Why Black Friday, and not Cyber Monday, has gone global

An international survey performed the week preceding Black Friday 2017 examined consumer preferences in anticipation of the end-of-year shopping events.

The survey, conducted among 3,400 participants from 8 developed countries, has revealed that Black Friday enjoys a double-digit popularity percentage in 6 countries outside the United States, while Cyber Monday tops out at only 4% outside of North America.

A survey conducted in November 2017 by One Hour Translation presents a global perspective on the preferences of online consumers concerning the end-of-year shopping events.

The survey reveals that the event most consumers look forward to is Black Friday, which enjoys a double-digit popularity percentage in 6 countries outside the United States. Cyber Monday tops out at only 4% in the examined countries outside of North America.

The online survey was conducted with Google Consumer Surveys among 3,400 participants from the following 8 developed countries: The United States, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Australia and Japan.

One Hour Translation asked the participants: “Which online shopping event have you been waiting for this year?” and allowed the respondents to pick more than one answer. The survey analyzed the answers of 1 000 participants from the US, 600 from the UK and 300 in each of the remaining participating countries.

In the United States, 14.5% of respondents said they were waiting for Black Friday, which took place on November 24 this year, while 16% were waiting for Cyber Monday (November 27). Black Friday is particularly popular in Canada (about 26%), Spain (about 22%), France (about 21%), the UK and Germany (about 19% each) and to a lesser extent in Australia and Japan (about 10% in each country). On average among the 8 countries sampled in the survey, 17% of respondents were looking forward to Black Friday, compared to about 8% who were looking forward to Cyber Monday and about 3% who were looking forward to the Singles Day event (the Chinese holiday celebrating single people) – making Black Friday a significant shopping event outside the US.

Cyber Monday, on the other hand, enjoyed a double-digit popularity percentage only in the North American countries. 16% of respondents in the United States said they were waiting for Cyber Monday, and 10% of respondents in Canada, figures that were much higher compared to the ones observed in the UK (about 4%), Australia, Germany, Spain, France and Japan (about 3%).

The Chinese “Singles Day” shopping event, which takes place every year on November 11, was highly anticipated among 7.5% of respondents in Japan, as opposed to approximately 6% in Spain and France, 4% in Canada, 3% in Germany, 2% in Britain and Australia, and only 1.4% in the United States.

Despite the fact that the survey was conducted online and was naturally geared towards online consumers, about two thirds of respondents (68%) on average among the eight countries said that they were not looking forward to any online shopping events. About 4% of the 3,400 respondents said they were looking forward to shopping events other than those examined in the survey. The level of variability among the countries when it came to these two figures was low.

“We already knew that Black Friday has become the top brand among the end-of-year shopping events around the world, thanks to the survey we conducted last year. This year, Black Friday is once again the most popular shopping event among consumers.

“However, looking at the figures, we can see a major difference in the levels of anticipation for the Cyber Monday shopping event, which is popular in North America – the United States and Canada – as opposed to the anticipation it enjoys in the major economies outside of North America,” says Ofer Shoshan, co-founder and CEO of One Hour Translation.

“Based on our extensive work with thousands of e-commerce companies, we would encourage companies outside of North America in this particular field to invest in associating their activity and their brand with the Cyber Monday event.”

57-million Uber users hacked

Hackers stole the personal data of 57 million customers and drivers and the ride-hailing company allegedly paid them $100,000 to delete the information and “go away”.

The data was compromised in October 2016, and Uber has managed to conceal the breach for more than a year, according to Bloomberg.

Uber claims they were involved in negotiations with US regulators about separate privacy violations at the time of the breach.

But the company now admits they were legally required to report the hack to regulators and to drivers whose license numbers were taken.

However, Uber reportedly paid the hackers $100,000 to delete the data instead.

Joe Sullivan, Uber’s chief security officer, was fired this week for his role in keeping the hack quiet. One of Sullivan’s deputies was also fired for helping.

Ex-CEO and co-founder, Travis Kalanick, reportedly found out about the hack in November 2016, but at the time Uber had just settled a lawsuit with the New York attorney general over the company’s privacy practices.

Dara Khosrowshahi took over as Uber’s new CEO in September.

‘None of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses for it,’ Khosrowshahi said in a press statement on Tuesday. ‘We are changing the way we do business.’

‘At the time of the incident, we took immediate steps to secure the data and shut down further unauthorized access by the individuals.

