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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Currencies: Bcoin R89 947,18 . Ether R6,612.06 . R/USD12.63 . R/GBP16.71 . R/EUR14.58

 

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Schabir Shaik To Testify In Zuma Trial

Former President Jacob Zuma’s ex-financial advisor Schabir Shaik has confirmed that he has been approached by the Hawks and asked to testify in Zuma’s trial. Shaik was convicted of corrupting Zuma in 2005‚ and sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was released on medical parole on March 3‚ 2009 after serving just over two years of that sentence. A panel of medical experts had concluded that he was terminally ill. During his trial‚ Shaik remained adamant that the hundreds of payments he made to Zuma‚ then KwaZulu-Natal Tourism MEC and later deputy president‚ were either gifts or part of a revolving loan agreement.

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Gordhan Warns SARS Reshuffle Coming

The South African Revenue Service’s leadership team has no credibility and will soon be changed, according to Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. “It’s out there in the public domain that leadership team has lost all credibility and the time for change, it should be sooner rather than later,” said Gordhan, who clashed with Moyane over the management of the tax authority when he was finance minister. Getting the revenue service right, “is not too far away,” he said.

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Gupta VAT Refunds Under Question

Tax boss Tom Moyane aided possible acts of money laundering and fraud while contravening the VAT and Tax Acts when he allegedly pressured SARS officials to illegally effect three VAT payments to the Guptas into the account of a third party. Within two weeks from Oakbay Investments (Pty) Ltd director Ronica Ragavan’s first “urgent” request dated 22 May 2017, SARS paid the first of three VAT payments amounting to R70-million. Two smaller VAT payments were pushed through in July and August 2017.

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Toll Road Workers TO GO On Strike

National routes across the country are expected to be affected by a toll workers strike on Monday morning. The South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (SATAWU) said in a statement on Sunday that its members who were employed by Intertoll Africa, a subsidiary of Group 5, will embark on a national strike on Monday from 6am. Routes affected are the N1 from South Grasmere Plaza to Free State, N4 from Magalies to Rustenburg and N2 from Mthunzini to Othangathi

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ANN7 Wants Free To Air License

ICASA said it has received four applications for Individual Commercial Free-to-Air Television Broadcasting Service Licences. Among the applicants is Infinity Media Networks, the parent of former Gupta-owned news network ANN7. The company previously applied for a free-to-air TV licence in 2014, during ICASA’s last Invitation to Apply.

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Gupta’s Dubai Hospital Plans Exposed

The poor in North West and Free State were fleeced to build a billion-dollar hospital for the rich in Dubai, in a plan concocted by the Gupta family. Out of the R954 charged per patient for screening by healthcare provider Mediosa, R650 was to be paid to subcontracted companies from Dubai. The money would then be funnelled into the companies’ United Arab Emirates bank accounts, from where it would be used to fund the Guptas’ new business venture: Dubai Healthcare City.

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Esidimeni Hearings Could Cost R47Million

The total cost of the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings is expected to cost the Gauteng government around R47-million in total. This was disclosed by Gauteng premier David Makhura in a written a reply to questions in the Gauteng legislature, Gauteng MPL Jack Bloom said. So far, the alternative dispute resolution process has cost R15.7-million. More than half the expense has been spent on the Emoyeni Conference Centre as the venue for the hearings, which cost R8.4-million.

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Currencies: Bcoin R102,580 . Ether R6,702 . R/USD11.98 . R/GBP16.70 . R/EUR14.72

Experts Predict Tax or Vat increases

According to experts, around R45 billion of tax hikes and spending cuts are needed in the fiscal year that starts 1 April 2018 to stabilise the South African fiscal outlook. An alternative to increasing VAT in a linear manner would be to remove the zero rating for VAT on fuel sales. Malusi Gigaba, will table the 2018 National Budget in parliament today at 14:00pm

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Ramaphosa To Atone For Marikana

President Cyril Ramaphosa is determined to play whatever role he can in the process of healing and atonement in the wake of the Marikana massacre. “I would like to use this opportunity to address the role that I played in my capacity as a Lonmin director in the events of that tragic week,” he said. “Notwithstanding the findings of the Farlam Commission on my responsibility for the events that unfolded, I am determined to play whatever role I can play in the process of healing and atonement. In this, I am guided by the needs and wishes of the families of the 34 workers who lost their lives.”

