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Five things making headlines in South Africa today

It’s D-Day for Zuma, Steinhoff reports HY losses, Transnet wins court order to end strike and more.

Here’s what caught our attention on Monday:

1. Jacob Zuma to testify at state capture commission

It’s D-Day for Jacob Zuma as the former president makes his first appearance before the state capture commission on Monday. Since the start of the inquiry a number of witnesses have implicated Zuma in various scenarios of state capture, including interference in ministerial portfolios, working with the Guptas and for benefitting from corruption. The former president has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. He is expected to give evidence from Monday to Friday.

Read: Zuma to face corruption inquiry on Monday

2. Steinhoff reports half-year losses

Embattled retailer, Steinhoff released financial results for the third time this year, on Friday, after publishing its delayed 2017 and 2018 annual reports in May and June, respectively. Steinhoff reported a half-year loss of around R5.5 billion, which it attributes to costs accumulated from advisory and audit fees. Steinhoff is trying to emerge from an accounting scandal that lead the retailer to near collapse in 2017. The company says advisory fees during the period amounted to €82 million. The retailer’s debt also remains high at €9.1 billion, but, according to Reuters, it says customer confidence in its offering has stabilised.

Read:

Scandal-hit Steinhoff reports R5.5bn loss in first half

 The winners in the Steinhoff mess

3. Former Tongaat CEO’s wealth takes a knock

The story of Tongaat is becoming less and less sweet …

The sugar and property giant is in the process of restating its financial results after accounting irregularities were reported in its business processes. These revelations have negatively impacted the company’s share price and as a result of this, former CEO Peter Staude, who holds almost 402 000 shares in the company, has suffered major financial losses. Moneyweb is reporting that there have been calls for Staude to pay back more than R94 million in bonuses and incentives he received in the 10 years he served as chief executive, as the group’s accounting anomalies occurred under his watch. 

Read: Tongaat Hulett’s former CEO poorer after share price dive

4. Transnet wins court order 

Transnet has won a court order to get striking employees at the Ngqura Container Terminal near Port Elizabeth back to work. Employees were on a go-slow protest to increase their performance levels, according to Reuters. The strike was affecting car exports and other commodities. Eleven workers were reportedly suspended last week for their involvement in equipment failure. 

Read: Transnet says court order ends employee strike

5. Economic events in the week ahead

The Sarb MPC’s interest rate decision and retail sales are due in South Africa this week. Economists polled by Reuters foresee an interest rate cut of 25 basis points to 6.50 as the economy shows sluggish growth. In the US, PPI rose slightly in June, data showed on Friday, while the Chicago Fed president, Charles L Evans, suggested a need to cut US interest rates.

The rand on Monday was at R13.92 at 8:02am, boosted by encouraging economic data from China, which eased fears of a global economic slowdown and boosted appetite for riskier assets, Reuters is reporting. 

Read: Rand boosted by rise in risk-on sentiment

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