Bitcoin Down 30% In Four Days

The price of bitcoin fell to less than $13,080 on Friday morning, according to CoinDesk.com. That makes an 18-percent drop since its previous slide, and more than 30 percent since it reached the historic $20,000 mark last week. The cryptocurrency has experienced its second major drop in just days. Rival bitcoin cash has also fallen, plunging to $2,536 per coin, following its rapid climb of more than 50 percent to almost $4,330 per token on December 20.

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Shoprite Employees On Nationwide Strike

More than 30‚000 workers are expected to take part in the protected strike on Friday‚ according to the South African Commercial‚ Catering and Allied Workers’ Union (Saccawu) and union federation Cosatu. The workers are demanding a reversal of changes to working hours‚ the reinstatement of Sandton Checkers employees who were dismissed for protesting against the changes‚ safe transport for night-shift staff and a guaranteed number of minimum working hours for part-time workers.

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Facebook Signs Landmark Deal With Universal Music

Facebook Inc. signed a multiyear licensing deal that lets the social network carry songs and artists from the world’s biggest record label, Universal Music Group, across its platforms. The deal announced Thursday solves a long-running dispute, with Facebook agreeing to compensate the company and artists including Taylor Swift when users post videos that include copyrighted material. The accord includes Facebook, Instagram and Oculus virtual-reality technology, with Universal saying the company would become a “significant contributor” to the industry.

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British American Tobacco To Buy Twisp

British American Tobacco, the world’s second-largest traded cigarette maker, agreed to buy South African vaping company Twisp, expanding in a continent where it has grown in since buying Rothmans in 1999. The deal increases BAT’s offering of so-called next-generation products, or alternatives to smoking cigarettes, the London-based company said in a statement on Thursday. It didn’t disclose the price of the deal or how it’s being funded.

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Canada Cancels Gupta Jet Loan

Canada’s trade financing agency Export Development Canada (EDC) said on Thursday it has scrapped a deal to help finance the sale of a Bombardier Inc jet to the wealthy Gupta family. The Guptas failed to meet loan repayment obligations in recent weeks and, with the EDC assessing a “political exposure” risk, it terminated the loan which allowed Canada’s Bombardier to sell a Global 6000 jet to them.

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Currencies: Bitcoin R190,339. R9,645 . R/USD12.72 . R/GBP17.04 . R/EUR15.14

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ANC Shifts Policy On Land And SARB

The ANC has adopted a resolution calling for the nationalisation of the central bank and land expropriation without compensation. Party delegates also agreed that Treasury must develop a wealth tax that may be in the form of a land tax in an effort to promote equity and raise the revenue in the state coffers.

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30000 Shoprite Employees To Go On Strike

Pre-Christmas shopping may be disrupted on Friday when supermarket workers down tools. The South African Commercial‚ Catering and Allied Workers Union and Congress of South African Trade Unions have announced a planned one-day nationwide strike by Saccawu members at Shoprite Checkers on Friday 22 December 2017.

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Investors Sue Steinhoff In Germany

The case against the owner of Mattress Firm in the U.S. and Conforama in France was filed in Frankfurt district court, TILP law firm said in a statement on Wednesday. Investors are seeking to recover funds after the South African company reported accounting irregularities, causing the stock to slump about 90 percent over two weeks. The class-action-style lawsuit, filed Tuesday, is likely to be the first of many similar cases filed by investors angry over their losses. Innsworth Litigation Funding, a London-based unit of Paul Singer’s Elliott Management Corp., has begun building a case against Steinhoff and is seeking shareholder clients willing to sue, it said last week.

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ABSA Wants Jooste Company Liquidated

Absa Bank has applied for the liquidation of former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste’s Mayfair Speculators, the company that, until this week owned South Africa’s best racehorse, Legal Eagle, as well as hundreds of other racehorses, a property portfolio and a chunk of Steinhoff shares. Absa has also demanded an investigation into a suspicious transaction that saw Mayfair move R1.5 billion of assets to its holding company in August this year.