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KFC’s Shut In The UK Due To Lack of Chicken

KFC has temporarily closed hundreds of locations in the UK and Ireland on Monday night after its shops ran out of chicken following delivery problems. On Monday, 575 KFC restaurants were closed. Stores had initially run out of chicken over the weekend.

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SARS Investigates Churches On Tax Compliance

Sars said while it acknowledged that most religious organisations operated within the law, some were enriching themselves at the expense of the fiscus. It said its own investigation and several interactions with the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL) confirmed that there was massive non-compliance in the sector.

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SABC Needs Another Govt Bailout

The SABC runs the risk of sinking into deeper financial trouble after it missed the deadline to submit its corporate plan. The SABC is facing its worst financial crisis to date and is still waiting on a R3bn government bail-out.

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Cell C Posts Massive revenue Growth

Cell C’s service revenue jumped 12% to R13.2bn with a total revenue increase of 7% to R15.7bn for the year ending December 2017. Cell C’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) grew 151% to R7.8bn with net profit of R4.1bn, growing 660% year-on-year.

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Coinbase To Add Segwit Support

Coinbase Inc., the largest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange, is planning to roll out a long-awaited software update in an effort to reduce transaction fees customers pay when sending Bitcoin. The upgrade, called Segregated Witness or SegWit, was first made available by developers in August as Bitcoin’s growing popularity led to congestion in the network. Coinbase said in a tweet Tuesday that it will begin a phased rollout this week, and expects to launch the change for all customers by the middle of next week.

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Currencies: Bcoin R137,650, Eth R11,060. R/USD11.76 . R/GBP16.44 . R/EUR14.50

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

Zuma Must Personally Pay Legal Costs

Jacob Zuma has been held personally liable for all costs incurred in his bid to block the release of the Public Protector’s ‘State Of Capture’ report. The DA’s James Selfe said, after speaking to the DA’s legal team, that the approximate costs of the litigation since October 14, 2016 would be around R1.5-million. But Zuma will also be liable for costs incurred by other parties as well.

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Zuma Given 30 Days To Set Up Inquiry

President Jacob Zuma was ordered by the high court on Wednesday to set up a judicial commission of inquiry into state capture headed by a judge selected by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. For the second time in less than a week, the High Court in Pretoria found that Zuma could not effectively exercise his powers as head of state due to personal conflict of interest. It said the president was so conflicted that he was unable to fulfil his constitutional duties.

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IRBA Receives Steinhoff Fraud Notice

The Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (Irba) has confirmed that a notice of a reportable irregularity has been filed with it in the last week regarding suspicions of fraud in relation to the accounts of Steinhoff. This is notable because a reportable irregularity (IR) is filed by an auditor of a company in the event where an “unlawful act or omission” committed by an executive in charge of an entity that has caused, or will cause “material financial loss” to the company, including other providers of capital.

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17 New Shopping Malls In SA This Year

A new study published by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) Real Estate South Africa on behalf of the South African Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC), has found that local malls are getting bigger. The data indicates that the average size of centres developed have steadily increased in size since the 1990s, with centres slated for completion between 2017 and 2020 being significantly larger than those developed during the 1990s and 2000s. As of July 2017, the South African retail development pipeline measures 1.9 million square metres across 68 centres – the bulk of which is planned for completion in 2018. Currently, there are 17 shopping centres slated for completion in the remaining weeks of 2017.

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US Federal Reserve Raises Interest Rates

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised interest rates one notch higher as the U.S. economy continues to get healthier. The rate hike, which was widely expected, was the third this year. Policy makers pointed to the lower number of unemployed workers, increased spending by households, and bigger investments by businesses in recent quarters.

