Zuma Liable For His Legal Fees

A full Bench of the North Gauteng High Court sitting in Pretoria on Thursday said the Presidency and state attorney must attempt to recover legal costs incurred by former president Jacob Zuma in his personal capacity. In September, the Presidency said Zuma’s personal legal fees had cost the state R16.78-million. The former president took a R7.8-million loan from the now-collapsed VBS Mutual Bank to repay some of the money spent on upgrades to his private Nkandla home. The court ordered the state to provide the full accounting detail, steps taken and steps to be taken to recover the amounts within three months.

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Eskom Secures $1.5 Billion Loan

Eskom says it has secured a R1.5 billion loan from the French Development Agency (AFD). “This loan constitutes the first tranche of a R6.5 billion multi-tranche loan facility signed between the two institutions in March 2017,” the utility said in a statement released on Thursday afternoon. Eskom says the money loaned from AFD will go towards building new electricity transmission lines to strengthen the country’s network.

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Nigeria Govt Sues Shell And Partners For $1 Billion

The government of Nigeria is suing Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Eni SpA and other companies for more than $1 billion over a 2011 oil deal it says was tainted by corruption. The suit, filed Wednesday in London, alleges that money the companies paid to acquire an oil exploration license in the Gulf of Guinea was diverted to bribes and kickbacks, the Nigerian government said in a press release. The transaction is already the subject of a separate, ongoing criminal trial in Milan.

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Ndalo Media To Shut Down In January

Ndalo Media will officially shut down on January 31 2019, company owner Khanyi Dhlomo told her employees on Wednesday. The media company that owns Destiny, Destiny Men and Elle magazines, among others, has been experiencing cash flow issues, even failing to cover certain operational costs in the past few months. Sunday World reported in November that Ndalo Media faced liquidation over a R13-million debt allegedly owed to its printers accumulated between 2016 and 2018.

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Hlaudi Launches African Content Movement

Speaking on Thursday in Milpark, Johannesburg, the self-confessed “wonderful person” made bold statements about bringing change to South Africa while announcing he was going to launch the ACM. Motsoeneng, the president of the movement, also revealed the names of the ACM’s leadership team. Ally Mosina is the chairperson, Lindiwe Mthembu will handle the finances as the treasurer general, Romeo Ramuada will steer the ship on a daily basis as secretary general and Esther Padi will assist as deputy secretary-general

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Absa Downtime Causes Frustration

Absa says all its systems are now back online. The bank has come under fire on social media with customers complaining they were unable to transact for much of the day. Absa now says its app and online banking are back up and running while cash withdrawals and branches are also fully operational. The bank has apologised for the inconvenience.

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Judgement Expected On Zuma Legal Fees

A landmark judgment regarding whether the state should continue to foot the bill for former president Jacob Zuma’s defence costs is expected to be handed down in the North Gauteng High Court this morning. The DA filed papers in late March, asking the High Court to set aside a 2006 agreement about legal costs Zuma incurred for his criminal prosecution that the Presidency signed. Personally, i think this order should be granted and he should be made to pay his own legal fees. The corruption case against him is in him own capacity and the state isn’t in the dock so why must the state pay?!

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Theresa May Survives Confidence Vote

May won a confidence vote on Wednesday evening though more than a third of Conservative lawmakers voted to ditch her, leaving her authority badly damaged. In an emotional concession to critics before the ballot, she said she knew deep down she would not be leading them into the next election in 2022. In a little over three months time, the U.K. will be leaving the European Union with or without an agreement to cushion the blow and so far there are precious few signs that May will be able to persuade Parliament to back the divorce terms she’s negotiated with the EU. The risk of a no-deal Brexit and the economic and political chaos it would bring are growing. With the EU seemingly unwilling to change the current deal, there is a real possibility that the UK would leave without a deal at all. This will be interesting to watch.

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Nigerian Court Adjourns MTN Case To January

A Nigerian judge adjourned on Wednesday a hearing over an $8.1-billion dispute between South African telecoms giant MTN and the central bank until January 22. The dispute is over the transfer of $8.1-billion of funds which Nigeria’s central bank said the company had sent abroad in breach of foreign-exchange regulations. MTN has denied any wrongdoing.

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Chinese Detains Another Canadian In Huawei Tiff

Canada’s foreign ministry says it is trying to make contact with a second Canadian who is believed to have been detained in China. Michael Spavor, a businessman based in Dandong near the North Korean border, had contacted Canadian officials this week to say he was being questioned. Foreign ministry spokesman Guillaume Bérubé said Canada was working hard to determine Mr Spavor’s whereabouts. It comes after former diplomat Michael Kovrig was arrested in China this week.

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Tencent Music Soars  After US Debut

Tencent Music Entertainment Group climbed in its U.S. trading debut Wednesday after pricing its initial public offering at the bottom of a marketed range. China’s largest music-streaming service, which is backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd., and current holders raised $1.1 billion by selling 82 million American depositary shares at $13 apiece Tuesday.