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Nedbank CEO’s Open Letter To Ramaphosa

CEO Mike Brown has thrown his full weight behind ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa. Brown said in an open letter to Ramaphosa that his team was looking forward to engaging with him and addressing the pressing needs the country is facing.

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Distell To Sell Bisquit Brand

Distell has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its cognac business, Bisquit Dubouche et Cie to Italian branded beverage company Campari Group for an enterprise value of 2.5 million, or R800-million. The disposal is expected to close during the first quarter of 2018.

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Currencies: Bitcoin R264,999 . Ether R12,683 . R/USD12.75 . R/GBP16.99 . R/EUR15.12

 

Ramaphosa Wins ANC Presidency Race

Ramaphosa’s victory was announced at the ANC’s elective conference in Gauteng after he nosed ahead of his opponent‚ Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Ramaphosa received 2‚440 votes and Dlamini-Zuma got 2‚261. Gwede Mantashe is the new national chairperson and Paul Mashatile the new treasurer general. Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza was elected deputy president‚ Ace Magashule is the incoming secretary general and Jessie Duarte retained her position as deputy secretary general.

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Rand Rallies On Ramaphosa Win

The rand cheered as the ANC announced the new president of the politic party following the election process that kicked of on Saturday (16 December 2017). The rand firmed 2% on Friday as the ANC prepared to elect its new leader. At 10am on Monday, the rand was trading at R13.09 against the dollar and shortly after the announcement; the rand firmed to R12.59 against the US dollar.
DA Files Criminal Charges Against Koko

DA) says it has filed criminal charges against the reinstated acting Eskom CEO Matshela Koko following what it calls the sham of a disciplinary hearing. Koko was found not guilty of all charges relating to misconduct during disciplinary procedures which led to his reinstatement.

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Biggest IPO In History 

The markets are awaiting what is expected to be the biggest public offering in history. An IPO so big it will likely make any Silicon Valley unicorn look like a blip in the market. The Saudi’s plan is to offer up to 5% of Aramco in the flotation at a currently predicted price of $100 billion. This would give Aramco a valuation of $2 trillion, making it the largest IPO ever. Initially, the sale was expected to take place in early 2018, but the anticipated date is now late 2018 or early 2019.

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Micro Insurance Closer To Reality

The long-awaited Insurance Bill was among a number of pieces of legislation passed by the National Council of Provinces at its final scheduled plenary sitting for 2017 last week – good news for lower-income South Africans, because it brings access to micro-insurance one step closer.

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New Minimum Wage For Domestic Workers

The department of labour has released the sectoral determination for domestic workers, showing the new minimum wages for domestics across South Africa – at least until the national minimum wage comes into effect. According to the latest determination, domestic workers must get paid a minimum of R1,641 up to R2,545, depending on which area you live in. This is a 5% increase from 2017’s rates.

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Currencies: R305,693. Ether R13,552. R/USD12.78 . R/GBP17.08 . R/EUR15.08

Still No Result At ANC Conference

Glitches with registration at University of Johannesburg’s Soweto campus became one of the reasons the African National Congress (ANC)’s 54th elective conference began late this weekend, with delegates from the North West questioning how fairly they will be represented during the votes at Nasrec. Some delegates were unable to get their accreditation at the weekend, claiming that bogus members were put on the list to represent their regions.

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6.7 Million On 200 Bullet Proof Vests

The South African Police Service has purchased “what could be the most expensive bulletproof vests in the world”. This is according to a report in the Sunday Times, which stated that R6.7 million was spent on 200 hi-tech lightweight vests for ballistics testing. A further order for R33 million from Indian manufacturer MKU is potentially in the works, stated the report. The Sunday Times said the SAPS paid R33,402 per vest, of which “a significant slice” went to a Durban businessman who acted as a middleman.

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Zuma Announces Free Higher Education

President Jacob Zuma has announced that government will subsidise free higher education for poor and working class students. He said in a statement on Saturday that the definition of poor and working class students will now refer to “currently enrolled TVET Colleges or university students from South African households with a combined annual income of up to R350 000” by the 2018 academic year.

