Business

KPMG top executive suspended

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Audit firm KPMG has suspended Sipho Malaba, a top executive who was in charge of the VBS Mutual Bank audit.

VBS was placed under curatorship by the Reserve Bank after it faced serious liquidity challenges.

Malaba was appointed with the new executive in 2017 in a bid to regain public trust following the audit scandals that blemished the firm’s image.

KPMG came under the spotlight late in 2017 with scandals involving audits for Gupta-linked businesses and over the so-called rogue unit report at the SA Revenue Service.

The audit firm says in a statement that it is investigating the matter in full cooperation with the curator of VBS Mutual Bank. It says Malaba is suspended pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation and would not comment further on the matter.

VBS Mutual Bank is accused of manipulating financial information on its books with close to R1 billion that cannot be accounted for.

The bank was placed under curatorship after it took large municipal deposits and lent them on a long-term basis and could not meet clients’ withdrawals when the money was required.

The post KPMG top executive suspended appeared first on SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader..

Source: SABCNews

Government farming project yields fruit in F. State

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A government farming project initiative has changed the lives of small farming community of Diyatalawa situated between Kestell and Harrismith in the eastern Free State.

The government pilot site for comprehensive rural development programme was established in 2009. Millions of rand have been invested in the project since its inception.

More than 2000 hectares of land is allocated for agricultural projects. Pockets of success have been realised on the farm.

Various farming projects are being cultivated for the community. More than30 families are beneficiaries of government’s land reform programme.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) oversight visit to the farm believes more is needed to help emerging black farmers.

“And this farm we found that the department has assisted with planting orchards. By the end of this year they will have six hectares of apple orchards but they need a very small tractor. Now apparently the department tells them you are big farm all you can get is a big tractor. They have successfully planted  sunflowers but for them to harvest they travel up and down between Harrismith and the farm,” says DA MP, Annette Steyn.

The communal property association at the farm says more funding is needed to maximise farming at the land.

And government can assist us to plant the whole farm as they did before, because the money we got we bought tractors. So we are now not able to plough back at the same volume. We think government can assist us and also  give us more dairy cattle so that we can continue with milking the cows,” says CPA chairperson Fanyani Maduna.

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has provided the beneficiaries with 50 houses with solar panels, paved roads, creche and a farm school. The department says it is committed to assist beneficiaries to learn more about farming business.

The post Government farming project yields fruit in F. State appeared first on SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader..

Source: SABCNews

Judgment reserved on Atul Gupta and Bank of Baroda case

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Gupta brothers (L)

Judgment has been reserved in the High Court in Bloemfontein in the preservation order matter involving the controversial businessman Atul Gupta and the Bank of Baroda.

The legal representatives for Atul Gupta and the Gupta companies have argued that the High Court in Bloemfontein has erred in granting the preservation order to freeze the assets of the Bank of Baroda and the R10 million his in personal account.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) argued that various deposits were made to the Bank of Baroda from the Estina project.

The money left the account as soon as it was deposited.

NPA’s Advocate Thato Ntimutse argued that there is a string of illegitimate transactions in the account and that Bank of Baroda failed to keep proper records of their banking. The court heard that the bank does not operate within the prescripts of the law.

At some stage it received a fine of R11 million from the Reserve Bank.

Ntimutse says: “The fact of the matter is… the Bank of Baroda runs an account which is like a trust account of an attorney, where all the money comes into a single pool, entries are made by someone at the bank to say a certain amount of money has gone in for a certain client.”

The Bank of Baroda’s Legal representative refuted the NPA’s allegations.

Luc Spiller said: “The National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) also went on to make various allegations about the inadequacy of record keeping Baroda.

“The response to that, there has no bearing upon this case… as because it has nothing to do with the principle of co-mangling. The instances of inadequacy are wrong records.”

 The case which was set down for two days has been adjourned; judgement will be delivered next Friday.