‘We subsequently identified the individuals and obtained assurances that the downloaded data had been destroyed. We also implemented security measures to restrict access to and strengthen controls on our cloud-based storage accounts,’ Khosrowshahi said.

The hackers stole names, email addresses, and phone numbers from 50 million Uber riders worldwide, said in the statement.

Personal information from 7 million drivers was also compromised. That figure includes about 600,000 US driver’s license numbers that were stolen.

Uber claims that no one’s Social Security numbers, credit card details, or trip location information was stolen.

The company said they don’t believe the information was ever used. Uber also declined to release the identities of the hackers.

‘While we have not seen evidence of fraud or misuse tied to the incident, we are monitoring the affected accounts and have flagged them for additional fraud protection,’ Khosrowshahi said.

Dara Khosrowshahi took over as Uber’s new CEO in September. ‘None of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses for it,’ Khosrowshahi (pictured last month) said. ‘We are changing the way we do business’ +5
Dara Khosrowshahi took over as Uber’s new CEO in September. ‘None of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses for it,’ Khosrowshahi (pictured last month) said. ‘We are changing the way we do business’

Uber’s hack joins the ranks of other massive hacks such as Yahoo and Equifax. In September, Equifax reported that the hack compromised the sensitive information of 145.5 million people and the Yahoo hack affected three billion +5
Uber’s hack joins the ranks of other massive hacks such as Yahoo and Equifax. In September, Equifax reported that the hack compromised the sensitive information of 145.5 million people and the Yahoo hack affected three billion

According to Bloomberg, Sullivan, who joined Uber in 2015, was the guy who spearheaded the response to the hack last year.

Last month, an investigation was launched into the activities of Sullivan’s security team. During the investigation, the hack and cover-up were discovered.

Uber said two attackers gained access to private GitHub coding site used by Uber software engineers, according to Bloomberg.

From there, the hackers used login credentials they obtained from GitHub to access data stored on an Amazon Web Services account.

The hackers then found an archive of rider and driver information. Once the information was accessed, the attackers asked Uber for money.

Khosrowshahi said he’s bringing on board Matt Olsen, a co-founder of a cybersecurity consulting firm and former general counsel of the National Security Agency and director of the National Counterterrorism Center, for guidance on ‘how best to guide and structure our security teams and processes going forward’.

The company is currently in the process of ‘individually notifying the drivers whose driver’s license numbers were downloaded’. Uber will also provide these drivers with free credit monitoring and identity theft protection.

Uber’s hack joins the ranks of other massive hacks such as Yahoo and Equifax. In September, Equifax reported that the hack compromised the sensitive information of 145.5 million people.

And last month, Yahoo admitted that three billion Yahoo users were affected by the 2013 data theft that the company originally said had only affected 1 billion users.

By Valerie Edwards for Daily Mail

How you can score from your bank on Black Friday 2017

Black Friday has evolved into so much more than just finding the best discount. It has also become a clever way to earn points and rewards from your bank and loyalty programmes, with several leading lenders taking part in the retail phenomenon this year.

Dr Christoph Nieuwoudt, CEO of FNB Consumer says that e-commerce is likely to get a boost around Black Friday and Cyber Monday as some consumers will be looking to avoid the long queues associated with such shopping sprees.

“Any savvy shopper can cash-in on the specials without spending time in queues and traffic, trying to move from one destination to another. While e-Commerce is still in its infancy in South Africa compared to global standards, both the consumer and retail sectors are warming up to the use of technology to deliver and acquire goods and service.

“From placing a food delivery order, buying clothing, booking a taxi ride or renewing your license disc, it’s all being integrated into the virtual world and available at your fingertips.”

Dr Nieuwoudt said, broadly, the use of online shopping is a trend that has been gradually gaining momentum locally, pointing to the growing number of customers who are using the bank’s digital platforms to purchase goods and services.

“We expect the use of technology, especially for day to day services, to increase significantly over the next few years, partly because consumers are starting to realise that it’s both inevitable and a much better way to do a lot of things,” he said.

And while digital transactions may be on the rise, Geoff Lee, Absa head of card, noted that approximately 65% of all transactions in South Africa are still done in cash, which he warned was dangerous and inconvenient.

“The perks of plastic are fast eclipsing those of hard cash, particularly when you take into account the loyalty programme benefits that also come with card purchasing,” added Lee. “So the reasons for adopting this behaviour are simple and logical: it’s faster when you Tap-and-Pay, it’s safer than carrying cash, you earn rewards when you swipe, and you can easily track your spend.”

