oct 11, 2021

Getting the private sector to increase investment levels could be a big win in the overall infrastructure effort.

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: A tale of two speeches

Oct 4, 2021

The visit of climate envoys to SA has been a useful shock to the system, enabling the country to step out of its comfort zone […]

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South Africa: Economic recovery quickens in Q2 but risks remain

Sep 9, 2021

South Africa’s recovery from a pandemic-induced contraction quickened in Q2 as restrictions to contain the pandemic were eased. GDP expanded 1.2% in the three months through June from a revised...

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: Don’t cheer yet, we’ve only taken the first step towards energy reform

Aug 23, 2021

We’ve only taken the first step towards energy reform, but it is a big step and we are now in a totally different era for the electricity supply industry. 

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STUART THEOBALD: Impasse shows security of land rights hinges on accessibility and justice

Jul 5, 2021

Standoff between ANC and EFF is due to people feeling they cannot accrue tangible economic benefits.

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: Reform is not a single event but a series of shifts

Jun 28, 2021

Is the government able to manage a process that demands more and more changes as it unfolds?

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: Something clicked with Ramaphosa’s power-generation move

Jun 14, 2021

It is the first time there has been a policy reform that has uncontrolled scalability.

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STUART THEOBALD: Burger King decision not good for BEE companies

Jun 8, 2021

The decision has had a substantial and negative effect on public interest in conflict with the Competition Act

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STUART THEOBALD: Loose monetary policy eases credit access for the rich, but squeezes the poor

May 24, 2021

Loose monetary policy eases credit access for the rich, but squeezes the poor. Also, volumes among unsecured lenders are falling. This column was first published […]

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STUART THEOBALD: Input myopia clouds BEE and other policies

May 11, 2021

By shunning outcomes, normal market mechanisms are turned on their head.

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: Holding on to central control of energy holds us all back

May 3, 2021

A choice on which infrastructure rollout system works for the state has never really been made.

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: From water-use to energy, performative focus sidetracks from real issues

Apr 19, 2021

The list of distractions from what matters seems never-ending.

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STUART THEOBALD: Rocketing JSE Alsi leaves offshore advisers with egg on their face

Apr 11, 2021

Index has gained almost 80% since the plunge in March 2020, when lockdowns began worldwide.

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POLITICAL WEEK AHEAD: ANC infighting is expected to dominate agenda

Apr 6, 2021

We do not see Ace Magashule standing aside voluntarily. We expect foresee him see out the full 30 days and then be suspended to get the maximum victim status, said says Intellidex’s Peter...

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: Our threadbare institutions need a redesign, not just patching

Apr 6, 2021

Our threadbare institutions need a redesign, not just patching.

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Infrastructure for South Africa report launch

Mar 29, 2021

Business Leadership SA launched a new report, drawn up by Intellidex, on infrastructure investment and how to boost volumes toward the National Development Plan's target of 30% of GDP, Infrastructure...

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STUART THEOBALD: Misguided criticism of banks’ Covid-19 roles

Mar 29, 2021

President is wrong to chide banks for not rolling out R200bn-worth of loans.

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: Budget is already under pressure

Mar 15, 2021

Student protests are a live example of the politics of austerity in action — less than a month after the budget.

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STUART THEOBALD: Rising risk of government debt harms creditworthiness of banks

Mar 9, 2021

As the institutions’ exposure to the sovereign rises, quality of the state’s balance sheet worsens

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: Even the Treasury will admit this was not an optimal budget

Mar 1, 2021

It has slightly lowered the dangers around debt and balanced the risks with a buffer against future shocks, but we didn’t get answers to fundamental […]

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STUART THEOBALD: Banks have reason to gripe over Reserve Bank’s dividend block

Feb 21, 2021

Big banks have been profitable despite the pandemic and capital levels have not been under huge pressure.

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: When does the reality penny drop?

Feb 15, 2021

President Cyril Ramaphosa was perky, the speech felt self-confident, and he had clearly found some groove with better delivery combining with a stronger rhythm in the structure of the speech.

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The case against a new state-owned bank

Feb 5, 2021

The problem with the idea of a state ba is that upon investigation you quickly realise that the problems that need to be solved can’t be solved that way.

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: Putting a just energy transition at centre of Sona would be a winner

Feb 1, 2021

Putting a just energy transition at the centre of President Cyril Ramaphosa's February Sona would be a winner.

