Flash Briefing: Ace joins Zuma as former president delays trial AGAIN; Naspers in market inquiry; Eskom

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  • The corruption case against former South African President Jacob Zuma in connection with a $2 billion arms deal has been delayed yet again. His defence lawyer said Zuma would plead not guilty when the hearing into bribery allegations connected to a $2bn arms deal finally starts, reports Reuters. The trial of 79-year-old Zuma had been expected to begin on Monday but was delayed again after his newly appointed defence team raised concerns over the lead prosecutor and said it might seek his recusal from the case. “Zuma, dressed in a blue suit and tie, looked relaxed in court and gave the thumbs up and waved to supporters. Among those in court were suspended ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule, a Zuma loyalist, while a crowd of supporters waving the green, gold and black ANC flag sang Zuma’s praises outside the court.”
  • JSE stock market giant Naspers will be the centre of attention when the Competition Commission holds its Online Intermediation Platforms Market Inquiry, reports Mybroadband.co.za. The inquiry was announced as a proactive measure to get a greater understanding of the online markets operating in South Africa and whether there were factors which may be hindering competition or undermining the public interest, it said. Naspers owns Takealot, Mr D Food, Property24, and Autotrader, all of which are leading or major players in their respective segments. Airbnb, which dominates the short-term property rental sector, is also on the list of companies that dominate a sector.
  • The DA is calling on Eskom to provide an urgent state-of-the-system update and explain how its loadshedding schedule will be managed to ensure that it does not affect the vaccine rollout process. “The latest announcement of loadshedding from Eskom, announced yesterday evening and just minutes before it began at 5pm, was yet another reminder that Eskom’s current status, capacity and operational constraints remain an ever present threat to South Africa’s slow economic recovery. It is of particular concern that loadshedding will impact the rollout of vaccines sorely needed in the face of the continuing Covid pandemic,” it said.
  • Microsoft board members decided that Bill Gates needed to step down from its board in 2020 as they pursued an investigation into the billionaire’s prior romantic relationship with a female Microsoft employee that was deemed inappropriate, people familiar with the matter told BizNews Premium partner The Wall Street Journal. Members of the board tasked with the matter hired a law firm to conduct an investigation in late 2019 after a Microsoft engineer alleged in a letter that she had a sexual relationship over years with Mr. Gates, the people said.

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