Prasa Board Dissolved

On Wednesday, in a dramatic turn of events, Parliament’s portfolio committee on transport called for an investigation into the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (Prasa) board, following a marathon meeting which exposed infighting at the helm of the troubled agency. This came after Transport Minister Dipuo Peters told the committee, through the department’s acting director-general Mathabatha Mokonyama, that the Prasa board would be dissolved.

Source : https://goo.gl/aj8mNI

ConCourt Orders Social Development Minister To Appear Before Court

South Africa’s top court ordered the government and the nation’s welfare agency to explain how a crisis that’s threatening welfare-grant payments to more than 17 million people came about and what’s been done to fix the problem. In papers filed Wednesday, the court asked who at the welfare agency decided it was incapable of paying out the monthly stipends itself, when the decision was taken and why the court wasn’t notified. It also asked whether the state agency has concluded a new disbursement contract with Net1’s Cash Paymaster Services unit and, if so, to provide it with all details.

Source : https://goo.gl/H06yr1

Whatsapp Plans To Allow Businesses To Chat To Consumers Directly

WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging service used by more than 1 billion people worldwide, is testing a system that would let businesses talk directly to WhatsApp users for the first time, according to communications about the project seen by Reuters. One potential revenue source is to charge businesses that want to contact customers on WhatsApp. But the company is working carefully to avoid problems with spam messages, the documents show.

Source : https://goo.gl/hRdCtR

Allan Grey Defends Net 1 Investment

Allan Gray has defended its decision to invest in Net1 UEPs, the controversial parent company of social grants distributor Cash Paymaster Services (CPS). Allan Gray, which had assets under management totalling R461.7bn at June 2016, holds a 15.6% stake in the company on behalf of investors.

Source : https://goo.gl/7SZpmE

Indicators : Oil 53.40 – Rand/USD 13.21 – Rand/GBP 16.01 – Rand/EUR 13.90

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R24 Million Cash Heist At O.R Tambo

Police are investigating after R24 million in cash was stolen from a plane at OR Tambo International Airport on Tuesday evening. After the SAA flight landed, people in a marked police vehicle intercepted the money. A white Mercedes-Benz is believed to have been used in the operation. Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said a high-level investigation, involving all law enforcement agencies, was underway. He declined to divulge further information.

Source : https://goo.gl/yHe4NS

MTN Announces New CEO

MTN has announced that Godfrey Motsa is the new CEO of MTN SA and he will start at MTN on 13 March. The announcement follows the news that current MTN SA CEO Mteto Nyati is leaving the company to join Altron. Motsa is currently VP of the SEA region at MTN Group.

Source : https://goo.gl/JKAf9z

Gauteng Budget Released

Infrastructure and Education take up the biggest slice in the Gauteng R108-billion provincial budget for 2017/18, which this year included the addition of R10-billion to departmental baselines.Finance MEC Barbara Creecy said R44.4-billion had been set aside for infrastructure spend over the 2017 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework.

Source : https://goo.gl/rDhzKC

Racing Pigeon Bought For R5 Million

Two South African pigeon farmers paid a record R5 million to buy a racing pigeon in Belgium. The Belgian pigeon, called “Golden Prince” was put up for auction by conservation group Pipa, and with a closing bid of €360,000 (R4.94 million), has now become the most expensive pigeon ever sold, replacing the former record holder “Bolt”, which sold for €310,000 (R4.25 million) in 2010.

Source : https://goo.gl/SVKWA8

Wikileaks Publishes Biggest Ever Leak Of CIA Documents

The thousands of leaked documents focus mainly on techniques for hacking and reveal how the CIA cooperated with British intelligence to engineer a way to compromise smart televisions and turn them into improvised surveillance devices. The revelations in the documents include : CIA hackers targeted smartphones and computers and the Center for Cyber Intelligence, based at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, has a second covert base in the US consulate in Frankfurt which covers Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Source : https://goo.gl/XENhWD

Trump Releases Details Of Plan To Replace Obamacare – It Sucks

After months of wait for an official Republican plan to replace Obamacare, the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means committees unleashed legislation dubbed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) late Monday that would nix the existing health law’s unpopular mandate to buy insurance and pare back its far more popular expansion of Medicaid for the working poor, among other provisions. Health experts have said “It will be the biggest transfer of wealth from low- and middle-income people to wealthy people in our country. Show us the numbers as to how many people will be thrown off. It couldn’t be worse.”

Source : https://goo.gl/q4zKwd

IndicatorsOil 55.63 – Rand/USD 12.97 – Rand/GBP 15.78 – Rand/EUR 13.69

E-Toll Fees Quietly Increased By 6%

Sanral has announced increases for Gauteng e-toll gantries and other national toll roads in South Africa, which take effect as of 3 March. Some Sanral users – not all – received notification of the increases via e-mail on Friday (3 march), the day of the adjustments. The new tariff prices also do not provide any historical data of the prices, and their increases over a period of time. Sanral’s only justification was that the adjustments were published in the Government Gazette on 16 February. The e-toll tariff hikes are around 6% across the board, in line with inflation.

