Audi SA’s Ultra-Fast Electric Vehicle Chargers Are Live

Audi South Africa, in partnership with GridCars, has finalised the installation of 33 electric vehicles (EV) charging stations across the country. These represent a total of 70 charge point connectors and expand on the existing network in the country.

The chargers range in their charging capacity from 22kW (AC) to 80kW (DC) and 150kW (DC) ultra-fast charging and are immediately available to all South African electric vehicle drivers, regardless of model or brand ownership.

“Audi is committed to ensuring that customers of any electric vehicle can comfortably travel the country, with the reassurance that the EV charging infrastructure is in place to support their progressive choice of mobility,” says Sascha Sauer, Head of Audi South Africa.

“With the public Audi EV chargers now formally in operation and available, our project in ensuring that here are active state-of-the-art EV chargers at key destination and lifestyle venues across South Africa, is tracking well and we are excited to officially encourage all early adopters of electric mobility to utilize these charge points.

“This is a huge encouragement towards the adoption of EV’s in South Africa as it’s a positive indication towards a growing public EV charging network in our country.”

The live 150kW (DC) public chargers initiated by Audi are the first for the South African market and will enable +/- 340 KM driving range in approximately 30 minutes. These chargers have been strategically positioned along national roads to support long-distance travel:

  1. N1 – Colesburg, Caltex, Northern Cape
  2. N2 – Mosselbay, Langeberg Mall, Western Cape
  3. N3 – Tugela North, Engen, Kwa-Zulu Natal
  4. N4 – Riverside Mall, Mbombela, Mpumalanga

The live 80kW (DC) fast charging stations, enabling +/- 185 KM in 30 minutes can be located at:

  1. N1 – Ventersburg, Caltex, Free State
  2. N1 – Richmond, Caltex, Northern Cape
  3. N2 – The Crags, Engen, Plettenburg Bay, Western Cape
  4. N3 – Tugela South, Engen, Kwa-Zulu Natal
  5. N4 – Alzu Petroport, Mpumalanga (Audi has upgraded the existing unit from DC 60kW to DC 80kW. GridCars has also installed a new EV charging unit at Kranskop Engen, Limpopo).

The live 22 kW dual (AC) charging stations, enabling +/- 100 KM in about one hour can be located at lifestyle and destination venues in the following provinces:

Western Cape

  1. Hazendal Wine Estate, Stellenbosch
  2. Franschhoek Motor Museum, Franschhoek
  3. Delaire Graff Estate, Stellenbosch
  4. Spier Wine Estate, Stellenbosch
  5. Thesen Island, Knysna
  6. Graham Beck Wine Estate, Robertson
  7. The Marine Hotel, Hermanus
  8. The Cellars Hohenort Hotel, Constantia
  9. D’Hub B&B, Cape L’Agulhas

Gauteng

  1. Parkview Shopping Centre, Pretoria
  2. Johannesburg Country Club, Auckland Park
  3. Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Country Club
  4. Serengeti Golf & Wildlife Estate, Kempton Park
  5. Johannesburg Country Club, Woodmead
  6. Bryanston Country Club, Johannesburg
  7. Kyalami Corner, Johannesburg
  8. Virgin Active Bryanston, Johannesburg

Mpumalanga

  1. 84 on Main, Dullstroom
  2. Hazyview Junction Shopping Centre

Kwa-Zulu Natal    

  1. Cornubia Mall, Mt. Edgecombe
  2. Selborne Hotel & Golf Club, Pennington
  3. Cedar Garden B&B, Underberg

Free State     

  1. Protea Hotel by Marriot, Clarens

North West

  1. Village Mall, Haartebeespoort Dam

These publicly accessible charging stations are new and incremental to the current EV public charging network in South Africa and can easily be located on the GridCars live online map.

“As the Audi e-tron model range takes to the road, we continue to enable and partner with those who can empower the transition to an electric future with ease and understanding,” Sauer says.

“Our mission is to continually increase EV charging points across the country in order to drive South Africa’s Green e-mobility revolution forward. The only way to achieve this mission is through consistent and meaningful partnerships that enable the transformation of the automotive industry, helping customers embrace the electric future of mobility,” Winstone Jordaan, Managing Director at GridCars explains.