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STUART THEOBALD: Different processes at work in restructuring of African Bank and Land Bank

Jan 25, 2021

The bigger problem is that the future business model of the Land Bank is highly uncertain.

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: Where is the new economic stimulus debate?

Dec 31, 2020

SA needs new ideas for fiscal stimulus and financial support through the second wave and beyond.

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Reflecting on 2020 and the road ahead

Dec 22, 2020

Intellidex chair, Dr Stuart Theobald, assesses South Africa's performance over the last year and looks forward to the challenges of 2021

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: Labour problems and opportunities everywhere

Dec 21, 2020

A lot of misdirected conclusions have been drawn from the court judgment on the public sector wage bill

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STUART THEOBALD: ANC fails to use evidence in policymaking decisions

Dec 14, 2020

The lack of evidence-based thinking has also been prevalent in the economic response to the pandemic. Ultimately, evidence-based policy must be a culture more than a set of rules.

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: Time for state to get into gear on energy policy

Dec 7, 2020

The government should just get on with the business of dealing decisively with energy policy, show some leadership and cut the stalling. 

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STUART THEOBALD: Private infrastructure investment should take centre stage to rebuild economy

Nov 17, 2020

Ramaphosa could use the conference this week to shift emphasis away from public projects. 

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STUART THEOBALD: What now for the Covid-19 loan scheme?

Oct 19, 2020

Why lenders and borrowers have given the government’s bank guarantee loan scheme the cold shoulder.

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: Will it be doom or recovery?

Oct 12, 2020

The launch of the recovery plan by the president is a seminal moment which will define the path to economic doom or recovery.

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STUART THEOBALD: Data can’t be taken at face value during these strange times

Oct 5, 2020

Covid-19 has caused what statisticians call a regime change, because the underlying conditions that generate the data fundamentally changed during the lockdown.

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: Toxic brew of ANC decision-making poisons confidence

Sep 28, 2020

Scant insight into how government’s decision-making works is a problem that infects business and investor confidence. 

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STUART THEOBALD: Hard to tell where SAA’s flight of fancy will land

Sep 21, 2020

How is the sorry saga of SAA going to end?

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STUART THEOBALD: New accounting rules make comparing banks’ performance with 2009 hard

Sep 7, 2020

Companies must now expense the losses they expect to make as soon as their expectations change

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: Show us a proper road map, Mr President

Aug 31, 2020

SA’s wheels will just spin in the mud if it produces plans without specifics such as costs, responsibilities and timelines

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STUART THEOBALD: How liberal will banks be in looser relief package offering?

Jul 26, 2020

The state has given nod for easier credit criteria, but is a 6% writeoff a price worth paying for banks?

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STUART THEOBALD: Will later generations learn from our mistakes?

Jun 29, 2020

The government will collapse under its debts if there is not a dramatic change of course.

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: The chatter before a budget speech always gets it wrong

Jun 22, 2020

What matters are the credibility gaps, not the fiscal measures that the Treasury announces.

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STUART THEOBALD: Inheritance tax proposal pokes a hornets’ nest

Jun 15, 2020

There are important moral and practical concerns that should guide the discussion on whether to disrupt multigenerational transfers of wealth.

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: A starting gun has been fired, but to what end?

Jun 8, 2020

The tripartite alliance must do things differently if it is to triumph in a post-Covid reality.

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STUART THEOBALD: Great leadership is needed after the Covid-19 crisis

Jun 1, 2020

The fight over the future of economic policy is already brewing

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STUART THEOBALD: Business owners may balk at risks in loan guarantee scheme

May 18, 2020

Suretyship has been an issue elsewhere and tweaks may be needed to the local programme.

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South Africa is broke, increasing the odds of an IMF bailout

May 12, 2020

Unemployment figures and Eskom results were that sparked calls for an IMF bailout – but there are a lot of mitigating steps that government can still take before that, starting with the budget,...

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: Paternalistic state wants everyone to zip it while it muddles along

May 11, 2020

The government’s dangerously paternalistic streak is showing its worst side during the lockdown and current policymaking.

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STUART THEOBALD: Fast response let down by economic blunders

May 4, 2020

My life is divided between the UK and SA. So I’ve seen the Covid-19 responses in both countries, and the comparisons are revealing.

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The coronavirus pandemic has exposed a lack of household savings

Apr 24, 2020

The coronavirus crisis has exposed a longstanding problem of abysmal consumer savings.

