Absa To Pay Back Apartheid Billions?

Absa could be forced to pay R2.25‑billion to the fiscus for an unlawful apartheid-era bank bailout. In Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s suggested remedial action she also proposes that the president should consider a commission of inquiry into apartheid-era looting of the state. Thuli Madonsela started the investigation in 2011 which centered around The Ciex report. It claimed that the loans were fraudulently given as to gifts to various shareholders, banks and businesses. The Ciex report found that Sanlam and Absa benefited from the deal and that the money should be clawed back by the government. The report is preliminary and Absa has said its inaccurate and denied wrongdoing.

Zuma Backs Nkosazana, Says Not Policy For Deputy To Be President

Zuma said yesterday that “Anyone who is nominated can contest. There is no policy. It’s not true that it’s a tradition.” He went on to say it was a coincidence that former presidents Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki were succeeded by their deputies. When he was asked about a woman president he said “In the ANC that is no longer the issue. It has been accepted that women can hold senior positions.” Interesting how the divisions are playing out so openly and the senior leadership seems to be speaking in different voices.

ANCWL Calls For Probe Into SAA

The ANC Women’s League has called for Judicial Commission of Inquiry or Parliament Inquiry to investigate various disturbing allegations of corruption and anti-transformation at SAA. In a 12-point corruption report, the Women’s League has damned South African Airways for an alleged R232 million conflict of interest, poor transformation policies and “ghost workers”. This is the first useful thing the women’s league have done in years.

Zimbabweans Force Networks To Drop Data Prices

Zimbabwean consumers have forced mobile companies to drop their data prices after new “floor” data tariffs approved by the Zimbabwe government sent data prices soaring. Econet Wireless, the biggest telco in Zimbabwe had implemented the new charges and was charging $5 for 250MB and 50 cents for 5MB and users didn’t hold back in their attack of the company. By this morning, all mobile operators had reverted to the old and promotional data tariffs.

Drug Cartels Looting Mexico Gas Lines 

Mexico’s government removed subsidies on fuel which was costing them an estimated annual amount of 200 billion pesos ($9 billion) to help stabilize rising public debt and foster competition and private investment in the fuel market.Since then, the black market has exploded with several states experiencing gasoline shortages at the end of last year as more thieves tapped into state-owned Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) pipelines. The stolen fuel was sold to drivers hoping to save money. Pipeline theft in 2015 increased seven-fold, to more than 5,500 taps, from just 710 in 2010. Hectic!

Summary

Absa sceletons are coming back to haunt them and the new Public Protector may actually be doing something useful after all. Speaking of useful women, The ANCWL arent happy with SAA. A bit late considering the whole country has been raising this issue for ages. The Mexico and Zim situations are similar. if you get people used to something and sweep it from underneath them, you get chaos! The Zim govt responded, now for Mexico to do the same.

Currencies & Stuff

Oil 55.92 . Gold 1195.70 . Silver 16.72 . Rand/USD 13.50 . Rand/GBP 16.41 . Rand/EUR 14.36

Guptas Lied About Selling Their Shares

The Gupta’s were a big part of the news cycle last year and controversy led them to announce plans to sell all shares in their business operations by the end of 2016. It has emerged that this hasn’t happened and they are nowhere near “leaving the country” as they said they would. The Gupta family remains committed to disposing of its shareholdings in South Africa as soon as is practically possible” as spokesperson said. I read this to mean that they will leave as soon as the nuclear deal is done.

Cell C Blames Increases Data Prices

The price of Cell C’s SmartData Bundles has increased with the cheapest 25MB bundle rising by R2 to R10, and biggest bundle of 500MB increasing by R9 to R99. Cell C’s SmartData Contracts have also increased with SmartData 500MB now costing R45, up from R39. Meanwhile, 1GB now costs R75 and 10GB, which previously cost R299, is now priced at R349 per month. Cell C cited “Rising inflation, the rand, US Dollar exchange and uncertainty in the industry over the allocation of spectrum” as reasons for the price increases. R9 to R99? That’s rubbish guys!

