STATS SA Labour Survey Results Released

Youth unemployment in South Africa surged to 52.4 percent in the first quarter from 51.1% recorded in the fourth quarter of last year. Stats SA said unemployment maintained the 15-year high, remaining unchanged at 26.7 percent despite a slight increase in employment with the formal sector adding 111 000 jobs and the informal sector contributing 93 000. The quarterly employment increase of 206 000 jobs in the first quarter was driven by sectors including mining, which added 1 849 000 jobs, construction 1 431 000 jobs and manufacturing with 1 849 000 jobs NKC African Economics said official unemployment remained very high by historical standards.

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Beyond R15 Petrol Price Expected In June

Motorists can expect another massive fuel price hike at the beginning of June, the Automobile Association warned on Tuesday. South African fuel users are currently facing increases of 74c/l for petrol, 81c/l for diesel, and 78c/l for paraffin. The price of petrol increased by 49c/l and 69c/l in March and April respectively, bringing the per litre price for petrol at the coast to R14.21 and R14.38 for 93 and 95 unleaded respectively and R14.38 for 95 LRP.

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SAA Needs R21 Billion Over 3 Years

SAA needed to raise R21.7bn over the next three years to turn the company around and make it profitable, CEO Vuyani Jarana said in an interview on Monday. The funding requirement arises from SAA’s turnaround plan, which was to be presented to Parliament’s finance committee on Wednesday. However, after a dispute in the committee in which the ANC tried to close the meeting to the media and public, the presentation of the plan was deferred.

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Fracking Set To Go Ahead

Government intends to fast-track the exploration and exploitation of shale gas, says Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe. Mantashe tabled the budget vote in Parliament on Tuesday, where he explained the development of shale gas as a resource was necessary to transform the country’s energy economy. The southern Main Karoo Basin is considered the most prospective area for shale gas, with a possible estimation of 205 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas technically recoverable.

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Gordhan Estimates State Capture Cost At R100 Billion

State capture may have cost South Africa R100bn or more, Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan told reporters on Tuesday. Gordhan said he would, however, leave it Judge Raymond Zondo’s judicial inquiry into state capture to conduct the full investigation of the matter. He also laid down the law regarding practices of state-owned entities, their executives and their board members.

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VW Announces Polo Recall

Volkswagen South Africa has confirmed it will be recalling the 2018 Polo over what it calls “a minor safety concern”. General manager of group communication at VW South Africa Matt Gennrich said: “All new Polos that have been produced… meaning over 8,000 customers in South Africa will be affected. We’ll be contacting all customers.”

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ETV Owners To Launch Another News Channel

Etv and eNCA owner eMedia has announced it will launch a second television news channel, eNCA reported. The channel will be named OpenNews and will be broadcast on the OpenView platform. eMedia CEO André van der Veen said the OpenNews channel will launch near the end of 2018 and will be distinctively different from eNCA.

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Home Affairs Launches New Biometrics System

Minister of home affairs, Malusi Gigaba has announced that he plans to launch a new Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) on Wednesday (16 May). The new identification system will be powered by a sustainable technology and will offer a single view of citizens across the life cycle and their status change at various stages. The new systems form part of an ongoing revamp of home affairs offices around the country.

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Nationwide Bus Strike Ends

Labour unions in the bus sector have accepted a wage increment offer of 9% across the board‚ ending a prolonged national strike. The offer is effective from April‚ while a second pay rise increment of 8% will be implemented from April 2019. There will also be allowances‚ including nightshift and subsistence‚ over both years.

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Gordhan Fires Transnet Board

The Department of Public Enterprises has confirmed that a new interim board has been appointed at Transnet. In a statement issued on Monday night, Public Enterprises announced that he has removed all the remaining Transnet directors with immediate effect and that he’s appointed a new interim board, pending a full appointment, in consultation with Cabinet.

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Vodacom To Implement Data Rollover And Transfers

Vodacom will abide by ICASA’s new regulations, which require operators to allow subscribers to roll over unused data or transfer it to another user on the same network. Additionally, the new regulations will not allow operators to charge out-of-bundle tariffs without first obtaining consent from subscribers.

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Vehicle Loan Defaults Hit Record Highs

Over the first three months of 2018, the vehicle loans consumer default index (CDI) hit its highest level yet, according to the latest Experian CDI. The 3.55% CDI level for vehicle loans defaults was even higher than the overall Experian CDI. While there was a month-on-month (m/m) and year-on-year (y/y) deterioration in the vehicle finance category, the latest CDI shows a y/y improvement in personal loans, credit cards and home loans.

