In his State of the Nation Address, President Cyril Ramaphosa recognised the enormous economic potential of agriculture which, he said, “presents one of the greatest opportunities to significantly grow our economy and create jobs”. Representatives of the sugar and poultry industries should be high on the list of invitations for the jobs summit he intends to convene in the next few months. By FRANCOIS BAIRD.
Tuesday was a day of high drama for the South African markets, with local lender Capitec’s shares at one point falling 20% on the back of a report by Viceroy Research claiming that the bank was concealing losses and operating as a loan shark. Amid protests from Capitec and the South African Reserve Bank that the report was factually inaccurate, an increasingly pertinent question was the degree to which Viceroy stood to benefit by tanking the stock before short-selling it. But others suggested that whether Viceroy’s report was hyperbolic or not, it still pointed to an ongoing ethical quagmire at the heart of South Africa’s microfinance industry. By REBECCA DAVIS.
International law firm Hogan Lovells is “disappointed” by Lord Peter Hain’s “unfounded accusations” over the firm’s handling of the Jonas Makwakwa debacle, the firm’s Regional Managing Partner in the UK and Africa said in a private mail to Hain. The critique comes after Hain delivered several smarting blows to Hogan Lovells and its client, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) in the House of Lords. A tailored disciplinary hearing conducted by Hogan Lovells saw money laundering accused Makwakwa back in his top job at SARS last year. Now Hain wants Hogan Lovells’ status as a recognised body in England and Wales revoked and asked that the firm’s senior partners’ permission to practice as solicitors be withdrawn. By PAULI VAN WYK for SCORPIO.
Two months after the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors announced the establishment of an independent commission of inquiry, chaired by Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, into alleged misconduct by KPMG regarding work done for the Gupta family, and the controversial SARS “rogue” unit report, things appear to have ground to a halt. A key witness willing to testify has been left hanging by IRBA, SAICA, KPMG as well as the commission, who have not made any contact since November. By MARIANNE THAMM.
Bitcoin is now a ubiquitous conversation piece at dinner parties (even the fun types the authors are not invited to), having evolved from a fringe topic reserved for tech enthusiasts. It is a tech-heavy topic, often subject to hysteria or dismissal. What’s the less biased view of its investment potential? By DANIEL POLAKOW, NICO KATZKE and ONNO HUYSER.
The challenges Eskom is facing around governance, corruption and state capture are common cause, but it is unfortunately crowding out an even more serious structural problem, which speaks to the very viability of Eskom as a utility company. By PIET VAN STADEN.
With MultiChoice accused of having essentially “bought” government policy over digital encryption to benefit its business, calls for investigations are heaping up both locally and internationally. In addition to a potential class action lawsuit against the company being mooted by a US firm, the Chinese Securities Regulatory Commission has also been asked to launch an inquiry into Naspers. Comparisons between Naspers and the Gupta-owned company Oakbay, meanwhile, are inevitable. By REBECCA DAVIS.