Wednesday 18 October 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 09/23/17)
Unilever (ULVR.L) (UNc.AS) has agreed a $900 million deal with South African investor Remgro (REMJ.J), buying Remgro’s 26 percent stake in its South African subsidiary in exchange for its southern African spreads business and a cash payment. The deal is the first step in Unilever’s broader exit from its shrinking spreads business, a move it promised earlier this year following an unsolicited $143 billion takeover offer from Kraft-Heinz (KHC.O). The Anglo-Dutch consumer goods maker, owner of Dove soap and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, said it would buy Remgro’s 25.75 percent shareholding in Unilever South Africa in exchange for the spreads business in South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland plus 4.9 billion rand ($371 million) in cash. The deal...
(Bloomberg 09/23/17)
Much of the focus around Indian mining tycoon Anil Agarwal’s pursuit of Anglo American Plc has been the company’s South African operations. But Botswana could be similarly important. Botswana is the source of about two-thirds of Anglo’s diamonds and the country is a major stakeholder in De Beers, the world’s biggest gem producer. There are few countries as dependent on a single commodity as Botswana is with diamonds and the nation is highly protective of the industry. So far Botswana appears to be pretty sanguine about Agarwal’s position in Anglo. But it’ll be worth watching if the billionaire continues raising his stake because there’s a provision in Botswana’s agreement with Anglo that allows the nation to renegotiate if De Beers’s...
(Independent Online 09/23/17)
Helen Zille, premier of Western Cape, is compared to Donald Trump in furious row over her water use and fake news A leading South African politician has claimed she only showers once every three days to save water, despite sometimes worrying about the “hygienic and aesthetic consequences”. Helen Zille, premier of the Western Cape, said that she regarded having oily hair during a drought to be “as much of a status symbol as a dusty car”. The revelations about her personal habits came after a furious row between the Democratic Alliance politician and one of the country’s leading newspapers, the Times, over her use of water. It began when the paper ran a story headlined “Parched Cape taxpayers fork out...
(AFP (eng) 09/22/17)
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, one of the runners in the race for South Africa's ruling party leadership and newly-appointed lawmaker, faces difficulty distancing herself from her tarnished ex-husband President Jacob Zuma. The ruling African National Congress (ANC) veteran is an experienced technocrat who has served as minister under all post-apartheid leaders since the end of white minority rule in 1994. But running for the ANC top job may prove to be her biggest challenge yet, even though she is not tainted by the same corruption scandals that have defined Zuma's term in office.
(Reuters (Eng) 09/22/17)
South Africa’s central bank is concerned about “regrettable” practices at auditor KPMG [KPMG.UL], its governor said, as the company’s chairman held a meeting with a former finance minister it had tarnished in a report it later said was flawed. “We will engage banks and audit firms primarily to understand the context so we are better placed to manage any potential financial stability risk that may arise from the issues around KPMG,” Governor Lesetja Kganyago said on Thursday. KPMG cleared out its South African leadership last Friday after it found that work it did for firms owned by the Gupta family, businessmen friends of President Jacob Zuma, “fell considerably short” of its standards. KPMG’s investigation into its work for the Guptas,...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/22/17)
South Africa’s Treasury is pressuring government pension fund Public Investment Corp (PIC) to provide as much as 100 billion rand ($7.6 billion) to fund struggling state companies, Bloomberg News reported on Friday. The Treasury has asked the PIC, Africa's biggest pension fund, to buy its stake worth 12 billion rand in landline provider Telkom (TKGJ.J) to fund a bailout of state airline South African Airways, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter. (bloom.bg/2waLlHm) PIC Chief Executive Daniel Matjila has rejected the Treasury’s request, saying a purchase of the 39 percent interest would leave the company over-exposed to Telkom, the Bloomberg report said. But Matjila was willing to buy about 2 billion rand worth of Telkom shares, which would boost...
