Security Minister Bongo Bribary Scandal

New State Security Minister Bongani Bongo is embroiled in a new bribery scandal. This time Bongo is accused of offering a bribe, in a form of “blank cheque”, to the evidence leader of parliament’s state capture inquiry — Advocate Ntuthuzelo Vanara. Vanara has made the shocking allegation in a sworn statement submitted to National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete. Mbete has referred the matter to parliament’s joint ethics committee for further investigation.

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Presidency To Spend R48Million On Six Ministerial Houses

The state has paid almost R700,000 to build a braai area for one of President Jacob Zuma’s ministers. These revelations were made by the Department of Public Works in parliament this week. It also emerged that the department plans to spend R48-million to purchase six houses for Zuma’s ministers. Bassie Kgasoane, the chief director of prestige property at public works, confirmed the expenditure.

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Job Cuts Expected If Eskom Price Increase Approved

The proposed 19.9% electricity hike by Eskom will result in job losses in the steel and engineering sector, warned an economist for the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa. The sector has already lost a total of 25 000 jobs in the three years between July 2014 and June this year.

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Multichoice Plans To Drop ANN7

MultiChoice plans to drop the Gupta-backed news channel ANN7 from DStv when its contract expires in June 2018. It follows a public outcry after the revelation that MultiChoice is paying to broadcast ANN7. The agreement was amended to increase the annual fee for ANN7 from R50 million per year to R150 million. MultiChoice would also not have the right to cancel ANN7 should it not perform well.

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Brian Molefe Earning R57k A Month From Army

Former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe has been called up to serve as a colonel in the army, earning R57,000 a month. City Press said that he was initially appointed in 2009 as an honorary colonel of the SA Irish regiment, a part-time unit. It said that that this post is akin to a ceremonial role.

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Bitcoin Breaches $8000 Mark

Bitcoin topped $8,000 for the first time, as investors set aside technology concerns that had derailed its advance earlier this month. Bitcoin rose 4.8% to $8,071.05 as of 7:17 a.m.. It’s now up more than 700% this year after shrugging off a tumble of as much as 29% earlier this month. It’s been a tumultuous year for the largest cryptocurrency, with three separate slumps of more than 25 percent in value all giving way to subsequent rallies.

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Currencies : Bitcoin R118,770 . Rand/USD 14.04 . Rand/GBP 18.49 . Rand/EUR 16.46

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DaVinci Painting Sells For Record $450.3m

That was the reaction of mega art dealer Larry Gagosian after a rediscovered painting by Leonardo da Vinci became the most expensive work ever sold, soaring to $450.3m (almost R6.5bn) at a Christie’s auction in New York on Wednesday.

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McKinsey Will Repay Eskom Money

Global consultancy firm McKinsey has set aside the R1bn that Eskom has demanded that it repay and was keen to do so, the head of the firm’s public and social sector practice, David Fine, said on Wednesday. Fine was giving evidence at the inquiry into state capture held by Parliament’s public enterprises portfolio committee. The money was paid for McKinsey’s work on a turnaround plan, but the Treasury had not approved the contract. “McKinsey does not want any tainted money. We went into a relationship with Eskom in good faith,” Fine said.

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Bitcoin Soaring In Zimbabwe After Coup

Demand for Bitcoin in Zimbabwe has surged amid a shortage of hard currency. Golix processed more than $1 million of transactions in the past 30 days, compared with turnover of $100,000 for the whole of 2016, according to data on the exchange’s website. Zimbabwe doesn’t have its own currency, with the government adopting the US dollar and South African rand, among others, as legal tender in 2009 after hyperinflation rendered the local dollar worthless.

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Eskom Set To Make Massive Losses

The low electricity price increase granted by energy regulator Nersa for the 2016/17 financial year, coupled with declining sales volumes, rising costs and debtor payment challenges, are all working to put Eskom’s revenue, cash flow and bottom line under severe pressure. As a result, the Eskom Group profit of R6.38bn for the six-month period ending 30 September 2017 is projected to reflect a loss of some R3.55bn by financial year-end.

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Naspers Hits record High

Tencent sales for the quarter were 65.2 billion yuan ($9.8 billion), compared to analyst expectations for 61 billion yuan. Net income surged 69 percent to 18 billion yuan, also blowing past projections for 15.8 billion yuan. Tencent’s shares closed 1.3 percent lower, before earnings were announced. Naspers Ltd., a major stockholder in the company, climbed as much as 4.1 percent to a record high in Johannesburg.

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MTN To Introduce Biometric Security

Cellphone service MTN has announced it is today introducing “an industry-first biometric system” to protect its customers against ID theft. The biometrics will be used to authenticate the identity of post-paid subscribers when they undertake a range of transactions‚ including applying for a new contract or an additional SIM‚ performing an upgrade or SIM swap and loading of chargeable value added services.

