Manyi Repays Gupta’s In Full

Mzwanele (Jimmy) Manyi claims he has paid the Gupta family in full for ANN7 and The New Age newspaper. Manyi said in a statement released on Saturday that the original amount owed has been lowered after renegotiations. He said he made full settlement of what he still owed the Guptas. The Gupta’s Oakbay company had sold The New Age and ANN7 to Manyi for R450m.

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Construction Cartels Dealings Exposed

New testimony in the ongoing construction cartel prosecution case has revealed the day-to-day mechanics of rigging tenders on everything from hotels to the Lesotho Highlands Water Project and the Gautrain. A witness for the Competition Commission has even revealed how cartel members fought with each other because other members were trying to “rip out the guts” of the Gautrain by demanding an embarrassingly high cover price from other cartel members.

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Supra’s R1.5m Cattle Gift To Zuma

North West premier Supra Mahumapelo gave Jacob Zuma a herd of cattle worth R1.5-million as a gift – and paid for it using public funds. The cows, which should have gone to emerging farmers in the province, were delivered to Nkandla and signed for by Zuma himself. Now the Hawks are investigating the scandal, which could lead to charges of fraud and corruption against Mahumapelo and the former president. Zuma is already facing 16 charges, including fraud, racketeering and money laundering, stemming from the multibillion-rand arms deal.

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SAP In Software Double Billing Scandal

Software giant SAP and the Department of Water and Sanitation are involved in a “double billing” scandal where hundreds of millions were wasted. The City Press reported that the department purchased R950 million in “unlimited” SAP software licences for itself, all nine water boards, and the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA). This five-year deal was concluded despite the water boards and the TCTA having contracts with different software companies and paying their own licence, maintenance, and support fees.

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Grace Mugabe In Dangote Bribery Scandal

A cabinet minister asked Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, for a $5-million bribe on behalf of the Mugabe family. Robert Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao is said to have allegedly requested the bribe weeks after Dangote visited Zimbabwe in October 2015, the sources said. Zhuwao was the youth development and indigenisation minister at the time. It was allegedly contained in an e-mail from Zhuwao and informed Dangote that “as with all investors which come into Zimbabwe there was a need for him to secure his investments and grease elbows, and therefore a sum of $5-million is requested”.

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High Costs Force Private School Dropouts

South Africa’s top private schools have lost thousands of students over the last year due to rising school fees and other costs. According to a report by the Sunday Times, two of South Africa’s biggest private school chains, Curro and AdvTech, lost 3,881 pupils last year – mainly because parents could not afford to pay fees. In addition, both St John’s College in Parktown and St Stithians College in Sandton confirmed that they had seen a number of drop-outs as well as an increase in students who had fallen behind in school fees.

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Bus Strike Intensifies

The continued strike action comes as a result of failed wage negotiations between unions and employers over the course of a two-day meeting with the Commission of Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). Workers initially demanded a 12% increase and employers offered 7%. The workers have since rejected an offer of 8% for the first year, and 8.5% in the second year, instead proposing a 9.5% increase in the first year and 9% for the second.

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Currencies: Bcoin R111,818 . Ether R8,002 . R/USD12.11 . R/GBP16.97 . R/EUR14.86

 

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Zuma To Make First Court Appearance

Almost 11 years after he was first served an indictment in the graft case against him, former president Jacob Zuma will finally have his day in court on Friday when he appears in the High Court in Durban. Zuma is facing 16 charges — one count of racketeering, two counts of corruption, one count of money laundering and 12 counts of fraud.

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Steinhoff Drops Director Bonuses Plans

Steinhoff International Holdings NV shelved a plan to pay director bonuses after lawmakers questioned whether it was appropriate to release extra funds given the retailer has lost more than 90% of its market value amid an accounting scandal. The owner of Conforama in France and Mattress Firm in the US was planning to ask shareholders to approve payouts to board members including Chairman Heather Sonn as a reward for their work trying to keep the company afloat.

