Gupta’s v Gordhan In Court

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s legal team will on Tuesday face off with 14 Gupta-owned companies over the blacklisting of their bank accounts by South Africa’s top four banks. Meanwhile President Jacob Zuma has asked to intervene as an “interested party” in the matter. Zuma argued that Standard Bank had sought relief that affected the president directly, but failed to join him into the legal proceedings as a party

Source : https://goo.gl/OkEwD1

Judge Dismisses Zuma’s Application To Join Pravin Case

The High Court in Pretoria has told President Jacob Zuma’s legal representatives that he is not formally part of the process and so cannot be added as an “interested party”. Zuma made an 11th-hour application on Monday asking to be added in Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s application against Gupta-linked Oakbay Investments as an “interested party”. Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo said on Tuesday that because Zuma was not a party in the matter, his legal team could only observe.

Source : https://goo.gl/w0KuDU

Zuma Recalls Pravin Gordhan From Investment Roadshow

The rand plummeted about 52c against the dollar on Monday after President Jacob Zuma ordered Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan home from a global investor road show, while banks and property stocks retreated on the JSE in similar fashion to Nenegate in December 2015. The rand’s retreat was directly attributable to Zuma’s action despite a weaker dollar, which usually supported an appreciation in the rand, analysts said..

Source : https://goo.gl/r5mIwj

Brian Joffe To Step Aside

Bidcorp executive chairperson Brian Joffe has announced that he will be stepping down from this position to launch a new JSE-listed company. “Brian (Joffe) has informed the board that he will be launching a new listed JSE investment vehicle which will not focus on activities competitive with the current Bidcorp’s foodservice business,” Bidcorp said on Tuesday.

Source : https://goo.gl/eEhQy0

SAA Losses Climb Significantly

Losses of the already cash-strapped South African Airways (SAA) has rapidly increased to R4.5-billion, documents submitted to Parliament’s standing committee on Finance revealed. “This new figure of R4.5-billion is significantly higher than the R3.5-billion revealed ten days ago and the R1.7-billion estimated in September 2016.

Source : https://goo.gl/PW0Od7

Fake TV’s Recalled From Massmart Stores

Massmart has quarantined TVs which are being sold as Full HD (1080p), but have HD Ready panels (720p) in them and has initiated a product recall for the units. The recall follows an investigation by MyBroadband and ISACA member Abu-Huraira Oman Abdalla, which showed that a “Full HD” 32-inch Telefunken TV sold at Game stores sported an HD Ready panel.

Source : https://goo.gl/jPHbmL

Indicators : Oil 50.99 – Rand/USD 12.87 – Rand/GBP 16.24 – Rand/EUR 14.03

 

 

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Simplified Sona Breakdown.

Beyond the drama, Zuma actually said some things which we need to note. These are the things which he plans to do in the coming year. Zuma says the economy will grow 1.3% this year and he also said Eskom will sign the outstanding power purchase agreements for renewable energy in line with the procured rounds. They have been delaying this. Govt plans to create 6 million new work opportunities in state-run public works by the end of 2019. Importantly the number of  R32 billion. That is how much government has shifted around in the budget to support students. Zuma also switched from “A good story to tell” to “radical economic transformation” as a buzz word. Remains to be seen if govt delivers.

Trump Commits To One-China Policy

Donald Trump reaffirmed the U.S.’s long-standing support for the ‘One-China’ policy in his first phone call as president with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. “The two leaders discussed numerous topics and President Trump agreed, at the request of President Xi, to honor our ‘One-China’ policy,” the White House said in a statement yesterday.

Sekunjalo Launches R500m Impact Fund

The Sekunjalo Investment Group is launching a R500 million impact fund to boost entrepreneurship, shore up renewable energy initiatives and support women-owned businesses. International investors will be invited to join the fund, which is immediately seeded with R500m by Sekunjalo, and is projected to grow exponentially, and is expected to reach R2bn within a year of being launched.

MTN To Acquire 49% Of Iranian Govt ISP

MTN is near an agreement with the Iranian government to acquire a 49% stake in a state-owned internet provider. MTN already owns a 49% stake in Tehran-based mobile carrier Irancell Telecommunication Services and has been repatriating some of the $1 billion (R13.44 billion) that had been trapped in Iran before restrictions were removed.

