Zuma’s Lawyer In Sassa Grants Saga

it emerged in the Sunday papers that President Jacob Zuma’s special adviser played a key role in ensuring that Cash Paymaster Services would keep the lucrative contract to deliver more than 17 million social grants to recipients. Michael Hulley’s intervention coincided with Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini flatly rejecting any payment option that did not involve CPS, raising questions about why the minister was so intent on retaining the company.

Source : https://goo.gl/3FPu8Z

ANC Contradicts Zuma On Land Reform Method

The ANC says the state should pay fair compensation for land it acquires for distribution to the country’s black majority, contradicting a suggestion by President Jacob Zuma that the constitution should be changed to allow for free expropriation. The party said it needs to focus more intently on the “radical economic and social transformation of our country” to ensure its wealth is more evenly distributed and that it must act urgently to restore its moral character to win back public trust.

Source : https://goo.gl/VJpMbg

Popo Molefe And Prasa Board Take Minister To Court

Members of the former board of the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) are lodging an urgent application in the High Court on Monday to reverse their removal by Transport Minister Dipuo Peters and to interdict her from appointing a new board.

Source : https://goo.gl/0HHTv0

Unions Join Up To Protest Eskom Power Station Closures

Rival unions are reaching out to each other to unite against Eskom’s decision to close five coal power stations within five years. National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) general secretary Irvin Jim said he wants to engage with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on this issue. Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe told Fin24 last week that at least two units of Komati power station have already been shut down to create space for the renewable energy projects.

Source : https://goo.gl/YxJgS1

Bitcoin Price Plunges After SEC Decision

The price of bitcoin plunged from record highs Friday after the Securities and Exchange Commission denied a request for the first bitcoin exchange-traded fund, which could have prompted greater investment in the digital currency.

Source : https://goo.gl/GmuZXo

Elon Musk Offers To Fix Australia Energy Crisis

Elon Musk has promised to solve an energy crisis in Australia within 100 days, or provide the technology for free. Musk was responding to a challenge from billionaire entrepreneur Mike Cannon-Brookes, who wanted to know whether the company was serious in claiming that it could end blackouts in South Australia quickly. Tesla has offered to provide 100 megawatt hours of battery storage at a total cost of $25 million which should supplement the current grid and prevent cuts.

Source : https://goo.gl/NRUcXJ

Indicators : Oil 51.42 – Rand/USD 13.12 – Rand/GBP 16.00 – Rand/EUR 14.00

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Cosatu Officialy Accept Minimum Wage

South Africa’s main labor union federation accepted a government-proposed minimum wage of about 3,500 rand ($268) a month. While Cosatu favored a minimum monthly salary of 4,500 rand a month, the government’s proposal “is still a significant starting base towards a living wage,”. The government said businesses that aren’t able to afford the minimum wage for a 40-hour week will be able to apply for an exemption. Africa’s most-industrialized economy, which has an unemployment rate of almost 27 percent, has 6.6 million people earning less than 3,500 rand monthly

Source : https://goo.gl/s0ysIJ

Bank Of Baroda Closes Gupta Accounts

Bank of Baroda is set to close the Gupta family’s bank accounts by the end of March following pressure from its parent company in India. Between February and September 2016, First National Bank, Absa, Standard Bank and Nedbank closed the bank accounts of the Gupta family and their companies. The Bank of China followed suit.

Source : https://goo.gl/2YOY7Z

Country Bird To Close Local Abattoir 

Country Bird, South Africa’s third-largest chicken producer, is to close one of its three abattoirs as the local industry struggles to compete with cheap European imports, which it argues amount to dumping. South African farmers and labour unions say the EU is selling chicken legs, thighs and wings at below cost, pushing the local industry to the brink of collapse.

Source : https://goo.gl/u9r9sk

Standard Bank Denies Wrongdoing In Forex Collusion

Standard Bank’s CEO, Sim Tshabalala, says the bank is not setting aside any cash for a potential Competition Tribunal fine for alleged collusion by its currency traders as internal investigations have not revealed any wrongdoing. The investigation by the Competition Commission, which sought to prosecute 18 global and local banks for collusion among their currency traders to fix prices on rand to dollar trades, related to three people, he said. “We employ 55,000 people.”

Source : https://goo.gl/2voA7f

AB InBev Bosses Forfeit Bonuses

Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) has canned bonuses for most of its executive board because of the disappointing 2016 financial results. The move is expected to affect swathes of executives in the group which, after last year’s $103bn acquisition of SABMiller, now controls just more than 25% of the global beer market. South African executives will not be affected as the old SABMiller scheme will apply to them for the year.

Source : https://goo.gl/nk0zEm

Indicators : Oil 55.34 – Rand/USD 13.12 – Rand/GBP 16.01 – Rand/EUR 13.80

Cosatu Derails MinWage Agreement

Cosatu took its Nedlac counterparts by surprise on Tuesday, putting the brakes on a minimum wage deal that everyone thought was in the bag. The signing-in ceremony for the minimum wage deal that was due to take place on Tuesday had to be postponed indefinitely when it emerged that Cosatu was still not happy with the package. However Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has already signed the deal according to secretary of the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) Dennis George as saying it was a done deal.

Cell C Downgraded To Junk Status

S&P Global says Cell C missed interest payments and has been given the “d” rating for defaulting. The company has been working with Blue Label Telecoms to reduce its debt. This includes a planned 45% acquisition of Cell C by Blue Label. However, apart from the downgrade, S&P Global says it notes that Cell C has not sought bankruptcy protection and expects that it will continue to operate and meet its payroll and supplier obligations.

MTN Shares Drop And It Expects Full Year Loss

MTN’s share price lost nearly 7% to R110 on Wednesday morning after it warned shareholders it expected to report a basic and headline loss per share for the year to end-December. It said the loss was mainly due to the fine it received in Nigeria for failing to identify subscribers. The fine will drag its basic and headline earnings per share down by about R4.74.

SABC Loses Appeal To Bring Hlaudi Back

The SABC’s attempts to get Hlaudi Motsoeneng back have been dealt a blow after the Western Cape High Court dismissed the appeal application on Tuesday. The SABC had appealed the removal of Motsoeneng from the SABC and the matter was argued in the High Court last week.

Ngubane Denies Hiding Eskom Report

Eskom chairperson Ben Ngubane says he is not deliberately hiding anything which is of public interest regarding the report by law firm Dentons. Dentons had been was appointed to look into the state of affairs at Eskom in 2008 when the country suffered from a blackout costing the economy billions of rands.

Currencies And Stuff

Oil 54.77 – Rand/USD 13.51 – Rand/GBP 16.85 – Rand/EUR 14.40