3 Major Problems with the New NHI

Three major concerns with the new NHI have been outlined by the Public interest law centre, Section 27. The National Health Insurance Bill aims to provide universal access to quality healthcare throughout South Africa. It is open to public comment until 29thNovember. 

However, since its inception, the bill has been surrounded by controversy and concerns have been raised in terms of how it will be funded, the quality of care and what will happen to private medical aid schemes. 

Section 27 shows three major aspects of the NHI Bill that need to be changed. 

Firstly, is governance. In respect to this, the Minister of Health will appoint the NHI Fund Board Members, the Board Chairperson and the CEO of the NHI Fund. The decision making is then far too concentrated.

The second issue is transparency. All NHI related processes and decisions will need to be transparent if they hope to increase public trust in the NHI and to also reduce corruption under NHI.

The third major issue is try before you buy. With the NHI Bill comes new and untested structures and administrations. The creation of these new structures are being bought into law and if they fail there is no way back and without any transition provisions, which could stagger implementation and allow for learnings.

Healthcare Workers Are Not Happy

Trade union Solidarity has warned in a recent report that the NHI will have an impact on the healthcare industry. 

Research psychologist at Solidarity Research Institute, Nicolien Welthagen said the report is based on questionnaires that was sent to both private and public healthcare practitioners across the country. 

General feedback was that healthcare practitioners have massive concerns about the proposed NHI. Overall, the findings point towards a distrust in the government in regards to the way that they want to implement and manage the NHI. Welthagen said that 80% of respondents are negative or doubtful about the NHI. She went on to say that in accordance with the results the respondents don’t believe that the healthcare system or its delivery will improve with the NHI.

Only 15% of respondents believe that the NHI could be successfully implemented and 84.5% have the view that the implementation of the NHI could potentially destabilise the healthcare system and could harm the high quality service that is already being provided in the private sector. 

On top of this, the report also highlights the huge risk of health practitioners leaving the country and the threat this could have on future healthcare in South Africa.

She said that 20.8% of respondents have already taken steps to emigrate and 41.06% would consider leaving South Africa when the NHI is implemented. 

Article Source: https://businesstech.co.za/news/government/355255/the-3-major-problems-with-south-africas-new-nhi-and-why-some-doctors-want-to-leave/

SA’s Outlook Changed to Negative by S&P

On Friday evening, South Africa’s sovereign credit rating was changed to negative by S&P Global Ratings, citing rising fiscal deficits, low GDP growth and a growing debt burden. However, the rating agency did not downgrade the country further into junk. If fiscal deterioration continues though due to rising interest costs, higher pressure on spending or the “crystallization of contingent liabilities related to state-owned enterprises, especially Eskom” then S&P may lower the rating. 

Analysts did anticipate this assessment though and 16 out of 22 analysts in a Bloomberg survey expected the outlook to change from stable to negative. 

As it stands only Moody’s still has SA at investment grade. After the decision on Friday, S&P has South Africa’s long term foreign currency rating at BB and the long term currency rating at BB+. 

At the beginning of November, Moody’s changed its outlook to negative. 

S&P said on Friday that its rating was constrained by low GDP per capita growth, large and rising government debt burden, weak economic expansion and sizeable contingent liabilities primarily tied to debt laden Eskom. 

S&P will be closely monitoring South Africa’s economic performance to see if it weakens further. They also said that they could consider lowering the ratings if property rights, rule of law or enforcement of contracts were to weaken significantly, which would undermine the investment and economic outlook. But they think that is unlikely. 

Article Source: https://www.fin24.com/Economy/sp-changes-sas-outlook-to-negative-warns-of-growing-debt-burden-20191123

Watch Your Wallet This Festive Season… Here is How Criminals Will Target South Africans

The national marketing and communications manager at Fidelity ADT, Charnel Hattingh says that criminals will be targeting the increased number of shoppers over the next few weeks, who are doing their festive shopping.

