Claims of discrimination against black FNB customers heads to court

Posted 04 December 2018

More than 4 000 bank customers claim they were charged 30% more than whites on mortgage loans, and the case is now headed to the Equality Court.

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How to deal with debt collectors and "fake" debts

Posted 29 November 2018

Debt collectors are a pestilence and are expertly guided by smart lawyers to circumvent the law. Leonard Benjamin explains.

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The days of easy evictions are drawing to a close

Posted 19 November 2018

Following the lead recently set by the South Gauteng High Court, a full bench of the Cape High Court will decide this week whether to set reserve prices on repossessed homes.

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Major precedent set for communities affected by mining

Posted 29 October 2018

On Thursday, the Constitutional Court of South Africa ruled in favour of communities arguing for a bigger say in mining decisions.

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Lonmin says it is a victim of vexatious litigation

Posted 29 October 2018

The Mining Forum of South Africa has applied to the North West High Court to have the mining licences suspended of Lonmin, as well as Eastern Platinum and Western Platinum (both controlled by Lonmin). The Forum, a not for profit organisation that seeks regulatory compliance in the mining industry, says Lonmin has shirked its Social and Labour Plan (SLP) obligations.

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Former Banking Ombud and senior Hawks general join SA Litigation Funding Company

Posted 23 October 2018

The campaign against corruption has just got a whole lot hotter. SA Litigation Funding Company (SALFCO) has announced two senior appointments as part of a programme to strengthen its team and expand its services as it prepares to take on several large cases involving civil and criminal claims.

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Journalists should do some self-reflection

Posted 22 October 2018

The Sunday Times has apologised for running a series of bogus stories that were fed the newspaper by agents of state capture. Among them, the “rogue investigative unit” at SA Revenue Services, the “hit squad” in Kwazulu-Natal, and the rendition of suspects to Zimbabwe at the behest of that country’s security forces. None of these were true, but they had real consequences to the lives of the people who lost their jobs, careers and livelihoods as a result. Writing in The Conversation, Herman Wasserman says this is a time for self-reflection by journalists.

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How banks are routinely over-charging on vehicle loans

Posted 06 October 2018

Eight years ago debt counsellor Fanie Grové started looking at vehicle loan statements from his clients and was staggered by what he saw: in every one of more than 80 cases he examined where the borrower had fallen into arrears, he says the bank was unlawfully overcharging interest. In some cases, the overcharge was 40-50% more than the interest allowable in terms of the National Credit Act (NCA).

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Calling for whites to be treated as Hitler did to Jews declared hate speech

Posted 05 October 2018

In a moment of anger, ANC member Velaphi Khumalo let rip on Facebook that SA needed to be cleansed of whites, who needed to be treated as Hitler did to the Jews. He was responding to an earlier racist comment from Penny Sparrow who referred to blacks “as monkeys”. Both, no doubt, have come to rue their incautious remarks. Both recanted. But Judge Roland Sutherland of the Gauteng Equality Court was not happy with Khumalo’s apparent recantation, especially as he more recently decided it wasn’t hate speech after all. Khumalo's remarks have been declared hate speech by the Equality Court.

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Banks are clogging up the justice system, says court

Posted 04 October 2018

Banks seeking judgment against borrowers should use the magistrates’ courts, the Pretoria High Court has ruled. By bringing trifling matters before the high courts, banks are clogging up the justice system.

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Another victory for debtors as judges rule cases must be referred to lower courts

Posted 03 October 2018

The Pretoria High Court struck another blow on behalf of distressed debtors last week. A full bench of three judges ruled that magistrate’s courts should be the first port of call for financial institutions seeking judgment against their clients, where matters fall within the lower courts’ monetary jurisdiction. This makes it cheaper for people to defend matters against the banks.

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The only way out of our debt crisis is bank failure

Posted 23 September 2018

As we mark the 10th anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, economist Michael Hudson looks back over what we have learned in the last decade. Criminally, the major banks were bailed out but not the mortgage bond holders. Banks are bigger and more profitable than ever, but we have now entered an era of debt deflation - meaning more and more of our money is going to pay back bank debts. There is less disposable income available to purchase goods. Don't be fooled by the apparent calm of the financial system - the only way out of this is for banks to fail, or the grisly alternative - a Greece-style austerity programme, with depopulation, job losses and massive economic shrinkage.

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Joburg court ruling paves the way for class action suit against banks

Posted 18 September 2018

Last week’s Joburg court case forcing judges to impose reserve prices on all auction sales resulting from bank repossession has several important ramifications, not least of which it paves the way for a class action suit against the banks for decades of stealing people's home equity in violation of the Constitution.

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Gauteng court judgment puts an end to cheap bank repossessions

Posted 14 September 2018

A full bench of the South Gauteng High Court ruled on Wednesday that repossessed homes may no longer be sold at auction without reserve prices, except in exceptional circumstances.

