Flash Briefing: New SAA boss is an airline ignoramus – DA; Huge Group insider trading probe; Shoprite exits Nigeria

  • Western Cape Transport MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela has been suspended for 14 days while an investigation is launched into the misrepresentation of his qualifications, Premier Alan Winde announced on Thursday. Madikizela claimed to have held a degree, but later said his CV should have indicated that he had not completed his studies. Madikizela is also the DA’s Western Cape leader.
  • The opposition DA says it is astounded by the appointment of Thomas Kgokolo as the acting SAA CEO. He is the latest person appointed to run the embattled airline despite having no experience in running an airline. “Kgokolo has no real competitive commercial experience in any private sector let alone the airline industry and therefore chances of him making SAA profitable are to all intents and purposes non-existent. He will undoubtedly be paid a very handsome salary and allowances even whilst SAA is under the administration of the business rescue practitioners so one wonders what value SAA and the taxpayer will get from the payments to Kgokolo and his executive. Surprisingly, SAA seemingly has enough money to pay high salaries, allowances and fees to the SAA CEO, other executives and the SAA board members, not forgetting the business rescue practitioners, Siviwe Dongwana and Les Matuson, but does not have enough money to pay employees their full salaries,” it said in a statement. The DA said it calls for the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) to invite  Kgokolo to explain what he, as a chartered accountant, is going to do to ensure that the annual financial statements for SAA which have not been tabled in parliament for the last three years are published without any further delay. “He will be held accountable and will be acting as a delinquent director if he follows in the footsteps of his predecessors and fails to produce the financial statements… The DA holds the view that there is little or nothing left of SAA and its subsidiaries and this move to hire a person with no competitive commercial experience in the airline industry is but an exercise in futility to keep the ANC vanity project alive at taxpayer’s expense,” it said.
  • The Financial Services Conduct Authority (FSCA) is conducting an insider trading investigation that will “cover disclosures and transactions in Huge Group securities during January 2021”. This investigation may be related to transactions by third parties who may have had prior knowledge of Huge Group’s planned bid to buy software services group Adapt IT, which it announced to the market on 27 January. But the FSCA says of another investigation into Huge Group share trading that it has found ‘insufficient evidence’ that Huge Group manipulated its share price, which rose by about 40% over a six-week period, to make it more feasible to launch its all-share offer for Adapt IT.
  • South Africa’s central bank is likely to maintain its accommodative monetary policy stance to support the economy for as long as it has room to do so, according to Governor Lesetja Kganyago. “As long as inflation is remaining contained, the central bank would have no reason to remove the accommodation that we are currently providing,” Kganyago said Thursday in an interview with Bloomberg TV.
  • The Biden administration on Thursday announced tough new sanctions on Russia and formally blamed the country’s premier intelligence agency for the sophisticated hacking operation that breached American government agencies and the nation’s largest companies, report US news outlets. In the broadest effort yet to give more teeth to financial sanctions — which in the past have failed to deter Russian activity — the sanctions are aimed at choking off lending to the Russian government.

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