 

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Source: SABCNews

National minimum wage in spotlight

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THERE are serious consequences for those who misrepresent the facts in demonstrating their “inability” to pay the national minimum wage. The Department of Labour is developing an online system to help analyse data submitted by employers when applying for national minimum wage exemptions. Exemptions cover employers who can demonstrate that they are not able to
Source: The New Age

Subsidies will ease pressure on some families: UCT

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UCT logo

The University of Cape Town says the subsidies by the Higher Education Department will ease the financial pressure on some families.

The Department announced last year that it would subsidise the 2018 fee increase for all qualifying students.

The University says it spent over R1 billion on students’ funding last year.

Spokesperson, Elijah Moholola over R700-million was used in financial aid and assisting with historical debt for undergraduate students.

He says the money was sourced from the university’s own funds, academic department allocations and donated funds.

University fee increases were capped at 8%.

 

The post Subsidies will ease pressure on some families: UCT appeared first on SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader..

Source: SABCNews

‘Modern day workers need to possess multiple skills’

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Labour experts at the annual World Economic Forum have warned that workers who are not willing to undergo continuous re-skilling risk being targets of job losses.

This has emerged during a panel discussion at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzwerland.

Director of London School of Economics Minouche Shafik says future jobs will require workers who possess more than one-skill.

Shafik says the number of displaced workers due to the adoptions of automations and technology is growing fast.

She says it’s workers who have embraced technology through further training that would survive.

Shafik says modern day workers should be prepared to learn multiple-times in their career.

But others say the education system needs to play catch up with this growing trend of workers reskilling themselves in various sectors.

CEO of eBay Devin Wenig says: “I do think the education system is woefully unprepared for the economy that’s coming or is already here. That doesn’t mean that the world needs two million software engineers, what it does mean is that even in creative industry, art, digital proficiency is increasing the difference between people who are succeeding and those left behind.”

The South African Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago who was in the audience also made a contribution to the discussion.

“We can’t protect jobs because the nature of jobs is changing but we can protect people, the talk of these jobs have been informalised. Has anyone bothered to ask them what they would like to do. Here we are as elites trying to tell the poor what jobs to accept and how to shape their lives,” says Kganyago.

As the forum enters its second day on Wednesday, some of the anticipated panel discussions will include a talk with Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Deputy President Ramaphosa will be a contributor in a breakfast session entitled “Building Peace in Africa.

Watch related video:

 

The post ‘Modern day workers need to possess multiple skills’ appeared first on SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader..

Source: SABCNews

Manyi denies links between ANN7, New Age and the Guptas

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Jimmy Manyi continues to deny any existing links between the TV news channel ANN7 and the New Age newspaper and the Guptas.

This despite the fact that the two media entities are still listed on the Guptas’ holding company Oakbay’s official website as part of its group of companies.

Manyi acquired ANN7 and the New Age from the Guptas six months ago for R450 million by way of vendor financing- which means the Guptas lent him the money to buy their assets from them.

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Source: SABCNews

Hawks wait for NPA directive on Guptas

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The Gupta brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh relocated to South Africa from India in 1993.

The Hawks have denied claims that the arrest of the Gupta brothers is imminent. A local newspaper reported that the Hawks had obtained a warrant for the arrest of at least one of the brothers.

Hawks spokesperson, Hangwani Mulaudzi says they are awaiting a directive from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

The Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) has already taken action against two Gupta-linked companies – Trillian and McKinsey – hoping to recoup R1.6 billion in assets related to consultancy work done by the companies for Eskom and Transnet.

The Gupta brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh relocated to South Africa from India in 1993 at the dawn of democracy – when the country was seen as a land for opportunities.

Previously small-scale businessmen in India, they built a sprawling empire with interests in computers, mining, media and IT.

They were all housed under the listed entity Oakbay, and their mining asset, Shiva Uranium looked forward to the consummation of a nuclear deal.

They also developed close links with the ruling African National Congress (ANC), and particularly with President Jacob Zuma, well before he became president in 2009.

