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5 important things happening in South Africa today – BusinessTech

Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:

Getting away: Criminals in South Africa are getting away with their crimes as the South African Police Service appears unable to hold cases together. Experts in criminology and researchers in cash-in-transit heists have pointed to repeat offenders only now facing criminal charges for the first time, saying that a lack of convictions has emboldened criminals and led to an increase in these crimes. Experts said that corruption in SAPS is the biggest reason these crimes aren’t pursued. [TimesLive]

Water crisis: The water crisis in the Eastern Cape is deepening, exacerbated by strike action at water departments. Residents in parts of the province have been without water for more than a week as workers at municipal water departments strike over wages. Health facilities have been hit particularly hard by the dry taps, with aid groups doing their best to step in and assist. The province has been battling water shortages for years as municipal infrastructure crumbles. [ENCA]

Telkom fight: South Africa’s Takeover Regulation Panel has instructed Rain to withdraw a press statement regarding a proposed merger with Telkom. Rain announced on Thursday afternoon that it had formally requested to present the Telkom board with a proposal to merge the two companies. However, the Department of Trade and Industry’s Takeover Regulation Panel took a dim view of Rain’s approach. [MyBroadband]

Scandal: Testimony from a former Public Protector investigator claims that Busisiwe Mkhwebane insisted on removing maladministration findings against Ace Magashule and Mosebenzi Zwane from her report on the Gupta-linked Vrede scandal, despite investigators contending there was sufficient evidence against them. Mkhwebane called the allegations lies. The PP’s failure to properly investigate the Vrede scandal led to the courts declaring it invalid and unconstitutional. [News24]

Markets: Following the US CPI reading, the rand extended its rally before finding some resistance at the R16.20/$ mark. The greenback also felt the pinch against other currencies, losing 0.8% against the euro and 1.6% against the Japanese yen. On Friday, the rand was trading at R16.24/$, R16.77/€ and R19.82/£. Brent crude is trading at $99 a barrel. [Citadel]

Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:


  • Getting away: Criminals in South Africa are getting away with their crimes as the South African Police Service appears unable to hold cases together. Experts in criminology and researchers in cash-in-transit heists have pointed to repeat offenders only now facing criminal charges for the first time, saying that a lack of convictions has emboldened criminals and led to an increase in these crimes. Experts said that corruption in SAPS is the biggest reason these crimes aren’t pursued. [TimesLive]

  • Water crisis: The water crisis in the Eastern Cape is deepening, exacerbated by strike action at water departments. Residents in parts of the province have been without water for more than a week as workers at municipal water departments strike over wages. Health facilities have been hit particularly hard by the dry taps, with aid groups doing their best to step in and assist. The province has been battling water shortages for years as municipal infrastructure crumbles. [ENCA]

  • Telkom fight: South Africa’s Takeover Regulation Panel has instructed Rain to withdraw a press statement regarding a proposed merger with Telkom. Rain announced on Thursday afternoon that it had formally requested to present the Telkom board with a proposal to merge the two companies. However, the Department of Trade and Industry’s Takeover Regulation Panel took a dim view of Rain’s approach. [MyBroadband]

  • Scandal: Testimony from a former Public Protector investigator claims that Busisiwe Mkhwebane insisted on removing maladministration findings against Ace Magashule and Mosebenzi Zwane from her report on the Gupta-linked Vrede scandal, despite investigators contending there was sufficient evidence against them. Mkhwebane called the allegations lies. The PP’s failure to properly investigate the Vrede scandal led to the courts declaring it invalid and unconstitutional. [News24]

  • Markets: Following the US CPI reading, the rand extended its rally before finding some resistance at the R16.20/$ mark. The greenback also felt the pinch against other currencies, losing 0.8% against the euro and 1.6% against the Japanese yen. On Friday, the rand was trading at R16.24/$, R16.77/€ and R19.82/£. Brent crude is trading at $99 a barrel. [Citadel]