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Moyane Threatens Ramaphosa

Moyane faces charges of misconduct in violation of his duties and responsibilities linked to his handling of allegations against second-in-command Jonas Makwakwa, making unauthorised bonus payments, misleading Parliament and instructing a SARS official not to co-operate with an inquiry by audit firm KPMG. Moyane’s attorney, Eric Mabuza, has since written to President Cyril Ramaphosa to raise concerns about the format of the disciplinary inquiry. Mabuza has given Ramaphosa until Tuesday afternoon to respond favourably to his demands, which includes legal costs. It is understood that Mabuza will approach the courts if the president fails to comply with his demands.

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Another 70 Cents Increase In Fuel Price Expected

Despite the stronger dollar and a number of geopolitical worries, the rand has held up remarkably well. While a positive sentiment continues to surround the country, it is definitely not a great time to be a motorist. The record-high inland petrol price of almost R15 per litre looks set to rise by another 70 cents per litre (in June 2018).

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Mark Shuttleworth Now Worth £500 Billion

Mark Shuttleworth’s wealth has increased by £340 million in the past year, according to a report by the BBC. Directly translated into rand, this equals R5.6 billion. The report was based on the UK’s Sunday Times Rich List for 2018, which stated that Shuttleworth is now worth £500 million (R8.3 billion). Shuttleworth big rise in wealth was attributed to the success of Canonical, his company which offers open-source software solutions.

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Coronation Takes Steinhoff To Court

Coronation Fund Managers, one of the largest shareholders in Steinhoff when it announced “accounting irregularities” in December, will be taking legal action against the company. Its statement follows last Thursday’s announcement that GT Ferreira and the vendors of Tekkie Town lodged demands with Steinhoff. They were prompted by former chairman Christo Wiese’s decision to serve summons on Steinhoff. Coronation said that where possible it would also be taking action against any other parties that have been complicit in any wrongdoing.

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Mzawanele Manyi Demands R144m From SABC

Mzwanele Manyi, who bought ANN7 and The New Age from the Gupta family, is demanding R144 million from the SABC. According to a report by the Sunday Times, Manyi said the money is owed to the Guptas for business breakfast shows they held with the public broadcaster. The report stated that Manyi has entered arbitration proceedings on the matter, as he has “suffered damages” amounting to R144 million.

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How Brian Molefe Milked Transnet

Former Eskom and Transnet CEO Brian Molefe helped inflate contracts by as much as R16 billion, which was split between four companies – including a Gupta-linked group – giving them billions in kickbacks. Citing a report compiled by law firm Werksmans, Molefe lied to the Transnet board to inflate a tender for 1,064 locomotives. The contract would have initially seen Transnet pay R38.6 billion, but withe reported help from Gupta-linked businessman, Anoj Singh, this was inflated to R54.5 billion, with a kickback of R10 million for every R50 million locomotive that was built.

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Billions Lost Due To Ongoing Bus Strike

Transport economist from North West University Ofentse Mokwena said the country could be losing at least R589 million a week because of the ongoing strike, adding that billions of rands have been lost because of the industrial action. “A general estimate for the weekly costs of bus use from households earning R150 000 a year or less is to the tune of R589 million a week, [and that is] looking only at people between the ages of 15 and 65, and 18% of them use bus services

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ZTE US Ban Causes Network Havoc

ZTE recently announced it had ceased operations after it was banned from purchasing technology products from companies in the United States. The Chinese company was served with a seven-year ban from buying US technology products after it was found to have violated sanctions involving bonuses issued to employees who shipped telecommunications equipment to Iran and North Korea. ZTE manufactures telecommunications equipment which is used in mobile network infrastructure around the world, including South Africa.

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Apple And Goldman Sachs Team up For Credit Card

Apple and Goldman Sachs are teaming up for a new credit card, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. The aim of the Apple Pay-branded card — which could be released in 2019 — is to expand Apple’s mobile payments and also help Goldman Sachs expand into consumer banking, according to the report.

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California Makes Solar Roof Panels Mandatory In New Homes

On Wednesday, the Golden State became the first in the U.S. to require solar panels on almost all new homes. Most new units built after Jan. 1, 2020, will be required to include solar systems as part of the standards adopted by the California Energy Commission. While that’s a boost for the solar industry, critics warned that it will also drive up the cost of buying a house by almost $10,000. Solar shares surged on the decision. Homebuilders fell.

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Currencies: Bcoin R102 742,50 . Ether ZAR 8,584 . R/USD12.27 . R/GBP16.64 . R/EUR14.68

 

Harsh New Tobacco Laws

The Department of Health’s new bill on tobacco products proposes a complete ban on smoking in outdoor public places, prohibits vending machines and brings e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery devices into the regulatory fold for the first time. The Cabinet announced on Thursday that it had approved the Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill — the government’s first significant reforms to tobacco control legislation in a decade. It is due to be gazetted for public comment this week.

