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The week that was: Fin24's top 6 stories

Jan 18 2019 17:07

From a deep dive into why data in South Africa is still so expensive, to Zimbabwe's internet shutdown and the new Transnet board's quest to claw back money from a controversial locomotive contract, catch up on the week's best read stories.

1. SPECIAL REPORT This is why data still costs you twice what it could

Why is data in South Africa so expensive? Why does it 'expire'? And is there anything that anyone can do about it?

Following years of delays and with an election looming, government is pushing for the release of radio frequency spectrum in aid of lower data prices.

But the bad news for consumers is that a lot has to go right before the much-hyped expected drop in data prices linked to spectrum becomes a reality.

2. Reserve Bank mandate is enshrined in the Constitution - Kganyago

SA Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago has said that changing the mandate of the SA Reserve Bank would mean changing the Constitution.

"The independent central bank is one of the constitutional principles that underpinned the writing of the Constitution," he said in Pretoria on Thusrday afternoon. "When you talk about changing the mandate of the Reserve Bank, you are then talking about changing the Constitution."

Kganyago, who announced the bank’s monetary policy committee had decided to keep the repo rate unchanged at 6.75%, was speaking in the wake of calls to expand the bank's mandate, including in the ANC's recent election manifesto. 

Governor of the SA Reserve bank Lesetja Kganyago.

3. Crushing defeat for Theresa May in Brexit deal vote

British Prime Minister Theresa May faced a crushing defeat in a historic vote on Tuesday over the Brexit deal she has struck with the European Union, leaving the world's fifth biggest economy in limbo.

May’s withdrawal agreement was voted down 432-202, the largest in the history of the House of Commons.

In a last-gasp bid to salvage her plan for taking Britain out of the European project after nearly five decades, May told MPs they had a "duty to deliver" on the results of a 2016 referendum that started the divorce.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during

4. Popo Molefe says new board found 'horror show' at Transnet

State-owned freight rail company Transnet has issued summons to former top executives it says are implicated in financial mismanagement with a view of recouping some of the squandered money.

Popo Molefe, chair of the Transnet board, said on Thursday morning at a media briefing that civil claims worth R1.3bn had been served on individuals and companies.

Popo Molefe has been appointed the new interim cha

5. Zim internet restored, but partial social media blackout 'until further notice'

The Zimbabwean government on Thursday restored some internet connectivity in the country following a 24 hour blockade, but social media platforms including Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter are still restricted.

Users on Thursday have some access via Wi-Fi, though mobile access is still blocked. As of Friday morning, there were new reports that the internet had again been blocked as authorities instituted a new communications ban. 

This comes as Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights filed an urgent court application over the internet blockade in the Harare High Court.

 A school boy looks at a burning barricade during

5. Chinese company pays R618m back to Transnet, more expected

State-owned freight rail company Transnet has been paid back R618m by a Chinese company that it concluded a maintenance deal with in 2016.

This as Transnet chairperson Popo Molefe said on Thursday that the state-owned entity was determined to recoup money from companies it overpaid in a past major locomotive deal which has been dogged by allegations of corruption and price inflation.

Molefe later told Fin24 that Chinese rail supplier CRRC E-Loco had agreed to return R700m it was paid as part of a locomotive maintenance deal in 2016.


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