Zuma Liable For His Legal Fees

A full Bench of the North Gauteng High Court sitting in Pretoria on Thursday said the Presidency and state attorney must attempt to recover legal costs incurred by former president Jacob Zuma in his personal capacity. In September, the Presidency said Zuma’s personal legal fees had cost the state R16.78-million. The former president took a R7.8-million loan from the now-collapsed VBS Mutual Bank to repay some of the money spent on upgrades to his private Nkandla home. The court ordered the state to provide the full accounting detail, steps taken and steps to be taken to recover the amounts within three months.

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Eskom Secures $1.5 Billion Loan

Eskom says it has secured a R1.5 billion loan from the French Development Agency (AFD). “This loan constitutes the first tranche of a R6.5 billion multi-tranche loan facility signed between the two institutions in March 2017,” the utility said in a statement released on Thursday afternoon. Eskom says the money loaned from AFD will go towards building new electricity transmission lines to strengthen the country’s network.

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Nigeria Govt Sues Shell And Partners For $1 Billion

The government of Nigeria is suing Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Eni SpA and other companies for more than $1 billion over a 2011 oil deal it says was tainted by corruption. The suit, filed Wednesday in London, alleges that money the companies paid to acquire an oil exploration license in the Gulf of Guinea was diverted to bribes and kickbacks, the Nigerian government said in a press release. The transaction is already the subject of a separate, ongoing criminal trial in Milan.

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Ndalo Media To Shut Down In January

Ndalo Media will officially shut down on January 31 2019, company owner Khanyi Dhlomo told her employees on Wednesday. The media company that owns Destiny, Destiny Men and Elle magazines, among others, has been experiencing cash flow issues, even failing to cover certain operational costs in the past few months. Sunday World reported in November that Ndalo Media faced liquidation over a R13-million debt allegedly owed to its printers accumulated between 2016 and 2018.

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Hlaudi Launches African Content Movement

Speaking on Thursday in Milpark, Johannesburg, the self-confessed “wonderful person” made bold statements about bringing change to South Africa while announcing he was going to launch the ACM. Motsoeneng, the president of the movement, also revealed the names of the ACM’s leadership team. Ally Mosina is the chairperson, Lindiwe Mthembu will handle the finances as the treasurer general, Romeo Ramuada will steer the ship on a daily basis as secretary general and Esther Padi will assist as deputy secretary-general

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Absa Downtime Causes Frustration

Absa says all its systems are now back online. The bank has come under fire on social media with customers complaining they were unable to transact for much of the day. Absa now says its app and online banking are back up and running while cash withdrawals and branches are also fully operational. The bank has apologised for the inconvenience.

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Currencies : Rand/USD 14.24 – Rand/GBP 17.99 – Rand/EUR 16.17

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Judgement Expected On Zuma Legal Fees

A landmark judgment regarding whether the state should continue to foot the bill for former president Jacob Zuma’s defence costs is expected to be handed down in the North Gauteng High Court this morning. The DA filed papers in late March, asking the High Court to set aside a 2006 agreement about legal costs Zuma incurred for his criminal prosecution that the Presidency signed. Personally, i think this order should be granted and he should be made to pay his own legal fees. The corruption case against him is in him own capacity and the state isn’t in the dock so why must the state pay?!

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Theresa May Survives Confidence Vote

May won a confidence vote on Wednesday evening though more than a third of Conservative lawmakers voted to ditch her, leaving her authority badly damaged. In an emotional concession to critics before the ballot, she said she knew deep down she would not be leading them into the next election in 2022. In a little over three months time, the U.K. will be leaving the European Union with or without an agreement to cushion the blow and so far there are precious few signs that May will be able to persuade Parliament to back the divorce terms she’s negotiated with the EU. The risk of a no-deal Brexit and the economic and political chaos it would bring are growing. With the EU seemingly unwilling to change the current deal, there is a real possibility that the UK would leave without a deal at all. This will be interesting to watch.

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Nigerian Court Adjourns MTN Case To January

A Nigerian judge adjourned on Wednesday a hearing over an $8.1-billion dispute between South African telecoms giant MTN and the central bank until January 22. The dispute is over the transfer of $8.1-billion of funds which Nigeria’s central bank said the company had sent abroad in breach of foreign-exchange regulations. MTN has denied any wrongdoing.

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Chinese Detains Another Canadian In Huawei Tiff

Canada’s foreign ministry says it is trying to make contact with a second Canadian who is believed to have been detained in China. Michael Spavor, a businessman based in Dandong near the North Korean border, had contacted Canadian officials this week to say he was being questioned. Foreign ministry spokesman Guillaume Bérubé said Canada was working hard to determine Mr Spavor’s whereabouts. It comes after former diplomat Michael Kovrig was arrested in China this week.

