Supra’s Son’s R1.1M Bursary

North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo and Denel CEO Zwelakhe Ntshepe are facing a backlash over revelations that the premier’s son got a R1.1-million bursary to become a pilot. Rapport newspaper revealed at the weekend that the state-owned armaments company‚ forced recently to borrow money to pay salaries‚ had “bent the rules” to award the bursary. Ntshepe‚ according to the newspaper‚ personally signed the contract. Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan described the allegations as serious and asked the newly appointed Denel board to institute an internal investigation

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Anglogold CEO Venkatakrishnan Resigns

CEO Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan has resigned, the company announced on Monday. Venkatakrishnan leaves after 18 years at the company, the last five as CEO, to become chief executive of Vedanta Resources. Vedanta is a London Stock Exchange-listed, diversified natural resources firm, with interests zinc, lead, silver, copper, iron ore, aluminium as well as oil and gas.

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207 US Eggs Recalled Over Massive Salmonella Outbreak

About 207 million eggs supplied by a US farm are being recalled after more than 20 consumers became ill from suspected salmonella poisoning. The eggs from a Rose Acre Farms facility in Hyde County, North Carolina, may be contaminated with a form of salmonella, which can cause serious infection, the US Food and Drug Administration said in a statement.

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IRBA Considers Forcing Audit Firms To Split

The South African audit profession’s watchdog is considering forcing firms to split their audit and advisory arms in an effort to enhance their independence and improve audit quality. With auditors embroiled in a rising number of scandals globally and at home, the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (Irba) was weighing up the benefits of creating “audit-only” firms, Irba CEO Bernard Agulhas said.

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Nkonki CEO Quits Over Gupta Scanalds

Nkonki CEO Mitesh Patel resigned this week after amaBhungane revealed that his R107m “management buyout” of the pioneering black auditing firm 18 months ago was funded by Gupta lieutenant Salim Essa. The investigative journalists reported that Patel did not elaborate on his reasons for going‚ but his acting replacement‚ Thuto Masasa‚ said in response to questions: “Mr Patel tendered his resignation as the CEO of Nkonki as a result of very serious and damaging allegations published in the media in particular regarding his relationship with Mr Salim Essa‚ Trillian and Gupta linked entities.”

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Fight Over Grounded Gupta Jet

The Guptas have returned their Bombardier jet to SA after the Canadian bank that financed the aircraft asked the court to hold them in contempt for failing to deliver the aircraft on time. The jet flew from Dubai on Friday and landed at Lanseria Airport. It was handed over for storage to Execujet, a maintenance company contracted by Export Development Canada (EDC), pending the outcome of legal proceedings in SA and the UK. The Guptas had applied for leave to appeal against an order handed down by Judge Fayeeza Kathree-Setiloane on March 19 compelling them to return the jet to Lanseria by April 3 or face having it deregistered by the Civil Aviation Authority, which would have meant it could no longer be flown.

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Oil Could Hit $80 A Barrel Over Possible Iran Sanctions

Brent oil could spike to $80 a barrel if the US and European Union reimpose sanctions on Iran – and as Western powers expand the scope of the Syrian civil war. A possible decision in May on Iran sanctions may be the start of a process that maintains low-intensity stress on oil markets that can deliver higher prices and above-average volatility

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Currencies : Bcoin R97 596,18 . Ether 6,338 . R/USD12.06 . R/GBP17.26 . R/EUR14.91

 

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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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Gigaba To Testify At Eskom Inquiry

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba will appear before the Eskom Inquiry on Tuesday, while lawyers for the Gupta brothers say their clients are not in SA and so cannot take the stand.  Gigaba is expected to give evidence on matters relating to his tenure as minister of public enterprises between 2009 and 2014.

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PIC WIll Back VBS Bank

The Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which holds a majority stake in VBS Mutual Bank (VBS), yesterday pledged to work with the bank’s curators after the SA Reserve Bank placed it under curatorship on Sunday. “The PIC will work closely with the appointed curator, SizweNtsalubaGobodo, and all other stakeholders, to assist the bank navigate this difficult situation, and hopefully emerge much stronger,” PIC said.

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Unions Interdict IPP Deal Signing

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) together with Transform RSA obtained the interdict at the High Court in Johannesburg on Monday night to prevent Eskom from concluding the outstanding renewable energy independent power producer (IPP) products‚ including the power purchase agreements. Numsa said it joined the application with Transform RSA in order to protect the livelihoods of thousands of workers and their families.

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Spotify Launched In SA

As reported last week, Spotify has launched in South Africa. With over 159 million active users, including over 71 million Spotify Premium subscribers, Spotify offers a choice between an ongoing free ad-supported music service and a fully-featured, ad-free subscription option.

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ConCourt To Pronounce On Party Funding

On Tuesday, My Vote Counts is due to appear before the Constitutional Court for the confirmation hearing of the High Court in Cape Town judgment on the constitutionality of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (Paia) as it pertains to access to information about the private funding of political parties and independent candidates in our electoral system.

