Cape Town – A roundup of Friday‘s must-read financial and economic news.
Rand steady on Zuma prosecution announcement
The rand was steady on Friday afternoon after National Prosecuting Authority boss Shaun Abrahams announced that the prosecution of President Jacob Zuma would go ahead.
The rand was trading at R11.95 to the dollar at 15:25, after opening at R11.89 to the greenback.
At 15:45, after Abrahams read a short statement, the currency was trading at R11.94/$.
“After consideration of (the) matter I am of the view that there are reasonable prospects of a successful prosecution of Mr Zuma,” said Abrahams.
Media24 agrees to pay R14m in price-fixing settlement
Media24 has agreed to pay an administrative penalty of R13.83m as settlement in a price-fixing case brought against it and 27 other media companies by the Competition Commission.
The settlement follows similar penalty agreements between the commission and Caxton and CTP Publishers and Printers (R5.8m), Independent Media (R2.22m) and DStv Media Sales (R22.26m).
“This is one of the legacy media practices that survived the introduction of the Competition Act in South Africa. It is a problem because it consolidates operations of a few media houses that gang up against mainly small advertising agencies,” Competition commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele commented earlier.
RCL says French lab cleared its Wolwehoek factory of listeriosis
RCL Foods  said in a statement on Friday that no trace of the listeria strain responsible for the more than 1 000 infections that have recently hit the country was found in the Free State polony facility of its subsidiary Rainbow.
The company said tests conducted by an independent laboratory in France showed the facility to be clear of the ST6 strain which has so far claimed 180 lives, 79 of which were reportedly infants. RCL Foods said the laboratory tested the plant against world class standards.
At the beginning of March Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi said the department traced the strain back to Enterprise Foods’ Polokwane facility.
Parliament asks legal advisor in weigh in on third party VAT repayments
Parliament’s standing committee on finance said on Friday it has asked its legal advisor to weigh in on the lawfullness of the SA Revenue Service making VAT repayments to a Gupta-linked company via a third party.
The statement was issued after that it was in possession of documents detailing the lengths to which SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane went to ensure that R70m worth of VAT refunds were paid, via third party Terbium Financial Services, to Oakbay.
SARS, however, denied what it called the “malicious” report on Friday afternoon, saying Moyane did not make the decision, but rather legal experts at the tax agency.
Committee Yunus Carrim said in a statement that tax law was unclear over whether the SARS head had discretion to approve VAT repayments via third parties.
Over a third of SA water supply lost through poor infrastructure
Over a third of SA‘s water supply is being lost due to aged and leaking infrastructure before it can be used.
That‘s according to CSIR principal researcher and research group leader for resource-specific scientific measures Marius Claassen.
Claassen, speaking during a panel discussion on Thursday ahead of World Water Day, said countrywide an average of 37% of SA‘s water supply was lost before it reached users due to leaks.
An expert on water policy and its governance, he said water conservation was not only a government responsibility.
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