Tag: Lockdown

MOTORISTS: Shocking Petrol Price Increase

South African motorists will be hit with another hefty fuel price hike next month, effectively wiping out most of the fuel price relief that lockdown brought, according to IOL Motoring.

Commenting on unaudited month-end data, the Automobile Association is predicting a petrol price increase of R1.73 a litre from next Wednesday, July 1, while diesel is set to go up by R1.74 a litre and illuminating paraffin by R2.14.

The latest increase will drive the price of 95 Unleaded petrol up to R14.43 per litre at the coast and R15.13 inland, where the cheaper 93 ULP grade will rise to around R14.93. This is just 78 cents less per litre than this year’s price peak of R15.71 for 93 ULP just before lockdown.

This means a tank of petrol will cost between R52 and R130 more, depending on what car you drive, according to IOL Motoring.

While the rand has provided a bit of wind in South Africa’s petrol price sail in the preceding month, this has proven no match for the recent surge in international oil prices as the world continued to ease out of lockdown.

Brent crude was trading at R41.40 at the time of writing which is around double what it cost in late March.

Although the rand gained around 34 cents to the US dollar in June, the currency was still R2.50 weaker than it was before the Covid-19 crisis hit.

“We cannot overstate the effect that the rand’s collapse is currently having on fuel users,” the AA added.

“If the rand had remained at its pre-Covid-19 levels, fuel users would likely be seeing a reduction in fuel prices in the order of 75 cents a litre next month”.

Source: IOL Motoring


Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

BREAKING NEWS: British American Tobacco case postponed until early August

Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

The ongoing legal feud between cigarette manufacturers and the government has taken a new turn as the case between British American Tobacco South Africa’s (Batsa) and the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has been delayed.

British American Tobacco (BATSA) says it has received communication that the court hearing on the prohibition on the sale of tobacco products will be pushed out by a further six weeks.

BATSA said it received communication on Friday (26 June) that the application being brought by it and others against the ban has now been listed for 5 and 6 August.

This is despite BATSA agreeing, on the instructions of the judge president, with the state president and Cogta minister, that the case should be heard on 30 June, it said.

“This is why all sides agreed that the hearing should be scheduled for Tuesday, next week, and why all court papers had been filed by Wednesday (24 June).”

This delaying of justice and a resolution of this issue is inexplicable, said Johnny Moloto of BATSA.

 By the time the case is heard the ban will have been in place for four and half months during which time billions of illegal cigarettes will have been sold, he said.

Source: The Citizen, BusinessTech

MUNICIPAL: Loadshedding could return at any time

Deputy President David Mabuza. Picture: SEBABATSO MOSAMO

Deputy President David Mabuza has warned that loadshedding could return at any time as the power demand rises according to EWN.

Mabuza was addressing members of the National Assembly on Thursday about a number of issues affecting Eskom.

He told MPs that Eskom might be facing a mountain of challenges, but the power utility was performing well under the circumstances.

The government will be fast-tracking the emergency procurement of additional energy generation amid growing fears that load-shedding could soon hit SA’s already battered economy.

South Africans might have become accustomed to having an uninterrupted power supply during the COVID-19 lockdown but Deputy President David Mabuza said that the consistent power supply might not last for long after losing four units and two power plants.

“Not unless there are unforeseen circumstances that happen that push us to utilise the little reserve that we have. That does not say that I’m ruling out loadshedding completely.”

He also raised the alarm on illegal connections, saying they played a role in power disruptions.

More and more energy gets taken in the grid to the point where the infrastructure gets threatened that’s why at a certain point you’ll see a generator that will burn.”


Source: EWN, BusinessLive



EDUCATION: Rotational teaching on the cards for learners.

Schools in South Africa will have to adopt new teaching methods to deal with the coming influx of children returning to schools next month, especially where spacing issues limit capacity for social distancing.

Motshekga said that it has been easy to deal with returning students because it has been limited to two grades to date, but she warned that a new cohort would be joining in the coming weeks.

In line with the department’s revised school calendar and return programme, from 6 July, the following grades will return to school:

* Grade 1

* Grade 2

* Grade 3

* Grade 6

* Grade 10

* Grade 11


“In terms of our estimation, we will not be able to find spaces in our schools to apply social distancing. Working with our partners, we’re looking at what alternative measures we can put in place – including rotational teaching,” she said.

This would see some learners come to school in the morning, followed by a cleaning session, and then the next cohort coming for class later.

Motshekga said the department is also looking at other ways to increase schools’ capacity, including talking to National Treasury to find any additional resources.

In terms of the grade 12s, the minister said that the matric papers for the year have already been set, and that the class of 2020 will write their exams later, rather than having fewer exams.

The matrics will now write their exams in November – moved from October. This will be in-line with the revised school calendar.

“Provinces are putting in a number of measures so that learners will complete the curriculum,” Motshekga said.

However, for other grades, some topics are being moved from the 2020 curriculum to the 2021 curriculum so that learners do not miss out on any work. This has already been completed by the provinces, she said.


