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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DaVinci Painting Sells For Record $450.3m

That was the reaction of mega art dealer Larry Gagosian after a rediscovered painting by Leonardo da Vinci became the most expensive work ever sold, soaring to $450.3m (almost R6.5bn) at a Christie’s auction in New York on Wednesday.

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McKinsey Will Repay Eskom Money

Global consultancy firm McKinsey has set aside the R1bn that Eskom has demanded that it repay and was keen to do so, the head of the firm’s public and social sector practice, David Fine, said on Wednesday. Fine was giving evidence at the inquiry into state capture held by Parliament’s public enterprises portfolio committee. The money was paid for McKinsey’s work on a turnaround plan, but the Treasury had not approved the contract. “McKinsey does not want any tainted money. We went into a relationship with Eskom in good faith,” Fine said.

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Bitcoin Soaring In Zimbabwe After Coup

Demand for Bitcoin in Zimbabwe has surged amid a shortage of hard currency. Golix processed more than $1 million of transactions in the past 30 days, compared with turnover of $100,000 for the whole of 2016, according to data on the exchange’s website. Zimbabwe doesn’t have its own currency, with the government adopting the US dollar and South African rand, among others, as legal tender in 2009 after hyperinflation rendered the local dollar worthless.

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Eskom Set To Make Massive Losses

The low electricity price increase granted by energy regulator Nersa for the 2016/17 financial year, coupled with declining sales volumes, rising costs and debtor payment challenges, are all working to put Eskom’s revenue, cash flow and bottom line under severe pressure. As a result, the Eskom Group profit of R6.38bn for the six-month period ending 30 September 2017 is projected to reflect a loss of some R3.55bn by financial year-end.

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Naspers Hits record High

Tencent sales for the quarter were 65.2 billion yuan ($9.8 billion), compared to analyst expectations for 61 billion yuan. Net income surged 69 percent to 18 billion yuan, also blowing past projections for 15.8 billion yuan. Tencent’s shares closed 1.3 percent lower, before earnings were announced. Naspers Ltd., a major stockholder in the company, climbed as much as 4.1 percent to a record high in Johannesburg.

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MTN To Introduce Biometric Security

Cellphone service MTN has announced it is today introducing “an industry-first biometric system” to protect its customers against ID theft. The biometrics will be used to authenticate the identity of post-paid subscribers when they undertake a range of transactions‚ including applying for a new contract or an additional SIM‚ performing an upgrade or SIM swap and loading of chargeable value added services.

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Currencies : Bitcoin – R112,999 . Rand/USD 14.39 . Rand/GBP 18.91 . Rand/EUR 16.94

Zuma Must Give Gordhan Recall Reasons

The High Court in Pretoria has given President Jacob Zuma until next Thursday to submit all documents containing his reasons for dismissing former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas. Initially, he cited an alleged fake intelligence report claiming Gordhan and his deputy were not acting in the best interests of the country and were trying to effect regime change.

Source : https://goo.gl/UBMcrp

Pioneer Profits Drop 40-45%

Pioneer Foods has cautioned its shareholders to expect a decline in earnings for the six months to end March. The company said it anticipated that its operating profit for the period to ease between 40 percent and 45 percent, down from R1.24 billion reported in 2016. The group said it attributed the decline to an impact of the Phase1 B-BBEE share-based payment charge and merger and acquisitions costs during the period.

Source : https://goo.gl/o5lJtP

China Launches First Major Commercial Jet

China’s first large jetliner has successfully completed its maiden flight, a key moment in the country’s push to challenge the U.S. and Europe as a global manufacturer. With the flight, China joins the ranks of the few nations that have developed homegrown large airliners: the U.S., Russia, Brazil, Canada, the U.K., France and Germany. Made by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac), the 168-seat C919 is roughly the same size as Airbus’s A320 and Boeing’s 737-800, which are the most popular airliners in the world.

Source : https://goo.gl/7tBFG2

Gauteng To Spend R46bn On Infrastructure Projects

The Gauteng provincial government will spend R46-billion on infrastructure over the next three years, Premier David Makhura said on Thursday. Makhura said it was important to note that the Gauteng Infrastructure Master Plan estimates that R1.8-trillion is needed to meet the province’s infrastructure needs over the next decade-and-a-half. Makhura pointed out that between 2013 and 2016, the Gauteng government spent R30-billion on infrastructure project developments.

