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Shocking Revelations From PIC Inquiry

Evidence heard so far from past and present employees has painted a bleak picture of the quality of PIC’s internal governance standards. It has also shone a light on claims of undue influence wielded by the asset manager’s former head, Dan Matjila.Two senior PIC executives were suspended in the first week of the inquiry – the group’s Head of Listed Investments, Fidelis Madavo and its Assistant Portfolio Manager, Victor Seanie. The pair learnt of their suspensions on the morning of the same day that Madavo testified. They were suspended following a probe of their roles in the PIC’s R4.3bn investment in AYO Technology Solutions in 2017. AYO is linked to businessman Survé. Survé has denied there was anything wrong with the deal.

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Boeing Admits Fault Caused Crashes

Boeing has admitted a key sensor malfunctioned on an Ethiopian Airlines flight which crashed, killing all 157 people on board. An investigation found the pilots complied with procedure but “were not able to control” Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 after it nosedived on March 10.

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Facebook To Be Fined For Terrorist Content

Technology firms including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter face “substantial” fines or a U.K. ban under a new law if they don’t act swiftly enough to remove content that encourages terrorism and child sexual exploitation and abuse. The companies’ directors could also be held personally liable if illegal content is not taken down within a short and pre-determined time-frame, the Home Office said. The exact level of fines will be examined during a 12 week consultation following the legislation’s launch on Monday. The spread of fake news and interference in elections will also be tackled.

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Eskom Power Situation Set To Get A Lot Worse

An electricity-supply crisis is looming in South Africa that could make intermittent outages in the past few months seem trivial by comparison. Eskom, which supplies almost all the nation’s power, will lose more than a quarter of its current generating capacity over the next decade as it shuts ageing coal-fired plants. Replacing that output and adding capacity needed to meet rising demand will take years and cost more than R1 trillion, according to government estimates. The problem is likely to worsen exponentially after 2030 as more plants reach retirement age.

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Zimbabwe To Compensate White Farmers After Land Grabs

Zimbabwe plans to complete land valuations by the end of May to determine the level of compensation to be paid to former white commercial farmers who lost their properties during the government’s land reform programme. “Given the significant progress made to date, it is anticipated that that this comprehensive farm improvements valuation exercise will be completed by end of May,” the government said in a statement on Sunday.

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Currencies : Rand/USD 14.17 – Rand/GBP 18.52 – Rand/EUR 15.91

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R1.4 M Reward For Duduzane and Ajay

One of the country’s richest women Magda Wierzycka is offering R900 000 of her own money to help authorities track down and arrest Ajay Gupta and Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane who are understood to be fugitives. An additional R500 000 has been offered as top-up for the the initial R500 00o by Forensic for Justice reward “for Gupta and Duduzane.” She is offering a further R200 000 “for the first bodyguard to Ajay Gupta who phones in”. She said the bodyguard will still receive the money even if the person who made the call is the “wife or girlfriend.”

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Ramaphosa Intervenes On Mining Charter

Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane was sidelined in talks between President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Chamber of Mines to open talks around the Mining Charter and to postpone a court case to review and set aside the document. Statements were issued by the Presidency and the chamber on Sunday regarding the agreed postponement of the court case and agreement between the industry body and the Department of Mineral Resources for the delay.

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Transnet Tries To Absolve Executives Of Wrongdoing

An unusual disagreement has arisen between state-owned transport company Transnet and corporate law firm Werksmans following Transnet’s statement last week that there was no cause “at this stage” for disciplinary processes or suspensions of any of its officials in connection with alleged impropriety in the R54bn procurement process of 1,064 locomotives from four original equipment suppliers in 2014.

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Mkhwebane Could Pay Own Legal Fees

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane could soon be R900,000 poorer, following a judgment that left the door open for a further order that she abused her office in her handling of the Absa-Bankorp matter. In Friday’s judgment, Pretorius ordered that Mkhwebane pay 15% of the Bank’s costs from her own pocket. The remaining 85% was to be paid by her office, which was also ordered to pay Absa’s legal fees.

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Matshela Koko Resigns

Eskom head of generation Matshela Koko on Friday became the latest executive to leave the power utility. In December, an Eskom disciplinary hearing failed to prove another set of misconduct charges against him. These included alleged failure to declare the interests of his daughter-in-law in Impulse International, a company that was doing business with Eskom.