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STUART THEOBALD: A social disaster is brewing

Apr 20, 2020

A social disaster is brewing due to covid-19.

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: What lessons should we learn from the Covid-19 crisis?

Apr 13, 2020

After the health crisis forces in the government will be pulling in completely different directions.

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STUART THEOBALD: SA can learn from experience as we suffer a dose of the past century’s crises

Apr 6, 2020

The financial turmoil will feature some elements of the Great Depression, a world war, the dot-com bubble and the 1970s oil crisis.

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Townships and the informal economy: post-lockdown strategies

Mar 30, 2020

Townships and the informal economy: post-lockdown strategies.

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: This is the time to apportion blame, correctly

Mar 30, 2020

The government will attribute slow growth and recovery to the coronavirus and low global demand.

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Coronavirus: cases and costs

Mar 25, 2020

The president’s response to the coronavirus has been solid while the Reserve Bank upgraded its response to bazooka-level; but the economy still faces severe contraction, says Peter Attard Montalto,...

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Delayed spectrum auctions: impact on digital TV

Mar 24, 2020

By Mmamoletji Thosago Vodacom, has agreed to cut its data prices following the Competition Commission’s data services market inquiry. Although the network provider has succumbed […]

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STUART THEOBALD: SA is ill-equipped to put economy on a war footing

Mar 23, 2020

This is war. There is a health front, but also an economic front. Saving the economy will require wartime thinking.

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Covid-19 preparedness: Townships, downtowns and informal settlements

Mar 18, 2020

There is an urgent need to slow the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) in SA, irrespective of location. Urban areas likely to be hardest hit. Townships and informal settlements accommodate the...

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Consumers aren’t reaping the benefits of SARB’s repo rate cuts

Mar 10, 2020

The increase in banks’ overdraft interest rate reflects their increasing risk aversion, says Intellidex’s head of capital markets research, Peter Attard Montalto. Featured in IOL .

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: Backlash against Mboweni is based on misconception of his powers

Mar 2, 2020

Misconceptions overestimate and underestimate the finance minister’s powers

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STUART THEOBALD: You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone

Feb 24, 2020

This is the worst of times for the finance minister. But think about the best of times. In 2007, then finance minister Trevor Manuel announced a budget surplus in what was perhaps the most triumphant...

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SONA review: Acceleration of rhetoric towards implementation wall?

Feb 20, 2020

The 2020 state of the nation address (Sona) on February 13 scores highly for PR/rhetoric (an 8/10), actual policy is “ok” (a 6.5/10, being generous), but signs of any shifts towards actual...

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Old promises turned into new promises — with implementation detail and financing left to Mboweni’s Budget

Feb 17, 2020

The youth employment initiative announced at last week’s Sona will take 1% or R20bn of the 2021/21 national budget and it’s unclear where that money will come from apart from belt-tightening, says...

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: Will SA be going forward or just accelerating into a wall?

Feb 17, 2020

It is now or never for implementation, especially with the budget coming up next week and the ability to gazette change at any time. Some hard choices over how cadres are deployed in government may...

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Is Cosatu’s Eskom plan unworkable?

Feb 11, 2020

The GDPF, IDC and DBSA have finite balance sheets and have to manage their risk. Intellidex’s Stuart Theobald says drawing them in to bail out Eskom is dangerous. Catch the full interview with...

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Debating COSATU’s proposed plan to rescue Eskom

Feb 11, 2020

Intellidex chairperson Stuart Theobald weighs in on Cosatu’s proposal to rescue Eskom. Listen to the full conversation on The Eusebius McKaiser Show on 702.

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STUART THEOBALD: Cosatu’s Eskom bailout plan is unworkable and dangerous

Feb 11, 2020

Cosatu’s  Eskom proposal will spark contagion that spreads the financial problems of SOEs into government development financial institutions such as the GDPF, IDC and DBSA, […]

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STUART THEOBALD: Cosatu’s Eskom bailout proposal is unworkable and dangerous

Feb 10, 2020

This column was first published on Business Day  Contagion from SA’s state-owned enterprises crisis is heading for its development finance institutions. It started with a […]

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: What counts for SA investment is not numbers but the X factor

Feb 3, 2020

The scale of unemployment and inequality in SA is such that you cannot “start somewhere” with large set-piece investments and hope things percolate downwards

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STUART THEOBALD: Eviscerated public service ties Cyril Ramaphosa’s hands

Jan 27, 2020

Policy should focus on setting the rules for the private sector and letting it bring skills to the table, rather than trying to deliver all and sundry itself. He is running a ship that cannot attract...