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Gigaba Confuses On Gupta Citizenship

On Tuesday‚ Gigaba and home affairs director-general Mkuseli Apleni provided feedback at a media briefing following meetings the pair had with the Parliamentary portfolio committee on home affairs to answer questions over the Guptas’ naturalisation. At the briefing‚ Gigaba said Atul was not a South African citizen — but a copy of Atul’s passport‚ which was among the tranche of #GuptaLeaks e-mails‚ lists Atul as “South African” under the “Nationality” section. Non-citizens cannot apply for passports.

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ANC To Re-table Banks Nationalisation Motion

The ANC intends to re-table a Parliamentary motion to nationalise the SA Reserve Bank by doing away with its private shareholders. On Tuesday, just hours before it was set to be heard, the ANC withdrew its initial motion to debate the nationalisation of the bank. In a media statement issued after the motion was withdrawn, the ANC affirmed its “intent to re-table the motion which will be fully aligned with the outcomes of its 54th National Conference on the Reserve Bank”.

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Spotify To Launch In SA This Month

On Tuesday, Spotify sent out an e-mail, effectively confirming the launch, saying: “Spotify has some news to share. Please join us on Tuesday March 13 to catch all the details.” Spotify offers tiers of music streaming — from free to premium at $10 a month — and says that it controls 42% of the global music-streaming market, which it claims is double that of its closest rival, Apple Music.

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Firstrand To Enter UK Market Through Aldemore

A nine-year-old challenger bank with no branch network, Aldermore, for which FirstRand paid £1.1bn in 2017, gives the banking group a lending and deposit franchise in the world’s sixth largest economy. FirstRand will launch transactional banking through Aldermore, chiefly to attract more deposits. These will be used to fund its vehicle finance business MotoNovo, which is to be integrated within Aldermore as a separate pillar.

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Telco’s Blame Govt For R80bn Industry Loss

The telecommunications industry in South Africa lost R80 billion in market cap last year due to policy and regulatory uncertainty, said Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub. Vodacom said the department’s update of the draft Bill failed to incorporate the outcomes of several discussions the department had with industry players over the past year. “We have R100 billion that we’ve invested into our network. If we have to return the spectrum, it becomes expropriation. That investment becomes useless,” said Joosub.

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US Govt Offers $533Million In New Famine Aid

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced $533 million in new aid to fight famine in East Africa and the Lake Chad region. The funds will provide emergency food and nutrition assistance to people in Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and countries around Lake Chad, Tillerson said Tuesday. Also included are medical supplies, better sanitation and emergency shelter, the State Department added in a statement.

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Currencies: Bcoin R129,242 . Ether R9,655 . R/USD11.79 . R/GBP16.39 . R/EUR14.66

 

Tiger Brands Hit By Listeriosis News

Tiger Brands, SA’s biggest consumer foods company, was left reeling yesterday with the source of a listeriosis outbreak traced to its Enterprise meat factory in Polokwane, amid accusations that it had not followed proper food-safety procedures. The finding has triggered a large recall of all Enterprise ready-to-eat cold meat products as well as polony products produced by RCL. A Rainbow Chicken factory in Wolwerhoek in Sasolburg also tested positive for listeria and the facility has since been shut down.

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Warrants Issued & Interpol Roped In For Gupta’s

The Sunday Times has reported that despite denials from the authorities, arrest warrants have been issued for Atul and Tony Gupta. In February, reports suggested the Gupta brothers were on the run, and that the Hawks issued arrest warrants for the brothers and Duduzane Zuma. The SABC reported that Interpol has also been roped in to track down Atul and Tony Gupta, after the Hawks were unable to serve warrants of arrest.

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Transnet Launches New Company

 Transnet has launched a new company, Transnet International Holdings (TIH) to facilitate multiple rail, port and pipeline projects in the rest of Africa. TIH, which has a capital injection of R100 million, held its inaugural annual general meeting this week to, among others, appoint a board. According to Transnet chief executive Siyabonga Gama, the new entity would commence trading on April 1.
Petrol Price To Drop 36c
The price of petrol will fall by 36 cents to R13.76 per litre in commercial hub Gauteng province. Diesel will go down by 47 cents to R12.09. The retail price of petrol and the wholesale price of diesel in South Africa will fall on Wednesday after the rand strengthened
SARS Pays Out R205bn In Tax Refunds

The South African Revenue Service (Sars) said on Wednesday that it has paid over R205 billion in refunds across all tax types in the past 10 and a half months. Sars said that the payout to individuals and companies, from the beginning of the financial year on 1 April 2017 to 9 February 2018, represented a significant boost to the economy given the current economic climate. The amount of R205 billion paid in refunds is more than the total budget allocated for defence, public order and safety in 2017, which amounted to R198.7 billion

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Absa To Reclaim Its Name Again

Absa has opted to use its South African brand name in the rest of Africa as it plans to double its market share of banking revenue on the continent to 12%, unshackled as it now is from its UK parent. Barclays Africa has already spent 18% of its separation payment and will use the remainder to rebrand, separate its human resources and IT systems and grow, which may include acquisitions as well as asset sales.

