KPMG LLP, the auditor that shed clients and staff after scandals in South Africa, apologizes for its “misdeeds” and wants a second chance to reestablish its business in the country, Chairman Wiseman Nkuhlu said.

The firm, one of the so-called big four global auditing companies, confessed to publishing a misleading report on the South African Revenue Service that led to a police probe of a former finance minister, did work for the Gupta family who have been implicated in corruption scandals linked to former president Jacob Zuma, and acted as an auditor for a bank that collapsed due to alleged fraud. Its eight top staff resigned in September 2017, some of the biggest companies in South Africa have replaced it as their auditors and in June it said its workforce had shrunk to 2,200 from 3,400.

“KPMG had made a lot of serious mistakes and lost the trust of the public and clients,” Nkuhlu said in an advertisement placed in South Africa’s Sunday Times newspaper. “We had lost sight of our responsibility to serve the broader public interest.”

The company is one of a number of international firms that have apologized for their conduct during the nine-year rule of Zuma, which ended in February, during which time corruption at state companies became endemic. Bain & Co. has started an independent probe into its own work for South Africa’s tax service, while McKinsey & Co. and SAP SE have accepted responsibility for improper work done for state-owned companies.

“We know we made mistakes and we will accept responsibility, as appropriate, for our misdeeds,” Nkuhlu said. “In return, I would like to make an appeal to South Africa business, government and the public. An appeal for your recognition that KPMG South Africa is today a very different business to what it was 18 months ago.”

The company, which has lost clients including Barclays Africa Group Ltd. and Dimension Data Plc, is seeking to win back trust, he said.

We “appeal for your permission, for KPMG South Africa and the thousands of South Africans who work for it, to continue to play a positive role in the business community and the life of the nation,” he said.

 

- Bloomberg

Uber South Africa - which controls 71% of the e-hailing market in South Africa - is considering introducing emergency buttons in cars.  
 
This as Uber drivers face continued intimidation from especially taxi-meter drivers which includes killings, vehicle torchings and acid attacks since the service was introduced in South Africa in 2014. Earlier this year, Uber launched an app which connects drivers to the closest private security response vehicles through built-in GPS, whereafter police can be dispatched if necessary. 
 
“The new emergency button could assist in a case where a driver-partner needs assistance and has lost access to their cell phone and cannot use the Uber app,” Fuller told Business Insider South Africa. 
 
Last month, Uber introduced a "safety toolkit" with new features for clients, including the ability to share their accurate locations with friends or family, and to check a driver’s credibility. 
 
Uber also introduced a new policy earlier this year which forces drivers to go offline for six straight hours after a total of 12 hours driving time, in an effort to prevent drowsiness. 
 
Uber introduced partner injury protection in August which means all drivers and Uber Eats delivery-partners are covered by insurance in an accident or crime-related incident at no additional cost to them. 
 
 
Source: Business Insider

Africa's richest man Aliko Dangote has said he needs 38 visas to travel within the continent on his Nigerian passport. Many European nationals, meanwhile, waltz into most Africans countries visa-free.

African nations were supposed to scrap visa requirements for all African citizens by 2018.

It was a key part of the African Union (AU) "vision and roadmap for the next 50 years" that was adopted by all members states in 2013.

But to date, the Seychelles is the only nation where visa-free travel is open to all Africans - as well as to citizens of every nation - as it always has been.

A recent AU report found that Africans can travel without a visa to just 22% of other African countries.

It is a sensitive topic, provoking xenophobic attitudes in some of Africa's wealthier nations despite policymakers from Cape to Cairo insisting that the free movement of people is key for economic transformation.

"Our leaders seem to go to ridiculous lengths to preserve and protect the colonial borders," says South African travel blogger Katchie Nzama, who has visited 35 of Africa's 55 countries.

The AU may want a borderless continent where its 1.2 billion people can move freely between nations, similar to the European Union, but it seems there is no shortage of obstacles.

Whether it is immigration officials in Burkina Faso charging an arbitrary $200 (£155) for a visa on arrival, or Tanzania arresting and deporting other East Africans who enter illegally, or Tunisia refusing visas to stranded African passengers after a cancelled flight, intra-African travel is fraught with suspicion.

Double standards?

South Africa appears to be the most visible representative of the continent's visa double standard, remaining largely closed to other Africans but more welcoming to the wider world.

Citizens of only 15 African nations can travel to South Africa without a visa, yet holders of 28 different European passports can enter the country freely.

A graph showing the percentages of African nationalities which require visas in order to enter South Africa, Nigeria, Mauritius, Ghana, Rwanda, Kenya and the Seychelles.

The country's Department of Home Affairs spokesman Thabo Mokgola defends its policy.