Four Inmates Caught Running Online Escort Scam From Behind Bars

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Four serving prisoners have allegedly been caught scamming male users of a clandestine escort website from whom they extorted more than a million rand using threats of arrest for rape.

Authorities alleged the enterprising inmates aged between the ages of 26 and 32 used cellphones to create fake profiles of policemen – complete with photos – and used the information they somehow got from an online escort agency to extort cash from users.

Investigations revealed that fake police officers were extorting money from male victims who had sought the services of a clandestine online escort agency.

The victims were contacted by someone purporting to be a police officer telling them that a case of rape and fraud had been opened against them.

The victims were told the fraud charge related to paying for escort services using fake banknotes.

The scammers allegedly sent their victims a copy of a “warrant of arrest” through WhatsApp and demanded payment to make the cases disappear.

The scammers would continuously contact victims with threats of arrest as a means to compel them to pay.

Investigations by the Hawks have revealed that the prisoners and their accomplices extorted more than a million rand from victims.

Between May and August 2022, two payments of R760 000 and R560 000 were paid into two separate accounts allegedly provided to the victims by the prison gang.

On Thursday night (11 August 2022) law enforcers raided Odi and Baviaaspoort correctional centres in Mabopane and Pretoria respectively.

“The operation was aimed at conducting a cybercrime search and seizure as well as executing warrants of arrests (J50) to four convicted inmates on an assortment of charges that include extortion, impersonation of a police officer, money laundering, forgery, and uttering,” said Lieutenant Colonel Philani Nkwalase.

The raid involving the Hawks, and the Emergency Support Team from the Gauteng Department of Correctional Services was executed simultaneously at both facilities.

All four prisoners suspected of taking part in the scam were found with smartphones.

Authorities said they recovered 36 cellphones, 19 chargers, and related accessories from other inmates sharing the same cells with the four suspects.

The four inmates accused of the scam will appear in Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Monday, 15 August 2022.

Hawks Provincial Head in Gauteng, Major General Ebrahim Kadwa, warned users of escort services risked corruption charges if they paid extortionists to evade prosecution.

Anyone with information who had fallen prey to this kind of extortion should come forward and contact the detective Captain Jacques Loock on 082 778 5626

Top South African Online Casino Guide SouthAfricanCasinos.co.za Negotiates No Deposit Bonus

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What’s Wrong With The Fourth Industrial Revolution

The “Fourth Industrial Revolution” is a term coined in 2016 by German economist Klaus Schwab. It’s used to describe the technology revolution that the world is going through. But there is growing criticism, particularly in the global south, of how it’s framed. Many are questioning whether it should be considered a revolution at all.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, according to one view, is a very simplistic narrative that advances a distinct political agenda. It is a kind of exploitation that is being sold as progress. The narrative is being advanced to achieve a specific economic outcome – at the expense of many people in the global south.

Many innovations are happening in the digital technological space. But do they reorganise production and social relations, or do they just entrench past forms of inequality?

Consider the case of the ride-hailing app Uber. It may sound like enticing work for drivers, but there’s more to it. Drivers may face bad working conditions, penalties and other challenges without the security of human resources behind them.

In this episode of Pasha, Ruth Castel-Branco, manager of the Future of Work(ers) research project at the University of the Witwatersrand, joins Nanjala Nyabola, a storyteller and political analyst, in taking us through the seductive idea of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Photo
“A smartphone attached to the dash on a vent holder in a moving Uber car. The Uber App shows the route in Cape Town map.” by maurodopereira, found on Shutterstock.

Music
“Happy African Village” by John Bartmann, found on FreeMusicArchive.org licensed under CC0 1.

“African Moon” by John Bartmann, found on FreeMusicArchive.org licensed under CC0 1.The Conversation

Ozayr Patel, Digital Editor, The Conversation

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Verdant Capital Raises R161 Million Of Debt Funding For FinTech Player Zeepay

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Verdant Capital has raised $10 million or R161 million of debt funding for Zeepay.  The medium-term debt raise, which forms part of its A.5 series, comes to support Zeepay in a bid to augment its fast-growing remittance to wallet business.

The debt funding is intended to support the rapid growth of the business.  In 2021, the company processed USD 1.8 billion of transactions volumes, cross-border and domestically.  It is the vision of the Founder and Managing Director, of Zeepay, Andrew Takyi-Appiah I, to reach the milestone of USD 200 billion of annual transaction volumes in the long-term.