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Currencies : Bitcoin – R112,999 . Rand/USD 14.39 . Rand/GBP 18.91 . Rand/EUR 16.94

Military Coup In Zimbabwe

Soldiers deployed across the Zimbabwe capital Harare and seized the state broadcaster on Wednesday after 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu (PF) party accused the head of the military of treason, prompting frenzied speculation of a coup. Since then, the army has taken control of the national broadcaster, arrested senior politicians and those in Mugabe’s inner circle and former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa has returned to the country.

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Eskom Employees Reveal Lynn Browne Lies

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown came under scathing attack on Tuesday from an Eskom GM, who accused her of being incompetent, a liar and captured by the Guptas.

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Water Departments R30Million Bonuses

Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane has admitted that her department paid out R30-million worth of bonuses to its employees‚ despite the department being found wanting in the management of its financial books. In a reply to a written question from Democratic Alliance MP Anchen Dreyer‚ Mokonyane said 1.5% of the total provision for salaries was allocated towards performance reviews. She said 1‚959 officials between salary levels 1 and 12 got the bulk of the R30-million in performance bonuses. Two officials in salary levels 13 and 14 got a bonus of R58‚092.82 and R69‚069.60 respectively.

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Senior Eskom Boss Resigns Over State Corruption Allegations

France Hlakudi, a senior manager at the centre of allegations of corruption at Eskom’s Kusile power station in Mpumalanga, has resigned with immediate effect, Eskom confirmed yesterday. Eskom said Hlakudi resigned on Monday, leaving the troubled power utility under a cloud. His resignation could have far reaching implications for suspended executive Matshela Koko’s ongoing disciplinary process as he is one of the witnesses the power utility has lined up. As a former employee, he has no obligation to participate in the hearings.

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SA Debt Soars

National Treasury had no trouble selling a record amount of debt at its weekly fixed-rate auction on Tuesday. The sale attracted bids of R10.9bn for the R3.3bn of notes of four maturities, with clearing yields on all four bonds jumping. Securities maturing in 2044 were the most popular, with demand of four times the amount on offer. The clearing yield of 10.405%, however, was 46 basis points higher than when the notes were last sold on October 17.

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Application To have SA Express Liquidated Withdrawn

The threat of state-owned airline SA Express being liquidated has been removed as the complainant‚ Solenta Aviation‚ has withdrawn its application for liquidation. Instead SA Express and Solenta have agreed to deal with their dispute by means of arbitration. Solenta brought the application in the Gauteng High Court in June with SA Express giving notice that it would oppose it. The application arose from the non-payment by SAExpress of monies allegedly owed to Solenta.

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Currencies : Bitcoin R106,772 . Rand/USD 14.38 . Rand/GBP 18.89 . Rand/EUR 16.99

 

No Free Education As Zuma Releases Report

President Jacob Zuma has finally released the report looking into the plausibility of free tertiary education in South Africa. The fee commission found that free education in South Africa could be feasible – but not across the board, and not for all. Key to this, the commission found that, despite the dire need for skills in South Africa, the state simply cannot afford to fund free education for all. However, there was room for fee-free education at Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutes in the country, which should be seen as a first-class options for those looking to further develop their skills, it said.

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Eskom Runs Out Of Cash

Eskom is in a precarious financial position and desperately trying to avoid a liquidity crisis that may render it unable to pay staff salaries and suppliers by January. The utility confirmed on Monday it had 20 times less cash than it needs to continue funding operations, and has written to the public enterprises minister alerting her of the impending calamity. By the end of January, the utility will run on a cash deficit of R5bn. This eventuality will come even as Eskom expects to successfully drawdown R3.8bn from existing credit facilities during the next few weeks.

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Zuma Says State Capture Doesn’t Exist

In an interview aired on ANN7, President Jacob Zuma says that state capture has been created ‘just to paint black a particular family and individuals.’ Zuma wants to know what people mean by state capture. “They can’t just make it sound so important and big, this state capture.” He says that the commission of inquiry that he will established will be tasked with answering this question. “What is a state capture? I am sure very keen to know.” The president believes the term was created for this reason. “It’s all fake and political, just to paint black a particular family and individuals.”

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Michael Sachs Resignation From Treasury Causes Concern

Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan has called the resignation of senior Treasury official Michael Sachs an “absolute tragedy”. Sachs‚ Deputy Director General in the budgeting office‚ resigned amid allegations that he and other Treasury officials are unhappy about a plan that President Jacob Zuma allegedly intends introducing free University education for families earning under R350‚000 annually. The Sunday Times reported that Sachs had threatened to resign if Zuma’s plan was implemented‚ because there had not been sufficient consultation or consideration of the long term ramifications..