Source: BusinessTech

ECONOMY: Worst recession in 90 years expected in SA

South Africa’s economy is now expected to contract by 7.2 percent in 2020, its largest shrinkage in nearly 90 years, dragged down by the ravages of the Covid-19 global pandemic, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said on Wednesday.

Mboweni placed infrastructure development at the centre of reviving economic growth.

He said commodity price increases and a weaker oil price had softened the blow, but that as a small open economy reliant on exports South Africa had been hit hard by both the collapse in global demand and the restrictions to economic activity brought on by the health crisis.

A supplementary budget review also published by the National Treasury on Wednesday said millions of jobs were at risk and millions of households were experiencing increased hardship.

“The pandemic has had a profound impact on South Africa,” the National Treasury said.

“All economic sectors have experienced a sharp downturn and small businesses in particular face extreme pressure. Tax revenue projections are down sharply.”

In its main budget review in February, the Treasury had predicted economic growth of 0.9 percent in 2020 for Africa’s most industrialised economy compared with a modest 0.2 percent last year.

On Wednesday, the department said the epidemiological path and economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic were both highly uncertain and evolving rapidly, necessitating rapid adjustments in policy and forecasts.

It said over the past three months, the government had prioritised public health to save lives and had taken the difficult step of severely restricting economic activity at a time when gross domestic product (GDP) growth was already weak.

“South Africa’s R500 billion fiscal relief package is designed to help households and businesses to weather the short-term effects of the crisis,” the Treasury added.

The Treasury noted that it had for several years been warning that an absence of fiscal space would leave South Africa vulnerable to external shocks.

“That risk is now a reality,” it said. “At the time of the (February) 2020 budget, economic growth was already low and the fiscal position had deteriorated significantly. South Africa has begun heading into a debt spiral.”

In his budget speech, Finance Minister Mboweni proposed R21.5 billion for Covid‐19-related healthcare spending in a supplementary budget tabled in reaction to the pandemic and a further allocation of R12.6 billion to services at the frontline of South Africa’s response to the health crisis.

“Allocations have been informed by epidemiological modelling, a national health sector Covid‐19 cost model and our experiences over the past 100 days,” he said.

“This money partly supports increased screening and testing, allowing us to open up more and more of the economy.”

He said the country had successfully increased its Covid‐19 bed capacity to above 27 000, identified 400 quarantine sites with a capacity of around 36 000 beds across the country and deployed nearly 50 000 community healthcare workers to screen millions of South Africans.

Over 1.3 million people had been tested to date, he added.

The country’s nine provinces would add at least R5 billion for an education catch‐up plan, social welfare support for communities and the provision of quarantine sites by public works departments and responses in other sectors.

The finance minister said the government remained deeply concerned about the path of the virus.

“But, in common with several other countries that adopted a stringent, early lockdown, we have ‘flattened the curve’ and saved lives,” he added.

“The storm is not over. But, if we follow the health guidelines and make the right decisions to prepare for a new global reality then, soon enough, the days will grow calmer.”

Mboweni said building a bridge to a future beyond the current lockdown imposed to curb transmissions of Covid-19 would require building high‐quality physical bridges, roads, railways, ports and other infrastructure.

“Infrastructure will be the fly wheel by which we grow the economy,” the finance minister said.

“Just as we have toiled together to manage the pandemic, let us harness this same unity of purpose and build the infrastructure our nation needs. Our efforts to reduce consumption expenditure will also change the composition of spending in the direction of investment.”

Source: African News Agency (ANA)

sweet potato gnocchi

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

House made sweet potato gnocchi I cooked for dinner last night…
Easy recipe!
1kg of sweet potato
2 egg yolks
1 1/4 cup of flour
Plus Flour to spread on the counter for rolling and cutting the gnocchi

Cook the potatoes and transfer it to a strainer so you can take all the water out…
On a container, mash the potatoes and add salt
Add 1/4 of the flour to cool it down before adding the 2 yolks… do not add the yolks if it’s hot still..
Add the 2 yolks and the rest of the flour until and mix it until it reaches the desired consistency…(consistency is good if you can roll it without getting sticky in your hands)
With the flour on the table you can begin to roll it until you make a “snake” with 1cm diameter and cut it into pieces…
Boil water in a big pan and add ten pieces at a time, remove them when it starts floating on the surface and place it on a container with olive oil…
For the sauce I cooked 3 small tomatoes and added a little tablespoon of pesto… but you can cook the sauce you’d like..

Enjoy !

Expected drop in food prices

According to TimesLive, the Competition Commission says it expects food prices to fall and has vowed to monitor retailers to make sure savings are passed on to consumers.

The commission’s acting spokesperson, Siyabulela Makunga, said the commission had been vigilant in responding to consumer complaints of price increases for essential food products.

Makunga said market factors, including the rand’s 25% depreciation in March, initially pushed food prices up during the lockdown, but these were now being reversed.

