Top5 on Fin24: Report shows Eskom still in nuclear game, and doubts over authenticity of R6.4bn Jesus painting

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

Eskom powers ahead with nuclear plans, report shows

Despite terminating its nuclear new build request for information in 2017 following a court decision, Eskom is powering ahead with plans in preparation for the tender programme to be rebooted. 

Nuclear vendors from France, Russia and China had prepared lengthy documents to submit to the national power utility in the first round of the tender process in 2017.

Eskom would have proceeded with a request for proposal had the Cape Town High Court not terminated the process, which forced it to reject all request for information submissions.

“All current nuclear procurement processes have been suspended after the Western Cape High Court case,” Eskom’s board said in a shareholder report on September 30 2017.

Fin24 and EE Publishers have seen this report, which however also shows that Eskom’s preparation for a nuclear new build programme has continued. “Current development work as the owner and operator is ongoing, in order to reach a state of readiness for construction."

READ: Eskom powers ahead with nuclear plans, report shows

Forget about equity partner for SAA - analyst

Forget about finding an equity partner for cash-strapped national airline South African Airways.

Rather, first put in place a plan for the airline that is fit for its purpose, Thabang Motsohi, a strategy consultant with aviation expertise and a member of Business Leadership SA told Parliament on Friday.

Motsohi, a former president of the African Civil Aviation Commission who was involved in unbundling Transnet as a conglomerate in the 1990s, made a submission to Parliament’s standing committee on appropriations about proposals for the national carrier's debt relief and recapitalisation.

“People spend money as if it will always be available and not a scarce resource. We also need to ask ourselves how the political dimensions have affected SAA’s operating efficiency and profitability,” he said. 

READ: Forget about equity partner for SAA - analyst

Mugabe's 37 years in power: How Zimbabweans' wealth took a dive

Robert Mugabe

The average wealth of a person in Zimbabwe is one of the lowest levels in the world, according to Johannesburg-based global research group New World Wealth.

Its research shows that as of the end of 2016, the average wealth of a person in Zimbabwe stood at about US$200 (about R2 856), compared to a peak of more than $1 600 (about R22 816) in 1990.

The research found that at the time when President Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF took power following general elections in 1980, the average wealth in the country stood at $800 (about R11 424) per person.

READ: Mugabe's 37 years in power: How Zimbabweans' wealth took a dive

HSBC 'ignored' Gupta warnings - Hain

UK Parliamentarian Lord Peter Hain has said that South African staff at global bank HSBC warned the bank’s London headquarters of illegal transactions related to the controversial South China Rail-Transnet locomotive deal, but were “ignored”. 

Warnings that the bank may have been complicit in “theft and money laundering” were not acted on, Hain wrote in a letter to a staff member at the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority. 

The contents of the letter, which Fin24 has a copy of, was first reported in the Daily Maverick on Thursday.

Hain earlier this month told the UK House of Lords that he has copies of illegal transactions from Gupta-linked companies to banks in the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong, which show the work of a "criminal network".

READ: HSBC 'ignored' Gupta warnings - Hain

Why are critics calling the R6.4bn Jesus painting fake?

Even before Leonardo Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi went to auction last night at Christie’s in New York, naysayers from around the art world were savaging its authenticity.

Various advisors were muttering darkly, both online and in the auction previews, and one day before the sale New York magazine’s Jerry Saltz wrote that though he’s “no art historian or any kind of expert in old masters,” just “one look at this painting tells me it’s no Leonardo.”

And that was before the painting obliterated every previous auction record, selling, with premium, for $450m (R6.38bn).

Shortly after the gavel came down on Wednesday evening, the New York Times published a piece by the critic Jason Farago where, after also noting that he’s “not the man to affirm or reject its attribution,” declared that the painting is “a proficient but not especially distinguished religious picture from turn-of-the-16th-century Lombardy, put through a wringer of restorations.”

PICS: Why are critics calling the R6.4bn Jesus painting fake?

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