Coronation Takes Steinhoff To Court

Coronation Fund Managers, one of the largest shareholders in Steinhoff when it announced “accounting irregularities” in December, will be taking legal action against the company. Its statement follows last Thursday’s announcement that GT Ferreira and the vendors of Tekkie Town lodged demands with Steinhoff. They were prompted by former chairman Christo Wiese’s decision to serve summons on Steinhoff. Coronation said that where possible it would also be taking action against any other parties that have been complicit in any wrongdoing.

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Mzawanele Manyi Demands R144m From SABC

Mzwanele Manyi, who bought ANN7 and The New Age from the Gupta family, is demanding R144 million from the SABC. According to a report by the Sunday Times, Manyi said the money is owed to the Guptas for business breakfast shows they held with the public broadcaster. The report stated that Manyi has entered arbitration proceedings on the matter, as he has “suffered damages” amounting to R144 million.

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How Brian Molefe Milked Transnet

Former Eskom and Transnet CEO Brian Molefe helped inflate contracts by as much as R16 billion, which was split between four companies – including a Gupta-linked group – giving them billions in kickbacks. Citing a report compiled by law firm Werksmans, Molefe lied to the Transnet board to inflate a tender for 1,064 locomotives. The contract would have initially seen Transnet pay R38.6 billion, but withe reported help from Gupta-linked businessman, Anoj Singh, this was inflated to R54.5 billion, with a kickback of R10 million for every R50 million locomotive that was built.

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Billions Lost Due To Ongoing Bus Strike

Transport economist from North West University Ofentse Mokwena said the country could be losing at least R589 million a week because of the ongoing strike, adding that billions of rands have been lost because of the industrial action. “A general estimate for the weekly costs of bus use from households earning R150 000 a year or less is to the tune of R589 million a week, [and that is] looking only at people between the ages of 15 and 65, and 18% of them use bus services

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ZTE US Ban Causes Network Havoc

ZTE recently announced it had ceased operations after it was banned from purchasing technology products from companies in the United States. The Chinese company was served with a seven-year ban from buying US technology products after it was found to have violated sanctions involving bonuses issued to employees who shipped telecommunications equipment to Iran and North Korea. ZTE manufactures telecommunications equipment which is used in mobile network infrastructure around the world, including South Africa.

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Apple And Goldman Sachs Team up For Credit Card

Apple and Goldman Sachs are teaming up for a new credit card, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. The aim of the Apple Pay-branded card — which could be released in 2019 — is to expand Apple’s mobile payments and also help Goldman Sachs expand into consumer banking, according to the report.

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California Makes Solar Roof Panels Mandatory In New Homes

On Wednesday, the Golden State became the first in the U.S. to require solar panels on almost all new homes. Most new units built after Jan. 1, 2020, will be required to include solar systems as part of the standards adopted by the California Energy Commission. While that’s a boost for the solar industry, critics warned that it will also drive up the cost of buying a house by almost $10,000. Solar shares surged on the decision. Homebuilders fell.

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Steinhoff Paid Wiese €325m Before Collapse

On Tuesday, Steinhoff stunned investors and corporate governance analysts when it confirmed media reports that the company had prepaid Wiese €325m during October and November 2017 for Shoprite shares, just weeks before Steinhoff collapsed. Unlike South African company law, there is no provision in the Dutch law requiring oversight of the provision of loans or financial assistance to directors. Section 45 of the South African Companies Act requires a board resolution and also requires that shareholders agree to any payments made to directors.

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KPMG Under Fire Over VBS Scandal

KPMG has suspended one of its top executives who was the lead partner on VBS Mutual Bank which has been accused of severe mismanagement and fraud. The South African Reserve Bank has red flagged the bank, saying that nearly R1 billion cannot be accounted for. KPMG has now taken action against Sipho Malaba who signed off the independent auditors’ report on the bank’s accounts until July 2017

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McKinsey & Trillian To Repay Eskom

Global consulting firm McKinsey and Gupta-associated Trillian Capital Partners have both agreed to repay the R1.6bn they received from Eskom and will not oppose Eskom’s court application to get them to pay back the money.

