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Picture: 123RF/DANIL CHEPKO
Picture: 123RF/DANIL CHEPKO

1. Dis-Chem says white dispensary clients left after CEO’s letter

By Katharine Child

The biggest story on BusinessLIVE in 2023 concerned Dis-Chem and the fallout from a leaked, controversial internal memo written in October 2022 by then-CEO Ivan Saltzman that prohibited the appointment and promotion of white people at SA’s second-largest retail pharmacy group.

During an investor call in February the group said it had lost some regular dispensary customers who withdrew their scripts after the memo became public. It also gained black chronic medication customers, but the number of customers that left exceeded those it gained.

In November, Dis-Chem disclosed the full impact of the memo, noting in its first half results for the 2024 financial year that second-half sales in 2023 were “softer” after being “impacted by negative publicity”. The group’s profit for the period was down about 11% to R560m.

2. SAPS withdraws notice on recruitment and tattoos

By Kabelo Khumalo

The second-most popular story on BusinessLIVE in 2023 revealed controversial requirements for police recruits. In October the SA Police Service published and then quickly withdrew a published notice on new requirements for entry-level applicants that prevented the recruitment of individuals with visible tattoos.

3. Jobs at Denny Mushrooms farm go up in smoke

By Lyse Comins

Completing the top three stories for the year was the tragedy at Denny Mushroom farm, owned by Libstar Holdings, in KwaZulu-Natal which led to hundreds of job losses. In January the farm said it retrenched its 315 workers after an alleged arson attack brought the operation to a halt in September.

4. Report finds inadequately trained SAA flight crew lost control of plane

By Carin Smith

Aviation industry news was popular with readers, especially this story about  a report by a German aviation authority that an SAA who were inadequately trained, temporarily lost control of an Airbus 340-346 on a commercial flight from Johannesburg to Frankfurt in 2018 with 259 people on board.

5. Boks to get handsome win bonuses from SA Rugby

By Mahlatse Mphahlele

One of the biggest news stories of the year came after the Springboks’ nail-biting win against New Zealand’s All Blacks in the Rugby World Cup final. Besides national fame and adoration, the champions each received a share of about R93m in bonus payments.

6. Robert McBride returns to hunt Eskom thugs

By Hajra Omarjee

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that Robert McBride, who heads the foreign branch of the State Security Agency, will lead a special crime-fighting project at Eskom as the government steps up its fight against corruption at the state-owned utility.

7. WATCH: President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the nation

By Staff Writer

President Cyril announced that December 15 would be a public holiday to mark the Springboks lifting the Rugby World Cup for a fourth time in Paris. 

8. Public enterprises department heads for chopping block

By Linda Ensor

President Cyril Ramaphosa in March announced the disbanding of the department of public enterprises — which oversees state-owned enterprises such as Eskom, Denel, Transnet and SAA — in response to a report by a presidential council that recommended establishing a centralised, state-owned holding company to house strategic assets.

9. Pravin Gordhan reveals discussions with Eskom CEO André de Ruyter

By Khanyisile Ngcobo

Former Eskom CEO André de Ruyter resigned in December 2022 and left in February, before serving his notice period, after making explosive allegations about corruption and sabotage at the state-owned power utility during a televised interview. The interview prompted a series of parliamentary meetings where MPs were informed of the allegations, including  the involvement of cabinet ministers — claims that De Ruyter based on a private intelligence investigation.

10. Nkoana-Mashabane says goodbye to parliament and hello to millions of rand

By Kgothatso Madisa

A cabinet shake-up became a lucrative opportunity for some ministers and deputy ministers who chose to resign as MPs, cashing in huge pension payouts and loss-of-office benefits amounting to millions of rand 

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