News in South Africa 8th December:

1. ANC tackling internal corruption:

President Cyril Ramaphosa has taken a hard line at the ANC national executive committee (NEC) meeting, stressing that all leaders are bound by party resolutions while the debate over whether the corruption-accused secretary-general, Ace Magashule, should step aside rages on.

ANC tackling internal corruption
“President Ramaphosa launches the Africa Medical Supplies Platform” by GovernmentZA is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

The president stressed that five legal opinions were sought on the “step-aside” resolution, suggesting that this was a sign of how much the organisation has declined since its Nasrec conference in 2017, saying that resolutions and decisions had to be implemented.

ANC unity does not mean accommodating and condoning corruption, he said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has conceded that the ANC’s problems run deep, calling for the National Executive Committee (NEC) to respect its own decisions and exercise “revolutionary political consciousness”.

He was referring to the decision by the NEC for those found to be implicated on allegations of wrongdoing to step aside.

He said the decision the NEC took in August represented a collective determination to draw a line in the sand on corruption, three months later, however, there is growing concern within society and among members that the NEC is not committed to its own decisions, he said.

“The challenge we face is not only about the implementation of Conference resolutions and NEC decisions. There is a far deeper problem of revolutionary discipline and consciousness. In the documentation for this NEC, we are provided with no fewer than five legal opinions on the implementation of our so-called stepping aside resolution.

2. Impala Platinum buying back bonds:

Impala Platinum jumped 10% yesterday following the news that it will pay almost R6 billion to buy back up some of its bonds – which will help scrap debt on its balance sheet.

Other platinum shares also rallied, with Northam up almost 5%.

Platinum posted its biggest monthly gain last month since 2008.

3. Public Protector SARS report unlawful:

The full bench of the High Court, Gauteng Division, Pretoria, on December 7 declared unlawful and set aside the Public Protector’s report into the establishment of an investigative unit at the South African Revenue Service (Sars).

Former deputy Sars commissioner Ivan Pillay and former Sars commissioner George (Oupa) Magashula had also submitted review applications to set aside the Public Protector’s report, and the remedial action ordered by the Public Protector (PP). The applications were separately dealt with, but there was “significant overlap in the evidence pertaining to the Public Protector’s findings” against them.

After considering all the arguments and coming to its conclusion, the court ordered the PP and Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane in her personal capacity, to jointly and severally pay the costs of Public Enterprises Minister (and former Sars commissioner) Pravin Gordhan, Pillay, and Magashula, on the scale between attorney and client, including the costs of two counsel where applicable. Mkhwebane is ordered to pay the costs personally limited to 15% of those costs.

The court concluded that:

  • The PP did not carry out a “fair and credible investigation and an open-minded consideration of the extensive body of evidence that was placed before her in order to confirm the truth”.
  • “The report fails at every point … the report is the product of a wholly irrational process, bereft of any sound legal or factual basis. It cannot stand and must be set aside. Had the Public Protector undertaken a fair and credible investigation and considered the extensive body of evidence in an open-minded manner, the report may have been an opportunity to confirm the facts and the truth thereof. Instead, she allowed her important office to be used to try and resuscitate a long-dead fake news propaganda fiction.”

4. PPC revenue increased by 1%:

PPC reported its half-year results this morning.

Despite the initial COVID-19 related trading restrictions, PPC’s revenue increased by 1% to R5 006 million (September 2019: R4 948 million) due to robust cement sales post the easing of COVID-19 restrictions across the
jurisdictions in which the group operates.

Salient features:

  • PPC revenue: R5 006 million (September 2019: R4 948 million)
  • PPC EBITDA: R996 million (September 2019: R868 million)
  • Earnings per share: 19 cents (September 2019: 32 cents, restated)
  • Headline earnings per share: 19 cents (September 2019: 32 cents,
    restated)
  • Cash flow generated from operations: R 981 million (September 2019: R
    503 million)
  • PPC did not declare a dividend in the current or previous period

5. Eskom coal procurement woes:

Eskom board members had less than 24 hours to individually make a decision on the prepayment of coal procurement at R1.65bn a year from Gupta-owned Optimum coal mine.

Former head of legal and compliance at the power utility, whistle-blower Suzanne Daniels, made the revelation at the state capture inquiry on Monday. The comment left deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo stunned, as he questioned why this had been the case.

Daniels, who was secretary of the entity in 2015, said she was instructed to send documents which sought board members’ approval of the R1.65bn prepayment. They were expected to respond via e-mail, the following day at the latest.

“Why was it thought necessary to let a matter involving such a big amount be decided by a way of roundabout, without the benefit of a proper discussion among board members?” he said.

Daniels responded it was a matter of practicality.

“I think at the time, given the time of year, it was practicality, ostensibly, but there was a rush to get a decision, so the instruction was to send out the document,” she said.

Daniels said only two board members raised concern over the urgency.

Providing background to the matter, Seleka said Eskom took some decisions in relation to Optimum coal mine, which in 2014 had been in a challenging position regarding the provision of coal to Eskom. It was seeking to negotiate better deals with the entity.

The then newly appointed CEO Brian Molefe terminated all agreements and negotiations, according to the commission.

“The timing is important because this matter was referred to the board on the 23rd of April 2015, the board did not make a decision on the issue, rather it decided to refer to it to the newly seconded Mr Brian Molefe … the gains that have been made in the negotiations process with Optimum saw the beginning of the end of that process  as Mr Molefe terminated the co-operation agreement, terminated the negotiations agreement and insisted on Optimum continuing to provide coal to Eskom,” said Seleka.


All information sourced from articles posted by: BusinessTech, Business Insider, BusinessDay, News24, Moneyweb, Fin24, and TimesLive.

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