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Tech

How to beat rising food prices in South Africa right now – BusinessTech

Momentum’s latest Consumer Financial Vulnerability Index (CFVI) shows how South African consumers are struggling to afford their monthly food bills.
It said that consumers’ financial behaviour changed, mostly for the better, in reaction to the higher financial vulnerability they experienced in the second quarter. “Increasing financial pressures tend to make consumers more cautious and are normally accompanied by better financial behaviour,” the financial services firm said.
“In Q2 2022 consumers made less “feel good” and impulsive purchases compared to Q1 2022, whilst taking more time to acquaint themselves with information before making financial decisions. Impulsive purchases also declined from 59.6% to 46.9%,” it said.
“High levels of consumer financial vulnerability in the short- to medium-term will in all likelihood persist, given an increasing number of structural imbalances, downside risks, political and social instabilities, increasing poverty and inequality, as well as governance and government administration deficiencies.
“This will negatively impact the economy, employment and household incomes, which will filter through to adversely affect all aspects of consumer finances.”
The major risk factors which increased consumer financial vulnerability in Q2 2022 are expected to continue to exert their impact on consumer finances in Q3 2022, said Momentum. This includes fuel- and food prices, load shedding, rising interest rates and low economic growth.
According to the latest Household Affordability Index by the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity group (PMBEJD) food prices have continued to soar at the midpoint of the year.
The PMBEJD basket comprises 44 core food items most frequently purchased by lower-income households, who make up most households in the country.
PMBEJD reported that the basket of basic goods cost currently costs R4,688 in June 2022. This is R78.92 more than the month before. Year on year, the basket is up R560.57 (+13.6%), from R4,128 in June 2021.
The PMBEJD reported that the top three more expensive goods include cooking oil (+69%), spinach (+39%) and cake flour (+24%). Momentum reported that rising food prices posed the highest risk to consumer finances in the first half of 2022 – behind fuel costs.
Financial vulnerability is expected to continue for the third half of the year as a result of fuel prices, food prices and load shedding risks, said Momentum.
“With the unexpected changes in food costs, it can be difficult to prepare healthy meals without going over the budget.”
Momentum provided the following tips to budget and manage rising food costs when going to the grocery store:

Prepare a grocery shopping list: Before going shopping, consumers should prepare a list and stick to it. Ensure that you limit the time in the store and only purchase the necessities;

Shop around: Look around for the best prices on the items that you need to purchase, considering the weekly store leaflets and newspaper advertisements and visiting the stores’ websites or applications;

Get to know the food prices: Write down the regular prices of foods you buy often. This will help you figure out which stores have the best prices and if you are getting a good deal on sale items;

Check the “use by dates”: Consumers should check the dates that are on the food items to reduce early spoilage and wasted money. Buying frozen and canned food items last longer as compared to fresh produce. Consider buying frozen or items with a long shelf life in bulk;

Plan: Planning meals for the week ahead as this will stop you from buying unnecessary things when at the store;

Use a basket instead of a cart: Having less space will force you to limit your purchases to necessities;

Compare the unit price for similar items: The unit price tells you how much something costs per “unit” or per 100 grams (g) or 100 millilitres (mL). This can help you compare whether a large or small size of an item is a smarter purchase and better value for your money;

Check the season: If you are buying fresh produce, make sure that it’s in season since it generally costs less when compared to out-of-season. Better yet, plant your own fruit and vegetables to save money on fresh produce;

Bring a calculator or phone: Add up your grocery bill while you are shopping to help you stay within your budget;

Use loyalty programmes: Consumers could qualify for discounts, but only buy items which your household will use and not just because it looks like a good deal, and;

Use bank reward programmes: Understand how you could benefit from bank reward programmes by optimising your purchasing behaviour for day-to-day transactions.

Read: Massive change for passports in South Africa

Momentum’s latest Consumer Financial Vulnerability Index (CFVI) shows how South African consumers are struggling to afford their monthly food bills.

It said that consumers’ financial behaviour changed, mostly for the better, in reaction to the higher financial vulnerability they experienced in the second quarter. “Increasing financial pressures tend to make consumers more cautious and are normally accompanied by better financial behaviour,” the financial services firm said.

“In Q2 2022 consumers made less “feel good” and impulsive purchases compared to Q1 2022, whilst taking more time to acquaint themselves with information before making financial decisions. Impulsive purchases also declined from 59.6% to 46.9%,” it said.

“High levels of consumer financial vulnerability in the short- to medium-term will in all likelihood persist, given an increasing number of structural imbalances, downside risks, political and social instabilities, increasing poverty and inequality, as well as governance and government administration deficiencies.