The Guptas’ relationship with President Jacob Zuma often made headlines… members of the President’s family were employees, shareholders and former directors of the Gupta firms.

There has been deep concern that the Guptas enjoy inside knowledge of cabinet and executive appointments, and allegedly have influence over the appointment of the heads of state-owned enterprises and cabinet ministers.

Atul Gupta was listed among the Sunday Times richest list worth R10 billion

As such, they are the subject of the Public Protector’s State of Capture report, from which a judicial commission has been set up, after much legal back and forth.

According to a letter submitted to the Public Protector’s office, included in the State of Capture report, total revenues from their business activities for the 2016 financial year amounted to R2.6 billion, with government contracts contributing a total of R235 million of the revenues.

In 2016 Atul Gupta was listed among the Sunday Times richest list worth R10 billion.

The Gupta family businesses had a fall out with the banks when their accounts were closed.

The controversial family made headlines again when they landed a chartered aircraft, carrying Indian politicians and 300 guests at Waterkloof Air Force Base for the Gupta wedding at Sun City in 2013.

This was followed by another controversy when the New Age televised business briefings that were sponsored by state-owned enterprises.

Reports say State Owned Enterprises like Transnet forked out R17.5 million for 18 breakfast sessions, while Eskom paid R7.2m to sponsor six sessions.

It was also reported that Telkom sponsored 12 business breakfasts to the tune of R12m in the 2012/13 financial year.

And in a series of the Gupta leaks emails, it emerged that global consultancy firm McKinsey lined up a R9.4-bn bonanza from Eskom with the help of Gupta-linked Trillian Capital Partners.

The emails also show that after Eskom cancelled the consulting engagement in July 2016, it also paid Trillian R565 million.

This was without any contract in place, but on the basis Trillian was McKinsey’s empowerment partner, though McKinsey and Trillian had already parted ways.

Now the Pretoria High Court has authorised the freezing of R1.6 billion in assets earned by global consultancy McKinsey and Trillian.

The court made the decision in December, after a request by the NPA to freeze the fees earned by McKinsey and local consultancy Trillian for advising Eskom.

Meanwhile, some of the political parties welcomed the decision by the Asset Forfeiture Unit to freeze the Gupta family assets.

The NPA’s forfeiture unit served a summons to preserve the Gupta’s assets which are worth billions of rands.

Click video below:

The post Hawks wait for NPA directive on Guptas appeared first on SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader..

Source: SABCNews

Mining sector steadily coming out of stagnation

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The mining sector is slowly but surely recovering out of the doldrums. Mining production output increased by 6.5 % year on year in November 2017.

The largest positive contributors were Iron Ore which is up by 20.7 % and contributed 2 point 5 percentage points.

Coal increased by 8.5 %, whereas Platinum Group metals increased by 12.3 %.

Economists are optimistic that this will contribute positively to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

Ian Cruickshanks,  Chief economist at the South African Institute of Race Relations says: “It means that worldwide there is demand for the mining commodities which we produce, it’s also going to help us with our exports – they will have higher value.”

But a negative significant contributor was Gold which decreased by 8.3 %.

Cruickshanks says this was caused by a reduction in Gold commodities globally.

“Perhaps what that shows is that there is less demand on gold as a hedge against inflation, and as we know worldwide inflation is relatively low especially in developed market economy.”

With the world economy continuing to grow its expected that this will help boost the demand for South African mining export commodities.

 

The post Mining sector steadily coming out of stagnation appeared first on SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader..

Source: SABCNews

Sarb appoints Fundi Tshazibana as Governor’s 7th adviser

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The South African Reserved Bank (Sarb) has appointed Fundi Tshazibana as a new adviser to the Governor. Tshazibana will take up her new post on 19 February, as the seventh member of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Sarb. The Sarb has said Tshazibana has 17 years of experience in public policy analysis and formulation,
Source: The New Age

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