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26
FEB

Collision course with unions; Telkom lay-offs challenged; Tax relief; Money for SAA, Denel; Market cheer

In today's business headlines:
- The government has set a collision course with labour unions as it was announced by the National Treasury that pay increases and promotions will be limited, saving R16bn over the next three years;
- Unions have challenged Telkom in court on its plans to cut as much as 20% of its work force as the company seeks to reduce costs. The Communication Worker’s Union approached the court saying Telkom is rushing the process;
- Individual taxpayers have been given an unexpected boost by Minister Mboweni who announced a relief of R14bn including R2bn through the adjustment of tax brackets. Corporate taxes in South Africa were also reduced and the exemption on foreign income earned by expatriates will be increased;
- Minister Tito Mboweni has almost doubled the level of funding for South African Airways to R16.4bn while Denel will get R576m from the Treasury;
- Although the response of most analysts were muted with many expressing surprise that taxes were not increased, stocks of retailers and bankers rose on the JSE and the Rand surged before falling back by the end of the day.
26
FEB

FM Tito Mboweni goes after "fabulously rich 'men of the cloth' who don't pay tax"

At a pre-budget speech press briefing, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said the government could no longer afford to sit back and watch controversial "men of the cloth" flaunt their wealth while they found creative ways of evading tax. He has announced taxes for their sins, which according to Mboweni included not paying taxes, while their congregants were paying contributions, and announced increases in the usual sin taxes including alcohol, hubbly-bubbly and vaping.
26
FEB

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni announces some tax cuts

Against the expectation of many analysts, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni did not raise Value Added Tax or increase tax for individuals and instead opted for tax relief in some brackets. He also raised the ceiling for transfer duties on property.
26
FEB

Listen: Finance Minister Tito Mboweni's full 2020 Budget speech

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni delivered his budget speech in Parliament this afternoon and seems to be resigned to the fact that South Africa will be downgraded to junk status by ratings agency Moody's. He refrained from any tax and VAT increases and said that persistent electricity problems will hold back growth. Over the next three years, government expects growth to average just over 1 percent.
26
FEB

Hail Mary Budget betting on divine (resources boom) intervention

SA’s colourful finance minister Tito Mboweni cracked his customary jokes in a relaxed Presser ahead of today’s Budget Speech. And he hardly missed a beat during the flurry that followed the live tweeting of his obviously embargoed comments by an SABC staffer (a first for “lock-up” which led to the ejection of all SABC personnel).

But deep inside, the former SARB Governor and chairman of some of Africa’s mightiest companies, knows the structuring of South Africa’s books is the gamble of his life. Mboweni deviated from his natural conservatism, throwing away his central banking book. And like his boss Cyril Ramaphosa whose SONA referred to faith and prayers, there’s something of trusting in Providence in Budget 2020.

The combination of corruption, incompetence and excessively powerful trade unions has put South Africa up a financial creek with nary a paddle in sight. Ramaphosa warned us in SONA that the national priority right now is to address the fundamentals. And topping that list is the massive disaster called Eskom.

One day someone will work out the true cost to a nation of the thieves who infested Eskom’s boardroom and seats of operational power. After absorbing the scale of the damage, it should be a national obsession to get the Gupta brothers and their local associates – Pamensky, Essa et al – into orange onesies…
26
FEB

40-50 years of underperformance at Eskom due to problems at Kusile and Medupi – Chris Yelland 

Energy expert Ted Blom warned this weekend that loadshedding could haunt South Africa for at least another five years. Blom said he believed it could take Eskom that long to sort out its coal problems and its maintenance backlog. He also mentioned that coal stations in Mpumalanga were operating at 72% capacity, which is expect to drop below 50% within the next year. This was followed by an estimate of another Eskom insider, Mike Rossouw who said that the cost overruns of Medupi and Kusile power stations could run into more than R1trn. Biznews founder Alec Hogg asked energy expert Chris Yelland whether this was an exaggeration and asked him who was to blame for the problems at the all-important Medupi and Kusile power stations. – Linda van Tilburg
25
FEB

Eskom pollution battle; Lights on for Tito; O’Sullivan summons Myeni; CT's 'rainless day strategy'; Shoprite

In today's business headlines:
- Eskom is battling to keep all units of its biggest operational power plant at Kendal open after being served with a compliance notice by the environment ministry because of its high levels of air pollution;
- Eskom has indicated that the lights would be on for Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s budget vote today as no loadshedding is planned. Eskom said emergency reserves were at adequate levels, with additional generating units expected to return to service;
- Forensic investigator Paul O’ Sullivan has served the former chairperson of South African Airways Dudu Myeni with a combined summons as she has been 'ducking and diving' since December 2018;
- Shoprite Holdings has announced that it would transfer its distribution centres and undeveloped land valued at R2bn to a new joint venture it is putting in place with Equities Property Fund; and
- Cape Town plans to spend R5.8bn over the next decade to cushion its 4 million residents against another dry spell but the city says that consumers have drastically cut water use since 2015.
25
FEB

Meet Kirsten Landman: From coma to Dakar - Africa's first woman to cross the finish line

The Dakar rally, originally known as the Paris to Dakar Rally has taken place since 1978 but was moved due to security threats in Mauritania to South America for the past decade. This year, the race known as the toughest endurance rally in the world crossing dunes, camel grass and rocks took place in Saudi Arabia for the first time and there were two South African off-road bikers in the race, Kirsten Landman and Taye Perry who both managed to finish the 7,900km race. KwaZulu-Natal’s Landman was first across the line, ending in 55th place overall, while Perry who had to push her bike the last couple of hundred metres came 77th. Biznews spoke to Kirsten, who had a crash that almost ended her career, about how it feels to be the first African woman to complete the Dakar rally and how social media has enabled women to promote their sports careers. – Linda van Tilburg
25
FEB

Warning: Foreigners could hijack fledging dagga industry - cannabis entrepreneur

Dagga grows prolifically across South Africa - a point that hasn't gone unnoticed by astute business players elsewhere who are hoping to cash in on the world's new gold rush. In this podcast, South African cannabis entrepreneur Pierre van der Hoven outlines to BizNews founder and editor-in-chief Alec Hogg how the fledgling industry needs some help developing. And, he points to warning signs that companies based elsewhere could take advantage of regulatory disarray. That, in turn, would mean countries like China and Canada reaping the economic benefits of SA-grown dagga. President Cyril Ramaphosa and his team have pledged support for the cannabis industry. Now the sector needs organisation and planning to ensure that dagga can be the money-spinner, wealth-creator and employment spark that South Africa so desperately needs. - Jackie Cameron
24
FEB

SA coronavirus warning; power cuts for 5 more years - expert; gold skyrockets; Sasol plunges

In today's business news headlines:
*The Rand weakened in early trade on Monday, as investors fled riskier assets following the rapid spread of the coronavirus outside mainland China;
*Even without a single confirmed case, sub-Saharan Africa may be the region hardest hit outside of Asia by the spread of the coronavirus, experts are warning;
*A detailed investigation into Eskom reveals that it will take at least five years to get the power utility’s plants to a place where loadshedding is not needed, reports MyBroadband;
*Gold hovered near $1,700 an ounce, extending its rally to the highest in more than seven years, as investors pile into haven assets; and
*While Gold company stocks soared, Sasol plunged on the JSE on Monday.

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