UCT To Pilot New Funding Model

 

February 24 is the deadline for applications to the Ikusasa student financial aid programme, a scheme devised by Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande’s funding task team. It will be used to fund students from households with annual income of between R122,000 and R600,000 – the so-called missing middle. UCT students eligible to apply must be studying medicine, actuarial science, engineering or occupational therapy. Great initiative but still falls short unfortunately. We just need more universities to be built because so many students wont even get in, regardless of the funding issue.

Allan Gray Voted Best Asset Manager

Allan Gray scored the top spots in investment research firm Morningstar’s SA Rating Analysis of unit trusts’ returns for the quarter ended December 2016. The report compares funds’ risk-adjusted returns over three, five and 10 years on a rolling quarterly basis. Coronation topped the fixed-income rankings for the quarter ended December 2016, while Allan Gray was placed first in the multi-asset category for the third quarter running.

Army Worms Threaten Southern Africa Crops

Farmers in southern Africa face a growing threat amid an outbreak of armyworms, a destructive pest that’s spread to Zimbabwe while continuing to decimate fields in neighboring Zambia. The black-striped caterpillars have infested 124,000 hectares (306,400 acres) of Zambian fields out of 1.4 million planted hectares, up from an estimated 90,000 hectares last week. This is disastrous for a region already facing a drought and heading towards winter. Very worrying!

Woolworths Sales Up More Than 6%

Woolworths sales are up 6.7% compared to last year. Its clothing and merchandise, and food sales each grew by 3.5% and 9.5% respectively. However sales growth for department store chain David Jones and clothing group Country Road were negatively impacted by the timing of Boxing Day, they said. David Jones sales growth was down 2.7% and sales growth for Country Road was down by 1.1%.

Summary

When it rains it pours and those worms are just adding to a bad situation. Seems its the same for us with the Gupta’s who just wont go away. Maybe we need to ask Allan Gray to find us a pesticide company for the Gupta’s and the worms! Heck, maybe Woolworths can stock it too since their sales are doing so well.

Currencies & Stuff

Oil 55.38 . Gold 1199.20 . Silver 16.80 . Rand/USD 13.63 . Rand/GBP 16.65 . Rand/EUR 14.49

MMM Pyramid Scheme Back In S.A

MMM, the online pyramid scheme that collapsed in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Nigeria in 2016, is attempting to reboot its scheme by offering a Bitcoin-based currency. This new currency wont allow users to recoup the money they lost when it shut down last year. In essence, you’re an idiot if you join MMM and deserve the losses you incur!

Total Buys Ugandan Oil Project For $900m 

Total SA has agreed to buy a stake in a project in Uganda from Tullow Oil Plc for $900 million. Total will pay an initial $100 million in cash, with another $100 million split equally when the project gets sanctioned and when it first starts pumping oil. The remaining $700 million is a “deferred consideration,” used by Tullow to fund its share of the costs. With the oil price increasing, companies will also ramp up acquisitions.

Bain & Co Charge R12m To Manage SAA, Mango & SA Express Merger

It will cost government R12.1m to make use of the services of Bain and Company, the Boston-based consultancy firm appointed to manage the merger of South Africa’s three state airlines – SAA, Mango and SA Express. Both SAA and SA Express are surviving on state debt guarantees. SAA in the past two financial years made a combined financial loss of over R7bn, while Mango recorded a loss of R36.9m.

Drunk Driving Could Possibly Be Classified Similarly To Rape & Murder

The Department of Transport wants to reclassify drunken driving as a schedule 5 offence, the same category as rape and murder, in a raft of measures aimed at reducing deaths on South African roads. Road fatalities rose 5% in the 2016-17 festive season where 1,714 people were killed. My question is this. You only do visible policing drives in holiday periods and expect people to change their behavior? Why not do that all year round and implement the laws that are there already? So many people can attest to driving drunk and never having been arrested because the cops just don’t do their jobs!

Niger Delta Fighters Threaten To Shut Down Nigeria Oil Production

The group known as The Niger Delta Avengers have blown up a pipeline operated by the Italian oil company Eni and also set off explosions on a pipeline operated by Shell Petroleum. The Niger Delta Avengers have promised to disrupt the country’s entire oil production which is a disaster for Nigeria which is already struggling with a recession.

