Gigaba Confuses On Gupta Citizenship

On Tuesday‚ Gigaba and home affairs director-general Mkuseli Apleni provided feedback at a media briefing following meetings the pair had with the Parliamentary portfolio committee on home affairs to answer questions over the Guptas’ naturalisation. At the briefing‚ Gigaba said Atul was not a South African citizen — but a copy of Atul’s passport‚ which was among the tranche of #GuptaLeaks e-mails‚ lists Atul as “South African” under the “Nationality” section. Non-citizens cannot apply for passports.

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ANC To Re-table Banks Nationalisation Motion

The ANC intends to re-table a Parliamentary motion to nationalise the SA Reserve Bank by doing away with its private shareholders. On Tuesday, just hours before it was set to be heard, the ANC withdrew its initial motion to debate the nationalisation of the bank. In a media statement issued after the motion was withdrawn, the ANC affirmed its “intent to re-table the motion which will be fully aligned with the outcomes of its 54th National Conference on the Reserve Bank”.

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Spotify To Launch In SA This Month

On Tuesday, Spotify sent out an e-mail, effectively confirming the launch, saying: “Spotify has some news to share. Please join us on Tuesday March 13 to catch all the details.” Spotify offers tiers of music streaming — from free to premium at $10 a month — and says that it controls 42% of the global music-streaming market, which it claims is double that of its closest rival, Apple Music.

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Firstrand To Enter UK Market Through Aldemore

A nine-year-old challenger bank with no branch network, Aldermore, for which FirstRand paid £1.1bn in 2017, gives the banking group a lending and deposit franchise in the world’s sixth largest economy. FirstRand will launch transactional banking through Aldermore, chiefly to attract more deposits. These will be used to fund its vehicle finance business MotoNovo, which is to be integrated within Aldermore as a separate pillar.

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Telco’s Blame Govt For R80bn Industry Loss

The telecommunications industry in South Africa lost R80 billion in market cap last year due to policy and regulatory uncertainty, said Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub. Vodacom said the department’s update of the draft Bill failed to incorporate the outcomes of several discussions the department had with industry players over the past year. “We have R100 billion that we’ve invested into our network. If we have to return the spectrum, it becomes expropriation. That investment becomes useless,” said Joosub.

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US Govt Offers $533Million In New Famine Aid

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced $533 million in new aid to fight famine in East Africa and the Lake Chad region. The funds will provide emergency food and nutrition assistance to people in Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and countries around Lake Chad, Tillerson said Tuesday. Also included are medical supplies, better sanitation and emergency shelter, the State Department added in a statement.

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Currencies: Bcoin R129,242 . Ether R9,655 . R/USD11.79 . R/GBP16.39 . R/EUR14.66

 

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Koko Claims Eskom Bosses Were Bribed

Suspended Eskom executive Matshela Koko on Thursday accused some of his colleagues of taking bribes from suppliers and said that they had started leaking damning allegations against him in retaliation when he dealt with corruption. The allegations against him, said Koko, started surfacing when he dealt with corruption on becoming interim CEO. For instance, France Hlakudi, the former Kusile power station project manager, was paid a R61m bribe, Koko said. He produced a document that showed another R400,000 was paid to Hlakudi Interpretation and Translation — owned by Hlakudi — by Tubular Construction Projects on the day that Eskom’s tender committee approved a tender for Tubular. The money was transferred into Hlakudi Interpretation and Translation’s bank account in 2015, said Koko.

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Gigaba Says Ignore Economic Gloom

Speaking in the National Assembly on Thursday during a debate on the Medium Term Budget Policy statement he delivered last month‚ the Finance Minister chose to look on the bright side of life. “South Africans should brush aside the message of despondency and doom. Even at our bleakest moments we must not drown ourselves in our own message of doom and gloom. The difficult decisions are being taken now‚ but our economy will turn around. A brighter day beckons.” he said.

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Taxman Going After US Bitcoin Traders

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has won a US court case which will force Coinbase to disclose customer information. Coinbase must now share the data of users who have bought, sold, sent, or received over $20,000 through their accounts in a single year, between 2013 and 2015. This is estimated to be 14,355 individuals.

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Firstrand To Drop State Capture Implicate Companies

Outgoing FirstRand chairman and cofounder of the group Laurie Dippenaar expressed extreme disappointment on Thursday with “the number of large corporations that have been complicit” in state capture, saying that some would lose FirstRand’s business. Commenting on state capture, he said: “I’ve been bitterly disappointed. We have expressed our disdain and disappointment [to these companies] and some of them will not get business from FirstRand again.

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NPA Panel Convened For Zuma Corruption Charges

Controversial KwaZulu-Natal director of public prosecutions Moipone Noko will lead the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA’s) team that considers President Jacob Zuma’s representations on corruption charges. NPA boss Shaun Abrahams gave Zuma until Thursday to argue why he should not be charged after the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld a high court judgment that the 2009 decision to drop charges had been irrational. The president is facing 783 counts of fraud, corruption, racketeering, money laundering and tax evasion.

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Guptas Hijacked Lesotho Mine

In August 2014 Lesotho Prime Minister Tom Thabane appointed Atul Gupta as an “economic investment envoy”. Thabane said ANC president Jacob Zuma had introduced him to the Gupta family and he had enlisted them “to help scout for investment” for the country. Now new evidence is emerging that the main “investment” the Guptas were touting – apart from in Thabane himself – was their takeover of a Lesotho diamond mine.

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PWC Does First Major Commercial Bitcoin Transaction

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), one of the world’s largest accounting firms, has accepted its first ever bitcoin payment for its advisory services. PwC in Hong Kong revealed it is working with a number of startups involved in bitcoin and the wider cryptocurrency industry, prompting the firm to accept the world’s most widely-known cryptocurrency. Notably, PwC also confirmed its advent into advising clients about crypto funds and investments, cryptocurrency exchanges and initial coin offerings –  a radical new form of fundraising powered by cryptocurrencies.

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Currencies: Bitcoin R156,949 . Ether R6,934 . R/USD13.73 . R/GBP18.54 . R/EUR16.36