Zeepay is the fastest-growing FINTECH into Mobile Financial Services across Africa with Operations in Ghana and United Kingdom and terminating to 20 countries across Africa and with termination agreements in over 90 jurisdictions globally. We specialize in Remittance termination into mobile wallets and are completely network and partner agnostic.

Godfried Boakye, Zeepay’s CFO, said: “The raise had become mission critical as we expand our service offering and African expansion.”

Zeepay’s business is enjoying multiple growth drivers, including growth in the number of mobile wallets in recipient populations, as well as growth in the termination to the wallet as a percentage of global remittances.

It is also expanding its value-added services (VAS) including credit offering and broadening and deepening its footprint in Africa (now terminating into 20 African countries).

Zeepay is also expanding into the important Caribbean and Latin American markets.

Kwabena Appenteng, of Verdant Capital, said:  “We are delighted to see the close of this component of the round, and urge local financial institutions and pension funds to find their niche, to enable them to participate alongside international lenders in the future as we work to deepen the African fintech ecosystem”.

JLD & MB Legal Consultancy, acted as legal counsel to Zeepay in connection with the funding, led by Zoe P. Takyi-Appiah, a senior partner at the firm.

SA Students Applying For Higher Education Can Win £3 000 IELTS Prize

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South African students applying to a higher education institution where the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an admissions requirement can now enter the British Council’s annual IELTS Prize competition to potentially win £3 000 or R59261.00 towards their university tuition fees.

The IELTS Prize is a global initiative created to help ambitious young people turn their academic dreams into reality by providing them with financial assistance and the opportunity to pursue their undergraduate or postgraduate course of choice in English-speaking universities around the world.

This year’s competition is open to eligible IELTS test takers from nine countries around the world, including South Africa.

Test takers in Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt, Bangladesh, Canada, Colombia and Lebanon can also submit applications.

Local IELTS test takers who are residents of South Africa and plan to begin their undergraduate or postgraduate studies in the 2023/24 academic year can submit their application between 1 July and 30 September 2022.

The British Council will select a total of seven winners through a competitive application process to receive the cash prize to support their studies.

As well as facilitating students’ academic pursuits in world-class educational institutions, the IELTS Prize opens doors for individuals, granting them the freedom to travel to new countries, immerse themselves in new cultures, and become part of a global community.

Nadine Mukhtar, a recipient of the IELTS Prize who is from the UK, said: “This prize helped me decide which country I wanted to pursue my law studies in and turned my academic aspirations into a reality.

“I would encourage everyone who can to apply – not just to help fund your studies, but to increase your confidence in your capabilities and inspire you to always produce your best work.”

Applicants from South Africa who wish to enter the IELTS Prize should visit https://ieltsprize.takeielts.britishcouncil.org/ where they can find out more information about the prize, the application process, and review frequently asked questions to assist their application.

Empire Partner Foundation, Younglings Team Up To Unearth Young Developers

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Cape Town-based non-profit group, Younglings, has teamed up with Empire Partner Foundation (EPF) to unearth a new group of young enterprising South African software developers.

Founded by Alwyn Van Wyk, Younglings became the newest member of the EPFs growing ecosystem, joining a prestigious list that includes, SAtion, and Microsoft.

The EPF has since 2016 been supporting young tech entrepreneurs seeking digital solutions to solve societal challenges and propel them to growth, while the Younglings provides internships and opportunities for youngsters to become software developers.

The EPF and Younglings partnered to host EPF’s 21st hackathon, which brought 300 young digital innovators from across South Africa in various fields of study, to develop tech-backed educational solutions that encourage enrolment numbers in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).

For the hack, the young developers were challenged to find tech solutions that can assist educators in delivering their STEM lessons seamlessly leading to an increase in the number of student enrolments.

Funded by the EPF Tech Fund, the virtual Education Hackathon was hosted on Discord over two days, with participants being equipped with the right mindset, tools, and confidence needed to see, assess and shape opportunities for launching new projects and ventures.

The winning team “Full Stack Squad”, who were awarded R14 000 in prize money, will join the EPF Incubation Hub where they will receive support to become tech-prenuers.