Volkswagen Reaches $4.3 billion U.S. Settlement Over Diesel Emissions

Volkswagen has negotiated a $4.3 billion draft settlement with U.S. regulators to resolve its diesel emissions troubles and plans to plead guilty to criminal misconduct. Volkswagen said with the addition of the fine, its diesel costs will exceed the nearly 18.2 billion euros ($19.2 billion) it has set aside to handle the problem. We need stricter measures to protect consumers in South Africa. If that was the case, we wouldn’t have this Kuga issue.

Summary

Only idiots would buy into MMM and they should be prosecuted like drunk drivers for being that stupid. There’s a lot of oil news about with Total and Niger Delta Avengers getting themselves involved. The less said about SAA the better!

Currencies & Indicators

Oil 53.77 – Gold 1190.30 – Silver 16.81 – Rand/USD 13.71 – Rand/GBP 16.65 – Rand/EUR 14.47

40 More Ford Kugas Burst Into Flames

Last year i reported on a Kuga fire that took the life of a driver. There have been 40 more cars that burst into flames since then and it emerged that Ford in the U.S actually recalled their version of the Kuga for the same reason. Ford South Africa has been accused of misleading investigators and withholding information in the case regarding the fires and there is now a fight between Ford and Investigators. Whats worse is that people trying to sell their Kugas are guaranteed to lose out because its known as the car that bursts into flames and resale values will plummet.

Alibaba Plans To Create Over 1000 Jobs After Trump Meeting

Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma met U.S. President-elect Donald Trump yesterday and laid out the company’s new plan to bring a million small U.S. businesses onto its platform to sell to Chinese consumers over the next five years. They expect the initiative to create a million U.S. jobs as each company adds a position. Interesting how Trump is going about his presidency. Trump also announced that his son-in-law  Jared Kushner will be one of his senior White House advisers. That news didn’t go down well.

Mars Chocolate Maker Buys Into Pet Hospital Network

Mars, better known for candies such as M&Ms and Snickers, is buying pet hospital operator VCA for $7.7 billion (R105 billion). Mars already owns Whiskas and Pedigree pet food as well as a network of more than 900 pet clinics. With this purchase they will gain another 800 pet hospitals and dominate the U.S pet market. Talk about diversifying your business model.

December New Vehicle Sales Drop 15.3%

2016 was a horrible year and new vehicle sales have shown this with the overall figure of 41,639 translating to a 15.3% drop on the previous December. As a result, full-year 2016 sales were 11.4% lower than 2015. The good news, by comparison, was that vehicle exports improved 3.3% in 2016, to a record 344,822.

Grace Mugabe Grabs More Houses In Diamond Ring Dispute

This story is just ridiculous. Zimb first lady Grace Mugabe has allegedly grabbed two more properties from a Lebanese businessman after a botched $1.3-million diamond ring deal. This started when Grace paid $1.3m for the ring using her local bank account. She then demanded a refund after deciding that she no longer wanted it. Ahmed, however, refused, saying anti-money laundering laws did not allow him to do so and opted to pay the First Lady in installments through a third party. Grace refused, resulted in her seizing Ahmed’s properties. The courts have ordered her to give the properties back but she reacted by grabbing two more properties. What a wow. Disgraceful!

Yahoo To Change Its Name To Altaba

The not so useful email and news provider Yahoo has announced that, pending its sale to Verizon, the company will change its name to Altaba Inc. Yahoo also announced that six board members – David Filo, Eddy Hartenstein, Richard Hill, Marissa Mayer (CEO), Jane Shaw, and Maynard Webb – will step down following the sale. The size of the board will be reduced to five directors after the sale. The less said about Yahoo the better.

Summary

If you have a Kuga you’re kinda screwed because you’re stuck with a tin can that’s trying to fry you and Ford refuses to help. Maybe ask Jack Ma for help since he’s all to willing to lend a hand to Trump! We all know h’es got teeny tiny ones. Okay that was a corny joke but its nowhere near as hilarious as Grace who has fallen from her name just as hard as Yahoo has!