ANOTHER Kuga Goes Up In Flames

Johannesburg businessman‚ Warren Krog‚ says his guardian angels worked overtime on Thursday. Krog was en route to work when he noticed smoke coming from the back of his 2013 Ford Kuga. Krog’s Kuga is the 45th to have been destroyed by fire on SA’s roads since Reshall Jimmy burnt to death in his in December while on holiday in Wilderness in the Western Cape. At least nine Kugas have caught fire since the start of the year.

Group 5 Takes A Pounding

Group Five shares took a hammering on the JSE on Thursday after the listing construction and engineering group disclosed it expected to report a fully diluted headline loss a share of between 300c and 320c for the six months to December. The group attributed this to a combination of its R225 million socio-economic contribution in terms of the agreement reached with the government to implement a programme of initiatives to accelerate transformation of the construction sector and a difficult period for the group’s engineering and construction cluster.

Currencies And Stuff

Oil 55.77 – Rand/USD 13.37 – Rand/GBP 16.67 – Rand/EUR 14.24

State Of The Nation

The EFF, which has disrupted Zuma’s appearances on several occasions in Parliament, has made it clear that it will interrupt the president again on Thursday. The party says Zuma should not be allowed to speak. Instead, the day should be used to debate Parliament’s inability to hold Zuma to account. Added to this, opposition parties are up in arms over the decision by Zuma to deploy more than 400 soldiers to help the Police Service to “maintain law and order” during the opening of Parliament. Another controversy in the lead-up to the address is the clear attempt by Parliament to restrict the movement of journalists on the day.

IBM To Upskill 25 Million Africans For Free

IBM is ramping up its digital-skills training program to accommodate as many as 25 million Africans in the next five years, looking toward building a future workforce on the continent. The US tech giant plans to make an initial investment of 945 million rand ($70 million) to roll out the training initiative in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Morocco and Egypt, enabling an expansion of the project across the rest of the continent.

Sassa Asks Court To Extend Improper Contract

The SA Social Security Agency asked the Constitutional Court on Wednesday to extend the grant payments contract of Cash Paymaster Services for another year. In 2014, the court declared Sassa’s current contract with CPS invalid. Sassa is effectively asking the court to overturn its own ruling. Meanwhile, the CEO of CPS, has said he has had no indication from Sassa that they will be needed to carry on dispensing grants. This situation is a complete mess. SMH

Brexit May Drop UK Output By 9.5%

Britain’s departure from the EU could cause output losses of as much as 9.5% per person, according to new research. Calculations using models that incorporate productivity measures show a negative impact on gross domestic product per capita of almost four times that of previous estimates. The Brits will see flames.

City Of Joburg launches City Power Corruption Probe

Herman Mashaba has launched a major investigation into City Power tenders worth billions. The investigation is being conducted by an independent auditing firm in order to ensure that its report is free of any political interference or bias. The ANC claimed on Tuesday that Mashaba wanted to dissolve the board because he wanted to influence tenders at the utility. According to the ANC, Mashaba instructed the new Joburg city manager, Ndivho Lukhwareni, on Monday to dissolve the City Power board.

Currencies And Stuff

Oil 55.62 – Rand/USD 13.44 – Rand/GBP 16.85 – Rand/EUR 14.37

Zuma To Sign R20 Minimum Wage

The National Minimum Wage will be R20 per hour from May 2018, after parties at the Nedlac came to an agreement this week. Business Day reported that a signing ceremony will be held in Cape Town on Tuesday, and that President Jacob Zuma is going to announce the minimum wage during his State of the Nation Address on Thursday but the details will be made public by news agencies at 2pm this afternoon.

State Of The Nation Address On Thursday

The ANC urged government to use the 2017 state-of-the-nation address (Sona) to be delivered by President Jacob Zuma on February 9 to “give expression to the 12 urgent tasks of the movement” in respect of economic transformation. There are also rumors that Zuma will reshuffle his cabinet and send the economy into another tailspin. As per ANC NEC lekgotla, radical economic transformation refers to a fundamental change in the structure, systems, institutions, and patterns of ownership and control of the economy in favour of all South Africans, especially the poor, the majority of whom are African and female. Will be interesting to hear what he says.

Eskom Report To Be released To The Public

The Eskom board has finally succumbed to pressure, allowing the contents of a 2015 “sanitised” report into the state of the power utility to be published. The report by law firm Dentons has been kept secret since 2015 and no explanation was provided as to why. The inquiry was initiated to establish the causes of the near operational meltdown the utility had suffered since 2008, when it could not adequately supply the economy with electricity.

