SAP Admits Paying R128Bn Gupta Bribes

SAP SE said a probe into its dealings with South Africa’s Guptas found that the German software giant paid about R128.6 million ($10.7 million) to businesses linked to the family to win contracts with state-owned companies. Three senior executives who were suspended last year have now quit.

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MTN TO Try Banking Services Again

After pulling the plug on its mobile money business in SA in 2016, MTN wanted to have another crack at financial services in its home market, CEO Rob Shuter said on Thursday. “But we’re building quite a lot of new features around that: loan products, investment products, insurance.… It’s different across the different markets, but [advanced financial services] is a big focus of ours”. The group was looking at “all markets”. MTN had 22-million mobile money customers in 14 markets at the end of 2017.

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CCMA Rules Against Eskom On Suzanne Daniels

The CCMA has found that Eskom’s suspension of its head of legal and compliance, Suzanne Daniels, was an unfair labour practice. In an arbitration award, dated March 6, the CCMA commissioner Prince Kekana said: “The respondent party Eskom is ordered to uplift the suspension with immediate effect and take (Daniels) back into its employ with effect from March 18, 2018.”

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Jeff Radebe To Sign Renewables Deals

South Africa will sign long-delayed agreements with 27 independent power producers next week, according to Energy Minister Jeff Radebe. The signing, scheduled for March 13, will breathe life into a national renewable-energy program that was once the world’s fastest growing but has since stagnated. The deals to be concluded next week will release 56 billion rand ($4.7 billion) of investment over the next two to three years, the minister said in Cape Town Thursday.

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SAA Made Nett Loss Of R5.6Bn In 2017 Financials

South African Airways may not be able to continue to operate as a going concern, while the struggling state-owned airline has failed to properly record financial information and the value of assets, according to the Auditor General. SAA made a net loss of about R5.6 billion ($471 million) in the year through March 2017, according to a document signed by AG Kimi Makwetu. Liabilities exceeded assets by about R17.8 billion, it said.

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Sanlam TO Buy Moroccan Insurer For R1 Billion

Sanlam is to acquire 100% of Moroccan insurance group SAHAM Finances, effectively rendering it the largest non-banking financial services group in Africa. It has announced plans to buy out the remaining 53.37% shareholding in SAHAM for $1.05 billion. Sanlam, together with subsidiary Santam, first acquired a joint 30% stake in SAHAM in 2016 and upped that stake by further 16.6% in 2017

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

R180 Bn Wiped Off JSE After Steinhoff Crash

Investors are shell-shocked after the market witnessed a stunning crash yesterday. Shares in the biggest retailer in Africa, Steinhoff, went into free-fall and fell by more than 61% as the JSE opened – plunging from R45.64 to around R17.50. The company fell even further during the day. This means that more than R130 billion was wiped off the company’s market capitalisation or value in one day. And R180 billion was wiped off all related companies combined.

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Christo Wiese Lost R28bn In A Day

Following Tuesday evening’s announcement that Steinhoff would not be publishing its financial results due to allegations of accounting fraud, South African billionaire and chairman of the company Christo Wiese has seen his net worth halved. Retail tycoon Wiese, who owns 23% of Steinhoff, was named as the fourth richest person in South Africa with a net worth $5.5 billion of according to a January 2017 report by Forbes. This amount was nearly halved on Tuesday as shares in the company dropped to R17.56, a loss of R28.09 or 61.53%, shortly after the JSE opened. According to Forbes’ real-time tracker, Wiese lost $2.1 billion (R28.3 billion) by 11:40AM on Wednesday. This equates to a loss of 54.2% of his total net worth since 5PM EST on Tuesday (midnight local time).