The commission had asked suppliers of imported staples such as rice and wheat to absorb cost increases during lockdown level 5, Makunga revealed to TimesLive.

Since the rand had now recovered about 10% of its value, imports would become cheaper, though lower prices would be delayed as current stock is priced at the higher levels.

Makunga said there was a short-lived increase in maize prices in April due to stocks running low before the new harvest arrived in May. But the price has come down in the last month due to the bumper crop being harvested.

This should start to be passed through to consumers this month.”

The same applied to fresh produce as prices shot up in the initial period of lockdown due to panic buying.

However, since the end of April, prices across fresh produce markets, aside from non-seasonal fruit, have been declining, Makunga said.

“Store prices should therefore decline, otherwise enforcement will occur.”

The commission’s CEO, Tembinkosi Bonakele, warned MPs recently that if the rand continued to decline, the country may experience more food price increases.

“Once the price of bread starts rising everybody is going to be quite upset and coming to the authorities,” he said at the time.

Bonakele said some of the suppliers of flour and bread had delayed putting up those prices.

According to TimesLive, Stats SA reported last month that the prices of essential products decreased by 0.5% during the Covid-19 level 5 lockdown in April. It said the index increased in the first week of April but then dropped in each of the three successive weeks.

All food categories ended that month in deflationary territory except for milk, eggs and cheese, oils and fats and other foods, it said in a statement.

Source: TimesLive

Photo Credit: Unsplash

VBS Mutual Bank- this is how much money each allegedly scored.

The eight men arrested in connection with the plundering of VBS Mutual Bank face a raft of charges including money laundering, theft, fraud and corruption according to TimesLive.

The total amont of money they are accused of stealing by creating fictitious accounts is more than over R1.5 billion.

According to Timeslive, this is how much money each allegedly scored:

Tshifhiwa Matodzi

The indictment shows that Matodzi had control of several accounts held at VBS Mutual Bank. The accounts included: Vele investments, Petronet, Venmont, Robvet, Khavo, Scorpion, Tiisang.

Andile Ramavhunga

Between December 2016 and February 2018 Ramavhunga, the indictment shows, received about R19 million into the account of “Dambale”, a company owned by Ramavhunga.

Other accounts, held at VBS Mutual Bank, which Ramavhunga controlled, include those of Munyai Investments and another one named in the indictment as the “Ramavhunga” account.

Ramavhunga received R3.7 million into the Munyai Investments account. The money came from the Vele and Vele Petroport accounts, the indictment shows.

Also, he received R795 000 into the Ramavhunga account from the Venmont, Vele and Petroport accounts.

Up to February 2018, Ramavhunga’s accounts had received a total of R23.4 million.

Philip Truter

The indictment shows that Truter received R2 million into the FNB account of a company called Shangri La Investments.

Phophi Mukhodobwane

On the instruction of Matodzi, Mukhodobwane received R5.6 million into the account of Lamawave Ltd.

The indictment shows that a Peter Mukhodobwane, who was the sole shareholder of Lamawave, was a front for Phophi Mukhodobwane, the former treasurer.

In total, Mukhodobwane received R17.1 million into Lamawave and the “Mukhodobwane” accounts.

Sipho Malaba

The document shows that a company called Ihaawu Lesizwe, owned by Jacqueline Jaseman Malaba and Bafana Milundelwa Malaba, had the following accounts at VBS Mutual Bank: two vehicle finance accounts, a mortgage account and a classic business account.

Betanologix, another company owned by Jacqueline Jaseman Malaba and a Mwise Mapepo also had an account at VBS Mutual Bank.

Up to March 2018 both companies, which the indictment claims were fronts for Sipho Malaba, received up to R29.2 million.

Further, on Matodzi’s instruction, an amount totalling R654 000 was paid into the trust accounts of Makaula Zilwa Inc and NGL attorneys on behalf of Malaba.

Avashoni Ramikosi

The indictment shows that a company called Zanoware, owned by Alice Manye, was a front for Ramikosi. The company had received up to R750 000 from the Venmont, one of the many accounts controlled by Matodzi.

Enerst Nesane

Nesane, the prosecutors will argue, received up to R1.1 million into the account of a company called Parallel Properties owned by Rudzani Ndwammbi.

Ndwammbi, prosecutors will argue, was a front for Nesane as all monies received by Parallel Properties benefited the former PIC executive.

Also, on the instruction of Matodzi, prosecutors revealed that Nesane benefited from R5.6 million which was paid into Parallel Properties from the Vele account.

Paul Magula

The indictment shows that a company called Investar Connect Holdings, owned by a Lot Magosha, was a front for Magula.

The company was paid R2.8 million for the benefit of Magula on instruction from Matodzi.

Another company, Hekima Capital, which had an account at VBS Mutual Bank, received R3.3 million on behalf of Magula on Matodzi’s instruction.

Source: TimesLive

Photo Credit: Alon Skuy, TimesLive

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