Christo Weise Resigns As Steinhoff Chair

Steinhoff International chairman and largest shareholder, billionaire Christo Wiese, is stepping down from the supervisory board following the accounting scandal that has engulfed the retail giant. The board accepted Wiese’s resignation to resolve questions of conflict of interest, the owner of furniture chains such as Mattress Firm in the US and Conforama in France said in a filing on Thursday. Heather Sonn, a member of the board and its independent subcommittee, will take the role of acting chairwoman.

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DA Suspends De Lille

The federal executive of the DA has decided to suspend City of Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille from party activities pending the outcome of ongoing investigations into a series of reports and an affidavit containing allegations of maladministration in the city, also asking her to give reasons why she shouldn’t resign as mayor. This comes after the conclusion of an investigation of the allegations by a subcommittee.

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Lungisa Fezile Appointed Standard Bank CEO

Standard Bank has appointed Lungisa Fuzile as CEO for its South African unit. A former director-general within the Treasury, Fuzile will take over from Sim Tshabalala, who has served in the role since 2008. “This appointment follows the recent changes to the group’s executive structure, which resulted in the disbanding of the joint group CEO construct,” Standard Bank Group said in a statement. Ben Kruger stepped down as joint CEO of Standard Bank Group in September, leaving Tshabalala as the sole head of Africa’s biggest bank by assets.

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Zuma, Ministers And Guptas Sued Over Eskom

The Helen Suzman Foundation and Sygnia Asset Management CEO Magda Wierzycka have approached the courts to deal with the capture of Eskom. According to an affidavit filed at the North Gauteng High Court on Thursday, the foundation and Wierzycka want the courts to set upside the “series of unlawful, improper and corrupt” exercises of public power, and to recover all the proceeds lost in order to benefit the fiscus. The application has been brought against 73 respondents including Eskom itself, President Jacob Zuma, Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba, Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, Eskom executives including Anoj Singh and Brian Molefe and former Oakbay CEO Nazeem Howa and Oakbay’s Ronica Ragavan, and both Ajay and Atul Gupta.

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University Fee Increase Capped At 8%

Universities South Africa says it’s decided to cap fees at 8% for the 2018 academic year. Last month President Jacob Zuma released the findings of the Heher Commission, which was tasked with investigating the feasibility of free higher education in South Africa.

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Govt Plans To Raise R4bn From Telkom Share Sale

South Africa is reportedly seeking to raise as much as 4 billion rand ($297 million) from the sale of part of its 39 percent stake in Telkom SA SOC Ltd. to raise funds for the country’s unprofitable state airline and post office

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Currencies: Bitcoin R263,370. Ether R9,843. R/USD13.50 . R/GBP18.10 . R/EUR15.90

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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

Zuma Must Give Gordhan Recall Reasons

The High Court in Pretoria has given President Jacob Zuma until next Thursday to submit all documents containing his reasons for dismissing former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas. Initially, he cited an alleged fake intelligence report claiming Gordhan and his deputy were not acting in the best interests of the country and were trying to effect regime change.

Source : https://goo.gl/UBMcrp

Pioneer Profits Drop 40-45%

Pioneer Foods has cautioned its shareholders to expect a decline in earnings for the six months to end March. The company said it anticipated that its operating profit for the period to ease between 40 percent and 45 percent, down from R1.24 billion reported in 2016. The group said it attributed the decline to an impact of the Phase1 B-BBEE share-based payment charge and merger and acquisitions costs during the period.

Source : https://goo.gl/o5lJtP

China Launches First Major Commercial Jet

China’s first large jetliner has successfully completed its maiden flight, a key moment in the country’s push to challenge the U.S. and Europe as a global manufacturer. With the flight, China joins the ranks of the few nations that have developed homegrown large airliners: the U.S., Russia, Brazil, Canada, the U.K., France and Germany. Made by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac), the 168-seat C919 is roughly the same size as Airbus’s A320 and Boeing’s 737-800, which are the most popular airliners in the world.

Source : https://goo.gl/7tBFG2

Gauteng To Spend R46bn On Infrastructure Projects

The Gauteng provincial government will spend R46-billion on infrastructure over the next three years, Premier David Makhura said on Thursday. Makhura said it was important to note that the Gauteng Infrastructure Master Plan estimates that R1.8-trillion is needed to meet the province’s infrastructure needs over the next decade-and-a-half. Makhura pointed out that between 2013 and 2016, the Gauteng government spent R30-billion on infrastructure project developments.