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A great buzz, but SA lost in the mix with its ‘charity case’ stance

Jan 24, 2020

Intellidex’s head of capital markets research, Peter Attard Montalto, attended the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London on 20 January. He conveys his thoughts on some […]

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: Scrap the empty rhetoric and be a bit of a dictator

Jan 20, 2020

How many times can you say the same thing and still have people come along for the ride? When a process is mired in a lack of transparency can you say the opposite of what is actually happening?

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STUART THEOBALD: Don’t let petroleum bill prove that resource nationalism is a curse

Jan 13, 2020

The oil and natural gas industry provides an obvious opportunity to add positive economic momentum while it is desperately needed. The bill is now in a consultation process, providing an opportunity...

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: Will the adults please enter the energy war room and shed light on Eskom’s future

Dec 19, 2019

The public sector wage war and Eskom’s debilitating debt are key focuses in the coming year, yet the largest hurdles to be overcome are the […]

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Here’s our view on what to expect next year

Dec 13, 2019

We look forward to working vigorously with you next year to do that. The team at Intellidex wishes you a fantastic Christmas and New Year.

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STUART THEOBALD: SAA business rescue takes SA into uncharted territory

Dec 9, 2019

Legal obscurity means things could easily end up in court, particularly with unions already sounding litigious A version of this column was first published in […]

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: Where’s the urgency to tackle growth and unemployment?

Dec 2, 2019

This column was first published in Business Day  The past two weeks of data for October gave the impression something is seriously wrong with the […]

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: Action, reform, decisiveness needed, but pragmatism in short supply

Nov 4, 2019

Moody’s has been very clear that it is up to government now to consolidate expenditure and undertake growth boosting reform before February or … or […]

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STUART THEOBALD: SAA and Acsa are giant red flags for private investors in SOEs

Oct 14, 2019

It is clearly the case that Eskom would shed jobs in a financial turnaround. But just think of the destruction to employment that has been caused by Eskom’s dysfunction: the deindustrialisation of...

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: Where action is at odds with rhetoric

Oct 7, 2019

This column was first published in Business Day Some deep questions are raised by the ANC’s national executive committee statement last week and rotate on […]

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STUART THEOBALD: Old Mutual clings to its principles, but a Moyo payout may have cost less

Sep 30, 2019

It takes a rather pigheaded commitment to principle to tide it out, and shareholders can rightfully ask why they’re being forced to pay the cost. Manuel and the rest of the board have a task ahead...

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Why prescribed assets are a bad idea

Sep 25, 2019

By: Dr Stuart Theobald, CFA Prescribed assets are increasingly being looked to as a solution for both urgent and longer-term development funding needs. This is […]

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: No, it will not be all fine in the end

Sep 23, 2019

I think there is a subset of ministers who actually do understand that the country is fundamentally in the wrong place. The problem is the system itself hasn’t flipped, given the lack of political...

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STUART THEOBALD: Business needs help in renewing its faith in the future

Sep 16, 2019

Our problem is the implementation. So far there are no implemented and reliable policies that business decisionmakers can see that will shift their return/risk expectations positively.

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: If the state cannot get PR right, it cannot deliver reform

Sep 9, 2019

In an environment of a trust deficit and zero benefit of the doubt, for the government to play its role will require leadership and an ability to manage the state — getting the building block of PR...

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STUART THEOBALD: Bootleggers and Baptists are holding up SA’s economic recovery

Sep 3, 2019

Two things are needed to break through the resistance: leadership and a just transition. A just transition that accommodates legitimate interests who stand to suffer short-term pain, is one way to...

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: Q&A with Ramaphosa gives reason for hope, capped by lack of reform

Aug 26, 2019

Much rhetoric but lack of dial-moving action are  leading to frustration among business. The foremost example of this has been the reaction of the telecoms industry to spectrum after the Q&A last...

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STUART THEOBALD: Far from targeting Mkhwebane, banks are merely reacting to global pressure on money laundering

Aug 5, 2019

Public protector’s account is being investigated for exchange control violations and suspicious transaction from Hong Kong.

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: Budget vote speeches show the government has no effective plan to create jobs

Jul 15, 2019

If you listened to the budget vote speeches last week — without the benefit of context — of the departments of trade, industry & competition and mineral resources & energy, what do you guess the...