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SA Employment Down 0.2% In Q3

STATS SA said the quarter-on-quarter employment decline was mainly driven by the manufacturing industry which lost 7 000 jobs or 0.6 percent, while construction shed 5 000 jobs or 0.8 percent and mining was down 2 000 jobs, as was the trade industry. Other losses were in the transport and community services sectors. Stats SA said total earnings paid to employees increased by R26-billion or 4.2 percent to R653-billion in the three months to September compared to the previous quarter. This reflected a rise of R35-billion or 5.6 percent over the same period last year. Essentially, salaries are increasing while job numbers are decreasing.

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China Arrests Former Canadian Diplomat

A former Canadian diplomat has been detained in China — a potentially explosive development in the aftermath of the arrest of a Huawei executive. executive in Vancouver. The ex-diplomat, Michael Kovrig, who works now with the International Crisis Group, was reported detained in China Tuesday. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government responded to questions about his case by confirming a Canadian had been arrested, though stopped short of identifying him. His employer said it was seeking more information. meanwhile, Donald Trump has said he is willing to intervene on the arrest of the Huawei executive if it will help a trade deal. This is ironic because her arrest was requested by US authorities so he started the tiff in the first place.

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Hlaudi To Launch Political Party And Contest Elections

Former SABC executive Hlaudi Motsoeneng has repeated his desire to occupy office in the Union Buildings. He is planning to launch his own political party soon and will contest the 2019 elections. “I am going to contest [against President Cyril] Ramaphosa because I want to be the president of the country. I don’t think Ramaphosa can defeat me. I am going to shock the country”. “I knew what I must do to change people’s lives. I am going to run and lead South Africa as a president,” TimesLIVE quoted him as saying. “Don’t listen to people who are talking about qualifications, because there is wisdom in me. If you have wisdom, you know what people want,” he said.

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Macron Bows To Pressure – Vows To Decrease Workers Taxes

Emmanuel Macron addressed the French nation in an attempt to defuse the first real political crisis of his presidency.  The president promised that those on the minimum wage—currently €1,499 ($1,707) a month—would receive an extra 100 euros each month without any cost to employers (probably through an expanded wage subsidy). An increase in social charges on pensions would be cancelled for those on below €2,000 a month. Both overtime and any end-of-year bonuses offered by employers would be free of taxes and charges.

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Verizon Lays Off 10,400 Employees

Verizon announced that 10,400 employees have chosen to accept buyout packages offered by the company. The packages were reportedly offered to 44,000 employees at Verizon, and include 60 weeks of salary bonus as well as other benefits based on time spent at the company. The offers put on the table by Verizon are aimed at helping the telecom company save $10 billion by 2021.

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Liquid Telecom Secures R2.6 Billion Investment

Liquid Telecom received a $180 million cash injection from U.K. development finance institution CDC Group Plc as Africa’s largest fiber-network operator expands broadband infrastructure across the continent. The investment will give London-based CDC a stake of almost 10 percent in Liquid, which is majority owned by Zimbabwe’s Econet. The funding will enable Liquid to expand its network in five new countries including Nigeria and Ethiopia.

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Theresa May Backtracks As Pound Tanks

May told the House of Commons that she would pull her earlier plan to have a vote the next day on the Brexit deal that she has negotiated with the European Union. The prime minister acted after being advised by government whips that she would lose the vote by a large margin. Sterling dropped to its lowest since April 2017 while May was addressing the House of Commons, but bounced back from its low of $1.2507. The pound last bought $1.2562, down from $1.2731, its weakest since June 2017.

 

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China Court Bans Sale Of Most iPhones

A Chinese court has banned the sale and import of most iPhone models in a stunning decision amid the trade war between the United States and China. The ban does not cover the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Plus or iPhone XR, which were not yet available when Qualcomm filed its lawsuit. The phones covered by the ban make up about 10% to 15% of current iPhone sales in China. The court granted a pair of preliminary injunctions requested by Qualcomm, an American microchip maker. Qualcomm claims that Apple violates two of its patents in the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X. The patents allow people to edit and resize photos on a phone and to manage apps by using a touchscreen, according to Qualcomm.

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Major Debt Judgement To Help Consumers

A new Supreme Court of Appeal judgement will bring welcome relief to indebted South Africans. The ruling upheld that borrowers may not pay more than 3% interest a month on a second short-term loan taken out in a 12 month period. The High Court originally ruled in favour of MFSA but this was overturned on appeal by a full bench of the court. That decision was also appealed by MFSA at the Supreme Court of Appeal, which has now ruled in favour of the NCR and DTI. This means that the new regulations remain in force.

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Pule Mabe Accused of Sexual Harassment

Pule Mabe has been accused of sexual harassment by his personal assistant, who claims Mabe wanted to have sex with her in return for the job. The 26-year-old sent a grievance letter against Mabe to the party’s deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte last month. She accuses Mabe of sexual harassment, cutting down her salary and emotional abuse when she refused his sexual advances. She says these were clear attempts by Mabe to have sex with her in exchange for giving her the job. When she declined, the emotional abuse began, and her salary was cut to R15,000.

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Softbank In Second Biggest IPO In History

SoftBank is raising $23.5 billion from the IPO of its Japanese mobile business, making it the second biggest stock market listing ever.