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Lynne Browne Resigns And Maritz Quits

Just four days after being fired as minister of public enterprises‚ Lynne Brown has resigned as an ANC MP. Brown’s decision to quit was announced by the office of ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu on Thursday. Brown had a controversial tenure as she became implicated in allegations of the mismanagement of Eskom and other parastatals such as Denel and Transnet. Meanwhile Eskom says while the disciplinary process against its now former head of information Sean Maritz will fall away following his decision to quit, management will not hesitate to take legal action him if necessary.

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Jooste Conspired With Other Execs

Steinhoff International Holdings’ former chief executive officer Markus Jooste conspired with fellow executives at the retailer to move revenue figures around subsidiaries to boost their balance sheets, according to Sueddeutsche Zeitun. According to the newspaper, the ex-CEO told one of his managers to add an additional €100m (R1.45bn) of revenue from a subsidiary to help inflate the company’s reported profit. In a separate email, the then-CEO referred to a need to “clean up the past”, the newspaper said

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US Stocks Tumble Over Trump Tariffs

Wall Street stocks fell sharply on Thursday after President Donald Trump said he will enact steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, reviving worries of a trade war. He said steel products face a 25% tariff, with 10% on aluminium goods. The US imports four times more steel than it exports, and is reliant on steel from more than 100 nations.

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Hawks Investigate $50 Million Bitcoin Scam

The Hawks, have confirmed that they are currently investigating a major Bitcoin scam which may have affected thousands of South Africans. The scam is reported to have originated from a company called BTC global which is said to have had over $50 million worth of investors around the world.

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Western Cape Farming Losses Mount

The Western Cape province expects its agriculture sector to decline by around 20%, as a severe drought hits farmlands surrounding Cape Town as the city braces for “Day Zero”, when its taps are expected to run dry. Alan Winde, the Western Cape’s minister of economic opportunities, said the province is now projecting losses of R5.9 billion ($495 million) from a previous estimate of R4.9 billion due to record wheat losses and a strong rand.

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Mashaba Under Fire Over Property Valuations

Businesses, residents and other property owners, hit by huge valuation increases by the City of Johannesburg, say the city has inflated property values unfairly to boost its flagging income. Rates bills, which are based on new valuations done every four years, kick in on July 1. The city recently sent section 49 notices to property owners, advising them of the new values for their properties with effect from July 1. Organised business wants to meet mayor Herman Mashaba, saying the increases are outrageous and unfair.

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Eskom Signs R20bn Short Term Loan

Eskom has signed a 20 billion rand ($2 billion) short-term credit facility with a consortium of seven local and international banks. “The funding provides Eskom with sufficient liquidity to allow the company time to continue resolving its governance related issues and enables Eskom to recommence with its normal funding program required to execute the FY 2018/19 funding plans,” acting Chief Financial Officer Calib Cassim said in a statement, referring to the utility’s current financial year.

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Comcast Offers $31bn For Sky

Comcast, the biggest cable operator in the US, yesterday offered to pay $31billion (R358.28bn) to buy Sky, challenging Rupert Murdoch’s Fox and Bob Iger’s Walt Disney for the European pay-TV giant. Comcast, a $184bn media giant which owns NBC and Universal Pictures, said it was offering £12.50 (R202.17) per share, significantly higher than the £10.75 per share agreed by Fox. Shares in Sky soared 18%.

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Walmart Raises Gun Buying Age To 21

Walmart is raising the minimum age for buying its firearms and ammunition to 21, becoming the latest company to change policies connected to guns in the wake of the mass shooting at a high school in Florida earlier this month. Walmart, which is the largest single seller of guns in the United States, will also remove from its e-commerce site toys that look like assault-style rifles.

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Eskom To Pay Back PIC Loan Today

Eskom has confirmed that the R5bn short term loan it received from the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) will be paid back on Thursday. When the loan was extended by the PIC in February, the Public Servants Association (PSA) said that it felt “betrayed” by the agreement as this could risk government employee pensions being caught up in flailing state owned companies (SOC’s).

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Bitcoin Reaches Major Scaling Milestone

Bitcoin has quietly reached a major milestone in its quest to reach the masses. Segregated Witness, or SegWit, the software upgrade designed to speed up Bitcoin transactions, is gaining traction. The number of transactions using the technology doubled to more than 30 percent in just the past three days.

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Currencies: Bcoin R126,579 . R10,349 . R/USD11.81 . R/GBP16.23 . R/EUR14.40