Source : https://goo.gl/2VIx1S

Mugabe Defiant At WEF

Mugabe was a panellist on a debate about fragile states in the main hall at the International Convention Centre that included diverse voices from former AFDB head Donald Kaberuka to Hollywood actor Forest Whittaker. The first question went to Mugabe about whether he thought Zimbabwe, with its economic troubles, is a fragile state. “We are not a poor country, you can’t call us a fragile state, you can call America a fragile state,” says Mugabe to chuckles from the hundreds in the audience. Mugabe pointed to his country’s vast resources, 14 universities and 90 per cent literacy rate.

Source : https://goo.gl/XdcPxj

Oil Price Collapses Below $45

Oil slid below $45 a barrel for the first time since OPEC agreed to cut output in November as US shale confounds the producer group’s attempts to prop up prices. Prices are still more than 50% below their peak in 2014, when surging shale output triggered crude’s biggest collapse in a generation and left rival producers such as Saudi Arabia scrambling to protect market share.

Source : https://goo.gl/wIinzC

CurrenciesRand/USD 13.64 – Rand/GBP 17.63 – Rand/EUR 14.98

 

 

 

More Money Needed For Nkandla

Government is set to spend “millions” in taxpayers’ money on president Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead, according to a report by the Sunday Times. The Department of Public Works said that plans were in place to refurbish the property, repair “shoddy workmanship”, and address security concerns. While the assessment is not complete, the cost of additional upgrades and repairs could run into millions of rand.

Source : https://goo.gl/93Iv7s

PetroSA Board Told To Resign

Central Energy Fund (CEF) chairman Luvo Makasi has told the board of troubled state-owned oil company PetroSA to resign with immediate effect. Leadership and management instability have plagued CEF subsidiary PetroSA, which has suffered huge financial losses over the past three years. In a letter sent to the board at the end of March, Makasi said the CEF had been concerned for some time about the strategic direction, financial standing and management of PetroSA.

Source : https://goo.gl/WMuVx5

Cyril Ramaphosa Launches Presidential Bid

“Corruption must be rooted out” and anyone found guilty must be dealt with severely, Ramaphosa said at a memorial for the late ANC leader Chris Hani in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province. Allegations of families and people unduly influencing government appointments and contracts should be “of great concern” to the ANC, he said, adding that he supports a judicial commission of inquiry into charges of state capture.

Source : https://goo.gl/gLnXFY

Lynn Browne Blocks Brian Molefe Payout

The Sunday Times reported a fortnight ago that Molefe was due to get a R30.1-million golden handshake from Eskom. He told the newspaper that he was to be paid what was due to him but refused to give a figure. Brown said yesterday she could not support the payout because there was no justification for it. “I found the argument presented by the board lacking in legal rationale and it cannot be substantiated as a performance reward because Molefe has already been granted a performance bonus for his contribution to the turnaround of Eskom,” said Brown.

Source : https://goo.gl/xL5nZf

Net1 Denies Wrongdoing In Sassa Payments Saga

Net1 has come out with guns blazing in a bid to “set the record straight”, releasing a Sens announcement and links to 23 documents that it claims prove that accusations against the group have no merit. The documents, which include court rulings, relate to its controversial South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) contract to distribute social grants to 11-million recipients.

Source : https://goo.gl/MDbtPl

Venezuela Down To $10bn In The Bank

Venezuela only has $10 billion in reserves — the cash that’s intended to keep an economy stable and weather tough times. What’s worse: most of those reserves aren’t in hard cash. About $7 billion is in gold bars, which doesn’t make it easy to make payments. Venezuela has a lot of bills to pay soon. It owes $6 billion in debt payments for the rest of this year. There’s also no sign that the country’s lone source of revenue – oil exports – will be able to pay down those debts. Venezuela is running the risk of defaulting on its debt this year, meaning it wouldn’t be able to get more loans to pay for basics like food and medicine

Source : https://goo.gl/iIZHQC

Indicators : Oil 52.25 – Rand/USD 13.00 – Rand/GBP 16.59 – Rand/EUR 14.12

Zuma’s Lawyer In Sassa Grants Saga

it emerged in the Sunday papers that President Jacob Zuma’s special adviser played a key role in ensuring that Cash Paymaster Services would keep the lucrative contract to deliver more than 17 million social grants to recipients. Michael Hulley’s intervention coincided with Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini flatly rejecting any payment option that did not involve CPS, raising questions about why the minister was so intent on retaining the company.

