Your top business news of the day - Guptas, Uber and SAA

Jul 17 2017 18:29

Another #GuptaLeaks story is making waves, while Uber beefs up security for drivers after Pretoria fatality and SAA says it won’t cover up criminality at the airline.

The almighty dollar – A #GuptaLeaks game-changer?

To date, the apparent efforts of the Hawks, South Africa's priority crime-combating unit, to investigate any of the voluminous allegations made against the Guptas have been minimal to non-existent.  

But the Guptas’ repeated use of US dollars to move their kickbacks around the globe, along with previously hidden ties to US companies, may render the Hawks' efforts (or lack thereof) irrelevant.  

Under American anti-bribery and anti-money laundering laws, one link to the United States could expose all members of any broader conspiracy to the jurisdiction of American courts.  

In addition to personal US criminal liability, ill-gotten gains are also at risk.

Uber beefs up security for drivers after Pretoria fatality

Uber has employed private guards in a bid to beef up security amid allegations of intimidation and violence against drivers in Gauteng, after the death of a driver whose vehicle was set alight.

On Monday, the cab-hailing service confirmed that an Uber driver who sustained major burns when his vehicle was set alight near Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria in June had succumbed to his injuries.

“We are aware of the intimidation against driver-partners and riders at the Gautrain stations across Gauteng. We have private security on site monitoring and managing the situation as best as possible, to ensure reliable pick-ups and drop offs,” Uber spokesperson Samantha Allenberg said in an emailed statement.

SAA: Board won’t cover up criminality

The board of South African Airways (SAA) said on Monday that it wants to assure the public that it does not condone nor will it cover up any acts of impropriety.

It referred to recent media claims, which appear to be based on leaked internal reports.

In a statement released on Monday, SAA cautioned against "making conclusions hastily". It said the board wants to discourage "casting aspersions against any individuals on the strength of incomplete reports".  

"Any action the board could take against anyone accused of criminality must have factual basis and be legally sustainable," according to SAA.
"It is important to understand the status these reports enjoy within the business and the processes the company has embarked upon before conclusions are made on the basis of any aspect of such reports."

PIC ups stake in Group Five amid leadership tussle

The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) has raised its stake in Group Five to 20.135%, the JSE-listed construction company said on Monday, edging closer to majority shareholder Allan Gray (25% stake).

This comes as a battle emerges between Allan Gray and the PIC (along with Mazi Capital) about which nonexecutive directors should replace the departing ones, according to City Press.

Group Five told shareholders that Allan Gray had punted bringing back former Group Five CEO Mike Upton and proposing to break up the company, Bloomberg reported on Friday.

Group Five chairperson Philisiwe Mthethwa told City Press on 25 June that the fight between the Group Five board and Allan Gray was ultimately a battle against transformation – and, in particular, against the appointment of a black CEO, Themba Mosai, to head the construction company.

Private sector involvement vital for NHI - expert

South Africa should rely on the expertise and strengths of its private healthcare system for a successful rollout of its planned national health insurance (NHI) scheme, according to the former head of Ghana’s national health insurance system.

Nathaniel Otoo, former CEO of the Ghanaian National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), addressed delegates at the Board of Healthcare Funders’ national conference in Cape Town, sharing some of Ghana’s challenges with implementation of universal healthcare.

“The private sector must play a role from the onset, as it is an engine of growth that often excels in innovation, financial management, risk taking and entrepreneurship and customer care.”

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