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Judges grill banks on home repo practices

Posted 03 September 2018

A full bench of the Johannesburg High Court sat last week to deliberate on how and when reserve prices should be applied before repossessed homes are sold at sheriffs’ auctions. The three judges berated the banks for arriving in court without proper paperwork and expecting to be given judgments against clients.                        

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Expropriation without compensation meant nothing to me till my land was invaded

Posted 02 September 2018

Three black Limpopo landowners have forced Police Minister Bheki Cele and Soshanguve station commander Brigadier Samuel Thine to take action against people who invaded their land in Onderstepoort‚ north of Pretoria. They turned to AfriForum to defend against the land invasion. It has also been reported that Cape Town has experienced a 53% increase in land invasions last year. As several observers have pointed out, these are the inevitable consequences of reckless talk surrounding expropriation with compensation. 

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Court papers reveal the state of the mortgage sector

Posted 26 August 2018

Court papers filed in the South Gauteng by two of the major mortgage banks – Standard and Absa – provide a fascinating insight into the health of SA’s property sector. There are about 8 million properties in SA, of which 82% are residential. This amounts to 6,5 million residential properties, of which 33,5% are bonded. The bonded properties were worth R2,6 trillion in 2017, amounting to 52,4% of the total value of all residential properties in SA, and 56,5% of GDP.

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No land grabs allowed - ANC assures AgriSA

Posted 21 August 2018

Agricultural industry association AgriSA said on Tuesday that it welcomed the African National Congress’s (ANC’s) policy commitments regarding agrarian reform and agricultural property with respect to the ongoing debate on the expropriation of land without compensation.

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Nedbank slammed for brazen negligence

Posted 18 August 2018

Ordinary bank clients are seldom legally successful against the giant banks to which they entrust their money, even when the banks make terrible mistakes. That’s why the Namibian case of Faida Trading has intrigued legal writer Carmel Rickard. In her A Matter of Justice column on the Legalbrief site, she wonders what caused Nedbank to resort to what looks to her like bullying tactics rather than owning up to an awful and unexplained error by their staff. In the end the judge slammed the bank for being ‘unreasonable’, ‘obdurate’ and ‘brazingly negligent’ – but the customer was put through the wringer in getting there.

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Court to decide on how to handle home repossessions

Posted 15 August 2018

A landmark case to decide how banks should deal with home repossessions will be heard on 28 and 29 August in the South Gauteng High Court.

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Landmark court case seeks to stop over-charging by creditors

Posted 13 August 2018

Court papers filed in the Western Cape High Court last week by University of Stellenbosch’s Law Clinic and Summit Financial Partners make for disturbing reading. They are asking the court to stop creditors from loading unlawful costs onto the accounts of distressed debtors, which they reckon has cost debtors R1 billion in unlawful fees. 

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Outrage builds over fuel price hikes

Posted 12 August 2018

People Against Petrol and Paraffin Price Increases (Papppi), headed by Visvin Reddy, is calling for a 35% drop in fuel prices. Did you know that 38% of what you pay at the pump goes to levies and taxes? And that nearly R2 goes to the bankrupt and corrupted Road Accident Fund? Reddy has had enough. He put out a video stating his case for a fuel price reduction and it got 500,000 hits. Just as Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) has thrown a crowbar into e-tolls, so may Papppi bring enough social pressure on government to rein in this runaway train.  

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Wall Street Journal calls Cyril an imitation of Robert Mugabe

Posted 07 August 2018

SA is being blasted by the foreign press. The New York Times climbed into deputy president David Mabuza, former provincial leader in Mpumalanga, for the sad state in which he left the province's public services. According to current and former ANC officials, he siphoned off money from schools and other public services to buy loyalty and amass enormous power, making him impossible to ignore on the national stage and putting him in position to shape South Africa for years to come. The Times wonders how well this sits with President Cyril Ramaphosa's campaign to end corruption?

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Business rescue practitioners face down 42 court cases from Gupta associates, creditors

Posted 07 August 2018

The business rescue practitioners trying to save the eight Gupta-owned companies placed under business rescue in February have had to face down 42 court cases in less than four months. That works out at more than 10 a month.

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Zim appears to have dodged the abyss

Posted 05 August 2018

By all accounts, these were the freest elections held in Zimbabwe in more than two decades. But, as MDC representative for South Bulawayo Eddie Cross (who retained his seat) reports, there were clear irregularities. The street riots that took place in Harare last week were entirely understandable, given the historic bias of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). This time, however, the ZEC appears to have discharged its duties with reasonable diligence. As Cross points out, there is a real chance Zimbabwe has swerved from the edge of the abyss and can now begin the arduous task of reconstruction after three decades of plunder under former President Robert Mugabe.

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