Zuma To Make First Court Appearance

Almost 11 years after he was first served an indictment in the graft case against him, former president Jacob Zuma will finally have his day in court on Friday when he appears in the High Court in Durban. Zuma is facing 16 charges — one count of racketeering, two counts of corruption, one count of money laundering and 12 counts of fraud.

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Steinhoff Drops Director Bonuses Plans

Steinhoff International Holdings NV shelved a plan to pay director bonuses after lawmakers questioned whether it was appropriate to release extra funds given the retailer has lost more than 90% of its market value amid an accounting scandal. The owner of Conforama in France and Mattress Firm in the US was planning to ask shareholders to approve payouts to board members including Chairman Heather Sonn as a reward for their work trying to keep the company afloat.

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Unpaid Etolls Now Valued At R9.2 Billion

President Cyril Ramaphosa has taken charge of Gauteng’s e-toll headache, bringing hope that the impasse between motorists and the provincial government could soon be resolved. In November 2017, motorists in the province owed R9.2bn. Motorists claim the funding model was not adequately canvassed and the levy will further impoverish poor workers. Gauteng Premier David Makhura in February conceded that the highly contested e-tolls system was a failure. He said a new model was needed to fund road development.

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Consol Glass To relist On JSE

Glass packaging manufacturer Consol Holdings on Thursday announced its intention to list its issued ordinary shares on the main board of the JSE. Consol, which provides glass packaging products to customers in a variety of industries including beer, wine, flavoured alcoholic beverages, non-alcoholic beverages, spirits and food, said it expects to be listed in the Industrials: Containers and Packaging sector of the JSE.

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Govt Wage Bill Now At R587 Billion

Government’s public wage bill has become so big, that it’s fast becoming the single-biggest problem in the budget – siphoning funding from other vital functions, like service delivery. As it stands, the government wage bill is almost a full third of the annual budget, sitting at R587 billion. National Treasury has warned that the size of the public sector wage bill needed to be reined in as departments were starting to hit their “compensation ceilings”, noting further that public sector wages had increased 10.3% annually since 2009, significantly higher than the rate of inflation.

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Sappi Signs Govt Power Plant Deal

Sappi has signed an agreement with the Department of Energy to build a renewable energy plant at its mill in Mpumalanga. Sappi and consortium partners KC Africa and African Rainbow Energy and Power would spend a combined R1.8bn on a 25MW biomass energy unit at the company’s Ngodwana mill, said Sappi Southern Africa CEO Alex Thiel. Sappi will have a 30% stake in the facility, which is expected to contribute to the national grid from July 2020.

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72c Petrol Price Jump Next Month

Fuel prices in Gauteng are set to go up by 72 cents a litre for 95 octane petrol, 69 cents for 93 octane petrol, and 65 cents for both grades of diesel. The main reasons for the fuel price adjustments are due to the increase in the fuel and road accident fund levies of 22 cents per liter and 30 cents per litre, respectively.

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R20Million For Magashule Farewell Party

Former premier Ace Magashule handed over to new Premier, Sisi Ntombela, at a farewell bash attended by several ministers in Bloemfontein on Wednesday. The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) charge the celebration cost government R20 million. Magashule, the African National Congress (ANC)’s newly-appointed Secretary General, leaves behind an office filled with scandal since he assumed office in May 2009.

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EFF Guns For Athol Trollip

Eyes will be on a sitting of the Nelson Mandela Bay council on Thursday as the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) tries to remove mayor Athol Trollip. The red berets filed a motion of no confidence against Trollip earlier this month following the Democratic Alliance (DA)’s decision not to support a motion on land expropriation without compensation which was a passed in the National Assembly.

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Interest Rates Cut By 25 Basis Points

South Africa’s Reserve Bank cut its benchmark repo rate, at which it lends to commercial banks, by 25 basis points to 6.5 percent on Wednesday, saying the risks to the inflation outlook had subsided. “While the increase in the value-added tax rate to 15 percent places temporary upside pressure on inflation, this is mitigated by the stronger exchange rate which has contributed to the changing inflation risk profile,” Governor Lesetja Kganyago told a news conference.