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Alibaba To Sign Deals With NBC And Sony

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s video streaming service, Youku Tudou, has signed content licensing deals with NBCUniversal and Sony Pictures Television, marking a deeper foray into entertainment for the Chinese e-commerce giant. The multiyear agreements gives Youku subscribers access to hundreds of films from the studios, the service said Thursday in a statement. Users will also have faster access to new and recently released movies, including “Blade Runner 2049”

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SARS Wants To Track CryptoCurrency Earnings

The South African Revenue Service (Sars) is in discussions with some of the top technology companies in the world to enable it to track cryptocurrency trades more efficiently. Interest in cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin, has risen significantly, but since the environment is fairly opaque, regulators around the world are still struggling to formulate a plan to deal with it. The exponential rise in the price of bitcoin in particular poses a threat to Sars’ revenue collection efforts as it is largely dependent on traders’ own truthful declaration of profits. Financial institutions like banks are required to supply Sars with information on the investments of their clients for verification purposes, but in a crypto environment where such information is lacking, Sars may have to trust that a taxpayer made honest declarations with regard to crypto gains.

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Currencies: Bitcoin R263,799 . R11,854 . Rd/USD13.47 . R/GBP18.06 . R/EUR15.92 

Snapchat Raises $3.4bn In IPO

Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, priced its initial public offering at $17 a share on Wednesday. It had previously proposed a range of $14 to $16 a share. That equates to a Snap market value of nearly $24 billion, making it the largest U.S. tech IPO since Facebook. Snap’s sales are growing at a fast pace, rising to more than $400 million in 2016 from just $58.7 million in 2015. Most analysts expect Snap to report around $1 billion in sales this year.

Source : https://goo.gl/CzEPlr

Net 1 To Buy 15% Of Cell C

Electronic payments provider Net1 UEPS Technologies, which has found itself at the centre of a social grants storm in South Africa, has confirmed that it has agreed to buy a R2bn, 15% stake mobile network Cell C. Along with Blue Label Telecoms, Cell C is set to be able to pay off its debts and has said it has further concluded a memorandum of understanding to acquire 49.6% of DNI-4PL Contracts with an option to acquire a controlling stake in DNI in the future. DNI is a distributor of mobile subscriber starter packs for Cell C and also distributes pre-paid airtime through a network of field operatives and agents.

Source : https://goo.gl/60LWzN

SABC’s R5.1bn Irregular Expenditure

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) has put forward a proposal to SABC group executives that the Hawks launch a forensic investigation into the affairs of the SABC. The proposal was made during a briefing by the SABC to Scopa on the broadcaster’s financial annual report for the 2015/2016 year which revealed R5.1-billion in irregular expenditure. CEO James Aguma painted a rosy picture of its progress regarding audience figures for radio and television, its progress on financial management, blaming a R411 million loss on expenditure on unforeseen events of national interest, less than three percent funding from government, and currency fluctuations, among others.

Source : https://goo.gl/wCMukn

Unilever Charged For Cartel Collusion

This follows the investigation by the Commission which found that Unilever and Sime Darby divided markets by allocating specific types of products and customers goods in the market for the manufacturing and supply of bakery and cooking products throughout South Africa. The Commission said its investigation found that from at least 2004 to 2013, Unilever and Sime Darby entered into a sale of business agreement, which contained a clause in terms of which they agreed not to compete with each other in respect of certain pack sizes of margarine and edible oils.

Source : https://goo.gl/M7VoS1

SA Taxi Seals R100 Million Finance Deal

SA Taxi has signed a deal with the Small Enterprise Funding Agency (SEFA), which is wholly-owned by the Industrial Development Corporation. SA Taxi’s business model includes the financing of industry-specific vehicles, provision of bespoke taxi insurance that helps operators protect their income-generating asset and optimise cash flow, a Taximart division that restores pre-owned vehicles to a virtually new condition, and a dealership network through which both new and pre-owned minibus taxis are sold directly to taxi operators.