“This will negatively impact the economy, employment and household incomes, which will filter through to adversely affect all aspects of consumer finances.”

The major risk factors which increased consumer financial vulnerability in Q2 2022 are expected to continue to exert their impact on consumer finances in Q3 2022, said Momentum. This includes fuel- and food prices, load shedding, rising interest rates and low economic growth.

According to the latest Household Affordability Index by the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity group (PMBEJD) food prices have continued to soar at the midpoint of the year.

The PMBEJD basket comprises 44 core food items most frequently purchased by lower-income households, who make up most households in the country.

PMBEJD reported that the basket of basic goods cost currently costs R4,688 in June 2022. This is R78.92 more than the month before. Year on year, the basket is up R560.57 (+13.6%), from R4,128 in June 2021.

The PMBEJD reported that the top three more expensive goods include cooking oil (+69%), spinach (+39%) and cake flour (+24%). Momentum reported that rising food prices posed the highest risk to consumer finances in the first half of 2022 – behind fuel costs.

Financial vulnerability is expected to continue for the third half of the year as a result of fuel prices, food prices and load shedding risks, said Momentum.

“With the unexpected changes in food costs, it can be difficult to prepare healthy meals without going over the budget.”

Momentum provided the following tips to budget and manage rising food costs when going to the grocery store:

  • Prepare a grocery shopping list: Before going shopping, consumers should prepare a list and stick to it. Ensure that you limit the time in the store and only purchase the necessities;
  • Shop around: Look around for the best prices on the items that you need to purchase, considering the weekly store leaflets and newspaper advertisements and visiting the stores’ websites or applications;
  • Get to know the food prices: Write down the regular prices of foods you buy often. This will help you figure out which stores have the best prices and if you are getting a good deal on sale items;
  • Check the “use by dates”: Consumers should check the dates that are on the food items to reduce early spoilage and wasted money. Buying frozen and canned food items last longer as compared to fresh produce. Consider buying frozen or items with a long shelf life in bulk;
  • Plan: Planning meals for the week ahead as this will stop you from buying unnecessary things when at the store;
  • Use a basket instead of a cart: Having less space will force you to limit your purchases to necessities;
  • Compare the unit price for similar items: The unit price tells you how much something costs per “unit” or per 100 grams (g) or 100 millilitres (mL). This can help you compare whether a large or small size of an item is a smarter purchase and better value for your money;
  • Check the season: If you are buying fresh produce, make sure that it’s in season since it generally costs less when compared to out-of-season. Better yet, plant your own fruit and vegetables to save money on fresh produce;
  • Bring a calculator or phone: Add up your grocery bill while you are shopping to help you stay within your budget;
  • Use loyalty programmes: Consumers could qualify for discounts, but only buy items which your household will use and not just because it looks like a good deal, and;
  • Use bank reward programmes: Understand how you could benefit from bank reward programmes by optimising your purchasing behaviour for day-to-day transactions.

Read: Massive change for passports in South Africa

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Tech

Flutterwave’s Recruitment of 200 Graduate Trainees in the Face of a Fintech Winter – Nairametrics

Fintech in Africa has witnessed massive leaps in the last few years. According to data by Disrupt Africa, 564 African tech startups raised a combined $2.1Bn in 2021. The growth has continued into 2022 with inflows of $2.7 billion from January 2022 to May 2022, more than double the $1.2 billion in the first five months of last year, according to data collated by Futuregrowth Asset Management.
2022 was shaping up to become a major year for global VC gains, until the Russia-Ukraine crisis started. This singular historic event has led to a global economic slowdown, a downturn in capital and cryptocurrency markets and concerns around a recession in the US. In the beginning of Q2 2022, Fintech Investors started asking for more shares for lesser money as a result of an impending capital crunch; a phenomenon experts call a ‘Fintech Winter’.
The entire global venture capital industry is arguably experiencing a ‘Winter’ and as a coping mechanism Fintech companies are, at best, pausing all hiring or, at worst, laying off staff in droves. This phenomenon has hit both big and small companies like Shopify, Coinbase, Twitter, Olive, Meta etc. Some other companies have announced a hiring freeze.
In the African Fintech ecosystem, a few cracks have appeared, showing that there’s likelihood of the Global winter affecting the African continent. Wave, a Mobile Money payment technology company servicing Francophone Africa has laid off 15% of its staff. While some industry watchers argue that this is not remotely because of the Fintech Winter given that they raised an additional $90m after a previous $200m—the biggest Series A round, others believe that it’s a strategic move pre-empting the market. Apart from Wave, no other Fintech company in Africa has reportedly shown signs of distress as at the time of writing this article. Some, like Flutterwave, are showing exceptional signs of strength and growth by their recent hiring blitz.