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Unpaid Etolls Now Valued At R9.2 Billion

President Cyril Ramaphosa has taken charge of Gauteng’s e-toll headache, bringing hope that the impasse between motorists and the provincial government could soon be resolved. In November 2017, motorists in the province owed R9.2bn. Motorists claim the funding model was not adequately canvassed and the levy will further impoverish poor workers. Gauteng Premier David Makhura in February conceded that the highly contested e-tolls system was a failure. He said a new model was needed to fund road development.

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Consol Glass To relist On JSE

Glass packaging manufacturer Consol Holdings on Thursday announced its intention to list its issued ordinary shares on the main board of the JSE. Consol, which provides glass packaging products to customers in a variety of industries including beer, wine, flavoured alcoholic beverages, non-alcoholic beverages, spirits and food, said it expects to be listed in the Industrials: Containers and Packaging sector of the JSE.

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Govt Wage Bill Now At R587 Billion

Government’s public wage bill has become so big, that it’s fast becoming the single-biggest problem in the budget – siphoning funding from other vital functions, like service delivery. As it stands, the government wage bill is almost a full third of the annual budget, sitting at R587 billion. National Treasury has warned that the size of the public sector wage bill needed to be reined in as departments were starting to hit their “compensation ceilings”, noting further that public sector wages had increased 10.3% annually since 2009, significantly higher than the rate of inflation.

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Sappi Signs Govt Power Plant Deal

Sappi has signed an agreement with the Department of Energy to build a renewable energy plant at its mill in Mpumalanga. Sappi and consortium partners KC Africa and African Rainbow Energy and Power would spend a combined R1.8bn on a 25MW biomass energy unit at the company’s Ngodwana mill, said Sappi Southern Africa CEO Alex Thiel. Sappi will have a 30% stake in the facility, which is expected to contribute to the national grid from July 2020.

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Currencies: Bcoin R82,576 . Ether R4,722 . R/USD12.01 . R/GBP16.80 . R/EUR14.69

 

 

Schabir Shaik To Testify In Zuma Trial

Former President Jacob Zuma’s ex-financial advisor Schabir Shaik has confirmed that he has been approached by the Hawks and asked to testify in Zuma’s trial. Shaik was convicted of corrupting Zuma in 2005‚ and sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was released on medical parole on March 3‚ 2009 after serving just over two years of that sentence. A panel of medical experts had concluded that he was terminally ill. During his trial‚ Shaik remained adamant that the hundreds of payments he made to Zuma‚ then KwaZulu-Natal Tourism MEC and later deputy president‚ were either gifts or part of a revolving loan agreement.

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Gordhan Warns SARS Reshuffle Coming

The South African Revenue Service’s leadership team has no credibility and will soon be changed, according to Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. “It’s out there in the public domain that leadership team has lost all credibility and the time for change, it should be sooner rather than later,” said Gordhan, who clashed with Moyane over the management of the tax authority when he was finance minister. Getting the revenue service right, “is not too far away,” he said.

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Gupta VAT Refunds Under Question

Tax boss Tom Moyane aided possible acts of money laundering and fraud while contravening the VAT and Tax Acts when he allegedly pressured SARS officials to illegally effect three VAT payments to the Guptas into the account of a third party. Within two weeks from Oakbay Investments (Pty) Ltd director Ronica Ragavan’s first “urgent” request dated 22 May 2017, SARS paid the first of three VAT payments amounting to R70-million. Two smaller VAT payments were pushed through in July and August 2017.

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Toll Road Workers TO GO On Strike

National routes across the country are expected to be affected by a toll workers strike on Monday morning. The South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (SATAWU) said in a statement on Sunday that its members who were employed by Intertoll Africa, a subsidiary of Group 5, will embark on a national strike on Monday from 6am. Routes affected are the N1 from South Grasmere Plaza to Free State, N4 from Magalies to Rustenburg and N2 from Mthunzini to Othangathi

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ANN7 Wants Free To Air License

ICASA said it has received four applications for Individual Commercial Free-to-Air Television Broadcasting Service Licences. Among the applicants is Infinity Media Networks, the parent of former Gupta-owned news network ANN7. The company previously applied for a free-to-air TV licence in 2014, during ICASA’s last Invitation to Apply.

