Eskom Gave Guptas Huge Discount On Optimum Coal Fine

In terms of a confidential settlement‚ Eskom has slashed to a tenth a nonperformance penalty of R2.1bn it had levied on Optimum Coal — now that it is owned by the Guptas. Eskom levied the fine on the then Glencore-owned coal supplier for what it said at the time were coal supplies failing to meet agreed specifications. It demanded payment and refused to negotiate the quantum‚ forcing Glencore to place it on business rescue‚ later selling it to the Gupta family. The utility went on to make significant discounts to the new owners‚ who are close associates of President Jacob Zuma and in business with his son Duduzane. On March 14‚ Eskom agreed to accept a payment of R255.4m from Optimum Coal‚ slashing its original claim 88.3%‚ according to a settlement document leaked to Business Day.

Source : https://goo.gl/3Kj5zv

SA Bans Sale Of Live Chickens

The sale of live chickens in South Africa has been suspended until South African veterinarians can verify that the country’s chickens are free from the highly pathogenic Avian Influenza, said Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana. Zokwana said the blanket trade ban will be in place for as long as it takes to declare the country free from the disease. On Monday night the department confirmed a second case of avian flu in Standerton, after the first outbreak in a broiler breeder site near Villiers last Thursday.

Source : https://goo.gl/VFzjPH

Rand Rigging Probe Hits A Snag

The Competition Commission mixed up the legal entities of some banks named in a currency manipulation probe and delayed hearings to reconsider the case, according to people familiar with the matter. The commission may have to devise a new strategy that could see it charge lenders individually rather than as a group, one of the people said.

Source : https://goo.gl/r12VCG

 

ANC Takes Back Mogale City 

The ANC’s Patrick Lipudi was elected Mogale City mayor on Wednesday evening, with 39 votes, beating the DA’s Michael Holenstein, with 36 votes; two ballots were spoilt. Lipudi is the third mayor elected in the city since last year’s local government elections as the council has struggled with party politics after a DA mayor was elected in August alongside an ANC speaker and ANC chief whip of council. Former DA mayor Holenstein lost his job after a successful motion of no confidence earlier in the month, which was blamed on a DA member voting against the party. DA councillors voluntarily underwent lie detector tests. The party thought they’d found the culprit and before Wednesday’s sitting had replaced two councillors

Source : https://goo.gl/mBzpLm

Motor Industry Economic Transformation Plan Revealed

South Africa’s vehicle manufacturers are to create a transformation fund that would allocate funds to develop black ownership in the supply chain and vehicle dealership network. The industry has also developed a vision and master plan to 2035. Details of the transformation fund and the master plan were disclosed at a media briefing yesterday that was addressed by ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize and several industry executives. The briefing follows following discussions between the parties ahead of the ANC’s policy conference.

Source : https://goo.gl/XooJ6j

FNB TO Eliminate Data Fees When Using The App

FNB announced on Thursday it has slashed data charges for its banking app, meaning that customers who use its banking app will no longer need data to access it via their smartphones from 1 July. This follows an agreement with all major mobile network operators in South Africa to zero rate access to the FNB Banking App, allowing all customers to use it at no cost. The bank already offers free access to its app to all FNB Connect customers, and offers free WiFi in most FNB branches for customers in order to download the app

Source : https://goo.gl/fwR4Dp

Indicators : Oil 47.73 – Rand/USD 12.98 – Rand/GBP 16.82 – Rand/EUR 14.80

48000 Jobs Lost as Unemployment Rises

48000 jobs have been shed between the last quarter of 2016 and the first quarter of this year. Even more worrying is that employment decreased by 58,000 between January and March, compared to the same period last year. The biggest job losses were in trade, business and community services as well as manufacturing, but employment increased in construction and mining. Gross earnings are also down more than 3% quarter on quarter.

Source : https://goo.gl/J58HVU

Namibia And Zim Ban SA Chickens

Agricultural economists have warned the nationwide ban on live poultry could have a negative effect if the spread of the H5N8 virus is not contained. Paul Makube, senior agricultural economist at FNB, said the ban would hit a sector that has been under pressure for some time. “South Africa still exports chicken but we do so in small quantities. In terms of the ban, yes it will affect us; some countries will impose a ban on imports from South Africa, the latest being Zimbabwe and Namibia,” said Makube.

