Zuma testimony halted; Matjila – no bribes; retail sales grow; rate cut expected; Ford jobs; Musk’s brainwave

By Linda van Tilburg

  • The Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture has been adjourned until tomorrow after Zuma’s lawyers objected to the panel’s line of questioning and threatened to walk out. It came after Zuma objected to being cross-examined and said he was concerned about being asked about governance details and had an issue with having to go through “all those details.” This is after he was asked questions about former Public Enterprises minister Barbara Hogan who said she faced immense pressure on the appointment of Transnet CEO, Siyabonga Gama. This is another allegation that Zuma has denied.
  • The Democratic Alliance has asked the Zondo Commission in a letter to investigate the role of the ANC’s cadre deployment committee in facilitating state capture by appointing people to key positions in government and state-owned enterprises. It follows a statement by Zuma that the ANC as the ruling party had the right to tell the government which loyal cadres should be appointed to these positions.
  • At the Mpati Commission into allegations of wrongdoing at the Public Investment Corporation, former Chief Executive of the PIC, Dan Matjila denied taking a bribe to help the bailout of VBS Mutual Bank before the lender collapsed. Matjila was accused of taking R5m in cash for facilitating further lending. A separate investigation into the failure of VBS found that at least 53 people and companies have benefitted from the looting of R1.9bn from VBS before it was taken into administration. That probe found no evidence of a Matjila bribe. A deal with SA Home Loans was also brought before the commission and Matjila denied having discussed an origination fee in relation to their application for a second line of credit.
  • South Africa’s retail-sales growth has beaten expectations for a second straight month in May, boding well for an economy that contracted in the first quarter. Retail sales rose by 2.2% from last year with a revised increase of 2.7% in April. Analysts say it could help the country avoid slipping back into a recession. These figures may receive a boost as the South African Reserve Banks is forecast to reduce interest rates for the first time since March 2018 later today.
  • The Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa says an additional 1,200 jobs have been created at its Silverton plant by adding a third shift to meet the demand for its new Ranger. The company is also considering further investment to increase the capacity of the plant which would add further jobs. Ford says it is exciting that the company shows growth and is investing heavily into the South African economy. This is despite a 3.7% decline in vehicle sales in the past year.
  • The latest invention from South African born Elon Musk who has an online bank, solar roof tiles, a tunnel-digging machine, electric car and reusable rockets to his name is Neuralink, a data transmission system between people and computers. The start-up has just unveiled its plan to implant paralysed patients with electrodes that will enable them to work computers with their minds. During its first demonstration it showed it could record a rat’s brain activity. Neuralink is said to be ready to test it on humans but has to get FDA approval.
  • R13.98 could buy you one dollar at the end of trading yesterday with the JSE losing 0.72%; while platinum miners lost ground with Impala losing more than 5% and Anglo American Platinum shedding 2.83%. Alexander Forbes fell 7.74%. The biggest climber yesterday was Richemont with a gain of 2%.