“Nelson Mandela remains in hospital, and his condition is unchanged,” the Presidency said in an e-mail yesterday. The statement was the first official comment on Mandela's health since June 8, when President Jacob Zuma's office said his condition was “serious but stable.” Mac Maharaj, a spokesman for Zuma, didn't immediately answer calls seeking comment today. Mandela, 94, was treated in the hospital in April for pneumonia and had to have fluid drained from around his lungs. He also had gallstones removed this year.
Eoin Treacy's view Nelson Mandela is one of the most inspiring figures of the last century. His fortitude and integrity have been an inspiration for millions and helped ensure a relatively peaceful transition from apartheid. However at 94 years old, it is reasonable to begin to speculate whether his eventual demise will have a measurable impact on South Africa's economy.
Assuming the possibility of increased political agitation, a threat to power supplies or worker unrest, platinum prices are where pressure is most likely to become evident first. Despite the development of mines in other jurisdictions, South Africa remains the world's swing producer of platinum. With prices already close to the marginal cost of production, any threat to supply could result in an outsized response.
Platinum continues to trade in the lower half of its more than yearlong range and is currently pulling back, having tested the $1550 area. It is now approaching the $1450 area which acted as region of support last month and a sustained move below that level would be required to question the short-term upward bias.