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Why Not To Panic About Bitcoin Prices

The price of Bitcoin has dropped sharply in the past seven days, which has got cryptocurrency investors worried. Following Bitcoin reaching a high of $7,700 last week, the token dropped to a low of $5,600 this past weekend. The price drop has been linked to Bitcoin players suspending a plan to increase the block size in the Bitcoin blockchain through SegWit2X. Whether the suspension of SegWit2X is an axe blow to Bitcoin’s future remains to be seen, but what is certain is that the cryptocurrency has suffered big price drops before – and recovered. In the world of cryptocurrency, massive upward or downward movements are commonplace, with a daily increase of 140% not unheard of.

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Rand Hits One Year Low

The rand tumbled more than 1% and the risk premium on government bonds soared on Monday over news of a top Treasury official resignation, financial woes at the sole power utility and political jostling in the ruling party. At 1120 GMT the rand was at 14.5200 per dollar having tumbled as much as 1.1% to session-worst 14.5425, its weakest level since Nov. 18 2016. Government bond due 2026 also weakened. Yields on the paper climbed 14.5 basis points to 9.495%, its highest level since May 2016.

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Currencies: Bitcoin – R102,301 . Rand/USD 14.49 . Rand/GBP 18.97 . Rand/EUR 16.91

Free Education Plan Blocked by Treasury

President Jacob Zuma’s budget-busting plan for free higher education set off a flurry of panic among senior government officials this week‚ even prompting threats by a senior National Treasury official to resign should the proposal go ahead‚ the Sunday Times reports. It said the president had planned to announce the R40-billion free education plan on Tuesday last week ‚ but held off amid warnings from officials that such a move would plunge South Africa into an economic crisis.

Source: https://goo.gl/UXbFgg

Bitcoin Rollercoaster Erases $38bn Off Market

Bitcoin plunged as the cancellation of a technology upgrade prompted some users to switch out of the cryptocurrency, spooking speculators who had profited from a more than 800% surge this year. The cryptocurrency has dropped 9.5% since late Friday, extending its slide from last week’s record to as much as 29%, according to data compiled by Coinmarketcap.com and Bloomberg. Bitcoin cash, a rival that split from the original bitcoin in August, has jumped nearly 40% since Friday.

Source: https://goo.gl/1NuCxX

Eskom Cash Dries Up

Eskom’s latest report to its shareholder representative, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown, showed that the state utility’s liquidity is fast drying up, as it struggles to raise funds in an unsympathetic market. In the report, Eskom tells Brown that its governance issues are having a negative impact on financial sustainability and the utility’s ability to keep going. Several key Eskom executives, including suspended chief financial officer Anoj Singh, ex-Eskom boss Brian Molefe and suspended executive Matshela Koko are being investigated for their role in state capture at the state utility, while parliament has heard shocking revelations of how looting took place at Eskom with the assistance of key executives.

Source: https://goo.gl/HhxHcp

Nigeria Rejects Moody’s Downgrade

Nigeria has rejected the downgrading of Nigeria from a B1 stable to a B2 stable rating by Moody’s Investors Service Research. In a statement, the Nigerian authorities said the downgrade was not a true reflection of the current state of the country’s economy, which government said has improved. “The attention of the Federal Ministry of Finance (FMF), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Debt Management Office (DMO) has been drawn to today’s announcement of the decision by Moody’s to downgrade Nigeria from a B1 stable to a B2 stable rating. “While we respect the right of Moody’s to make this decision, we strongly disagree with the premise and must address some of the conclusions upon which the decision rests,” the statement said.

Source: https://goo.gl/Rqg8L9

Uber Loses Employee Rights Case In Britian

Uber on Friday lost a landmark case in Britain that would give drivers the right to paid holidays and the national minimum wage, lawyers representing the claimants said. The London employment tribunal rejected Uber’s appeal against an October 2016 ruling in a case that is being closely watched for the wider implications for Britain’s booming “gig economy”.

Source: https://goo.gl/gU2VC3

Vodacom Hits 40 Million Subscribers For First Time

Vodacom has released its results for the six months ended 30 September 2017. The company said it gained 2.9 million local customers during the period, taking the network to 40 million South African subscribers for the first time. Vodacom said it defines a customer as a user using any service during the last three months. This includes customers paying a monthly fee.

Source: https://goo.gl/wJLjCD

Hlaudi Sues SABC For Pension

Former SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng has filed another court application to force the SABC pension fund to pay him R8-million in pension benefits. Motsoeneng, through his attorneys Majavu Incorporated, filed an application in the South Gauteng High Court on Monday asking for an order to compel the public broadcaster’s pension fund to release the millions he is claiming.

