SA Banks Face Lawsuits Over Steinhoff

The Dutch Investors’ Association (VEB), which launched legal proceedings against Steinhoff International in January, has notified the three banks involved in Steinhoff’s Frankfurt listing that it is holding them liable for damages incurred by Steinhoff shareholders. The move by VEB stems from the role played by Absa, Barclays and Commerzbank in Steinhoff’s listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in November 2015.

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Shoprite And Checkers Will Offer Students 10% Discounts

Shoprite and Checkers announced that registered South African students can get 10% off at any Shoprite and Checkers stores starting next week Wednesday the 25th of April 2018. The student discount is valid for four days per month until the end of October, for all purchases up to a maximum of R1,500.

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Eskom Facing Coal Shortages

Seven Eskom power stations have coal stockpiles that are lower than the levels required‚ Parliament heard on Wednesday. Urgent authorisation had to be obtained from the Treasury to purchase more coal without having to go to tender‚ acting group executive for transmission Willie Majola told members of Parliament’s public enterprises committee. A recovery plan was in place and coal was also being moved from stations that had healthy stockpiles to stations that did not have sufficient stock.

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Andile Mazwai Resigns As Rebosis CEO

Rebosis Property Fund said on Wednesday its CEO, Andile Mazwai, had resigned and the firm would postpone the release of its interim financial results, sending shares down more than 10%. The company said in a statement its current Executive Deputy Chairman Sisa Ngebulana would be appointed as the interim CEO.

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Mark Lamberti Quits As Imperial CEO

Mark Lamberti has resigned as Imperial CEO‚ following an adverse judgment in the case brought by fired employee Adila Chowan‚ whom he called a “female employment equity candidate”. Imperial has promoted its chief financial officer‚ Osman Arbee‚ to succeed Lamberti as CEO on May 1.

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Audi And Porsche Raided Over Emissions Scandal

Porsche is the latest Volkswagen brand to be sucked into the ongoing diesel emissions cheating scandal that first erupted three years ago. German police and prosecutors raided a number of Audi and Porsche properties on Wednesday in search of documents as part of an investigation into two top Porsche executives and one former employee.

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Facebook Data Breach Affected 100,000 South Africans

Facebook has told SA’s information regulator that almost 100,000 people in the country were affected by its data leak — far more than estimated. Last week the information regulator said it would “proactively and voluntarily engage Facebook with regards to the alleged data breach”, and that it would ask the company to clarify the extent of the data leak and to state what corrective measures it was taking. This was after the personal information of about 87-million Facebook users – mostly in the US — was misused by Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy that obtained the data from a personality app.

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Currencies: Bcoin R100,518 . Ether R6,549 . R/USD11.93 . R/GBP16.94 . R/EUR14.76

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KPMG & Nkonki Fired By Auditor General

The auditor-general’s decision to terminate auditing contracts with KPMG will see the embattled audit firm excluded from doing any work for the country’s most valuable client. The auditor-general has control over auditing contracts that dwarf even the largest private-sector business. This is the first time it has terminated work with one of the big four audit firms. Also terminated is black-owned Nkonki, which has been implicated in Gupta-related controversies.

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Eskom Hits Optimum Coal With R105m Fine

Eskom has issued the Gupta-owned Optimum with a R105m fine for failing to deliver coal, which has spurred a supply shortage at the power utility. As Eskom grappled with the issue, alternative coal producers would benefit from a shortage of coal and come to the rescue of the power utility, as it sought to plug a gap in supplies at several of its stations.

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Bus Strike Causes Havoc

Thousands of commuters will wake up on Wednesday to the nationwide bus strike that is set to kick off at 05:30 while taxi and rail operators are bracing for crowds and long queues. Nationwide bus services such as MyCiTi in Cape Town, Putco, Rea Vaya and Gautrain bus service in Gauteng and Algoa Bus Company in the Port Elizabeth area are among those whose services will be suspended.

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Irregular Health Expenses Soar To R1.02 Billion

The Finance and Fiscal Commission (FFC) has criticised the national Department of Health for not doing more to ensure provincial health departments improve their audit outcomes. While provincial audit outcomes have improved since 2012-13, the pace of improvement has been slow, particularly over the past three years, the FFC’s provincial budget analysis manager Ghalieb Dawood told Parliament on Tuesday.

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Amazon Launches International Shopping

Amazon has launched its International Shopping experience in the Amazon Shopping App. International customers can now “browse and shop over 45 million eligible items that can be shipped to their country from the United States”, said Amazon. Customers can also choose from different shipping options and delivery speeds, depending on how quickly they want their package, it added.

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Currencies : Bcoin R98,501 . R6,290 . R/USD12.00 . R/GBP17.17 . R/EUR14.85

Steinhoff Paid Wiese €325m Before Collapse

On Tuesday, Steinhoff stunned investors and corporate governance analysts when it confirmed media reports that the company had prepaid Wiese €325m during October and November 2017 for Shoprite shares, just weeks before Steinhoff collapsed. Unlike South African company law, there is no provision in the Dutch law requiring oversight of the provision of loans or financial assistance to directors. Section 45 of the South African Companies Act requires a board resolution and also requires that shareholders agree to any payments made to directors.

