Another Petrol Price Jump In May

Unexpectedly strong international fuel prices have raised the likelihood of an unwelcome fuel price hike for petrol users in May. he figures suggests that petrol may increase by 56c a litre in May,  while diesel is showing a reduction of 5c and illuminating paraffin is down by a cent. If the increases take place it  will be the third successive increase in fuel prices in 2019.

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Govt To Regulate Air BnB Over Tourism Concerns

Government will regulate Airbnb and other home-sharing apps in South Africa, amid growing concerns that they are damaging to the tourism sector. The amendment will also allow the minister to specify ‘thresholds’ when it comes to Airbnbs in South Africa. This could include limits on the number of nights that a guest can stay or even how much income an Airbnb earns

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CompCom Investigates Spar Group

Spar is being investigated by the Competition Commission after it allegedly removed certain brands of locally-produced cigarettes from its shelves. Sunday Times makes reference to two internal emails from a senior manager stating the retailer shouldn’t stock certain brands, citing an Ipsos study. The cigarettes are from the Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association, or Fita. The study, commissioned by rival industry body the Tobacco Institute of Southern Africa (Tisa), found certain brands were being sold at below the excise tax threshold.

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Middle Class SA Drowning In Debt

South Africa’s middle-income consumers spend an average of 25% of their take-home monthly income to pay interest accumulated on debt. This was the major finding in a new analysis of FNB retail banking customers who earn between R7,000 and R60,000 per month. FNB said that its data paints a picture of households that are heavily reliant on unsecured debt to get through each month.

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Notre Dame Cathedral Partially Destroyed In Fire

Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral has been saved from “total destruction,” according to a French fire official, after a massive fire ripped through the structure on Monday and caused the roof and main spire to collapse. The blaze burned for eight hours, but has now been largely extinguished, according to firefighters. One official was quoted as saying the two iconic rectangular towers have been saved, which will come a relief after one of the towers caught fire earlier in the evening. Earlier, a French Interior Ministry official had said that firefighters might not be able to save the cathedral.

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Black Asset Management Company Coming

Former Liberty chief Thabo Dloti is set to shake up asset management game. Sithega has finalised its R360m purchase for a 75% controlling stake in Prescient Empowerment Trust to form a majority black-owned asset management company.

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Former VW CEO Charged With Fraud

German prosecutors have charged former Volkswagen chief executive Martin Winterkorn with fraud over diesel emissions. Prosecutors in Braunschweig announced Monday that Winterkorn was one of five people indicted in a case related to the automaker’s diesel emissions-cheating scandal. Winterkorn has been accused of a particularly serious fraud, according to a statement from prosecutors. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

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Currencies : Rand/USD 14.08 – Rand/GBP 18.42 – Rand/EUR 15.91

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R750m For Ministers Homes & Buildings

The Sunday Times reported that the government is planning to spend R750 million to “spruce up” ministerial houses and other government buildings. According to the report, Public works minister Thulas Nexi revealed the plan, which includes: R5 million for new carpets for the Union buildings. R1 million for alterations to a kitchen and bathroom in a ministerial home. R29 million on gates and a dog house.

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Facebook, Insta and Whatsapp All Go Down

Facebook Inc suffered its third major outage this year, with users across the world unable to access the social network or its suite of services such as Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. Facebook and Instagram were inaccessible on Sunday morning for several hours with both sites refusing to refresh, while messages were unable to be sent or received in WhatsApp or the Messenger app.

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Air BnB Killing Tourism In South Africa

Major entiities in the hospitality industry in South Africa have called for government to step in an regulate Airbnb, according to a City Press report. Airbnb has seen impressive growth in South Africa, and local hotels are concerned that the unregistered accommodation establishments listed on the platform are taking away business from established bed-and-breakfasts and hotels. The Federated Hospitality Association of SA (Fedhasa) called for government to crack down on Airbnb, and smaller organisations have echoed this call.

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Disney To Launch Streaming Service

Disney just showed everyone how it plans to beat Netflix: Create an exclusive home for some of the world’s most popular movies, shows and characters, and charge a shockingly low price for it. The company on Thursday unveiled its long-awaited streaming service, Disney+. It will cost just $6.99 per month — about half the price of a standard Netflix subscription.