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Cartrack Offers R9.99  Car Theft Insurance

Cartrack has launched a R9.99-a-month theft-only insurance product. The JSE-listed group on Friday said the “first-to-market innovative insurance offering for vehicle theft” targeted the uninsured market in South Africa.According to the Automobile Association of South Africa, around 70% of the more than 12-million registered vehicles in the country are uninsured.

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Currencies: Bcoin R130k . Eth R11,369 . R/USD11.66 . R/GBP16.35 . R/EUR14.47

Rand Soars As Jacob Zuma Resigns

Jacob Zuma said he had served at the behest of the ANC, that he still believed he should be removed via Parliamentary processes, but that he was resigning anyway. The rand strengthened to R11.66 against the dollar while Zuma addressed the nation, but weakened marginally to about R11.70 by the time he finished speaking.

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Morgan Tsvangirai Dies

Morgan Tsvangirai, who led Zimbabwe’s main opposition party for almost two decades has died. He was 65. A former labor union leader, Tsvangirai helped found the MDC in 1999, the first party since independence in 1980 to pose a major threat to the rule of Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.

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Hawks Hunt Duduzane Zuma And Atul Gupta

The hunt is on for Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane after the Hawks swooped on his Saxonwold mansion on Wednesday in a pre-dawn raid, but couldn’t find him. Duduzane is being sought for his alleged role in the fraud scandal at the Estina dairy farm at Vrede in the Free State, which saw politicians and businesspeople pocketing millions from the project earmarked for emerging black farmers. Atul and Ajay – the eldest of the three Gupta brothers – were negotiating to hand themselves over to the elite crime-fighting unit.

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Exxaro Disputes Eskom Coal Claims

Exxaro Resources CEO Mxolisi Mgojo has disputed claims by former Eskom executives that the power utility had an established practice of making prepayments for coal supplies. Mgojo described the way in which Eskom “unlawfully pushed Exxaro out of the coal-supply space and contracted with Tegeta at a considerably higher cost to the fiscus”.

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Viceroy Takes Fresh Swipe At Capitec

Viceroy Research says it has evidence the bank’s loan book is not reflective of its true lending practices – and has accused the lender of abusing South Africa’s debit order systems. Capitec’s stocks traded 2.5% lower on Wednesday following the publishing of the report, down to R822 from an opening of R849

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Takealot Guilty Of Fake Prices

The Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) has found Takealot guilty of selling products at higher prices than what it advertises the goods for. In a recent sponsored Facebook promotion, Takealot advertised DKNY perfume at R369 – a saving of 62% on the normal price. When a consumer tried to purchase this product, however, they had to pay over R200 more than the advertised price.

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Currencies: Bcoin R119,995 . R111,542 . R/USD11.72 . R/GBP16.43 . R/EUR14.61

 

Zuma To Address The Nation

In a televised interview with CNN, finance minister Malusi Gigaba confirmed that Pres Jacob Zuma will address the nation at 10am and is expected to resign. Gigaba further went on to say that if Zuma does not resign, the ANC will have no choice but to side with opposition parties in parliament in a vote of no confidence in Zuma

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Reserve Bank To Regulate Crypto Currencies

The South African Reserve Bank has confirmed that it will be launching a special unit to address regulation in the growing fintech space. In a statement released on Tuesday, the SARB said that the main goal of the programme is to track and analyse fintech developments and to assist policymakers in formulating frameworks in response to these emerging innovations.

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National Credit Amendment Bill Mooted

According to legal experts, the Amendment Bill, should it pass, is expected to have a significant impact on the lives of thousands of ordinary South Africans as well as large parts of the finance and banking sectors because of the wide-scale debt relief it will provide. The proposed Bill makes provision for debt intervention for consumers earning a maximum of R7,500 per month and with less than R50,000 in unsecured debt. As the proposed Bill is currently crafted, 16 million loans could qualify for debt intervention.

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Unemployment Rate Improves Slightly

SA’s unemployment rate improved to 26.7% in the fourth quarter of 2017. This was a one percentage point improvement on the unemployment rate of 27.7% recorded in the third quarter of the year. A decline in unemployment was observed across all age groups, but was highest among the youth, irrespective of educational level.

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City Of Joburg To Launch Jan Smuts Avenue Revamp

The City of Joburg will proceed with a planned expansion of Jan Smuts Avenue in the Parktown area and beyond, in a two-year project that will impact congestion levels and travel times for many residents in the area. It is expected to involve major roadworks on and around Jan Smuts, stretching from Zoo Lake to Bompas road. The drive behind the project is to alleviate traffic congestion in the area, and will be the start of a new phase in infrastructure upgrades in the city.