The Full Stack Squad’s solution, Metasist, is a web-based teaching and learning platform that focuses on providing teachers a simple way to assess learners and track their progress. Pupils can learn at their own pace and assess their progress in a fun and iterative way.

It also provides parents a platform to assess their children.

Team leader, Ketro Sithole, says: “The hackathon allowed us to grow by challenging ourselves, demonstrating coding skills, meeting new people, and even discovering new techniques.

“The hackathon builds our CVs and record of accomplishments.”

Alwyn Van Wyk, the Younglings Founder, says: “Amazing! I’m describing the experience, professionalism, and energy of the EPF organisational team.

“They are on top of every detail and make sure that all participants, from hackers and mentors through to judges and speakers are aware of what is required and when.

“Their attitude is that we are all here to improve the country and do it together with passion and purpose.

“The turnout was astounding and the solutions world-class. Well done to all who participated. You rock.”

EPF has over the last 21 months prepared youths for employment. The foundation has also supported youths to be self-employed or grow their businesses.

The EPF model focuses on selecting young software developers with the most promising tech business ideas that are scalable.

EPF spokesperson and hackathon coordinator, Jasmine Mokwena, says: “The mission at Younglings directly spoke to EPF’s language – ‘Youth, Tech, and Entrepreneurship’, which positioned both organisations for a favourable partnership, and the success of this Education Hackathon was a very clear testament to that.

“The participants showed a great deal of authentic passion for the education challenge focus on STEM, because of being in STEM themselves as programmers, data scientists/engineers, and digital innovators.

“To the winning team, Full Stack Squad, go forth and conquer this essential challenge.”

MTN Flirts With 20 Million InsurTech Registered Policies Driven by aYo

MTN Group is flirting with 20 million InsurTech registered aYo policies for the six months ended-June 2022.

The company informed investors today that its InsurTech platform reached 17.9 million registered aYo policies, up by 31.9% year-on-year.

MTN said active policies reduced by 26.9% year-on-year due to a shift in the strategy to focus on a higher average revenue per policy and new revenue streams, particularly in Uganda.

This resulted in termination of free policies in the portfolio.

“Active policy growth was also impacted by platform migration and integration challenges as we shifted to a proprietary infrastructure,” said MTN.

In total, aYo generated U$2.8 million or R44.2 million in service revenue and $4.7 million or R74.6 million in premium income.

“We anticipate a return to growth in active paid policies with higher average revenue per policy in H1 2023,” said MTN.

Sanlam partnership

In terms of partnerships, our joint venture (JV) with Sanlam is undergoing regulatory approvals across the various markets in which we operate, said MTN.

“We plan to launch the JV in H2 2022. This partnership will aid in accelerating our InsurTech growth on the continent, in line with our pan-African approach. ”

Also read: MTN Takes Full Control Of aYo As It Plans To Use The InsurTech Player To Expand Across Africa

MTN Group is taking complete control of aYo, a mobile micro-insurance joint venture with SA’s third-biggest insurer Momentum Metropolitan.

The insurer is exiting the partnership.

“We concluded an agreement to increase our shareholding in aYo to 100% as MMH exits the partnership,” MTN informed investors.

“At the same time, we have announced a strategic alliance with Sanlam, which will help to accelerate our InsurTech growth on the continent, in line with our pan-African strategy. “

The aYo platform will form the base of the alliance with Sanlam, said the telco.

Also read: MTN Enters A Strategic InsurTech Alliance With Sanlam

Sanlam and MTN announced today that they are joining forces in an exclusive strategic alliance to distribute Sanlam insurance and investment products across Africa, further developing MTN’s mobile financial services business.

The Alliance will build a digital insurance and investment business, which will be an integral part of MTN’s fintech offering. It will provide people across the continent with easier access to these services, particularly those sectors of the population that have typically been unable to access traditional distribution channels for such products.

The Alliance has the potential to pre-empt and adapt to digital disruption in markets where both Sanlam and MTN operate. It will also enable MTN to accelerate and scale its InsurTech offering through its brand and reach and by leveraging Sanlam’s licensing and geographical footprint, as well as its broad product capabilities and expertise. MTN InsurTech businesses currently have approximately 6 million active policyholders, with target of over 30 million policyholders by 2025 with this new Alliance.