Source : https://goo.gl/iGrOM6

SAA Internal Investigations Have Cost Over R21m In 4 Years

Between the period 2013 and 2016 SAA have spent more than R21m on forensic and internal investigations, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said in a parliamentary response. The investigations are among other things into the irregular awarding of tenders, the leasing back of aircrafts, procurement transactions and allegations by whistle-blowers.

Source : https://goo.gl/ZmBMhE

Ascendis Buys Cipla Units For R375 Million

Ascendis is buying Cipla Agrimed and Cipla Vet for R375 million as it sees the deal as an “excellent strategic fit” for its Phyto-Vet division. Ascendis says its strategy is to create a synergistic group of health product brands that cover the value chain from imports of raw materials, manufacturing and distribution to consumers via retail and direct selling channels, spanning across human, plant and animal health.

Source : https://goo.gl/pioeby

Record Number Of Americans Forfeiting Their Citizenship

As the White House engages in a fierce fight to restrict travel into the U.S. by citizens of some Muslim-majority countries, a record number of Americans are voluntarily renouncing their citizenship. Last year, 5,411 people “expatriated” by renouncing their U.S. citizenship or terminating long-term residency in the U.S. This marks a 26 percent jump from the record set in 2015, when 4,279 individuals expatriated.

Source : https://goo.gl/a2nFm2

Ford Recalls More Kuga’s Over Brake Issue

Ford South Africa has issued new warning letters to owners of its 2.0-litre diesel-powered Kuga SUVs for to resolve a potential “brake problem”. The brake issue is said to affect 848 Kuga models, manufactured in Spain, built from 2014 to 2015, said Ford in an official statement.

Source : https://goo.gl/EHVccg

Cybercrime Could Cost The World R78 Trillion In 4 Years

The cybercrimes industry is expected cost business up to $6trn (R78trn) by 2021. The statistic was mentioned by Paolo Passeri, Cisco’s consulting systems engineer for cloud security, at the Cisco Connect South Africa conference currently being held in Sun City. He mentioned a recent case where a smart TV, powered by the Android operating system, was taken hostage by cybercriminals.

Source : https://goo.gl/mKAp5m

Indicators : Oil 55.86 – Rand/USD 12.98 – Rand/GBP 15.83 – Rand/EUR 13.73

 

SASSA And CPS Agree 2 Year Deal

Net1 UEPS subsidiary Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) and the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) agreed to the terms of a new two-year contract, but these terms have to be agreed to by National Treasury, a report reveals. There were no details of exactly how much this new deal will cost but CPS claim that the amount is below the reported R25. The major stumbling block is that treasury has already said they wont sign off on an illegal deal so i dont understand how Bathabile Dlamini can claim that grants will definitely be paid when treasury refuses to comply.

Source : https://goo.gl/SvMpwj

Mercedes Recalls Cars Catching Fire

Daimler AG said it is recalling 1 million new-model Mercedes-Benz vehicles worldwide due to the risk of fire. Of the 1 million vehicles, 307,629 are in the United States. Of the 51 fires, 30 were reported in the US, said Mercedes-Benz. The report did not state which models are affected.

Source : https://goo.gl/vuYj47

Department Of Public Works To Discipline Officials Over Nkandla

The Department of Public Works has finally started to discipline officials implicated in the Nkandla scandal. The Special Investigating Unit reportedly recommended that 15 civil cases be opened, 44 criminal cases be opened, and 64 disciplinary processes be pursued against officials. 92 cases are pending or outstanding and 31 other cases have been finalised

Source : https://goo.gl/4QhQx6

New Welfare System For SA By 2019

South Africa plans to bring in a new welfare-payments system over the next two years and hasn’t yet signed a new interim contract with Net 1 UEPS Technologies, the government said. Cash Paymaster Services, a unit of Net 1, will continue making payments while new social-grants arrangements are implemented, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini told reporters in Pretoria on Sunday.

Source : https://goo.gl/xu7bWm

Ford Working On 3D Printed Car Parts

Ford is using the Infinite Build system provided by Stratasys to test 3D printing in the vehicle manufacturing process. Advantages of 3D printing include cost-effective production and lighter components, as 3D printed car parts will weigh less than their cast metal counterparts. The technology is not fast enough for high-volume manufacturing yet, but is more cost-efficient for low-volume production.

Source : https://goo.gl/7ySnRO

Bitcoin Worth More Than Gold

Bitcoin’s price equaled that of an ounce of gold on Friday, trading at $1,238 per bitcoin. Gold’s price per ounce was $1,237. The move follows a break to new all-time highs for the price of bitcoin, which began the year by crossing the $1,000 mark.