BusinessTech looks at what some of the major banking groups will be offering on Black Friday 2017.

Absa

To help customers save and start using cards more, the bank said it has partnered with a number of leading retailers to bring customers registered for Absa Rewards ‘even better’ specials this Black Friday, 24 November 2017.

Absa’s one-day-only Black Friday specials include:

Every customer that opens a Dynamic Fixed Deposit account and keeps it running for 12 months will earn up to 8.20% when the account is opened at any Absa Branch, or through your Private Banker.

You won’t pay commission when you buy your Forex from any Absa branch on Black Friday.
Absa Rewards members will enjoy as much as 7% cash back when you swipe your Absa card at any Tiger Wheel & Tyre for transactions greater than R4 286.

Instead of earning up to 15%, you will earn as much as 30% in Cash Rewards when paying with your Absa card at hi-stores, which are owned by The Foschini Group and offer a comprehensive portfolio of 18 retail brands that cover clothing, footwear, jewellery, sportswear, mobile phones and technology products, and home stores.

Relax at select Mangwanani African Spas on Black Friday and pay R599 for a half day spa which includes three treatments and a meal. Bookings must be made and paid for by card on 24 November 2017; the deal will be applicable for Tuesday and Friday bookings until 24 December 2017.

Get 1% cash back when you purchase a 2017 Toyota RAV 4 and get 7 years / 150 000 km Service Plan and an eight-year Unlimited mileage warranty. Or get R15 000 deposit assistance from McCarthy.co.za when you buy a 2017 Polo Vivo Trendline 1.4 and still earn 1% cash back.
Get as much as 50% off on back-to-school bundles, IT hardware, stationery and more when you use your Absa card for online purchases made on Bidvest Walton’s website, www.waltons.co.za. You will also receive your normal benefit of 3.5% in Cash Rewards.

Standard Bank

With Standard Bank, customers will be able to collect double UCount Rewards Points when swiping their Standard Bank Credit Card at the group’s Rewards Retailers this Black Friday.

The bank will also run special offers through its business banking unit, which will be announced on Black Friday.

FNB

FNB, through its rewards programme, eBucks, will offer Black Friday deals with an 80% discount on its products for members.

The company told MyBroadband that Black Friday fits in well with a bigger campaign it is currently part of – Tap Into Summer with FNB & eBucks.

The Tap Into Summer campaign started on 1 November and offers FNB customers and eBucks members good deals from the eBucks Shop.

“In addition, during this campaign eBucks Shop offers great deals daily which are valid for one day,” it said.

On Black Friday, a discount of 80% will apply on its products – including electronics, appliances, gaming, and consumables.

The eBucks Shop will also offer free delivery on selected products during this period.

Source: Business Tech

US set to abandon net neutrality rules

US Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai will propose vacating Barack Obama-era net neutrality rules, according to a person briefed on the development that will hand a victory to broadband providers such as AT&T and Comcast that oppose the regulations.

Pai’s proposal is to be presented to fellow FCC commissioners on Tuesday ahead of a vote set for 14 December at the agency, where the chairman — an appointee of President Donald Trump — leads a Republican majority. Pai will seek to vacate the rules adopted in 2015, retaining only a portion that requires broadband providers to explain details of the service they are offering, said the person briefed on the matter, who asked not to be identified because the proposal isn’t yet public.

Rules to be set aside include a ban on blocking or slowing Web traffic, and a prohibition on offering “fast lanes” that give quicker service to content providers willing to pay extra. Broadband providers have argued that competition will ensure they don’t unfairly squelch traffic.

Tina Pelkey, an FCC spokeswoman, declined to comment.

Pai’s proposal is the latest step in a years-long tug-of-war over regulations dictating how companies such as AT&T and Comcast allow access to Internet content — from Facebook’s social media site to Netflix’s streaming videos.

Supporters including Silicon Valley firms argue the rules are needed to keep network owners from favouring their own content and discouraging Web start-ups. Critics say the rules discourage investment while exposing companies to a threat of heavier regulation including pricing mandates.

The regulation survived a court challenge from broadband providers last year. Previous attempts by the FCC to pass such rules ended with courts tossing them out or sending them back to be rewritten.

