THE WEEK AHEAD
MONDAY: Today is the Day of Reconciliation, a public holiday. Financial markets will be closed.
TUESDAY: Government departments have until today to submit detailed business plans for capital projects which would previously have fallen under the auspices of the RDP Fund. Latest available figures show that only about 35% of the R15,3-billion allocated to the fund in the three years to end-March 1997 have been spent to date. RDP spending has been reallocated to the various state departments but will be returned to the central Budget unless the departments can justify the allocation of funds.
Economists have estimated that up R5-billion might go to the central Budget and be used to meet the target of a 4,1% deficit in the 1997/98 Budget.
WEDNESDAY: Diamond sales by De Beers' Central Selling Organisation are set for a record year. The CSO will release its 1996 figures today amid market expectations of sales in the region of $4,8-billion - 6% up on last year's $4,53-billion. In the first half sales of $2,75-billion were at the upper end of market expectations. There appears to be no clear-cut reason for the bearish mood of the market, given that key Western economies are only just emerging from recession. The withdrawal by Australian gem producer Argyle from the CSO was also expected to have an adverse impact on sales as it is forecast to sell about $150-million in the second half of the year.
The main areas of growth have been the Far East and the US, which together account for about 60% of world sales.
THURSDAY: The Department of Trade and Industry is this week finalising the consultation process on a new framework governing the liquor industry. In terms of legislation passed last year the liquor industry is the responsibility of provinces although policy issues will be dealt with at national level. The government has asked for input on a number of key issues affecting the industry - full Sunday trading, liquor sales (including beer) by all retail outlets, the future of liquor stores and liquor licensing arrangements.
FRIDAY: Perskor and Kagiso are expected this week to present shareholders with a new proposal which would hand the black-controlled investment company joint control of newspapers owned by Perskor, including the Citizen and Rapport. The initial offer was rejected after minority shareholders, led by businessman Mannie Simchowitz, threatened a court injunction against the transaction unless minorities received a better deal. Their concerns were upheld by an independent mediator.