Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:

Phala Phala cash ‘a deposit’: SA Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago has defended the bank’s investigation into Phala Phala, telling MPs its probe found that the $580,000 in cash handed to a lodge manager in 2020 was a “security deposit” and not a final payment. Therefore, there was no obligation for President Cyril Ramaphosa or Phala Phala to report the forex to authorities. [News24]

Municipal robbery: A 12-year study conducted by Prisma Contract Review Risk Management director Paul Nel shows that municipalities across the country underspent on services, overspent on wages, and ‘robbed’ billions through overinflation from ratepayers. The report revealed that metro residents were charged R501.9 billion above CPI over the 12 years as expenditure and revenue grew by 200% compared to CPI of 96.52%. The study estimates that the five biggest metros collectively overspent R137.3 billion on remuneration over the period, while, in contrast, they collectively underspent R86.4 billion on repairs and maintenance. [Business Day]

Aarto heading back to court: The controversial Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act may be the subject of litigation again, this time for the reinstatement and enforcement of old fines that the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) and fines administrator Fines4U consider unlawful. However, according to the RTIA, “The Aarto Act does not prescribe any time limit for the issuance of the enforcement orders”. Fines4U has instructed its senior council to proceed with a legal challenge against the RTIA, and Outa supports the action and is looking into the legal options to get involved. [Moneyweb]

Tshwane wage wars persist: The communication lines between the municipality and the workers’ union have been cut as neither party is willing to change its position. Tshwane Mayor Cilliers Brink said the city simply could not afford a wage increase, while the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) said it would be approaching the courts over the city’s decision to withhold the salaries of 319 striking employees. [EWN]

Markets: The South African rand slipped on Wednesday after data showed the country’s private sector credit grew slower than expected and the budget deficit widened. Central bank data showed private sector credit grew 5.87% year-on-year in July, down from 6.25% in June, while figures released by the National Treasury showed that South Africa recorded a budget deficit of R143.76 billion in July, compared with analysts’ expectation of a deficit of R123.7 billion. On Thursday (31 August), the rand was trading at R18.70/USD, R20.42/EUR and R23.80/GBP. Oil is trading at $85.85 a barrel. (Reuters)