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SABC COO Found Guilty

SABC chief operating officer Chris Maroleng has been found guilty on three charges following a disciplinary enquiry initiated late last year, City Press reports. Maroleng faced an enquiry into charges of gross negligence and breaching fiduciary duty, which the report stated could lead to his dismissal.

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Currencies : Rand/USD 13.96 – Rand/GBP 18.28 – Rand/EUR 15.79

IMF Cuts SA’s Growth Forecast

The International Monetary Fund has lowered its growth forecasts for South Africa from 1.5% to 1.3% for 2019. “Growth in South Africa is expected to marginally improve from 0.8% in 2018 to 1.2% in 2019 and 1.5% in 2020, a 0.2 percentage point downward revision for both years relative to the October projections,” the group said in its April report.

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Oil Prices Soaring On Global Turmoil

enezuela is in chaos. Iran is grappling with US sanctions. And now there’s a surge of violence in Libya. Trouble in these three OPEC nations has helped send US oil prices climbing back above $64 a barrel. The latest OPEC turmoil amplifies the supply constraints imposed by the cartel’s kingpin. Saudi Arabia has slashed production as well as exports to the United States in a bid to engineer higher prices and balance its budget.

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Zim Farmers Compensation Package

Former white commercial farmers in Zimbabwe who had their land expropriated under the fast track land reform programme in the early 2000’s have accepted government’s offer of an interim payment of RTGS$53m (R238m at current exchange rates). In 2000 Zimbabwe expropriated land from white commercial farmers without compensation and distributed it to landless black people and the connected elite, who now own multiple farms.

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Trump Threatens New Tariffs

The International Monetary Fund trimmed its 2019 global growth forecast to 3.3% from 3.5%, citing downside risks associated with Brexit, yawning trade talks and other factors. On the trade front, Trump vowed to impose tariffs on $11bn of European goods following in retaliation for subsidies received by aircraft maker Airbus. Upcoming trading catalysts include a key Brexit summit on Wednesday and the kickoff of first-quarter earnings season with Friday’s release of results from JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo.

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Uber Seeks $10 Billion IPO

The global ride-hailing company will kick off a road show this month and would begin trading publicly in May, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Uber is seeking to raise about $10 billion, one of the people said. The offering is expected to be the largest IPO this year and among the 10 largest of all time.

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Teacher Absenteeism Hampers Education

The Department of Basic Education has published its latest School Monitoring Survey, showing where the country’s schools are improving and also where things are getting worse. Teachers remain a problem, with teacher absenteeism increasing. As many as one in 10 teachers are AWOL on any given day – this despite vacancies filling up. According to the survey results, cases of teacher absenteeism have increased from under 8% in 2011, to over 10% in 2017/18.

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BMW Shares Fall Over Emissions Scandal

BMW shares fell after the luxury carmaker warned of a probable first-quarter charge exceeding 1billion (R15.87bn) related to an EU investigation into alleged collusion by German automakers to delay the rollout of cleaner-emission cars. The stock dropped as much as 2percent yesterday, the most in two weeks, after the Munich-based manufacturer said on Friday that the provision would weigh on first-quarter results and reduce its automotive profit margin this year to as low as 4.5%.

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Currencies : Rand/USD 14.08 – Rand/GBP 18.40 – Rand/EUR 15.86

Volkswagen Ordered To Refund Customer Fees

The National Consumer Tribunal has ordered Volkswagen Financial Services to stop charging customers for ‘on-the-road fees’ and pay back added fees it has already charged. This follows a 2017 judgement by the National Credit Regulator (NCR) which found that the fee is not permitted to be charged on credit agreements by the National Credit Act.

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New Drunk Driving System Launches Over Easter

The minister of Transport, Blade Nzimande, launched the 2019 Easter road safety campaign on Monday (8 April) at an event in KwaZulu-Natal. As part of the launch, Nzimande demonstrated the new Evidential Breathalyser Alcohol Test (EBAT) system which will begin being implemented on the country’s roads. The system aims to combat drunk driving by providing immediate, accurate information on a driver’s intoxication level.