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Gupta’s Dubai Hospital Plans Exposed

The poor in North West and Free State were fleeced to build a billion-dollar hospital for the rich in Dubai, in a plan concocted by the Gupta family. Out of the R954 charged per patient for screening by healthcare provider Mediosa, R650 was to be paid to subcontracted companies from Dubai. The money would then be funnelled into the companies’ United Arab Emirates bank accounts, from where it would be used to fund the Guptas’ new business venture: Dubai Healthcare City.

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Esidimeni Hearings Could Cost R47Million

The total cost of the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings is expected to cost the Gauteng government around R47-million in total. This was disclosed by Gauteng premier David Makhura in a written a reply to questions in the Gauteng legislature, Gauteng MPL Jack Bloom said. So far, the alternative dispute resolution process has cost R15.7-million. More than half the expense has been spent on the Emoyeni Conference Centre as the venue for the hearings, which cost R8.4-million.

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Currencies: Bcoin R102,580 . Ether R6,702 . R/USD11.98 . R/GBP16.70 . R/EUR14.72

Ramaphosa Clarifies Land reform Plans

South Africa’s government will ensure land reform takes place as a matter of urgency without harming agricultural production, but it won’t allow people to forcibly take over farms, President Cyril Ramaphosa said. A land audit released by the government in February showed that farms and agricultural holdings comprise 97% of the 121.9 million hectares of the nation’s area. Whites own 72% of the 37 million hectares held by individuals, more than two decades after the end of apartheid.

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SOE’s Present Revival Plans

Chief executives of state-owned entities (SOEs) this week presented President Cyril Ramaphosa with ambitious proposals to reignite the South African economy. The business leaders, led by Telkom chief executive Sipho Maseko, said that the plans were aimed at rekindling manufacturing, meaningful employment in the crucial agriculture sector and the development of logistics systems to accelerate economic growth, among others.

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Zuma Should Pay His Own Fees If Guilty

Responding to a question from EFF leader Julius Malema, Ramaphosa revealed that the government had contributed a total of R15.3m towards Zuma’s legal costs since 2006. Of this amount, approximately R7.5m was spent between 2006 and the withdrawal of the corruption charges against Zuma in 2009. The state had paid a total R7.8m on Zuma’s legal costs since 2009. Ramaphosa explained that Zuma had entered into an agreement with the government that the money would be paid back if he is found to have been personally responsible for the crimes he was accused of.

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A Third of Moz Plants Destroyed By Pests And Disease

Pests and disease sweeping through Mozambique have destroyed at least a third of the country’s agricultural crops over the past 11 months, a government spokeswoman said. More than 41,000 hectares of crops in Mozambique have been affected by pests including caterpillars and fruit flies.

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KPMG And Deloitte Fined By US Authorities

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has slapped KPMG, Deloitte & Touche, and BDO for their involvement in audit work that circumvented its guidelines. The firms agreed to settle the charges by paying penalties or disgorging their profits from the audits.Without admitting or denying the findings, BDO Canada agreed to pay a $50,000 penalty, KPMG in South Africa agreed to pay a $100,000 penalty, Deloitte in Zimbabwe agreed to pay disgorgement and interest totaling $99,057, and KPMG in Zimbabwe agreed to pay disgorgement and interest totaling $141,305. 
Toys R Us Officially Shuts

Toys R Us employees have been informed that the company is selling or closing all its US stores as part of a liquidation plan. According to USA Today, Toys R Us will file liquidation papers in advance of a court hearing scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

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3500 Tons Of Polony And Cold Meat Returned

Tiger Brands had recalled 3 500 tons of its Enterprise ready-to-eat, chilled meat products by Monday. This, as it awaits the outcome of a report it commissioned on why the ST6 strain of listeria was found at its Polokwane facility.