Source : https://goo.gl/9VTng4

What You Need To Know Of Global Cyberattack

A massive ransomware attack has hit businesses around the world, causing major companies to shut down their computer systems. Researchers are still investigating the software behind the attack, warning that it’s more sophisticated than the WannaCry worm that struck hundreds of thousands of computers across the globe last month. The ransomware infects computers and locks down their hard drives. It demands a $300 ransom in the anonymous digital currency Bitcoin. The email account associated with the ransomware has been blocked, so even if victims pay, they won’t get their files back.

Source : https://goo.gl/5dtW38

Google Hit With Record Fine

The European Union has handed Google a record-breaking €2.42bn (£2.14bn) fine for abusing its dominance of the search engine market in building its online shopping service, in a dramatic decision that has far-reaching implications for the company. By artificially and illegally promoting its own price comparison service in searches, Google denied both its consumers real choice and rival firms the ability to compete on a level playing field, European regulators said.

Source : https://goo.gl/PA5aPY

Facebook Reaches 2 Billion Monthly Users

Facebook, the world’s largest social media website, has announced that there are now two billion people connecting and building communities on its platform every month. Additionally, more than 175 million people share “love”, and on average, over 800 million people “like” something on Facebook. The social media giant said more than one billion people use its “Groups” feature every month.

Source : https://goo.gl/8QGe9X

OUTA To Hand Over Zuma Dosier To Parliament

The civil society group Outa says it has unearthed enough evidence for President Jacob Zuma’s removal. The dossier‚ titled “No room to hide: A President caught in the act”‚ apparently sets out a “compelling case showing there is no doubt about the truth of the claims of state capture”. Outa hopes to give every MP a copy of its dossier‚ and copies would also go to the ANC national executive committee‚ the Hawks‚ the police minister‚ the National Prosecuting Authority and the public protector.

Source : https://goo.gl/2oTBae

Indicators : Oil 46.50 – Rand/USD 13.00 – Rand/GBP 16.64 – Rand/EUR 14.77

Bird Flu Outbreak Hurts Poultry Industry

South Africa’s already fragile poultry industry faces a trade ban after this month’s bird flu outbreak in Mpumalanga. This is the first outbreak ever of the feared Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H5N8) or bird flu in South African chickens. On Monday night the department confirmed a second case of avian flu in Standerton, after the first outbreak in a broiler breeder site near Villiers last Thursday. The outbreak poses a great threat to the industry with South Africa’s trade partners threatening to ban South African poultry.

Source : https://goo.gl/7JQaFi

SAA Losses Increase

South African Airways (SAA) continued on its loss-making trajectory in 2016-17, notching up an unaudited loss of R1.9bn for the year to end-March, information provided to Parliament’s standing committee on finance has revealed. The loss in the previous year was R1.5bn. The losses have continued into the current year, with a R734m loss suffered in the first month of 2017-18 on revenue of R4.7bn.

Source : https://goo.gl/UNRwHi

22 Million Americans TO Be Uninsured Under Trump Healthcare Plan

The House passed its version of an Obamacare repeal bill in May. That legislation would leave 23 million fewer Americans with health insurance by 2026 than under the Affordable Care Act, CBO said earlier. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is insisting on a vote this week before lawmakers leave town for the July 4th recess. There are 52 Republican senators, and he needs 50 “yes” votes to move the bill through the Senate. At least five Republicans have so far publicly stated that they cannot support the legislation in its current form. The largest savings in the Senate bill would come from reducing federal spending on Medicaid, which would decline by 26% by 2026, compared to current law. Like the House plan, the Senate’s version would end enhanced funding for Medicaid expansion, though at a slower pace, while overhauling the entire Medicaid program.

Source : https://goo.gl/LJGgnZ

Brazil President Charged With Corruption

The chief prosecutor, Rodrigo Janot on Monday evening charged Brazil’s President, Michel Temer with corruption. According to documents filed at the Supreme Court, Temer is accused of corruption and obstruction of justice. Janot’s charges are based partly on a secret recording of a conversation between Temer and Joesley Batista, the former CEO of the meat-packing giant JBS.

