Top5 on Fin24: Big business bashes Koko's reinstatement, and what 2018 school uniforms cost

Cape Town - A roundup of Friday's must-read financial and economic news. 

Big business bashes Koko's reinstatement

Matshela Koko. (Pic: Lihlumelo Toyana, Netwerk24)

The reinstatement of suspended Eskom executives Matshela Koko and Prish Govender "flies in the face of the rule of law", Business Leadership South Africa has said.

BLSA, an independent association whose members include the leaders of some of SA’s biggest organisations, reacted to the news on Wednesday that Koko and Govender will resume their respective duties of head of generation and acting head of group capital.

Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe told Fin24 on Wednesday that they had been cleared of any wrongdoing.

Koko faced a disciplinary hearing over allegedly not declaring a conflict of interest while his stepdaughter Koketso Choma was a director at Impulse International, a firm which benefited from about R1bn worth of contracts awarded by Eskom over 11 months. Govender was implicated regarding monies paid to consulting firm McKinsey in a contract which has been declared unlawful and void by Eskom.

READ: Big business bashes Koko's reinstatement

School uniforms for 2018. How much will they cost?

This is the time of year when parents have to face the annual cost of fitting out their children for the new school year.

And it's not as simple as just buying a pair of shorts, a few shirts, socks and shoes. The cost of school clothing increases if your child takes part in a sport or multiple types of sport.

On top of that, a school might require school-specific branded clothing, often only available at a certain supplier. A school specific blazer, for instance, can cost close to R900.

A survey among three suppliers of school uniforms done by Netwerk24 shows that, depending on the supplier, the price of some generic school clothing items like a standard white shirt has dropped by up to 35.3% compared to last year.

READ: This is how much your child's school uniform could cost this year

Tech firms rush out patches for 'pervasive' computer flaw

Amid a frantic rush to patch a computer security flaw, experts are struggling to determine the impact of a newly discovered vulnerability which could affect billions of devices worldwide.

Cybersecurity researchers called for computer systems to urgently install updates a day after the release of details of the so-called Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities affecting the chips powering most modern PCs and many mobile devices.

Researchers on Wednesday published details of the flaw, which unlike many other vulnerabilities stems from the chip itself and how it safeguards private data stored on computers and networks.

The researchers at Google showed how a hacker could exploit the flaw to get passwords, encryption codes and more, even though there have been no reports of any attacks using the vulnerability.

READ: Tech firms rush out patches for 'pervasive' computer flaw

Rand steady amid yet another Zuma ouster rumour

The rand held firm after strengthening to R12.24/$ in the previous session on rumours that President Jacob Zuma has been given an ultimatum to step down.

By 11:31 on Friday the unit was trading at R12.31 to the US dollar. By 15:00 it was changing hands at R12.37 to the greenback. 

On Thursday the rand had traded within a range between R12.24- and R12.40/$, helped by upbeat Chinese service sector activity data for December as well as dollar weakness, according to a report from NKC African Economics.

“The rand managed to pull back on rumours that President Zuma has been given an ultimatum to step down, but apparently he is refusing to accept the conditions,” Philip Pearce, dealer at TreasuryOne said in a market update.

READ: Rand steady amid yet another Zuma ouster rumour

Steinhoff units seek 'significant' funding as CFO steps down

Steinhoff said some of its business units need “significant near-term liquidity” as its chief financial officer stepped down to focus on rescue efforts.

CFO Ben la Grange will be replaced by Philip Dieperink, finance chief for the company’s UK subsidiary, the owner of France’s Conforama and Mattress Firm in the US said on Thursday. La Grange will also work on completing the 2017 financial statements, while Steinhoff said it is seeking a chief restructuring officer to help rearrange its debt.

The company remains “committed to work with its lenders and other finance providers in finding solutions and to return liquidity to the group in order to stabilise the affected underlying operations”, Steinhoff said in a statement. It said it has “achieved some degree of stabilisation in its operating businesses".

READ: Steinhoff units seek 'significant' funding as CFO steps down

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