AFU Loses Case Over Gupta Assets

The Guptas and their associates scored a second court victory on Monday when the High Court in Bloemfontein freed assets such as luxury cars, aircraft and properties seized by the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU). The assets worth at least R250m were seized in April after the AFU obtained a provisional restraint order in relation to the Estina dairy farm matter.

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Reserve Bank Fines VBS And China Bank

The South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) said on Tuesday that it had imposed R77.5 million in administrative penalties to two banks for failing to comply with the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) Act and directed them to take remedial action to address the identified deficiencies. The China Construction Bank Corporation and the embattled VBS Mutual Bank were penalized for not identifying and verifying customers’ details, failing to report certain cash transactions above R24,999.99, not keeping records of customer identification, and inadequate controls pertaining to the reporting of suspicious and unusual transactions.

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160 Million Worth Of Unclaimed FNB Policies

FNB Life has identified over R160m worth of unclaimed policies on its books, it said in a statement on Tuesday. The bank has, therefore, started an initiative to proactively identify customers who have not submitted claims in the past. It wants to track down nominated beneficiaries, family members or the next of kin.

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White Sasol Workers Strike Over Share Scheme

Solidarity, a labor union that represents skilled, mainly white workers, registered a dispute with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, or CCMA, after Sasol introduced benefits that it said would exclude workers based on race. The CCMA ruled that workers at Sasol are allowed to strike over the exclusion of white staff from an employee-shareholding plan.

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Fiat Chrysler Recalls 5.3 Million Cars

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is recalling more than 5.3 million vehicles in North America over a defect that could prevent drivers from deactivating cruise control. The Italian-American carmaker said no injuries or crashes were related to the large recall campaign, but said it had one report of a US driver of a 2017 Dodge Journey rental car being unable to deactivate the cruise control. Fiat Chrysler, which in 2015 was hit with penalties from US regulators totalling $175million (R2.18billion) for safety lapses, did not say how much the recalls would cost.

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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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Auditor General Ban Sinks Nkonki

Audit firm Nkonki’s largest office has applied for voluntary liquidation, after the auditor-general’s decision to terminate its contracts with the company scuppered plans by executives to buy out disgraced majority shareholder Mitesh Patel. Nkonki Sunninghill, which employs 180 people, was left with no other option but to voluntarily wind up the company, the firm said in a statement on Monday afternoon issued via its lawyers, Nicqui Galaktiou Inc.

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Brian Molefe Fails To Repay Pension Payments

Anton van der Bijl, head of Solidarity’s Centre for Fair Labour Practices, told Business Day on Monday that Molefe had not adhered to their demand. Molefe’s legal team had only replied in an e-mail stating they would take instructions from him on the matter and get back to the union. But according to Van der Bijl, there has not been any further correspondence. Molefe had sought to have the high court overturn a January ruling by a full bench that ordered him to repay R11m in pension payments unlawfully paid to him by the Eskom Pension Fund.

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ANN7 Rebranded To Afro World View

Mzwanele Manyi, owner of Afrotone Media Holdings, said on Monday ANN7 would change its name to Afro Worldview on April 30. The New Age (TNA) newspaper would be rebranded as Afro Voice and its editorial policy would be in line with the press code. Gupta-owned Oakbay Investments announced in late 2017 its withdrawal from its media interests‚ selling its shareholding in Infinity Media (ANN7) and TNA to Lodidox and management for R450m. Oakbay Investments vendor-financed the deals, essentially lending Manyi the money to buy the businesses.

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Rand Slides Past R12.30 To Dollar

The rand continued its slide during the early hours of Tuesday, weakening to R12.37 to the dollar at about 2.30am before regaining some lost ground to trade at R12.33 at 7am. Reuters reported the dollar set a three-month high against a basket of currencies on Tuesday, having gained a boost as the US 10-year Treasury yield climbed toward the psychologically key 3% level.

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Treasury Working On New Procurement Laws

The bill which is currently with the chief state law advisor for certification aims to overcome the fragmentation in current procurement legislation. Once certified by the state law advisor the bill will be submitted to cabinet and once approved will be published for public comment. When enacted the Public Procurement Bill will repeal the PPPFA in its entirety. With an annual procurement budget of over R900bn, government can be a powerful instrument for achieving economic transformation.

