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Five things making headlines in South Africa today

Naspers appoints CEO for SA business, government searches for solutions for Eskom debt, Saudi Arabia’s first collaboration with SA and more.

Here’s what caught our attention on Thursday:

1. Naspers creates CEO position for SA business

The local media giant which will shortly be going global with a Euronext listing, has created a new CEO position for its South African business. Naspers has announced the appointment of Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa as the company’s head, with her responsibilities including leadership of Naspers’s flagship South African units, Naspers Foundry and Naspers Labs. Bloomberg is reporting that Mahanyele-Dabengwa’s appointment marks the first time a woman or black person will hold the position of chief executive at the 100-year old company. 

Read:

Naspers creates new role of CEO, South Africa

Naspers upends century of tradition by naming black woman CEO

2. Solutions for Eskom

Various solutions for power utility, Eskom’s behemoth debt problems are still on the table, with no final decisions being reached thus far. Reuters is reporting that government is considering swapping Eskom’s debt for government bonds or ring-fencing it in a special account. Treasury has already pledged R230 billion in aid to Eskom.

Deputy finance minister, David Masondo, however ruled out using quantitative easing to help Eskom, saying the economic imperatives for such measures are not currently present  in South Africa, according to a Bloomberg report.

Read:

Government weighs new support measures for struggling Eskom

SA won’t consider quantitative easing to help Eskom – Masondo

3. Saudi Arabia and Paramount Group signs deal

In an attempt to develop its own domestic defence industry, Saudi Arabian Military Industries signed a collaboration agreement with South Africa’s Paramount Group. The agreement, which is said to be the first between the Gulf Kingdom and a South African company, will see a collaboration on the development of technologies and capabilities across land, sea and air domains, Reuters is reporting.

Read: Saudi state defence firm pens deal with SA’s Paramount

4. Gupta Waterkloof Airforce Base landing in the spotlight

The inquiry into state capture will, on Thursday, turn its focus to the controversial Gupta Waterkloof Air Force Base landing, dating back to 2013. EWN is reporting that the Gupta family, along with 200 guests chartered a private flight and landed at the airforce base, a location that is usually reserved for heads of states and their deputies. Bruce Koloane, an ambassador to the Netherlands, is expected to provide evidence, given that witnesses claim he was responsible for allowing the landing without authorisation.

5. PwC resigns as Group Five auditor

Construction company, Group Five, which is under business rescue, is facing more woes, as its auditor, PwC, resigns. The decision to resign was announced via a Sens announcement on Wednesday. The auditor says its reason for the contract termination relates to the resignation of a number of non-executive directors, senior executives and key finance staff members, adding that this increases its risk of continuing as external auditors. The board will soon commence the process of appointing a new auditor.

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