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Shocking Revelations From PIC Inquiry

Evidence heard so far from past and present employees has painted a bleak picture of the quality of PIC’s internal governance standards. It has also shone a light on claims of undue influence wielded by the asset manager’s former head, Dan Matjila.Two senior PIC executives were suspended in the first week of the inquiry – the group’s Head of Listed Investments, Fidelis Madavo and its Assistant Portfolio Manager, Victor Seanie. The pair learnt of their suspensions on the morning of the same day that Madavo testified. They were suspended following a probe of their roles in the PIC’s R4.3bn investment in AYO Technology Solutions in 2017. AYO is linked to businessman Survé. Survé has denied there was anything wrong with the deal.

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Boeing Admits Fault Caused Crashes

Boeing has admitted a key sensor malfunctioned on an Ethiopian Airlines flight which crashed, killing all 157 people on board. An investigation found the pilots complied with procedure but “were not able to control” Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 after it nosedived on March 10.

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Facebook To Be Fined For Terrorist Content

Technology firms including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter face “substantial” fines or a U.K. ban under a new law if they don’t act swiftly enough to remove content that encourages terrorism and child sexual exploitation and abuse. The companies’ directors could also be held personally liable if illegal content is not taken down within a short and pre-determined time-frame, the Home Office said. The exact level of fines will be examined during a 12 week consultation following the legislation’s launch on Monday. The spread of fake news and interference in elections will also be tackled.

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Eskom Power Situation Set To Get A Lot Worse

An electricity-supply crisis is looming in South Africa that could make intermittent outages in the past few months seem trivial by comparison. Eskom, which supplies almost all the nation’s power, will lose more than a quarter of its current generating capacity over the next decade as it shuts ageing coal-fired plants. Replacing that output and adding capacity needed to meet rising demand will take years and cost more than R1 trillion, according to government estimates. The problem is likely to worsen exponentially after 2030 as more plants reach retirement age.

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Zimbabwe To Compensate White Farmers After Land Grabs

Zimbabwe plans to complete land valuations by the end of May to determine the level of compensation to be paid to former white commercial farmers who lost their properties during the government’s land reform programme. “Given the significant progress made to date, it is anticipated that that this comprehensive farm improvements valuation exercise will be completed by end of May,” the government said in a statement on Sunday.

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Currencies : Rand/USD 14.17 – Rand/GBP 18.52 – Rand/EUR 15.91

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No Salary Increases For Ministers

“President Ramaphosa has determined that there will be no annual salary increase for the Deputy President, Ministers, Deputy Ministers, the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and the Deputy Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces,” the presidency said. Members of provincial legislatures will, however, receive a 2.5% salary increase. This is a great move but in my view, there should be no bonuses either but there was no mention of what will happen in that regard.

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Shivambu’s R1.46 Million VBS Home Loan

Despite not qualifying for a loan, VBS Mutual Bank gave Brian Shivambu’s company Sgameka a R1,46m home loan after his brother Floyd Shivambu had private discussions with VBS chair and kingpin in the bank robbery Tshifhiwa Matodzi, leaked emails show. This VBS home loan was given to Sgameka Trading on top of the illicit R16,1-million that Brian Shivambu received in a fronting scheme on behalf of his brother, EFF president Julius Malema and the Economic Freedom Fighters. When asked about the home loan, Floyd Shivambu had this to say, “Fraudulent activities are dealt with by the criminal justice system and not some imaginations of a lousy journalist… I think your narrative is bullshit and pure drivel driven by narrow obsession. Please give me the proof that I received R10-million from VBS.” Personally, i think there is a lot for Shivambu to answer for and these allegations keep piling up. Thus far he hasn’t provided any evidence to clear himself and its getting worse.

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Crunch Brexit Vote Looms

With less than 48 hours to go before May faces the reckoning of her MPs, few of the 100-plus rebels who have vowed to vote against her deal showed any sign of altering their positions. The prime minister is under intense pressure from aides and senior ministers to considering pulling the vote on Tuesday, a move Downing Street has emphatically denied will happen, though a final decision is unlikely to be made until the 11th hour.

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National Minimum Wage Of R20 From 1 January

The national minimum wage will kick in on January 1, meaning no South African worker will earn less than R20 an hour in the new year, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Friday. My hope is that there will be minimal job losses but the fact is that the economy is struggling and businesses are feeling the strain. There will most definitely be more job losses.