All shoppers will need to practice caution and to be vigilant whilst shopping. There is generally an increase over this time of year in follow home incidents. This is where shoppers are followed home after being at the malls and are subsequently hijacked in their driveways. This is because criminals are aware that shoppers have a car full of newly bought items and are usually distracted and easy targets. 

If you think that you are being followed, then drive to your closest police station or a security provider. Also, don’t forget your general hijacking safety tips like waiting in the road for the gate to open before driving in and ensuring that the gate is closed before getting out of your vehicle. 

So, what can you do when you are at the mall?

Shop Safe at Malls

When you are at a shopping centre or a mall, you should carry as little as possible in your pockets and handbag. Rather leave any unnecessary bank or store cards or large amounts of cash at home. The prime hunting ground for a pickpocket or bag snatcher is a packed store. You should also never leave your handbag or wallet in a trolley. If you don’t use a bag, then keep your purse or wallet in the front pocket of your jacket or trousers. Criminals will also be targeting phones, so keep yours out of sight in your front pocket or a zipped bag. 

If you plan to draw a large amount of cash, then take someone with you to keep an eye out whilst you are at the ATM and on the way home watch out for any suspicious individuals or vehicles. If you can avoid drawing large amounts of cash then do so, because electronic payments are safer. 

Fidelity ADT, also said that your safety outside the mall is just as important as inside the mall. Before you leave the mall, have your keys ready so that you don’t waste any time getting yourself and your purchases into the car. This also means that you will be able to keep hold of your handbag whilst you walk. If someone does try to take your bag, rather let it go. 

Hattingh also says that you should try and avoid late night shopping. Even though the idea of a quieter shopping centre is appealing, you are more vulnerable in mall bathrooms, car parks and so on. If you don’t have a choice and need to shop late then be vigilant and you should report any suspicious individuals to mall security.

Article Source: https://businesstech.co.za/news/lifestyle/353989/how-criminals-will-target-south-africans-over-black-friday-and-christmas-fidelity-adt/

South Africa May Fall Further into Junk as S&P Likely to Cut Outlook

This week, could see South Africa falling even further into junk as it looks like it is about to lose its only stable outlook on its credit ratings. 

In a Bloomberg survey, 16 economists out of 22 think that S&P Global Ratings will change its outlook to negative on Friday. S&P already hold South Africa’s foreign currency debt at two levels below investment grade and another downgrade could be on the horizon. 

This follows Moody’s Investors Service changing its outlook to negative a couple of weeks ago after the Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni described that due to the billions being spent to bail out Eskom, the fiscal outlook is rapidly deteriorating.

In May, S&P warned in its assessment that continued fiscal deterioration, mounting external financing pressures and structurally weaker economic performance could prompt the rating service to lower the nations credit assessment. 

So What is the Rating Risk

If there is a further downgrade, it will take the country even longer to recover its investment grade status at S&P. Also, Moody’s investment grade will look more out of alignment with S&P and Fitch Ratings.

For the current credit rating from Moody’s to remain unchanged there will need to be a real fiscal strategy that aims to contain the rise in debt. 

In a Bloomberg survey, 86% of economists said that Moody’s will take South Africa to junk next year.

A downgrade by Moody’s will force South Africa out of the FTSE World Government Bond Index, which could spark sell offs and outflows of $15 billion according to the Bank of New York Mellon. It will also increase the borrowing costs and make it even more difficult for government to finance the budget. 

Article Source: https://www.moneyweb.co.za/news/south-africa/south-africa-junk-spiral-may-deepen-as-sp-likely-to-cut-outlook/

Are you Considering Funeral Insurance? Here are the Top Reasons Why You Need It

Life is unpredictable and it is important to take care of your family financially, which you can do by saving each month and taking out insurance policies that will look after your family. 

One such insurance product is funeral insurance. If the worst were to happen, your family will be able to use the money from this insurance to pay for your funeral and with family funeral plans, you can include your extended family as well. 