"This is an unfair assertion - visa-waiver agreements are premised on reciprocity and we are finalising such with a number of African countries," he told the BBC.

Just how that reciprocity is applied is unclear.

Kenya, for example, gives South African citizens a visa on arrival for free. But Kenyans must apply for a visa, then pay a service fee and wait for at least five working days before travelling to South Africa.

In 2015, two years after the African Union asked members to commit to abolishing visa requirements for all Africans by 2018, South Africa did the opposite and announced stricter regulations that were widely criticised.

Hit by a recession and a drop in tourist numbers, the country caved in and recently announced that it was relaxing travel rules in the hope of reviving its struggling economy.

 

Credit: BBC

South African prosecutors said Wednesday they would withdraw graft charges against some allies of former president Jacob Zuma due to lack of cooperation from Indian officials.

The national prosecuting authority (NPA) had alleged that $20 million (17.2 euros) of public money meant for poor dairy farmers in Free State province was syphoned off to the wealthy Gupta family, originally from India, and their associates.

The eight accused included a nephew of the three Gupta brothers, who are at the centre of allegations that Zuma oversaw a web of corruption while in power, with the Guptas awarded fraudulent government contracts. The other accused were former Gupta employees, the dairy director and three government officials. The three brothers were not charged.

"The investigators were working with Indian officials to gather information... the process has been slow, so information is not forthcoming as quickly as we had hoped," NPA spokesman Phaladi Shuping said.

The Gupta brothers left South Africa last year before police conducted a raid in their suburban home in Johannesburg. Prosecuting authorities, who were given until 30 November to formally charge the suspects, said they could re-instate the charges in future.

"We've taken the decision to withdraw provisionally," Shuping said. Earlier this year, the high court in Bloemfontein ruled that it was not satisfied that there was evidence connecting Gupta assets to the alleged scam.

"This is a reflection on the weakness of the prosecution authority," political analyst Daniel Silke told AFP.

"It does present a problem for President Cyril Ramaphosa in that opposition parties will clearly use this to accuse him of just paying lip service to the issue of fighting corruption. "But I don't think those allegedly involved can really rest peacefully yet."

Zuma was forced to step down in February as criticism grew from within the ruling ANC party over multiple corruption scandals. The opposition Democratic Alliance party said the reasons for dropping the charges were "flimsy at best, and wholly unconvincing".

 

- AFP

Local licence holder for Starbucks in South Africa, Taste Holdings, has halted any plans to open more outlets of the US coffee chain as it struggles to make ends meet.
 
Taste, which also owns the jeweller Arthur Kaplan and Domino's Pizza, suffered operating losses of R87 million in the six months to end-August, with sales down 3%.
 
The group said that while the store network of twelve Starbucks outlets is profitable at a sales level, it's not producing the required return on its investment.
 
Setting up a new Starbucks store in South Africa costs between R5 million to R8 million, the group previously said. This is very expensive, says Simon Brown, founder and director of investment website JustOneLap.com. Brown estimates that the actual cost could now be higher than previously stated - perhaps even reaching R20 million. 
 
Hitesh Patel, director of new business at Starbucks competitor Vida e Caffè, says the average cost of setting up one of its stores is only around R1.5 million.
 
That is is less than a third of the minimum cost of a new Starbucks outlet.
 
Taste has a 25-year licence deal to operate Starbucks stores in SA - and have to pay royalties to the US brand, which are proving to be costly, says Michael Treherne, retail analyst at the fund manager Vestact. 
 
Due to the royalties and expensive store set-up costs, Treherne says Starbucks South Africa has had to resort to premium pricing - which is not at all good during a recession. 
 
The difference between food prices is more pronounced. We could find a muffin at a Vida e Caffe outlet in Johannesburg for under R20, while the cheapest muffin at a Starbucks was R32.
 
 
Source: News24

South Africa will invest $1 billion in South Sudan’s oil sector, including in the construction of a refinery, the South African minister for energy and his South Sudanese counterpart for petroleum said on Friday.

South Sudan’s oil industry is dominated by Asian firms including China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), Malaysia’s Petronas and India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC Videsh). 

The two ministers signed a memorandum of understanding which will also involve South Africa taking part in the exploration of several oil blocks, the ministers said.

“When this refinery is complete, it will have the capacity of producing 60,000 barrels of oil per day,” said Jeff Radebe, South Africa’s minister of energy.

Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, petroleum minister for South Sudan, said the deal also offers avenues for cooperation in the construction of a pipeline to serve fields located in the south of the country.

South Sudan exports its crude through another pipeline that goes to a port in neighbouring Sudan to the north.

“It is instrumental to have a new a pipeline,” Gatkuoth said.