Source : https://goo.gl/GKT4SQ

Bitcoin And Ethereum Prices Slide

Bitcoin declined as much as 17%, while smaller competitor ether continued to slide after experiencing a “flash crash” last week, raising concern about mainstream acceptance of the digital currencies. Bitcoin slumped to as low as $2,255.44 in intraday trading, the least since June 15. Ether, the virtual currency based on the ethereum blockchain, plunged 26 percent to $221.45, according to data compiled by Coindesk.com. And ripple, the third largest digital currency based on market cap, has dropped about 13 percent to around 26 cents. The two biggest digital currencies have still surged in value this year. Ether started the year around $8, meaning even with its current drop, the price has doubled many times over. Bitcoin has advanced about 150 percent year to date.

Source : https://goo.gl/mc7rXX

Indicators : Oil 46.26 – Rand/USD 12.83 – Rand/GBP 16.33 – Rand/EUR 14.43

 

 

Guptas Spying On Politicians

The Gupta family have been spying on some of South Africa’s top banking executives‚ their family members‚ a former cabinet minister and a rival in a lucrative tender deal‚ the Sunday Times reported. It said the family – unmasked as the masterminds behind an intricate network of influence and corruption – were in possession of sensitive information‚ including detailed travel itineraries of banking bosses‚ dating from 2015. Absa CEO Maria Ramos and her husband‚ former finance minister Trevor Manuel‚ are among the executives kept under surveillance‚ according to the report. Others include Rand Merchant Bank founders GT Ferreira‚ Paul Harris and Laurie Dippenaar‚ and Investec CEO Stephen Koseff. Leaked documents reveal that Ashu Chawla‚ a senior Gupta executive‚ is in possession of a spreadsheet documenting the identity numbers and international travel dates of these top executives‚ Sunday Times reported.

Source : https://goo.gl/NXWNbT

Eskom Rigged R4bn Tender

Eskom sneaked an inflated advance payment of R600m to Chinese firm Dongfang for a controversial R4bn tender to supply a new boiler at its Duvha power station in Mpumalanga. This emerges from a report by audit firm KPMG, seen by Business Day. Eskom decided to award the tender to the state-owned Chinese company even though its offer was R1bn more expensive than rival bids, just days after the bids were reviewed at the 11th hour by Trillian, an advisory firm majority-owned by Gupta lieutenant Salim Essa. The advance payment provides further evidence for claims made in court proceedings by losing bidders Murray & Roberts (M&R) and General Electric (GE) that the tender was rigged to favour Dongfang.

Source : https://goo.gl/hgXXm5

Banks Skeptical Of Mining Charter Deals

“The charter will have an effect on our ability to finance the mining industry in South Africa,” said Ursula Nobrega, a spokesperson for Investec, one of South Africa’s five biggest banks. “We already exercise caution as to who and what projects we finance.” South Africa is pushing to increase black ownership as it seeks to redress economic imbalances caused by apartheid. The introduction of the latest charter triggered a selloff in mining stocks and a drop in the rand amid concerns that the new rules will deter investment when the country is already in recession.

Source : https://goo.gl/DvT4cs

Mozambican SOE’s Cant Explain $500m Loss

“At least $500million of expenditure of a potentially sensitive nature remains unaudited and unexplained,” Kroll said in the report, commissioned last year by Mozambique’s attorney-general. Credit Suisse Group and VTB Bank were paid almost $200m in fees for arranging the loans, the New York-based investigator said. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), which has said the probe was necessary for it to resume funding to the country.

Source : https://goo.gl/8nuHPx

Britian Turns To Emerging Markets As Brexit Negotiations Start

Britain is turning to the world’s poorest countries to shore up trade as Brexit puts existing deals on an uncertain footing. The government promises improved access to U.K. markets for the world’s poorest countries and to maintain existing duty-free access for “everything but arms” for 48 countries including Bangladesh, Sierra Leone and Haiti, according to an emailed statement from the prime minister’s office. Britain will also seek to expand relationships with nations including Jamaica, Pakistan and Ghana.