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Bitcoin Soars Past R14000

Bitcoin climbed as much as 7.9% on Thursday as it surged above $14 000, extending this month’s advance to more than 40%. The price of the cryptocurrency touched $14 399.99, a new record, according to Bloomberg pricing

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Mugabe’s Missing $15 Billion Saga

Zimbabwean opposition parties have welcomed a call by Zimbabwean President, Emmerson Mnangagwa for all persons who under Mugabe’s rule, externalised money to return the said monies within three months. Mnangagwa has set the amnesty deadline line to February for the return the ill-gotten wealth with the promise prosecution post deadline. Former Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe previously revealed that the country had “lost” an amount of USD $15 billion in diamond mining revenue. The missing money is believed to have been externalised and squandered by government officials with the aid of dodgy investors.

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New Regulation Structures For Financial Services Sector

At present, South African insurers, pension funds, collective investment schemes and other financial services providers are regulated by the Financial Services Board (FSB), whereas banks are regulated by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB). Each institution is required to comply with its own industry-specific legislation. The current Financial Services Board (FSB) will be transformed into the FSCA – responsible for regulating how firms conduct their business, design and price their products and treat their customers. While the Prudential Authority will regulate financial institutions’ solvency and liquidity.

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Tshwane Asks Treasury For Help

Tshwane city manager Moeketsi Mosola has approached National Treasury to help draft a financial recovery plan that might see it restructuring income and expenditure in its current approved budget. Tshwane’s creditors amount to R6.9 billion and include service providers such as Eskom, Rand Water and many small businesses that are normally dependent on timeous receipt of the payment for the services rendered.

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Currencies: R223,400 . Ether R5,922 . R/USD13.54 . R/GBP18.07 . R/EUR15.97

Koko Claims Eskom Bosses Were Bribed

Suspended Eskom executive Matshela Koko on Thursday accused some of his colleagues of taking bribes from suppliers and said that they had started leaking damning allegations against him in retaliation when he dealt with corruption. The allegations against him, said Koko, started surfacing when he dealt with corruption on becoming interim CEO. For instance, France Hlakudi, the former Kusile power station project manager, was paid a R61m bribe, Koko said. He produced a document that showed another R400,000 was paid to Hlakudi Interpretation and Translation — owned by Hlakudi — by Tubular Construction Projects on the day that Eskom’s tender committee approved a tender for Tubular. The money was transferred into Hlakudi Interpretation and Translation’s bank account in 2015, said Koko.

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Gigaba Says Ignore Economic Gloom

Speaking in the National Assembly on Thursday during a debate on the Medium Term Budget Policy statement he delivered last month‚ the Finance Minister chose to look on the bright side of life. “South Africans should brush aside the message of despondency and doom. Even at our bleakest moments we must not drown ourselves in our own message of doom and gloom. The difficult decisions are being taken now‚ but our economy will turn around. A brighter day beckons.” he said.

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Taxman Going After US Bitcoin Traders

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has won a US court case which will force Coinbase to disclose customer information. Coinbase must now share the data of users who have bought, sold, sent, or received over $20,000 through their accounts in a single year, between 2013 and 2015. This is estimated to be 14,355 individuals.

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Firstrand To Drop State Capture Implicate Companies

Outgoing FirstRand chairman and cofounder of the group Laurie Dippenaar expressed extreme disappointment on Thursday with “the number of large corporations that have been complicit” in state capture, saying that some would lose FirstRand’s business. Commenting on state capture, he said: “I’ve been bitterly disappointed. We have expressed our disdain and disappointment [to these companies] and some of them will not get business from FirstRand again.

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NPA Panel Convened For Zuma Corruption Charges

Controversial KwaZulu-Natal director of public prosecutions Moipone Noko will lead the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA’s) team that considers President Jacob Zuma’s representations on corruption charges. NPA boss Shaun Abrahams gave Zuma until Thursday to argue why he should not be charged after the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld a high court judgment that the 2009 decision to drop charges had been irrational. The president is facing 783 counts of fraud, corruption, racketeering, money laundering and tax evasion.

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Guptas Hijacked Lesotho Mine

In August 2014 Lesotho Prime Minister Tom Thabane appointed Atul Gupta as an “economic investment envoy”. Thabane said ANC president Jacob Zuma had introduced him to the Gupta family and he had enlisted them “to help scout for investment” for the country. Now new evidence is emerging that the main “investment” the Guptas were touting – apart from in Thabane himself – was their takeover of a Lesotho diamond mine.