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STUART THEOBALD: Lower-cost housing finance needs to be more readily available

Jul 8, 2019

We want urbanisation to accompany widespread property ownership to ensure residents have a vested interest in urban development. While we have made much of the importance of giving people title to...

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STUART THEOBALD: It will be a new era if Ramaphosa can weld together his micro and macro policies

Jun 25, 2019

It is only in looking back that we can see the essence of an era. We can recognise and categorise the music of the eighties, nineties and even noughties, but it is hard to know the essential sounds of...

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STUART THEOBALD: Competition in retail banking starts hotting up

Jun 3, 2019

In the late 1990s 45 banks, mutual banks and homeland banks were operating in SA. That fell to a low of 18 by 2010, following a crisis of confidence in small banks. But the long hiatus since is over...

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: SA contradictions vs the way forward for the economy

May 27, 2019

SA is full of contradictions and things that don’t make sense. It will be the job of the new administration — in the process of being appointed as this column goes to press — to pick at these...

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STUART THEOBALD: Be wary of the government letting the debt-relief genie out of the bottle

Apr 16, 2019

South Africans’ over-indebtedness has long been a political risk for the financial system. Almost 10-million have impaired credit records and millions more struggle to meet repayments. That is a...

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Impact investing can support development objectives in SA, but it won’t be plain sailing

Apr 15, 2019

Why invest only for financial gain, when your investment can also have positive social consequences? The idea that our investments can do good in the world, rather than just serve our narrow financial...

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: Why Reserve Bank policy is still a cut above alternative suggestions

Apr 8, 2019

In some ways I preferred the period of 2005-2008, when Cosatu would march to the Reserve Bank and make demands to the governor. They were simpler times, with simpler demands.

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The 5th democratic Parliament: what it means for the financial services sector

Apr 5, 2019

Intellidex is constantly monitoring the legislative and regulatory changes occurring in Parliament and elsewhere that affect the financial services sector clients. Intellidex social media editor Mayo...

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STUART THEOBALD: Something is rotten in corporate SA as checks and balances are eroded

Apr 1, 2019

SA is a complex swirl of emotions: edginess, anger, despair and resignation. Most worrying is that such emotions apply to business too, putting the country at a very dangerous point — there is a...

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: Eskom crisis risks dimming hope of hitting growth target

Mar 26, 2019

SA is a complex swirl of emotions: edginess, anger, despair and resignation. Most worrying is that such emotions apply to business too, putting the country at a very dangerous point — there is a...

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STUART THEOBALD: Bright spots in performance, but local banks need an economic turnaround

Mar 18, 2019

Oh what a dull, decrepit time to be a banker, especially a banker in one of the big four.

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PETER ATTARD MONTALTO: Why visa policy is so important to SA’s growth prospects

Mar 11, 2019

Who cares about visas? There is so much else going on in SA it’s sometimes a wonder why there is so much attention paid to this one issue.

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STUART THEOBALD: Odds are stacked against new banks

Mar 4, 2019

I seldom encounter anyone who has a positive word to say about their banks. That’s why it is easy to believe that the market is ripe for competition. With the entry of several new banks —...

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STUART THEOBALD: Independent power producers are a solution to Eskom’s woes, not a cause

Feb 18, 2019

IPPs are a solution to Eskom’s woes, not the cause, says Intellidex Chairman Stuart Theobald in his Business Day column today.

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STUART THEOBALD: UK’s National Health Service sets bar high as Motsoaledi unveils two bills in SA

Jun 25, 2018

Health policies are researched and developed to achieve the best national outcomes. The system is pretty uncaring if you want something that is vaguely elective, but on the whole you feel very...

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Op-Ed: Beware the dangerous ambitions of the anti-business propaganda campaign

Dec 5, 2017

The formal business sector in South Africa has been subjected to a propaganda onslaught that has damaged it. It has painted business as universally corrupt, led by unrepentant beneficiaries of...

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STUART THEOBALD: Plenty of competition issues in foreign exchange market

Feb 27, 2017

The Competition Commission should not stop at the prosecution of bank traders who manipulated the rand exchange rate. It should undertake a full investigation into the competitiveness of foreign...

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Cost of entry level housing is bad for transformation

May 26, 2014

The trend in lending patterns in the banking industry is damaging the transformation of the SA economy, particularly when it comes to home ownership. Since 2008, when banks were hit by a wave of bad...

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