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A TOUCH OF SPRING
(ltr) Louise Klaassen (Action Coach), Khule Zondi (Affirmative Portfolios), Nikitra Brassel (NKR), Justine Dawbes (NKR) and Kirsten Hughes (Regus Business Centre).
(ltr) Bradley Williams (ACS Autoworx), KK Zuma (SANBS),
Sifiso Khoza (SANBS), Sela Naidoo (SA Recycling),
Sheldon Chetty (Business Partners), Eston Naidoo (Business Partners)
and front, Janet Finch (101 Communications), Lavashnee Naidoo
(Richfield Graduate Institute) and Geraldine Botha (Tate Nolan & Knight).
(ltr) Thirusha Govender (ControlPro), Verona Khan (Varsity College), Promise Khumalo (Varsity College), Carmen Oliver (Express Employment Professionals), Claudine Aboobaker (Varsity College),
Helen de Villiers (Purpose Marketing & Strategy), and front Kim Minnie (Express Employment Professionals) and Anthea Forder (AppCity).

Chamber lunch yesterday was an appropriate occasion to formally welcome spring. It was also an occasion to welcome a number of new members to the lunch and the fun and frivolity that goes with it. Three brief and interesting company presentations were complemented by lucky draw prizes, loads of fun and networking over a three-course meal. The next Chamber lunch is on Thursday, October 25.

   
   
 
     
  Today in History  
     
 

1904: Wilbur Wright, who with his brother Orville is credited for inventing the first airplane, made a complete circle in 76 seconds in the Wright Flyer II.

On this day, back in 1973, Billie Jean King won the battle of the sexes against Bobby Riggs who boasted that, even at an age of 55, he could beat any female tennis player.

 
     
  News worth knowing  
     
 

INFLATION SURPRISE MAY HOLD OFF INTEREST RATES HIKE

Consumer inflation surprised to the downside in August, lessening the likelihood of an interest-rate increase by the SA Reserve Bank. The central bank will announce its rate decision today at the conclusion of its monetary policy committee (MPC) meeting.The consumer price index (CPI) increased 4.9% in August, lower than the previous month’s 5.1% and an expected rise of 5.2%. The Rand firmed on the news, strengthening to ZAR14.77 to the US Dollar from ZAR14.8917. The MPC tends to increase rates when its inflation forecasts rise close to the upper limit of its annual 3%-6% CPI inflation target range, over its target period of 6-24 months. (BDLive)

 
 

UNDER-PRESSURE CONSUMERS CHANGE SPENDING HABITS

South African consumers are under increasing pressure according to Nielsen’s latest Consumer Confidence Survey – which showed a 5-point decrease in South African consumer confidence to 90 in Q2, 2018. It found that inflationary pressures due to rising petrol prices, VAT increasing to 15% and the sugar tax have all contributed to a more constrained environment and have dampened consumer spend. Against this backdrop, a hefty 84% of South Africans say they have changed their spending on household expenses in Q2, 2018. The top actionS they have taken to save on household expenses is cutting down on takeaway meals (65%); new clothes (59%); switching to cheaper grocery brands (55%); out of home entertainment (54%); and gas and electricity (50%). (Business Tech)

 
 

UN REPORT PROVES DOOMSAYERS WRONG

Ignore the doomsday prophets who claim the country is on the skids: according to a new UN report, South Africans are living lives that are longer and healthier than ever before. The UN Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Report (HDR) shows that SA's human development score has increased to 0.699. According to Brand SA’s GM for Research, Dr Petrus de Kock: “This means that South Africans today enjoy a longer, healthier life, have better access to education and a more decent living standard.” De Kock said the value had been steadily improving from 0.621 in 1990. “SA is classified as being located in the medium human development category, and the country’s HDI of 0.699 is above average in this category. The country’s performance is even more impressive when compared to the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, which has an average HDI score of 0.537,”  De Kock said. SA's score is, however, lower than that of Botswana, Libya and Gabon. The top five nations in terms of human development are Norway,  Switzerland, Australia, Ireland and Germany. (BDLive)

 
 

MOVING PENSION FUNDS OFFSHORE AKIN TO DOWNGRADE

The Government Employees Pension Fund’s (GEPF) plan to move some of its investments offshore is warranted, but it can impose additional strain on the Rand and trigger more economic woes for the country, investment analysts said yesterday. Rowan Burger, head of strategy at Momentum Investments, said the fund can get better returns from increased offshore exposure in the short to medium term, which was in line with its fiduciary duty to optimise returns for its members. However, chief economist at Econometrix, Azar Jammine, said a sudden outflow of just a little of GEPF’s funds could be more devastating than even the impact of a credit downgrade. "A Moody’s downgrade can trigger about R100bn to R150bn of capital outflows … if the GEPF moved just 20% of its funds offshore, we’d be looking at about ZAR400 billion in outflows," he said. With only 10% of the GEPF’s funds allowed for investment offshore, public servants have been distinctly disadvantaged compared to workers in the private sector, whose pension funds are allowed to invest up to 30% abroad, said Jammine. "Their investment returns have definitely been jeopardised, so it is necessary to look for investment opportunities offshore. But it has to be done gradually so that the impact doesn’t send shock waves to the rest of the economy." (BDLive)

 
 