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Tencent Music Soars  After US Debut

Tencent Music Entertainment Group climbed in its U.S. trading debut Wednesday after pricing its initial public offering at the bottom of a marketed range. China’s largest music-streaming service, which is backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd., and current holders raised $1.1 billion by selling 82 million American depositary shares at $13 apiece Tuesday.

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Currencies : Rand/USD 14.09 – Rand/GBP 17.78 – Rand/EUR 16.02

SA Employment Down 0.2% In Q3

STATS SA said the quarter-on-quarter employment decline was mainly driven by the manufacturing industry which lost 7 000 jobs or 0.6 percent, while construction shed 5 000 jobs or 0.8 percent and mining was down 2 000 jobs, as was the trade industry. Other losses were in the transport and community services sectors. Stats SA said total earnings paid to employees increased by R26-billion or 4.2 percent to R653-billion in the three months to September compared to the previous quarter. This reflected a rise of R35-billion or 5.6 percent over the same period last year. Essentially, salaries are increasing while job numbers are decreasing.

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China Arrests Former Canadian Diplomat

A former Canadian diplomat has been detained in China — a potentially explosive development in the aftermath of the arrest of a Huawei executive. executive in Vancouver. The ex-diplomat, Michael Kovrig, who works now with the International Crisis Group, was reported detained in China Tuesday. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government responded to questions about his case by confirming a Canadian had been arrested, though stopped short of identifying him. His employer said it was seeking more information. meanwhile, Donald Trump has said he is willing to intervene on the arrest of the Huawei executive if it will help a trade deal. This is ironic because her arrest was requested by US authorities so he started the tiff in the first place.

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Hlaudi To Launch Political Party And Contest Elections

Former SABC executive Hlaudi Motsoeneng has repeated his desire to occupy office in the Union Buildings. He is planning to launch his own political party soon and will contest the 2019 elections. “I am going to contest [against President Cyril] Ramaphosa because I want to be the president of the country. I don’t think Ramaphosa can defeat me. I am going to shock the country”. “I knew what I must do to change people’s lives. I am going to run and lead South Africa as a president,” TimesLIVE quoted him as saying. “Don’t listen to people who are talking about qualifications, because there is wisdom in me. If you have wisdom, you know what people want,” he said.

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Macron Bows To Pressure – Vows To Decrease Workers Taxes

Emmanuel Macron addressed the French nation in an attempt to defuse the first real political crisis of his presidency.  The president promised that those on the minimum wage—currently €1,499 ($1,707) a month—would receive an extra 100 euros each month without any cost to employers (probably through an expanded wage subsidy). An increase in social charges on pensions would be cancelled for those on below €2,000 a month. Both overtime and any end-of-year bonuses offered by employers would be free of taxes and charges.

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Verizon Lays Off 10,400 Employees

Verizon announced that 10,400 employees have chosen to accept buyout packages offered by the company. The packages were reportedly offered to 44,000 employees at Verizon, and include 60 weeks of salary bonus as well as other benefits based on time spent at the company. The offers put on the table by Verizon are aimed at helping the telecom company save $10 billion by 2021.

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Liquid Telecom Secures R2.6 Billion Investment

Liquid Telecom received a $180 million cash injection from U.K. development finance institution CDC Group Plc as Africa’s largest fiber-network operator expands broadband infrastructure across the continent. The investment will give London-based CDC a stake of almost 10 percent in Liquid, which is majority owned by Zimbabwe’s Econet. The funding will enable Liquid to expand its network in five new countries including Nigeria and Ethiopia.

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Currencies : Rand/USD 14.29 – Rand/GBP 17.88 – Rand/EUR 16.19

Theresa May Backtracks As Pound Tanks

May told the House of Commons that she would pull her earlier plan to have a vote the next day on the Brexit deal that she has negotiated with the European Union. The prime minister acted after being advised by government whips that she would lose the vote by a large margin. Sterling dropped to its lowest since April 2017 while May was addressing the House of Commons, but bounced back from its low of $1.2507. The pound last bought $1.2562, down from $1.2731, its weakest since June 2017.

 

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China Court Bans Sale Of Most iPhones

A Chinese court has banned the sale and import of most iPhone models in a stunning decision amid the trade war between the United States and China. The ban does not cover the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Plus or iPhone XR, which were not yet available when Qualcomm filed its lawsuit. The phones covered by the ban make up about 10% to 15% of current iPhone sales in China. The court granted a pair of preliminary injunctions requested by Qualcomm, an American microchip maker. Qualcomm claims that Apple violates two of its patents in the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X. The patents allow people to edit and resize photos on a phone and to manage apps by using a touchscreen, according to Qualcomm.

