Flash Briefing: J&J #COVID vaccines approved for use in SA; Sarb confiscates Gupta cash in Nedbank account

  • J&J Covid-19 vaccines have been approved for use in South Africa, Janssen Pharmaceuticals has announced. It says that the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority has granted registration with conditions for its single-dose Covid-19 vaccine, to prevent Covid-19 in individuals 18 years of age and older. The company aims to begin delivery of 31 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine to South Africa this year with first supply of 2.8 million doses delivered during the second quarter. The company has not responded to requests to provide specific prices that will apply in South Africa. It said only in a statement that it “is committed to making its vaccine available on a not-for-profit basis for emergency pandemic use”. For more on vaccination rollout in South Africa, listen to the BizNews Inside Covid-19 podcast, which is available on all the major podcast channels, including Spotify and iTunes.
  • The South African Reserve Bank has seized R19.669m from the Nedbank account of Sahara Computers, reports MyBroadband.co.za. Sahara Computers was owned and operated by the infamous Gupta family. The Guptas hired former president Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane as an IT specialist in 2007 and made his twin sister Duduzile a director at the company in the same year. Three years after the company shut its doors, the South African Reserve Bank has now published a notice and order of forfeiture related to “Sahara Computers (Pty) Limited”.
  • The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has published new regulations which require all telecoms licensees, including ISPs, to have black owners, says MyBroadband.co.za. “An Individual Licensee must have a minimum of 30% of its ownership equity held by black people. Should an ISP or telecoms provider not comply with these requirements, they face severe penalties like a fine of R5m or 10% of their annual turnover,” an industry expert is quoted as saying. The insider says “imposing a particular shareholding on a company is always a disaster and it does not add value to the industry… there are not 600 black companies which can add value, but there are at least 600 licensees which are currently operating in the telecoms market. This means the large ISPs will get the best black empowerment partners, while the rest will be lumbered with 30% ‘dead weight’.”
  • AngloGold CEO Christine Ramon said the world’s No. 3 gold miner won’t be rushed into any deals as the industry braces for a round of acquisitions, reports Bloomberg. Gold miners are flush with cash after prices rose, fuelled by investors seeking safe-haven status amid the pandemic. Africa’s biggest fund manager, the PIC, and AngloGold’s largest investor said any consolidation must benefit South Africa as well as shareholders. Sibanye-Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman recently floated the idea of a merger with peers AngloGold and Gold Fields, arguing consolidation is needed for South Africa’s gold miners to compete globally.

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