(Bloomberg 09/22/17)
South African Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has instructed Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. to begin legal action against companies including McKinsey & Co. over their involvement in disputed contracts at the country’s state-owned electricity company. Brown ordered Eskom to start taking legal steps against consultancy firms McKinsey and Trillian Capital Partners Ltd., as well as suspended acting Chief Executive Officer Matshela Koko and Chief Financial Officer Anoj Singh, who is on special leave, her spokesman, Colin Cruywagen, said by phone Thursday. Three other senior managers may also face misconduct charges, Business Day reported Friday, without citing its sources. McKinsey in July said it’s reviewing documents related to work done for Eskom. An interim report by Eskom and G9 Forensic found...
(Xinhuanet 09/22/17)
Former African Union (AU) Commission Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was sworn in as a new Member of Parliament (MP) in South Africa on Thursday amid speculations that she would be promoted to a cabinet position. Dlamini-Zuma will immediately undergo an induction program and be provided with all necessary tools of trade to assist her with carrying out her parliamentary duties without delay, parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said. It has been widely speculated that the deployment of Dlamini-Zuma in Parliament would be used as a springboard to propel her to a cabinet position in an imminent cabinet reshuffle. However, Dlamini-Zuma, emerging from the swearing ceremony, told reporters that she had no idea of a cabinet reshuffle. "As far as I'm concerned, I'm...
(Bloomberg 09/22/17)
Africa’s biggest fund manager may be dumped by a labor federation representing 230,000 South African state workers because it’s concerned that the funds of its members may be used to bail out mismanaged state-owned companies. The Federation of Unions of South Africa, the country’s second-largest labor union grouping, is considering replacing the state-owned Public Investment Corp. with privately owned fund managers to oversee the pension funds of the state workers, including nurses and teachers, that it represents. “There is nothing in the law that requires the Government Employee Pension Fund to use only the PIC as an asset manager,” Fedusa General Secretary Dennis George said by phone Thursday, referring to the GEPF, the central account for state workers’ retirement savings...
(Bloomberg 09/22/17)
Companies controlled by the Guptas lost a court bid to prevent Bank of Baroda from shutting their accounts, which would leave the politically connected family without banking services in South Africa from the end of this month. Judge Hans Fabricius dismissed the application of 20 companies linked to the Gupta family and awarded costs against them at the Pretoria High Court on Thursday. The Bank of Baroda was the family’s last hope after a series of lenders, including South Africa’s four biggest banks and Bank of China Ltd., canceled their accounts amid concerns the companies risked falling foul of regulators and the law. The family, who are friends of President Jacob Zuma and in business with one of his sons,...
(Bloomberg 09/22/17)
With its surprise decision to leave rates on hold on Thursday, South Africa’s central bank may have shut its policy-easing window. Forward-rate agreements, which had been pricing in a 25 basis-point reduction in the benchmark rate this year, now suggest the South African Reserve Bank will be forced to stay put as central banks around the world move toward tighter policy. The rate on contracts starting in three months jumped 19 basis points, moving to within 10 points from the benchmark Johannesburg Interbank Agreed Rate to predict a less-than-50-percent probability of such a move. The central bank left its key rate unchanged at 6.75 percent, with a 50/50 split among voting members, as it assessed risks to the rand and...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/22/17)
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress should discipline President Jacob Zuma for bringing the party into disrepute, housing minister and presidential hopeful Lindiwe Sisulu said on Friday. Sisulu’s comments are the latest swipe taken at Zuma by former allies as the ANC fractures ahead of an elective conference in December where a new party leader will be chosen. Zuma can remain head of state until a 2019 parliamentary election. Sisulu, a veteran cabinet minister who comes from a prominent family in the struggle against apartheid, is seen as an outside bet to succeed Zuma. She said a report presented at the ANC’s policy conference in July found that scandals surrounding Zuma had caused tensions and disquiet within the party. “If...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/22/17)
From deadly droughts and destroyed crops to shrinking water sources, communities across sub-Saharan Africa are struggling to withstand the onslaught of global record-breaking temperatures. But the dangers do not end there. Rising heat poses another threat - one that is far less known and studied but could spark disease epidemics across the continent, scientists say. Mosquitoes are the menace, and the risk goes beyond malaria. The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which spreads debilitating and potentially deadly viruses, from Zika and dengue to chikungunya, thrives in warmer climates than its malaria-carrying cousin, known as Anopheles, say researchers at Stanford University. In sub-Saharan Africa, this means malaria rates could rise in cooler areas as they heat up, but fall in hotter places that...
