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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Currencies: Bcoin R96,990 . Ether R5,533 . R/USD11.65 . R/GBP16.53 . R/EUR14.46

 

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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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Currencies: Bcoin R131,549 . Ether RR10,648 . R/USD11.72 . R/GBP16.29 . R/EUR14.33

 

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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Currencies : Bcoin R107,000 . Ether R10,512 . R/USD11.94 . R/GBP16.53 . R/EUR14.71

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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Currencies: Bitcoin R264,999 . Ether R12,683 . R/USD12.75 . R/GBP16.99 . R/EUR15.12

 

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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Currencies: R305,693. Ether R13,552. R/USD12.78 . R/GBP17.08 . R/EUR15.08

Zuma Must Personally Pay Legal Costs

Jacob Zuma has been held personally liable for all costs incurred in his bid to block the release of the Public Protector’s ‘State Of Capture’ report. The DA’s James Selfe said, after speaking to the DA’s legal team, that the approximate costs of the litigation since October 14, 2016 would be around R1.5-million. But Zuma will also be liable for costs incurred by other parties as well.

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Zuma Given 30 Days To Set Up Inquiry

President Jacob Zuma was ordered by the high court on Wednesday to set up a judicial commission of inquiry into state capture headed by a judge selected by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. For the second time in less than a week, the High Court in Pretoria found that Zuma could not effectively exercise his powers as head of state due to personal conflict of interest. It said the president was so conflicted that he was unable to fulfil his constitutional duties.

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IRBA Receives Steinhoff Fraud Notice

The Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (Irba) has confirmed that a notice of a reportable irregularity has been filed with it in the last week regarding suspicions of fraud in relation to the accounts of Steinhoff. This is notable because a reportable irregularity (IR) is filed by an auditor of a company in the event where an “unlawful act or omission” committed by an executive in charge of an entity that has caused, or will cause “material financial loss” to the company, including other providers of capital.

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17 New Shopping Malls In SA This Year

A new study published by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) Real Estate South Africa on behalf of the South African Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC), has found that local malls are getting bigger. The data indicates that the average size of centres developed have steadily increased in size since the 1990s, with centres slated for completion between 2017 and 2020 being significantly larger than those developed during the 1990s and 2000s. As of July 2017, the South African retail development pipeline measures 1.9 million square metres across 68 centres – the bulk of which is planned for completion in 2018. Currently, there are 17 shopping centres slated for completion in the remaining weeks of 2017.

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US Federal Reserve Raises Interest Rates

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised interest rates one notch higher as the U.S. economy continues to get healthier. The rate hike, which was widely expected, was the third this year. Policy makers pointed to the lower number of unemployed workers, increased spending by households, and bigger investments by businesses in recent quarters.

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Alibaba To Sign Deals With NBC And Sony

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s video streaming service, Youku Tudou, has signed content licensing deals with NBCUniversal and Sony Pictures Television, marking a deeper foray into entertainment for the Chinese e-commerce giant. The multiyear agreements gives Youku subscribers access to hundreds of films from the studios, the service said Thursday in a statement. Users will also have faster access to new and recently released movies, including “Blade Runner 2049”

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SARS Wants To Track CryptoCurrency Earnings

The South African Revenue Service (Sars) is in discussions with some of the top technology companies in the world to enable it to track cryptocurrency trades more efficiently. Interest in cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin, has risen significantly, but since the environment is fairly opaque, regulators around the world are still struggling to formulate a plan to deal with it. The exponential rise in the price of bitcoin in particular poses a threat to Sars’ revenue collection efforts as it is largely dependent on traders’ own truthful declaration of profits. Financial institutions like banks are required to supply Sars with information on the investments of their clients for verification purposes, but in a crypto environment where such information is lacking, Sars may have to trust that a taxpayer made honest declarations with regard to crypto gains.

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Currencies: Bitcoin R263,799 . R11,854 . Rd/USD13.47 . R/GBP18.06 . R/EUR15.92 

 SASSA And Post Office Sign Deal

The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) and the South African Post Office (Sapo) have signed an agreement to ensure social grant beneficiaries continue to receive their payments after Sassa’s contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) ends on March 31, government announced on Sunday. The cost of the five-year plan, will be within the government’s current budget, if not cheaper, according to Sapo CEO Mark Barnes. It entails a hybrid payment model that will provide SA’s 17-million social grant beneficiaries with the choice of four payment channels: Sapo’s Postbank, commercial bank accounts, merchants in large retail shops, or a “second tier” of merchants that includes village banks, general dealers, small retail outlets and spaza shops.