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House Prices Down 21% Since 2007

In real terms, including the impact of inflation, house prices have declined by 20.8% since August 2007, the peak of the pre-2008 boom period. This is according to November’s FNB House Price Index, published by John Loos, now property sector strategist at the bank’s commercial property finance division. Property intelligence outfit Lightstone reports even lower house price inflation, at just 3.5% in its latest report (for October). FNB saw (downwardly) revised growth of 4.1% in October.

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America Opens Case Against Huawei CFO

On Friday, the U.S. began a market-shaking case against the Chinese telecoms giant in a Vancouver courtroom, alleging that Meng had hidden ties between Huawei and a company called Skycom that did business in Iran, said a lawyer representing Canada during the court hearing. Canada is presenting the case on behalf of the U.S., which wants to extradite Meng. Meng, 46, daughter of Huawei’s founder, spent the weekend in jail after a decision on whether to grant bail was not reached. The case will continue today.

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Amcu Ends Sibanye Strike

Sibanye-Stillwater and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) will on Wednesday afternoon hold a joint media briefing to update the public about the negotiations to end the four-months long workers strike. At least 15,000 Amcu members downed tools on November 21, at Sibanye’s gold operations of Driefontein, Kloof, and Beatrix mines, demanding higher wages “after the mining company signed an Amcu-negotiated wage agreement with other three unions”.

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Tiger Brands Gets Class Action Summons

Tiger Brands on Wednesday confirmed receipt of a summons in respect of a class action lawsuit seeking damages for the 2018 listeriosis outbreak. The Johannesburg High Court granted a certification order in December 2018, authorising the issue of a summons in a class action to be instituted against Tiger Brands. In a statement released on Wednesday, the company noted that, “no specific amount of damages is being claimed in the summons, as the first stage of the class action is concerned with liability and not the quantum of damages.”

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Road Accident Fund To Be Scrapped

The transport department announced on Wednesday that it was in the process of scrapping the embattled RAF for a new scheme.

“As government, we intended to replace the current fault-based system administered by the Road Accident Fund (RAF) – which often results in extensive and costly litigation, prolonged claims finalisation and high administrative cost – with the Road Accident Benefit Scheme (RABS),” said spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi. Mnisi said under the new scheme, fault would not be considered on the part of the claimant or other persons involved in an accident. The focus would instead be on how the claimant was immediately assisted.

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Snapchat IPO Raises $1.4 Billion

Pinterest Inc.’s message to investors was don’t compare us to social media or a search engine. The outcome Wednesday was that it raised about $1.4 billion in an above-range initial public offering. Pinterest sold 75 million shares Wednesday for $19 each, after marketing them for $15 to $17, according to a statement. Based on the number of Class A and B shares outstanding after the offer, as detailed in a regulatory filing, Pinterest’s IPO price would value it at about $10.1 billion.

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Capitec CEO Gets R95 Million Payout

Capitec has published its annual report for the financial year 2019, showing how much its top directors were paid, following yet another stellar year for the bank. Group chief executive officer, Gerrie Fourie nearly doubled is take home pay for the year, to R95 million, having received a R56.6 million payout in 2018, thanks mainly to a long-term incentive (LTI), along with a 10% increase in his basic pay package. His guaranteed pay amounts to R11.65 million, while he scored R78.669 million for LTIs, giving Fourie a daily pay packet of R260,263 a day.

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Chicken Industry Goes To War Over Proposed Tariffs

It is claimed that the increase would make chicken 32% more expensive, but the SA Poultry Association says imports are getting harder to compete with. Poultry importers have upped the ante in their fierce lobby against proposed duty tariff increases, claiming this would make chicken 32% more expensive for consumers. This claim by Emerging Black Importers and Exporters South Africa was backed by the South African Consumer Union (Sacu) during a joint press briefing yesterday.

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Currencies : Rand/USD 14.01 – Rand/GBP 18.29 – Rand/EUR 15.83

 

Comair Workers To Go On Strike

Ahead of the Easter weekend rush, staff of Comair affiliated with the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) have issued their employer with a 48-hour notice to strike. The union said in a statement on Tuesday that workers would down tools over wage disparities at the airline. Comair operates British Airways in SA under licence and low-cost carrier kulula.com.

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New Kusile Unit Powers Up Ahead Of Schedule

For the first time on Sunday Kusile Unit 3 produced power, according to an internal memo to Eskom staff. According to the note from Eskom’s chief operating officer Jan Oberholzer, sent out to staff on Monday, the synchronisation of the unit happened eight months ahead of the scheduled December 2019. This is the third out of six Kusile units which have been synchronised to the national grid. “The first synchronisation of Unit 3 marks a key milestone towards the full commercial operation of the unit.