Strong demand from investors for a piece of one of Japan’s biggest wireless carriers prompted the Japanese tech company to increase the number of shares available by 160 million. That makes it Japan’s biggest ever IPO — and the world’s largest since Alibaba.
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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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AFU Loses Case Over Gupta Assets

The Guptas and their associates scored a second court victory on Monday when the High Court in Bloemfontein freed assets such as luxury cars, aircraft and properties seized by the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU). The assets worth at least R250m were seized in April after the AFU obtained a provisional restraint order in relation to the Estina dairy farm matter.

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Reserve Bank Fines VBS And China Bank

The South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) said on Tuesday that it had imposed R77.5 million in administrative penalties to two banks for failing to comply with the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) Act and directed them to take remedial action to address the identified deficiencies. The China Construction Bank Corporation and the embattled VBS Mutual Bank were penalized for not identifying and verifying customers’ details, failing to report certain cash transactions above R24,999.99, not keeping records of customer identification, and inadequate controls pertaining to the reporting of suspicious and unusual transactions.

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160 Million Worth Of Unclaimed FNB Policies

FNB Life has identified over R160m worth of unclaimed policies on its books, it said in a statement on Tuesday. The bank has, therefore, started an initiative to proactively identify customers who have not submitted claims in the past. It wants to track down nominated beneficiaries, family members or the next of kin.

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White Sasol Workers Strike Over Share Scheme

Solidarity, a labor union that represents skilled, mainly white workers, registered a dispute with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, or CCMA, after Sasol introduced benefits that it said would exclude workers based on race. The CCMA ruled that workers at Sasol are allowed to strike over the exclusion of white staff from an employee-shareholding plan.

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Fiat Chrysler Recalls 5.3 Million Cars

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is recalling more than 5.3 million vehicles in North America over a defect that could prevent drivers from deactivating cruise control. The Italian-American carmaker said no injuries or crashes were related to the large recall campaign, but said it had one report of a US driver of a 2017 Dodge Journey rental car being unable to deactivate the cruise control. Fiat Chrysler, which in 2015 was hit with penalties from US regulators totalling $175million (R2.18billion) for safety lapses, did not say how much the recalls would cost.

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R2.4Billion SA Express Tender Scandal

A virtually unknown music promoter was given a three-year tender to supply SA Express with fuel worth R2.4 billion – but failed to deliver a single drop. This is despite a deal already being in place to receive fuel from South African Airways. SA Express confirmed that its current fuel supply deal with SAA came at an average cost of R45 million a month, thus the dodgy EML Energy deal meant the already troubled airline paid roughly R800 million more than SAA over the three years.

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R1 Billion Crypto Scam Uncovered

The Hawks said Gauteng-based Bitcaw Trading Company, commonly known as BTC Global, was being investigated after more than 28,000 investors suffered losses in a cryptocurrency scam. The company is alleged to have targeted potential investors with promises of 2% interest per day, 14% a week and 50% per month. The Hawks said payments were initially made every Monday but suddenly stopped.

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Court Ruling On Gupta Assets Expected Today

The Bloemfontein High Court on Monday will make a crucial ruling on the state’s successful freezing of R250-million in Gupta assets – and whether prosecutors had enough evidence to justify it. The Guptas’ attorney has confirmed that Varun Gupta, the only family member charged so far in relation to the alleged scam, is back in the country for the ruling. Varun Gupta successfully applied for the right to travel to Dubai for a traditional ceremony. He returned to South Africa over the weekend.

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MTN & Vodacom Fight Over Transnet Tender

Mobile network giants MTN and Vodacom are entangled in a fresh row over a multimillion-rand cell phone and data tender at state-owned freight and rail transport company Transnet. MTN will square off with over Transnet following its refusal to port (switch networks) nearly 13 400 sim cards to Vodacom. The matter is heading to the South Gauteng High Court where MTN will argue that its contract with Transnet is still valid and binding as there is a clause that prevents the state-owned entity from procuring the service from a competitor.

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SARS Releases New Customs Regulations

The South African Revenue Services has released a Customs Requirements for South Africa statement which informs South African travellers about the items that they have to declare when leaving and returning to the country. According to the statement, South Africans that are travelling abroad are not required to declare their personal items when leaving or returning to the country, in terms of customs legislation. In the legislation, personal items are described as personal laptops, cameras or iPad that are are a part of the travellers luggage when they are leaving the country.

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Brazil Truckers Strike Causes Economic Havoc

Sao Paulo, a megacity that’s home to more than 12 million people, declared a state of emergency and warned that shortages caused by the strike may cause a state of public calamity, while export group ABPA said a billion chickens and 20 million swines may die in coming days due to a lack of feed. President Michel Temer said he’s called for the deployment of national security forces to unblock roads and asked governors to do the same. Still, truckers group Abcam – which didn’t take the government’s deal – said the number of highway blockades rose to 521 on Friday from 402 the day prior. Local media reported that drivers continued protesting in at least 14 states. Abcam represents about 700 000 of roughly one million self-employed truck drivers.

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