Source : https://goo.gl/4uuZlg

Indicators : Oil 55.76 – Rand/USD 13.03 – Rand/GBP 15.97 – Rand/EUR 13.81

Cosatu Officialy Accept Minimum Wage

South Africa’s main labor union federation accepted a government-proposed minimum wage of about 3,500 rand ($268) a month. While Cosatu favored a minimum monthly salary of 4,500 rand a month, the government’s proposal “is still a significant starting base towards a living wage,”. The government said businesses that aren’t able to afford the minimum wage for a 40-hour week will be able to apply for an exemption. Africa’s most-industrialized economy, which has an unemployment rate of almost 27 percent, has 6.6 million people earning less than 3,500 rand monthly

Source : https://goo.gl/s0ysIJ

Bank Of Baroda Closes Gupta Accounts

Bank of Baroda is set to close the Gupta family’s bank accounts by the end of March following pressure from its parent company in India. Between February and September 2016, First National Bank, Absa, Standard Bank and Nedbank closed the bank accounts of the Gupta family and their companies. The Bank of China followed suit.

Source : https://goo.gl/2YOY7Z

Country Bird To Close Local Abattoir 

Country Bird, South Africa’s third-largest chicken producer, is to close one of its three abattoirs as the local industry struggles to compete with cheap European imports, which it argues amount to dumping. South African farmers and labour unions say the EU is selling chicken legs, thighs and wings at below cost, pushing the local industry to the brink of collapse.

Source : https://goo.gl/u9r9sk

Standard Bank Denies Wrongdoing In Forex Collusion

Standard Bank’s CEO, Sim Tshabalala, says the bank is not setting aside any cash for a potential Competition Tribunal fine for alleged collusion by its currency traders as internal investigations have not revealed any wrongdoing. The investigation by the Competition Commission, which sought to prosecute 18 global and local banks for collusion among their currency traders to fix prices on rand to dollar trades, related to three people, he said. “We employ 55,000 people.”

Source : https://goo.gl/2voA7f

AB InBev Bosses Forfeit Bonuses

Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) has canned bonuses for most of its executive board because of the disappointing 2016 financial results. The move is expected to affect swathes of executives in the group which, after last year’s $103bn acquisition of SABMiller, now controls just more than 25% of the global beer market. South African executives will not be affected as the old SABMiller scheme will apply to them for the year.

Source : https://goo.gl/nk0zEm

Indicators : Oil 55.34 – Rand/USD 13.12 – Rand/GBP 16.01 – Rand/EUR 13.80

Snapchat Raises $3.4bn In IPO

Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, priced its initial public offering at $17 a share on Wednesday. It had previously proposed a range of $14 to $16 a share. That equates to a Snap market value of nearly $24 billion, making it the largest U.S. tech IPO since Facebook. Snap’s sales are growing at a fast pace, rising to more than $400 million in 2016 from just $58.7 million in 2015. Most analysts expect Snap to report around $1 billion in sales this year.

Source : https://goo.gl/CzEPlr

Net 1 To Buy 15% Of Cell C

Electronic payments provider Net1 UEPS Technologies, which has found itself at the centre of a social grants storm in South Africa, has confirmed that it has agreed to buy a R2bn, 15% stake mobile network Cell C. Along with Blue Label Telecoms, Cell C is set to be able to pay off its debts and has said it has further concluded a memorandum of understanding to acquire 49.6% of DNI-4PL Contracts with an option to acquire a controlling stake in DNI in the future. DNI is a distributor of mobile subscriber starter packs for Cell C and also distributes pre-paid airtime through a network of field operatives and agents.

Source : https://goo.gl/60LWzN

SABC’s R5.1bn Irregular Expenditure

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) has put forward a proposal to SABC group executives that the Hawks launch a forensic investigation into the affairs of the SABC. The proposal was made during a briefing by the SABC to Scopa on the broadcaster’s financial annual report for the 2015/2016 year which revealed R5.1-billion in irregular expenditure. CEO James Aguma painted a rosy picture of its progress regarding audience figures for radio and television, its progress on financial management, blaming a R411 million loss on expenditure on unforeseen events of national interest, less than three percent funding from government, and currency fluctuations, among others.

Source : https://goo.gl/wCMukn

Unilever Charged For Cartel Collusion

This follows the investigation by the Commission which found that Unilever and Sime Darby divided markets by allocating specific types of products and customers goods in the market for the manufacturing and supply of bakery and cooking products throughout South Africa. The Commission said its investigation found that from at least 2004 to 2013, Unilever and Sime Darby entered into a sale of business agreement, which contained a clause in terms of which they agreed not to compete with each other in respect of certain pack sizes of margarine and edible oils.