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Audi Announces New Models

The Audi A3 range gains two new special editions in its line-up – the Audi A3 Comfort Edition and A3 Black Edition. The Audi A3 Comfort Edition is applicable to only 30 TFSI (1.0-litre) engines and is aimed at providing comfort features with a cost-saving benefit to customers, Audi said. The package includes a different design 17-inch wheel, partial leather upholstery, LED headlights, parking aid sensors in the front and rear, black headlining and a storage package for the interior.

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Western Union Now Available On ABSA App

Absa says it has now made CashSend and payments via Western Union available on its app, claiming a banking first for South Africa. “Absa is the only Western Union partner to offer the international cash send payment service via online and cellphone banking. This game-changing development is part of Absa’s broader ambition of providing customers with a powerful blend of affordability, ease of use of digital platforms and a focus on safety and security.

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EOH Share Price Jumps After Restructuring

EOH’s share price rose by 55.76% on Tuesday as the company reported its financial results for the six months ended January 31. The company reported a loss for the six months of R3.3-billion mainly owing to one-off costs and impairments, while revenue stayed steady at R8.19-billion.

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BMW To Recall 360,000 Cars Over Airbag Malfunction

Germany’s BMW will recall 360,000 vehicles in China as part of the worldwide effort to root out defective airbags made by now-defunct Japanese supplier Takata, regulators in Beijing said. Around 20 people have died in accidents linked to defects in Takata airbags since 2013, prompting a massive worldwide recall of at least 100 million cars from a wide range of manufacturers. The recall will affect nearly 273,000 models built by BMW’s joint venture with Chinese manufacturer Brilliance Automotive and more than 87,000 imported BMW cars, China’s State Administration for Market Regulation said.

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Currencies : Rand/USD 13.99 – Rand/GBP 18.27 – Rand/EUR 15.81

Another Petrol Price Jump In May

Unexpectedly strong international fuel prices have raised the likelihood of an unwelcome fuel price hike for petrol users in May. he figures suggests that petrol may increase by 56c a litre in May,  while diesel is showing a reduction of 5c and illuminating paraffin is down by a cent. If the increases take place it  will be the third successive increase in fuel prices in 2019.

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Govt To Regulate Air BnB Over Tourism Concerns

Government will regulate Airbnb and other home-sharing apps in South Africa, amid growing concerns that they are damaging to the tourism sector. The amendment will also allow the minister to specify ‘thresholds’ when it comes to Airbnbs in South Africa. This could include limits on the number of nights that a guest can stay or even how much income an Airbnb earns

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CompCom Investigates Spar Group

Spar is being investigated by the Competition Commission after it allegedly removed certain brands of locally-produced cigarettes from its shelves. Sunday Times makes reference to two internal emails from a senior manager stating the retailer shouldn’t stock certain brands, citing an Ipsos study. The cigarettes are from the Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association, or Fita. The study, commissioned by rival industry body the Tobacco Institute of Southern Africa (Tisa), found certain brands were being sold at below the excise tax threshold.

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Middle Class SA Drowning In Debt

South Africa’s middle-income consumers spend an average of 25% of their take-home monthly income to pay interest accumulated on debt. This was the major finding in a new analysis of FNB retail banking customers who earn between R7,000 and R60,000 per month. FNB said that its data paints a picture of households that are heavily reliant on unsecured debt to get through each month.

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Notre Dame Cathedral Partially Destroyed In Fire

Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral has been saved from “total destruction,” according to a French fire official, after a massive fire ripped through the structure on Monday and caused the roof and main spire to collapse. The blaze burned for eight hours, but has now been largely extinguished, according to firefighters. One official was quoted as saying the two iconic rectangular towers have been saved, which will come a relief after one of the towers caught fire earlier in the evening. Earlier, a French Interior Ministry official had said that firefighters might not be able to save the cathedral.

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Black Asset Management Company Coming

Former Liberty chief Thabo Dloti is set to shake up asset management game. Sithega has finalised its R360m purchase for a 75% controlling stake in Prescient Empowerment Trust to form a majority black-owned asset management company.

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Former VW CEO Charged With Fraud

German prosecutors have charged former Volkswagen chief executive Martin Winterkorn with fraud over diesel emissions. Prosecutors in Braunschweig announced Monday that Winterkorn was one of five people indicted in a case related to the automaker’s diesel emissions-cheating scandal. Winterkorn has been accused of a particularly serious fraud, according to a statement from prosecutors. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

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Currencies : Rand/USD 14.08 – Rand/GBP 18.42 – Rand/EUR 15.91

R750m For Ministers Homes & Buildings

The Sunday Times reported that the government is planning to spend R750 million to “spruce up” ministerial houses and other government buildings. According to the report, Public works minister Thulas Nexi revealed the plan, which includes: R5 million for new carpets for the Union buildings. R1 million for alterations to a kitchen and bathroom in a ministerial home. R29 million on gates and a dog house.