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KPMG Under Fire Over VBS Scandal

KPMG has suspended one of its top executives who was the lead partner on VBS Mutual Bank which has been accused of severe mismanagement and fraud. The South African Reserve Bank has red flagged the bank, saying that nearly R1 billion cannot be accounted for. KPMG has now taken action against Sipho Malaba who signed off the independent auditors’ report on the bank’s accounts until July 2017

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McKinsey & Trillian To Repay Eskom

Global consulting firm McKinsey and Gupta-associated Trillian Capital Partners have both agreed to repay the R1.6bn they received from Eskom and will not oppose Eskom’s court application to get them to pay back the money.

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JSE Pulls Sagarmatha Listing

Sagarmatha’s failure to submit its annual financial statements to the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) was behind the JSE’s decision not to allow it to go ahead with a proposed listing on Friday. On Wednesday, the company was due to announce the results of a private placement ahead of the Friday listing. However, instead of this announcement, shortly after 6pm the company released a Sens statement, saying that the JSE had decided the listing could not go ahead.

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Facebook To Incentivise Whistleblowers

Facebook yesterday launched a data abuse bounty program to incentivise anyone who can prove the misuse of Facebook data. In an effort to clean up its tattered reputation, the online social media company which has been criticised for its data breach and exposed the information of millions of Facebook users has launched a bounty program.

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Burgh Group To Run Gupta Mines

South Africa’s Burgh Group Holdings won a temporary contract to keep mines linked to the Gupta family afloat, according to a business-rescue manager for the assets. Other parties offered financing, but Burgh “came without conditions,” Louis Klopper, a bankruptcy-proceedings manager at Coronado Consulting Group, said Wednesday. Burgh is “an ideal partner” to provide technical expertise and banking facilities, he said, without disclosing financial terms.

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Currencies: Bcoin R84,874 . Ether R5,300 . R/USD11.98 . R/GBP16.99 . R/EUR14.81

SAP Admits Paying R128Bn Gupta Bribes

SAP SE said a probe into its dealings with South Africa’s Guptas found that the German software giant paid about R128.6 million ($10.7 million) to businesses linked to the family to win contracts with state-owned companies. Three senior executives who were suspended last year have now quit.

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MTN TO Try Banking Services Again

After pulling the plug on its mobile money business in SA in 2016, MTN wanted to have another crack at financial services in its home market, CEO Rob Shuter said on Thursday. “But we’re building quite a lot of new features around that: loan products, investment products, insurance.… It’s different across the different markets, but [advanced financial services] is a big focus of ours”. The group was looking at “all markets”. MTN had 22-million mobile money customers in 14 markets at the end of 2017.

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CCMA Rules Against Eskom On Suzanne Daniels

The CCMA has found that Eskom’s suspension of its head of legal and compliance, Suzanne Daniels, was an unfair labour practice. In an arbitration award, dated March 6, the CCMA commissioner Prince Kekana said: “The respondent party Eskom is ordered to uplift the suspension with immediate effect and take (Daniels) back into its employ with effect from March 18, 2018.”

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Jeff Radebe To Sign Renewables Deals

South Africa will sign long-delayed agreements with 27 independent power producers next week, according to Energy Minister Jeff Radebe. The signing, scheduled for March 13, will breathe life into a national renewable-energy program that was once the world’s fastest growing but has since stagnated. The deals to be concluded next week will release 56 billion rand ($4.7 billion) of investment over the next two to three years, the minister said in Cape Town Thursday.

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SAA Made Nett Loss Of R5.6Bn In 2017 Financials

South African Airways may not be able to continue to operate as a going concern, while the struggling state-owned airline has failed to properly record financial information and the value of assets, according to the Auditor General. SAA made a net loss of about R5.6 billion ($471 million) in the year through March 2017, according to a document signed by AG Kimi Makwetu. Liabilities exceeded assets by about R17.8 billion, it said.

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Sanlam TO Buy Moroccan Insurer For R1 Billion

Sanlam is to acquire 100% of Moroccan insurance group SAHAM Finances, effectively rendering it the largest non-banking financial services group in Africa. It has announced plans to buy out the remaining 53.37% shareholding in SAHAM for $1.05 billion. Sanlam, together with subsidiary Santam, first acquired a joint 30% stake in SAHAM in 2016 and upped that stake by further 16.6% in 2017

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Day Zero Wont Happen In 2018

DA leader Mmusi Maimane believes that the City of Cape Town and the wider region of the Western Cape may avert ‘day zero’ in 2018, thanks to the measures put into place to conserve water over the past several months. Maimane said that consumption now sits at between 510 and 520 million litres per day – down from almost 1.2 billion litres in February 2015.