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KZN To Get Direct Flights To London

KwaZulu-Natal could soon have direct flights between Durban and London. “We had a very productive meeting with British Airways. They see huge potential in the Durban-London route and we are extremely optimistic that our engagements will bear fruits. For a number of years now, KwaZulu-Natal has been working on securing air services between Durban and the UK and we are happy that British Airways has finally given us the opportunity to engage them on the viability and potential of the route,” said MEC Sihle Zikalala.

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Diesel Cars On The Way Out In Europe

In 2012 European governments started reducing incentives on Diesel cars in favor of electric vehicles and consumers have shifted with those incentives. From 2015 to 2017, diesel’s market share has dropped from 51% to 44% and it is dropping every year in Europe

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Currencies: Bcoin R108,917. Ether R10,679. R/USD11.93 . R/GBP16.58 . R/EUR14.77

Ramaphosa Wins ANC Presidency Race

Ramaphosa’s victory was announced at the ANC’s elective conference in Gauteng after he nosed ahead of his opponent‚ Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Ramaphosa received 2‚440 votes and Dlamini-Zuma got 2‚261. Gwede Mantashe is the new national chairperson and Paul Mashatile the new treasurer general. Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza was elected deputy president‚ Ace Magashule is the incoming secretary general and Jessie Duarte retained her position as deputy secretary general.

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Rand Rallies On Ramaphosa Win

The rand cheered as the ANC announced the new president of the politic party following the election process that kicked of on Saturday (16 December 2017). The rand firmed 2% on Friday as the ANC prepared to elect its new leader. At 10am on Monday, the rand was trading at R13.09 against the dollar and shortly after the announcement; the rand firmed to R12.59 against the US dollar.
DA Files Criminal Charges Against Koko

DA) says it has filed criminal charges against the reinstated acting Eskom CEO Matshela Koko following what it calls the sham of a disciplinary hearing. Koko was found not guilty of all charges relating to misconduct during disciplinary procedures which led to his reinstatement.

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Biggest IPO In History 

The markets are awaiting what is expected to be the biggest public offering in history. An IPO so big it will likely make any Silicon Valley unicorn look like a blip in the market. The Saudi’s plan is to offer up to 5% of Aramco in the flotation at a currently predicted price of $100 billion. This would give Aramco a valuation of $2 trillion, making it the largest IPO ever. Initially, the sale was expected to take place in early 2018, but the anticipated date is now late 2018 or early 2019.

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Micro Insurance Closer To Reality

The long-awaited Insurance Bill was among a number of pieces of legislation passed by the National Council of Provinces at its final scheduled plenary sitting for 2017 last week – good news for lower-income South Africans, because it brings access to micro-insurance one step closer.

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New Minimum Wage For Domestic Workers

The department of labour has released the sectoral determination for domestic workers, showing the new minimum wages for domestics across South Africa – at least until the national minimum wage comes into effect. According to the latest determination, domestic workers must get paid a minimum of R1,641 up to R2,545, depending on which area you live in. This is a 5% increase from 2017’s rates.

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Currencies: R305,693. Ether R13,552. R/USD12.78 . R/GBP17.08 . R/EUR15.08

Still No Result At ANC Conference

Glitches with registration at University of Johannesburg’s Soweto campus became one of the reasons the African National Congress (ANC)’s 54th elective conference began late this weekend, with delegates from the North West questioning how fairly they will be represented during the votes at Nasrec. Some delegates were unable to get their accreditation at the weekend, claiming that bogus members were put on the list to represent their regions.

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6.7 Million On 200 Bullet Proof Vests

The South African Police Service has purchased “what could be the most expensive bulletproof vests in the world”. This is according to a report in the Sunday Times, which stated that R6.7 million was spent on 200 hi-tech lightweight vests for ballistics testing. A further order for R33 million from Indian manufacturer MKU is potentially in the works, stated the report. The Sunday Times said the SAPS paid R33,402 per vest, of which “a significant slice” went to a Durban businessman who acted as a middleman.

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Zuma Announces Free Higher Education

President Jacob Zuma has announced that government will subsidise free higher education for poor and working class students. He said in a statement on Saturday that the definition of poor and working class students will now refer to “currently enrolled TVET Colleges or university students from South African households with a combined annual income of up to R350 000” by the 2018 academic year.