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Manyi Repays Gupta’s In Full

Mzwanele (Jimmy) Manyi claims he has paid the Gupta family in full for ANN7 and The New Age newspaper. Manyi said in a statement released on Saturday that the original amount owed has been lowered after renegotiations. He said he made full settlement of what he still owed the Guptas. The Gupta’s Oakbay company had sold The New Age and ANN7 to Manyi for R450m.

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Construction Cartels Dealings Exposed

New testimony in the ongoing construction cartel prosecution case has revealed the day-to-day mechanics of rigging tenders on everything from hotels to the Lesotho Highlands Water Project and the Gautrain. A witness for the Competition Commission has even revealed how cartel members fought with each other because other members were trying to “rip out the guts” of the Gautrain by demanding an embarrassingly high cover price from other cartel members.

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Supra’s R1.5m Cattle Gift To Zuma

North West premier Supra Mahumapelo gave Jacob Zuma a herd of cattle worth R1.5-million as a gift – and paid for it using public funds. The cows, which should have gone to emerging farmers in the province, were delivered to Nkandla and signed for by Zuma himself. Now the Hawks are investigating the scandal, which could lead to charges of fraud and corruption against Mahumapelo and the former president. Zuma is already facing 16 charges, including fraud, racketeering and money laundering, stemming from the multibillion-rand arms deal.

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SAP In Software Double Billing Scandal

Software giant SAP and the Department of Water and Sanitation are involved in a “double billing” scandal where hundreds of millions were wasted. The City Press reported that the department purchased R950 million in “unlimited” SAP software licences for itself, all nine water boards, and the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA). This five-year deal was concluded despite the water boards and the TCTA having contracts with different software companies and paying their own licence, maintenance, and support fees.

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Grace Mugabe In Dangote Bribery Scandal

A cabinet minister asked Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, for a $5-million bribe on behalf of the Mugabe family. Robert Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao is said to have allegedly requested the bribe weeks after Dangote visited Zimbabwe in October 2015, the sources said. Zhuwao was the youth development and indigenisation minister at the time. It was allegedly contained in an e-mail from Zhuwao and informed Dangote that “as with all investors which come into Zimbabwe there was a need for him to secure his investments and grease elbows, and therefore a sum of $5-million is requested”.

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High Costs Force Private School Dropouts

South Africa’s top private schools have lost thousands of students over the last year due to rising school fees and other costs. According to a report by the Sunday Times, two of South Africa’s biggest private school chains, Curro and AdvTech, lost 3,881 pupils last year – mainly because parents could not afford to pay fees. In addition, both St John’s College in Parktown and St Stithians College in Sandton confirmed that they had seen a number of drop-outs as well as an increase in students who had fallen behind in school fees.

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Bus Strike Intensifies

The continued strike action comes as a result of failed wage negotiations between unions and employers over the course of a two-day meeting with the Commission of Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). Workers initially demanded a 12% increase and employers offered 7%. The workers have since rejected an offer of 8% for the first year, and 8.5% in the second year, instead proposing a 9.5% increase in the first year and 9% for the second.

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SA Banks Face Lawsuits Over Steinhoff

The Dutch Investors’ Association (VEB), which launched legal proceedings against Steinhoff International in January, has notified the three banks involved in Steinhoff’s Frankfurt listing that it is holding them liable for damages incurred by Steinhoff shareholders. The move by VEB stems from the role played by Absa, Barclays and Commerzbank in Steinhoff’s listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in November 2015.

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Shoprite And Checkers Will Offer Students 10% Discounts

Shoprite and Checkers announced that registered South African students can get 10% off at any Shoprite and Checkers stores starting next week Wednesday the 25th of April 2018. The student discount is valid for four days per month until the end of October, for all purchases up to a maximum of R1,500.

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Eskom Facing Coal Shortages

Seven Eskom power stations have coal stockpiles that are lower than the levels required‚ Parliament heard on Wednesday. Urgent authorisation had to be obtained from the Treasury to purchase more coal without having to go to tender‚ acting group executive for transmission Willie Majola told members of Parliament’s public enterprises committee. A recovery plan was in place and coal was also being moved from stations that had healthy stockpiles to stations that did not have sufficient stock.