TIGHTER JSE LISTING RULES ON THE CARDS

The JSE says it is proposing tightening listing rules after financial markets were "shaken by a range of corporate scandals, rumours and innuendo". The bourse published a consultation paper yesterday, saying recent events showed a need for it to review its responsibilities and strengthen aspects of regulation. Recommendations range from boosting racial and gender diversity on boards, to doubling the notice period before new stocks start trading. It proposes disclosures when directors use shares as collateral and supports plans for information on short-selling transactions to be made public. The JSE said it was seeking comment on its proposals and that those could be submitted until October 22. (Bloomberg)

 
 

SHELL COMPANY STAKES CLAIM FOR OPTIMUM

The business rescue practitioner working to stabilise and sell Gupta-owned mines and operations is facing the 44th legal bid for 2018 to scupper its efforts, this time from Swiss shell company Charles King. One of the assets in question is the Optimum Coal mine and terminal, which was central to former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s state of capture report. It detailed how, under the tumultuous tenure of former president Jacob Zuma, Eskom officials forced the sale of Optimum by Glencore and then helped the politically connected Gupta family to buy it. Since its appointment in February, the practitioner has faced a barrage of legal action, many from Gupta affiliates, although none were successful. (BDLive)

 
 

CASH-FLUSH REMGRO LOOKING TO SPEND

Investment behemoth Remgro, which is controlled by the Rupert family, is once again cash flush with about ZAR6 billion in its corporate coffers. Remgro has traditionally held on to a large cash pile as an insurance policy for dividends in leaner times. But in recent years the group incurred debt to back one of its biggest investments — private hospitals group Mediclinic International. Year to end-June results issued on Wednesday showed Remgro in a near cash-neutral position with cash-at-the-centre of ZAR13.7 billion and debt-at-the-centre of ZAR14 billion. But subsequent to financial year end the group banked R4.9m in proceeds from a recent sale of its significant minority stake in consumer brands giant Unilever, and sold its investment in Chinese focused Milestone Capital Strategic Holdings (MCSH) for US$70 million (about ZAR1 billion). Remgro CEO Jannie Durand said the group, which holds stakes in banking conglomerate RMB Holdings, Mediclinic International, insurance cluster RMI, liquor group Distell and household brands specialist RCL Foods, was actively looking for new investment opportunities. (BDLIVE)

 
 

PHUMELELA CEO DISMOUNTS

Phumelela Gaming and Leisure chief executive officer Rian du Plessis resigned from the South African horse-racing firm after 10 years at the helm and pledged not to sell any company shares for the “foreseeable future.” The executive quit for personal reasons and will be replaced by head of international operations John Stuart, the Johannesburg-based company said. Du Plessis is a close friend of Steinhoff International ex-CEO Markus Jooste, who sat on the Phumelela board before his abrupt resignation from Steinhoff at the start of the retailer’s accounting crisis in December. Phumelela shares have fallen 23% in Johannesburg this year. The stock declined 0.3% to ZAR13.40 yesterday. (Moneyweb)

 
 

LIFE HEALTHCARE PULLS PLUG ON INDIA

SA’s third-biggest private hospital group, Life Healthcare, is finally exiting its Indian business after almost a year’s talks. It said yesterday it will sell its stake in Max Healthcare to global investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) for about ZAR4.3 billion. Life Healthcare took a 26% stake in Max Healthcare, one of India’s biggest private hospital chains, in 2012. It increased its shareholding to 49.7% in two further transactions, investing ZAR2.9 billion in the joint venture. As India’s public health system is chronically underfunded, many patients use private health care, but it proved a tough market and Life Healthcare failed to get the returns investors had hoped for. Life Healthcare CEO Shrey Viranna said exiting the Indian business will enable the company to focus on its core operations in SA, the UK, Poland and Western Europe. (BDLive)

 
 

PARTROLS TO POUNCE ON ABALONE POACHERS

The government says it is increasing its marine guard services in a bid to curb rising levels of abalone poaching in SA. Demand for abalone by Chinese gangs has caused SA’s stocks of the marine molluscs to be depleted at a record rate, costing the country US$60 million (about ZAR878 million)  annually, according to a report this week by wildlife trade monitoring group TRAFFIC. Chinese criminal syndicates are said to use crystal meth as a reward for gangs in the Western Cape to dive for the delicacy. TRAFFIC said the country’s coasts had been stripped of at least 96-million abalone in the past 18 years, with 9.6-million poached in 2016 alone. (BDLive)

 
     
  Advertorial  
     
   
 

FOOD SECURITY AND VULNERABILITY ANALYSIS
 

Starts: 8th October 2018

The incidence of food security in some African countries remains high. This anomaly of widespread food insecurity amid national food surpluses stimulated the analysis of the nature and causes of food insecurity. Some countries are experiencing production shortfalls due to a series of drought and/or policy failures. Subsequently, national, regional and international organisations have engaged themselves in assessing the impact of such failure so as to better understand the context and take appropriate actions to build the capacity of vulnerable households and communities to respond to any changes in their environment.

Entrance requirements include Bachelor’s Degree in relevant or related disciplines and work experience. In the case where a candidate does not have a Bachelor’s degree, they will have to present a portfolio that will be used to assess capabilities.

Duration:

2 weeks (in PMB)

Contact Us:

For more information please contact Venouasha Bahadur
T: +27 31 260 8870
E: bahadurv@ukzn.ac.za

 
     
  QUOTE  
     
 
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Choose your corner, pick away at it carefully, intensely and to the best of your ability and that way you might change the world.

Charles Eames

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