Banks creaming it off bounced debit orders

Posted 22 June 2017

Banks are raking in between R500 million and R800 million a month from bounced debit orders. That’s a sizeable portion of the banks’ non-interest fee income each year for little more than running a piece of computer code. How is it that they have failed to heed the findings of a Compeition Commission investigation into banking charges which recommended a R5 cap on a bounced debit order? 

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The US is going the way of all empires - towards bankruptcy

Posted 19 June 2017

Empires are built through the creation or acquisition of wealth. The Roman Empire came about through the productivity of its people and its subsequent acquisition of wealth from those that it invaded. The Spanish Empire began with productivity and expanded through the use of its large armada of ships, looting the New World of its gold. The British Empire began through localized productivity and grew through its creation of colonies worldwide—colonies that it exploited, bringing the wealth back to England to make it the wealthiest country in the world.

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Dudu Myeni goes awol while SAA scrambles to repay R2,3bn

Posted 19 June 2017

SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni is reportedly awol while SAA struggles to repay a R2,3bn loan to Standard Chartered Bank. Myeni's time at SAA is up, according to recent reports. Under her tenure, she clocked up losses of more than R10bn, got rid of several top executives, and was embroiled in financial irregularities, such employing a company with no experience to refinance R15bn worth of loans for the airline.

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Nedbank's attempt to repossess property foiled in Concourt

Posted 13 June 2017

A couple from Meyersdale, Joburg, nearly lost their home as the bank that held the mortgage bond agreement, insisted they pay back the entire outstanding bond for being two weeks late on their payment. The Constitutional Court slapped Nedbank down, arguing that the couple had lawfully reinstated their bond, even though they were late in catching up on arrears.

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Dlamini-Zuma's R250,000 Gupta award prize was from laundered money, affidavit alleges

Posted 10 June 2017

Millions of rands allegedly laundered by a Gupta associate, Eric Wood, were used to sponsor the awards that named presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma the South African of the Year two years ago. The South African of the Year Awards are run by the Gupta family-owned The New Age Company.

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How Gigaba and Brown got the Guptas into state-owned companies

Posted 07 June 2017

More evidence from leaked emails show how finance minister Malusi Gigaba - while still at public enterprises - and his successor Lynne Brown placed Gupta associates into key positions in state-owned companies. The Guptas benefited to the tune of billions of rands.

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How Nedbank sold a family's home for R10

Posted 29 May 2017

Here's a case where Nedbank repossessed a Katlehong home for R10. You read that right. Ernest Mashaba and his family have been put through a decade of hell and have been evicted four times, each time re-occupying the house, believing the bank had made a mistake. Here's the kicker: Ernest Mashaba never missed a payment and has written confirmation from the bank that his mortgage loan is fully paid up. His story is little different from that of Johm Mojaki of Randfontein, who also has written confirmation from the bank that his loan is paid up. His house has also been sold behind his back. "The only way they will get me out of here is in a coffin," he says.

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Explosive Gupta emails at the heart of state capture

Posted 29 May 2017

Rumours that President Jacob Zuma was about to resign and take up residence in Dubai - with the assistance of the Gupta family - sent the rand soaring to R12,70 to the US dollar on Monday morning. The president is now besieged not just by opposition parties, but a strong and growing faction within the ANC. The Sunday Times added fuel to this fire with stunning revelations of the extent to which the Guptas had managed to gain control of ministers and state-owned enterprises. 

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Zimbabwe is a mafia state controlled by 2,000 super wealthy elites

Posted 26 May 2017

Zimbabwe has become a mafia-run state, where 2,000 super-wealthy elites hold the country to ransom. The Marange diamond field is run by a nest of thieves, where an estimated $20 billion has been pilfered. In a country with 80% unemployment, this sends a clear message to the rest of the country - take the money and run, says Zimbabwean member of parliament Eddie Cross.

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The e-tolls mess just got messier

Posted 23 May 2017

Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has just barred SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) - which has summonsed thousands of Gauteng motorists for non-payment of e-tolls - from arguing 55 cases in court. Outa claims the Roads Agency has not followed court procedures and deadlines. Sanral will now have to restart court procedings from scratch. Further complicating matters is the issue of prescription, as some of this e-toll debt is now more than three years old and therefore may not be payable.

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Wednesday 25 May is tax freedom day

Posted 23 May 2017

The good news is that as of Wednesday 25th May, everything you earn is yours to keep. The bad news is that up until Wednesday, you have been working for the government - and you spent five more days as a slave to government than in 2015. Every year the Free Market Foundation meaures how many days it takes to discharge South Africans' "debt" to government - in other words, how many days you must work to pay off the government's share of GDP. 

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How the capture cancer spread

Posted 22 May 2017

SA Council of Churches’ Unburdening Panel report provides vital clues to the personnel and sequence of events that resulted in the Guptas' almost unbelievable capture of SA's state-owned companies. They are President Jacob Zuma and then public enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba. Eskom, Denel and Transnet were their prime targets.

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The story of a brazen hijack

Posted 22 May 2017

We now have a clearer idea of how the Gupta-owned Tegeta got control of the Optimum coal mine from Glencore for a song, using its "special relationship" with Eskom. The deal stinks to high heaven. It involved imposing an impossibly high fine on Glencore for supplying under-sized coal to Eskom, which allowed Tegeta to move in and capture the mine - and resume normal business with Eskom. Former mineral resources minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi was fired by President Jacob Zuma for refusing to co-operate with the elaborate scam. Here's how it went down.

