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LULL BEFORE THE DELUGE
The Austen Smith table ready to dish out refreshments to Duzi contestants.

The staff from city legal firm Austen Smith teamed up to provide refreshments to competitors in last week’s Duzi Canoe Marathon. The table was set up at the Finger Neck rapid on day one of the three-day event and provided much appreciated sustenance despite the rain.

   
   
MUNICIPALITY IGNORES WATER WASTE

Repeated requests to repair a fire hydrant in the Masons Mill area are being ignored by the Msunduzi Municipality, according to Colin Love of Woodrite. Water has been pouring for days from the hydrant in Wigford Road with water tankers from construction companies allegedly collecting the water. “The water simply pours from the hydrant into a drain,” says Love. “I’ve tried so often to get this attended do,” he says. Here’s the link to the video.

   
   
 
     
  Today in History  
     
 

1878: Thomas Edison patents the phonograph, the first machine to reproduce recorded sound.

Today is dedicated to the humble rope and those pulling it in opposite directions, on International Tug-of-War Day.

 
     
  News worth knowing  
     
 

CORRUPTION-LINKED BOSASA GOING UNDER

Bosasa, the facilities company under the spotlight amid allegations that it bribed government officials to win state contracts worth billions of rand, will close after commercial banks pulled the plug on its accounts. The company, which is now known as African Global Operations, said that it had received formal notification from its financial institutions, which wanted to distance themselves from the scandal-hit group. It would close its accounts by the end of February. The company said more than 4 500 employees would lose their jobs, and it had more than 100 unemployed black youths on learnerships and internships. Bosasa found itself embroiled in allegations of state capture when its former COO, Angelo Agrizzi, testified to the Zondo commission on corruption and bribes relating to the company’s contracts with the government. Agrizzi, Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson’s right-hand man, said that every government contract the company had received involved bribery and corruption. He also testified that officials of the department of correctional services and the National Prosecuting Authority, ministers and former president Jacob Zuma were paid bribes. (BDLive)

 
 

NUCLEAR DEAL COSTS WOULD HAVE GONE THROUGH THE ROOF

Former Treasury director-general Lungisa Fuzile told the state capture inquiry yesterday that if former president Jacob Zuma’s proposed “nuclear deal” had gone through‚ the government would have breached the expenditure ceiling it set for itself. Fuzile‚ who is testifying before the commission for the second time‚ described a Treasury presentation on the fiscal implications of the nuclear build project. The nuclear-build programme was dealt a blow in 2018 by the Cape Town high court after Earthlife Africa and the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute successfully challenged the way in which the state determined the country’s nuclear power needs. The plan would have seen SA purchasing 9 600MW of extra nuclear power from the Russians at a cost of about R1 trillion. (BDLive)

 
 

TROUBLED SAA PLEADS FOR FURTHER BAILOUTS

SAA, which has secured the R3.5 billion it required from banks to continue financing working-capital requirements until June, has urged the government to make a speedy decision on future financial support. The cash-strapped airline requested R21.7 billion from the government in 2018 to recapitalise its balance sheet and provide working capital. This forms part of its three-year turnaround plan, which it said would see it break even by the 2020/2021 financial year. It suffered a R5.7 billion loss in 2017/2018 and expects to lose another R5.2 billion in the current financial year.  (BDLive)

 
 

… AS SAA MOOTS THREE-WAY SPLIT

South African Airways will be reorganised into three business units as part of a revamp plan that could also involve the partial sale of its catering unit, CEO Vuyani Jarana said yesterday. He said it  would organise itself into domestic, regional and international business units. Each unit will have its own management, rather than decisions being centralised, in a bid to make the airline more agile and increase accountability. Jarana also said the firm was exploring the partial sale of its catering unit, Air Chefs, as part of the restructuring. SAA, which expects to make another large financial loss this year, hopes to turn a profit by 2021 via restructuring and cutting jobs and routes. But its finances were dealt another blow last week when it was ordered to pay R1.1 billion to rival Comair to settle an anti-competition case. (Reuters)

 
 

MORE WOES FOR TROUBLED EOH

The rough ride for EOH investors resumed ay as its shares plunged to their lowest level in eight years after a report that Microsoft’s decision to cut ties with the technology company was linked to a tip-off about a contract with SA’s defence department. EOH, whose market value has shrunk 88% since December 2016, partly on governance concerns, said last week the global computer giant was ending its resale partnership with the company for reasons that were not yet clear. It has been reported that Microsoft’s decision was related to an anonymous complaint to the US Securities and Exchange Commission about a R120 million software deal between EOH and SA’s department of defence. (BDLive)

