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by Spreadsheet Ranger at 02-19-2018, 12:33 PM
The National Budget speech for the 2018/19 financial year will be delivered on Wednesday, 21 February 2018.

As things stand, it is Malusi Gigaba who will deliver the speech, although, rumors of a cabinet reshuffle are afoot.

One of the biggest things to look out for in this year’s budget is how free higher education for poor and working-class students will be funded.

Three other big changes to look out for in the 2018 National Budget speech:
  • VAT increase (widely touted to be announced, the first time since 1993).
  • An increase in Capital Gains Tax and personal income tax rates for upper-income earners are expected.
  • Fuel levy hike and carbon tax

Other experts have suggested things like a luxury tax on “unusually expensive cars”

In terms of income tax increases, an increase from 41% to 43% for everybody earning more than R700,000 a year, and an increase from 45% to 48% for those earning more than R1.5m has been touted by some analysts.

We will post a link to the live stream of the Budget speed when it happens.
by BitcoinZAR at 02-18-2018, 01:17 PM
Interesting video for those wanting to learn more about Lightning network for bitcoin

by BitcoinHub at 02-17-2018, 11:35 PM
Hi All,

I noticed this forum has an awesome cryptocurrency section so I decided to sign-up and start contributing. Great job on coindata.co.za as well! Looks awesome.

I am editor-in-chief and Bitcoinhub.co.za, we write regular articles and news about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in South Africa. I also trade Bitcoin daily.

Feel free to hit me up if you want to ask anything at all.

by LentilSoup at 02-16-2018, 10:45 PM
Analysts expect Ramaphosa to make cabinet changes, Gigaba’s credentials questioned by some economists.

South Africa will benefit from a wave of positive market sentiment under new President Cyril Ramaphosa, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Friday, as speculation swirled about whether he would keep his job.

Ramaphosa was sworn in as head of state on Thursday after his scandal-plagued predecessor, Jacob Zuma, reluctantly resigned on orders of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) after nine years in office blighted by corruption, economic mismanagement and disputed appointments.

Ramaphosa is expected to reshuffle his cabinet and Gigaba, seen as loyal to Zuma, is among ministers likely to be affected. Ahead of Ramaphosa’s maiden state of the nation address on Friday, Gigaba said South Africa should keep riding the wave of positive market sentiment after the change of leadership.

He said that over the medium term, Africa‘s most industrialised economy would be working “very hard” to restore its investment grade after last year’s downgrades to “junk” status by S&P Global Ratings and Fitch.

Moody’s, which rates South African debt on its lowest investment grade rung, placed the country on review for a downgrade.

“It’s not going to be easy to restore our investment credit rating but we are going to continue doing our best to maintain, at least from the point of view of Moody’s, an investment grade and to ensure that the other ratings agencies do not revise us downwards,” Gigaba told Reuters outside parliament in Cape Town. “We need to sustain the level at which we are for now, but over the medium term, we are going to work very hard to restore our investment grade.”

Moody’s is expected to make a decision after the Treasury presents its 2018 budget to parliament on Wednesday.

Market focus was on whether Ramaphosa would reshuffle the cabinet before budget day and replace Gigaba.

Ramaphosa was due to give more details about how he plans to tackle graft and revitalise economic growth on Friday in his first state of the nation address.

“Ramaphosa should quickly announce a cabinet shuffle that jettisons all remnants of the Zuma years,” BBH analysts wrote in a note adding, “The most important one that should be replaced is Finance Minister Gigaba.”

Asked if he would remain in his post under Ramaphosa, Gigaba said he served at the pleasure of the president who had the prerogative to both “appoint and disappoint” ministers.

Some economists and political analysts questioned the credentials of Gigaba when he was named to head Treasury in March last year, replacing Pravin Gordhan who had built a strong reputation for fiscal prudence.

Gigaba’s unexpected appointment made him the fourth minister to lead the Treasury in just under two years as South Africa grappled with low growth and high unemployment. Though he lacked an economics background, he was no policymaking novice, having been public enterprises minister under Zuma from 2009-2014.

He also served as home affairs minister before moving to the finance ministry.

“Huge Scrutiny”

In October, Gigaba announced dire budget forecasts that included weak growth expectations, revenue shortfall and rising government debt, shocking financial markets.

The dismal economic outlook led to the downgrade of South African debt to “junk”.

“Expect huge scrutiny of the new cabinet, likely to be appointed over the weekend, as President Ramaphosa treads the line between party unity and his promise to fight corruption,” Rand Merchant Bank analyst John Cairns said.

“Speculation is rife over who will read the budget on Wednesday, although we will be more focused on the content than the persona.”