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Public Protectors Altered Vrede Report

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane seemingly altered crucial remedial action in the provisional report on the Vrede dairy farm by predecessor Thuli Madonsela before she released the final report, which has widely been described as a whitewash. This is revealed in a supplementary affidavit filed by the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) in the High Court in Pretoria, where Casac has filed its application to review and set aside the report.

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Xiaomi’s $10 Billion IPO

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp is preparing a share sale that will raise at least $10 billion. Hosting what’s shaping up to be the world’s biggest initial public offering of 2018 may be a double-edged sword for Hong Kong. The city’s red-hot IPO market usually sees offerings oversubscribed — sometimes by hundreds of times — as investors borrow heavily to place orders.

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Avengers Infinity War $7.7 Billion Opening Weekend

Avengers: Infinity War” kicked off the summer movie season, giving Walt Disney Co. the largest North American and global debuts in history. While Disney began with a more cautious forecast of $210 million for the three-day opening weekend, the company on Friday raised that estimate to $225 million. Independent forecasters were more bullish on “Infinity War.” Analysts at Box Office Pro were predicting as much as $255 million in domestic weekend sales. “Infinity War” cost $300 million to make, according to Bloomberg Intelligence, and many tens of millions more to market.

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N3 Closed After Trucks Are Torched

Clean-up operations are underway on the N3 highway in KwaZulu-Natal this morning where several trucks were torched during a protest. The overnight demonstration forced the closure of the busy highway in both directions at Mooi River. The N3 is the main highway connecting Johannesburg to Durban and is particularly busy over long weekends. The freeway was closed over the Easter weekend when a crowd went on the rampage torching and looting trucks.

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Icasa Data Decision Expected Today

Consumers will know later on Thursday whether Icasa will slash data prices. There has been general concern regarding the high cost of data as well as the expiry of data bundles.The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has held public hearings to draft the charter regulations.

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Tiger Brands Conceded Products Had Deadly Listeria

Tiger Brands Ltd. said it’s confirmed that the bacteria strain responsible for the world’s worst listeriosis outbreak was found in its products. Results from independent laboratory retesting found the listeria ST6 strain, the company said in a statement Wednesday. The strain has been identified by South African authorities as responsible for the outbreak that’s killed 199 people since the start of 2017.

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Half Of Mining Industry Unprofitable

Mine closures, job losses and the cutting of hundreds of thousands of platinum ounces will be forced on SA’s beleaguered platinum sector, despite companies’ efforts to keep operations going when more than half the industry is unprofitable. Platinum mines employ about 170,000 people, a far cry from 199,948 a decade ago. Lonmin is embarking on cutting 12,600 jobs as it closes old mines, while Impala Platinum (Implats) is reviewing mines in its flagship Impala Lease Area near Rustenburg as it accelerates the closure of old mines by “harvesting” them.

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Consol Drops Relisting Plan

Glass packaging firm Consol, which planned to ease its hefty debt burden by raising R3bn in fresh capital, has canned its proposed JSE flotation barely 10 days after publishing a pre-listing statement. On Wednesday, Consol announced that challenging market conditions had scuppered the listing and associated capital raising. It deemed the prevailing environment not conducive to the offer achieving valuation objectives and not in the company’s best interests.

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Transnet Loses Massive Pension Claims Case

Transnet and two pension funds have 20 court days within which to file a plea in answer to the class action claim by about 60‚000 Transnet pensioners. This follows a Constitutional Court judgment on Wednesday which dismissed exceptions to the claim raised by Transnet‚ the Transport Pension Fund and Transnet Second Defined Pension Fund a few years ago. The pensioners’ claim is based on a promise made to them in 1989 that they would receive the same pension benefits under a commercial entity‚ Transnet‚ as they did under the state entity that had employed them until then‚ the South African Transport Services (SATS)‚ and its two pension funds. The pension funds kept the promise until 2002‚ when the funds failed to grant any pension increases beyond the minimum of 2% per year. The pensioners had calculated that the debt owed to the two pension funds stood at R80-billion by March 2013. This figure is now higher.

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Forex Rigging Case To Start Next Year

Court proceedings against 18 banks accused of rigging the rand are likely to start next year, as prosecutors need time to prepare the complex case, the head of cartels at the Competition Commission said. The commission concluded an investigation last February into whether local and foreign banks colluded to coordinate their trading activities when giving quotes to customers who were buying or selling currencies.

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SAFTU Shutdown Over Wages

The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) is set to demonstrate its might on Wednesday when it embarks on its first national protest against new labour laws and the introduction of the national minimum wage. The year-old federation, which has an unaudited membership of more than 750,000, is unhappy with changes to the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Act, among others. The federation said it would bring the country to a standstill, as the employed and unemployed would be joining the mass action.