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Bitcoin Drops Below $8000

The price of bitcoin is down to start the day, dropping below $8,000 during early-hours trading on Thursday according to CoinDesk’s Bitcoin Price Index (BPI). At press time, the price of bitcoin is roughly $7,811.22 across global exchanges, a figure that represents a decline of over $300 from the day’s open, and the lowest price observed on the index since Feb. 11, when the BPI hit a low of $7,845.13.

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Currencies: R97,904 . Ether R7,325 . R/USD11.77 . R/GBP16.45 . R/EUR14.57

Drought Declared A National Disaster

Government has declared a national state of disaster to deal with the country’s drought and water crisis. Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Minister Zweli Mkhize made the announcement on behalf of the Inter-Ministerial Task Team on Drought and Water Scarcity during a media briefing in Cape Town on Tuesday. It comes after ratings firm, Moody’s Investors Service warned on Monday that Cape Town would need up to spend up to R12.7 billion ($1 billion) over the next five years on water and sanitation infrastructure to deal with its water crisis.

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Zuma’s Spy Tapes Legal Bill Over R15Million

Former president Jacob Zuma spent R15.3m of the taxpayers’ money in his legal battles to avoid prosecution. Ramaphosa revealed this information to the DA on Tuesday in a bid to settle legal action brought by the opposition party over Zuma’s refusal to disclose his legal fees in what is known as the spy tapes case.

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R385Million Fund Stuck In VBS Bank

A fund, the beneficiaries of which are children of deceased mine workers, has about R385m on deposit with VBS Mutual Bank, which the Reserve Bank placed under curatorship on Sunday. The Financial Services Board (FSB) confirmed that the Bophelo Beneficiary Fund, which with its administrator, Bophelo Benefit Services was placed under curatorship by the board in June 2017, had R385m deposited with VBS. The board was in talks with the Bank to recover this money for the orphans’ fund.

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SASSA Has No Back Up Plan

The South African Social Security Agency’s (Sassa’s) contingency plan to manage the cash component of the social grants system, were the Constitutional Court to deny an extension of the invalid CPS contract, was only work in progress. The plan however, would be “very inconvenient” and there is still no “feasible” contingency plan that will guarantee cash payments on April 1.

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Coinbase Gets E-Money License In The UK

Coinbase is officially expanding digital money services in the U.K. and EU. The U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority granted Coinbase an e-money license, the company announced Wednesday. The license now enables the company the ability to provide payment services and issue digital cash alternatives, which can then be used to make card, internet or phone payments.

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Currencies: Bcoin R113,599 . Ether R8,605 . R/USD11.77 . R/GBP16.45 . R/EUR14.59

 

 

Zuma To Address The Nation

In a televised interview with CNN, finance minister Malusi Gigaba confirmed that Pres Jacob Zuma will address the nation at 10am and is expected to resign. Gigaba further went on to say that if Zuma does not resign, the ANC will have no choice but to side with opposition parties in parliament in a vote of no confidence in Zuma

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Reserve Bank To Regulate Crypto Currencies

The South African Reserve Bank has confirmed that it will be launching a special unit to address regulation in the growing fintech space. In a statement released on Tuesday, the SARB said that the main goal of the programme is to track and analyse fintech developments and to assist policymakers in formulating frameworks in response to these emerging innovations.

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National Credit Amendment Bill Mooted

According to legal experts, the Amendment Bill, should it pass, is expected to have a significant impact on the lives of thousands of ordinary South Africans as well as large parts of the finance and banking sectors because of the wide-scale debt relief it will provide. The proposed Bill makes provision for debt intervention for consumers earning a maximum of R7,500 per month and with less than R50,000 in unsecured debt. As the proposed Bill is currently crafted, 16 million loans could qualify for debt intervention.

