The world is changing fast and to keep up you need local knowledge with global context.
By Jackie Cameron
- Parliament has been told that the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture has cost taxpayers R700m so far. This is double the R350m price tag that Justice Minister Ronald Lamola said the inquiry had cost as of September last year. That’s according to Eyewitness News, which says about R18m a month goes towards IT and people and much of the funds go towards legal fees. The state capture inquiry recently resumed hearings after being forced to delay them as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown.
- South Africa is likely to run out of intensive-care unit beds within four weeks, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize told parliament. The number of infections in South Africa has surged in recent days to total 215,855 as of Tuesday with 3,502 deaths reported, making it the biggest reported outbreak in Africa, reports Bloomberg. Langeberg mayor Henry Jansen has reportedly died of Covid-19 and Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has tested positive for Covid-19, saying he has mild flu-like symptoms and is in self-isolation at home.
- South African Airways (SAA) will provide a year’s training for up to 1,000 employees, revisions to its restructuring plan show, in a concession to trade unions angered by thousands of looming job cuts, reports Reuters. State-owned SAA’s administrators published a restructuring plan last month after repeated delays and months of wrangling with the government and unions. In proposed changes published on Wednesday, SAA’s administrators kept the number of staff needed in the restructured SAA at 1,000, from around 4,600 currently. But instead of laying off 3,600 people, they now suggest roughly 2,600 will lose their jobs and up to 1,000 will be placed on a “training layoff scheme” where SAA will contribute up to 4,650 rand a month in pension, unemployment and healthcare benefits for each employee. If SAA does not need them after the training they will lose their jobs.
- Scandal-hit Steinhoff International agreed to sell its stake in the struggling French unit of home furnishings chain Conforama to Mobilux Sàrl, the parent company of furniture retailer BUT, for a nominal amount, the company said on Wednesday. Steinhoff failed to secure state funding for Conforama France, which has been impacted by the outbreak of the new coronavirus, reports Reuters. “The disposal will secure the future of Conforama France, release the Group from its liabilities in respect of that business and generate cash to reduce of the current debt held by Conforama France,” the company said in a statement. It shed about 2% of its value.
- Santam was among the losers by the end of trading on Wednesday on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, no doubt on news that it is refusing to pay business interruption claims from small businesses hit by Covid-19. A Western Cape court ruled against an insurer earlier in the week, which sets a precedent for other court cases.
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