In 2008, James Ntseane borrowed 8,000 rand ($931) from African Bank Investments Ltd. to pay for his grandmother’s funeral in the South African village of Ganyesa. It seemed so easy the platinum miner took out two more loans, worth 10,000 rand, for a sofa and house extension over the following six months.
At a Daimler AG plant that overlooks the East London harbor in South Africa, robots help produce one of the world’s best-selling luxury cars. A line of one-armed, orange, computerized machines works under minimal human supervision, attaching panels to chassis for Mercedes-Benz C- Class sedans.
The rand posted the biggest decline among emerging-market currencies after Standard & Poor’s cut South Africa’s credit rating by one level, saying mining protests may incite social tension and pressure state spending.
South Africa’s sovereign rating was cut one level by Standard & Poor’s, which cited concern that a wave of strikes in the mining industry is causing political and social unrest and placing pressure on government spending.
South African state workers suspended a strike that has shut thousands of schools and interrupted services at hospitals and courts since Aug. 18, as they consider an improved wage offer from the government.
South Africa is set for its worst year of industrial action since all-race elections in 1994 after a 20-day strike by state workers won them raises of more than twice the inflation rate, encouraging miners and autoworkers to hold out on their pay demands.