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Unemployment Rate Improves Slightly

SA’s unemployment rate improved to 26.7% in the fourth quarter of 2017. This was a one percentage point improvement on the unemployment rate of 27.7% recorded in the third quarter of the year. A decline in unemployment was observed across all age groups, but was highest among the youth, irrespective of educational level.

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City Of Joburg To Launch Jan Smuts Avenue Revamp

The City of Joburg will proceed with a planned expansion of Jan Smuts Avenue in the Parktown area and beyond, in a two-year project that will impact congestion levels and travel times for many residents in the area. It is expected to involve major roadworks on and around Jan Smuts, stretching from Zoo Lake to Bompas road. The drive behind the project is to alleviate traffic congestion in the area, and will be the start of a new phase in infrastructure upgrades in the city.

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KZN To Get Direct Flights To London

KwaZulu-Natal could soon have direct flights between Durban and London. “We had a very productive meeting with British Airways. They see huge potential in the Durban-London route and we are extremely optimistic that our engagements will bear fruits. For a number of years now, KwaZulu-Natal has been working on securing air services between Durban and the UK and we are happy that British Airways has finally given us the opportunity to engage them on the viability and potential of the route,” said MEC Sihle Zikalala.

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Diesel Cars On The Way Out In Europe

In 2012 European governments started reducing incentives on Diesel cars in favor of electric vehicles and consumers have shifted with those incentives. From 2015 to 2017, diesel’s market share has dropped from 51% to 44% and it is dropping every year in Europe

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Currencies: Bcoin R108,917. Ether R10,679. R/USD11.93 . R/GBP16.58 . R/EUR14.77

Ramaphosa Wins ANC Presidency Race

Ramaphosa’s victory was announced at the ANC’s elective conference in Gauteng after he nosed ahead of his opponent‚ Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Ramaphosa received 2‚440 votes and Dlamini-Zuma got 2‚261. Gwede Mantashe is the new national chairperson and Paul Mashatile the new treasurer general. Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza was elected deputy president‚ Ace Magashule is the incoming secretary general and Jessie Duarte retained her position as deputy secretary general.

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Rand Rallies On Ramaphosa Win

The rand cheered as the ANC announced the new president of the politic party following the election process that kicked of on Saturday (16 December 2017). The rand firmed 2% on Friday as the ANC prepared to elect its new leader. At 10am on Monday, the rand was trading at R13.09 against the dollar and shortly after the announcement; the rand firmed to R12.59 against the US dollar.
DA Files Criminal Charges Against Koko

DA) says it has filed criminal charges against the reinstated acting Eskom CEO Matshela Koko following what it calls the sham of a disciplinary hearing. Koko was found not guilty of all charges relating to misconduct during disciplinary procedures which led to his reinstatement.

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Biggest IPO In History 

The markets are awaiting what is expected to be the biggest public offering in history. An IPO so big it will likely make any Silicon Valley unicorn look like a blip in the market. The Saudi’s plan is to offer up to 5% of Aramco in the flotation at a currently predicted price of $100 billion. This would give Aramco a valuation of $2 trillion, making it the largest IPO ever. Initially, the sale was expected to take place in early 2018, but the anticipated date is now late 2018 or early 2019.

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Micro Insurance Closer To Reality

The long-awaited Insurance Bill was among a number of pieces of legislation passed by the National Council of Provinces at its final scheduled plenary sitting for 2017 last week – good news for lower-income South Africans, because it brings access to micro-insurance one step closer.

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New Minimum Wage For Domestic Workers

The department of labour has released the sectoral determination for domestic workers, showing the new minimum wages for domestics across South Africa – at least until the national minimum wage comes into effect. According to the latest determination, domestic workers must get paid a minimum of R1,641 up to R2,545, depending on which area you live in. This is a 5% increase from 2017’s rates.

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Currencies: R305,693. Ether R13,552. R/USD12.78 . R/GBP17.08 . R/EUR15.08