Here are the top reasons as to why you should take out funeral insurance. 

Your Funeral is Paid for

Funeral cover pays for your funeral and with a family funeral cover plan, it will also pay for the funeral of a loved one who you have added to your policy. On your death, your family will receive a lump sum pay-out, which will be enough to cover your funeral, so that your family does not have to pay from their pocket. 

With funeral cover, you will not need to undergo a medical examination like you would have to with life cover. However, ensure that the policy does not have any exclusions regarding pay-out. There are funeral insurance plans that will pay-out within 48 hours of death if it is due to natural causes, other deaths may require further investigation. 

Funeral Cover is Affordable

Many think that funeral cover is expensive, however, you will find that it is quite affordable. The monthly premiums for funeral cover are much lower than other insurance products, so you can give your family peace of mind without breaking the bank. 

There are some funeral cover options which are based on your income and the premiums will only increase when you add more people to the plan. 

Covering the Extras

People often underestimate the cost of a funeral, but they are expensive. Not only do you need to consider the cost of the actual funeral but also the extras like a headstone, transport for family, flowers, catering and so on. 

When your family can easily cover these expenses they can grieve peacefully without the extra stress of money hanging over them. Having funeral insurance in place will then protect your family from incurring debt. 

Don’t Give Your Family Debt

If you are the main breadwinner in the family, then you might be worried about getting your family into debt when you pass away. Also, you might be worried about having to pay for a funeral of a loved one because it will be too expensive for you to handle. This is where a family funeral cover comes into play.

If you pass away, then your family won’t need to bear the financial cost of a funeral and if a loved one that has been named on your policy dies then you will be able to give them the funeral they deserve without having to go into debt yourself. This is the biggest benefit of funeral cover and in the long run, it will save you money. 

Fast Pay-outs

If you already have life insurance in place, you may find that you will need to wait a while before the plan pays out. However, funeral cover pays out quickly and often within 48 hours of death. Your family can then arrange the funeral sooner rather than later. Your family will then not have to worry about finding the funds to pay for your funeral. A fast pay-out means everything can happen sooner and the grieving process will be easier as the finances will be taken care of. 

Having funeral cover in place for you and your family means that the financial burden of funeral expenses is lifted. Funeral cover offers affordable rates and fast pay-outs so that you or your family can grieve in peace without extras worries. 

Tips to Stay on Budget this Black Friday

Black Friday is coming and it is the biggest shopping day in South Africa, so whilst retailers are getting ready to reveal their discounts, financial service groups are urging consumers to shop with caution. 

As consumers, we are already carrying an immense amount of debt and even though Black Friday will give us a chance to get those items we want at discounted prices, we need to be smart about it so we don’t end up in further financial trouble. 

According to Bayport, a loan and insurance group, shoppers are seduced by the number of deals and specials that are available on the day, but with budgets already being tight, consumers run the risk of getting into more debt. So, the rule is easy enough…don’t spend what you haven’t got. 

So, here are tips that can help you to not blow your budget this Black Friday.

Have a Game Plan

Retailers always have a plan ahead of Black Friday and so should you. Black Friday is now a yearly event in South Africa and ideally, you should start planning for the following year once the current year is done. 

When you are planning for Black Friday, you should have saved up some money so that you don’t need to use your monthly cash flow and budget. Also, have a list ready of the things that you want to get your hands on instead of just buying items for the sake of buying them because they are on special. 

Don’t Spend Beyond Your Limit

You will need to know what your budget limits are. It is a bad idea to pile purchases on to your credit card until its maxed out and it is even a worse idea to increase your credit limit in preparation for Black Friday, because you are then just going to get into a heap of debt trouble. When debt is unplanned then it becomes difficult to pay it off. 

Have a limit in place that you can afford and stick to it.

