SASSA And Post Office Sign Deal

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

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Bitcoin Futures Trading Begins

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

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Carl Niehaus Caught In Another Scam

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

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FSB Demands Steinhoff Exposure Details

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

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Apple To Buy Shazam

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

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Social Welfare Director Arrested Over R5m Theft

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

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SA Banks Could Freeze Exiled Zimbabweans Accounts

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

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Youtuber Made $16.5Million This Year

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

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

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Gigaba Wants Steinhoff & Auditors Investigated

Finance minister Malusi Gigaba has reacted with  “concern” to the recent revelations on Steinhoff International’s accounting irregularities. The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) will be conducting an internal audit into the holdings company and is expected to report its findings to Gigaba. Gigaba said he had requested the Financial Services Board, Public Investment Corporation, and the Government Employees Pension Fund to provide him with a report on the extent of exposure for retirement funds. “The minister expects that this report will give assurances that the interests of the shareholders are protected, including their retirement and savings funds,” said Gigaba. Gigaba said he supported the FSB’s independent investigation into possible false and misleading reports in terms of section 81 of the Financial Markets Act, as well as any related abuses regarding Steinhoff.

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Moodys Downgrades Steinhoff

Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Steinhoff by four notches to B1, and placed the global retailer’s rating on review for further downgrade. The rating agency said in a statement late on Thursday that it had downgraded the issuer ratings of Steinhoff International Holdings and Steinhoff Investment Holdings, and the senior unsecured notes rating of Steinhoff Europe to B1 from Baa3.

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EOH Shares Tumble 34%

Software and technology company EOH plunged 34.7% on Thursday to close at R45. The free-fall came one day after investigators from the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) reportedly searched the home of Keith Keating, a director of three businesses owned by the group, over his involvement in corrupt government contracts. On Wednesday, Daily Maverick reported that Keating was implicated in alleged procurement irregularities in the South African Information and Technology Agency and South African Police Service (SAPS) amounting to about R6.1bn. EOH’s share price has fallen more than 73% over the past year, as questions arose over the way in which the group landed lucrative government contracts.

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General Electric To Shed 12000 Jobs

The US industrial group expects the “painful but necessary” job losses to help save $1bn next year as demand for fossil fuel power plants wanes. GE intends to cut 1,100 jobs from its UK power business, one-third of the firm’s Swiss workforce and one-sixth of German workers are likely to be hit. In October, GE slashed its profits guidance after posting a 5% fall in third-quarter earnings to $1.8bn, due to weak trading in its power and oil and gas businesses. GE Power is the company’s largest industrial business, employing more than 55,000 people worldwide.

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Bitcoin Soars Past $18000

The price of Bitcoin crashed through $19,000 today, just days after hitting $10,000, $12,000, and other psychological barriers, and then retreated to $18,000. Many cryptocurrency experts are predicting Bitcoin will hit $50,000 or even $100,000 as institutional investors continue to pile in.

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SA Egg Prices Rise 20%

Egg prices in South Africa are expected to increase by as much as 20% after an outbreak of the highly pathogenic avian flu in June forced farmers to cull egg laying birds, industry experts said on Thursday. The outbreak of avian flu prompted farmers to cull millions of birds and neighbouring countries including Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana to ban poultry imports from South Africa. Industry experts said in October commercial egg production had tumbled 17% and over 1 000 workers lost their jobs in the wake of the outbreak of avian flu. Prices are expected to increase between 15 and 20% from December to June 2018.

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Currencies: Bitcoin R243,000.Ether R6,351 . R/USD13.73 . R/GBP18.46 . R/EUR16.11

Koko Claims Eskom Bosses Were Bribed

Suspended Eskom executive Matshela Koko on Thursday accused some of his colleagues of taking bribes from suppliers and said that they had started leaking damning allegations against him in retaliation when he dealt with corruption. The allegations against him, said Koko, started surfacing when he dealt with corruption on becoming interim CEO. For instance, France Hlakudi, the former Kusile power station project manager, was paid a R61m bribe, Koko said. He produced a document that showed another R400,000 was paid to Hlakudi Interpretation and Translation — owned by Hlakudi — by Tubular Construction Projects on the day that Eskom’s tender committee approved a tender for Tubular. The money was transferred into Hlakudi Interpretation and Translation’s bank account in 2015, said Koko.

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Gigaba Says Ignore Economic Gloom

Speaking in the National Assembly on Thursday during a debate on the Medium Term Budget Policy statement he delivered last month‚ the Finance Minister chose to look on the bright side of life. “South Africans should brush aside the message of despondency and doom. Even at our bleakest moments we must not drown ourselves in our own message of doom and gloom. The difficult decisions are being taken now‚ but our economy will turn around. A brighter day beckons.” he said.