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VW Invests In Black Supplier Development

R70.9-million of the R86-million invested by Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) in the Volkswagen Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Initiatives Trust has been committed to the development of black-owned component suppliers. The aim of the trust is to increase the number of quality black-owned suppliers in the automotive sector value chain by providing financial assistance and non-financial assistance, such as business development growth and access to markets through supplier development relationships. The advice and support provided by the trust is offered to qualifying black-owned suppliers, as well as white-owned suppliers that are interested in becoming black-owned.

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R341m Budgeted To Prevent Vaal River Pollution

Department of Water and Sanitation has set aside R341-million for the resuscitation of all wastewater treatment infrastructure in the Vaal Triangle. The aim of the project is to prevent further pollution in the Vaal River. Water Affairs Minister Gugile Nkwinti announced on Friday that the East Rand Water Care Company (ERWAT), will ensure that all wastewater treatment infrastructure is resuscitated to an operational state and that pollution in the Vaal River is stopped.

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FNB Launches In App Shopping

FNB has launched new functionality in its mobile banking app which allows users to shop from within the banking application. Clients can now browse the eBucks Shop from the banking app – which FNB said is a first in South Africa. Customers can also make purchases from the eBucks Shop in the app using FNB Pay, allowing them to pre-load debit and cheque cards for payment.

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Jaguar Landrover Begins Plant Shutdowns Over Brexit

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) shuts its UK plants on Monday for five days over Brexit, adding to other shutdowns to leave at least half the country’s car production off-line in what could be a pivotal week for Britain’s divorce from the EU. Automotive firms face a number of possible risks under a disorderly Brexit, including delays to the supply of ports and finished models, new customs bureaucracy, the need to recertify models and an up to 10 percent tariff on finished vehicles.

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Currencies : Rand/USD 14.14 – Rand/GBP 18.50 – Rand/EUR 15.92

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Shocking Revelations From PIC Inquiry

Evidence heard so far from past and present employees has painted a bleak picture of the quality of PIC’s internal governance standards. It has also shone a light on claims of undue influence wielded by the asset manager’s former head, Dan Matjila.Two senior PIC executives were suspended in the first week of the inquiry – the group’s Head of Listed Investments, Fidelis Madavo and its Assistant Portfolio Manager, Victor Seanie. The pair learnt of their suspensions on the morning of the same day that Madavo testified. They were suspended following a probe of their roles in the PIC’s R4.3bn investment in AYO Technology Solutions in 2017. AYO is linked to businessman Survé. Survé has denied there was anything wrong with the deal.

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Boeing Admits Fault Caused Crashes

Boeing has admitted a key sensor malfunctioned on an Ethiopian Airlines flight which crashed, killing all 157 people on board. An investigation found the pilots complied with procedure but “were not able to control” Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 after it nosedived on March 10.

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Facebook To Be Fined For Terrorist Content

Technology firms including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter face “substantial” fines or a U.K. ban under a new law if they don’t act swiftly enough to remove content that encourages terrorism and child sexual exploitation and abuse. The companies’ directors could also be held personally liable if illegal content is not taken down within a short and pre-determined time-frame, the Home Office said. The exact level of fines will be examined during a 12 week consultation following the legislation’s launch on Monday. The spread of fake news and interference in elections will also be tackled.

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Eskom Power Situation Set To Get A Lot Worse

An electricity-supply crisis is looming in South Africa that could make intermittent outages in the past few months seem trivial by comparison. Eskom, which supplies almost all the nation’s power, will lose more than a quarter of its current generating capacity over the next decade as it shuts ageing coal-fired plants. Replacing that output and adding capacity needed to meet rising demand will take years and cost more than R1 trillion, according to government estimates. The problem is likely to worsen exponentially after 2030 as more plants reach retirement age.

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Zimbabwe To Compensate White Farmers After Land Grabs

Zimbabwe plans to complete land valuations by the end of May to determine the level of compensation to be paid to former white commercial farmers who lost their properties during the government’s land reform programme. “Given the significant progress made to date, it is anticipated that that this comprehensive farm improvements valuation exercise will be completed by end of May,” the government said in a statement on Sunday.

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Currencies : Rand/USD 14.17 – Rand/GBP 18.52 – Rand/EUR 15.91

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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Currencies: Bcoin R114,753 . Ether R8,158 . R/USD12.45 . R/GBP17.35 . R/EUR15.16