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SA business confidence dips on political uncertainty

South African business confidence fell to a 10-month low amid uncertainty ahead of the country’s May 29 election, a top business lobby group said.

A measure of sentiment compiled by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry slipped to 107.8 in May from 108.9 in April and 114.7 in March. The average level of the index for the first five months of 2024 was 111.7.

It said politicians should now take an “economy first” approach as they negotiate forming a new government.

The election cost the African National Congress its parliamentary majority for the first time since taking power in 1994, forcing it to negotiate with rivals to form a broad alliance, known as a government of national unity. Parliament will reconvene Friday to elect the president.

“This adjustment could have unwarranted and unintended consequences for the economy and the well-being of South African citizens,” Sacci said. “An ‘economy first’ approach should reduce high levels of unemployment and build a meritocracy with sustainable and inclusive economic growth.”

Among the parties that have expressed an interest in joining the new government is the centrist Democratic Alliance. The ANC has also said it was reaching out to all parties, including the leftist Economic Freedom Fighters and former President Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto weSizwe Party. Both have pledged to nationalise land and the central bank.

© 2024 Bloomberg