Dreaming of a new Zimbabwe as election day approaches

Posted 16 July 2018

Things are hotting up ahead of Zimbabwe's 30 July poll which is expected to be a watershed event for the country. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is led by 40-year-old Nelson Chamisa, who faces off against the 75-year-old Emmerson Mnangagwa, formerly part of the Mugabe government before he desposed his one-time boss in a soft coup late last year. Stories are circulating in the Zimbabwean press that Chamisa has been in talks for Mugabe's wife, offering her a potential vice presidency should he win the race. Chamisa denies this. Voters are spoiled for choice of candiates, and the MDC appears to be contemplating the possibility of outright victory for the first time in its history (not counting the corrupt 2000 election which it undoubtedly won but had the result stolen by the ruling Zanu-PF). Not so fast, say Zimbabweans in SA. Chamisa may be young and charismatic, but he has not earned the trust of voters. If that's the case, could we see Mnangagwa pulling off yet another term for Zanu-PF? MDC parliamentarian from South Bulawayo, Eddie Cross, looks at what the new government has to confront, regardless of who wins.

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Absa's rebranding launch rudely interrupted by protesters

Posted 13 July 2018

Absa launched its new logo and image this week as part of its separation from Barclays. Visitors to Absa’s head office in Joburg were greeted by a gathering of aggrieved customers, led by the Lungelo Lethu  Human Rights Foundation (LLHRF), protesting the bank’s abusive home repossession practices. A memorandum was handed over to a senior representative of the bank’s legal department, with an undertaking to commence a dialogue with LLHRF to iron out grievances.

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The Bobroffs are wanted by Interpol

Posted 12 July 2018

Disgraced and disbarred father and son attorneys Ronald and Darren Bobroff are on a list of the worlds’ most wanted fugitives after Interpol issued Red Notices for their arrest, says Moneyweb.

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How to escape from a property suretyship

Posted 12 July 2018

Our law will generally hold you to the agreements you make, and a suretyship is no exception. You can only free yourself from it if it “was induced by fraud, duress, undue influence or mistake, whether induced by misrepresentation or otherwise”. Here's a recent case where the court found against Absa and in favour of the defendant who signed surety, as GhostDigest reports.

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Duduzane Zuma gets his day in court

Posted 11 July 2018

Duduzane Zuma appeared in the Randburg magistrates court this week to answer for charges related to a 2014 car accident that resulted in the death of a young woman. Phumzile Dube died instantly after Zuma’s Porsche crashed into a minibus taxi on M1 in Johannesburg in February 2014. But Duduzane, the son of former president Jacob Zuma, has other legal problems on his plate, as Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) reports.

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BEE partners bring application for liquidation of Tubular Technical Construction

Posted 07 July 2018

Tubular Technical Construction (TTC) - part of the Tubular Group of companies - is a prominent construction and engineering company that hauled in massive contracts at Kusile, Exxaro and others. But behind the smiling facade, things are not looking that rosy. The company has been accused of bribery and corruption, and now the BEE partners in a subsidiary company say they are owed more than R24m, and TTC has stopped paying it. This prompted the BEE partners to bring an application for the liquidation of TTC.

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Jacques Pauw doubles down on accusations against Malema

Posted 07 July 2018

EFF leader Julius Malema wants an apology from author and journalist Jacques Pauw for his alleged ties to people in the criminal underworld. No I won't apologise, says Pauw. In fact, he has doubled down on his accusations, as this posting on his Facebook page shows.

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The jig is up for Ramaphosa

Posted 04 July 2018

News out today from Capital Economics in London suggests the Ramaphoria effect is dead in the water. Ramaphosa's accession to the presidency was supposed to lift our hearts and souls and produce an economic miracle on the basis that with Jacob Zuma gone, everything would sort itself out.

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Home repossession mess in Gauteng gets its day in court

Posted 03 July 2018

Lawyers defending clients against the banks say the Gauteng Judge President’s recent directive can be used to freeze home repossessions and evictions.

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As Zim election day nears, the hard work of rebuilding a broken country commences

Posted 01 July 2018

It is now less than 30 days to Zimbabwe's election. MDC opposition parliamentarian Eddie Cross looks beyond the election result to the frightful challenge that awaits the winners, including the need to create jobs at the rate of 150,000 a year. The education and health budgets will have to double, but all of this will mean increased taxes. The old man Robert Mugabe might be gone, but his legacy is one of ruin. Whoever wins the election - and the opposition MDC is certainly in with a stronger than ever chance provided vote rigging is avoided - has a mountain to climb to pull the country back from the abyss.

