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Five things making headlines in South Africa today

Money supply and private sector credit, the Eskom debate, state capture inquiry heats up, Lewis issues trading statement, M&R future.
The great Eskom unbundling debate. Picture: Waldo Swiegers, Bloomberg

Here’s what caught our attention on Wednesday:

1. M3 money supply and private sector credit

M3 money supply increased 5.59% in December from 5.69% in November, while South Africa’s private sector credit rose by 5.10% from a year earlier in December 2018, slowing from a 5.56% gain in November.

2. Discussions concerning Eskom unbundling to be lead

The Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan says that top of South Africa’s agenda is the Eskom unbundling discussion. Last week a task team, appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa, proposed the unbundling of Eskom into three key areas, namely, power generation, distribution and transmission to make the utility more financially viable. Reuters is reporting that Gordhan said there needs to be ‘fast movement’. The task team is expected to meet with the president this week.

3. State capture inquiry heats up

Former Bosasa COO, Angelo Agrizzi stepped down from the stand at the state capture inquiry on Tuesday and is giving space to Bosasa’s former CFO, Andries van Tonder to give his version of the unspoken corruption at Bosasa. On Tuesday, Van Tonder told the inquiry he feared and still fears his former boss, Gavin Watson and that he found Watson counting stacks of cash in a walk-in-vault, which would later be used to bribe people in exchange for tenders.

Agrizzi on the other hand, admitted to his own acts of racism, and pleaded with the inquiry to not discredit his evidence.

Van Tonder continues his testimony on Wednesday.

4. Lewis trading statement

Furniture retailer, Lewis published a trading statement for the third quarter and nine months ended December 31, 2019 on Wednesday. The company is flagging a 24.6% growth in sales and 13.2% increase in total group revenue for the quarter and 12.0% increase for the nine months.

5. The future of Murray & Roberts

Shareholders of engineering and construction group, Murray & Roberts are at loggerheads once again as German investment firm, Aton GmbH offers to buy shares for R17 each. Aton’s offer expires on March 31 and Moneyweb is reporting that is likely that it might increase its current shareholding of almost 44% to a majority stake and take complete control of Murray & Roberts. The ball lies in the shareholders’ court.  

Read more here.

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