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WITNESS TOASTS 173 YEARS
Media 24 KZN CEO Neil Tapinos (left) and The Witness editor Yves van der Haegen.

The country’s oldest newspaper, The Witness, yesterday marked its 173rd anniversary with a cake-cutting ceremony at its offices. Founded in 1846, The Witness boasts an illustrious history as one of South Africa’s leading newspapers. Family-owned for most of its existence, it came under the fold of Media 24 and Naspers during its recent history.

   
   
ECR AT LIBERTY MIDLANDS MALL TODAY

To see how the ECR drive show team does things, pop in at Liberty Midlands Mall this afternoon. According to a notice from marketing manager Minoli Chetty, the ECR drive show is part of a “music make-over” programme today that also features local artists and some give-away prizes.

   
   
 
     
  Today in History  
     
 

1935: Nylon is invented when Wallace Carothers first produced the polymer at the DuPont Experimental Station in Wilmington, Delaware, US.

The product of too many hours on a keyboard, is observed today on International Repetitive Strain Injury Awareness Day.

 
     
  News worth knowing  
     
 

MULTICHOICE SURGES INTO JSE TOP 40

MultiChoice Group, the pay-TV business that Naspers handed to shareholders yesterday, cruised into the JSE’s top 40 index with a market value of R46.5 billion at the close of trade. "Being included in the index as a brand-new listing is very important for the group," finance chief Tim Jacobs told Business Day. The company’s inclusion in the top 40 means tracker funds will be compelled to buy its shares, 8% of which changed hands yesterday. The share price surged as much as 21% to R115.60, before easing to R106.01 at the close, 11% higher than the opening price of R90. (BDLive)

 
 

PLENTY OF ACTION ON THE ECONOMIC FRONT

Today is a busy day on both the JSE results and economics fronts. Brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB Inbev) and cigarette maker British American Tobacco (BAT) are both scheduled to release their 2018 financial year results. Other companies diarised to report today are paper and packaging group Mondi, platinum miner Impala, retailer Massmart, insurers Liberty and Santam, Cell’s largest shareholder Blue Label Telecoms, and restaurant franchiser Spur. The SA Reserve Bank is scheduled to report January’s money supply and private sector credit extension figures, while Stats SA will release January’s producer price index (PPI), used to calculate factory and farm gate inflation, as well as January’s balance of trade figures will be released by Stats SA. (BDLive)

 
 

BUSA PRESIDENT LAUNCHES BROADSIDE AGAINST BBC’S ZUNGU

Prominent black business leader and president of Business Unity SA (Busa) Sipho Pityana has launched a stinging attack on the president of the Black Business Council (BBC), Sandile Zungu, saying he has brought shame on honest black professionals and has been complicit in state capture. Pityana, who has written an open letter to Zungu in his personal capacity, is also chair of AngloGold Ashanti and his own empowerment group Izingwe Capital. He was prominent  in the campaign to remove former president Jacob Zuma from office. The BBC, which was formed in the mid-90s to unite several black business organisations, became part of Busa in 2003 when black and white business organisations united. But it broke away again in 2012 after disagreement over the best way to transform the economy. It is due to hold its annual summit, a prestigious event to be addressed by president Cyril Ramaphosa, on economic transformation this week. For a full transcript of the letter, click here.

 
 

MOTORISTS TO ESCAPE NEW FUEL LEVIES, FOR NOW

While an announcement on fuel prices for March is expected any time now, motorists can take small comfort in that the various hikes to fuel taxes, announced in the Budget, as well as the imposition of a new carbon tax on fuel in his Budget speech, will not be levied yet in March. These levies include: the introduction of a carbon tax of 9c per litre on petrol and 10c per litre on diesel from June 5; a rise in the general fuel levy of 15c a litre for petrol and diesel from April 3; and a hike in the he Road Accident Fund levy of 5 cents per litre from April 3. Revised fuel prices generally come into effect on the first Wednesday of a new month. The Automobile Association announced in mid-February that the price of petrol looked set to increase by 43 cents per litre in March, based on unaudited mid-month fuel price data. (Fin24)

 
 

FEARS OVER COLLAPSING ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE

South Africa's 750 000 km road network is one of the pillars of our economy and should have featured prominently in the Budget that was presented in parliament last week. This is according to Saied Solomons, president of the South African Road Federation. "Right now, the funding of our roads remains inherently flawed in the absence of a policy to enable a road funding mechanism and administration that is acceptable to all stakeholders," says Solomons. "The fuel levy increase - by 29 cents per litre for petrol and 30 cents per litre for diesel - is a far from ideal way to finance our roads. This levy taxes the poor at the same tax rate as the rich." He said with more electric vehicles on the horizon, the fuel levy would not be sustainable. It also does not consider road damage caused by the mass of a vehicle and critically, it cannot be used as a tool to manage congestion during peak periods, says Solomons. The number of vehicles has doubled since 1994, with some 40% of these vehicle owners living in Gauteng. (Fin24)

 
 