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Nersa Grants Eskom 5.23% Tariff Increase

The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) has granted power parastatal Eskom an average percentage price increase of 5.23% for the 2018/19 financial year.

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FSB May Review Wiese Share Sale

Life became even tougher for Christo Wiese at the weekend when it emerged that the forced sale of 98.5-million of his Steinhoff shares is likely to be reviewed by the Financial Services Board (FSB) to determine if it contravenes insider-trading regulations.

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Slight Decrease In Petrol Price Expected

Slight decreases in the fuel price are being predicted on mixed news from the currency markets and international oil trade, the Automobile Association said on Friday. The AA was commenting on unaudited mid-month fuel price data released by the Central Energy Fund (CEF), which showed that the price both grades of petrol declining marginally in January.

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Deloitte To Be Investigated For Steinhoff Audits

Deloitte South Africa is set to be probed for its role as Steinhoff International’s auditor, City Press reported. It comes after rival firm and fellow Big Four auditing unit, KPMG, came under scrutiny for its role in state capture. KPMG was accused of aiding state capture by facilitating or ‘turning a blind eye’ to alleged money laundering by Gupta-linked companies.

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Bitcoin Futures Launches On CME

The world’s biggest exchange just joined the bitcoin revolution. Bitcoin futures started trading Sunday night at CME Group Inc.’s venue, a week after Chicago rival Cboe Global Markets Inc. introduced similar derivatives on the volatile cryptocurrency. CME is a much bigger player in futures, so many traders expect it to make a bigger splash in the nascent space.

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Currencies: Bitcoin R305,999 . Ether R11,520 . R/USD13.08 . R/GBP17.41 . R/EUR15.38

Christo Weise Resigns As Steinhoff Chair

Steinhoff International chairman and largest shareholder, billionaire Christo Wiese, is stepping down from the supervisory board following the accounting scandal that has engulfed the retail giant. The board accepted Wiese’s resignation to resolve questions of conflict of interest, the owner of furniture chains such as Mattress Firm in the US and Conforama in France said in a filing on Thursday. Heather Sonn, a member of the board and its independent subcommittee, will take the role of acting chairwoman.

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DA Suspends De Lille

The federal executive of the DA has decided to suspend City of Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille from party activities pending the outcome of ongoing investigations into a series of reports and an affidavit containing allegations of maladministration in the city, also asking her to give reasons why she shouldn’t resign as mayor. This comes after the conclusion of an investigation of the allegations by a subcommittee.

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Lungisa Fezile Appointed Standard Bank CEO

Standard Bank has appointed Lungisa Fuzile as CEO for its South African unit. A former director-general within the Treasury, Fuzile will take over from Sim Tshabalala, who has served in the role since 2008. “This appointment follows the recent changes to the group’s executive structure, which resulted in the disbanding of the joint group CEO construct,” Standard Bank Group said in a statement. Ben Kruger stepped down as joint CEO of Standard Bank Group in September, leaving Tshabalala as the sole head of Africa’s biggest bank by assets.

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Zuma, Ministers And Guptas Sued Over Eskom

The Helen Suzman Foundation and Sygnia Asset Management CEO Magda Wierzycka have approached the courts to deal with the capture of Eskom. According to an affidavit filed at the North Gauteng High Court on Thursday, the foundation and Wierzycka want the courts to set upside the “series of unlawful, improper and corrupt” exercises of public power, and to recover all the proceeds lost in order to benefit the fiscus. The application has been brought against 73 respondents including Eskom itself, President Jacob Zuma, Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba, Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, Eskom executives including Anoj Singh and Brian Molefe and former Oakbay CEO Nazeem Howa and Oakbay’s Ronica Ragavan, and both Ajay and Atul Gupta.

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University Fee Increase Capped At 8%

Universities South Africa says it’s decided to cap fees at 8% for the 2018 academic year. Last month President Jacob Zuma released the findings of the Heher Commission, which was tasked with investigating the feasibility of free higher education in South Africa.