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Nersa Grants Eskom 5.23% Tariff Increase

The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) has granted power parastatal Eskom an average percentage price increase of 5.23% for the 2018/19 financial year.

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FSB May Review Wiese Share Sale

Life became even tougher for Christo Wiese at the weekend when it emerged that the forced sale of 98.5-million of his Steinhoff shares is likely to be reviewed by the Financial Services Board (FSB) to determine if it contravenes insider-trading regulations.

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Slight Decrease In Petrol Price Expected

Slight decreases in the fuel price are being predicted on mixed news from the currency markets and international oil trade, the Automobile Association said on Friday. The AA was commenting on unaudited mid-month fuel price data released by the Central Energy Fund (CEF), which showed that the price both grades of petrol declining marginally in January.

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Deloitte To Be Investigated For Steinhoff Audits

Deloitte South Africa is set to be probed for its role as Steinhoff International’s auditor, City Press reported. It comes after rival firm and fellow Big Four auditing unit, KPMG, came under scrutiny for its role in state capture. KPMG was accused of aiding state capture by facilitating or ‘turning a blind eye’ to alleged money laundering by Gupta-linked companies.

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Bitcoin Futures Launches On CME

The world’s biggest exchange just joined the bitcoin revolution. Bitcoin futures started trading Sunday night at CME Group Inc.’s venue, a week after Chicago rival Cboe Global Markets Inc. introduced similar derivatives on the volatile cryptocurrency. CME is a much bigger player in futures, so many traders expect it to make a bigger splash in the nascent space.

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Currencies: Bitcoin R305,999 . Ether R11,520 . R/USD13.08 . R/GBP17.41 . R/EUR15.38

Christo Weise Resigns As Steinhoff Chair

Steinhoff International chairman and largest shareholder, billionaire Christo Wiese, is stepping down from the supervisory board following the accounting scandal that has engulfed the retail giant. The board accepted Wiese’s resignation to resolve questions of conflict of interest, the owner of furniture chains such as Mattress Firm in the US and Conforama in France said in a filing on Thursday. Heather Sonn, a member of the board and its independent subcommittee, will take the role of acting chairwoman.

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DA Suspends De Lille

The federal executive of the DA has decided to suspend City of Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille from party activities pending the outcome of ongoing investigations into a series of reports and an affidavit containing allegations of maladministration in the city, also asking her to give reasons why she shouldn’t resign as mayor. This comes after the conclusion of an investigation of the allegations by a subcommittee.

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Lungisa Fezile Appointed Standard Bank CEO

Standard Bank has appointed Lungisa Fuzile as CEO for its South African unit. A former director-general within the Treasury, Fuzile will take over from Sim Tshabalala, who has served in the role since 2008. “This appointment follows the recent changes to the group’s executive structure, which resulted in the disbanding of the joint group CEO construct,” Standard Bank Group said in a statement. Ben Kruger stepped down as joint CEO of Standard Bank Group in September, leaving Tshabalala as the sole head of Africa’s biggest bank by assets.

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Zuma, Ministers And Guptas Sued Over Eskom

The Helen Suzman Foundation and Sygnia Asset Management CEO Magda Wierzycka have approached the courts to deal with the capture of Eskom. According to an affidavit filed at the North Gauteng High Court on Thursday, the foundation and Wierzycka want the courts to set upside the “series of unlawful, improper and corrupt” exercises of public power, and to recover all the proceeds lost in order to benefit the fiscus. The application has been brought against 73 respondents including Eskom itself, President Jacob Zuma, Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba, Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, Eskom executives including Anoj Singh and Brian Molefe and former Oakbay CEO Nazeem Howa and Oakbay’s Ronica Ragavan, and both Ajay and Atul Gupta.

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University Fee Increase Capped At 8%

Universities South Africa says it’s decided to cap fees at 8% for the 2018 academic year. Last month President Jacob Zuma released the findings of the Heher Commission, which was tasked with investigating the feasibility of free higher education in South Africa.

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Govt Plans To Raise R4bn From Telkom Share Sale

South Africa is reportedly seeking to raise as much as 4 billion rand ($297 million) from the sale of part of its 39 percent stake in Telkom SA SOC Ltd. to raise funds for the country’s unprofitable state airline and post office

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Currencies: Bitcoin R263,370. Ether R9,843. R/USD13.50 . R/GBP18.10 . R/EUR15.90