Flutterwave, one of Africa’s leading technology companies, has just announced the hiring of 200 graduate trainees. The announcement comes after a month-long recruitment process which had 11,000 candidates applying for 200 available positions. The newly hired Chief People and Culture Officer at Flutterwave, Mansi Babyloni said that the project was a passion project of the People and Culture Team and they’re committed to impacting positively to the trainees. Adding 200 employees to the books, a staggering 38% increase in staff,  is a sure sign of strength and growth for the company and as well for the ecosystem in Africa, adding weight to loud thoughts that the African Fintech Ecosystem has long been insulated from global sources of stress, from a range of factors.
There are disagreements over the validity of these factors. A key perspective is that African Startups only enjoy about 1% of global VC funding. While this is true, it makes sense to understand that in the times of Winter, despite the share to other countries, the regions with the most risks tend to receive the least funding. Hence, even the 1% could be cut further down if the African ecosystem is deemed riskier than the other markets. Is it possible that the global VC ecosystem deems Africa as a lower risk market than their US and EU counterparts at a time like this?

Another perspective is the one that argues that African Fintechs solve real life problems that customers are willing to pay for, like cross-border payments, remittances, logistics etc. However, other markets also solve the problems prevalent in their markets. If that is the case, it’s possible that the most viable reason why African startups have weathered this storm and are even on the resurgence in growth and in funding, is that they’ve always been accurately valued and their core growth metrics are taken very much into account during fundraises.
By Chris Akinbami 

Fintech in Africa has witnessed massive leaps in the last few years. According to data by Disrupt Africa, 564 African tech startups raised a combined $2.1Bn in 2021. The growth has continued into 2022 with inflows of $2.7 billion from January 2022 to May 2022, more than double the $1.2 billion in the first five months of last year, according to data collated by Futuregrowth Asset Management.

2022 was shaping up to become a major year for global VC gains, until the Russia-Ukraine crisis started. This singular historic event has led to a global economic slowdown, a downturn in capital and cryptocurrency markets and concerns around a recession in the US. In the beginning of Q2 2022, Fintech Investors started asking for more shares for lesser money as a result of an impending capital crunch; a phenomenon experts call a ‘Fintech Winter’.

The entire global venture capital industry is arguably experiencing a ‘Winter’ and as a coping mechanism Fintech companies are, at best, pausing all hiring or, at worst, laying off staff in droves. This phenomenon has hit both big and small companies like Shopify, Coinbase, Twitter, Olive, Meta etc. Some other companies have announced a hiring freeze.

In the African Fintech ecosystem, a few cracks have appeared, showing that there’s likelihood of the Global winter affecting the African continent. Wave, a Mobile Money payment technology company servicing Francophone Africa has laid off 15% of its staff. While some industry watchers argue that this is not remotely because of the Fintech Winter given that they raised an additional $90m after a previous $200m—the biggest Series A round, others believe that it’s a strategic move pre-empting the market. Apart from Wave, no other Fintech company in Africa has reportedly shown signs of distress as at the time of writing this article. Some, like Flutterwave, are showing exceptional signs of strength and growth by their recent hiring blitz.

Flutterwave, one of Africa’s leading technology companies, has just announced the hiring of 200 graduate trainees. The announcement comes after a month-long recruitment process which had 11,000 candidates applying for 200 available positions. The newly hired Chief People and Culture Officer at Flutterwave, Mansi Babyloni said that the project was a passion project of the People and Culture Team and they’re committed to impacting positively to the trainees. Adding 200 employees to the books, a staggering 38% increase in staff,  is a sure sign of strength and growth for the company and as well for the ecosystem in Africa, adding weight to loud thoughts that the African Fintech Ecosystem has long been insulated from global sources of stress, from a range of factors.

