Top5 on Fin24: Koko testifies, MTN to slash rates and Budget debated in Parliament

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ICYMI: A roundup of Thursday’s must-read financial and economic news. 

Eskom’s Matshela Koko: I’ve declared all my conflicts of interest

Matshela Koko. (Pic: Lihlumelo Toyana, Netwerk24)

Suspended executive Matshela Koko testified at his disciplinary hearing at Eskom on Thursday that he took all steps necessary to declare a possible conflict of interest relating to his stepdaughter.

But he also knew the relationship would be used against him when it came to light, he said. 

Koko faces charges relating to nepotism and conflict of interest. He allegedly failed to declare, accurately and in a timely manner, that his 26-year-old stepdaughter Koketso Choma’s company, Impulse International, was doing business with Eskom Generation when Koko was head of the unit.

Evidence leader for Eskom Advocate Cassim Moosa closed Eskom’s case against Koko, after several Eskom witnesses against Koko failed or refused to testify.

On Thursday Koko painted a picture of his wife, Khomotso Choma, as a super businesswoman who has done well running a number of businesses. Choma, who won The Apprentice reality television show in 2005, ended up at Group Five as part of her prize.

But Koko said he was so distressed about a possible conflict of interest that he ordered her to sever all ties with the firm. She then moved to Basil Read and again Koko was apprehensive about a possible conflict of interest.

READ: Koko – I’ve declared all my conflicts of interest

Chaos threatens key leadership vote for ANC

Court challenges, allegations of vote rigging and outbreaks of violence – the ruling ANC is in disarray less than three weeks before its scheduled conference to choose a new leader to replace President Jacob Zuma.

The struggle for power has spawned such disorder that some analysts question whether the African National Congress can hold a credible election at the December 16 to December 20 conference in Johannesburg in what’s shaping up to be the most hotly contested internal vote since Nelson Mandela led the party to power in 1994.

Leadership disputes have ended up in court in three of the nine provinces – KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State and North West – while the party’s national officials stepped in to avert a lawsuit challenging the outcome of its internal election in the Eastern Cape. 

“If all these legal disputes are not sorted out by the time the conference takes place, they will be transferred to the conference itself,” said Mpumelelo Mkhabela, a political analyst at the University of Pretoria’s Centre of Governance Innovation. “There is a risk that after the conference, some people challenge its legality and the decisions that have been taken.”

READ: Chaos threatens key leadership vote for ANC

#DataMustFall: MTN to slash out-of-bundle rates

Mobile network provider MTN will slash data rates down to 29 cents per megabyte on its lowest tariff.  

MTN SA CEO Godfrey Motsa said on Thursday that the network would be cutting data costs to 29c for its “Accidental users” who typically use less than 5MB per month, and those who use more can now expect to pay 60c out-of-bundle. 

“We have been investing heavily in our network infrastructure, because customers are the basis of our network,” Motsa said. 

During the same announcement Jacqui O’Sullivan, head of corporate affairs executive at MTN SA, said that, from Friday, customers would be able to purchase 1GB data bundles through the network’s cellphone app for R50,  which will be valid for a week.  

Motsa added that MTN wants to drop data rates even further, but can only do this with more spectrum allocation. 

READ: #DataMustFall: MTN to slash out-of-bundle rates

Expect forensic investigations and consequences at SAA – chair

Expect forensic investigations at South African Airways (SAA) and consequences if any foul play is uncovered, new board chair JB Magwaza assured Parliament’s standing committee on finance on Wednesday.

He was part of a delegation, including new CEO Vuyani Jarana, who briefed the committee on the state of the airline.  

Jarana told the committee his aim is to ensure SAA operates in a sustainable way.

“We now have aviation experience on the board – the lack of which people have complained about in the past,” said Jarana.

In response, committee chair Yunus Carrim said SAA’s management and board are in an “unenviable situation” and must use all the expertise it can get. Carrim said the committee still feels there should be one or two more SAA board members appointed with expertise specifically in managing an airline.

READ: Expect forensic investigations and consequences at SA

‘So what? I will tell you so what’ – DA whip scolds ANC MPs on budget

National Assembly opposition chief whip John Steenhuisen took on African National Congress Members of Parliament on Thursday, chiding them for dereliction of duty regarding the budget oversight process.

Addressing Parliament during a plenary session on Thursday, Steenhuisen was criticising the ANC for shortening the time for scrutinising the Budget so they could begin campaigning for their leadership conference in December.

He said that a high level parliamentary panel had called for Parliament to be more activist in its approach, because currently it is subservient to the executive.

Amid his speech, a Parliamentarian was heard jeering, “So what?”. Steenhuisen heard this and stopped reading from his speech.

“So what?” he retorted. “Well, I will tell you so what.

READ: ‘So what? I will tell you so what’

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