What’s Happening with Your Money

You need to know your money. How much you earn, what your monthly expenses are and the balance that is left once everything has been paid for. 

You should take a look at your bank statements each month and ensure they are correct. When you get into the habit of reviewing your finances regularly then you will gain a better understanding of your money and will be less tempted to overdo it on Black Friday. 

Shop Smartly

If you are on the hunt for a bargain, then you need to shop smart. If you have items in your cart that you were already planning to buy and have budgeted for then getting these items on Black Friday can save you money. 

Black Friday is also a great time to get Christmas presents. Make a list of who you need to get gifts for and what gifts you want to get them. You might be able to get some good deals for some presents on Black Friday. 

However, if you buy something on Black Friday that you didn’t plan on buying in any case then you will be going outside your budget. If you are using money that was meant for something else then you may find you can’t spend as much on groceries or going out or you will just blow your budget, which isn’t good. 

Have a plan, know what you want to buy and have a budget and stick to it so you can avoid overspending this Black Friday.

If Moody Cuts its Rating to Junk, This Is What Awaits South Africa

Analysts that have been following South Africa do expect that it will lose its final investment grade rating, however, they disagree on what might happen and the consequences of such. 

The worst prediction is that it would trigger outflows of over $10 billion and will cause the rand to weaken to its lowest level in almost four years. On the other hand, some say that investors have already priced in a downgrade and South African assets could even rise in the aftermath, especially if the feeling towards emerging markets stays strong. 

On November 1st, Moody’s Investors Services cut its outlook to negative. They rate South Africa at Baa3, which is just a step above speculative grade. This followed the budget statement from Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, which showed that the financial situation of the government is rapidly deteriorating. 

If South Africa is downgraded by Moody’s then rand bonds will be omitted from FTSE World Government Bond Index, which includes 14 currencies such as the dollar and yen and has about $3 trillion tracking it according to Bank of New York Mellon. According to National Treasury data, foreign investors own 37% or about R780 billion of South Africa’s local currency bonds.

So, what are the analysts saying?

Bank of America

The US lender expects that downgrade could happen soon after February’s budget review. They don’t believe that the government will be able to fix the growing fiscal gap or debt laden Eskom. However, Jure Jeric and David Hauner said that markets have priced this in and outflows, might only reach $1.5 billion, especially if tensions over trade ease between the US and China as they continue to float emerging markets. In a note this month they said that South African assets are cheap and post downgrade, the market is likely to rise as uncertainty declines. 

Bank of New York Mellon

Head of markets strategy, Daniel Tenengauzer predicts that if South Africa exits the WGBI then the outflows could be between $8 billion and $12 billion. The selling might not be curbed by the status as the highest yielding country in the index. On average, rand bond rates are 9.2%, about 360 basis points more than those for the second highest yielding currency, which is the Mexican peso. 

Citigroup

According to Gina Schoeman, an economist at the Wall Street Bank, a downgrade in March is possible if South Africa can’t come up with a credible debt stabilisation strategy. There will then be tough negotiations ahead between the government and unions on how spending can be curbed. She went on to say that a WGBI exit could mean between $6 billion and $7 billion of capital could leave the country as it appears that Moody’s tolerance is low.

Intellidex

Peter Attard Montalto, London based head of capital markets research said that it’s 50/50 on whether South Africa will avoid a downgrade after the February budget. He said that to a moderate degree a cut has been priced in and could result in $5 billion of outflows. 

Investec

The banks Johannesburg based chief economist, Annabel Bishop said that a negative outlook instead of a ratings watch could mean that South Africa will be granted up to 18 months by Moody’s to improve its finances. If there is a downgrade, then the governments 10-year local currency yields may increase to about 10%, but they probably won’t rise as much as those in Turkey and Brazil when they were cut to junk. 