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Andile Mazwai Resigns As Rebosis CEO

Rebosis Property Fund said on Wednesday its CEO, Andile Mazwai, had resigned and the firm would postpone the release of its interim financial results, sending shares down more than 10%. The company said in a statement its current Executive Deputy Chairman Sisa Ngebulana would be appointed as the interim CEO.

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Mark Lamberti Quits As Imperial CEO

Mark Lamberti has resigned as Imperial CEO‚ following an adverse judgment in the case brought by fired employee Adila Chowan‚ whom he called a “female employment equity candidate”. Imperial has promoted its chief financial officer‚ Osman Arbee‚ to succeed Lamberti as CEO on May 1.

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Audi And Porsche Raided Over Emissions Scandal

Porsche is the latest Volkswagen brand to be sucked into the ongoing diesel emissions cheating scandal that first erupted three years ago. German police and prosecutors raided a number of Audi and Porsche properties on Wednesday in search of documents as part of an investigation into two top Porsche executives and one former employee.

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Facebook Data Breach Affected 100,000 South Africans

Facebook has told SA’s information regulator that almost 100,000 people in the country were affected by its data leak — far more than estimated. Last week the information regulator said it would “proactively and voluntarily engage Facebook with regards to the alleged data breach”, and that it would ask the company to clarify the extent of the data leak and to state what corrective measures it was taking. This was after the personal information of about 87-million Facebook users – mostly in the US — was misused by Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy that obtained the data from a personality app.

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Cyrils Lions Go Investment Hunting

President Cyril Ramaphosa is hoping a revitalised relationship between business and the government would enable SA to raise $100bn worth of investment over five years. On Monday he announced the appointment of special investment envoys to work at convincing investors of SA’s potential. They are former finance minister Trevor Manuel, former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas and business representatives Jacko Maree and Phumzile Langeni.

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Molefe In Court To Fight Pension Repayment Order

The High Court in Pretoria is on Tuesday expected to hear arguments in the appeal application brought by former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe. Molefe wants the court to overturn a January ruling by the full bench of the court that ordered him to repay R11m in pension payments, which had been unlawfully paid to him by the Eskom Pension Fund.

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Gupta’s Saxonwald Compound Raided Again

The Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) has moved to seize cars, aircraft and properties worth at least R250m belonging to the Guptas and their associates, allegedly bought with looted state funds. Assets include the Guptas’ elusive Bombardier jet, which landed at Lanseria airport on Friday after Export Development Canada (EDC), the Canadian bank that financed it, went to court to have it grounded.

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VBS’s Audited Statements Withdrawn

In another blow to two of the country’s top four audit firms, the curator of Venda Building Society Mutual Bank, Anoosh Rooplal, has announced the withdrawal of the bank’s 2017 audited financial statements. PwC was the internal auditor and KPMG the external auditor for the 2017 financial statements. Rooplal said the financial statements were withdrawn because “they contain material misstatements and are no longer considered to be reliable”.

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41c Hike Expected In May Petrol Price

On the current data, petrol is set for a rise of 41 cents a litre, diesel 48 cents, and illuminating paraffin 38 cents. In all of these increases, the movement in the exchange rate accounts for just four cents of the rise. Petroleum prices were largely flat in the first week of April, but spiked sharply as tensions escalated in Syria. The Middle East lies near many of the world’s key oil producers, and petroleum prices have historically been sensitive to instability in the region.

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Musks Boring Company Gets Hyperloop Funding

Elon Musk’s Boring Co. raised $113 million in equity to dig tunnels and develop a high-speed transportation system known as the hyperloop. The startup disclosed the investment in a U.S. securities filing on Monday. The financing round included 31 unnamed investors, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission document. More than 90 percent of financing came from Musk, and the rest from early employees, the Boring Co. said, adding that no venture capitalists or outside investors participated.

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Possible Criminal Record For Not Declaring Taxes

Taxpayers who do not submit their tax returns will end up with a criminal record, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) said on Monday. In its statement, the revenue service said it had embarked on a new initiative with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to prosecute non-compliant taxpayers, including prominent South Africans, who have failed to submit returns.

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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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