 

- Reuters

The drinks brand has lampooned itself in their latest advert after a rebranding blunnder. 
Coca-Cola brand Schweppes changed its branding a few months ago. It didn't go down well with customers.
 
Many people were confused by the similarity between Schweppes Soda Water and Tonic Water.
As an apology for the mess-up, Schweppes lampooned itself in an advert.
 
Drinks brand Schweppes lampooned itself in a Twitter advert this week after customers took to social media to complain about it rebranding – and the company promised to roll back a hated change to its branding.
 
 #OhSchweppes, we're so sorry that our mix-up ruined your mixing. For the record, we agree with you - our packaging blunder wasn't our brightest moment. We'll be better.
 
The Coca-Cola brand had changed the look of its Soda Water drink – which had left many to confuse it with Schweppes Tonic Water.
 
Schweppes now admits that was "not our brightest moment".
 
Schweppes senior brand manager, Mukundi Munzhelele, taking ownership for coming up with the rebranding idea. 
 
The senior brand manager, Mukundi Munzhelele, who came up with the bright idea, to marketing manager Nerisha Maharajh who signed off on it, various staffers took it on the chin and lampooned themselves for the mistake in the social media ad.
 
Marketing manager, Nerisha Maharajh after realising she was the Einstein who signed off on this "bright idea". 
 
"The complaints we received were passionate and heartfelt," Munzhelele tells News men in South Africa.
 
"It was only fair to them (customers) that the actual people who worked on the campaign not only see the responses, but respond in a manner that was fitting."
 
Roger Gauntlett, general manager of Coca-Cola Southern Africa is not laughing at the tricked people. 
 
According to Munzhelele, the team wanted to modernise the labels. But a change in colour caused a lot of confusion.
 
Schweppes changed the colour of its soda water branding on its bottles to grey, which made it look like its tonic water labels. It has now changed the labels - tonic water is yellow, and soda water has a stripe of grey.
 
"We took some time to look at our packaging with the feedback received from consumers and decided not to simply revert to the previous design," says Munzhelele.
 
The response sat well with many consumers who applauded the brand for taking responsibility.
 
 
Source: Business Insider
 

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will pay back 500,000 rand (RM149,510) donated to his campaign fund by a firm with links to his son after admitting he misled parliament, an official said.

Ramaphosa has staked his reputation on fighting corruption after his predecessor Jacob Zuma was mired in graft scandals that finally led to his ousting earlier this year. Ramaphosa had told parliament that the payment in October 2017 was to his son Andile for consultancy work for Bosasa, a company that has contracts with government institutions.

But Ramaphosa later admitted it was a donation towards his own campaign last year to become leader of the ruling ANC party, a hard-fought battle in which he beat Zuma’s chosen candidate.

“The donation was made without his knowledge,” ANC official Zizi Kodwa told the SABC state broadcaster yesterday.

“He has decided voluntarily that he will pay back the said amount and he will call for further investigation on all donations that were made to the campaign.”

The main opposition Democratic Alliance party said Bosasa had won lucrative government contracts, adding “this looks suspiciously like all other ANC government corruption deals.”

A judicial inquiry is probing allegations that Zuma and some of his family members oversaw a web of corrupt government contracts.

The ANC and Democratic Alliance will face off in elections next May. — AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The rand rose for a fourth straight session on Friday to end the week nearly 3% firmer, benefiting from political chaos in Britain and a revival of risk appetite linked to a thawing of United States (US)-Sino trade tensions.
 
Stocks ended slightly lower, with British American Tobacco taking the most off the benchmark index after the United States announced sweeping restrictions on flavoured tobacco products.
 
At 1530 GMT, the rand was 1.09% firmer at 14.0300.
 
Most of the gains were posted after the dollar wobbled as two Federal Reserve officials cautioned in separate television interviews about slowing global economic growth, raising doubts about the number of future US rate increases.
 
The rally followed Thursday’s strong gains, particularly against the pound, as Prime Minister Theresa May battled to salvage a draft Brexit deal.
 
Growing bets that the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) may raise rates at its policy meeting on Thursday supported the already attractive carry yield offered by the rand.
 
It outpaced most other emerging currencies against the dollar on the day.
 
In a Reuters poll taken this week, 16 of 26 economists said the SARB would keep its repo rate at 6.50% while the rest forecast a 25 basis-point hike.
 
Bonds also rose, with the yield on the benchmark 2026 paper down 4.5 basis points at 9.115%.
 
On the bourse, the benchmark Top-40 index was down 0.17% at 45,851 and the broader All-share index lost 0.1% to 52,095.
 