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PWC Does First Major Commercial Bitcoin Transaction

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), one of the world’s largest accounting firms, has accepted its first ever bitcoin payment for its advisory services. PwC in Hong Kong revealed it is working with a number of startups involved in bitcoin and the wider cryptocurrency industry, prompting the firm to accept the world’s most widely-known cryptocurrency. Notably, PwC also confirmed its advent into advising clients about crypto funds and investments, cryptocurrency exchanges and initial coin offerings –  a radical new form of fundraising powered by cryptocurrencies.

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Currencies: Bitcoin R156,949 . Ether R6,934 . R/USD13.73 . R/GBP18.54 . R/EUR16.36

Petro SA Board Asks For Business Rescue

The board of state-owned oil company PetroSA has asked its holding company, the Central Energy Fund (CEF), to place it under business rescue, raising questions over its status as a going concern. PetroSA has a projected loss of R2.2bn for the year to March 2017. This follows its record R14.6bn net operating loss in the 2014-15 financial year. Despite these losses, PetroSA paid out large performance bonuses to its executives at the end of 2016, linked to the Ikhewzi project, responsible for a near R15bn impairment in financial 2014-15

Source : https://goo.gl/3Co6f1

SAA Gets Court Order Against Strike

The Labour Court granted South African Airways (SAA) a final order against the South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) and its members. This was after the court had granted an interim order in favour of the airline on 26 April. The order interdicts Sacca and its members from embarking on industrial action and declares the industrial action an unprotected strike.

Source : https://goo.gl/sC23kh

ABInBev To Launch Budweiser In South Africa

Anheuser-Busch InBev plans to launch Budweiser in SA, it said in its March quarter results on Thursday morning. The group’s overall revenue grew 3.7% to $12.9bn from the matching quarter in 2016.

Source : https://goo.gl/0Leykf

Eskom Ready To Report On CEO Nepotism Scandal

Eskom has finalised the report on its investigation into allegations that a stepdaughter of acting chief executive Matshela Koko benefited from contracts worth at least R1 billionFollowing reports that Koketso Choma, Koko’s stepdaughter, had scored the contracts, there were also allegations that the board had proposed to pay Molefe R30 million after he was at the helm of the power utility for about 18 months.

Source : https://goo.gl/SjbPq9

Whatsapp Blackout Causes Havoc

WhatsApp experienced downtime around the world, leaving many users unable to send and receive messages over the app for over two hours. Africa, Europe, South America and the US experienced downtime with WhatsApp hashtags #WhatsAppDown and #WhatsAppisDown trending on the social network.

Source : https://goo.gl/hr3CFn

indicators : Oil 50.36 – Rand/USD 13.50 – Rand/GBP 17.36 – Rand/EUR 14.73

Joemat-Petersen Lies Exposed By Kubayi

The government has admitted for the first time that the secret disposal of 10.3-million barrels of SA’s strategic oil reserves by the Strategic Fuel Fund (SFF) in December 2015 had indeed been a sale and not a “rotation of stock”, as former energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson repeatedly had asserted to justify her approval of the deal. Newly appointed Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi apologised to MPs and Parliament on Tuesday for their having been misled about the nature of the transaction. This was after DA energy spokesman Gordon Mackay expressed concern that the energy portfolio committee had been misled.

Source : https://goo.gl/7qiwSZ

S.A May Appeal Court Ruling On Nuclear

South Africa’s government may appeal last week’s court judgment declaring a cooperation pact with Russia’s state-owned nuclear company Rosatom unlawful, the energy minister said on Tuesday. South Africa and Russia signed an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) in 2014 for cooperation between Rosatom and South African utility Eskom, which aims to build 9 600 MW of nuclear capacity to wean the African nation off coal.

Source : https://goo.gl/cTKcIb

McDonalds Accused Of Overcharging Franchisees

McDonald’s should be investigated for gouging franchisees on rents and deceiving them about how the amounts are calculated, a labour union said in letters to two state attorneys general. US franchisees paid the world’s biggest fast-food chain more than $3bn in rents last year, a rate of return on McDonald’s real-estate investments that’s as much as triple the industry average. McDonalds has denied the allegations.

