- Wandile Sihlobo: From Land reform to job creation, here’s how we should boost SA’s small towns:
SA’s small towns hold great economic potential, and agribusiness could help unlock it, says Wandile Sihlobo. Drawing from conversations with farmers in the region, these are among the factors that keep some farmers up at night: climate change, biosecurity, water regulations and – last but not least – land reform. Fortunately, most of these matters are within the regulators’ or government’s control – and I hope the above-mentioned parties will continue to have close cooperation with organized agriculture groups while pursuing the necessary transformation objectives.
- Hilton Hotels to open first upscale African Canopy in Cape Town:
Western Cape farmers have built Africa’s first commercial floating solar park – that now let’s them tackle load shedding and drought. They say it’s a better investment than a new orchard. Hilton Hotels has announced the signing of a management agreement with Growth point Properties, South Africa’s largest real estate investment trust (REIT), to open a hotel under its lifestyle Canopy by Hilton brand. The 150 guestroom Canopy by Hilton Cape Town Long Kloof is expected to open in 2021 and will be the brand’s debut property in Africa. It will be located at Long Kloof Studios on the corner of Park Road and Kloof Street.
- Safaricom, Vodacom plan $13 million M-Pesa deal:
Kenya’s Safaricom will start a joint venture worth $13 million with South Africa’s Vodacom to acquire the intellectual property rights of M-Pesa from Britain’s Vodafone, Safaricom’s CEO said on Thursday. The two mobile phone operators will acquire the intellectual property rights to the financial services platform M-Pesa, from Britain’s Vodafone. Safaricom chief executive Bob Collymore said the deal would be used to expand M-Pesa services to more African markets, and to develop new products.
- MTN’s Nigeria listing: View from the stock exchange floor in Lagos:
At exactly 2.30pm, when the stock market closed on Thursday, MTN Nigeria’s chairperson Pascal Dozie and Ferdi Moolman, MTN Nigeria’s CEO, excitedly clanged metal sticks on a gong on the crowded trade floor at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) building. The room, filled with brokers in their maroon jackets, erupted in celebration. It is April 16 and South African telecoms giant, MTN has just made history as the first mobile telephone company to trade on the NSE. The new MTN Nigeria Plc. is putting up 20.33-billion shares valued at ?90 (R3.56) per share. The listing will see the groups’ largest unit valued at $5-billion, putting it high on the list of firms trading on Nigerian markets. Trade brokers in the Lagos exchange yelled their congratulations at each other. Yellow balloons flew on the trading floor, symbolizing the company’s yellow colors. “There’s cause to celebrate,” one NSE broker said.
- New shots fired in banking wars:
The battle of the banks continued this
week when African Bank launched its zero monthly fee account, becoming the
third bank to do so. The new banks entering the market with competitive banking
fees and interest rates — Tyme Bank, Bank Zero and Discovery Bank — have
sparked a banking war, with consumers reaping the benefits. African Bank’s new
digital product offers low fees and competitive interest rates in an increasing
cutthroat climate that is set to improve South Africans’ access to quality
services. The bank was in tatters five years ago, but has recovered to become
one of the trendsetters of 2019.African Bank’s offering of interest of 5.5% a
year on money in a transactional account is the highest, and clients will
receive 6.5% interest from the savings account. The transactional account is
current; the savings account requires one month’s notice. Until this year
Capital was South Africa’s low-fee king, not only offering a low banking
tariff, but also a high interest rate. Capital clients could earn 5% on money
in a transactional account and up to 5.6% on savings that are not fixed. Tyme
Bank, however, promises the best interest rate on savings at 10% a year, with
conditions. African Bank’s no-fee offering comes after Tyme Bank introduced its
“no fee” account at its launch at the end of February.
At that time Tyme Bank, with its cheap banking fees, ruled the roost, according to trade union Solidarity’s Bank Charges report, released in October.
- Adjusted Ayo, financial statements being audited, PIC inquiry hears:
Accounting adjustments were made to reflect higher profits in AYO Technology Solutions’ interim financial statements, the Public Investment Corporation commission of inquiry heard. Ayo former chief investment officer (CIO) Abdul Malick Salie provided his testimony to the commission which is investigating allegations of wrongdoing at the PIC, which manages R2.2-trillion in investments on behalf of public servants. Salie was subpoenaed to take the stand after he resigned from his position as CIO last week due to pressures he was facing following reports on governance issues at Ayo. The ICT company is a subsidiary of African Equity Empowerment Investments (AEEI).The PIC invested R4.3-billion in Ayo when it listed on the JSE in late 2017. There are allegations that the value of Ayo was misstated at the time of its listing. Salie responded to these allegations in his testimony. The inquiry, chaired by Justice Lex Mpati has also previously heard from Ayo’s former chief executive Kevin Hardy that the group’s interim financials were tampered with. Ayo has denied wrongdoing, but the JSE has ordered an audit of the financial statements.
- Habebe resigns from Eskom citing ill health:
Eskom has lost yet another chief executive, as the utility announced on Friday evening that Phakamani Hadebe would be stepping down at the end of July, due to health reasons. Hadebe had been in the role for a little over a year. After taking the helm on an interim basis last January, Hadebe was permanently appointed in May 2018.In a statement Hadebe said: “It is no secret that this role comes with unimaginable demands which have unfortunately had a negative impact on my health. In the best interest of Eskom and my family, I have therefore decided to step down.” Eskom board chairperson Jabu Mabuza, said that the Hadebe had been “instrumental in driving stability at Eskom during a very challenging period at the organization”. “Appreciating the toll that this takes on an individual, we have had to, with regret, accept his decision,” said Mabuza. Since 2010, Eskom has had no less than eight chief executives and acting chief executive, including the likes of Brian Molefe, Matshela Koko and Sean Maritz all of whom left under a cloud. High hopes accompanied Hadebe’s appointment. His experience at treasury, and time spent overhauling the Land Bank, another embattled state owned entity, as well as his work in corporate finance at Absa, meant he was cast in the role of Mr. Fixit.
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