BAT slumped 6% to R495.67, tracking falls in its London-listed shares. On Thursday the US Food and Drug Administration announced restrictions on flavoured tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, in an effort to prevent a new generation of nicotine addicts.
 
Investment house Reinet Investment was also under pressure, falling 6.7% to R215.58 after the company reported a drop in net asset value, a key profitability measure for investment companies.
 
 
Source: The Routers

Thousands of Cadbury chocolates have been sold to the public despite being past their best.

The chocolate, some of it months beyond its best-before date, was sold at a major KwaZulu-Natal South Coast wholesaler, which supplies spaza shops and trading stores, including in rural Eastern Cape areas.

And tens of thousands of rands worth of short-dated chocolate was dispatched to wholesaler clients hidden among newer stock.

These claims were made in the labour court in Durban last week.

 

It was alleged that ambitious sales targets led to massive overstocking in wholesalers.

Most resulted in multimillion-rand returns across KwaZulu-Natal of popular Cadbury brands, including Dairy Milk slabs and Lunch Bars.

A food health expert emphasised there was no risk in eating chocolate past its best-by date.

But a legal expert questioned the ethics of selling such products without clearly informing consumers.

The matter came to light when a sacked sales representative, Hans van Tonder, took his former employer, Diplomat Distributors, to court, claiming he had been victimised and that his dismissal was “automatically unfair”.

Mondelez SA, owners of Cadbury, contracts Diplomat, a logistics company, to distribute its products to wholesalers.

Diplomat fired Van Tonder in April 2016 for gross dereliction of duty after a company hearing found an instance where he failed to timeously report that chocolate at a Port Shepstone client was nearing its best-by date.

But Van Tonder produced emails that show Diplomat had been told by the client that it had been receiving stock with “mixed expiry dates”, which he argued was outside his control.

“It is a major concern as the inner stock on the pallet is short-dated,” wrote a buyer for the wholesaler, who asked what would be done to eradicate the problem.

Van Tonder, who had represented Cadbury products for 16 years, produced a dossier in court, including national stock return figures, emails and other documents which allegedly pointed to widespread problems with overstocking and short-dated stock.

Van Tonder was fired over a R21 835 loss to Diplomat at the Port Shepstone wholesaler.

This was the value of chocolate that had to be removed from the wholesaler in early 2016 after it had past its best-by dates, as well as money spent discounting and promoting the chocolate in a late bid to sell it.

A witness for Van Tonder told the court the R21 835 was “like chalk and cheese” compared with returns of hundreds of thousands of rands of Cadbury chocolate from many other wholesalers across the country.

Shadrach Chinniah, who resigned as a Diplomat rep in October 2016, said: “I thought it was absolutely ludicrous he was dismissed for R21 000 and my store had [old stock worth] R310 000 … why didn’t they dismiss me?”

He told the court a Diplomat manager “cleared” the R310 000 in minibars from a major Durban wholesaler “after it expired”.

The court heard the minibars failed in the marketplace nationally and the line was discontinued.

Chinniah alleged there were:

. Cover-ups by management;

. A lack of support for markdowns to move short-dated stock; and that

. Short-dated stock was hidden among newer stock before delivery, making it hard for merchandisers and reps to keep tabs on best-by dates.

Placed before the court were photographs that were said to show pallet loads of chocolates, all of which were beyond their best-by dates, “being sold on special” at the same Port Shepstone wholesaler, months after Van Tonder’s dismissal.

The pictures, apparently taken in June, show marked-down PS chocolates that had expired on May 25 2016 and Lunch Bars that had expired on April 25 2016.

However, these claims were not examined.

Early on the second day of the hearing, Bongani Khanyile, attorney for Diplomat, applied for the matter to be sent to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

He argued Van Tonder was seeking relief for an “automatically unfair” dismissal but had not made a case for this.

Judge Benita Whitcher agreed it was an “ordinary unfair dismissal case” rather than one that involved arbitrary discrimination and ruled her court would not sit on the matter.

An emotional Van Tonder stormed out of the courtroom.

“Three years of this,” he shouted. “They have been lying. I am going to go outside and break down.”

Whitcher later gave a written order directing the CCMA to expedite the matter.

No order was made for costs.

Yinon Ben Anat, chief executive of Diplomat SA said: “Diplomat’s policy is clear in that we do not purchase or sell expired stock [beyond its best-by date].”

He did not comment on claims of overstocking and declined to give details on Diplomat’s contractual relationship with Mondalez.

City Press sent Mondalez a list of questions on overstocking and its policy on the sale of best-by goods. The company declined to comment, saying the matter was before the courts.

“Mondelez SA abides by local legislation and we are focused on bringing the highest-quality products to our consumers,” it said.

 

Source: CityExpress

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