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Cape Town Wants 27% Increase In Water Tariff

Cape Town’s executive mayor Patricia de Lille has called for a massive increase in water tariffs across the city. Presenting the city’s budget speech on Wednesday (28 March), de Lille said that the tariffs are set annually to ensure that the city can deliver the level of services required by the its residents.

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SASSA Wont Cover Beneficiary Banking Fees

Grindrod Bank announced on Wednesday that as of April 1‚ the South African Security Agency (Sassa) will no longer carry the cost of bank accounts of recipients – putting the burden of those costs onto grant recipients. Grindrod provides banking services for Sassa grant recipients‚ paying 17-million grants to 10.6-million cardholders‚ amounting to R11-billion per month.

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Interest Rate May Be Cut Tomorrow

Thanks to Moody’s stable outlook for SA, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the SA Reserve Bank (SARB) will likely reduce the repo rate by 25 basis points on Wednesday.  This is the conclusion of Nedbank’s Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB) division after it analysed its latest Interest Rate Barometer. A 25 basis points cut would lower the repo rate, the rate at which banks borrow money from the SARB, to 6.5% and the prime lending rate to consumers to 10%.

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Minimum Wage To Be Delayed

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant confirmed on Monday evening that it will not be possible to implement the new minimum wage legislation on the envisaged date of May 1 because the parliamentary process will not be completed by then. Oliphant said that the bills were highly contested and “it has become apparent that the ambition for the National Minimum Wage Bill to become law by May 1 2018 may not be practical given the high volumes of public submissions.

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Listeriosis Will Cost Rainbow An Estimated R75 million

Its best estimate of the direct and identifiable cost of the listeriosis outbreak is R75 million, Rainbow Chicken’s parent company RCL told shareholders on Monday afternoon. That includes the costs of recalling its chicken polony, destroying recalled products, testing costs, and advertising and in-store communication. Those are hard to estimate, RCL said, but could be around R20 million in profit lost a month, every month, until things return to normal.

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Mkhwebane Investigating DWS & SAP Contract

The Public Protector is investigating a R671 million ($60 million) government contract with German software firm SAP , which has admitted misconduct in separate deals involving friends of ousted president Jacob Zuma. The Public Protector’s office said it had received an anonymous letter alleging due process was not followed in the award of a contract to SAP in 2016 to provide IT and support services to the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS).

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MTN To Launch Namibian Operation

MTN plans to enter Namibia’s mobile-operator market through a tie-up with a state telecommunications firm. MTN Business Solutions Namibia, which is 30% owned by local shareholders, and local company Demshi Investment Holdings, will enter the market from June 2018 as mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). Both operators were in negotiations to use state-owned TN Mobile’s 3G and LTE network. TN has a market share of just 4.5%, while MTC, another state-owned operator, has a share of 95.5%.

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Capitec And Sanlam Announce Bancassurance Deal

Capitec is expected to announce a bancassurance joint venture with Sanlam, alongside its financial results due Tuesday. In an interview with Moneyweb, Sanlam chief executive Ian Kirk said the joint venture would see Sanlam become an insurance partner to the banking group. “We are delighted with the opportunity to partner with Capitec. We like the bank, we think they are quite innovative, they’ve grown well and they’ve identified the need to offer insurance and savings plans to their client base to broaden their offerings and to improve their positioning with their clients in South Africa.

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Western Cape Considering Provincial Fuel Levy

The Western Cape provincial government is looking to introduce a provincial fuel levy, over and above the national levy currently imposed on all South African motorists – but it likely won’t be coming for a while. The decision taken in April/May 2017 by the Western Cape Cabinet is that before any consultation can happen, the fuel levy research which was done in 2005 will have to be updated.

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Zuma In new Bribery Scandal

Jacob Zuma is reportedly being investigated by the Hawks, following claims that he received a bribe of R1 million to ensure that a cabinet minister did not leave his post. According to a report by the City Press, the cash bribe was allegedly paid by a Western Cape abalone dealer in exchange for keeping Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana in Zuma’s Cabinet.