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Facebook, Insta and Whatsapp All Go Down

Facebook Inc suffered its third major outage this year, with users across the world unable to access the social network or its suite of services such as Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. Facebook and Instagram were inaccessible on Sunday morning for several hours with both sites refusing to refresh, while messages were unable to be sent or received in WhatsApp or the Messenger app.

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Air BnB Killing Tourism In South Africa

Major entiities in the hospitality industry in South Africa have called for government to step in an regulate Airbnb, according to a City Press report. Airbnb has seen impressive growth in South Africa, and local hotels are concerned that the unregistered accommodation establishments listed on the platform are taking away business from established bed-and-breakfasts and hotels. The Federated Hospitality Association of SA (Fedhasa) called for government to crack down on Airbnb, and smaller organisations have echoed this call.

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Disney To Launch Streaming Service

Disney just showed everyone how it plans to beat Netflix: Create an exclusive home for some of the world’s most popular movies, shows and characters, and charge a shockingly low price for it. The company on Thursday unveiled its long-awaited streaming service, Disney+. It will cost just $6.99 per month — about half the price of a standard Netflix subscription.

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SABC COO Found Guilty

SABC chief operating officer Chris Maroleng has been found guilty on three charges following a disciplinary enquiry initiated late last year, City Press reports. Maroleng faced an enquiry into charges of gross negligence and breaching fiduciary duty, which the report stated could lead to his dismissal.

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Currencies : Rand/USD 13.96 – Rand/GBP 18.28 – Rand/EUR 15.79

Court Dismisses FNB Discrimination Claims

First National Bank (FNB) on Thursday welcomed the judgment delivered by the Equality Court to dismiss the matter relating to allegations of racial discrimination on interest rates by Saambou Bank. On Wednesday, the court dismissed the matter in its entirety, including the complainant’s application to amend their declarations. North Gauteng High Court found that, after all the evidence had been led and all witnesses cross-examined, the claims that Saambou charged black people higher interest rates than white people were “completely unfounded”

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Loadshedding Risk Returns As

Eskom announced yesterday that there was a high risk of Stage 1 rotational load-shedding from 17:00 to 22:00. The national energy provider said in a statement that the possibility of load-shedding is due to “a shortage of capacity due to the loss of generating units at our power stations.” Eskom added that load-shedding will only take place if it is absolutely necessary.

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Cell C Strike Shuts Head Office

Cell C’s head office in Waterfall, Johannesburg was closed down due to a strike action yesterday and this morning. Multiple reports on social media state that Cell C’s head office has been on lockdown since Wednesday, when staff were reportedly striking at the premises. Other users reported that staff access to the premises had been denied today due to mass employee suspensions, with employees resorting to working outside the building.

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VW To Appeal Fees Order

Volkswagen Financial Services (VWFS) South Africa has acknowledged the order by the National Consumer Tribunal and plans to take it on appeal. In a statement released on Thursday (11 April), the company said that it has taken external legal advice and that its legal team has informed them that an appeal has a good chance of success.

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Mozambique Cyclone Loses Top $773 Million

World Bank estimates the direct economic losses from Cyclone Idai in Mozambique to range from $656-million to $773-million, covering damage to buildings, infrastructure and agriculture, a note sent out via the United Nations said on Thursday.

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CCMA Warns Of Scam

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has issued an email scam alert being used to collect personal information today. Dumisani Mavundla, the CCMA spokesperson said they have recently been made aware of emails being sent to our User’s from the admin@ccma.org.za email address. “It instructs the user’s to come into the CCMA’s Regional Offices for an “Arbitration”, it has a case number starting with GAJK. It has no branding nor watermarks. This email is fraudulent! It is a phishing scam to collect personal information,” said Mavundla. 
Currencies : Rand/USD 14.00 – Rand/GBP 18.29 – Rand/EUR 15.80

Shutdown’s Erupt Countrywide

Service delivery protests have sprung up in various parts of South Africa ahead of national elections in May. Protesters have taken to the streets in the City of Tshwane as part of a shutdown. The N2 highway between Somerset West and Cape Town is in chaos as alleged “land grabbers” have taken to the streets, burning tyres, setting vehicles alight and pelting cars with stones on Thursday morning.

