Business news headlines
Covid-19 claims Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu – The Presidency has announced, Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu has died of Covid-19 related complications last week. Mthembu (62) had tested positive on 11 January, according to a government statement. After complaining of stomach pains, he was admitted to hospital. His passing on Thursday has come as a shock and surprise. Covid-19 claims Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthe… (dailymaverick.co.za)
Treasury considering taxing SA taxpayers to pay for COVID-19 vaccines – Finance Minister Tito Mboweni will be delivering his budget speech next month and there are concerns that taxes might be raised at a time when citizens are already struggling financially. National Treasury said that South Africa has to bite the bullet and consider taxing South Africans more to pay for the COVID-19 vaccines. The contentious tax route is one of the options – the department said that borrowing more money and reprioritising government’s budget were also on the cards. Treasury considering taxing SA taxpayers to pay for COVID-19 vaccines (ewn.co.za)
Reserve Bank keeps rates on hold at 3.5% – The Reserve Bank has decided to keep rates unchanged at 3.5%, in line with the expectations of economists. Governor Lesetja Kganyago made the announcement on Thursday afternoon, following the bank’s Monetary Policy Committee’s (MPC) first meeting for the year this week. Two of the MPC’s five members were in favour of a cut of 25 basis points. https://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/reserve-bank-keeps-rates-on-hold-at-35-2021-01-21
MPS want Private and Public school exams, calendars to merge – Members of Parliament want calendars and exams of private and public schools to be aligned into one system. The department’s briefing comes after some private schools objected to being instructed to not reopen until February. Some committee members questioned the department about why private schools and the department were going in opposite directions.
Emirates, Etihad to pilot virus ‘travel pass’ – Emirates and Etihad, two of the Middle East’s biggest airlines, said they would be among the first companies to test an application that allows pre-travel verification of coronavirus tests and vaccinations. The United Arab Emirates carriers have partnered with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to be among “the first airlines” worldwide to trial the IATA Travel Pass. The IATA said the mobile app would enable passengers to “create a ‘digital passport’ to verify their pre-travel test or vaccination meets the requirements of the destination”. Emirates, Etihad to pilot virus ‘travel pass’ (ewn.co.za)
Barloworld in talks to sell its dealerships – Barloworld is in talks with MMI Durban South Motors, a joint venture of the group with the Akoo family, to sell its motor retail business. Well-known in the KwaZulu-Natal business community, the Akoo family have owned vehicle dealerships since 1991 and entered the MMI Durban South Motors joint venture with Barloworld in 2003. At the release of its interim results at the end of November, Barloworld indicated that the future of the vehicle dealerships in its Automotive and Logistics division, and the deployment of capital for it, was being reviewed. Discussions about its disposal are now “gaining momentum” according to Barloworld directors, and are expected to be concluded over the next few months. https://manda.co.za/articles/barloworld-in-talks-to-sell-its-dealerships/
Motus sharpens aim at used-car market with launch of Motus Select – The JSE-listed Motus group has kicked off the year with the launch of Motus Select, which replaces the long-standing Imperial Select as the retail motor group’s pre-owned vehicle brand. Traditionally Motus Select was the used-car brand for only the Motus Hyundai, Kia and Renault multifranchise dealers. However, going forward this brand will spread its wings much wider. https://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/motus-sharpens-aim-at-used-car-market-with-launch-of-motus-select-2021-01-21
SA warned to brace for heavy rains, winds as Tropical Storm Eloise hits Mozambique – Tropical storm Eloise is set to impact South Africa, with the weather service warning that there is a possibility of heavy downpours and damaging winds in parts of Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal. Eloise is expected to make landfall in Mozambique, with a high possibility of the storm strengthening into a tropical cyclone. This will result in torrential rain and destructive winds along the Mozambican coastline and the adjacent interior. https://ewn.co.za/2021/01/21/sa-warned-to-brace-for-heavy-rains-winds-as-tropical-storm-eloise-hits-moz
Global headlines resonating in South Africa
Cruise, GM partner with Microsoft to ramp up self-driving vehicles – Self-driving car maker Cruise and majority shareholder General Motors Co. said they would partner with Microsoft Corp. to accelerate the commercialisation of driverless vehicles. Microsoft will join GM, Honda Motor Co. and institutional investors in a combined new equity investment of more than $2 billion in Cruise, bringing the post-money valuation of the San Francisco-based start up to $30 billion. Cruise will use Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, for its self-driving vehicles. Cruise, GM partner with Microsoft to ramp up self-driving vehicles – Latest News | For Tech News
