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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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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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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SAFTU Shutdown Over Wages

The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) is set to demonstrate its might on Wednesday when it embarks on its first national protest against new labour laws and the introduction of the national minimum wage. The year-old federation, which has an unaudited membership of more than 750,000, is unhappy with changes to the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Act, among others. The federation said it would bring the country to a standstill, as the employed and unemployed would be joining the mass action.

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SAA Asks Govt For R5bn Bailout

South African Airways (SAA) is in discussions with the Treasury on a cash injection of about R5bn, which the company needs to cover historic debt and its working-capital requirements until September. The hoped-for bail-out would be in addition to the R10bn injected into SAA by the government in 2017.

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Public Service Strike Looms

Unions yesterday accused the government of taking its cue on the ongoing public sector wage negotiations from international ratings agencies. They flatly rejected the acting Minister for Public Service and Administration Naledi Pandor’s request on Monday for more time from the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) to conduct further consultations on the negotiations. Mugwena Maluleke, the convenor of COSATU unions in the PSCBC, said rating agencies were running the affairs of the government.
Capitec CEO’s R57Million Payday
Group CEO Gerrie Fourie received a R56.6 million payout, thanks mainly due to a long-term incentive (LTI), along with a 10% increase in his basic pay package. Fourie’s salary was made up of a R10.75 million guaranteed package, R240,000 in other benefits, a R4.05 million short-term bonus, and a long-term incentive payout of R41.6 million. Capitec CFO, Andre du Plessis was also rewarded for the group’s performance, with his complete remuneration package for the year amounting to R41.6 million – also thanks to a R30.2 million LTI payout.
Banks Throw Jooste A Lifeline
Markus Jooste has been thrown a lifeline by banks as the global retailer he oversaw for 18 years struggles to survive an accounting scandal that happened under his watch.

The 57-year-old’s personal investment company Mayfair Holdings owes Sanlam’s capital markets arm, Investec and ABSA, a banking unit of Barclays Africa Group, a combined R959m backed by Steinhoff stock, according to an agreement between Mayfair and its creditors. The lenders agreed that the latter would realize more value, and have given Mayfair until the end of this year to sell as much as R2.08bn in assets ranging from real estate to racehorses to repay almost R1.6bn of loans to the banks and other creditors.

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Pork Prices Tumble After Listeriosis

Pork prices fell by almost 30% to 40% as prices dropped from R30 to R23 in a matter of months at Country Meats in South Africa, according to Sernick Group CEO Carel Sernfontein. The listeriosis scare impacted the sales of pork in particular, since fewer pork products were being produced by cold meat producers, he says. The most heavily-impacted was Tiger Brands with its Enterprise polony and vienna products. The company had to close four of its facilities after traces of the bacteria were found on its premises. Kotze said people associate Enterprise processed meat products with pork, and when that happened 12% of the pork industry’s slaughtering was affected.

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Afriforum Goes After Julius Malema

The charges relate to a R52-million Limpopo roads tender awarded to a company called On Point Engineering in 2009. Malema was the sole trustee of the Ratanang Trust, which held an interest in the company. Afriforum had opened a case against Malema in 2011 regarding the matter and they have now decided to privately prosecute Malema after the NPA’s case was struck off the roll due to them not being ready.

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Massive Protests Scheduled For Steinhoff AGM

Steinhoff shareholders will get the opportunity to pose questions directly to the company’s leadership on Friday, when the global retailer holds its Annual General Meeting in the Netherlands. Since the abrupt resignation on its CEO Markus Jooste amid an accounting scandal in early December last year, the group’s share price has fallen by over 95%, wiping out over R200bn in market capitalisation.

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Gary Pita Quits As Transnet CEO

In what is seen as the start of efforts to reverse state-capture at Transnet, the company’s group chief financial officer, Garry Pita, resigned with immediate effect on Thursday, citing “deteriorating” health. Documents from whistle-blowers have revealed that Pita signed off on several invoices totalling R74m paid to Trillian, a boutique financial firm at the time owned by Gupta lieutenant Salim Essa. He also signed off on a deal with global software giant SAP that resulted in Gupta company CAD House netting a R100m “sales commission”.

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Apple Sales Falling

Jitters are growing over the durability of Apple Inc.’s iPhone business. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., a major Apple supplier, on Thursday gave a forecast for second-quarter sales that fell short of analysts’ estimates, in part reflecting a slowdown in the global smartphone market. Earlier this week, the International Monetary Fund said the industry may have peaked. In its latest outlook for the world economy, the IMF said smartphone shipments declined for the first time.

