Top 6 on Fin24: #MiningIndaba touts confidence in SA economy, criminal charges laid against Molefe

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Cape Town –  A roundup of Tuesday’s must-read financial and economic news.

Criminal charges laid against Molefe over pension payout fiasco

Brian Molefe: Resigned, retired, retrenched, retai

Trade union Solidarity on Tuesday laid criminal charges against former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe and former Eskom board chair Ben Ngubane, relating to what the North Gauteng High Court called an unlawful pension scheme in which Molefe was awarded a multimillion rand pension. 

In January 2018, a full bench of judges found that Molefe’s declaration that he had not resigned from the power utility was false, and he had never been entitled to the pension money.

Molefe was ordered to pay back the R11m he has already received.

Solidarity chief executive Dirk Hermann said the trade union was laying criminal charges because the high court had found that the pension scheme devised by Eskom and Molefe was unlawful.

Rand up on SONA postponement

The rand strengthened slightly on Tuesday afternoon, on news that the State of the Nation Address has been postponed.

After National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete made the announcement at about 14:40, the local unit gained 5 cents to the US dollar, strengthening from R12.09/$ to R12.04 to the greenback. 

However, by 15:00 it still had not breached the R12.00/$ level. The local currency hit a low of R12.18/$ in early morning trade, caused in part by dollar strength.  

Wichard Cilliers, currency dealer at TreasuryOne, said in the wake of the postponement that markets are waiting to see if the ANC National Executive Committee, the party’s highest decision making body between conferences, is going to recall President Jacob Zuma.

Investec’s Stephen Koseff, Bernard Kantor to step down

Investec CEO Stephen Koseff

Investec CEO Stephen Koseff and the group’s managing director Bernard Kantor are set to step down from their roles on October 1 this year, as the financial services group announced its “next generation of leadership”. 

In a market announcement on Tuesday morning, the Investec said the move was part of the group’s succession plan to move from its founding members to new leaders. 

After stepping down from their leadership roles on October 1, Koseff and Kantor will continue to serve as executive directors until March 31 2019.

On April 1 2019 they will become non-executive directors.

#MiningIndaba: Renewed confidence in SA on leadership change

There is a new mood of optimism for South Africa and its prospects, said Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies, who has returned from the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.

Davies was speaking on a panel along with Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane at the 2018 African Mining Indaba on Monday.

The improved outlook for the global economy, along with the prospect of rising mineral prices and the success of the ANC elective conference in December 2017 which resulted in new leadership, have been contributing factors to more upbeat investor confidence, he explained.

“It’s not a solution for all our problems, but they are better circumstances to deal with challenges facing the country,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Chamber of Mines has reiterated calls for multilateral engagements with ethical leaders to find a vision for a transformed mining sector.

Speaking at a briefing at the 2018 African Mining Indaba on Tuesday, chamber president and Exxaro CEO Mxolisi Mgojo said people discussing the future of the sector must have the “right interests” for the country as this will determine what the next generation will inherit.

“We need ethical leaders, people who stand for what is good and uphold what is good and who are also being transparent on issues,” he said.

Steinhoff seeks bond waivers, confirms summons

Steinhoff on Tuesday announced it had initiated the process of seeking waivers from the holders of €2.68bn (roughly R40.2bn) of its bonds. 

This comes after the global retail company failed to submit its 2017 financial results on time. The results have been delayed as PwC carries out a forensic investigation into accounting irregularities at the firm. 

Steinhoff has said it cannot yet say when the PwC audit will be complete.

The Stellenbosch-headquartered group has been approaching creditors, bond holders and banks to grant the firm waivers while the PwC completes its independent investigation.

Naspers asks Investec to pull ‘damaging’ analyst report

Naspers logo

Naspers [JSE:NPN] is asking Investec to withdraw an analyst report that it says contains errors and has damaged Africa’s biggest company by market value and its shareholders.

In the note dated January 22 seen by Bloomberg News, Investec analysts David Smith and Thapelo Mokonyane said Naspers should be valued at a 30% discount to its assets. That’s due to a gradual increase in the number of outstanding shares over 11 years, taxation issues and costs associated with financial transactions, referred to in the report as friction costs, they said.

“While we believe that everyone is entitled to their views, the Investec report on Naspers contains factual inaccuracies and misleading information,” Meloy Horn, head of investor relations at Naspers, said in an emailed response to questions about the note.

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