Armyworm Spreading And Could Reach Asia

The fall armyworms that have ravaged corn fields from Ghana to South Africa since arriving on the continent last year could spread to Asia and the Mediterranean, a research body has said. The fall armyworm “could spread to tropical Asia and the Mediterranean in the next few years, becoming a major threat to agricultural trade worldwide.

Christo Wiese Slams ANC And Oxfam

South African billionaire, Christo Wiese has slammed the ANC government and a recent Oxfam report for his continued harassment as one of the richest people in South Africa. “There is a perverse obsession about the rich with little or no regard for what would happen to the poor if the rich are pulled down,” Wiese said. “The question government must ask is: ‘What better person is there to be managing and investing money than a person with a proven track record to earn it justly?’ I dont think that Wiese gets it.

Facebook Shareholders Want Zuckerberg replaced As Chair

Shareholders of Facebook have requested the board of directors to adopt a policy and amend the bylaws as necessary, to require the chair of the board to be an independent member. “If he’s an employee, he needs a boss, and that boss is the board. The chairman runs the board. How can the CEO be his own boss?” the group argued. Tough in business. SMH

Anglo Has Boosted Productivity By 40%

Technological improvements had boosted productivity 40% over the past three years and a further 40% could be delivered by 2020, Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani said yesterday. According to Cutifani, Anglo was focused on the smart use of data and “integrated systems thinking” to cut maintenance spending and to reduce safety risks. “We are using advanced analytics to interrogate existing data and to estimate the probability of component failure in some of our most important mining equipment,” he said.

Currencies And Stuff

Oil 55.88 – Rand/USD 13.38 – Rand/GBP 16.60 – Rand/EUR 14.29

 

 

Zuma Attacks Treasury

According to the Business Day, President Jacob Zuma has hit out at the national treasury for frustrating the ANC’s economic transformation agenda and failing to provide enough funds so that ministers can complete scheduled projects. Zuma allegedly had made the remarks at the party’s three-day lekgotla this past week. Pravin Gordhan blocked key Zuma-backed projects.

Armyworms Attack SA Farms

South African maize farms are suffering extensive damage from what appears to be an alien caterpillar that destroyed fields in other countries in the region. Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe already suffered extensive damage to tens of thousands of hectares of mainly corn fields. These worms could decimate corn yields despite the good rains that we have seen.

Curro Expects 67% Profit Rise

Curro said that it expects its earnings per share and headline earnings per share for the year ended 31 December 2016 to be between 43.1 cents and 47.1 cents per share compared to the 27.8 cents and 28.3 cents respectively achieved for the prior corresponding period, being an increase of between 52% and 67%.

Sassa Asks Concourt To Allow Invalid Contract To Continue

Sassa will ask the Constitutional Court to allow it to extend a welfare distribution contract with Net 1 UEPS Technologies, which the Concourt previously ruled invalid, to be extended. While Net 1’s contract expires at the end of March, Sassa hasn’t appointed a replacement or made arrangements to take over the payments itself. Although six options, including using other banks, were considered, granting Net 1 a one-year extension was considered the only viable one. Ridiculous that Sassa has up to now, not made a plan regarding an alternative.

Vodacom Claims Data Prices Have Fallen By 15%

Vodacom says its data prices have fallen by 15.4% over the last year, according to the company’s latest trading update for the quarter ended December. “As part of our effort to continuously reduce the cost to communicate in South Africa through our bundle pricing strategy, voice and data prices fell by 17.6% and 15.4% respectively.

Ghana Finds $1.6 Billion Hole In Their Budget

Ghana’s budget deficit could be twice as big as previously forecast, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta said after the government revealed a 7 billion-cedi ($1.6 billion) hole in the budget. The budget hole was disclosed by Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, who along with President Nana Akufo-Addo arrived in office only three weeks ago after winning presidential and parliamentary elections

Currencies and Stuff

Oil 56.57 – Rand/USD 13.38 – Rand/GBP 16.91 – Rand/EUR 14.45

Manyi Threatens Zuma With Court Action Over FICA Bill

Mzwanele Jimmy Manyi has threatened Jacob Zuma with court action if he signs the FICA bill into law. The Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA) is a bill written to combat corruption‚ white collar crime‚ terrorism and money laundering by placing greater scrutiny on the financial affairs of prominent individuals and the politically connected. An example of this is the review of the Gupta accounts which led to them being closed by the big 4 banks. Manyi has said that such action would lead the ANC to bankruptcy by 2019 and that its unconstitutional for the police and banks to do random searches without a warrant. Experts looking into the matter have said its perfectly legal and consistent with international standards. Whats in the bank accounts that Mr Manyi doesn’t want us to see? Fishy.