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Guptas To Appear Before Indian Tax Authority Today

Atul‚ Ajay and Rajesh initially were to appear on March 16‚ but the tax authorities granted them a 10-day extension. The brothers could reportedly be charged with money laundering and fraudulently amassing properties. Amrendra Kumar‚ a senior income tax official in India’s Uttar Pradesh state‚ previously told Reuters the Gupta brothers were suspected of finding ways to bring “illicit money” into India.

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Steinhoff Wants To Pay Directors Huge Bonuses

It wants to pay Steve Booysen and Heather Sonn €200 000 (±R2.9 million) each, and Johan van Zyl €100 000 (nearly R1.5 million). Booysen is head of the audit and risk committee, while Sonn has been acting Steinhoff chairperson since Christo Wiese stepped down on December 14 2017. Separately, the three independent directors were appointed members of an independent board subcommittee in early December.

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Black Business Council Technically Insolvent

As at February 2017, the BBC had total liabilities of R6.2m, compared with assets of R3.6m, which means that its liabilities exceeded its assets by R2.6m, making it technically insolvent, which means the business lobby could struggle to pay its bills at some point. On the same date, the BBC had an accumulated loss of almost R2.6m, up from an accumulated loss of just more than R1mat the end of February 2016.

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FNB Downtime Causes Outrage

Scores of FNB customers took to social media to lambast the financial services provider after downtime hit users on Sunday. In a tweet the company said it was aware of intermittent connectivity issues on select services.

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10 to 15% Less Booking In Cape Town Hotels Due To Drought

Hotels surveyed indicated that they did between 10% and 15% worse in terms of bookings in January and February compared to the same period last year. These hotels also indicated that the situation for the upcoming period from April to September looks worse with bookings down a lot. What is even more concerning to Wesgro is that the survey indicated that hotel reservation books for 2019 are basically “empty” so far compared to 2017.

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Drought Declared A National Disaster

Government has declared a national state of disaster to deal with the country’s drought and water crisis. Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Minister Zweli Mkhize made the announcement on behalf of the Inter-Ministerial Task Team on Drought and Water Scarcity during a media briefing in Cape Town on Tuesday. It comes after ratings firm, Moody’s Investors Service warned on Monday that Cape Town would need up to spend up to R12.7 billion ($1 billion) over the next five years on water and sanitation infrastructure to deal with its water crisis.

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Zuma’s Spy Tapes Legal Bill Over R15Million

Former president Jacob Zuma spent R15.3m of the taxpayers’ money in his legal battles to avoid prosecution. Ramaphosa revealed this information to the DA on Tuesday in a bid to settle legal action brought by the opposition party over Zuma’s refusal to disclose his legal fees in what is known as the spy tapes case.

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R385Million Fund Stuck In VBS Bank

A fund, the beneficiaries of which are children of deceased mine workers, has about R385m on deposit with VBS Mutual Bank, which the Reserve Bank placed under curatorship on Sunday. The Financial Services Board (FSB) confirmed that the Bophelo Beneficiary Fund, which with its administrator, Bophelo Benefit Services was placed under curatorship by the board in June 2017, had R385m deposited with VBS. The board was in talks with the Bank to recover this money for the orphans’ fund.

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SASSA Has No Back Up Plan

The South African Social Security Agency’s (Sassa’s) contingency plan to manage the cash component of the social grants system, were the Constitutional Court to deny an extension of the invalid CPS contract, was only work in progress. The plan however, would be “very inconvenient” and there is still no “feasible” contingency plan that will guarantee cash payments on April 1.

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Coinbase Gets E-Money License In The UK

Coinbase is officially expanding digital money services in the U.K. and EU. The U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority granted Coinbase an e-money license, the company announced Wednesday. The license now enables the company the ability to provide payment services and issue digital cash alternatives, which can then be used to make card, internet or phone payments.