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SAA Asks Govt For R5bn Bailout

South African Airways (SAA) is in discussions with the Treasury on a cash injection of about R5bn, which the company needs to cover historic debt and its working-capital requirements until September. The hoped-for bail-out would be in addition to the R10bn injected into SAA by the government in 2017.

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Public Service Strike Looms

Unions yesterday accused the government of taking its cue on the ongoing public sector wage negotiations from international ratings agencies. They flatly rejected the acting Minister for Public Service and Administration Naledi Pandor’s request on Monday for more time from the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) to conduct further consultations on the negotiations. Mugwena Maluleke, the convenor of COSATU unions in the PSCBC, said rating agencies were running the affairs of the government.
Capitec CEO’s R57Million Payday
Group CEO Gerrie Fourie received a R56.6 million payout, thanks mainly due to a long-term incentive (LTI), along with a 10% increase in his basic pay package. Fourie’s salary was made up of a R10.75 million guaranteed package, R240,000 in other benefits, a R4.05 million short-term bonus, and a long-term incentive payout of R41.6 million. Capitec CFO, Andre du Plessis was also rewarded for the group’s performance, with his complete remuneration package for the year amounting to R41.6 million – also thanks to a R30.2 million LTI payout.
Banks Throw Jooste A Lifeline
Markus Jooste has been thrown a lifeline by banks as the global retailer he oversaw for 18 years struggles to survive an accounting scandal that happened under his watch.

The 57-year-old’s personal investment company Mayfair Holdings owes Sanlam’s capital markets arm, Investec and ABSA, a banking unit of Barclays Africa Group, a combined R959m backed by Steinhoff stock, according to an agreement between Mayfair and its creditors. The lenders agreed that the latter would realize more value, and have given Mayfair until the end of this year to sell as much as R2.08bn in assets ranging from real estate to racehorses to repay almost R1.6bn of loans to the banks and other creditors.

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Pork Prices Tumble After Listeriosis

Pork prices fell by almost 30% to 40% as prices dropped from R30 to R23 in a matter of months at Country Meats in South Africa, according to Sernick Group CEO Carel Sernfontein. The listeriosis scare impacted the sales of pork in particular, since fewer pork products were being produced by cold meat producers, he says. The most heavily-impacted was Tiger Brands with its Enterprise polony and vienna products. The company had to close four of its facilities after traces of the bacteria were found on its premises. Kotze said people associate Enterprise processed meat products with pork, and when that happened 12% of the pork industry’s slaughtering was affected.

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Auditor General Ban Sinks Nkonki

Audit firm Nkonki’s largest office has applied for voluntary liquidation, after the auditor-general’s decision to terminate its contracts with the company scuppered plans by executives to buy out disgraced majority shareholder Mitesh Patel. Nkonki Sunninghill, which employs 180 people, was left with no other option but to voluntarily wind up the company, the firm said in a statement on Monday afternoon issued via its lawyers, Nicqui Galaktiou Inc.

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Brian Molefe Fails To Repay Pension Payments

Anton van der Bijl, head of Solidarity’s Centre for Fair Labour Practices, told Business Day on Monday that Molefe had not adhered to their demand. Molefe’s legal team had only replied in an e-mail stating they would take instructions from him on the matter and get back to the union. But according to Van der Bijl, there has not been any further correspondence. Molefe had sought to have the high court overturn a January ruling by a full bench that ordered him to repay R11m in pension payments unlawfully paid to him by the Eskom Pension Fund.

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ANN7 Rebranded To Afro World View

Mzwanele Manyi, owner of Afrotone Media Holdings, said on Monday ANN7 would change its name to Afro Worldview on April 30. The New Age (TNA) newspaper would be rebranded as Afro Voice and its editorial policy would be in line with the press code. Gupta-owned Oakbay Investments announced in late 2017 its withdrawal from its media interests‚ selling its shareholding in Infinity Media (ANN7) and TNA to Lodidox and management for R450m. Oakbay Investments vendor-financed the deals, essentially lending Manyi the money to buy the businesses.

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Rand Slides Past R12.30 To Dollar

The rand continued its slide during the early hours of Tuesday, weakening to R12.37 to the dollar at about 2.30am before regaining some lost ground to trade at R12.33 at 7am. Reuters reported the dollar set a three-month high against a basket of currencies on Tuesday, having gained a boost as the US 10-year Treasury yield climbed toward the psychologically key 3% level.

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Treasury Working On New Procurement Laws

The bill which is currently with the chief state law advisor for certification aims to overcome the fragmentation in current procurement legislation. Once certified by the state law advisor the bill will be submitted to cabinet and once approved will be published for public comment. When enacted the Public Procurement Bill will repeal the PPPFA in its entirety. With an annual procurement budget of over R900bn, government can be a powerful instrument for achieving economic transformation.

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