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Major Debt Judgement To Help Consumers

A new Supreme Court of Appeal judgement will bring welcome relief to indebted South Africans. The ruling upheld that borrowers may not pay more than 3% interest a month on a second short-term loan taken out in a 12 month period. The High Court originally ruled in favour of MFSA but this was overturned on appeal by a full bench of the court. That decision was also appealed by MFSA at the Supreme Court of Appeal, which has now ruled in favour of the NCR and DTI. This means that the new regulations remain in force.

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Pule Mabe Accused of Sexual Harassment

Pule Mabe has been accused of sexual harassment by his personal assistant, who claims Mabe wanted to have sex with her in return for the job. The 26-year-old sent a grievance letter against Mabe to the party’s deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte last month. She accuses Mabe of sexual harassment, cutting down her salary and emotional abuse when she refused his sexual advances. She says these were clear attempts by Mabe to have sex with her in exchange for giving her the job. When she declined, the emotional abuse began, and her salary was cut to R15,000.

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Softbank In Second Biggest IPO In History

SoftBank is raising $23.5 billion from the IPO of its Japanese mobile business, making it the second biggest stock market listing ever.

Strong demand from investors for a piece of one of Japan’s biggest wireless carriers prompted the Japanese tech company to increase the number of shares available by 160 million. That makes it Japan’s biggest ever IPO — and the world’s largest since Alibaba.
Currencies : Rand/USD 14.37 – Rand/GBP 18.06 – Rand/EUR 16.33

STATS SA Labour Survey Results Released

Youth unemployment in South Africa surged to 52.4 percent in the first quarter from 51.1% recorded in the fourth quarter of last year. Stats SA said unemployment maintained the 15-year high, remaining unchanged at 26.7 percent despite a slight increase in employment with the formal sector adding 111 000 jobs and the informal sector contributing 93 000. The quarterly employment increase of 206 000 jobs in the first quarter was driven by sectors including mining, which added 1 849 000 jobs, construction 1 431 000 jobs and manufacturing with 1 849 000 jobs NKC African Economics said official unemployment remained very high by historical standards.

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Beyond R15 Petrol Price Expected In June

Motorists can expect another massive fuel price hike at the beginning of June, the Automobile Association warned on Tuesday. South African fuel users are currently facing increases of 74c/l for petrol, 81c/l for diesel, and 78c/l for paraffin. The price of petrol increased by 49c/l and 69c/l in March and April respectively, bringing the per litre price for petrol at the coast to R14.21 and R14.38 for 93 and 95 unleaded respectively and R14.38 for 95 LRP.

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SAA Needs R21 Billion Over 3 Years

SAA needed to raise R21.7bn over the next three years to turn the company around and make it profitable, CEO Vuyani Jarana said in an interview on Monday. The funding requirement arises from SAA’s turnaround plan, which was to be presented to Parliament’s finance committee on Wednesday. However, after a dispute in the committee in which the ANC tried to close the meeting to the media and public, the presentation of the plan was deferred.

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Fracking Set To Go Ahead

Government intends to fast-track the exploration and exploitation of shale gas, says Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe. Mantashe tabled the budget vote in Parliament on Tuesday, where he explained the development of shale gas as a resource was necessary to transform the country’s energy economy. The southern Main Karoo Basin is considered the most prospective area for shale gas, with a possible estimation of 205 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas technically recoverable.

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Gordhan Estimates State Capture Cost At R100 Billion

State capture may have cost South Africa R100bn or more, Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan told reporters on Tuesday. Gordhan said he would, however, leave it Judge Raymond Zondo’s judicial inquiry into state capture to conduct the full investigation of the matter. He also laid down the law regarding practices of state-owned entities, their executives and their board members.

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VW Announces Polo Recall

Volkswagen South Africa has confirmed it will be recalling the 2018 Polo over what it calls “a minor safety concern”. General manager of group communication at VW South Africa Matt Gennrich said: “All new Polos that have been produced… meaning over 8,000 customers in South Africa will be affected. We’ll be contacting all customers.”

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ETV Owners To Launch Another News Channel

Etv and eNCA owner eMedia has announced it will launch a second television news channel, eNCA reported. The channel will be named OpenNews and will be broadcast on the OpenView platform. eMedia CEO André van der Veen said the OpenNews channel will launch near the end of 2018 and will be distinctively different from eNCA.

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Home Affairs Launches New Biometrics System

Minister of home affairs, Malusi Gigaba has announced that he plans to launch a new Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) on Wednesday (16 May). The new identification system will be powered by a sustainable technology and will offer a single view of citizens across the life cycle and their status change at various stages. The new systems form part of an ongoing revamp of home affairs offices around the country.

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Currencies: Bcoin R103,683.81 . Ether R8,621.58 . R/USD12.57 . R/GBP17.01 . R/EUR14.89

Nationwide Bus Strike Ends

Labour unions in the bus sector have accepted a wage increment offer of 9% across the board‚ ending a prolonged national strike. The offer is effective from April‚ while a second pay rise increment of 8% will be implemented from April 2019. There will also be allowances‚ including nightshift and subsistence‚ over both years.