Source: https://goo.gl/3wTzCw

Currencies : Bitcoin R99,205 – Rand/USD 14.41 – Rand/GBP 18.85 – Rand/EUR 16.77

 

 

 

 

Big Petrol Price Jump In December

South African motorists should brace themselves for a massive fuel price increase in December. An increase in the global oil price – to 2-year highs of $64 dollars per barrel – would compound pressures seen in the South African US dollar exchange rate, and push the price of petrol up by around 60 cents in December.
Source: https://goo.gl/uCTnh7
Post Office To Take Over Grant Payments
According to Treasury and Minister Jeff Radebe the Post office will take over grants payments as of Friday this week (10 November). The Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) has also confirmed that the Post Office will build a new integrated IT system for Sassa grants. A joint meeting of Scopa and the Portfolio Committee on Social Development have agreed to receive a follow-up briefing from the IMC on Tuesday, 21 November 2017 on progress in addressing the finalisation of the appointment of an entity that will pay social grants after the expiry of the current contract with Cash Paymaster Services.
Source: https://goo.gl/bgyxhu
30% Of Bank Sector Jobs To Be Lost To AI and Blockchain

Industry experts believe that between 2 million and 6 million jobs will be lost over the next decade due to disruptive financial technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and blockchain. A report by Citigroup revealed that the downsizing of the bank workforce is about to accelerate as more technology takes over jobs humans used to do.

Source: https://goo.gl/uNV42q

 

Uber To Test Flying Taxis By 2020

Flying taxis sound like a futuristic idea, but Uber wants to test the idea in Los Angeles by 2020. Uber’s plan is to string together a network of electrical vertical take-off and landing vehicles, commonly called eVTOL, and make them available on-demand. Similar to helicopters, the eVTOL aircraft would take off and land on the tops of buildings and be able to cover distances more quickly and directly compared to cars stuck in traffic on Los Angeles congested roads.

Source: https://goo.gl/jkLYcu

Bitcoin Hard Fork Called Off – Price Rises

With the hard fork looming just a week and a day away, that coalition called off its plans Wednesday in a brief email sent by the lead developer on the team planning to hard fork, nicknamed SegWit2x for the two solutions it brought together in compromise (SegWit and a hard fork to a 2MB block). The move comes shortly after CME announced it would launch Bitcoin futures and the price of Bitcoin reached all-time highs, around $7,500, and its market capitalization jumped to north of $125 billion, perhaps due to new money flooding in.

Source: https://goo.gl/zkbCLq

Indicators: Bitcoin : R111,767 – Rand/USD 14.16 – Rand/GBP 18.52 – Rand/EUR 16.40

Zuma To Possibly Announce Free Education

President Jacob Zuma is reportedly planning to make a shock announcement, introducing free education across the board through a controversial funding plan. Specifically, the announcement would be contrary to the yet-to-be released findings of the Heher Commission, which found that universal free tertiary education was simply not feasible in South Africa. Insiders said that Zuma will make up the shortfall by cutting back departmental budgets across government to make R40 billion available for the 2018 academic year.

Source: https://goo.gl/MfazXt

Gigaba To Launch SARS Tax Inquiry

Finance minister Malusi Gigaba has announced that he will launch an inquiry into tax collection at the South African Revenue Service (Sars), specifically looking at why tax revenues have fallen. The inquiry will be led by a judge, and has already received approval from president Jacob Zuma. While the full terms of reference are not yet clear, Gigaba said that tax morality and institutional issues around governance will be core to process.

Source: https://goo.gl/P6bZyf

ETolls Could Be Scrapped

Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi is due to discuss the viability of Sanral’s funding model with cabinet, following the continued resistance to e-tolls. According to a report by BusinessDay, Maswanganyi has been forced into making a decision after Sanral CEO Skhumbuzo Macozoma conceded that resistance to e-tolls had brought Sanral to the brink of collapse, and has brought into question the agency’s going-concern status (whether it will remain in business for the foreseeable future).

Source: https://goo.gl/uXzfxe

All Set For Grace Mugabe Deputy Presidency

The post of deputy president in Zimbabwe has become a poisoned chalice, following this week’s sacking — for the second time in three years — of a deputy president serving under President Robert Mugabe. The latest was Emmerson Mnangagwa who was relieved of his duties as deputy president on Monday for “disloyalty, deceitfulness and unreliability”, but this hardly masks the factional undercurrents in Zanu (PF) that resulted in him being fired. This paves the way for Grace Mugabe to take over.

Source: https://goo.gl/7Dqteq

Taxi Driver Strike Causes Havoc In Tshwane 

Commuters in Tshwane have been warned to find alternative means of transportation on Wednesday as the National Taxi Alliance (NTA) protests against the government. The infamous R80 highway in Tshwane is already packed with protesting drivers involved in the massive taxi strike. From about 5:30 taxis blocked the R80 and forced traffic to be disrupted.

Source: https://goo.gl/FybQW4

Indicators: Bitcoin R111,911 – Rand/USD 14.22 – Rand/GBP 18.68 – Rand/EUR 16.48