Wall Street set to open near record high as Joe Biden takes office – Wall Street’s main indexes were set to open near record highs last week Wednesday, as Joe Biden prepared to take charge as US President. US stocks ended higher on Tuesday after Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen urged lawmakers to “act big” to save the coronavirus-ravaged economy and worry about debt later. Biden, is the 46th President of the United States and wasted little time turning the page on the Trump era. Wall Street set to open near record high as Joe Biden takes office (iol.co.za)
PepsiCo aims for net-zero emissions by 2040 – Food and beverage giant PepsiCo plans to more than double its science-based climate goal, targeting a reduction of absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across its value chain by more than 40% by 2030. In addition, the company has pledged to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040, one decade earlier than called for in the Paris Agreement. Specifically, PepsiCo plans to reduce absolute GHG emissions across its direct operations (Scope 1 and 2) by 75% and its indirect value chain (Scope 3) by 40% by 2030 (2015 baseline). This action is expected to result in the reduction of more than 26 million metric tonnes of GHG emissions or the equivalent of taking more than five million cars off the road for a full year. https://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/1/162/212168.html
How blockchain could help the world meet the UN’s global goals in higher education – Improving quality of life for people globally means investing in education. By 2025, more than 100 million learners are estimated to be capable of higher education but won’t have access to it either because they cannot afford the costs, or because courses aren’t available in their region. Courses aren’t available because communities or institutions lack the technological infrastructure, lack suitable content or students lack the internet connectivity. There also aren’t enough qualified instructors in broad disciplines who can teach online. https://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/627/212237.html
UK coronavirus variant detected in at least 60 countries – WHO – The new and fast-spreading UK coronavirus variant has now been found in at least 60 countries, 10 more compared with a week ago, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday. The health agency said the South African variant, which like the UK strain is believed to be more infectious, has now been reported in 23 countries and territories. The UK variant is thought by the WHO to be between 50% and 70% more infectious than the original. https://www.iol.co.za/news/world/uk-coronavirus-variant-detected-in-at-least-60-countries-who-1e267937-e9b7-5312-9da0-dd38872e5e34
Joe Biden to immediately roll back Donald Trump’s policies on border wall, climate, health, Muslims – Joe Biden will sign 15 executive actions after he is sworn in as US president on Wednesday, aides said, undoing policies put in place by outgoing President Donald Trump and making his first moves on the pandemic and climate change. To address the “crises” of the pandemic, the economy, climate change and racial inequity, Biden will sign the executive orders and memorandums in the Oval Office in the afternoon, and ask agencies to take steps in two additional areas, said incoming Press Secretary Jen Psaki. https://www.iol.co.za/news/world/joe-biden-to-immediately-roll-back-donald-trumps-policies-on-border-wall-climate-health-muslims-b6b9c058-7045-5f9f-b017-0bb2aaa43ea2
Malcolm Kinsey of the AA Kinsey Report passes on – Kinsey, who died on Thursday just short of his 77th birthday, is most respected in motoring circles for his role as a South Africa’s first automotive consumer journalist. His major work, the Kinsey Report, a thoroughly researched document is still a reference work for anyone wanting to know the actual cost of running a car. https://www.thesouthafrican.com/motoring/malcolm-kinsey-death-kinsey-report-motoring-parts-journalist/
Motoring journalist Mike Winfield was a gentleman to the end – Respected and retired motoring journalist and sub-editor Mike Winfield died on Monday night as a result of Covid-19 complications. Mike worked for many of IOL’s sister titles during his career. https://www.iol.co.za/motoring/industry-news/obituary-motoring-journalist-mike-winfield-was-a-gentleman-to-the-end-fc373c68-db8f-4b59-bba5-c3029763449e
Graham Eagle joins CAR – In the February issue of Car Magazine welcomes Graham Eagle as the new Technical Editor. With degrees in automotive engineering from Wits and Pretoria Technikon, Graham started his career at Nissan and worked his way up to general and sales manager in various departments before moving to Honda, where he eventually ascended to vice president. More recently, he fulfilled a two-year stint as CEO and managing director at FCA Fiat & Chrysler group.