Source : https://goo.gl/gDDkhG

MTN Releases Encouraging Revenue Numbers

MTN has released its quarterly update for the period ended 31 March 2017. The company stated that it currently serves approximately 237 million people in 22 countries across Africa and the Middle East. Group total revenue increased by 7.1%, with data revenues up 29.4% year-on-year. Data revenue contributed 20% to total revenue, said MTN.

Source : https://goo.gl/j0W4In

Look & Listen To Close Final Store

The Look & Listen at Hillfox Value Centre – the last one in South Africa – will soon close, marking the end of an era. Look & Listen was started nearly 50 years ago by Rob Ziegler. In February 2013, Look & Listen halted its online purchases, and in June 2014, the company was placed under business rescue.

Source : https://goo.gl/Rjzy4x

Indicators : Oil50.87 – Rand/USD 13.32 – Rand/GBP 17.16 – Rand/EUR 14.56

More Money Needed For Nkandla

Government is set to spend “millions” in taxpayers’ money on president Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead, according to a report by the Sunday Times. The Department of Public Works said that plans were in place to refurbish the property, repair “shoddy workmanship”, and address security concerns. While the assessment is not complete, the cost of additional upgrades and repairs could run into millions of rand.

Source : https://goo.gl/93Iv7s

PetroSA Board Told To Resign

Central Energy Fund (CEF) chairman Luvo Makasi has told the board of troubled state-owned oil company PetroSA to resign with immediate effect. Leadership and management instability have plagued CEF subsidiary PetroSA, which has suffered huge financial losses over the past three years. In a letter sent to the board at the end of March, Makasi said the CEF had been concerned for some time about the strategic direction, financial standing and management of PetroSA.

Source : https://goo.gl/WMuVx5

Cyril Ramaphosa Launches Presidential Bid

“Corruption must be rooted out” and anyone found guilty must be dealt with severely, Ramaphosa said at a memorial for the late ANC leader Chris Hani in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province. Allegations of families and people unduly influencing government appointments and contracts should be “of great concern” to the ANC, he said, adding that he supports a judicial commission of inquiry into charges of state capture.

Source : https://goo.gl/gLnXFY

Lynn Browne Blocks Brian Molefe Payout

The Sunday Times reported a fortnight ago that Molefe was due to get a R30.1-million golden handshake from Eskom. He told the newspaper that he was to be paid what was due to him but refused to give a figure. Brown said yesterday she could not support the payout because there was no justification for it. “I found the argument presented by the board lacking in legal rationale and it cannot be substantiated as a performance reward because Molefe has already been granted a performance bonus for his contribution to the turnaround of Eskom,” said Brown.

Source : https://goo.gl/xL5nZf

Net1 Denies Wrongdoing In Sassa Payments Saga

Net1 has come out with guns blazing in a bid to “set the record straight”, releasing a Sens announcement and links to 23 documents that it claims prove that accusations against the group have no merit. The documents, which include court rulings, relate to its controversial South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) contract to distribute social grants to 11-million recipients.

Source : https://goo.gl/MDbtPl

Venezuela Down To $10bn In The Bank

Venezuela only has $10 billion in reserves — the cash that’s intended to keep an economy stable and weather tough times. What’s worse: most of those reserves aren’t in hard cash. About $7 billion is in gold bars, which doesn’t make it easy to make payments. Venezuela has a lot of bills to pay soon. It owes $6 billion in debt payments for the rest of this year. There’s also no sign that the country’s lone source of revenue – oil exports – will be able to pay down those debts. Venezuela is running the risk of defaulting on its debt this year, meaning it wouldn’t be able to get more loans to pay for basics like food and medicine

Source : https://goo.gl/iIZHQC

Indicators : Oil 52.25 – Rand/USD 13.00 – Rand/GBP 16.59 – Rand/EUR 14.12