 The collaboration provides Sanlam with the opportunity to extend consumer access to its products and grow its Africa operations by providing insurance to MTN’s customer base across the continent, thereby deepening its extensive footprint in Africa.

MTN Says Fibre Business Spin Off Should Be Completed Within Two Years

MTN GROUPsaid on Wednesday that it expects to spin off its Fibre Business within the next two years.

 

“The structural separation of the fibre business is also underway and is set to be completed within the next two years,” Ralph Mupita, MTN Group CEO, informed investors on Thursday.

He added that in this business, MTN made encouraging progress with the additional build of 670km of fibre in the period.

“Across the portfolio we now have 101 800km of proprietary fibre.”

MTN also disclosed that MTN GlobalConnect (MTN GC) continued to drive fibreco ambitions, scaling its fixed connectivity and wholesale mobility services and delivering a healthy H1 2022 performance as commercial momentum continued.

MTN GC signed fixed external infrastructure deals to the value of $8.9 million in total contract value terms (TCV) and external revenue grew by 7% year-on-year to $151.4 million, with mobility revenue up by 6%.

“With a focus on building scale infrastructure assets across Africa, we continued to expand our terrestrial fibre in our key markets, with the completion of approximately 1 200km of additional new fibre, of which MTN GC contributed about 545km,” MTN said in a statement.

“This brings our total inventory of proprietary fibre to approximately 100 544km. MTN GC also upgraded the EASSy subsea cable with 800Gbps capacity released.

“In March 2022, MTN GC also expanded into Kenya, establishing a wholesale and infrastructure hub in the region.”

 

MTN Hopes To Complete Talks With Strategic Investors For FinTech Business By December

MTN Group said on Wednesday that the process with potential strategic investors for its FinTech business had been initiated, the outcome of which is anticipated to be concluded by the end of December 2022. In March, MTN announced plans to spin off its FinTech Business. For more read: MTN Set To Spin Off Fibre, FinTech Businesses, Invite Third Party Investors

“The work to structurally separate the fintech business from the GSM business within the operations progressed well, and the implementation of inter-company agreements and necessary regulatory approvals are tracking in line with expectations,” Ralph Mupita, MTN Group CEO, informed investors on Thursday.

“We are engaging, on a selective basis, potential strategic investors for the MTN Group Fintech in line with our plans.”

MTN Group also announced that the growth in the FinTech ecosystem continues to be solid, with the growth in the number of active mobile money (MoMo) users of 24% year-on-year to 60.7 million, agents up by 26.9% to 1.1 million and merchants increasing 62.7% to a total of 946 249 across the markets.

The volume of transactions processed through MTN’s FinTech platform grew by 31.5%  year-on-year to 6 billion, with the value of transactions up by 1% to $116.3 billion or R1.9  trillion, impacted by currency devaluation in our markets (up 11.7% in constant currency).

In Nigeria, MTN added 37 109 MoMo agents to end the period with more than 800 000 registered agents, approximately 166 000 of whom were active (performed a minimum of 10 revenue-generating transactions in a 30-day period).

Having successfully scaled the base of registered agents, the focus of MTN Nigeria is now to increase the number of active agents and merchants within the network.

The MoMo PSB commenced commercial operations on 19 May 2022, with the primary focus on accelerating the MoMo wallet uptake.

“We are pleased with the progress so far, where we have a total of 4.2 million wallets signed up, of which 2.4 million were active users in the six weeks from launch to the end of H1 2022,” said MTN.

MoMo PSB is focused on both the conversion of existing over-the-counter (OTC) platform users to own a wallet, as well as expanding services to new users of FinTech offerings.

“We have made material progress in expanding our payments and e-commerce ecosystem. The number of active merchants accepting MoMo payments stood at 946 249 (up 62.7% YoY) and the total value of MoMo merchant payments (gross merchandise value – GMV) rose by 67.8% to US$7.9 billion (up 88.5% in constant currency).

“We remain focused on entrenching the momentum and growth in our payments and e-commerce vertical through evolution of our merchant product to e-commerce. The total value of remittances grew by 2% to $1.1 billion (up 4.5% in constant currency) at 30 June 2022; while, in BankTech, we facilitated a total loan value of $560.3 million, reflecting growth of 9.5% YoY (up 35.9% in constant currency).”