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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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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Capitec Closes On 10 Million Customers

The bank is expecting to top 10-million active accounts by the end of March, helping it close in on Standard Bank as the largest retail franchise in SA. Customer growth helped drive an 18% rise in headline earnings for the year to end-February, to R38.58 a share, an 18% increase in the dividend, to R14.70, and return on equity of 27%. Net transaction fee income climbed 31% over the period, to R5.1bn — fees on bank accounts and not loans now account for 41% of total net income.

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Jooste Snubs Parliament

Lawyers acting for former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste say he won’t be coming to Parliament to answer questions. Jooste was invited to appear before a joint meeting on Wednesday of four committees, including those of finance and public accounts. But his lawyers say that appearing before the committees could put his right to a fair trial in jeopardy.

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R3.9 Bn Siyangena Contracts Unlawful

The Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) says the R3.9bn contracts it awarded to keep dozens of railway stations safe were unauthorised, unlawful, defined by alleged tender-rigging and, largely, a waste of money. In an explosive affidavit filed at the High Court in Pretoria, Prasa group executive in charge of legal risk and compliance Onica Martha Ngoye spelled out how some of the rail agency’s executives bent over backwards to ensure that IT and security company Siyangena Technologies was awarded lucrative deals without proper tender procedures being followed.

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Durban Beachfront To Get R30m Facelift

The issue of Durban’s famous Golden Mile beach being washed away by the sea will be fixed during a R30-billion facelift. This was the assurance by eThekwini city manager Sipho Nzuza‚ who has said that the city is in talks with Transnet to help replenish several sand-starved beaches. Authorities are also expecting that local existing property values in the area are likely to increase by at least 10% and the overall CBD property values are likely to increase by 5%. Upon completion‚ rates revenues generated for eThekwini will amount to in excess of R200-million more per annum.

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Auditor General Blast Nomvula Mokonyane

Treasury officials and Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu on Tuesday spelled out in Parliament how the Department of Water and Sanitation went on a tender deviation spree while Nomvula Mokonyane was at the helm. In the process they splurged billions of rand in excessive project management and professional fees, leaving the department in financial distress. The deviations had resulted in the department forking out on excessive construction costs as its fruitless and wasteful expenditure skyrocketed, while it had outsourced its procurement to a private company.

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Glencore Could Buy Back Optimum Mine

Glencore is considering a bid for the Optimum coal operations which it sold in 2015 to a company part-owned by the politically connected Gupta family. Glencore placed the mine in bankruptcy protection in 2015 after Eskom refused to renegotiate an unprofitable supply contract and issued penalties. The asset then was sold to a company owned by the Guptas and Zuma’s son Duduzane, with support from then-Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, who travelled to Switzerland to meet with Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg. The Guptas, Duduzane Zuma and Zwane all deny any wrongdoing.

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MP’s Pass Land Expropriation Motion

The motion was debated on Tuesday in the National Assembly, following which the majority of MPs voted in its favour. The matter will now be referred to the constitutional review committee, which will recommend whether the property clause should be amended. Altogether 241 MPs voted in favour and 83 voted against the motion. The ANC also won concessions from the EFF and other opposition parties on the EFF-sponsored motion.

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SA Economic Crime Highest Worldwide

South African organisations continue to report the highest instances of economic crime in the world with economic crime reaching its highest level over the past decade, according to the firm’s biennial PWC Global Economic Crime Survey released on Tuesday. A staggering 77% of South African organisations have experienced economic crime, followed in second place by Kenya with 75%, and thirdly France with 71%. Russia was listed as fourth.

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EFF To Pass No Confidence Motion On Trollip

The EFF will table a motion of no confidence in Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip, party leader Julius Malema says. The EFF leadership has also indicated that if the ANC presents a credible candidate in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro the EFF will vote with the ANC.

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JP Morgan Chase Changes Tune On Crypto Currencies

Despite JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon having called Bitcoin a “fraud,” the big bank is now taking cryptocurrency very seriously—acknowledging the blockchain-based technology as a veritable threat to its future. In JPMorgan Chase’s annual report, released Tuesday afternoon, the bank counted cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum as “risk factors” to its business for the first time.

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Namibia Readies Black Ownership Law

Namibia will table laws to better distribute wealth among its citizens, most of whom are black, by the end of the year, despite resistance from businesses. The bill outlines six areas to increase black citizens’ participation in business, including developing people’s skills and providing financing for those disadvantaged by inequality to buy stakes in companies.

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Zuma Digs In His Heels

President Jacob Zuma has dug in his heels, telling the ANC to do as it pleases after it took a decision early on Tuesday morning to recall him. It is said that Jacob Zuma had agreed to resign but Zuma wanted to stay in office for 3 months as one of his conditions. It was rejected by the NEC. The ANC NEC is due to announce the outcomes of their meeting later today

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DA To Take Vrede Report On Judicial Review

The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Monday said it was taking the Public Protector’s report on the Vrede Dairy Farm project on judicial review, calling her findings a sham. Speaking in Cape Town, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said there were too many omissions from the report and said Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane even failed to probe what was already in the public domain.