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Taxman Going After US Bitcoin Traders

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has won a US court case which will force Coinbase to disclose customer information. Coinbase must now share the data of users who have bought, sold, sent, or received over $20,000 through their accounts in a single year, between 2013 and 2015. This is estimated to be 14,355 individuals.

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Firstrand To Drop State Capture Implicate Companies

Outgoing FirstRand chairman and cofounder of the group Laurie Dippenaar expressed extreme disappointment on Thursday with “the number of large corporations that have been complicit” in state capture, saying that some would lose FirstRand’s business. Commenting on state capture, he said: “I’ve been bitterly disappointed. We have expressed our disdain and disappointment [to these companies] and some of them will not get business from FirstRand again.

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NPA Panel Convened For Zuma Corruption Charges

Controversial KwaZulu-Natal director of public prosecutions Moipone Noko will lead the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA’s) team that considers President Jacob Zuma’s representations on corruption charges. NPA boss Shaun Abrahams gave Zuma until Thursday to argue why he should not be charged after the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld a high court judgment that the 2009 decision to drop charges had been irrational. The president is facing 783 counts of fraud, corruption, racketeering, money laundering and tax evasion.

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Guptas Hijacked Lesotho Mine

In August 2014 Lesotho Prime Minister Tom Thabane appointed Atul Gupta as an “economic investment envoy”. Thabane said ANC president Jacob Zuma had introduced him to the Gupta family and he had enlisted them “to help scout for investment” for the country. Now new evidence is emerging that the main “investment” the Guptas were touting – apart from in Thabane himself – was their takeover of a Lesotho diamond mine.

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PWC Does First Major Commercial Bitcoin Transaction

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), one of the world’s largest accounting firms, has accepted its first ever bitcoin payment for its advisory services. PwC in Hong Kong revealed it is working with a number of startups involved in bitcoin and the wider cryptocurrency industry, prompting the firm to accept the world’s most widely-known cryptocurrency. Notably, PwC also confirmed its advent into advising clients about crypto funds and investments, cryptocurrency exchanges and initial coin offerings –  a radical new form of fundraising powered by cryptocurrencies.

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Currencies: Bitcoin R156,949 . Ether R6,934 . R/USD13.73 . R/GBP18.54 . R/EUR16.36

S A Companies Implicated In Tax Leak

High-profile South Africans and local institutions including Shanduka, Glencore and Standard Bank are flagged in the biggest tax leak since the Panama Papers, which is set to cause ripples among many who have stashed their wealth in offshore tax havens.

This leak — dubbed the Paradise Papers — highlights damning cases of tax abuse and questionable practices involving multinational companies, politicians, celebrities, wealthy executives and royals. It includes previously hidden details of corporate registries from countries infamous for ensuring high levels of secrecy.

Source: https://goo.gl/J6niF3

Avian Flu Outbreak Affects KFC Sales

KFC is one of the hard hit retailers and their popular Zinger and Dunked wings have been temporarily out of stock at a number of outlets. KFC Africa spokesperson Thanisa Mkhwanasi said the wing shortages in some areas were a direct result of the outbreak of avian influenza. “KFC South Africa can confirm that KFC restaurants, together with the broader industry, are experiencing a shortage of wings in some areas due to the impact of the outbreak of avian influenza (AI) on bird availability.

Source: https://goo.gl/jUucjj

Suadi Arabia Arrests Princes And Officials In Anti-Corruption Drive

In just a few hours, security forces arrested princes, billionaires, ministers and former top officials as soon as King Salman announced a sweeping anti-corruption drive. Those detained included billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who was picked up at his desert camp outside Riyadh, according to a senior Saudi official. Before midnight, the suspects’ names were already being leaked to local media, first as initials and later in full.

The king also relieved Prince Miteb bin Abdullah from his post as head of the powerful National Guard. The decision removed one of the last senior royals to have survived a series of cabinet shuffles that promoted allies of his son.

Source: https://goo.gl/eqAe71

Eskom Manager Received R20m For Kusile Tender

An Eskom contract manager allegedly received R20 million as a bribe to ensure Tubular Construction Projects got a large tender at the Kusile project, stated the Rapport. According to the report, the money has been in the account of Hlakudi Translation and Interpretation CC since 2015. France Hlakudi, an Eskom contract manager for the Medupi and Kusile projects, is the only member of the closed corporation. He denies there are any irregularities.

