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Top 5 on Fin24: Bank of Baroda leaves SA, rand firms on possibility of #ZumaExit

Feb 12 2018 18:54

Cape Town - In case you missed it, here is a roundup of Monday's top 5 Fin24 reads.

Focus turns to frozen mine funds as Gupta-linked Bank of Baroda exits SA

Gupta-linked bank  the Bank of Baroda has notified the Office of the Registrar of Banks of its exit from South Africa.

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) said in a statement on Monday its registrar is in discussions with the Bank of Baroda to ensure its orderly withdrawal from South Africa so that no depositor is disadvantaged.

An SARB fine of R11m in June last year suggested Baroda's involvement in the “State Capture” scandal: an avalanche of allegations that President Jacob Zuma was under the sway of three brothers from Uttar Pradesh - Ajay, Atul, and Rajesh Gupta, collectively known as “The Guptas”.

Focus turns to frozen mine funds as Bank of Baroda exits SA

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse's Ben Theron said on Monday that while OUTA regrets the closure of the Bank of Baroda in South Africa and the impact this will have on jobs, "they only brought it on themselves".

He added OUTA was still trying to figure out what the bank leaving SA would mean for roughly R1.75bn in Gupta-linked rehabilitation funds the bank ring-fenced.   

In September 2017, the anti-corruption advocacy group was granted an interim court order forcing the Bank of Baroda to ring-fence R1.75bn in rehabilitation funds for the Optimum and Koornfontein coal mines.

Wiese suffers billions in losses as he cuts stake in Steinhoff

Christo Wiese has cut his stake in Steinhoff International Holdings to 6.2% and locked in billions of dollars in losses on the scandal-hit South African retailer he helped build into a global powerhouse.

Steinhoff’s ex-chairperson, formerly one of the country’s richest men, reduced his shareholding from 20.52%, according to filings he made to the Netherlands’ Authority for the Financial Markets on Friday.

The filing didn’t provide further details on the share disposal.

Rand firms on dollar weakness, Zuma’s imminent exit

The rand was trading firmer on Monday morning on the back of dollar weakness and the expectation of President Jacob Zuma’s early exit.

Analysts expect the local unit to test R11 to the greenback.

By 10:39 the rand was trading firmly below the R12/$ level at R11.96. 

On Sunday Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said at the Nelson Mandela centenary rally in Cape Town that the ANC’s national executive committee would meet on Monday to finalise the transition of SA’s presidency.

Ramaphosa: 2018 the year to transform SA economy

The year 2018 is a year for action, where social players in South Africa take steps to transform the economy, said Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

He was addressing the crowd at the Grand Parade in Cape Town on Sunday, where the ANC was holding celebrations to mark Nelson Mandela’s centenary.

During his address Ramaphosa also said that the transition of South Africa’s presidency will be brought to finality at the national executive committee’s meeting on Monday.

As part of continuing Nelson Mandela’s legacy, Ramaphosa called for a social compact where different players work together to realise economic growth, job creation and transformation.

Zim gets £21.5m grant as millions in southern Africa face hunger

In Zimbabwe, the UK Department of International Development (DFID) on Friday announced a £21.5m grant towards the Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund.

According to a statement released by the DFID, the fund seeks to strengthen the capacity of vulnerable rural communities to withstand shocks and stresses, ultimately reducing their need for humanitarian help and improving their wellbeing.

In a signing ceremony held with the United Nations Development Programme at the UN office grounds in Harare, Annabel Gerry, head of the DFID in Zimbabwe, said: "Climate change is already evident here (in Zimbabwe) - this year we've been experiencing hotter days and higher frequency of dry spells during the rainy season.

She said climate change is adding to the difficulties of the estimated one million Zimbabweans who are currently chronically food insecure. Zimbabwe is not alone, as other southern African countries have also battled with the El Niño-induced drought in the last few years.

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