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Taste Holdings Appoints New CEO

Taste, the JSE-listed holding group responsible for bringing US brands Starbucks and Domino’s Pizza to South Africa, have appointed a new chief executive, following the resignation of  co-founder, Carlo Gonzaga. Taste, which also has jewellery retailers Arthur Kaplan and NWJ in its stable, announced that Tyrone Moodley will change his function from non-executive director and be appointed to the Group CEO role effective 12 February 2018

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Unilever Threatens To Pull Facebook Ads

Unilever (UL), which owns brands like Dove and Ben & Jerry’s, warned on Monday that it would stop advertising on platforms that damage society by enabling the spread of fake news, sexism, racism, and extremism. The latest clash highlights the power imbalance in digital media. Brands and publishers are increasingly under the thumb of Facebook and Google, which offer unparalleled audiences in the billions and vast data troves on those users.

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ANC Shifts Policy On Land And SARB

The ANC has adopted a resolution calling for the nationalisation of the central bank and land expropriation without compensation. Party delegates also agreed that Treasury must develop a wealth tax that may be in the form of a land tax in an effort to promote equity and raise the revenue in the state coffers.

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30000 Shoprite Employees To Go On Strike

Pre-Christmas shopping may be disrupted on Friday when supermarket workers down tools. The South African Commercial‚ Catering and Allied Workers Union and Congress of South African Trade Unions have announced a planned one-day nationwide strike by Saccawu members at Shoprite Checkers on Friday 22 December 2017.

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Investors Sue Steinhoff In Germany

The case against the owner of Mattress Firm in the U.S. and Conforama in France was filed in Frankfurt district court, TILP law firm said in a statement on Wednesday. Investors are seeking to recover funds after the South African company reported accounting irregularities, causing the stock to slump about 90 percent over two weeks. The class-action-style lawsuit, filed Tuesday, is likely to be the first of many similar cases filed by investors angry over their losses. Innsworth Litigation Funding, a London-based unit of Paul Singer’s Elliott Management Corp., has begun building a case against Steinhoff and is seeking shareholder clients willing to sue, it said last week.

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ABSA Wants Jooste Company Liquidated

Absa Bank has applied for the liquidation of former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste’s Mayfair Speculators, the company that, until this week owned South Africa’s best racehorse, Legal Eagle, as well as hundreds of other racehorses, a property portfolio and a chunk of Steinhoff shares. Absa has also demanded an investigation into a suspicious transaction that saw Mayfair move R1.5 billion of assets to its holding company in August this year.

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Nedbank CEO’s Open Letter To Ramaphosa

CEO Mike Brown has thrown his full weight behind ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa. Brown said in an open letter to Ramaphosa that his team was looking forward to engaging with him and addressing the pressing needs the country is facing.

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Distell To Sell Bisquit Brand

Distell has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its cognac business, Bisquit Dubouche et Cie to Italian branded beverage company Campari Group for an enterprise value of 2.5 million, or R800-million. The disposal is expected to close during the first quarter of 2018.

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Ramaphosa Wins ANC Presidency Race

Ramaphosa’s victory was announced at the ANC’s elective conference in Gauteng after he nosed ahead of his opponent‚ Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Ramaphosa received 2‚440 votes and Dlamini-Zuma got 2‚261. Gwede Mantashe is the new national chairperson and Paul Mashatile the new treasurer general. Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza was elected deputy president‚ Ace Magashule is the incoming secretary general and Jessie Duarte retained her position as deputy secretary general.

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Rand Rallies On Ramaphosa Win

The rand cheered as the ANC announced the new president of the politic party following the election process that kicked of on Saturday (16 December 2017). The rand firmed 2% on Friday as the ANC prepared to elect its new leader. At 10am on Monday, the rand was trading at R13.09 against the dollar and shortly after the announcement; the rand firmed to R12.59 against the US dollar.
DA Files Criminal Charges Against Koko

DA) says it has filed criminal charges against the reinstated acting Eskom CEO Matshela Koko following what it calls the sham of a disciplinary hearing. Koko was found not guilty of all charges relating to misconduct during disciplinary procedures which led to his reinstatement.

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Biggest IPO In History 

The markets are awaiting what is expected to be the biggest public offering in history. An IPO so big it will likely make any Silicon Valley unicorn look like a blip in the market. The Saudi’s plan is to offer up to 5% of Aramco in the flotation at a currently predicted price of $100 billion. This would give Aramco a valuation of $2 trillion, making it the largest IPO ever. Initially, the sale was expected to take place in early 2018, but the anticipated date is now late 2018 or early 2019.

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Micro Insurance Closer To Reality

The long-awaited Insurance Bill was among a number of pieces of legislation passed by the National Council of Provinces at its final scheduled plenary sitting for 2017 last week – good news for lower-income South Africans, because it brings access to micro-insurance one step closer.

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New Minimum Wage For Domestic Workers

The department of labour has released the sectoral determination for domestic workers, showing the new minimum wages for domestics across South Africa – at least until the national minimum wage comes into effect. According to the latest determination, domestic workers must get paid a minimum of R1,641 up to R2,545, depending on which area you live in. This is a 5% increase from 2017’s rates.

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