Analysts said other ministers who could be removed in a cabinet reshuffle include Mines Minister Mosebenzi Zwane amid policy uncertainty in the key mining industry. It has been waging a court battle with the minister over an increase in black ownership targets.

Ramaphosa has promised to end an impasse over the Mining Charter, introduced as part of a wider drive designed to rectify the lingering disparities of apartheid.

“Zuma’s exit may be followed by a cabinet reshuffle, greater efforts for fiscal consolidation and further governance changes at state-owned enterprises,” UBS analysts said.

“This should lower the probability of a rating downgrade by Moody’s in March, although the risks remain considerable.”

Source: Reuters
by Platinum Wealth at 02-16-2018, 11:00 AM
When is the State of the Nation Address happening?
The State of the Nation Address (or SONA) will be delivered to a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces) on Friday 16 February 2018 at 7pm.

What is the State of the Nation Address?
It is an annual address to the nation by the President of the Republic of South Africa as the Head of State which focuses on the current political and socio-economic state of the nation.

What happens during the State of the Nation Address?
The President sets out government’s key policy objectives and deliverables for the year ahead;
  • It highlights the achievements and challenges experienced over the past year and maps the year ahead;
  • It covers wide-ranging political, economic and social matters and considers the general state of South Africa;
  • It deliberates on South Africa’s domestic affairs as well as its continental and international relations; and
  • The full address is recorded in the Minutes of Proceedings.

What happens after the State of the Nation Address?
Political parties have an opportunity to debate, comment and raise questions on matters addressed in the President’s speech during a debate on the President’s State of the Nation Address. This year the debate is scheduled for Monday, 19 February 2018. The President will have the opportunity to reply to the debate on Tuesday, 20 February 2018.

JSE Finance Forum Attachment - Filename: SONA 2018 Why it matters.jpg   

Live Stream SONA 2018

by Spreadsheet Ranger at 02-15-2018, 06:49 PM
Johannesburg - The National Director of Public Prosecutions has declared Ajay Gupta, one of the three Gupta brothers accused of corrupt links to ousted president Jacob Zuma, a "fugitive from justice" on Thursday after he failed to hand himself in to police.

"I've been advised by my prosecuting team that Mr. Ajay Gupta is a fugitive from justice," NPA boss Shaun Abrahams told Reuters. He did not provide further details. 

Ajay had been expected to hand himself over to the Hawks after a raid on the Gupta compound on Wednesday in which three people, including a Gupta family member, were arrested. 

On the same day the Hawks made five other arrests related to the Estina dairy farm project through which the Gupta family allegedly syphoned around R30 million which was meant to aid emerging black farmers into their own coffers. A number of Free State agriculture officials have also ben implicated in the scandal.

Source: iol
by Bilal Habib at 02-15-2018, 08:52 AM
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by Spreadsheet Ranger at 02-14-2018, 03:06 PM
The ANC leadership has not been able to provide reasons for recalling Jacob Zuma as head of state, the president said on Wednesday.

Full Interview with Zuma

Zuma said that the ANC top six could not provide him with reasons for asking him to resign when they visited him at his Pretoria house on Sunday.

"I asked ... what was the problem? Why must I be persuaded to resign? Have I done anything wrong? And of course the officials couldn't provide what I have done," said Zuma.

"I need to be furnished on what I have done. Unfortunately no one has been able to provide me with what I have done wrong."

"Have I done something wrong? And if so, what is it that I've done? Nobody can give me an answer..."

Zuma said he did not think ANC leaders who kept speaking of two centres of power knew what they were talking about.

He said that they had told him there was a new mood in the country and that it had to be maintained in order for the country to move forward – to which Zuma asked if that would not be possible with him as the president.

"Once that motivation is made, that becomes even more important to hear. Have I done something wrong? Because that suggests if I'm not there, the situation would be perhaps different. What is it that I have done?" said Zuma.

He then told the top six that the matter they were raising had been raised before, including in meetings of the ANC's national executive committee.

"The only difference is that now some of the people who were part of those who raising the issue, they are now in the leadership. They are now therefore having  authority perhaps to say this matter must still continue."

Source: Sowetan Live
by Spreadsheet Ranger at 02-14-2018, 12:18 PM
The raids that have targeted properties owned by the Gupta family on Wednesday are related to an investigation by the Hawks into the controversial Vrede dairy farm project.

What was this project? Here is the back story.

The project established a dairy farm in Vrede‚ in the Free State‚ in partnership with Gupta-linked company Estina. It was adopted by the provincial government without a tender.

TimesLIVE revealed last month that Estina had only R9‚000 in its bank account before the first payment of R34-million was deposited by the Free State department of agriculture. Court papers filed by the National Prosecuting Authority's Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) indicated that the project was allegedly a looting ground for the Gupta family and their associates. Altogether‚ R220-million was poured into the project‚ with only about R2 million being spent on the farm. There was little benefit derived by members of the local community.