R400m Waste Energy Plant Opened In Cape Town 

A R400m waste-to-energy conversion plant was officially opened in Athlone. The plant will use 500 tons of organic household, municipal, and industrial waste per day, in an anaerobic digestive process, to produce methane, food-grade carbon dioxide, and organic fertilizer. The plant which will initially employ 80 people can supply around 4% to 5% of the city’s liquid petroleum gas requirement. Currently, the city produces around 8000 tons of waste per day.

No Possibility Of Loadshedding Until 2021

Eskom has reported an operational surplus energy capacity averaging 5 600MW at peak this financial year, an achievement the power utility said could make the country meet any increase in demand until 2021. There are rumors that Eskom is considering selling the excess capacity to neighboring countries but there has been no confirmation of that yet. Eskom also committed to allowing municipalities until January 31 to clear arrears. Over the 2016 financial year, municipal debt increased to R10.2 billion at the end of November, with the Free State, Mpumalanga and North West contributing the most at R7.8 billion combined

Another Big Fuel Price Hike In Feb

It is estimated that there will be about a 44 cents a litre increase in the price of petrol and 37 cents a litre hike in the diesel price in February. The rand/US dollar exchange rate has firmed slightly since the start of January 2017 but the international oil prices have surged ahead by a far greater margin, nullifying any savings we could have made from the weakness of the dollar.

Ford Mustang Fails Safety Standards Test

While investigations continue into the Ford Kuga fires crisis, the company has now been dealt another blow with the announcement that its flagship Mustang has failed to achieve a satisfactory score in the Euro NCAP vehicle-safety test. Ford did not expect Euro NCAP to test the Mustang and chose not to fit safety technology in Europe which is available to its American consumers. The Euro version of the Mustang is the same one sold in South Africa and one has to wonder if Ford really cares about anyone beyond America. Ridiculous!

Vodacom to sell R15bn Stake

Vodacom is considering the sale of a R15-billion stake in the company to boost “black participation in the economy”. The report stated that Vodacom plans to buy back part of a 12.47% stake owned by the Public Investment Corporation. The shares will then be listed as a “separate entity” and restricted to black investors.

SA To Import Tons Of US GMO Corn

South Africa issued permits to allow total imports of 1.3 million metric tons of genetically modified corn from the U.S. South Africa became a net importer of corn for the first time since 2008 in the marketing season that ended in April, after the drought slashed local harvests. So far none of the corn has landed in South African ports.

Currencies And Stuff 

Oil 55.54 – Rand/USD 13.25 – Rand/GBP 16.73 – Rand/EUR 14.25

Zuma Doesnt Want Lifestyle Audits

President Jacob Zuma has lashed out at those who called for implementation of lifestyle audits in the top echelons of the ANC, despite two of the party’s top six insisting on their importance. Zuma said leaders requesting such audits must “behave properly”, as the movement had pulled out all the stops to fight corruption, which he said was “not a problem brought by us”.

Missing Millions After Gambia’s Jammeh

More than $11m (£8.8m) is missing from The Gambia’s state coffers following the departure of long-time leader Yahya Jammeh. Luxury cars and other items were reportedly loaded on to a Chadian cargo plane as Mr Jammeh left the country. He had refused to accept election results but finally left after mediation by regional leaders and the threat of military intervention.

Motsepe Buys 10% Of Alex-Forbes

African Rainbow Capital, chaired by billionaire Patrice Motsepe, will acquire a 10% stake in financial services company Alexander Forbes. Alexander Forbes said shareholders approved ARC’s acquisition in its African operations, with net proceeds of R678.1m.

AB InBev Offer Severance Packages In SA

AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer, has offered more than 1 000 employees in South Africa voluntary severance following its merger with SAB Miller. As part of the merger conditions, AB InBev was required to maintain the number of employees in SAB Millers’s South African operations for five years after the date of the merger and not implement forced retrenchments.

Samsung Blames Battery Design & Manufacturing For Note 7 Fires

Samsung internal and independent investigations concluded that batteries were found to be the cause of the Note 7 incidents. According to the findings, the problems centred on insufficient insulation material within the batteries and a design that did not give enough room to safely accommodate the batteries’ electrodes. The recall is thought to have cost $5.3bn (£4.3bn)

Currencies & Stuff

Oil 55.32 – Rand/USD 13.53 – Rand/GBP 16.77 – Rand/EUR 14.50