ZWANE AND GUPTAS HAND-IN-HAND IN GLENCORE DEAL

Details have emerged for the first time of a two-day visit in 2015 to Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg in Switzerland by then mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane that saw the company make a U-turn on its decision to keep the Optimum colliery. Glencore yesterday was the first mining company to give evidence at the commission of inquiry into state capture. Outlining the events leading to the virtual collapse of the Optimum colliery, which had supplied Eskom’s Hendrina power plant in Mpumalanga for more than 40 years, former CEO of Glencore Coal SA Clinton Ephron said long-running efforts to keep the mine in production had run foul of new management at Eskom. The power utility imposed significant fines on Optimum for delivering substandard coal and refused to renegotiate a supply contract that could return the mine to profitability, forcing the operation into business rescue. After the purchase by the Guptas, Eskom, which provided funding for the transaction in the form of a "prepayment" for coal deliveries, waived the fines and renegotiated the Optimum contract. (BDLive)

 
 

CHASTISED VODACOM RETRACTS ROLL-OVER DATA CHARGE

Just two days after the mobile operator came under fire on social media, Vodacom has back-pedalled on its plan to charge customers to roll over expiring data. On Monday, it emerged that Vodacom had planned to charge customers up to R49 to roll over data bundles when they expired. This was part of the operator’s preparation for SA’s new data expiry rules, which come into effect tomorrow. From that day, mobile operators must let customers roll over unused data, according to regulations set by the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa). The rules are aimed at reducing the cost to communicate. But Vodacom said yesterday that the operator was no longer considering fees for data roll-overs. This brings it in line with rival operators MTN and Telkom, which had never planned to charge customers to extend the life of unused data bundles, according to their spokespeople. (BDLive)

 
 

ALL PAIN AND NO PLAY FOR HAMLEYS

Global toy retailer Hamleys’ South African franchise operator Ensolor is in financial trouble and has been put into business rescue. According to Moneyweb, retail property industry sources allege that the company’s financial difficulties are linked to fraud. Two of Hamleys biggest stores, at the Mall of Africa shopping centre in Waterfall City and at Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton have closed up shop. More store closures could be on the cards, resulting in a further blow for some of SA’s larger shopping centres, already under strain from weak economic conditions as well as Edcon’s downsizing and possible closure. (Moneyweb)

 
 

LIBERTY PASSES SHORT-TERM INSURANCE BUSINESS TO STANDARD

Liberty Holdings has agreed to sell its technology platform, which supports its short-term insurance business, to Standard Bank Group for R145 million. The proceeds from the disposal, which includes moveable assets and intellectual property, will be used to support Liberty's existing business and to deliver various initiatives under its turnaround strategy, it added. Liberty's short-term products are underwritten by Standard Insurance Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Standard Bank. Liberty said for the financial period ended December 31, the recorded loss attributable to the business from costs incurred in establishing the technology platform was R51 million and the capitalised expenditure incurred, was R94 million. (Reuters)

 
 

UK BANKS WILL WEATHER BREXIT, SAYS MOODY’S

Britain's banks would be resilient to a chaotic Brexit, even if this leads to a spike in bad loans that hits their profits, credit rating agency Moody's said. Lenders' efforts to boost their capital buffers since the financial crisis has put them in a good position to weather any disruption caused by a no-deal Brexit, Moody's said yesterday.“Under a no-deal scenario, we expect the sector to remain profitable, albeit weakly so," Moody’s said. Lenders have become increasingly nervous at the prospect of Britain leaving the European Union without a divorce deal as the date of departure, currently set for March 29, approaches. Moody's also predicts a no-deal Brexit would lead to a sharp economic slowdown, a moderate increase in unemployment and weakness in house prices that would increase credit losses and pressure bank revenues and profits. But overall credit conditions would remain resilient, Moody’s said. (Reuters)

 
 

MORE NEWS, NOTICES AND APPEALS

 

DUSI-IN-A-DAY PADDLERS READY TO RACE

Hardcore paddlers will set off from Camps Drift for the 2019 Lovemore Brothers Non-Stop Dusi tomorrow morning with the peace of mind that they will have a water release from both Henley Dam and Inanda Dam. The start is at 5 am tomorrow. For more information, see www.nonstopdusi.co.za

 
     
  Advertorial  
     
   
 

Implementing SONA


President Ramaphosa’s SONA was full of high-level intentions, but their implementation depends on ground level people and managers – think Eskom staff and management. Our plans and dreams of what can be are often shattered on the rocks of ‘the way things work’.

Along with dreaming and strategising, we must engage and motivate our people to become better than normal in each interaction, every activity.

Bring your team to a Simply Communicate workshop aimed at empowering employees and team leaders.

Morning workshops (08h30-12h30) at the Chamber:

Supervisory Skills                7 March 2019
Any first-line manager knows the struggle of leaving the ‘us’ of the team to join the ‘them’ of management. Learn how to handle the transition, manage discipline and performance and motivate your team to greatness.

Customer Service                 3 April 2019
It’s the little things, done every day, that will bring your customers back. Empower your employees to focus on what matters for every customer. 

Coming up:

Managing Discipline 
Managing Performance
Managing Change    

 

Workshop: R730 pp; R685 pp for 3+ delegates. NPOs R645 pp.
To book, or discuss in-house workshops, contact Ian on 083 321 0699 or ian@simplycommunicate.co.za

 
     
  QUOTE  
     
 
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If you look at it, the history of comedy has always been strongest among the nations who have been persecuted the most. 

Trevor Noah

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