Source : https://goo.gl/Fch8mq

Indicators : Oil 45.80 – Rand/USD 12.88 – Rand/GBP 16.35 – Rand/EUR 14.38

 

 

Zuma Laughs Off Secret Ballot

With another motion of no confidence looming large over President Jacob Zuma has hit back at opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) calling for a secret ballot. Zuma told the National Assembly on Thursday that he is not convinced by arguments in favour of parliamentarians voting in secret.“My view is that we should do what we have done all the time in the past times because I see no convincing reason why we should change.” Zuma has survived seven motions of no confidence in his leadership. “You’re trying to get a majority you don’t have by saying secret ballot. I think it’s not fair.”

Source : https://goo.gl/hXrNyb

Johnny Dladla Appointed As Eskom Interim CEO

The Eskom Board has announced the appointment of Mr Johnny Dladla as Acting Group Chief Executive with immediate effect. According to Eskom this follows intense consultations between the Minister and Eskom Board to arrive at a prudent choice. Both parties are of firm belief that Dladla’s experience and expertise will stabilise Eskom in the short-term. “Dladla has sufficient skills to excel in this role. He has 22 years of experience within the Eskom, 17 years invested in various non-regulated businesses and 5 years as Chief.

Source : https://goo.gl/49Zoec

Bird Flu Outbreak In Mpumalanga

SA has recorded the first case of bird flu within its borders, with about 24,000 birds in the Mpumalanga province affected by the outbreak. An outbreak of bird flu was first recorded in Zimbabwe earlier this month and forced Irvines’s, the largest poultry company there, to cull about 140,000 birds. SA, Mozambique and Botswana swiftly moved to ban poultry imports from Zimbabwe to protect their poultry products.

Source : https://goo.gl/iadpau

Ford Recalls More Fires Due To Fires

Ford South Africa has issued another fire-risk recall, this time affecting 15 600 entry-level Figo and Ikon cars built in India. Ford is recalling Ikon models, built from August 9 2004 to March 24 2012, and Figo units (January 13 2009 to March 24 2012). Its technicians need to replace the “high-pressure power assisted steering hose, which may split, resulting in a power steering fluid leak”.

Source : https://goo.gl/U1AXzd

Nike To Sell Products On Amazon

According to reports today, Nike and Amazon are close to officially announcing a partnership that will allow the sports apparel brand to sell its product directly through the online marketplace. In addition to consumer business, Nike would also take greater control over the increasing amount of counterfeit merchandise currently being sold on the platform.

Source : https://goo.gl/VZJGUf

Indicators : JSE 51’239 – Oil 45.32 – Rand/USD 12.97 – Rand/GBP 16.48 – Rand/EUR 14.49

Mbete Must Make Secret Ballot Decision

It is now up to National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete to decide whether or not to allow a secret ballot in the vote in a motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma. The Constitutional Court on Thursday ordered that Mbete has the constitutional power to prescribe that voting in a motion of no confidence be conducted through a secret ballot.

Source : https://goo.gl/1J7vJe

Govt Debt Now Costs More Than Social Grants

Servicing its debt is now costing the South African government more than the amount it spends on social grants, political analyst Daniel Silke said on Thursday. This growing gap between revenue and expenditure by government means the pressure on government to raise taxes, especially indirect taxes, will become more and more acute. This in turn will put pressure on citizens and raise frustration on ground level, according to Silke.

Irregular Expenditure Balloons

Deviation from supply chain management regulations resulted in the irregular expenditure of municipalities ballooning over 50% to R16.81bn, the auditor general revealed. The auditor general assessed 263 municipalities and 51 municipal entities. On average, 20% of the 263 municipalities was classified as having “robust and strong” financial controls. Eastern Cape, North West, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga were the main contributors to the increase in irregular expenditure. Eastern Cape’s irregular expenditure increased by 60% to R5.6bn, North West increased by 117% to R2.5bn, KwaZulu-Natal increased by 50% to R2.3bn and Mpumalanga increased by 162% to R2.2bn.

Source : https://goo.gl/Mz8RdG

Uber CEO Resigns

Uber has been run by a committee of executives since Kalanick agreed to go on an indefinite leave of absence last week. The leave was intended for him to grieve for his mother and work on becoming a better leader. Uber has also been searching for a COO for months to help Kalanick. Reps for Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment on updates to this plan. Even though Kalanick is no longer CEO, he will likely continue to have a strong influence on the startup he co-founded.