By Todd Shields for Bloomberg on Tech Central

Coding should be SA’s 12th language

South Africa’s 12th official language should be coding. This is according to Sipho Maseko, Telkom group CEO, speaking at the BCX Disrupt Summit in Johannesburg.

“South Africa has 11 languages; we will now be investing quite a significant amount of money in what we believe is the 12th language of South Africa, which is coding,” he said.

“How do we make sure everyone between the ages of 17 to 25 has an opportunity to learn how to code? Because in a world of the Internet of things, artificial intelligence, robotics and devices that talk to each other, if you don’t understand and speak that language you will really be left behind.”

He said it is fundamentally important for Telkom and BCX to make sure SA’s youth learn the language that he believes “will sustain them for the next 100 years”.

“We have pledged to start a tech fund, largely focused on teaching young people, between the ages of 17 and 25, coding. We have pledged to invest R250 million over the next three years,” Maseko announced.

He said real change is possible “if we can double, treble or quadruple the number of young people that can start to learn how to code at an early age, even younger than 17, at the age of 10 or six. And also start thinking about coding as a core curriculum in how people learn going forward”.

However, he also warned that “we can’t just introduce technology for the sake of technology; it must mean something and must have the right social impact. If it can’t solve practical problems then it’s not useful.”

In May, Telkom-owned BCX announced it was investing R60 million over three years for WeThinkCode to invest in the next generation of coders. The funds will enable expansions and upgrades for the tech hub’s Johannesburg office and allow for the opening of a new campus in Cape Town. As part of the agreement, BCX and other Telkom group companies will also host 40 interns from WeThinkCode’s innovative educational programme every year for the next three years.

Girl coders
Mariéme Jamme, founder of iamtheCODE, explained to the audience at the summit about her massive goal: to enable a million women and girl coders globally by 2030.

“Coding is a 21st century skill and every young girl growing up today in our society should have access to it. But only with time, investment, with commitment, empathy and compassion you can allow this to happen for young girls growing up in SA, maybe extremely poor, neglected and forgotten by society,” she said.

“Technology is an enabler for young girls and young women in Africa. We cannot design solutions where we forget young girls and young women.”

IamtheCODE is a movement to mobilise governments, business and investors to support young women in STEAMD (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics and design), through learning how to code, creative learning and cracking problems.

Jamme said it is important to allow marginalised girls and women to be empowered by technology. Her organisation is active in 54 countries across the globe, teaching young girls how to code.

“Technology has no gender, no bias,” she said.

By Paula Gilbert for ITWeb

M-Net, Safact and film producers want ISPs to actively issue warnings to file sharers and copyright infringers in the country – while also blocking access to infringing sites.

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has been presenting its responses to submissions received on the Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill, and dozens of parties across a number of industries gave their thoughts on the bill, including Cell C, MTN, Vodacom, Telkom, R2K, Liquid Telecom and Deloitte.

While the majority of comments focused on concerns surrounding cyber-security, the bill itself, and how it will affect South Africa’s internet, one of the more interesting comments focused on piracy in South Africa.

A comment submitted by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations, Safact and M-Net highlighted concerns that government was not doing enough to combat piracy.

“A balanced approach to address the massive copyright infringement on the Internet is necessary,” the parties said in a comment.

“It is proposed that measures should be introduced to enable local internet service providers to act against copyright infringements.

“It is suggested that South Africa should consider adopting technology-neutral ‘no fault’ enforcement legislation that would enable intermediaries to take action against online infringements, in line with Article 8.3 of the EU Copyright Directive (2001/29/EC), which addresses copyright infringement through site blocking.”

The parties further said that new legislation was needed to force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to cooperate with rights-holders. They also requested that the take down process under section 77 of the ECTA be made less time consuming and less intrusive.

“Obligations should be imposed on ISPs to co-operate with rights-holders and Government to police illegal filesharing or streaming websites and to issue warnings to end-users identified as engaging in illegal file-sharing and to block infringing content,” they said.

“This should be remedied in the Bill or the ECTA should be amended in the Schedule to the Bill,” it said.

The department responded to the comment by stating that the Cybersecurity Bill does not deal with copyright infringements, and that they were better suited for the Copyright Amendment Bill which is also currently before parliament.

Source: Business Tech 

Bill Gates is building his own city

Bill Gates is set to build a new “smart city” with a population of almost 200 000 people.

Belmont Partners, an investment firm run by the Microsoft co-founder has invested $80 million (£61 million) in the project, which will be “forward-thinking” and have “cutting-edge” technologies at its core.

