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Five things making headlines in South Africa today

Moyo and Old Mutual spat intensifies, Mboweni appoints PIC board, trouble at Cell C, mining and manufacturing output, Sarb expected to cut repo rate.

Here’s what caught our attention on Thursday:

1. Peter Moyo and Old Mutual feud intensifies 

The spat between former Old Mutual CEO Peter Moyo and the insurer’s chair of the board, Trevor Manuel, is heating up. Old Mutual is accusing Moyo of personally approving governance procedures, which were intended to manage potential conflicts of interest. This after Moyo, who was dismissed on the basis of the same charge, filed an urgent court application against Manuel, for having a ‘triple conflict of interest’. Manuel was chair of Old Mutual Group SA, Old Mutual plc and advisory firm Rothschild & Co during the insurer’s managed separation. Further to this, Moyo is questioning Old Mutual’s reasons for paying Manuel’s legal costs in a case concerning the Guptas, but the insurer is hitting back saying Moyo himself approved the payment.

Read: Moyo was comfortable with Manuel’s potential conflict of interest – Old Mutual

2. Finmin picks new PIC board

Finance minister Tito Mboweni has finally appointed an interim board for fund manager, the Public Investments Corporation, which will serve for a period of one year. Some of the key appointments include former Absa CEO Maria Ramos, chartered accountant Sindi Mabaso-Koyana, Smile Telecoms deputy chair Irene Charnley and National Treasury chief director for liability management Tshepiso Moahloli. A total of 12 new appointments were made, while a reappointment of two members of the board of directors were named, these are Pitso Moloto and Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi, who previously served as a deputy chairperson on the PIC board. According to Moneyweb, the interim board is expected to elect its own chair and deputy chair at its first sitting.

Read: Mboweni puts long-awaited interim board in place at the PIC

3. CEO spells out troubles at Cell C

In an open letter to stakeholders, Cell C interim CEO Douglas Craigie Stevenson detailed the woes that the mobile operator is facing. According to the letter, Cell C is financially distressed and continues to face ‘real-life challenges’ and will be in discussions with stakeholders to identify a secure financial position. The company will be investigating any irregular business practices it suspects are taking place in the orgnisation. It has hired both Bowmans and PwC to investigate business and audit processes. Additionally, Deloitte has been appointed as independent financial restructuring  advisors to assist in ‘optimising business processes’. Stevenson says Cell C is turning its focus on both operational performance and ethics and accountability within its business.

Read: Trouble at Cell C

4. Mining and manufacturing output

South Africa’s mining and manufacturing output for May is due on Thursday. In April, mining production shrank 1.5% year-on-year after a downwardly revised 0.7% fall in March. Output slowed significantly for gold, iron ore, chronium ore, nickel and building materials. Output gained for copper, manganese ore, PGMs, metallic and non-metallic minerals and diamonds.

Manufacturing production increased by 4.6% year-on-year in April from 1.3% in March. The April increase was the highest since June 2016, according to data from Trading Economics.

Updates to follow.

5. Sarb expected to cut rates on July 18

The South African Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) will meet on July 18 to make its latest rate decision. According to a Reuters poll, the MPC is expected to cut interest rates by 25 basis points to 6.50%, as the already sluggish economy could worsen if left unchecked. Only four out of the 30 economists polled predicted interest rates will remain unchanged.

Read: Reserve Bank expected to cut rates on July 18

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