Source :  https://goo.gl/fnJCbk

JSE Warns Gupta Companies Of Suspension

The JSE is considering suspending Gupta-owned Oakbay Energy and Resources because it no longer has an audit committee chairperson, sponsor or transfer secretary, which the stock exchange requires for a company to trade. This was revealed by Oakbay on Thursday in a statement to shareholders, in which it said it “is considering various alternatives available to it”.

Source : https://goo.gl/T5M85k

Indicators : Oil 44.71 – Rand/USD 13.01 – Rand/GBP 16.46 – Rand/EUR 14.54

 

 

Mkhwebane Wants Constitution Changed

The Rand yesterday fell to R13 to the US dollar after Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane earlier in the day called for the Constitution to be amended so that the mandate of the South African Reserve Bank could be changed. Mkhwebane yesterday released a number of reports, including one on her office’s investigation into the Reserve Bank’s bail-out, to the tune of R1.125billion, of Bankorp, which Absa took over 25 years ago. Mkhwebane has ordered the Special Investigating Unit to recover the funds. At a press conference on the reports, Mkhwebane took aim at the Reserve Bank. She said the Reserve Bank and the government had failed in their constitutional duty by not acting on the matter. She proposed amending the Constitution, to remove a clause  designed to protect the currency.

Source : https://goo.gl/92Qvcg

Reserve Bank Asks Courts To Review Public Protector Findings

The Reserve Bank is set to challenge the public protector’s recommendation on changing its mandate. The Bank said in a statement on Tuesday that the ordered remedial action directing Parliament to change the Constitution to amend the Reserve Bank’s powers, had had an immediate and negative impact on the markets and the exchange rate of the rand.

Source : https://goo.gl/nQ5p6N

Absa Refuses To Pay

Banking group Absa on Tuesday, explained why it believes it does not owe any money to the South African government, as recommended  by the Public Protector. Absa said in a statement on Tuesday that it received the Public Protector’s report on her investigation into the SA Reserve Bank’s assistance to Bankorp between 1985 and 1995. “We are currently studying the report and will consider our legal options including seeking a High Court review. “Absa met all its obligations in respect of the loan provided by the SA Reserve Bank by October 1995. It is our firm position that there is no obligation to pay anything to the SA government,” the bank said.

Source : https://goo.gl/iY6yFw

More Taxi Strikes Planned

The Taxi industry, whose protests last week resulted in many of the streets around Johannesburg and Midrand becoming gridlocked, is planning to embark on a national strike and protests next month. MP Filtane, a spokesperson for Mass Taxi Industry Protest Action Committee, a taxi industry splinter group that last month organised the blockade at Toyota South Africa’s manufacturing plant in Prospecton in Durban in protest at its total exclusion from the industry’s value chain, confirmed yesterday that the industry would be going on strike on July 15.

Source : https://goo.gl/tLVhgM

Rooibos Ltd To Be Prosecuted For Price Fixing

South Africa’s largest rooibos producer Rooibos Limited has been referred to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution, for allegedly abusing its dominance and engaging in uncompetitive behaviour. Historically, rooibos tea processors obtained their supply from farmers through one-year supply agreements. in 2014, Rooibos Limited introduced two exclusionary contracting strategies to lock-in or foreclose the supply of rooibos tea from farmers, starving its competitors of access to a product that only grows in a small geographic region.

Source : https://goo.gl/WeaYar

Barclays And Former CEO Charged With Fraud

British prosecutors have filed criminal charges against Barclays and four former bank executives over investments from Qatar that helped save the bank during the financial crisis. The bank and its former executives have been charged by the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation over a June 2008 investment made by Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund. The executives charged include former CEO John Varley and Roger Jenkins, Barclays’ former head of investment banking in the Middle East. The pair also face a second conspiracy to commit fraud charge over an October 2008 deal with a group of Qatari investors.

Source : https://goo.gl/xk56SF

Indicators : Oil 47.12 – Rand/USD 13.02 – Rand/GBP 16.58 – Rand/EUR 14.52