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Currencies: R103,857 . Ether 7,142 . R/USD12.00 . R/GBP16.85 . R/EUR14.81

 

Trump Tariffs Send Stocks Tumbling

The world’s major stock markets fell on Thursday as sentiment was rocked by new trade war fears as US President Donald Trump unveiled tariffs on Chinese imports of at least $50bn. Saying it would be the “first of many” trade actions, Trump signed the order that will also look at restrictions on Chinese investment in the US.

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Transnet Seals Deal With South32

Transnet yesterday signed a R10.4billion contract with resources group South32 that will see the state-owned freight rail and logistics company transport 2.6million tons of export manganese per annum over seven-and a-half years. Transnet said it planned to seal a number of similar contracts with other manganese producers to have 12.5million tons of manganese ultimately transported mainly from the Hotazel area in the Northern Cape through the Saldanha and Port Elizabeth ore railway lines each year.

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Naspars Sells 2% Of Tencent Shares

The group said on Thursday it would sell up to 190-million Tencent shares to institutional investors, thereby reducing its interest from 33.2% to 31.2%. That 2% stake was worth about $10.6bn (R125bn) on Thursday, close to the market capitalisation of Nedbank.

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Moody’s Ratings Decision Expected Today

By midnight on Friday South Africans should know whether Moody’s has downgraded SA’s sovereign credit rating to junk, or kept the country at above investment grade. Moody’s was the only major ratings agency to not downgrade South Africa to sub-investment grade in 2017. It currently has the country at one notch above junk.

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Uber Stops Autononous Taxi Testing After Crash

Uber Technologies halted autonomous vehicle tests after one of its cars struck and killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona, in what is likely the first pedestrian fatality involving the technology. The 49-year-old woman, Elaine Herzberg, was crossing the road outside of a crosswalk when the Uber vehicle operating in autonomous mode under the supervision of a human safety driver struck her, according to the Tempe Police Department.

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Send Or Receive Money Using Google Assistant

From today, you will be able to send and request money via Google Assistant on your smartphone. Available on both the Android and iOS versions of the Assistant app. Transactions will be handled by Google Pay, and if you’re not already signed up to the service, Assistant will walk you through the set up process before dealing with your request. The person you’re sending money too doesn’t need a Google Pay account to receive funds though.

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Currencies: Bcoin R103,420 . Ether R6,401 . R/USD11.85 . R/GBP16.72 . R/EUR14.61

Ghordan And Nene Back In Reshuffle

President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed a compromise Cabinet to lead his government into the 2019 national election. Nhlanhla Nene and Pravin Gordhan both make stunning comebacks as finance and public enterprise ministers respectively.

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Makhura To Ask For ETolls To Be Cancelled

Gauteng premier David Makhura says that he will engage President Cyril Ramaphosa on finding a “new and more equitable” funding model for e-tolls, which had added to the cost of living. Sanral collected about R65m in an average month, when it should be collecting about R200m to meet its obligations, highlighting the extent of e-toll resistance.

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DA To March Against VAT Increase

The Democratic Alliance will mobilise and march to the National Treasury to oppose the one percent increase in VAT, from 14 to 15%. “We want to march here in Tshwane, go to Treasury and say we reject the idea of an increase in VAT because it will make out people poor,” he said.

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Eskom State Capture Inquiry To Resume

The portfolio committee on public enterprises will hear evidence presented by G9 Consulting Services, which was commissioned by Eskom. This relates to Eskom’s contract with consultancy firms McKinsey and its partner in the contract, Trillian. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) found the contract to be invalid and the payments made unlawfully.

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Set Top Boxes Wont Be Encrypted

The Department of Communications has confirmed that state-sponsored set-top boxes will not be encrypted. This is despite a long-standing ANC policy position that supports encryption. Set-top boxes are needed to decode the digital signal for television sets that do not have digital capabilities. Conditional access and encryption is crucial for pay-TV broadcasters, as it allows them to control who has access to their content.

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China Cuts Presidential Term Limits

The Communist Party moved yesterday to strike presidential term limits from China’s constitution, the only formality keeping Xi Jinping, 64, from staying on after his second term ends in 2023. While speculation about Xi’s future had been growing since he declined to elevate an heir apparent in October, the change represents a surprising break from a succession system that has facilitated more than 30 years of peaceful power transfers.

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Currencies : Bcoin R123,699 . Ether R10,495 . R/USD11.58 . R /GBP16.16 . R/EUR14.27