Source : https://goo.gl/xHMq6D

Joburg Trashed Due To Jozi@Work Protests

A group of angry Jozi@Work protesters took to the streets of the Johannesburg CBD for the second consecutive night on Wednesday‚ leaving a trail of destruction and trash in their wake. About 200 workers‚ wearing their yellow uniforms‚ marched through Bree and Jeppe streets up to Rissik Street in front of the city council offices‚ upending rubbish bins along the way‚ in protest against the canning by Mayor Herman Mashaba of the Jozi@Work programme.

Source : https://goo.gl/izGJzr

IndicatorsOil 56.17 – Rand/USD 13.03 – Rand/GBP 15.99 – Rand/EUR 13.74

 

 

 

Tswane Truck Protests Cause Havoc

There were massive traffic jams on Gauteng’s N1 North, R21 North and the N14 routes leading into Pretoria in Tshwane this morning. Representatives of the Coal Transport Forum said that Eskom’s agreement with Independent Power Producers (IPPs) will see mining job losses and the truck drivers transporting the coal blocked the roads in protest of the looming IPP agreements. As part of diversifying its energy mix, Eskom is expected by government to roll out an IPP programme that allows for the likes solar and wind power to be fed into the national grid.

Source : https://goo.gl/CSyRSH

SASSA Begs ConCourt To Allow CPS Contract To Continue 

The social security agency approached the Concourt for an order “authorising Sassa to engage the respondent (‘CPS’) to provide services for the payment of social grants for the period 1 April 2017 to 30 March 2018. The Concourt had given Sassa about three years to sort out the illegal CPS contract for distributing social grants, but the agency is so unready that it is asking the court for another year’s grace. The question is why wasnt anything done since 2014 and why does the department insist on CPS being the provider? They cant tell us that only this company can do the job.

Source : https://goo.gl/LwWfA1

FICA Bill Gets The Green Light From Parliament

Opposition MPs on Tuesday urged President Jacob Zuma to sign the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment Bill without delay after the National Assembly adopted minor changes to it aimed at answering his concerns that it may be unconstitutional. Zuma now has two choices. He can either sign the bill in the form in which the National Assembly approved it on Tuesday, or take it to the Constitutional Court.

Source : https://goo.gl/ufQa9u

Curro To List University Business Embury Later This Year

Curro is busy designing courses and degrees and getting them accredited, a process that will take two years. Curro believes that the tertiary-education component can reach more than 100,000 students over the long term and is keeping the school and tertiary education businesses separate, and plans to unbundle its tertiary offering and list it separately during the course of the year. Curro saw a significant leap in the number of learners attending its schools, adding over 7,200 learners during the course of 2016, and adding 4,400 more in the 2017 school year, taking it to a total of 47,589 learners by January 2017.

Source : https://goo.gl/93GiQo

Youtube Launches TV Streaming Service

Google launched YouTube TV on Tuesday, which will cost $35 a month and offer access to content from broadcast networks as well as YouTube. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki‏ said people around the world watch one billion hours of YouTube content each day, and younger generations don’t want to consume television through traditional channels. You’ll now be able to watch shows from over 40 networks including ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC, as well as Bravo, FX, ESPN and Fox Sports. Along with the cable channels, users can also watch shows previously only available on YouTube Red, the ad-free YouTube subscription service.

Source : https://goo.gl/YJAxxv

Fired Prasa Acting CEO Refuses To Leave

Collins Letsoalo‚ the disgraced acting CEO of the Passenger Rail Agency of SA‚ is going nowhere.  Letsoalo claims he did nothing wrong. “I am still the acting CEO; there is nothing wrong that I have done‚ I have not appointed myself and would never give myself an increase‚” he said. “I am seconded by the shareholder and appointed by the board chairperson as acting group CEO and to date no one has informed me of this removal‚” he said.

Source : https://goo.gl/OkhqRO

Eskom & Transnet Sponsored PPF Led By Mzwanele Manyi

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown disclosed in a written reply to a parliamentary question on Tuesday by DA finance spokesman David Maynier that Eskom and Transnet had provided sponsorships of R440,000 and R400,000, respectively, to the forum.

Source : https://goo.gl/iRavfZ

Indicators : Oil 56.50 – Rand/USD 13.10 – Rand/GBP 16.17 – Rand/EUR 13.83