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SADC Countries Ban SA Cold Meats

otswana on Monday recalled imports of processed meat products from South Africa after a deadly listeria outbreak was linked to a factory there, the ministry of health said in a statement. Botswana’s move follows a similar ban by Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia in the wake of the outbreak that has claimed 180 lives in South Africa.

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SA To Raise GDP Growth Forecast In October

National Treasury will probably raise projections for economic growth this year in its October mid-term budget as the country overcomes governance and financial problems that have lowered confidence, said Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene. The economy is forecast to expand 1.5% this year, compared with the previous projection of 1.1% and an estimated 1% in 2017.

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Mkhwebane To Be Grilled On Vrede Investigation

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane will face MPs on Tuesday to respond to allegations that she suppressed information in her office’s Vrede dairy project investigation, which has been widely dismissed as a whitewash. The DA and the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution have both taken the report on review.

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Trumps Steel Tariffs Could Cost Billions

President Trump’s steel tariff could cost Ford and General Motors $1 billion a year.
That’s the hit each company could take if the tariff translates into a similar increase in steel prices, according to a Goldman Sachs (GS) analysis. $1 billion represents 12% of Ford’s profit last year and 7% of GM’s

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Tiger Brands Down Over 7% On Listeria

iger Brands’ share price has declined sharply after Enterprise Foods was identified as the source of the current listeriosis outbreak. The food giant’s shares dropped by more than seven-percent in Monday morning trade. The decline follows safety recall notices for processed food manufacturers Enterprise Foods, which is a division of Tiger Brands, and Rainbow Chicken.

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Mashaba Under Fire Over Property Valuations

Businesses, residents and other property owners, hit by huge valuation increases by the City of Johannesburg, say the city has inflated property values unfairly to boost its flagging income. Rates bills, which are based on new valuations done every four years, kick in on July 1. The city recently sent section 49 notices to property owners, advising them of the new values for their properties with effect from July 1. Organised business wants to meet mayor Herman Mashaba, saying the increases are outrageous and unfair.

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Eskom Signs R20bn Short Term Loan

Eskom has signed a 20 billion rand ($2 billion) short-term credit facility with a consortium of seven local and international banks. “The funding provides Eskom with sufficient liquidity to allow the company time to continue resolving its governance related issues and enables Eskom to recommence with its normal funding program required to execute the FY 2018/19 funding plans,” acting Chief Financial Officer Calib Cassim said in a statement, referring to the utility’s current financial year.

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Comcast Offers $31bn For Sky

Comcast, the biggest cable operator in the US, yesterday offered to pay $31billion (R358.28bn) to buy Sky, challenging Rupert Murdoch’s Fox and Bob Iger’s Walt Disney for the European pay-TV giant. Comcast, a $184bn media giant which owns NBC and Universal Pictures, said it was offering £12.50 (R202.17) per share, significantly higher than the £10.75 per share agreed by Fox. Shares in Sky soared 18%.

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Walmart Raises Gun Buying Age To 21

Walmart is raising the minimum age for buying its firearms and ammunition to 21, becoming the latest company to change policies connected to guns in the wake of the mass shooting at a high school in Florida earlier this month. Walmart, which is the largest single seller of guns in the United States, will also remove from its e-commerce site toys that look like assault-style rifles.

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Eskom To Pay Back PIC Loan Today

Eskom has confirmed that the R5bn short term loan it received from the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) will be paid back on Thursday. When the loan was extended by the PIC in February, the Public Servants Association (PSA) said that it felt “betrayed” by the agreement as this could risk government employee pensions being caught up in flailing state owned companies (SOC’s).

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Bitcoin Reaches Major Scaling Milestone

Bitcoin has quietly reached a major milestone in its quest to reach the masses. Segregated Witness, or SegWit, the software upgrade designed to speed up Bitcoin transactions, is gaining traction. The number of transactions using the technology doubled to more than 30 percent in just the past three days.

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Currencies: Bcoin R126,579 . R10,349 . R/USD11.81 . R/GBP16.23 . R/EUR14.40