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VBS saga to impact on service delivery in Giyani
15 October 2018, 9:41 PM

Greater Giyani Municipality Manager, Maxwell Chauke says the municipality’s decision to invest with the embattled VBS Mutual Bank will have a long-term negative impact on service delivery. It invested more than R161 million with the bank.

The municipal manager has been at the helm since May this year. Prior to his appointment, the post had been vacant for more than five years.

Chauke was alerted to the numerous service delivery projects which were not going ahead because of funds not forthcoming from VBS.

“The impact in terms of the monies that went to VBS will have a long term effect in that if we plan to do some projects maybe in 2021/2022 we may want to find ways of covering that gap now but for interim and midterm we don’t have challenges.”

Following a forensic audit the municipality suspended its Chief Financial Officer. “The council gave me an approval to do a forensic investigation on all the issues we felt needed to be looked at. After that the report was tabled with all the recommendations hence there were suspensions, one for the CFO and another for the technical director.”

Chauke says the municipality has enough in its coffers to fund short term service delivery projects.

Parliament to consider VBS report  

Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance will only be able to consider the Reserve Bank’s report on VBS bank after the Medium Term Budget.

The report has fingered about 50 people and companies linked to losses of about R2 billion rand that led to the collapse of the bank.

Committee chairperson Yunis Carrim says the scandal justifies the new powers given to the Financial Sector to act against wrong doing in the interest of depositors. He also says if the committee agrees, they will call the Hawks to brief them about their investigation of the matter.

“Those who have done wrong must face the full might of the law. And if the committee agrees, we will without interfering in the internal investigations call on the Hawks to report on progress in this regard until we are convinced.  Otherwise our view remains that every attempt needs to be made to rescue under new leadership. We also need to look at whether the Reserve Bank and Treasury could have acted sooner and reduce the extent of its failures.”

VhaVenda King willing to pay back VBS money

Earlier, VhaVenda King Toni Mphephu-Ramabulana says he is frustrated that his name has been dragged into the VBS Mutual Bank looting scandal.

The King has undertaken to pay back money that was reported to be taken illegally from VBS Bank. A report from the Reserve Bank revealed that Ramabulana received a gratuitous payment of more than R17-million.

Ramabulana’s spokesperson Makonde Mathivha says to a certain extent, the King is also a victim in the matter.

ANC calls for investigations 

The ANC has echoed its president Cyril Ramaphosa’s statement that law enforcement agencies should accelerate their investigations into the looting of VBS Mutual Bank.

ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe says, “The ANC is calling for action. The ANC is on record as saying heads must roll. The role of the financial sector conduct authority is also to be able to make sure that the conduct of the financial institutions is in line with what is acceptable in society. So, it’s not free for all.”

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Parly committee to consider report on VBS after Medium-Term Budget
15 October 2018, 9:40 PM

Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance will only be able to consider the Reserve Bank’s report on VBS bank after the Medium-Term Budget.

The report has fingered about 50 people and companies linked to losses of about R2 billion that led to the collapse of the bank.

Committee Chairperson Yunis Carrim says the scandal justifies the new powers given to the Financial Sector to act against wrong doing in the interest of depositors.

He also says if the committee agrees, they will call the Hawks to brief them about their investigation of the matter.

“Those who have done wrong must face the full might of the law and if the committee agrees we will without interfering in the internal investigations call on the Hawks to report on progress in this regard. Until we are convinced otherwise, our view remains that every attempt needs to be made to rescue (VBS Bank) under new leadership. We also need to look at whether the Reserve Bank and Treasury could have acted sooner and reduce the extent of its failures.”

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Ratings agencies likely to review SA after 2019 general elections
15 October 2018, 9:25 PM

Ratings agencies will likely review South Africa again in 2019, after the elections. That is the word from some economists, following Moody’s decision not to review the country’s sovereign credit rating last week.

Economists say it was odd to have a review date before the Medium-Term Budget Policy statement, due next week. This means South Africa’s credit rating with Moody’s remains at investment grade level, currently with a stable outlook.

Moody’s is the last of the three major credit rating agencies that has kept South Africa’s credit rating at investment grade level.

The agency released a note in September, saying a downgrade of the country’s credit rating to below investment grade was unlikely in the near future.

Economists say with the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement a week away and with a new finance minister in position,  it is best to wait a while before a review.

Intellidex Economist, Peter Montalto, expects Moody’s to keep ratings unchanged in 2018.

He says, in a statement, that the agency could only downgrade the outlook after 2019’s budget, should there be further budget and growth downward surprises, and limited signals of further reforms.

Dr Azar Jammine, of Econometrix, says a decision could only possibly be taken following 2019’s elections. However, there is optimism that South Africa may just avert further downgrades.

Ratings agencies have been concerned about low economic growth levels and governance issues by State-Owned Enterprises.

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Employers plan to interdict Numsa strike
15 October 2018, 8:54 PM

Employers in the plastic sector are planning to interdict National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa’s (Numsa) so called “National Plastic Shutdown.”

This comes after the trade union embarked on a nationwide strike which affected over 450 companies in the plastic sector. The union is demanding a 15% increase.

Employers in the plastic sector are threatening to dismiss workers affiliated to the Numsa. This comes after workers participated in what employers say is an illegal strike.

However, the trade union calls this a scare tactic. Numsa has criticised the National Minimum Wage of R20 per hour saying it lends itself to exploiting and abusing workers.

It claims employers are planning to slash wages from R40 an hour to R20 an hour, take away bonuses and increase 40 hour week to 45 with no over time.

Numsa is demanding a 15 per cent wage hike. The union says it is against the changes to workers’ wages and benefit structure.

It wants them to remain the same.

President Cyril Ramaphosa
SA-DRC Bi-National gets under way in Kinshasa
15 October 2018, 8:52 PM

President Cyril Ramaphosa leads a South African delegation to the 11th Session of the Bi-National Commission (BNC) to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The Commission was officially launched in 2004 in DRC capital, Kinshasa.

Development, eradication of poverty and improving people’s lives are central to the BNC of both countries.

Diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1992, leading to both upgrading their liaison offices to embassies. Their relations have since been consolidated.

The 10th Commission was held in Pretoria where both Heads of States – former President Jacob Zuma at the time and President Joseph Kabila were accompanied by senior government officials.

Agreements, commitments and recommendations made during the 9th Session of the BNC were signed. These included cooperation in fields of Politics and Governance, Defence and Security, Finance and Infrastructure.

The two countries expressed commitment to the African Unity specifically the implementation of Agenda 2063 and their common view on the reform of the Security Council and the IMF.

With the 11th session taking place in the DRC, both Pretoria and Kinshasa are expected to take their agreements forward.

President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the DRC earlier this year. It was his first visit since taking office.

The two leaders exchanged views on the bilateral relations as well as the electoral and security situation. This 11th session of the Bi-national Commission will promote and enhance cooperation in various sectors of government.

With the DRC coming up to elections, Pretoria stands ready to assist within its framework. Both Presidents Ramaphosa and Kabila will chair the Commission jointly and are expected to sign several agreements.

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Highlights

 

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