Rand Merchant Bank

Fixed income analyst at the Johannesburg based investment bank, Kim Silberman said that Moody’s marked South Africa down due to its politics. She went on to say that a downgrade in March is now possible and the rand may drop to 16 per dollar, which is 7.6% weaker then it is currently and the lowest it has been since early 2016. Schwellnus, a bond trader at RMB said that outflows could be between R30 billion and R200 billion, but he went on to say that this global environment is probably the most ideal for a downgrade to happen in. 

Standard Chartered

Razia Khan, the bank’s London based chief economist for Africa and the Middle East said that they do not see a downgrade as early as March as being at all likely. Rather the negative outlook from Moody’s gives the authorities the political cover they might need to take a firm stance on reforms and a pickup in growth next year may mean a cut’s avoided altogether. Samir Gadio, StanChart’s head of Africa strategy said that even if it isn’t, estimates of outflows of around $10 billion look very overstated. 

Article Source: https://www.moneyweb.co.za/news/south-africa/this-is-what-awaits-south-africa-if-moodys-cuts-its-rating-to-junk/

Rand Gets a Boost

In the early hours of trading on Monday, the rand was quoted stronger as the country clung to its last investment grade credit rating.

On Friday, it was announced that the Moody’s Investors Service would not downgrade the country’s credit score to junk, however, it did reduce the outlook to negative. This came after the release last week that the forecast for the country is rapidly deteriorating.

Moody held the readings for the nations foreign and local currency at Baa3, which is one step above speculative grade. S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings already hold the nation below investment grade as they shifted the status to junk in 2017. 

According to the Bank of New York Mellon Corp, if Moody’s cuts the rating of South Africa then the country would lose its place in the FTSE World Government Bond Index. This could then mean that an investor sell off would spark up and outflows of almost R225 billion. This would come at a time where the country needs portfolio investment to finance its persistent current account deficit. On top of this, a downgrade would mean a rise in borrowing costs, which will then complicate the governments efforts to balance the budget. 

Bank of America believes that the Baa3 rating will be cut after a budget statement in February. 

Moody’s outlook reflects the material risk that government will not be able to stop the decline of its finances through an economic growth revival and fiscal consolidation measures according to the credit assessor. 

At the moment R138 billion is being spent by the country to bail out Eskom Holdings, which is seen as the biggest risk to the economy. 

South Africa has been afforded a small window with the rating affirmation to show faster and concrete implementation of reforms. The reforms will need to implemented without delay said South Africa’s National Treasury. 

Article Source: https://www.fin24.com/Markets/rand-perks-up-after-moodys-reprieve-20191104

Black Friday Is Coming, But Pick N Pay is Launching Deals Early

Black Friday is becoming increasingly popular in South Africa and it is a day where retailers offer huge savings on various goods from tech to food and more. This year, Black Friday will fall on November 29th, but some retailers like Pick N Pay are kicking things off early. 

Pick n Pay has launched exclusive teaser deals for Gauteng and Western Cape online customers in the lead up to Black Friday. 

These ‘Black November’ deals will go live on the Pick N Pays website every Monday at 7am and will be valid for seven days or whilst stocks last. 

Pick n Pay said that the deals will offer up to 50% off across various categories like appliances, groceries, wine, liquor, electronics, baby essentials and household items. 

John Bradshaw, retail executive for marketing at Pick N Pay said that a number of their customers signed up for the Black Friday emailer before hand, so that they would get notified immediately. Minutes before the deals went live, customers logged into the site. He also said that customers enjoyed being able to shop for different items throughout the month and not just on one day. 

Pick N Pay has also implemented extra measures this year to serve as many customers as possible and quickly. They have also stepped up their online delivery capacity to avoid delays. 

Also, from Saturday, the Black November Saver Delivery slots will be available. This is a discounted delivery rate and orders are delivered during the day on the date selected by the customer.

The Pick N Pay Black November online deals run each week from the 4thto 25thNovember 2019 and are exclusive to online customers in Gauteng and Western Cape in areas that are covered by the Pick N Pay’s online delivery network.