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Govt Plans To Raise R4bn From Telkom Share Sale

South Africa is reportedly seeking to raise as much as 4 billion rand ($297 million) from the sale of part of its 39 percent stake in Telkom SA SOC Ltd. to raise funds for the country’s unprofitable state airline and post office

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Currencies: Bitcoin R263,370. Ether R9,843. R/USD13.50 . R/GBP18.10 . R/EUR15.90

Australia Exchange To Use Blockchain

Australia’s main stock exchange has said it will use blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrency bitcoin, to process its equities transactions in a shift touted as a world-first for a major financial institution. The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), the eighth-largest share market in the world, will replace its current system Chess with the distributed ledger technology to manage the clearing and settlement for buying and selling stocks. ASX chief executive Dominic Stevens said the move “will put Australia at the forefront of innovation in financial markets”, in a statement.

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Matsela Koko Wants His Job Back

Suspended Eskom executive Matshela Koko yesterday claimed the power utility had failed to prove wrongdoing against him and wants to be reinstated to his old job immediately. In his closing submission to the chairperson of the disciplinary hearing Mzungulu Mthombeni, Koko said Eskom had dismally failed to establish a strong case on any of the six charges he faced.

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California Fires Cause Billions Of Damage

Wildfires in California have caused insured losses of more than $3.3 billion, based on claims reported by 15 insurers, and the figure will rise. The number includes claims for 10,016 partial residential losses, 4,712 total residential losses, 728 commercial property losses, and 3,200 personal auto losses. California is the largest U.S. insurance market, where insurers collect about $289 billion in premiums per year. The $3.3 billion total is more than three times the $1.05 billion preliminary estimate. It’s also more than an estimate of $2 billion to $3 billion made last week by Boston-based AIR Worldwide.

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Russia Signs $30bn Nuclear Deal With Egypt

Egypt and Russia have signed a $30bn deal to build North Africa’s first nuclear power plant as the Kremlin moves to expand its influence in the region. The project increases Russia’s economic presence and political influence in the Middle East, already on the rise since Putin intervened in Syria’s war in 2015 and began a more active role in Libya, conflicts where he and El-Sisi see eye to eye. The Cairo visit comes less than two weeks after the countries said they were in talks to use each other’s military air bases.

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Russian Hackers Steal $10 Million From US Banks

A previously unknown ring of Russian-language hackers has stolen as much as $10 million from U.S. and Russian banks in the last 18 months, according to a Moscow-based cyber-security firm that runs the largest computer forensics laboratory in eastern Europe. The MoneyTaker group broke into 20 systems, which includes 15 U.S. lenders, targeting ATMs with “mules” and Russia’s interbank money-transfer system

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Blue Label Telecom’s Acquisition Of 3g Approved

Blue Label has completed its acquisition of 3G Mobile through its subsidiary The Prepaid Company. Blue Label successfully completed the initial acquisition of 47.37% of the issued share capital of 3G Mobile for R900 million in August. It has now received permission to acquire the remaining 52.63% of the issued share capital of 3G Mobile for R1 billion.

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Currencies: Bitcoin RR245,478 . Ether R7,664 . R/USD13.64 . R/GBP18.16 . R/EUR16.05

 

 SASSA And Post Office Sign Deal

The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) and the South African Post Office (Sapo) have signed an agreement to ensure social grant beneficiaries continue to receive their payments after Sassa’s contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) ends on March 31, government announced on Sunday. The cost of the five-year plan, will be within the government’s current budget, if not cheaper, according to Sapo CEO Mark Barnes. It entails a hybrid payment model that will provide SA’s 17-million social grant beneficiaries with the choice of four payment channels: Sapo’s Postbank, commercial bank accounts, merchants in large retail shops, or a “second tier” of merchants that includes village banks, general dealers, small retail outlets and spaza shops.