Source : https://goo.gl/2VIx1S

Mugabe Defiant At WEF

Mugabe was a panellist on a debate about fragile states in the main hall at the International Convention Centre that included diverse voices from former AFDB head Donald Kaberuka to Hollywood actor Forest Whittaker. The first question went to Mugabe about whether he thought Zimbabwe, with its economic troubles, is a fragile state. “We are not a poor country, you can’t call us a fragile state, you can call America a fragile state,” says Mugabe to chuckles from the hundreds in the audience. Mugabe pointed to his country’s vast resources, 14 universities and 90 per cent literacy rate.

Source : https://goo.gl/XdcPxj

Oil Price Collapses Below $45

Oil slid below $45 a barrel for the first time since OPEC agreed to cut output in November as US shale confounds the producer group’s attempts to prop up prices. Prices are still more than 50% below their peak in 2014, when surging shale output triggered crude’s biggest collapse in a generation and left rival producers such as Saudi Arabia scrambling to protect market share.

Source : https://goo.gl/wIinzC

CurrenciesRand/USD 13.64 – Rand/GBP 17.63 – Rand/EUR 14.98

 

 

 

Joemat-Petersen Lies Exposed By Kubayi

The government has admitted for the first time that the secret disposal of 10.3-million barrels of SA’s strategic oil reserves by the Strategic Fuel Fund (SFF) in December 2015 had indeed been a sale and not a “rotation of stock”, as former energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson repeatedly had asserted to justify her approval of the deal. Newly appointed Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi apologised to MPs and Parliament on Tuesday for their having been misled about the nature of the transaction. This was after DA energy spokesman Gordon Mackay expressed concern that the energy portfolio committee had been misled.

Source : https://goo.gl/7qiwSZ

S.A May Appeal Court Ruling On Nuclear

South Africa’s government may appeal last week’s court judgment declaring a cooperation pact with Russia’s state-owned nuclear company Rosatom unlawful, the energy minister said on Tuesday. South Africa and Russia signed an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) in 2014 for cooperation between Rosatom and South African utility Eskom, which aims to build 9 600 MW of nuclear capacity to wean the African nation off coal.

Source : https://goo.gl/cTKcIb

McDonalds Accused Of Overcharging Franchisees

McDonald’s should be investigated for gouging franchisees on rents and deceiving them about how the amounts are calculated, a labour union said in letters to two state attorneys general. US franchisees paid the world’s biggest fast-food chain more than $3bn in rents last year, a rate of return on McDonald’s real-estate investments that’s as much as triple the industry average. McDonalds has denied the allegations.

Source : https://goo.gl/gDDkhG

MTN Releases Encouraging Revenue Numbers

MTN has released its quarterly update for the period ended 31 March 2017. The company stated that it currently serves approximately 237 million people in 22 countries across Africa and the Middle East. Group total revenue increased by 7.1%, with data revenues up 29.4% year-on-year. Data revenue contributed 20% to total revenue, said MTN.

Source : https://goo.gl/j0W4In

Look & Listen To Close Final Store

The Look & Listen at Hillfox Value Centre – the last one in South Africa – will soon close, marking the end of an era. Look & Listen was started nearly 50 years ago by Rob Ziegler. In February 2013, Look & Listen halted its online purchases, and in June 2014, the company was placed under business rescue.

Source : https://goo.gl/Rjzy4x

Indicators : Oil50.87 – Rand/USD 13.32 – Rand/GBP 17.16 – Rand/EUR 14.56

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

 

 

Acting Eskom CEO’s Daughter Gets Eskom Tenders

The stepdaughter of Eskom boss Mantshela Koko has raked in contracts worth about a R1-billion for her company from the state utility. The appointment of Koketso Choma, 26,  as a director at Impulse International last April was followed by the company netting eight lucrative contracts at Eskom over 11 months. The work, valued at  R1-billion, all came from a division of Eskom that Koko headed up until he was appointed acting CEO in December.