Source : https://goo.gl/M7VoS1

SA Taxi Seals R100 Million Finance Deal

SA Taxi has signed a deal with the Small Enterprise Funding Agency (SEFA), which is wholly-owned by the Industrial Development Corporation. SA Taxi’s business model includes the financing of industry-specific vehicles, provision of bespoke taxi insurance that helps operators protect their income-generating asset and optimise cash flow, a Taximart division that restores pre-owned vehicles to a virtually new condition, and a dealership network through which both new and pre-owned minibus taxis are sold directly to taxi operators.

Source : https://goo.gl/xHMq6D

Joburg Trashed Due To Jozi@Work Protests

A group of angry Jozi@Work protesters took to the streets of the Johannesburg CBD for the second consecutive night on Wednesday‚ leaving a trail of destruction and trash in their wake. About 200 workers‚ wearing their yellow uniforms‚ marched through Bree and Jeppe streets up to Rissik Street in front of the city council offices‚ upending rubbish bins along the way‚ in protest against the canning by Mayor Herman Mashaba of the Jozi@Work programme.

Source : https://goo.gl/izGJzr

IndicatorsOil 56.17 – Rand/USD 13.03 – Rand/GBP 15.99 – Rand/EUR 13.74

 

 

 

Tswane Truck Protests Cause Havoc

There were massive traffic jams on Gauteng’s N1 North, R21 North and the N14 routes leading into Pretoria in Tshwane this morning. Representatives of the Coal Transport Forum said that Eskom’s agreement with Independent Power Producers (IPPs) will see mining job losses and the truck drivers transporting the coal blocked the roads in protest of the looming IPP agreements. As part of diversifying its energy mix, Eskom is expected by government to roll out an IPP programme that allows for the likes solar and wind power to be fed into the national grid.

Source : https://goo.gl/CSyRSH

SASSA Begs ConCourt To Allow CPS Contract To Continue 

The social security agency approached the Concourt for an order “authorising Sassa to engage the respondent (‘CPS’) to provide services for the payment of social grants for the period 1 April 2017 to 30 March 2018. The Concourt had given Sassa about three years to sort out the illegal CPS contract for distributing social grants, but the agency is so unready that it is asking the court for another year’s grace. The question is why wasnt anything done since 2014 and why does the department insist on CPS being the provider? They cant tell us that only this company can do the job.

Source : https://goo.gl/LwWfA1

FICA Bill Gets The Green Light From Parliament

Opposition MPs on Tuesday urged President Jacob Zuma to sign the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment Bill without delay after the National Assembly adopted minor changes to it aimed at answering his concerns that it may be unconstitutional. Zuma now has two choices. He can either sign the bill in the form in which the National Assembly approved it on Tuesday, or take it to the Constitutional Court.

Source : https://goo.gl/ufQa9u

Curro To List University Business Embury Later This Year

Curro is busy designing courses and degrees and getting them accredited, a process that will take two years. Curro believes that the tertiary-education component can reach more than 100,000 students over the long term and is keeping the school and tertiary education businesses separate, and plans to unbundle its tertiary offering and list it separately during the course of the year. Curro saw a significant leap in the number of learners attending its schools, adding over 7,200 learners during the course of 2016, and adding 4,400 more in the 2017 school year, taking it to a total of 47,589 learners by January 2017.

Source : https://goo.gl/93GiQo

Youtube Launches TV Streaming Service

Google launched YouTube TV on Tuesday, which will cost $35 a month and offer access to content from broadcast networks as well as YouTube. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki‏ said people around the world watch one billion hours of YouTube content each day, and younger generations don’t want to consume television through traditional channels. You’ll now be able to watch shows from over 40 networks including ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC, as well as Bravo, FX, ESPN and Fox Sports. Along with the cable channels, users can also watch shows previously only available on YouTube Red, the ad-free YouTube subscription service.

Source : https://goo.gl/YJAxxv

Fired Prasa Acting CEO Refuses To Leave

Collins Letsoalo‚ the disgraced acting CEO of the Passenger Rail Agency of SA‚ is going nowhere.  Letsoalo claims he did nothing wrong. “I am still the acting CEO; there is nothing wrong that I have done‚ I have not appointed myself and would never give myself an increase‚” he said. “I am seconded by the shareholder and appointed by the board chairperson as acting group CEO and to date no one has informed me of this removal‚” he said.

Source : https://goo.gl/OkhqRO

Eskom & Transnet Sponsored PPF Led By Mzwanele Manyi

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown disclosed in a written reply to a parliamentary question on Tuesday by DA finance spokesman David Maynier that Eskom and Transnet had provided sponsorships of R440,000 and R400,000, respectively, to the forum.

Source : https://goo.gl/iRavfZ

Indicators : Oil 56.50 – Rand/USD 13.10 – Rand/GBP 16.17 – Rand/EUR 13.83