Flash Briefing: Police close in on minister for spying on SA captains of industry; Road Accident Fund in crisis

  • South Africa’s Road Accident Fund is on the brink of collapse, after it secured an extraordinary court order preventing claims. GroundUp reports that the Fund has been mismanaged and riddled with corruption. If the Fund collapses drivers will be open to being sued, while claimants will struggle to get compensation, says the website. The Fund is currently under investigation and a new management is trying to rescue its finances. Pretoria High Court Judge Pieter Meyer is quoted as saying that implosion of the fund will trigger a section of the Road Accident Fund Act which bars any claims against it for compensation. “This, in turn, will reinstate the common law, leaving drivers open to being sued, and claimants struggling to get compensation from penniless defendants.”
  • Former intelligence minister David Mahlobo is facing a police investigation over illegal spying activities on critics of former president Jacob Zuma. The City Press reported that the Hawks are closing in on Mahlobo and have already interviewed key witnesses in the matter. A state security operative said people targeted in the spying activities included former Sygnia CEO Magda Wierzycka and finance minister Tito Mboweni. Commenting on the unauthorised spying, Wierzycka said she was aware she was followed as they were “so obvious”, says MyBroadband.co.za. She added that her phone was tapped, which was evident from her line always crackling, and she was harassed at airports by State Security ladies who “did not even pretend to be customs”. Wierzycka said she is happy to testify about the issue. “Let’s see where this goes, but it could get interesting,” she said on Twitter. Wierzycka has been a fierce anti-corruption activist and was closely linked to the Gupta Leaks in 2017, says MyBroadband.co.za, noting that she provided the Gupta leaks to the Sunday Times which in turn reported on the corrupt relationship between the Gupta family and government officials. Wierzycka was also a key figure in exposing KPMG’s involvement in money laundering and tax dodging related to Gupta-linked entities.
  • Africa’s mainly poor nations are falling behind in the global vaccination race with under 13 million doses administered so far to the continent’s 1.3 billion people, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. President Cyril Ramaphosa says the problem underscores the need for Africa to ramp up its own vaccine production. Meanwhile, the price of the Pfizer vaccine has shot up dramatically. The European Commission has signed contracts with Pfizer for the supply of Covid-19 vaccines in 2022 and 2023 for €19.50 per dose, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov revealed on Sunday. Borissov, says Euractiv.com, boasted how European solidarity and his diplomatic efforts had secured an additional 2.7 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to be delivered to Bulgaria in the next two months. “Pfizer was €12, then it became €15.50. Contracts are now being signed for 900 million vaccines at a price of €19.50,” the PM reportedly said, to illustrate his claim that prices are rising sharply ahead of expectations that countries will have to administer regular jabs to fight Covid-19 variants. Borissov is known for often revealing in public, following EU summits, information that should normally be kept confidential, Euractive reports.
  • NYSE-listed Chinese tech giant Alibaba jumped in value despite a report that it had received a massive fine of 4% of 2019 revenue for monopolistic behaviour. “Despite the record fine amount, we think this should lift a major overhang on BABA and shift the market’s focus back to fundamentals,” Morgan Stanley wrote in a note on Sunday, CNBC reports. “The final ruling leans significantly towards what investors had been considering the best case outcome,” Macquarie says.

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