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State Capture Inquiry Team Announced

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on Wednesday announced key appointments to the inquiry, which included former auditor general Terence Nombembe. Nombembe, who is now chief executive of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants, will head a team of investigators. Other key appointments are legal eagles Leah Gcabashe, Vincent Maleka, Thandi Norman and Paul Pretorius as part of the legal team.

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Nehawu To Strike At Water Departments Countrywide

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) announced on Wednesday that its 3,000 members would lead a strike at the Department of Water and Sanitation’s 53 workplaces across the country after negotiations collapsed at the General Public Service Sector Bargaining Council.

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Eskom To Undergo Major Budget Restructuring

Eskom will hold a strategic session next week as part of an effort to address flaws that forced it to take a 5 billion rand ($422 million) loan for the month of February to maintain essential liquidity levels. “Our cost structure is definitely not right,” Jabu Mabuza, Eskom’s chairman, said in Cape Town, where he attended a Bloomberg conference. “We have to have to help the organization to be structured with people, assets, funding in a manner that is appropriate.”

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BSI Awarded SAPO Tender

Technology firm Altron said yesterday its subsidiary, Bytes Systems Integration (BSI), had been awarded tenders worth nearly R220million to support the SA Post Office (Sapo) with biometric technology as it prepares to take over the payment of social grants. Altron said the system would verify beneficiaries’ identities through biometric technology connected to the Home Affairs National Identification System.

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Blackberry Sues Facebook And Whatsapp Over IP

BlackBerry Ltd has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Facebook Inc and its WhatsApp and Instagram apps, arguing that they copied technology and features from BlackBerry Messenger. Litigation over patent infringement is part of BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen’s strategy for making money for the company, which has lost market share in the smartphone market it once dominated.

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Johann Rupert Wants To Buy Vumatel

Remgro is in advanced talks to buy fibre provider Vumatel as South Africa’s richest man seeks to consolidate the country’s expanding broadband infrastructure industry, according to people familiar with the matter. A deal by billionaire Johann Rupert’s investment vehicle would give an equity value of closely-held Vumatel of about R1.1 billion ($93 million), said the people, who asked not to be identified as the talks are private.

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Regulation Announcements Cause Bitcoin Crash

Bitcoin slumped for a third day amid fears of a regulatory clampdown on cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan and the U.S., the world’s most active markets for digital assets. Bitcoin declined more than 3% in early Asia trading, extending its slump below $10,000, after Japan’s Financial Services Agency ordered two exchanges to halt operations for a month and penalized four others.

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Currencies : Bcoin R122,999 . Ether R9,378 . R/USD11.84 . R/GBP16.46 . R/EUR14.69

 

Mashaba Under Fire Over Property Valuations

Businesses, residents and other property owners, hit by huge valuation increases by the City of Johannesburg, say the city has inflated property values unfairly to boost its flagging income. Rates bills, which are based on new valuations done every four years, kick in on July 1. The city recently sent section 49 notices to property owners, advising them of the new values for their properties with effect from July 1. Organised business wants to meet mayor Herman Mashaba, saying the increases are outrageous and unfair.

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Eskom Signs R20bn Short Term Loan

Eskom has signed a 20 billion rand ($2 billion) short-term credit facility with a consortium of seven local and international banks. “The funding provides Eskom with sufficient liquidity to allow the company time to continue resolving its governance related issues and enables Eskom to recommence with its normal funding program required to execute the FY 2018/19 funding plans,” acting Chief Financial Officer Calib Cassim said in a statement, referring to the utility’s current financial year.

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Comcast Offers $31bn For Sky

Comcast, the biggest cable operator in the US, yesterday offered to pay $31billion (R358.28bn) to buy Sky, challenging Rupert Murdoch’s Fox and Bob Iger’s Walt Disney for the European pay-TV giant. Comcast, a $184bn media giant which owns NBC and Universal Pictures, said it was offering £12.50 (R202.17) per share, significantly higher than the £10.75 per share agreed by Fox. Shares in Sky soared 18%.

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Walmart Raises Gun Buying Age To 21

Walmart is raising the minimum age for buying its firearms and ammunition to 21, becoming the latest company to change policies connected to guns in the wake of the mass shooting at a high school in Florida earlier this month. Walmart, which is the largest single seller of guns in the United States, will also remove from its e-commerce site toys that look like assault-style rifles.

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Eskom To Pay Back PIC Loan Today

Eskom has confirmed that the R5bn short term loan it received from the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) will be paid back on Thursday. When the loan was extended by the PIC in February, the Public Servants Association (PSA) said that it felt “betrayed” by the agreement as this could risk government employee pensions being caught up in flailing state owned companies (SOC’s).

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Bitcoin Reaches Major Scaling Milestone

Bitcoin has quietly reached a major milestone in its quest to reach the masses. Segregated Witness, or SegWit, the software upgrade designed to speed up Bitcoin transactions, is gaining traction. The number of transactions using the technology doubled to more than 30 percent in just the past three days.

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Currencies: Bcoin R126,579 . R10,349 . R/USD11.81 . R/GBP16.23 . R/EUR14.40

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