Report reveals the impact of Covid-19 on journalism – The Thomson Reuters Foundation has released a report containing the voices of journalists working across the Global South and Emerging Economies highlighting the challenges faced by the profession during the pandemic. It is reportedly the first such study combining in-depth research into the insights of industry leaders, advocates and media experts with first-hand experiences of reporters on-the-ground in these regions, to explore the major issues impacting the profession. https://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/19/212139.html
Media ethics in the spotlight in SA: What does it mean for the industry? – News24 editor-in-chief and SANEF Deputy Chairperson Adriaan Basson explains the crux of the report, saying there’s a need to educate journalists more on ethics and credibility. “Owners of television stations and newspapers need to understand [that] they cannot impose their agenda on editors and we need to see to it that line is not crossed and it’s respected.” https://www.mediaupdate.co.za/media/149989/media-ethics-in-the-spotlight-in-sa-what-does-it-mean-for-the-industry
ESPN Africa partners with Bob O’Connor – ESPN Africa has announced a collaboration with comedy character Bob O’Connor, who has been stationed in South Africa since 2018. Through humour and sporting knowledge, O’Connor will be sharing insights that will help South Africans foster understanding of American sports, both on television and social media. He will aim to draw parallels between the iconic leagues featured on both ESPN and ESPN 2, as well as the country’s own sporting leagues, in an effort to help explain some of the facets of American sports that have intrigued audiences for years. ESPN Africa partners with Bob O’Connor (mediaupdate.co.za)
Knapp to head the Volkswagen Passenger Car Brand in South Africa – Steffen Knapp has been appointed to head the Volkswagen Passenger Car Brand in South Africa and replaces Martina Biene. The position is effective from 1 January 2021. Knapp, who originates from Germany, joins the South African team from Volkswagen India where he developed a successful turnaround strategy for the brand. https://motorpress.co.za/articles/!/knapp-to-head-the-volkswagen-passenger-car-brand-in-south-africa-1
Stellantis says its 14 car brands will get a chance to rebound with new models – Stellantis, the world’s newest carmaker forged from the merger of Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot parent company PSA, is “very confident” in its ability to deliver the planned 5 billion euros (R90 billion) worth of synergies. The merger, completed on Saturday, has created the world’s fourth-biggest carmaker to help make the switch to the new era of electrification and automated driving. Stellantis has said that it will launch 10 new electrified vehicle models in 2021. Stellantis says its 14 car brands will get a chance to rebound with new models (iol.co.za)
Peugeot Citroen takes over distribution of Opel products in South Africa – Opel was once among the top selling car brands in South Africa, but after being neglected and then dumped by General Motors when it divested, the German brand has been relegated to a low-volume importer in the country. But now Opel is hoping to find its feet again with the appointment of Peugeot Citroen South Africa (PCSA) as the brand’s official distributor from January 2021. https://www.iol.co.za/motoring/industry-news/peugeot-citroen-takes-over-distribution-of-opel-products-in-south-africa-f0384ce1-44de-402b-8d2f-e1ce03c11d77
New Mercedes-Benz EQA revealed as GLA-sized electric crossover… The new Mercedes-Benz EQA has been revealed as the fresh entry-point to the brand’s range of electric vehicles. The electric crossover launches in Europe in front-driven EQA250 form, featuring peak outputs of 140 kW and 375 N.m, plus a claimed range of 486 km. The automaker claims that’s enough for a sprint from zero to 100 km/h in 8,9 seconds and a top speed of 160 km/h. Inside, you’ll find a cabin very similar to that of the GLA, but with rosé gold-coloured decorative elements on the ventilation outlets and seats (as well as the vehicle key) as well as electric-specific display elements. https://www.carmag.co.za/news/new-models/new-mercedes-benz-eqa-revealed-as-gla-sized-electric-crossover/
New Opel Corsa in South Africa: price and specification details – The new Opel Corsa has finally touched down in South Africa, though just a single derivative is offered from launch. This Ford Fiesta competitor is powered by a naturally aspirated 1,2-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine sending 55 kW and 118 N.m to the front wheels via a five-speed manual gearbox. Tyre-pressure monitoring ships standard, along with items such as automatic headlamps, cruise control, rear parking sensors and a seven-inch touchscreen.
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