It has purchased 24 800 acres of land, which will be used for schools, housing, offices and commercial and retail space.

Gates’ futuristic city will be built in southwestern Arizona, and will be called Belmont.

It will have 80,000 residential units, says Belmont Partners, which will give it a population of around 182,000.

“Belmont will create a forward-thinking community with a communication and infrastructure spine that embraces cutting-edge technology, designed around high-speed digital networks, data centers, new manufacturing technologies and distribution models, autonomous vehicles and autonomous logistics hubs,” said Belmont Partners, reports KPNX.

“Comparable in square miles and projected population to Tempe, Arizona, Belmont will transform a raw, blank slate into a purpose-built edge city built around a flexible infrastructure model.”

Google to create its own neighbourhood with weather management systems

It isn’t yet know when construction will begin, but Gates’ vision appears to echo that of Google, which is set to create Quayside, its own high-tech community, in Toronto.

Quayside will feature flexible buildings that can be completely reconfigured at speed, and Google will even attempt to “mitigate” the weather, to encourage people to spend more time outside.

It’s described as “the world’s first neighbourhood built from the internet up”, and Google hopes to turn it into “a blueprint for the 21st-century urban neighbourhood”.

By Aatif Sulleyman for The Independent 

Takealot is preparing for a massive Black Friday sale

Online retailer Takealot says that its 2017 Black Friday sale will be the biggest its ever had, with almost every product category on the site expected to host sales.

According to CEO, Kim Reid, over 15,000 products will be discounted starting on 24 November, with the majority seeing up 60% off the normal price tag, and some prices going as low as 70% and 80% off.

The retailer has dubbed its Black Friday weekend sale as the Blue Dot Sale, which will run for five days: from Black Friday on 24 November, through the weekend to Cyber Monday on 27 November. The retailer said it will then follow up with Takealot Tuesday on the 28th.

Noting a big rise in the number of mobile users, Reid said that Takealot would start with Black Friday deals earlier – from 20 November – with app-only exclusive deals.

Despite the struggling economy, and the tough year seen in 2017, Reid said that the company has not seen much of a slowdown during the year, and is only expecting volumes to increase over Black Friday and into the festive period.

The group said it expects volumes to increase by 50% compared to 2016, where sales reached R56 million. Black Friday has seen enormous growth in popularity in SA – 2016’s sales were up from R17 million in 2015, and way up from R1 million in sales in 2011 when it held its first Black Friday sale, it said.

According to Reid, technology products, fragrances and toys traditionally perform well on Black Friday, but the retailer is anticipating a spike across all categories.

“While the big ticket items like games consoles and TVs are popular as pre-Christmas buys, our highest volume sales on Black Friday are often driven by everyday consumables, like nappies, dog food and coffee,” he said.

Website downtime

In 2016, Takealot experienced some technical issues with the site being overloaded by eager shoppers, and transactions failing due to payment gateways (especially 3D Secure) buckling under the unprecedented transaction volumes.

South Africa’s banks have already said that they have been upgrading infrastructure, and have technical teams on standby to handle the expected spike. Takealot, meanwhile, says it is preparing for five times the traffic seen on a typical payday.

“Our checkout process ran into problems on last year’s Black Friday because the banks’ payment gateway fell over from the surge of online shoppers across the country. The combination of all the retailers running Black Friday sales meant that they simply couldn’t handle the volume of transactions,” Reid said.

For 2017, he said that the company is continuously making changes to its systems and processes to ensure it doesn’t leave customers disappointed.

“We’ve bolstered resources across the business – from our engineers and developers to customer service shopping assistants, warehouse staff to Takealot Delivery Team drivers, to manage the increase in volume,” he said.

Source: Business Tech

Beware the dark side of Black Friday

Deeply indebted consumers should think long and hard before plunging themselves even deeper into debt by splurging on luxury goods on Black Friday.

With Black Friday and the silly season upon us, finance experts are warning consumers to steer clear of any spending sprees that could exacerbate their debt situation.

It should go without saying, but the message is clear: don’t spend money you don’t have on things you don’t need.

According to Neil Roets, CEO of debt counselling group Debt Rescue, deals offered by major retailers on Black Friday often seem so good that consumers throw caution to the wind and blow their entire Christmas budget on single expensive items such as high-end TVs and other domestic appliances.