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JSE Pulls Sagarmatha Listing

Sagarmatha’s failure to submit its annual financial statements to the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) was behind the JSE’s decision not to allow it to go ahead with a proposed listing on Friday. On Wednesday, the company was due to announce the results of a private placement ahead of the Friday listing. However, instead of this announcement, shortly after 6pm the company released a Sens statement, saying that the JSE had decided the listing could not go ahead.

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Facebook To Incentivise Whistleblowers

Facebook yesterday launched a data abuse bounty program to incentivise anyone who can prove the misuse of Facebook data. In an effort to clean up its tattered reputation, the online social media company which has been criticised for its data breach and exposed the information of millions of Facebook users has launched a bounty program.

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Burgh Group To Run Gupta Mines

South Africa’s Burgh Group Holdings won a temporary contract to keep mines linked to the Gupta family afloat, according to a business-rescue manager for the assets. Other parties offered financing, but Burgh “came without conditions,” Louis Klopper, a bankruptcy-proceedings manager at Coronado Consulting Group, said Wednesday. Burgh is “an ideal partner” to provide technical expertise and banking facilities, he said, without disclosing financial terms.

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Absa To Reclaim Its Name Again

Absa has opted to use its South African brand name in the rest of Africa as it plans to double its market share of banking revenue on the continent to 12%, unshackled as it now is from its UK parent. Barclays Africa has already spent 18% of its separation payment and will use the remainder to rebrand, separate its human resources and IT systems and grow, which may include acquisitions as well as asset sales.

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Lynne Browne Resigns And Maritz Quits

Just four days after being fired as minister of public enterprises‚ Lynne Brown has resigned as an ANC MP. Brown’s decision to quit was announced by the office of ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu on Thursday. Brown had a controversial tenure as she became implicated in allegations of the mismanagement of Eskom and other parastatals such as Denel and Transnet. Meanwhile Eskom says while the disciplinary process against its now former head of information Sean Maritz will fall away following his decision to quit, management will not hesitate to take legal action him if necessary.

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Jooste Conspired With Other Execs

Steinhoff International Holdings’ former chief executive officer Markus Jooste conspired with fellow executives at the retailer to move revenue figures around subsidiaries to boost their balance sheets, according to Sueddeutsche Zeitun. According to the newspaper, the ex-CEO told one of his managers to add an additional €100m (R1.45bn) of revenue from a subsidiary to help inflate the company’s reported profit. In a separate email, the then-CEO referred to a need to “clean up the past”, the newspaper said

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US Stocks Tumble Over Trump Tariffs

Wall Street stocks fell sharply on Thursday after President Donald Trump said he will enact steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, reviving worries of a trade war. He said steel products face a 25% tariff, with 10% on aluminium goods. The US imports four times more steel than it exports, and is reliant on steel from more than 100 nations.

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Hawks Investigate $50 Million Bitcoin Scam

The Hawks, have confirmed that they are currently investigating a major Bitcoin scam which may have affected thousands of South Africans. The scam is reported to have originated from a company called BTC global which is said to have had over $50 million worth of investors around the world.

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Western Cape Farming Losses Mount

The Western Cape province expects its agriculture sector to decline by around 20%, as a severe drought hits farmlands surrounding Cape Town as the city braces for “Day Zero”, when its taps are expected to run dry. Alan Winde, the Western Cape’s minister of economic opportunities, said the province is now projecting losses of R5.9 billion ($495 million) from a previous estimate of R4.9 billion due to record wheat losses and a strong rand.

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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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Tough Budget For Gigaba Tomorrow

South Africa’s finance ministry is set to spell out “tough decisions” in its 2018 Budget on Wednesday to plug a revenue gap and narrow the deficit. A Reuters poll last week found that economists were split on how new revenues should be raised – the most popular being an increase in income tax, followed by higher VAT, the sale of non-core assets and taxes on specific goods.

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Atul Gupta Denies Receiving Vrede Dairy Money

Atul Gupta, one of three brothers accused of swindling money from South African state funds, denied in court documents that cash meant for the development of a dairy farm in Free State province was transferred to his private bank accounts. South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority should pay the costs of his application, said Gupta, who isn’t in South Africa and had the documents stamped in Dubai on Feb. 8. Prosecutors have misled the court by wrongly alleging that 10 million rand ($855,000) was diverted to him, while the evidence behind the accusation is sketchy and previous court orders should be set aside, Gupta said in the documents.

