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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R2.4Billion SA Express Tender Scandal

A virtually unknown music promoter was given a three-year tender to supply SA Express with fuel worth R2.4 billion – but failed to deliver a single drop. This is despite a deal already being in place to receive fuel from South African Airways. SA Express confirmed that its current fuel supply deal with SAA came at an average cost of R45 million a month, thus the dodgy EML Energy deal meant the already troubled airline paid roughly R800 million more than SAA over the three years.

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R1 Billion Crypto Scam Uncovered

The Hawks said Gauteng-based Bitcaw Trading Company, commonly known as BTC Global, was being investigated after more than 28,000 investors suffered losses in a cryptocurrency scam. The company is alleged to have targeted potential investors with promises of 2% interest per day, 14% a week and 50% per month. The Hawks said payments were initially made every Monday but suddenly stopped.

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Court Ruling On Gupta Assets Expected Today

The Bloemfontein High Court on Monday will make a crucial ruling on the state’s successful freezing of R250-million in Gupta assets – and whether prosecutors had enough evidence to justify it. The Guptas’ attorney has confirmed that Varun Gupta, the only family member charged so far in relation to the alleged scam, is back in the country for the ruling. Varun Gupta successfully applied for the right to travel to Dubai for a traditional ceremony. He returned to South Africa over the weekend.

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MTN & Vodacom Fight Over Transnet Tender

Mobile network giants MTN and Vodacom are entangled in a fresh row over a multimillion-rand cell phone and data tender at state-owned freight and rail transport company Transnet. MTN will square off with over Transnet following its refusal to port (switch networks) nearly 13 400 sim cards to Vodacom. The matter is heading to the South Gauteng High Court where MTN will argue that its contract with Transnet is still valid and binding as there is a clause that prevents the state-owned entity from procuring the service from a competitor.

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SARS Releases New Customs Regulations

The South African Revenue Services has released a Customs Requirements for South Africa statement which informs South African travellers about the items that they have to declare when leaving and returning to the country. According to the statement, South Africans that are travelling abroad are not required to declare their personal items when leaving or returning to the country, in terms of customs legislation. In the legislation, personal items are described as personal laptops, cameras or iPad that are are a part of the travellers luggage when they are leaving the country.

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Brazil Truckers Strike Causes Economic Havoc

Sao Paulo, a megacity that’s home to more than 12 million people, declared a state of emergency and warned that shortages caused by the strike may cause a state of public calamity, while export group ABPA said a billion chickens and 20 million swines may die in coming days due to a lack of feed. President Michel Temer said he’s called for the deployment of national security forces to unblock roads and asked governors to do the same. Still, truckers group Abcam – which didn’t take the government’s deal – said the number of highway blockades rose to 521 on Friday from 402 the day prior. Local media reported that drivers continued protesting in at least 14 states. Abcam represents about 700 000 of roughly one million self-employed truck drivers.

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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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KPMG & Nkonki Fired By Auditor General

The auditor-general’s decision to terminate auditing contracts with KPMG will see the embattled audit firm excluded from doing any work for the country’s most valuable client. The auditor-general has control over auditing contracts that dwarf even the largest private-sector business. This is the first time it has terminated work with one of the big four audit firms. Also terminated is black-owned Nkonki, which has been implicated in Gupta-related controversies.

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Eskom Hits Optimum Coal With R105m Fine

Eskom has issued the Gupta-owned Optimum with a R105m fine for failing to deliver coal, which has spurred a supply shortage at the power utility. As Eskom grappled with the issue, alternative coal producers would benefit from a shortage of coal and come to the rescue of the power utility, as it sought to plug a gap in supplies at several of its stations.

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Bus Strike Causes Havoc

Thousands of commuters will wake up on Wednesday to the nationwide bus strike that is set to kick off at 05:30 while taxi and rail operators are bracing for crowds and long queues. Nationwide bus services such as MyCiTi in Cape Town, Putco, Rea Vaya and Gautrain bus service in Gauteng and Algoa Bus Company in the Port Elizabeth area are among those whose services will be suspended.

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Irregular Health Expenses Soar To R1.02 Billion

The Finance and Fiscal Commission (FFC) has criticised the national Department of Health for not doing more to ensure provincial health departments improve their audit outcomes. While provincial audit outcomes have improved since 2012-13, the pace of improvement has been slow, particularly over the past three years, the FFC’s provincial budget analysis manager Ghalieb Dawood told Parliament on Tuesday.

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Amazon Launches International Shopping

Amazon has launched its International Shopping experience in the Amazon Shopping App. International customers can now “browse and shop over 45 million eligible items that can be shipped to their country from the United States”, said Amazon. Customers can also choose from different shipping options and delivery speeds, depending on how quickly they want their package, it added.

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Currencies : Bcoin R98,501 . R6,290 . R/USD12.00 . R/GBP17.17 . R/EUR14.85