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Bitcoin Futures Trading Begins

Bitcoin landed on Wall Street with a bang. Four hours after the debut of Cboe Global Markets Inc.’s bitcoin futures, the contracts climbed more than 20 percent and triggered two trading halts designed to cool volatility. Dealers said initial volumes exceeded expectations, while traffic on Cboe’s website was so strong that it caused delays and outages. The exchange said all its trading systems were normal. The launch of futures traded on a regulated exchange is a watershed for bitcoin — testing infrastructure that will make it easier for legions of professional traders and mainstream investors to bet on the cryptocurrency’s rise or fall, potentially helping to steer its price. Until now, trading in bitcoin was driven mainly by individual investors who were willing to risk buying on mostly unregulated markets. Some users of those little-policed venues have been targeted by hackers who’ve stolen digital tokens.

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Carl Niehaus Caught In Another Scam

Political spin doctor Carl Niehaus  has been caught in yet another lie — concocting an elaborate scam to convince a businessman he owed money to that his mother had died and he was about to inherit millions. Niehaus owes R4.3-million for rental of two luxury apartments in Sandton —   as well as damage to expensive furnishings and artwork —  unpaid concierge charges and interest. In an audacious bid to avoid legal action, he claimed his mother had died and he would soon receive a generous inheritance, 90% of which would allow him to settle the debt. His mother, Magrietha Niehaus, 88, is in fact alive and living in a home for the elderly in Johannesburg, other Niehaus family members said.

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FSB Demands Steinhoff Exposure Details

Financial Services Board takes the unprecedented step of requesting all financial services providers supply it with details of their exposure to Steinhoff International. The FSB’s move appears to have been prompted by concern expressed by the minister of finance earlier in the last week. In the latest development in the scandal that has rocked SA, the company announced it would set up a board subcommittee to engage with its banks.

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Apple To Buy Shazam

Apple Inc. is close to acquiring Shazam Entertainment Ltd., the startup whose music recognition app is already built into Apple’s Siri virtual assistant, according to a person familiar with the discussions. A deal for the London-based app maker could be announced as soon as Monday, said the person, who declined to be identified because the details are not yet public. TechCrunch earlier reported the takeover, adding that it could value Shazam at about 300 million pounds ($404 million).

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Social Welfare Director Arrested Over R5m Theft

One of the directors of a social welfare organisation doing business with the Gauteng government has been arrested following the alleged theft of more than R5million meant for the rehabilitation of drug addicts in the province. Nomawethu Kunene, who is a director of Are Ageng Social Services, was arrested in a police trap in Pretoria on Friday following intense police crime intelligence surveillance. The arrest came after a criminal case of theft was reported at the Randfontein police station in November last year, after the owner of Are Ageng made a report to senior officials of the Gauteng Department of Social Development that their bank account was hacked and an amount of more than R5m had been stolen.

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SA Banks Could Freeze Exiled Zimbabweans Accounts

After months of uncertainty surrounding their stay in South Africa as their permits neared expiry, thousands of Zimbabwean nationals in the country are now contending with threats by local banks to freeze their accounts by end of the month when the permits elapse. Some 250 000 holders of the Zimbabwean Special Dispensation Permit (ZSP), who are among millions that have fled economic and political crises to the neighbouring South Africa, are in panic mode as none of the new permits would be issued by December 31.

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Youtuber Made $16.5Million This Year

You may not see Daniel Middleton walking down a red carpet, but he is a celebrity in a league of his own. With nearly 17 million followers, a world tour that included four sold-out nights at the Sydney Opera House and over 11 billion views on YouTube, gamer DanTDM, as he is known to his fans, ranks as the world’s highest-paid YouTube star of 2017 with $16.5 million—the highest came of any YouTube star since Forbes started keeping track in 2015. The rising stars on YouTube may spend most of their time in pixelated worlds, but make no mistake, they’re collecting millions of dollars in cold, hard cash. For the first time, nearly half of those on our annual list are gamers. Viewers flock to their channels to watch them play the latest titles while delivering pithy commentary. Six of the 10 celebs on the ranking are newcomers, who entertain with videos of stunts, children unwrapping toys and, in DanTDM’s case, Minecraft streams. Combined, the world’s 10 highest-paid YouTube stars earned $127 million between June 1, 2016 and June 1, 2017, before management fees and taxes.

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Currencies: Bitcoin R248,949. Ether R6,906. R/USD13.65 . R/GBP18.24 . R/EUR16.07