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Massive Jump In Home Sales & Emigrations

The FNB Estate Agents Survey results for the first quarter of 2019 has shed some light on the current market activity and sentiment. Shockingly, the survey reveals a massive jump in the number of people selling up and leaving the country. However, emigration-driven sales now account for 14.2% of all sales, a big jump from 10% in 4Q18. “In fact such sales, according to estate agents, have doubled in the past two years and are, as expected, more prominent in the coastal areas and in upmarket segments

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Gauteng & KZN Top Corruption List

Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal are the provinces worst affected by corruption, with the education sector and police being the greatest sources of graft, according to Corruption Watch’s 2018 report. The trending corruption issues reported by the public over the year were abuse of power, bribery and procurement corruption, while the majority of the 4,200 corruption reports received in 2018 related to provincial government departments, followed by national departments and local government, in third place

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Brexit Delayed To October

Brexit is on course to be delayed until the end of October under a plan to avoid a chaotic no-deal split, risking six more months of political uncertainty over Britain’s ties to the European Union. The blueprint hashed out during six hours of talks in Brussels allows the UK to stay in the bloc until October 31, with a review of progress to be held in June. British Prime Minister Theresa May accepted the offer and must now sell it to skeptical members of Parliament in London.

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Sudanese President To Step Down

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir plans to step down, Arabiya reported on Thursday, following months of anti-government protests. The report cited unidentified sources and contained few other details. State radio said Thursday the Sudan national army is preparing to make an important announcement as military officers surrounded the presidential palace in Khartoum, the capital. Bashir would be the second leader in the region to quit amid nationwide protests this month, following Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s resignation.

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Currencies : Rand/USD 13.93 – Rand/GBP 18.26 – Rand/EUR 15.72

IMF Cuts SA’s Growth Forecast

The International Monetary Fund has lowered its growth forecasts for South Africa from 1.5% to 1.3% for 2019. “Growth in South Africa is expected to marginally improve from 0.8% in 2018 to 1.2% in 2019 and 1.5% in 2020, a 0.2 percentage point downward revision for both years relative to the October projections,” the group said in its April report.

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Oil Prices Soaring On Global Turmoil

enezuela is in chaos. Iran is grappling with US sanctions. And now there’s a surge of violence in Libya. Trouble in these three OPEC nations has helped send US oil prices climbing back above $64 a barrel. The latest OPEC turmoil amplifies the supply constraints imposed by the cartel’s kingpin. Saudi Arabia has slashed production as well as exports to the United States in a bid to engineer higher prices and balance its budget.

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Zim Farmers Compensation Package

Former white commercial farmers in Zimbabwe who had their land expropriated under the fast track land reform programme in the early 2000’s have accepted government’s offer of an interim payment of RTGS$53m (R238m at current exchange rates). In 2000 Zimbabwe expropriated land from white commercial farmers without compensation and distributed it to landless black people and the connected elite, who now own multiple farms.

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Trump Threatens New Tariffs

The International Monetary Fund trimmed its 2019 global growth forecast to 3.3% from 3.5%, citing downside risks associated with Brexit, yawning trade talks and other factors. On the trade front, Trump vowed to impose tariffs on $11bn of European goods following in retaliation for subsidies received by aircraft maker Airbus. Upcoming trading catalysts include a key Brexit summit on Wednesday and the kickoff of first-quarter earnings season with Friday’s release of results from JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo.

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Uber Seeks $10 Billion IPO

The global ride-hailing company will kick off a road show this month and would begin trading publicly in May, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Uber is seeking to raise about $10 billion, one of the people said. The offering is expected to be the largest IPO this year and among the 10 largest of all time.

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Teacher Absenteeism Hampers Education

The Department of Basic Education has published its latest School Monitoring Survey, showing where the country’s schools are improving and also where things are getting worse. Teachers remain a problem, with teacher absenteeism increasing. As many as one in 10 teachers are AWOL on any given day – this despite vacancies filling up. According to the survey results, cases of teacher absenteeism have increased from under 8% in 2011, to over 10% in 2017/18.

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BMW Shares Fall Over Emissions Scandal

BMW shares fell after the luxury carmaker warned of a probable first-quarter charge exceeding 1billion (R15.87bn) related to an EU investigation into alleged collusion by German automakers to delay the rollout of cleaner-emission cars. The stock dropped as much as 2percent yesterday, the most in two weeks, after the Munich-based manufacturer said on Friday that the provision would weigh on first-quarter results and reduce its automotive profit margin this year to as low as 4.5%.

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Currencies : Rand/USD 14.08 – Rand/GBP 18.40 – Rand/EUR 15.86