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Top stories on Fin24: SARS to collect R16.6bn in debt owed, Sanral at risk of downgrades more bailouts

Mar 09 2018 19:28

Cape Town - A roundup of Friday's must-read financial and economic news.

SARS appoints debt collectors to recover R16.6bn 

SARS is pulling out all the stops to collect revenue by appointing debt collectors to recover R16.6bn owed to it.

According to a statement issued by the tax authority on Friday, the objective is to boost revenue collection.

Eight debt collectors will recover older and “relatively smaller” amounts due to it and the contract will run until February 28 2019.

The agencies are CSS Credit Solution Services, ITC Business Administrators, Medaco Capital Services, New Integrated Credit Solutions, Norman Bisset & Associates Group, Revenue Consulting, Transactional Capital Recoveries and Van De Venter Mojapelo.

Currently over 2.3 million taxpayers and traders owe SARS just under R150bn.

READ: SARS appoints debt collectors to recover R16.6bn

Watchdog's hands tied on processed meat facilities

The National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) told Parliament on Friday morning that it did not have the mandate to proactively review the standards of meat processing facilities and factories in the country, but could check them against legislated standards if delegated to do so.

The regulator’s appearance comes at the end of a week where processed meat producers, particularly Tiger Brands’ Enterprise Foods and RCL’s Rainbow Chicken, were left reeling after Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi announced that SA’s latest and worst listeriosis outbreak came from the source of a meat processing facility.

Enterprise Foods has since had to have its products, particularly polony and Russians, recalled from supermarket shelves. Tiger Brands has insisted that there was no evidence of a direct link between its own products and the 180 listeria related deaths which occurred in the country since late last year. Close to 1 000 people are said to have been infected.

READ: Watchdog's hands tied on processed meat facilities

Judge orders state to pay Gupta costs in Estina farm case

The National Director of Public Prosecutions has been ordered to pay the costs of lawyers hired by Atul Gupta and four companies linked to his family, after they opposed the seizure of assets linked to the Estina dairy farm in the Free State. 

Bloemfontein High Court Judge Andre Fouche Jordaan said on Friday he was amending the original preservation order.

State prosecutors earlier this year alleged Gupta illegally received R10m of taxpayers’ money that was meant to have been invested in the government-backed dairy farm.

The National Prosecuting Authority froze the project’s assets on January 19 after more than R220m destined for the farm was said to have been transferred to Gupta, via the Bank of Baroda, and a number of companies and associates.

READ: Judge orders state to pay Gupta costs in Estina farm case

Comic Con Africa ticket sales now open

Tickets to Africa’s first Comic Con to be held in Johannesburg's Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit and International Convention Centre from September 14 to 18 2018 go on sale on Friday.

The conference, based on the international event of the same name, is expected to showcase comic books and science fiction/fantasy related films, series and similar popular arts.

VS Gaming, Reed Exhibitions Africa and ReedPOP, who are hosting the event, announced that the first phase of tickets for Comic Con Africa will be available for purchase through Computicket from 09:00 on Friday March 9.

A limited number of tickets will be available, and sales will remain open until these tickets are sold out.

Sanral at risk of downgrades, more bailouts - OUTA


The South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) must improve its internal audit processes as its growing impairments will put it at risk of further downgrades and it may require bailouts from the state, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) warned on Friday.

The civil rights body was responding to concerns raised over the agency’s financials by the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) earlier this week.

Sanral has incurred high levels of irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure resulting from non-compliance with supply chain management processes, Fin24 reported previously.

Scopa also raised the issue that Sanral did not comply with the Public Finance Management Act.

Solid results from SA's 'big 4' banks, but digital rivalry heats up - PwC

With the last of the ‘Big 4’ banks publishing their financial outcomes on Thursday, audit and advisory firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said that combined, they represented “a solid set of results” with a joint headline earnings of R76.1bn through to December 31 2017.

This figure is up 5.2% from the previous year and 11.6% from the first half of 2017, showing an improved performance in the second half of the year, according to PwC’s Major Banks Analysis Report, published on Friday.

The study examined the big retail banks; Standard Bank, Nedbank, Barclays Africa (soon to be renamed ABSA) and FirstRand (FNB). Capitec and Investec were excluded due to their different reporting period and structures.

PwC noted that the banks’ performance across Africa were resilient and allowed them to diversity their earnings and boosted overall group results.

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Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi has announced that processed meat was the source of South Africa’s latest and worst listeriosis outbreak on record.

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