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Gordhan Fires Transnet Board

The Department of Public Enterprises has confirmed that a new interim board has been appointed at Transnet. In a statement issued on Monday night, Public Enterprises announced that he has removed all the remaining Transnet directors with immediate effect and that he’s appointed a new interim board, pending a full appointment, in consultation with Cabinet.

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Vodacom To Implement Data Rollover And Transfers

Vodacom will abide by ICASA’s new regulations, which require operators to allow subscribers to roll over unused data or transfer it to another user on the same network. Additionally, the new regulations will not allow operators to charge out-of-bundle tariffs without first obtaining consent from subscribers.

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Vehicle Loan Defaults Hit Record Highs

Over the first three months of 2018, the vehicle loans consumer default index (CDI) hit its highest level yet, according to the latest Experian CDI. The 3.55% CDI level for vehicle loans defaults was even higher than the overall Experian CDI. While there was a month-on-month (m/m) and year-on-year (y/y) deterioration in the vehicle finance category, the latest CDI shows a y/y improvement in personal loans, credit cards and home loans.

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Moyane Threatens Ramaphosa

Moyane faces charges of misconduct in violation of his duties and responsibilities linked to his handling of allegations against second-in-command Jonas Makwakwa, making unauthorised bonus payments, misleading Parliament and instructing a SARS official not to co-operate with an inquiry by audit firm KPMG. Moyane’s attorney, Eric Mabuza, has since written to President Cyril Ramaphosa to raise concerns about the format of the disciplinary inquiry. Mabuza has given Ramaphosa until Tuesday afternoon to respond favourably to his demands, which includes legal costs. It is understood that Mabuza will approach the courts if the president fails to comply with his demands.

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Another 70 Cents Increase In Fuel Price Expected

Despite the stronger dollar and a number of geopolitical worries, the rand has held up remarkably well. While a positive sentiment continues to surround the country, it is definitely not a great time to be a motorist. The record-high inland petrol price of almost R15 per litre looks set to rise by another 70 cents per litre (in June 2018).

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Mark Shuttleworth Now Worth £500 Billion

Mark Shuttleworth’s wealth has increased by £340 million in the past year, according to a report by the BBC. Directly translated into rand, this equals R5.6 billion. The report was based on the UK’s Sunday Times Rich List for 2018, which stated that Shuttleworth is now worth £500 million (R8.3 billion). Shuttleworth big rise in wealth was attributed to the success of Canonical, his company which offers open-source software solutions.

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Currencies: Bcoin R108,274.17 . R9,112.95 . R/USD12.39 . R/GBP16.79 . R/EUR14.77

 

 

Harsh New Tobacco Laws

The Department of Health’s new bill on tobacco products proposes a complete ban on smoking in outdoor public places, prohibits vending machines and brings e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery devices into the regulatory fold for the first time. The Cabinet announced on Thursday that it had approved the Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill — the government’s first significant reforms to tobacco control legislation in a decade. It is due to be gazetted for public comment this week.

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Public Protectors Altered Vrede Report

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane seemingly altered crucial remedial action in the provisional report on the Vrede dairy farm by predecessor Thuli Madonsela before she released the final report, which has widely been described as a whitewash. This is revealed in a supplementary affidavit filed by the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) in the High Court in Pretoria, where Casac has filed its application to review and set aside the report.

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Xiaomi’s $10 Billion IPO

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp is preparing a share sale that will raise at least $10 billion. Hosting what’s shaping up to be the world’s biggest initial public offering of 2018 may be a double-edged sword for Hong Kong. The city’s red-hot IPO market usually sees offerings oversubscribed — sometimes by hundreds of times — as investors borrow heavily to place orders.

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Avengers Infinity War $7.7 Billion Opening Weekend

Avengers: Infinity War” kicked off the summer movie season, giving Walt Disney Co. the largest North American and global debuts in history. While Disney began with a more cautious forecast of $210 million for the three-day opening weekend, the company on Friday raised that estimate to $225 million. Independent forecasters were more bullish on “Infinity War.” Analysts at Box Office Pro were predicting as much as $255 million in domestic weekend sales. “Infinity War” cost $300 million to make, according to Bloomberg Intelligence, and many tens of millions more to market.

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N3 Closed After Trucks Are Torched

Clean-up operations are underway on the N3 highway in KwaZulu-Natal this morning where several trucks were torched during a protest. The overnight demonstration forced the closure of the busy highway in both directions at Mooi River. The N3 is the main highway connecting Johannesburg to Durban and is particularly busy over long weekends. The freeway was closed over the Easter weekend when a crowd went on the rampage torching and looting trucks.

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Currencies: Bcoin R118,600 . Ether R8,669 . R/USD12.31 . R/GBP16.97 . R/EUR14.93