(AFP (eng) 09/21/17)
An ex-wife of South African President Jacob Zuma said Thursday that she was being re-appointed a lawmaker in parliament, in what is being seen as her latest step to secure the country's presidency in two years' time. Local media reported that Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, a former African Union chief, was sworn in Thursday as a member of parliament for the governing African National Congress. She posted on Twitter that "5 years ago I left parliament with mixed feelings today I return...
(Bloomberg 09/21/17)
The top leadership of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress starts meeting on Friday in a bid to heal a bitter split in the key region of KwaZulu-Natal that could derail its plans to elect a successor to President Jacob Zuma as party leader in December. The three-day meeting comes after the High Court annulled the election of Zuma allies as the province’s party leadership because the conference that chose them wasn’t lawfully convened. While the officials who lost the case said they’ll challenge the judgment, the ANC’s National Executive Committee may overrule them to ensure its Dec. 16-20 national elective conference goes ahead. Rivalries run especially deep in KwaZulu-Natal, which has the largest number of party members and is...
(Eye Witness News 09/21/17)
The prime lending rate, which is the interest charged by banks to clients, will remain at 10.25%. South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) Governor Lesetja Kganyago has announced that the repo rate will be unchanged at 6.75%. The repo rate is the rate at which the central bank lends money to banks. The prime lending rate, which is the interest charged by banks to clients, will remain at 10.25%. The announcement comes after a meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee in Pretoria. In July bank cut the repo rate by 25 basis points to 6.75% after 16 months of keeping the rate unchanged.
(Times Live 09/21/17)
Gauteng ANC chairperson Paul Mashatile says the party has suffered a huge blow with outspoken ANC MP Makhosi Khoza announcing her resignation as a party member on Thursday. Khoza‚ a strong critic of President Jacob Zuma‚ has had a rocky relationship with the party after speaking out against corruption and also publicly announcing that she would support the no-confidence motion against President Jacob Zuma in a secret ballot held in Parliament on August 8. "Any one person leaving the organisation is great loss to us and I'm sure as we change the way we do things in the ANC we would wish that some of them would come back. We are busy doing that and you know we have a...
(Times Live 09/21/17)
The Gupta family on Thursday lost a court bid to stop the Bank of Baroda from closing down their last remaining bank accounts in South Africa. The High Court in Pretoria dismissed an application brought by 20 Gupta-owned companies to halt the account closures. The application was for interim relief to stop the bank from closing the family’s business and loan accounts at the end of September. The family wanted the court to grant an interdict to delay the closing of accounts until December 7‚ when their main application was scheduled to be heard. Counsel for the Gupta family argued the Bank of Baroda would not suffer any reputational harm between now and the time of the main application. They...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/21/17)
KPMG South Africa wants an independent investigation into the firm’s conduct to reassure employees and clients after a scandal involving its handling of audits for businessman friends of President Jacob Zuma, its new chief executive said on Wednesday. The auditor cleared out its South African leadership on Friday after it found that work it did for firms owned by the Gupta family “fell considerably short” of its standards. It found no evidence of crimes or corruption. The Guptas, accused by a public watchdog of improperly influencing government contracts, have denied any wrongdoing, as has Zuma. The Guptas and their companies have not been charged with any crime and they say they are the victims of a politically motivated witch-hunt. But...
(Eye Witness News 09/21/17)
Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa says that miners are merely looking for a means to survive and should at least be given a chance to buy shares. The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) says that mines that are no longer profitable should be given to mineworkers. The union's president Joseph Mathunjwa has made the suggestion at a briefing in Pretoria. He says he's deeply worried about potential job cuts in the near future and has given the assurance that Amcu is working to avert a crisis in the sector. Mathunjwa says that his union will continue its mission to save mining jobs. He says that miners are merely looking for a means to survive and should at least be...

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