“(Black Friday) promises deals that would tempt even the most financially distressed amongst us,” Roets said. “The short answer is – don’t.”

Roets said that his company, for the past several years, has seen the impact that Black Friday and Christmas shopping sprees have had on consumers when they approach the group to try and get them out from under the financial mess that reckless spending has caused.

“Retailers who are themselves in deep trouble because of the contracting economy have come up with a host of clever ideas to tempt consumers to open their wallets and purses, which is how the idea of Black Friday was born,” he said.

“Black Friday was initially slow to take off when the idea was imported to South Africa. Once it took hold, however, it took off like a rocket ship, and many traders are now notching up a significant portion of their yearly sales on this day and over the Christmas holidays.”

Roets said many consumers also fell into the trap of feeling a degree of resentment, believing that they had been tightening their belts for so long that they needed a break and that Black Friday would be the ideal opportunity to splurge on something nice.

However, he warned that the current state of the economy did not lend itself well to this pattern of thinking.

“We are far from seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. It is our belief – and many leading economists share that belief – that we are far from staging a recovery.”

“In short, things are going to get a lot tougher before they get better. Now is not the time to act recklessly. On the contrary – it is more important now than ever to implement fiscal discipline and save whatever money is left over at the end of the month.”

The CEO said that consumers should plan around a budget, and bear in mind that December tends to feel like a long month, as the stretch between paydays is often much longer. Those who are paid a 13th cheque also get lulled into a false sense of security, he said.

“While we all feel that we desperately need a holiday and the end of a brutal year, keep those holidays within budget and don’t think that if you don’t have the money for school fees in December that the money will somehow, magically become available in January when the schools reopen,” he said.

According to Debt Rescue’s data, half of all South Africans are three months or more behind in their repayments, having collectively notched up R1.71-trillion in debt.

Source: Business Tech

Ex-Eskom bosses grilled over R1bn IT tender

The “overpriced” R1 billion information technology tender that Eskom awarded to outsourcing giant T-Systems two years ago is still haunting the under-fire power utility.

The Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises yesterday continued its inquiry on Eskom into the mismanagement of state funds in state-owned enterprises.

According to Business Report, the Eskom board came under fire over “how it axed former executives and pushed through a tender deal of R1 billion for information technology and maintenance at power stations”.
Two witnesses appeared before the committee – former Eskom CEO Tshediso Matona and Eskom’s former group executive for enterprise development, Erica Johnson.

Briefing the committee, Matona said that by the time he arrived at Eskom in October 2014, there was significant turmoil within the board and there was fighting over a range of governance issues. The most pertinent matter was around procurement.

He was suspended by the board five months after his appointment.

German-based multinational T-Systems first secured the deal in December 2010, when it purchased state-owned ICT service provider arivia.kom, which came with the five-year, R500 million per annum Eskom deal – at the time described as one of the biggest outsourcing transactions in SA’s history.

However, it is understood excessive pricing was the main driver for Eskom wanting to shop around for a new service
provider.

In May 2012, Eskom, nonetheless, said it would retain the services of outsourcing giant T-Systems SA for another two years, after it announced the previous month that it was scrapping its tender for the provision of outsourcing IT infrastructure services. The tender was reportedly “overpriced”.

Responding to questions over the tender, Matona said: “There was infighting about whether T-Systems should get the tender or somebody else.”

He indicated the issues at Eskom rendered the board dysfunctional in many ways. That could be one of the reasons shareholders decided to change the board in December 2014.

When questioned around his suspension, Matona said the suspension came as a complete shock, “by a board that had just taken office and a board that was still familiarising itself with issues of the company”.

He said: “I expressed my disagreement of a new investigation, an investigation of my removal without any basis of why I had to be removed. At the time I did not know that the same was being proposed for other executives; I was handed a letter of suspension. I believe the action was wrong and I went to the Labour Court and sought urgent relief to indicate that my suspension was unfair and that I should be reinstated.”

Responding to questions around governance at Eskom, Matona said the challenge of governance and what confronted Eskom was financial performance of the company.

“The books were not balancing and there were a number of factors, revenue was under pressure and this was as a result of the economic slowdown at the time. The economic slowdown was becoming apparent at that time. The issue of tariff – as to whether it was sufficient to sustain the balance sheet, the issue of debt with municipalities which was escalating. The long and short of it is that Eskom was in serious financial trouble,” he said.

By Admire Moyo for ITWeb

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