Currencies

Rand/USD 13.62 – Rand/GBP 16.52 – Rand/EUR 14.45

SA Leads Global Gym Income Numbers

The Economist has reported that South Africa leads the global gym membership craze. Globally there are over 180000 fitness clubs, estimated to have earned over $84 billion from their 145 million members! One in 7 people in the UK have a gym membership, the U.S has 1 in 5. South Africa tops the charts in revenue from gym members with an estimated $931 million made by gyms in this country. Begs the question, if 1 in 5 Americans have a membership and they are still making less than S.A, are we getting raped on membership fees? I think we are!

New Gap Cover Limits Imposed By Govt

Treasury  has gazetted final demarcation regulations ending years of uncertainty on the future of gap cover. Gap cover, which covers clients for co-payments/shortfalls incurred for in-hospital private doctors’ bills, and hospital cash plans, which pay clients a lump sum per day they spend in hospital, will continue to exist, but strict regulations will be enforced. New rules state that hospital cash-back plans are limited to paying their clients a maximum of R3 000 per day, or a total lump sum of R20 000 per year. There were no limits before. Gap cover policies will now be limited to a payout of R150 000 per annum per client. I wonder if the fees will also reduce since there isn’t a limit and these policies therefore cant be abused as much as they used to.

Zim’s Biggest Bank Suspends Use Of Visa Cards

CBZ Holdings, Zimbabwe’s largest bank, suspended the use of Visa cards for local transactions as the country struggles to cope with a cash shortage. The measures takes effect from January 15 although customers will be able to make transactions abroad, with daily limits of $250 at ATMs, $1 000 for point-of-sale business and $500 for payments over the internet. Zim is basically working off the black market and banks are secondary. Its ridiculous!

Further Petrol Price Increase Expected In Feb

As if the massive price hike we saw this month wasn’t enough, another one is coming. According to data released by the Central Energy Fund on Friday, another hefty one can be expected in early February. Currently the underrecovery on petrol is 56c-57c a litre, while that on diesel is 44c-45c and illuminating paraffin 42c. Basically we can expect plus minus those types of increases in Feb if current market conditions continue and the oil price goes up further. All those Vrrrr Phaaaa guys will be making less noise if these numbers come to pass. Yikes!

Rainbow Chicken Cutting Jobs Due To Chicken Imports 

One of South Africa’s biggest chicken producers is selling 15 of its 25 farms in Hammarsdale to stay afloat after fighting years of dumping by importers. Rainbow Chicken is retrenching 1350 workers from the end of the month. About 53 0000 tons of chicken were imported last year – one and a third of what was produced annually by Astral Foods. This is a serious crisis that government is just not doing anything about. Something needs to be done as jobs are being lost. Chickens need chicken feed from farms and other things to stay alive. Imagine how many industries and jobs are being affected all because we let America dump their crappy and poisonous stuff here.

Looting And Protests As Mexico Increases Fuel Price By 20%

Authorities arrested more than 250 people for robbery and acts of vandalism around the country this week. Officials announced in December that they were planning to increase gas prices, in some cases more than 20%. And we think things are bad in S.A!

Trump Admits Taxpayers Will Pay For “The Wall”

Donald Trump said on Friday that he intends for U.S. taxpayers to fund the construction of his proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. That money, Trump tweeted, “will be paid back by Mexico later!” The tweet Trump wrote on Friday morning followed multiple reports detailing how members of his transition team have been working with congressional Republicans to come up with a way to use taxpayer dollars to pay for building the wall. Hahahaha..As if we didn’t see this one coming. You reap what you sew America!

Summary

If you’re not intending on going to the gym, don’t get a membership you don’t need. And if you do go to the gym, it will be cheaper and better for you to walk or jog there if its possible because fuel prices are crazy, ask the Mexicans! Lastly, when youre at the gym having paid out your bum for fuel, consider yourself lucky that you arent in America with Trump as a president. Their next four years is going to be hell on earth! Oh, buy some local chicken on your way back home from the gym. Chicken Licken is quite nice.

Currencies : ZAR/EUR 14,50 – ZAR/USD 13,75 – ZAR/GBP 16,75