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Ramaphosa To Consult Widely On Cabinet Reshuffle

ANC allies Cosatu and the South African Communist Party (SACP) have stressed the importance of newly elected President Cyril Ramaphosa consulting them as well as the leadership of the governing party ahead of his expected cabinet reshuffle. Ramaphosa, in his state of the nation address on Friday, gave the clearest indication yet that he was set to shake up the Cabinet as well as reconfigure government departments.

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Discovery Live Testing Banking Offerings

Discovery says it is live-testing its banking capabilities, testing “system infrastructure, operating processes and regulatory engagement”. The insurer will launch its proposed banking offering to the public during 2018. Discovery CEO, Adrian Gore first announced plans for a retail bank in 2015, and stated that it would act as a direct competitor to Absa, FNB, Nedbank, Capitec, and Standard Bank.

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KPMG Unwilling To Release Gupta Report

KPMG does not want an investigative report by its international arm into work for the Gupta family and the SARS rogue unit report to be made public or made available to the Ntsebeza inquiry. KPMG International was treating the document as privileged and confidential.

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Musk’s SpaceX To Launch Broadband Test Satellites

Sace X is set to launch a Falcon 9 rocket which will carry an Earth-observation satellite called Paz for Spain and two more satellites to test out the technology needed to receive internet from space. he company with the help of Elon Musk’s vision wants to create a giant constellation of nearly 12,000 satellites that will orbit  above Earth, allowing internet connectivity to antenna receivers on the planet’s surface.

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Steinhoff Loses Case Against Former Partner

The owner of French furniture chain Conforama, Mattress Firm in the U.S. and Pep clothing in Africa should amend its accounts for that year, the Amsterdam Enterprise Chamber ruled Monday in a case brought by Andreas Seifert’s OM Handels and MW Handels businesses. OM had accused Steinhoff of committing false accounting by not acknowledging its shareholdings in POCO Einrichtungsmarkte GmbH, a German furniture retailer.

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North West Blows Millions On Private Ambulances

Almost 40 brand-new state ambulances have been parked in the sun for more than three months while the North West health department spends millions on private ambulances every month. The Buthelezi Emergency Medical Service (EMS) was paid not less than R10 million every month while High Care EMS was allegedly making about R4 million a month on two ambulances carrying about 400 patients every month in the Ganyesa area.

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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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Bitcoin In Flash Crash Down By $4000

Bitcoin flash crashed today on some of the exchanges after the Asian market open, with waves of selling hitting the most valuable coin even before that. The digital currency fell below the $16,000 level (Bitstamp prices) marking a 20% decline from its recent all-time high

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Old Mutual Wealth Sold To Buxton

Insurer Old Mutual has finally let superstar fund manager Richard Buxton go, selling the single-strategy business he runs at Old Mutual Wealth to him and his team, together with private equity group TA Associates, for £600m.

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ANC 68 Missing Votes Fiasco

The election of the entire ANC top six leadership structure – led by newly-elected president Cyril Ramaphosa – risks being challenged amid allegations of 68 unaccounted votes and irregularities in the tallying of votes. North West chairperson Supra Mahumapelo confirmed that the ANC’s steering committee met to investigate what is presently dubbed as “the disappearance” of 68 delegate votes.

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Steinhoff Cant Explain Irregularities

Steinhoff’s eagerly awaited presentation to a group of its bankers was met with dismay on Tuesday, as the global furniture retailer said that it could still not quantify the magnitude of the “accounting irregularities” that had led to the bombshell resignation of its charismatic CEO Markus Jooste two weeks ago. Its stock, which has lost most of its value since Jooste’s abrupt departure, had recently recovered from its lows of R6 a share, but plunged afresh, closing 17.45% weaker at R7.

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ANC Technically Insolvent

The ANC is technically insolvent as its liabilities exceed the value of its assets, according to the financial report tabled by outgoing treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize. The organisation is also R215m in debt and had a deficit of R47m over the past financial year. This was despite a debt-management programme over the past five years that brought debt down from the 2013 level of R249m.

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SABC And Unions Reach Wage Deal

The SABC says this has brought to an end the workers strike after Bemawu also signed the agreement last week following the CCMA intervention. Last week workers downed tools over salary disputes, demanding 10% salary adjustments while the employer was offering on 4.5%. The public broadcaster says CWU has agreed to a 4.8% increase, back-dated to July 2017.

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