The AFU court papers alleged that R220-million had been paid into three bank accounts controlled by Estina over a 29-month period between April 2013 and May 2016.

Estina then allegedly transferred the money to various individuals‚ including R10 million to Atul Gupta. Some of the companies were linked to the Gupta family and money was also paid to the Bank of Baroda.

Leaked Gupta family emails revealed that President Jacob Zuma's son‚ Duduzane‚ has or had interests in some of the businesses that allegedly benefitted.

The back story was further fleshed out in an article by the Sunday Times in January‚ which suggested the Gupta brothers and Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane would soon be charged in what would become the country’s first state capture case to be prosecuted.

Zwane was the MEC for agriculture and rural development in the Free State at the time of the Estina scheme.

Some of the dairy project money was allegedly used to pay for an extravagant Gupta family wedding at Sun City in 2013‚ to acquire a private jet and purchase a fleet of luxury cars. Tens of millions allegedly flowed to a shelf company in Dubai. Other cash was diverted through a bank account in Dubai and rerouted back to South Africa.

The Sunday Times reported that South African law enforcement authorities had obtained co-operation agreements from the Indian‚ British and United Arab Emirates governments to assist with the investigation when required by Pretoria.

People named in the report about the dairy project investigation were: Zwane‚ Atul Gupta‚ Rajesh Gupta‚ Ajay Gupta‚ the former CEO of Gupta-owned Oakbay Nazeem Howa‚ Sahara Computers CEO Ashu Chawla‚ Oakbay CEO Ronica Ragavan‚ relative Varun Gupta and Kamal Vasram‚ the sole director of Estina.

“We have surrounded the Guptas and they have nowhere to go. They have been kept under watch by our counterparts everywhere and we have made good progress on tracing the monies that went out of South Africa‚” a senior police official with intimate knowledge of the investigations told the Sunday Times.

Source: Times Lives
by Spreadsheet Ranger at 02-13-2018, 08:04 PM
The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has a responsibility to promote a sound and effectively regulated financial system. The SARB therefore takes a balanced approach to technological innovations, considering the potential benefits and risks of each innovation. It is against this background that the SARB recently established the Financial Technology (FinTech) Programme to strategically assess the emergence of FinTech in a structured and organised manner, and to consider its regulatory implications.

The main goal of the programme is to track and analyse FinTech developments and to assist policymakers in formulating frameworks in response to these emerging innovations.

The FinTech Programme will focus on three primary objectives: 
  • The first objective is to review the SARB’s position on private cryptocurrencies to inform an appropriate policy framework and regulatory regime. This review will address regulatory issues such as clearing and settlement risks, exchange control impacts, monetary policy and financial stability, and other matters such as cybersecurity considerations. Through collaboration with the other regulatory bodies, matters such as tax implications, consumer and investor protection, and money laundering activities will also be addressed. The SARB expects to complete the review in the second half of 2018.

  • The second objective is to investigate and decide on the applicability of innovation facilitators for the SARB. ‘Innovation facilitators’ is a collective term for innovation hubs, regulatory sandboxes and accelerators. The SARB hopes to have concluded its assessment of the appropriateness of innovation facilitators by the third quarter of 2018. Clear and transparent eligibility and participation criteria will be developed to assist in the consideration of applicants into a regulatory sandbox.

  • The third objective is to launch Project Khokha which will experiment with distributed ledger technologies (DLTs). The aim of this project is to gain a practical understanding of DLTs through the development of a proof of concept (POC) in collaboration with the banking industry. The objective of the POC is to replicate interbank clearing and settlement on a DLT which will allow the SARB and industry to jointly assess the potential benefits and risks of DLTs. The POC involves the processing of wholesale payments using Quorum, an Ethereum enterprise DLT. The SARB is aware of multiple DLTs being experimented with globally.

ConsenSys (a world-leading expert on Quorum) is the technology partner that will assist the SARB in the design, setup of infrastructure and running of the POC. This does not imply a radical move to DLT for the country’s national payments infrastructure, but rather a structured approach to understand the implication of using a tokenized asset on DLT technology to transfer value. A public report will be released to explain all the findings, risks and benefits of the associated project during the second quarter of 2018.

These initiatives aim to assist in the formulation of appropriate policy frameworks for the possible regulation of FinTech.

Editors’ notes
The SARB describes FinTech as technologies applied to financial services with the potential to disrupt current business models, applications, processes or products. In order to evaluate the regulatory implications of these innovations, a framework is used to assess the impact of these developments in terms of the underlying economic function or activity performed (e.g. deposit-taking, payments, lending, and investments) as opposed to the specific entity or technology being used.

Source: PDF
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