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Bitcoin Futures Trading Begins

Bitcoin landed on Wall Street with a bang. Four hours after the debut of Cboe Global Markets Inc.’s bitcoin futures, the contracts climbed more than 20 percent and triggered two trading halts designed to cool volatility. Dealers said initial volumes exceeded expectations, while traffic on Cboe’s website was so strong that it caused delays and outages. The exchange said all its trading systems were normal. The launch of futures traded on a regulated exchange is a watershed for bitcoin — testing infrastructure that will make it easier for legions of professional traders and mainstream investors to bet on the cryptocurrency’s rise or fall, potentially helping to steer its price. Until now, trading in bitcoin was driven mainly by individual investors who were willing to risk buying on mostly unregulated markets. Some users of those little-policed venues have been targeted by hackers who’ve stolen digital tokens.

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Carl Niehaus Caught In Another Scam

Political spin doctor Carl Niehaus  has been caught in yet another lie — concocting an elaborate scam to convince a businessman he owed money to that his mother had died and he was about to inherit millions. Niehaus owes R4.3-million for rental of two luxury apartments in Sandton —   as well as damage to expensive furnishings and artwork —  unpaid concierge charges and interest. In an audacious bid to avoid legal action, he claimed his mother had died and he would soon receive a generous inheritance, 90% of which would allow him to settle the debt. His mother, Magrietha Niehaus, 88, is in fact alive and living in a home for the elderly in Johannesburg, other Niehaus family members said.

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FSB Demands Steinhoff Exposure Details

Financial Services Board takes the unprecedented step of requesting all financial services providers supply it with details of their exposure to Steinhoff International. The FSB’s move appears to have been prompted by concern expressed by the minister of finance earlier in the last week. In the latest development in the scandal that has rocked SA, the company announced it would set up a board subcommittee to engage with its banks.

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Apple To Buy Shazam

Apple Inc. is close to acquiring Shazam Entertainment Ltd., the startup whose music recognition app is already built into Apple’s Siri virtual assistant, according to a person familiar with the discussions. A deal for the London-based app maker could be announced as soon as Monday, said the person, who declined to be identified because the details are not yet public. TechCrunch earlier reported the takeover, adding that it could value Shazam at about 300 million pounds ($404 million).

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Social Welfare Director Arrested Over R5m Theft

One of the directors of a social welfare organisation doing business with the Gauteng government has been arrested following the alleged theft of more than R5million meant for the rehabilitation of drug addicts in the province. Nomawethu Kunene, who is a director of Are Ageng Social Services, was arrested in a police trap in Pretoria on Friday following intense police crime intelligence surveillance. The arrest came after a criminal case of theft was reported at the Randfontein police station in November last year, after the owner of Are Ageng made a report to senior officials of the Gauteng Department of Social Development that their bank account was hacked and an amount of more than R5m had been stolen.

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SA Banks Could Freeze Exiled Zimbabweans Accounts

After months of uncertainty surrounding their stay in South Africa as their permits neared expiry, thousands of Zimbabwean nationals in the country are now contending with threats by local banks to freeze their accounts by end of the month when the permits elapse. Some 250 000 holders of the Zimbabwean Special Dispensation Permit (ZSP), who are among millions that have fled economic and political crises to the neighbouring South Africa, are in panic mode as none of the new permits would be issued by December 31.

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Youtuber Made $16.5Million This Year

You may not see Daniel Middleton walking down a red carpet, but he is a celebrity in a league of his own. With nearly 17 million followers, a world tour that included four sold-out nights at the Sydney Opera House and over 11 billion views on YouTube, gamer DanTDM, as he is known to his fans, ranks as the world’s highest-paid YouTube star of 2017 with $16.5 million—the highest came of any YouTube star since Forbes started keeping track in 2015. The rising stars on YouTube may spend most of their time in pixelated worlds, but make no mistake, they’re collecting millions of dollars in cold, hard cash. For the first time, nearly half of those on our annual list are gamers. Viewers flock to their channels to watch them play the latest titles while delivering pithy commentary. Six of the 10 celebs on the ranking are newcomers, who entertain with videos of stunts, children unwrapping toys and, in DanTDM’s case, Minecraft streams. Combined, the world’s 10 highest-paid YouTube stars earned $127 million between June 1, 2016 and June 1, 2017, before management fees and taxes.

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Currencies: Bitcoin R248,949. Ether R6,906. R/USD13.65 . R/GBP18.24 . R/EUR16.07