Ciaran Ryan

Here come the soccer tourists

Up to 450 000 chanting soccer fans will be shoehorned through South Africa's airports during the 2010 World Cup Soccer tournament, creating a logistical nightmare for the airports, immigration officials and police. Tourists looking for a piece of African tranquillity are likely to plan their trips on either side of the event so as to avoid the crush.

Molusi to make way for Moolman?

Three months after achieving straight As in his performance review as CEO of Johnnic Communications, Connie Molusi was suspended on full pay ''pending the outcome of the hearing to consider his performance'', according to a statement released by the group recently.

Curb your spending enthusiasm

Businesses are bracing themselves for a rand at R8 or even R8,50 to the United States dollar after the shock 20% weakening in the local currency since early May. The Reserve Bank is likely to tighten interest rates aggressively from here to stem the slide in the rand. Some economists are forecasting a further 1,5% to 2% increase in rates over the next year.

Gas supply back on track

Gas supply in the Gauteng area is expected to return to normal over the next few days after a series of mishaps that has throttled supply since the onset of an early winter in May. Afrox, the market leader in bottled gas, says it has supplied an additional 50 000 9kg bottles to alleviate the shortage.

Maree, governance on trial

Sydney Maree, the former 1 500m world-record holder, is running the race of his life. The former champion athlete and one-time head of the state-owned National Empowerment Fund (NEF) appeared in court recently in an effort to clear his name of charges that he stole R1-million from the NEF.

All roads lead to Western Areas

The battle for South Deep, billed as the last piece of gold real estate on God's green earth, could get a lot more interesting should AngloGold enter the fray alongside Harmony and Gold Fields. All three mining houses already own pieces of the gold mine through Western Areas, which has a 50% share of the mine.

Emergency exit here

Mild panic has gripped the world's financial markets as the stock market rout that started in early May continued, with many stocks losing up to 10% of their value in as many days. Asset managers attempted to douse the growing panic by advising investors to stay calm, though those who heeded the same advice in 1998 had to wait nearly two years to recover from the 40% drop in stock prices.

The grapes of wrath

Wine, one of the great South African export stories of the past decade, is beginning to lose its fragrance. Most South African wines are now being exported at a loss as profit margins tumbled from the giddy heights of 2001, when the rand traded at R18 to the pound and R12 to the United States dollar.

Kebble: R1,5bn found, R900m still missing

No one can deny that the late Brett Kebble had good taste: Ferraris, a couple of private jets, a portfolio of luxury properties, expensive art pieces and all the usual trappings of the billionaire lifestyle to which he aspired. He also had political friends on the payroll, something that will no doubt cause acute embarrassment for some.

A sweet deal on the cards

Shareholders in Illovo Sugar have never had it so sweet. The share price has doubled to more than R16 in recent months as a bidding war was declared between two European sugar producers eager to bag Africa's largest sugar producer. European producers are looking for less-developed-country supplies ahead of deregulation of the European sugar market.

No to free trade with US

Trade experts say the United States is demanding far deeper market access than South Africa is willing to give, particularly in the area of services that are covered by regulatory protection rather than tariffs. South African business appears to be waking up late to the fact that the country may be walking away from a free trade deal with the US.

AngloGold ‘more likely to do lunch than be lunch’

Anglo American, the mining empire built by the Oppenheimers on the goldfields of the Free State and Witwatersrand, is saying goodbye to gold. It announced recently that it would sell down its interest in AngloGold Ashanti, though it still intended to retain a significant shareholding in the medium term.

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