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New laws that are killing free speech

Posted 18 May 2017

Free speech is under attack by an out-of-control government that seeks to monitor and regulate everything that moves (even sounds out of your mouth). Two of the most appalling pieces of proposed legislation to belly-flop before us are the Hate Speech bill - which makes it a criminal offence to jokingly insult a lawyer or a plumber - and the Information and Communications Technologies Policy white paper, which would create a semi-monpoly owned by the state with control over the radio frequency. 

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The climate science debate illusion

Posted 15 May 2017

The phrase "climate denier" has come to mean someone who refutes the facts of climate change brought about by humans. But as Scott Adams point out in this article, the climate science believers and deniers are actually talking about two different things. The subject has become so muddied by the word "science" that the term has lost its meaning. There may indeed be climate change - but don't expect science to solve this one.

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SABC's attempt to charge license fees on your cell phones and laptops must be stopped

Posted 12 May 2017

This is how you end up thinking when you have been too long in a state-owned enterprise. The SA Broadcasting Corporation, faced with plummeting revenue, has proposed that it be allowed to charge license fees on all viewing devices, including your laptop, cell phone and tablet. This absurdity - from a corporation drowning in corruption and incompetence - must be stopped.

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Lessons from China on how to spread wealth

Posted 11 May 2017

Why does South Africa keep embracing destructive policies when there is no shortage of proof that these policies will fail and spread poverty? Could it be that this is intentional, or that ideologues refuse to apprehend the lessons of history? Perhaps it is a bit of both. In this article, Temba Nolutshungu argues that we should heed the lessons of Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and China's Deng Xiaoping, all of whom espoused free markets and individual liberty.

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SA's first Zim-style land grab has just occurred, says KZN businessman

Posted 07 May 2017

Sean Naidoo‚ a business from Marburg near Port Shepstone‚ has accused the Department of Public Works of orchestrating the "first land grab in the new South Africa". This relates to a lease agreement in a building, occupied by the SA Police Services, owned by Naidoo. He locked the Department out of the building, claiming he has been under-paid in terms of the lease agreement. 

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Truth be told, opposition parties pray that Zuma stays in power till 2019

Posted 03 May 2017

Be careful what you wish for. SA's opposition parties want Jacob Zuma dislodged as president, but keeping him in power for as long as possible may suit their electoral chances come 2019. The ANC members are having to read the weather vane: if Zuma goes then many jobs are on the line, but if he stays, party loyalists will be roasted for protecting a fatally compromised man. So long as Zuma remains in power, the opposition can mine his failing presidency for all it is worth, reminding voters for the next two years how seriously he has damaged this country. Bloomberg explores how this could play out.

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King Shaka International - an airport in desperate search of passengers

Posted 28 April 2017

Durban's King Shaka International is an airport in desperate search of passengers. Like most public sector projects of the last 10 years in SA, it ended up costing between two and three times the original estimates. But this one was a corker: it was foisted on Airports Company of SA (ACSA) by then minister of transport, Jeff Radebe, and has lumbered the organisation with crippling debt since then. This crass decision explains some of the other bizarre goings-on at ACSA in recent months. Minority shareholders in ACSA - who have been trying to sell their shares back to government (without success) at something approaching fair value - say the company has abandoned its commercial mandate and now operates as a development arm of government.

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Another instalment in the march towards tyranny

Posted 24 April 2017

The Hate Speech Bill is a ridiculous attempt to protect 17 different categories of perceived victims from insult or injury. Of course, it does not pass the Constitutional test, but perhaps it is not intended to. It allows politicians to indulge their favourite pastime of race-baiting to distract from their own failings. Former Judge Rex van Schalkwyk explains what is going on. 

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How to stop the sale in execution scam in its tracks

Posted 19 April 2017

It is reckoned that 100,000 South Africans have lost their homes since the Constitution came into effect in 1995 – despite its guarantees of fair administrative justice and its supposed enforcement of property rights. This outrageous scandal has been enabled by insouciant judges and a court system that operates as the enforcement arm of the banks.

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Absa and Standard Bank face big fight over internet fraud

Posted 18 April 2017

Several people, who have each lost large amounts of money due to Internet banking fraud, are taking their fight to ABSA and Standard Bank – with legal action on the cards. The victims say numerous banking staff members must have been involved. The evidence suggests the crooks knew exactly what funds were available in the victims' accounts, which accounts were linked, and from where money could be transferred. 

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Tens of thousands of protesters take to the streets to denounce Zuma

Posted 09 April 2017

Tens of thousands of South Africans took to the streets in major cities across the country last week, calling for President Zuma's removal. This follows Zuma's dismissal of finance minister Pravin Gordhan as part of a cabinet reshuffle that resulted in SA's credit being downgraded the junk by credit ratings agencies. 

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The world's best economist explains how banks have captured the wealth of the world

Posted 09 April 2017

Michael Hudson is a former bank economist whose job it was to work out the balance of payments surplus of South American countries so the major banks could capture this surplus for themselves. In his new book J for Junk Economics, reviewed by Paul Craig Roberts, Hudson explains how banks have become the new "rentier class" that has displaced the feudal lords of old. They produce nothing, but capture rents in the form of interest that have no costs associated with them. 

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