Source : https://goo.gl/3FPu8Z

ANC Contradicts Zuma On Land Reform Method

The ANC says the state should pay fair compensation for land it acquires for distribution to the country’s black majority, contradicting a suggestion by President Jacob Zuma that the constitution should be changed to allow for free expropriation. The party said it needs to focus more intently on the “radical economic and social transformation of our country” to ensure its wealth is more evenly distributed and that it must act urgently to restore its moral character to win back public trust.

Source : https://goo.gl/VJpMbg

Popo Molefe And Prasa Board Take Minister To Court

Members of the former board of the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) are lodging an urgent application in the High Court on Monday to reverse their removal by Transport Minister Dipuo Peters and to interdict her from appointing a new board.

Source : https://goo.gl/0HHTv0

Unions Join Up To Protest Eskom Power Station Closures

Rival unions are reaching out to each other to unite against Eskom’s decision to close five coal power stations within five years. National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) general secretary Irvin Jim said he wants to engage with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on this issue. Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe told Fin24 last week that at least two units of Komati power station have already been shut down to create space for the renewable energy projects.

Source : https://goo.gl/YxJgS1

Bitcoin Price Plunges After SEC Decision

The price of bitcoin plunged from record highs Friday after the Securities and Exchange Commission denied a request for the first bitcoin exchange-traded fund, which could have prompted greater investment in the digital currency.

Source : https://goo.gl/GmuZXo

Elon Musk Offers To Fix Australia Energy Crisis

Elon Musk has promised to solve an energy crisis in Australia within 100 days, or provide the technology for free. Musk was responding to a challenge from billionaire entrepreneur Mike Cannon-Brookes, who wanted to know whether the company was serious in claiming that it could end blackouts in South Australia quickly. Tesla has offered to provide 100 megawatt hours of battery storage at a total cost of $25 million which should supplement the current grid and prevent cuts.

Source : https://goo.gl/NRUcXJ

Indicators : Oil 51.42 – Rand/USD 13.12 – Rand/GBP 16.00 – Rand/EUR 14.00

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

Citibank Settles On R69m Fine Forex Fine

The Citi Banking Group has agreed to pay its fourth fine related to forex rigging after reaching a settlement with the Competition Commission on Monday. Citi has agreed to pay R69.5m for its role in the saga and was previously fined $310m for forex benchmark rigging by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission in 2014. Citibank was also fined £225.6m the same day by the UK Financial Conduct Authority.

Source : https://goo.gl/I8Y5oa

Gauteng Govt To Spend 91% Of Procurement Budget On Black Business

Gauteng Premier David Makhura on Monday during his State of the Province Address said his government will be spending 91% of its procurement budget on black businesses. Of the 12,000 companies that conduct business with our provincial administration, 10,000 of them are Historically Disadvantaged Individuals.

Source : https://goo.gl/YTDoOt

Govt Spent R873m On Legal Fees Last Year

Last year, government spent R873m on legal services — an increase of 161% over six years. The police, whose legal costs are up 228% over the same period, accounted for R300m of that. Tracking the amount spent on legal services by all 35 national departments since the 2009/2010 financial year reveals an alarming trajectory. The total rises from R334m in 2009/2010 to R873m in 2015/2016. That’s an increase of 161% — or R540m in round numbers — since the beginning of Zuma’s administration.

Source : https://goo.gl/bpEKDM

Russia Outproduces Saudi Arabia On Crude Oil

Russia overtook Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest crude producer in December, when both countries started restricting supplies ahead of agreed cuts with other global producers. Russia pumped 10.49 million barrels a day in December, down 29 000 barrels a day from November, while Saudi Arabia’s output declined to 10.46 million barrels a day from 10.72 million barrels a day in November. The US was the third-largest producer, at 8.8 million barrels a day.

Source : https://goo.gl/lGPAI1

Cape Town Rentals Highest In SA

Figures released by credit bureau TPN, which vets the credit records of tenants who stay in rental properties, disclosed that the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the Cape Town was around R7 000, more than double what the average South African earns a month. Since the last quarter of 2015, the percentage of rent increases in the Western Cape and North West remained above 10%, while over the same period the percentage of rent increases in Gauteng remained below 5%.

Source : https://goo.gl/UTiuNC

Indicators : JSE 52’558 – Oil 56.21 – Rand/USD 13.06 – Rand/GBP 16.23 – Rand/EUR 13.83