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 In a media statement issued after the motion was withdrawn, the ANC affirmed its “intent to re-table the motion which will be fully aligned with the outcomes of its 54th National Conference on the Reserve Bank”.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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VAT And Excise Duty Hikes In Budget 2018

64% of the R36bn of extra revenue is coming from a 1% VAT hike to 15%, 12% is from excise duty hikes and 19% coming from personal income tax adjustments and 3.4% from fuel levy hike. There will be R57billion allocated for free higher education for students from households earning less than R350 000 a year.

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Zwane To Face Own State Capture Inquiry

Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane will be subjected to a full-scale state capture inquiry by the parliamentary portfolio committee on mineral resources and could be summonsed to answer questions after his repeated failure to appear before the committee. Zwane has been linked to dodgy interactions with the Guptas as a Free State MEC when R150m was stolen in a failed dairy project.

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Strike At Optimum Coal Mine

Work at the Gupta-owned Optimum Coal Mine in Mpumalanga came to a standstill on Wednesday as workers marched to hand over a memorandum of grievances to CEO George van der Merwe. The mine supplies coal to power utility Eskom for its power generation.

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Michael Jordaan To Launch Bank Zero

Bank Zero, which in January said it got a provisional license from the central bank and has 10 staff, isn’t going to lend out money. Instead it’s going to encourage South Africans to save through attractive interest rates. With a mutual bank structure, which is funded by its members, the Johannesburg-based Bank Zero is entirely backed by its founders and will offer customers with smartphones an app and a card.

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Uber Teams Up With Toyota On Self Driving Cars

The world’s largest car maker and the world’s biggest ride-hailing company plan to team up on autonomous driving as technological changes sweep through the transportation industry. Uber and Toyota have given few details of their collaboration on autonomous technology before, though both have been active in the field separately. Toyota bought a stake in Uber in 2016, without disclosing the size or the reason for the investment.

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Currencies: BCoin R134,999 . R10,766 . R/USD11.67 . R/GBP16.23 . R/EUR14.32

Experts Predict Tax or Vat increases

According to experts, around R45 billion of tax hikes and spending cuts are needed in the fiscal year that starts 1 April 2018 to stabilise the South African fiscal outlook. An alternative to increasing VAT in a linear manner would be to remove the zero rating for VAT on fuel sales. Malusi Gigaba, will table the 2018 National Budget in parliament today at 14:00pm

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Ramaphosa To Atone For Marikana

President Cyril Ramaphosa is determined to play whatever role he can in the process of healing and atonement in the wake of the Marikana massacre. “I would like to use this opportunity to address the role that I played in my capacity as a Lonmin director in the events of that tragic week,” he said. “Notwithstanding the findings of the Farlam Commission on my responsibility for the events that unfolded, I am determined to play whatever role I can play in the process of healing and atonement. In this, I am guided by the needs and wishes of the families of the 34 workers who lost their lives.”

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KFC’s Shut In The UK Due To Lack of Chicken

KFC has temporarily closed hundreds of locations in the UK and Ireland on Monday night after its shops ran out of chicken following delivery problems. On Monday, 575 KFC restaurants were closed. Stores had initially run out of chicken over the weekend.

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SARS Investigates Churches On Tax Compliance

Sars said while it acknowledged that most religious organisations operated within the law, some were enriching themselves at the expense of the fiscus. It said its own investigation and several interactions with the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL) confirmed that there was massive non-compliance in the sector.

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SABC Needs Another Govt Bailout

The SABC runs the risk of sinking into deeper financial trouble after it missed the deadline to submit its corporate plan. The SABC is facing its worst financial crisis to date and is still waiting on a R3bn government bail-out.

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Cell C Posts Massive revenue Growth

Cell C’s service revenue jumped 12% to R13.2bn with a total revenue increase of 7% to R15.7bn for the year ending December 2017. Cell C’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) grew 151% to R7.8bn with net profit of R4.1bn, growing 660% year-on-year.

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Coinbase To Add Segwit Support

Coinbase Inc., the largest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange, is planning to roll out a long-awaited software update in an effort to reduce transaction fees customers pay when sending Bitcoin. The upgrade, called Segregated Witness or SegWit, was first made available by developers in August as Bitcoin’s growing popularity led to congestion in the network. Coinbase said in a tweet Tuesday that it will begin a phased rollout this week, and expects to launch the change for all customers by the middle of next week.

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Currencies: Bcoin R137,650, Eth R11,060. R/USD11.76 . R/GBP16.44 . R/EUR14.50

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

Theresa May Calls For Early UK Election

UK Prime Minister Theresa May said she will seek an early election on June 8, in an unexpected gamble aimed at strengthening her hand going into talks on leaving the European Union. The surprise statement came less than a month after she triggered the formal start of Brexit and marks a reversal of her position before the Easter break, when her office insisted an early election wasn’t on the cards.

Source : https://goo.gl/iViQmB

Petrol Price To Go Up By 40 Cents Next Month

South Africa’s downgrade to junk could see petrol going up by at least 40c a litre next month. The fuel increase is just the first of the dominos to fall. Growing unemployment and a slowdown in our growth rate of 1.2%. The increase in the fuel price is almost entirely due to the drop in the rand as crude oil prices had actually come down slightly over the past month.

Source : https://goo.gl/zFbylt

Gigaba On Roadshow To Woo Ratings Agencies & Investors

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba will meet with Moody’s on his trip to the US this week, in a last-ditch attempt to prevent a downgrade by the ratings agency. The purpose of this is to discuss global economic trends, and Gigaba will meet with leaders and finance ministers from various countries. He will also discuss South Africa’s role as a gateway to attract investment for the rest of the continent. He added that the trip will include a “small-scale” meeting with investors and not a full-blown roadshow, but government decided not to waste the opportunity to engage with investors and to reassure them. Gigaba said he would also give Moody’s the assurance that government’s policy direction has not changed.

Source : https://goo.gl/HahY55

CompCom Calls For Investigation Into Cell Industry Competition

The Competition Commission has called for a wider investigation into the state of competition in the mobile phone market. This comes after its decision to dismiss a complaint by Cell C against Vodacom and MTN for anticompetitive conduct related to on-net calls (calls between users of the same network) because of lack of evidence. Cell C said the price differentials applied by Vodacom and MTN prevented competition. It accused the companies of excessive pricing, inducement and margin squeeze.

Source : https://goo.gl/cXiT8E

Deloitte To Build R1 Billion Office In Midrand

Deloitte’s new premises will be developed in Waterfall in Midrand, Gauteng joining a number of leading corporates consolidating their operations in that area, including PwC. The total estimated development cost is in excess of R1 billion. The new premises will comprise 42 500m² of \workspace, which will consolidate Deloitte’s current Woodmead and Pretoria offices in a single central location. The building has space capacity for close to 5,000 people.

Source : https://goo.gl/LgnbDT

Uber Launches Uber Central For Businesses

Uber has launched Uber Central, which is built on the Uber Business platform. “With Central, businesses can request, manage, and pay for rides for others, at scale,”. Uber said Central will provide companies with a complete overview of usage, including drafts, trip history, and trip costs. This will allow them to manage their transport logistics and provide Uber-based transportation for employees or customers.

Source : https://goo.gl/IPIftd

Indicators : Oil 54.92 – Rand/USD 13.32 – Rand/GBP 17.04 – Rand/EUR 14.27