Source : https://goo.gl/XwLLFS

Old Mutual Close To Separation 

Old Mutual has taken another step in dismantling its business structure with the sale of its 25% stake in Old Mutual Asset Management (OMAM) worth $446m (R5.5bn) to HNA Capital US. Old Mutual, which has £395bn under management, said the transaction will reduce its shareholding from 50.8% to 25.9%

Source : https://goo.gl/kXLAEY

Rand Continues Winning Run

The rand continued its winning ways on Monday morning as it powered through the R12.35/$ level for the first time since July 2015. The latest bout of the rand strength has been partly traced to a weaker dollar, which is reeling from the expectation that the Federal Reserve will increase US rates gradually this year.

Source : https://goo.gl/7qSTcq

Ford Facing Lawsuits From Insurance Companies

Auto & General and Dialdirect, both part of insurance giant Telesure, have dealt with two and one fire-related EcoSport claims respectively, from May and July last year, and the third last month. They said Ford South Africa was informed of each incident.

Source : https://goo.gl/uW8EiS

Pipe Manufacturers Found Guilty of Collusion

The Competition Tribunal has found Dawn Consolidated Holdings (DCH), through its subsidiary DPI Plastics, and Sangio Pipes guilty of colluding to divide markets in South Africa between 2007 and 2012. The tribunal found that a shareholders’ agreement between DCH and Sangio, in which DCH held a 49% interest at the time, had the effect of dividing the market for the manufacture of regular HDPE pipes, in contravention of the Competition Act.

Source : https://goo.gl/DEeI2P

Indicators : Oil 50.80 – Rand/USD 12.36 – Rand/GBP 15.49 – Rand/EUR 13.42

Namibia Demands Germany Reparations

Namibia is to launch a $30 billion lawsuit against Germany over genocide committed during colonial rule, when tens of thousands of people were killed. The Namibian government has previously avoided demanding financial compensation, but it changed its stance as two indigenous groups filed a class-action suit in New York against Germany. Over 65,000 people are believed to have been killed when colonial Germany massacred Namibian tribes such as the Herero and Nama between 1904 and 1908. Namibian Vice President Nickey Iyambo issued a statement on Friday saying it had sent a report to Germany last year on the genocide, an official apology and reparations.

Source : https://goo.gl/VLC1Cx

Lambo Picture Gets ORT Suspect Caught

The suspected kingpin behind the audacious OR Tambo International Airport cash heist has been arrested after posting pictures of himself with a new R5-million Lamborghini on social media. The suspect, was arrested Sunday at his luxury Blue Valley Estate home in Centurion near Pretoria just hours after he posted pictures of himself and friends on social media with his new wheels.

Source : https://goo.gl/BDAstH.

Public Protector To Investigate Ministers Ties To CPS

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is to investigate the relationship between Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini and Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), the company that administers the payment of social grants. In 2015, Sassa had assured the court it would take over the payment of grants from April 1 2017, but it came to light earlier this year that the agency would be unable to do this and had to extend the CPS contract. The Constitutional Court judgment was scathing of Dlamini’s conduct, saying the ultimate responsibility for the “crisis” lay with her.

Source : https://goo.gl/5dcZ6Y

Home Affairs To Deport Zimbabweans On Special Permits

Home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba is expected to announce changes to the country’s position on Zimbabwe special permits (ZSPs) before the end of the month – with all indications that there is no room for extension. The ZSP was first introduced in October 2014, as a three year permit that would allow Zimbabwean nationals living in the country to legally work, own a businesses and study in South Africa, despite not carrying a valid visa. 

Source : https://goo.gl/Pf77yp

Eskom Signs R6 Billion Deal With French Agency

Eskom has signed a R6-billion multi-tranche framework agreement with the French Agency for Development (AFD).“This multi-tranche loan facility will contribute towards Eskom plans to strengthen and refurbish the transmission infrastructure while diversifying our funding structures,” said Eskom CFO Anoj Singh. AFD’s funding will focus on transmission lines and substations that support grid strengthening in areas where the development of future renewable-energy sources is envisaged, as well as supporting the facilitation of cross-border transmission projects.

Source : https://goo.gl/dAUdCi

Indicators Oil 51.53 – Rand/USD 12.66 – Rand/GBP 15.68 –Rand/EUR 13.63