There are disagreements over the validity of these factors. A key perspective is that African Startups only enjoy about 1% of global VC funding. While this is true, it makes sense to understand that in the times of Winter, despite the share to other countries, the regions with the most risks tend to receive the least funding. Hence, even the 1% could be cut further down if the African ecosystem is deemed riskier than the other markets. Is it possible that the global VC ecosystem deems Africa as a lower risk market than their US and EU counterparts at a time like this?

Another perspective is the one that argues that African Fintechs solve real life problems that customers are willing to pay for, like cross-border payments, remittances, logistics etc. However, other markets also solve the problems prevalent in their markets. If that is the case, it’s possible that the most viable reason why African startups have weathered this storm and are even on the resurgence in growth and in funding, is that they’ve always been accurately valued and their core growth metrics are taken very much into account during fundraises.

By Chris Akinbami 

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Toto Consortium makes $430 million offer to purchase South Africa government’s stake in Telkom – TechCabal

South African investment firm Toto Consortium has made a $433 million (~R7 billion ) offer to purchase the government’s 40.5% stake in the country’s third largest mobile network operator, Telkom.

According to the offer letter, which was seen by Bloomberg and dated July 24, the investment firm’s valuation of Telkom is based on a 30-day average share price of the company, plus a 20% black empowerment discount.

“The offer is subject to the satisfactory conclusion of a due diligence of Telkom [and] we [Toto] are not averse to collaborating with other stakeholders,” the firm stated in the letter signed by chairman Bongani Gigaba.

Toto also mentioned that it had access to funding for the deal and that it took a long-term view on its investment approach in Telkom and had no predetermined plan to dilute and/or exit the investment.

Commenting on the offer, South Africa’s communications minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni stated in a written response to Bloomberg that the government had at the moment no plans to sell its stake in Telkom and that should that stance change, it will communicate.

Toto Consortium becomes the latest entity to express an interest in Telkom since the company announced in July that it was in talks of possibly getting acquired by South Africa’s second-largest mobile network operator MTN. 

Just yesterday, South African mobile-data-only network Rain announced that it had made a formal request for a merger with Telkom. Rain has since been ordered to retract its announcement by the country’s mergers regulator Takeover Regulation Panel which deemed it unlawful.

The Telkom offer will be Toto’s second attempt at acquiring a stake in a state-owned entity, having made an offer to acquire the government’s 51% stake in national airline South African Airways. Toto was rejected in favour of Takano Consortium which managed to purchase the ownership stake for $3 (yes, 3 dollars).

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South African investment firm Toto Consortium has made a $433 million (~R7 billion ) offer to purchase the government’s 40.5% stake in the country’s third largest mobile network operator, Telkom.

According to the offer letter, which was seen by Bloomberg and dated July 24, the investment firm’s valuation of Telkom is based on a 30-day average share price of the company, plus a 20% black empowerment discount.

“The offer is subject to the satisfactory conclusion of a due diligence of Telkom [and] we [Toto] are not averse to collaborating with other stakeholders,” the firm stated in the letter signed by chairman Bongani Gigaba.

Toto also mentioned that it had access to funding for the deal and that it took a long-term view on its investment approach in Telkom and had no predetermined plan to dilute and/or exit the investment.

Commenting on the offer, South Africa’s communications minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni stated in a written response to Bloomberg that the government had at the moment no plans to sell its stake in Telkom and that should that stance change, it will communicate.

Toto Consortium becomes the latest entity to express an interest in Telkom since the company announced in July that it was in talks of possibly getting acquired by South Africa’s second-largest mobile network operator MTN. 

Just yesterday, South African mobile-data-only network Rain announced that it had made a formal request for a merger with Telkom. Rain has since been ordered to retract its announcement by the country’s mergers regulator Takeover Regulation Panel which deemed it unlawful.

The Telkom offer will be Toto’s second attempt at acquiring a stake in a state-owned entity, having made an offer to acquire the government’s 51% stake in national airline South African Airways. Toto was rejected in favour of Takano Consortium which managed to purchase the ownership stake for $3 (yes, 3 dollars).

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