COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

Musk delays Twitter relaunch

Twitter's new owner Elon Musk on Tuesday postponed the relaunch of the site's paid subscription service after a first attempt saw an embarrassing spate of fake accounts that scared advertisers.

"Punting relaunch of Blue Verified to November 29th to make sure that it is rock solid," Musk tweeted, delaying his new revamp, originally promised for Tuesday, by two weeks.

The bid for more time came after authentic-looking fake accounts proliferated on the website that Musk bought for US$44 billion late last month, throwing his plans into chaos.

This forced Twitter last week to suspend the new paid checkmark system and reinstate a gray "official" badge on accounts belonging to public figures and major businesses.

In an apparent attempt to avoid a repeat of the problem, Musk tweeted that in the new release, "changing your verified name will cause loss of checkmark until name is confirmed by Twitter to meet Terms of Service."

In the original revamp users in the US could pay eight dollars for the verified checkmark and were left free to change their account names and impersonate existing accounts, attracting mischief.

Musk's overhaul of Twitter had already been the subject of heavy criticism after he fired half of the company's 7 500-strong staff and saw major advertisers suspend ad buys amid the chaos.

Firings this week continued at the platform, with one senior engineer dismissed via a tweet by Musk after he questioned his new policies.-Fin24

Gordhan dismisses battle between SAA partners

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said the South African Airways (SAA) deal with government's chosen partner, the Takatso consortium, "remained alive" and dismissed a major schism in the consortium as "argy-bargy".

On Monday, Gidon Novick resigned from the consortium's board, citing concerns about its ability to raise the money needed for the deal. The former co-CEO of kulula.com and co-founder of LIFT, also represented Global Airways, an aviation leasing company which owns LIFT. They are the minority shareholders in Takatso, and were supposed to contribute aviation expertise to a "new" SAA.

The investment fund Harith is the majority partner in the consortium and was responsible for raising money for the deal. Takatso is supposed to take a 51% stake in SAA. In return, they would invest R3 billion in the airline over two years.

For its part, Harith said Novick's resignation was "appropriate" given the potential conflicts of interest between LIFT and SAA.

On Tuesday, Gordhan told Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts that it was intriguing that Novick resigned from the Takatso board, but did not resign as a partner, likening such an act to "having your cake and eating it". Global Airways and Novick are retaining their stakes in Takatso.

"Mr Novick was a small and relatively minor party in a transaction. Just because he happens to be somebody with experience somewhere in his past, as all of us do, doesn't discredit everybody else, nor does it mean that what he puts on the table is something that one must take seriously," Gordhan said.-Fin24



Bezos plans to give his fortune to charity

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com Inc. and the fourth-richest person in the world, said he plans to give away the bulk of his fortune, which stands at US$124 billion (R2 trillion) according to Bloomberg calculations, during his lifetime.

In an interview with CNN, Bezos said he would devote the bulk of his wealth to fighting climate change and supporting people who can unify humanity in the face of deep social and political divisions, according to the news organization.

Bezos, 58, has committed billions of dollars to charity, but the interview marks the first time he has said he would do it during his lifetime. Critics have chided Bezos for not signing the Giving Pledge, a promise by many of the world’s richest people to donate the majority of their wealth to charitable causes.





His ex-wife MacKenzie Scott has sent more than US$12 billion to non-profits since the two split in 2019. Bezos has lost billions of his fortune as Amazon stock has tumbled amid a broader tech rout this year.-Fin24





Eskom's acting head of generation quits

The acting group executive for generation at Eskom, Rhulani Mathebula, is leaving the utility with immediate effect. This is the second change to the position in almost six months.

Mathebula was appointed after the previous head of generation, Philip Dukashe, resigned from the position in May. Mathebula is an Eskom veteran, having joined the utility 19 years ago.

Making the announcement at a briefing on Tuesday, Eskom chief operating officer Jan Oberholzer said: "When [Mathebula] tabled his resignation, he said the demand of the job was untenable, and it impacted his health and family time. We need to understand the demand of this role, and the demand on the head of generation in turning this ship around."

Oberholzer said that Eskom had appointed Thomas Conradie as the new acting group executive for generation.

Conradie has been with Eskom for almost 24 years. Since 2014, he has been managing the Lethabo power station near Vereeniging. He has previously managed the Kriel, Matla and Majuba power stations in Mpumalanga.

He holds an MBA from Unisa and a master's degree in mechanical engineering from Stellenbosch University.

As load shedding worsens to record levels, Eskom has seen high-profile departures in recent months – among them the respected head of its energy transition department, Mandy Rambharos, who quit to join a US nonprofit. Earlier this year, Riedewaan Barkadien, the chief nuclear officer, resigned after 27 years with Eskom.-Fin24

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Namibian Sun 2022-12-04

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