Source: https://goo.gl/GP5DKH

Around 300 Take On Banks In Home Repossession Claim

A joinder application seeking permission for 70 new applicants to join a class action suit against the nation’s largest banks and home loan providers has been filed with the Constitutional Court. The application brings the number of people seeking to participate in the civil claim against the likes of Nedbank, Absa, FirstRand, Standard Bank, Changing Tides 12 – a trustee of the SA Home Loans Guarantee Trust – and Investec, to around 300.

This, after an application was filed by Advocate Douglas Shaw in August, to establish whether South Africa’s current law of sale in execution – whereby properties are sold at a public auction held by a Sheriff of the Court so as to recover home loan repayments that are in arrears – is constitutional.

Source: https://goo.gl/zv6nJx

A Simple Guide To Bitcoin Forks And Why They Happen

Right now people keep hearing about the pending fork scheduled for on or around the 16th of November. Because software forks and blockchain splits can be a confusing subject, we want to explain just what a fork is and what it means for all the network participants involved. If you are just getting involved in cryptocurrencies, and you’ve done a little research, you might have read about the great scaling debate and the topic of forks recently. Forks represent changes to the bitcoin protocol that make previous rules valid or invalid. Cryptocurrency forks are merely protocol upgrades, and there are two types of blockchain forks that bitcoin enthusiasts refer to

Source: https://goo.gl/wuF1go

Currencies: Bitcoin: R115,898 – Rand/USD 14.24 – Rand/GBP 18.56 – Rand/EUR 16.51

Gupta’s v Gordhan In Court

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s legal team will on Tuesday face off with 14 Gupta-owned companies over the blacklisting of their bank accounts by South Africa’s top four banks. Meanwhile President Jacob Zuma has asked to intervene as an “interested party” in the matter. Zuma argued that Standard Bank had sought relief that affected the president directly, but failed to join him into the legal proceedings as a party

Source : https://goo.gl/OkEwD1

Judge Dismisses Zuma’s Application To Join Pravin Case

The High Court in Pretoria has told President Jacob Zuma’s legal representatives that he is not formally part of the process and so cannot be added as an “interested party”. Zuma made an 11th-hour application on Monday asking to be added in Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s application against Gupta-linked Oakbay Investments as an “interested party”. Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo said on Tuesday that because Zuma was not a party in the matter, his legal team could only observe.

Source : https://goo.gl/w0KuDU

Zuma Recalls Pravin Gordhan From Investment Roadshow

The rand plummeted about 52c against the dollar on Monday after President Jacob Zuma ordered Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan home from a global investor road show, while banks and property stocks retreated on the JSE in similar fashion to Nenegate in December 2015. The rand’s retreat was directly attributable to Zuma’s action despite a weaker dollar, which usually supported an appreciation in the rand, analysts said..

Source : https://goo.gl/r5mIwj

Brian Joffe To Step Aside

Bidcorp executive chairperson Brian Joffe has announced that he will be stepping down from this position to launch a new JSE-listed company. “Brian (Joffe) has informed the board that he will be launching a new listed JSE investment vehicle which will not focus on activities competitive with the current Bidcorp’s foodservice business,” Bidcorp said on Tuesday.

Source : https://goo.gl/eEhQy0

SAA Losses Climb Significantly

Losses of the already cash-strapped South African Airways (SAA) has rapidly increased to R4.5-billion, documents submitted to Parliament’s standing committee on Finance revealed. “This new figure of R4.5-billion is significantly higher than the R3.5-billion revealed ten days ago and the R1.7-billion estimated in September 2016.

Source : https://goo.gl/PW0Od7

Fake TV’s Recalled From Massmart Stores

Massmart has quarantined TVs which are being sold as Full HD (1080p), but have HD Ready panels (720p) in them and has initiated a product recall for the units. The recall follows an investigation by MyBroadband and ISACA member Abu-Huraira Oman Abdalla, which showed that a “Full HD” 32-inch Telefunken TV sold at Game stores sported an HD Ready panel.

Source : https://goo.gl/jPHbmL

Indicators : Oil 50.99 – Rand/USD 12.87 – Rand/GBP 16.24 – Rand/EUR 14.03

 

 

Zuma’s Lawyer In Sassa Grants Saga

it emerged in the Sunday papers that President Jacob Zuma’s special adviser played a key role in ensuring that Cash Paymaster Services would keep the lucrative contract to deliver more than 17 million social grants to recipients. Michael Hulley’s intervention coincided with Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini flatly rejecting any payment option that did not involve CPS, raising questions about why the minister was so intent on retaining the company.