 
 

AMPLATS RESTRUCTURING PAYS OFF

Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) reported a sharply increased dividend and improved policy to reward shareholders after a strong year of cash generation from its restructured portfolio. At its results presentation yesterday, Amplats CEO Chris Griffith said that last week’s Eskom power crisis cost it 14 000 oz of platinum production, prompting it to look at building a 100MW solar plant to supply about 20% of its energy needs at Mogalakwena, its most profitable mine. Amplats, which is the world’s largest platinum miner and is 80% owned by Anglo American, reported post-tax profit of R6.99 billion for the year to end-2018 compared with R1.9 billion the year before.Revenue grew to R74.6 billion from R65.7 billion. Amplats declared a final dividend of R7.51 per share or R2 billion, bringing the total dividend for the year to R11.25 per share or R3 billion for the year. (BDLive)

 
 

HONDA TO SHUT UK PLANT

Japanese carmaker Honda is set to announce the closure of its only British car plant in 2022 with the loss of 3 500 jobs, a lawmaker told Reuters, in the latest blow to the UK car industry as Brexit approaches. Honda built just over 160 000 vehicles at its Swindon factory in southern England last year, where it makes the Civic and CV-R models, accounting for a little more than 10% of Britain's total output of 1.52 million cars. But it has struggled in Europe in recent years, and the industry faces a number of challenges including declining diesel demand and tougher regulations alongside the uncertainty over Britain's departure from the European Union, due next month. Japan has repeatedly warned it could pull investments in Britain, which it had seen as a gateway into Europe, if London does not secure a Brexit deal favourable for trade. (Reuters)

 
 

EU READY TO RETALIATE ON CAR TARIFFS

The EU promised a quick and effective response if the US imposes import duties on European cars, a spokesperson for the European Commission said yesterday. Brussels issued the threat after the US commerce department filed a report yesterday that empowers president Donald Trump to apply car duties within the next 90 days. In 2017 just under half of the 17 million cars sold in the US were imported, most of them produced in Canada and Mexico, which are expected to be exempt from any new car duties. German car groups exported 470 000 cars from Germany to the US in 2018, according to the VDA manufacturers’ federation. The transatlantic flare-up followed a truce established in July, in which Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker pledged no new tariffs while both sides pursued a limited trade deal. (BDLive)

 
 

MORE NEWS, NOTICES AND APPEALS
 

NEW DATE FOR POSTPONED PEOPLE MANAGEMENT FORUM

Due to unforeseen circumstances, tomorrow’s People Management Forum, under the auspices of the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business, has been postponed. Convenor of the forum, Raj Seepersad, said the forum will now convene on February 26, at 4 pm.

 
     
  Advertorial  
     
   
 

TRADE, INVESTMENT PROMOTION & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME 


Johannesburg: Starts 7th March 2019
Durban: Starts 16th May 2019


The Trade, Investment Promotion and Economic Development Programme (TIPED) is designed to provide a seamless pipeline to build South Africa’s capacity to lead and manage strategic and sustainable investment, both inwards to the country and in building the country’s export capacity to global markets, in line with the strategic goals and objectives of key stakeholders. The stated strategic plans, included in the National Development Plan, provide a useful benchmark against which to assess progress being made.

Delegates will be engaged and supported by academic practitioners, experts and thought leaders, both local and international. Where feasible, real time case studies and business examples will be reviewed and analysed with the actual investors and stakeholders, to assess the value, risk and long term benefits of investment initiatives.

Duration:

Option 1: Core Programme
Six days (3 modules – 1 per month)

Option 2: Advanced Programme
Four days (2 modules – 1 per month)

Contact:

For more information please contact Calvin Van Doorn 
T: +27 31 260 1728 
E: vandoorn@ukzn.ac.za

 
     
  QUOTE  
     
 
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I'm in love with cities I've never been to and people I've never met. 

John Green

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  financial indicators  
     
 
Dollar R14.14 - 0.58%
Pound R18.26 - 0.22%
Euro R15.99 - 0.25%
Yen 0.127913  
Repo 6.75  
Platinum $ 807.00 + 0.81%
Gold $ 1323.65 + 0.17%
Oil $ 66.50 + 0.38%
All Share 55259.98 + 1.16%
Prime 10.25  
 
 

These rates are correct at time of going to press.