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- South Africa is finalising legislative changes that aim at narrowing the earnings gap between company executives and the lowest-paid workers, according to Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel. “A further amendment to company law is required to tackle the gross injustice of excessive pay,” Patel told lawmakers in his department’s budget vote speech on Tuesday. “A new bill that will be finalised within 60 days will require disclosure of wage differentials in companies, stronger governance on excessive director pay and enhanced transparency on ownership and financial records.” South Africa is one of the world’s most unequal nations, a legacy of the system of racial discrimination that disadvantaged the Black majority and ended in 1994. Chief executives and top lawyers can make in excess of R20m ($1.4m) a year, while the official minimum wage is just over R20 an hour.
- Heineken NV, the world’s second-largest brewer, is in talks about a takeover of South African wine and spirits maker Distell Group, says Bloomberg. Heineken approached Distell about a possible acquisition of most of its business, the South African company said Tuesday, confirming an earlier Bloomberg News report. Distell is considering its options, spokesman Frank Ford said by phone. Distell shares jumped as much as 10%, hitting an intraday record. They were up 5.6% at 9:25am Tuesday in Johannesburg, giving the company a market capitalisation of R33.6bn ($2.4bn).
- Labour union Solidarity has announced it will serve court papers on the Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, Lindiwe Sisulu, over the use of Cuban engineers to help fix the country’s water crisis, reports MyBroadband.co.za. Solidarity said the legal process would be seeking the disclosure of information and an interdict to stop the deployment process of the Cuban engineers. It is also lodging an application for a review of the government’s decision. The announcement in April that 24 Cuban engineers had been called in to assist in fixing the country’s water crisis has been mired in controversy. The department said that the engineers would act as advisors at provincial and local levels across the country, and share their “vast skills in the areas of mechanical, electrical, and civil engineering, as well as project management”. It also revealed the project would cost R64m.
- Namibia has banned all imports of poultry and poultry products from South Africa after further outbreaks of avian influenza were detected in the neighbouring country, the agriculture ministry said on Monday. Last month, Namibia suspended imports from one commercial egg-producing chicken farm in Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg, after the death of around 300 birds. The samples from the farm tested positive for the H5 strain, says Reuters. The southwest African nation extended the ban on poultry to all South African farms following an outbreak on a further eight farms.
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