Source : https://goo.gl/3FPu8Z

ANC Contradicts Zuma On Land Reform Method

The ANC says the state should pay fair compensation for land it acquires for distribution to the country’s black majority, contradicting a suggestion by President Jacob Zuma that the constitution should be changed to allow for free expropriation. The party said it needs to focus more intently on the “radical economic and social transformation of our country” to ensure its wealth is more evenly distributed and that it must act urgently to restore its moral character to win back public trust.

Source : https://goo.gl/VJpMbg

Popo Molefe And Prasa Board Take Minister To Court

Members of the former board of the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) are lodging an urgent application in the High Court on Monday to reverse their removal by Transport Minister Dipuo Peters and to interdict her from appointing a new board.

Source : https://goo.gl/0HHTv0

Unions Join Up To Protest Eskom Power Station Closures

Rival unions are reaching out to each other to unite against Eskom’s decision to close five coal power stations within five years. National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) general secretary Irvin Jim said he wants to engage with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on this issue. Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe told Fin24 last week that at least two units of Komati power station have already been shut down to create space for the renewable energy projects.

Source : https://goo.gl/YxJgS1

Bitcoin Price Plunges After SEC Decision

The price of bitcoin plunged from record highs Friday after the Securities and Exchange Commission denied a request for the first bitcoin exchange-traded fund, which could have prompted greater investment in the digital currency.

Source : https://goo.gl/GmuZXo

Elon Musk Offers To Fix Australia Energy Crisis

Elon Musk has promised to solve an energy crisis in Australia within 100 days, or provide the technology for free. Musk was responding to a challenge from billionaire entrepreneur Mike Cannon-Brookes, who wanted to know whether the company was serious in claiming that it could end blackouts in South Australia quickly. Tesla has offered to provide 100 megawatt hours of battery storage at a total cost of $25 million which should supplement the current grid and prevent cuts.

Source : https://goo.gl/NRUcXJ

Indicators : Oil 51.42 – Rand/USD 13.12 – Rand/GBP 16.00 – Rand/EUR 14.00

E-Toll Fees Quietly Increased By 6%

Sanral has announced increases for Gauteng e-toll gantries and other national toll roads in South Africa, which take effect as of 3 March. Some Sanral users – not all – received notification of the increases via e-mail on Friday (3 march), the day of the adjustments. The new tariff prices also do not provide any historical data of the prices, and their increases over a period of time. Sanral’s only justification was that the adjustments were published in the Government Gazette on 16 February. The e-toll tariff hikes are around 6% across the board, in line with inflation.

Source : https://goo.gl/iGrOM6

SAA Internal Investigations Have Cost Over R21m In 4 Years

Between the period 2013 and 2016 SAA have spent more than R21m on forensic and internal investigations, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said in a parliamentary response. The investigations are among other things into the irregular awarding of tenders, the leasing back of aircrafts, procurement transactions and allegations by whistle-blowers.

Source : https://goo.gl/ZmBMhE

Ascendis Buys Cipla Units For R375 Million

Ascendis is buying Cipla Agrimed and Cipla Vet for R375 million as it sees the deal as an “excellent strategic fit” for its Phyto-Vet division. Ascendis says its strategy is to create a synergistic group of health product brands that cover the value chain from imports of raw materials, manufacturing and distribution to consumers via retail and direct selling channels, spanning across human, plant and animal health.

Source : https://goo.gl/pioeby

Record Number Of Americans Forfeiting Their Citizenship

As the White House engages in a fierce fight to restrict travel into the U.S. by citizens of some Muslim-majority countries, a record number of Americans are voluntarily renouncing their citizenship. Last year, 5,411 people “expatriated” by renouncing their U.S. citizenship or terminating long-term residency in the U.S. This marks a 26 percent jump from the record set in 2015, when 4,279 individuals expatriated.

Source : https://goo.gl/a2nFm2

Ford Recalls More Kuga’s Over Brake Issue

Ford South Africa has issued new warning letters to owners of its 2.0-litre diesel-powered Kuga SUVs for to resolve a potential “brake problem”. The brake issue is said to affect 848 Kuga models, manufactured in Spain, built from 2014 to 2015, said Ford in an official statement.

Source : https://goo.gl/EHVccg

Cybercrime Could Cost The World R78 Trillion In 4 Years

The cybercrimes industry is expected cost business up to $6trn (R78trn) by 2021. The statistic was mentioned by Paolo Passeri, Cisco’s consulting systems engineer for cloud security, at the Cisco Connect South Africa conference currently being held in Sun City. He mentioned a recent case where a smart TV, powered by the Android operating system, was taken hostage by cybercriminals.

Source : https://goo.gl/mKAp5m

Indicators : Oil 55.86 – Rand/USD 12.98 – Rand/GBP 15.83 – Rand/EUR 13.73