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Putting property rights at the heart of land reform

Posted 29 June 2018

Property rights are not a hindrance to land reform, but part of the solution. This is the main thrust of a recent address to influential German opinion makers in Berlin today by Terence Corrigan, project manager at the Institute of Race Relations (IRR). ‘The denial of property rights was central to the disempowerment of African people in the past,’ Corrigan says. ‘Over the past decade, the movement has been to replicate this.’ Extending property rights rather than diluting or removing them, he argues, ‘would not be to ignore history, but would recognise it’. Corrigan is in Germany on the first leg of a campaign tour to Europe and Britain to build international support for protecting and extending the property rights of all South Africans, and to gain global support for opposition to Expropriation without Compensation (EWC). 

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RIP David Goldblatt: photographer who found the human in an inhuman landscape

Posted 27 June 2018

World renowned and revered South African photographer David Goldblatt has died at the age of 87. He became a photographer at the age of 18 and would come to focus his camera on quiet, yet equally poignant features of the brutal apartheid regime. He documented South Africa's troubled journey through the apartheid years to the present. Those of us who had the pleasure of meeting and working with David recall him as a true gentleman and a professional to his core. We shall miss him. Fellow photographer Paul Weinberg reviews his life and work.

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The cycle of freedom always ends in dictatorship

Posted 25 June 2018

In this article, Jeff Thomas of International Man writes of the warning by Scottish economist Alexander Tytler that all democracies end in dictatorship. Looking at Tytler's Cycle of Freedom, it is difficult not to conclude that SA has squandered much of the liberty gained in the last 20 years and we are moving down the scale to apathy. From there, it is a short hop to bondage before the cycle of freedom fires up again. This will take generations to reverse, Tytler warns us.

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Judgment paints a damning picture of prison life at Sun City

Posted 22 June 2018

Following a complaint that Sun City prisoners in Johannesburg were waiting 20 hours a day between meals, the South Gauteng High Court, on Friday, ordered the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) to ensure that meals are properly spaced through the day. There may be no more than 14 hours between supper and breakfast. The judgment goes beyond prisoners’ rights to meals. Judge SM Wentzel paints a damning picture of a department repeatedly flouting the law and court orders. The prison population is double the capacity of the prison. It is designed to hold 1,339 inmates, but actually holds 2,812.

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3 companies fined 10% of turnover for not filing annual financial statements

Posted 21 June 2018

Three companies have been hit with fines equivalent to 10% of turnover for failing to file annual financial statements within six months of the yearend.

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Fuzzy disclosure by mines obscures the truth about rehabilitation

Posted 21 June 2018

It’s an old trick of the mining game: when it comes to paying for rehabilitation of mined land, duck the liability by selling the mine or declaring insolvency. Or put it under indefinite “care and maintenance”. New research by the Centre for Environmental Rights’ (CER) and Intellidex shows just how opaque mining rehabilitation is in SA.

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How the Hawks were set up to fail

Posted 17 June 2018

Remember the Scorpions? The elite crime busting unit that roped in R4bn in corrupt proceeds in the last year of its operation, before it was dismantled by Jacob Zuma and replaced by the Hawks. The Hawks, by contrast, seized just R35m in its first year in operation, and the number of cases being investigated dropped 85%. Paul Hoffman of Accountability Now, writing in Daily Maverick, explores how to turn this ship of failure around. 

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Is Ramaphoria over before it started?

Posted 13 June 2018

Cyril Ramaphosa's accession to the presidential throne was supposed to have lifted our hearts and souls, but figures just out for the first quarter of 2018 show an economic contraction of 2,2%. The only sector showing growth is government services - no surprise there. The country is at the edge of a cliff, and it is doubtful if anyone in government is fully aware just how serious the mess is.

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Another absurd report from the Public Protector

Posted 13 June 2018

Public Protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane has had a rough time since taking office. First, she ordered Parliament to amend the Constitution – despite the fact that she had no power to do so. Then a High Court found that she was biased and lacked impartiality, as well as being dishonest and incompetent, and ordered her personally to pay a part of the legal costs in a case brought against her. Now she has released a report on Helen Zille’s highly problematic tweets on colonialism that is so legally misguided that it is difficult to believe that a qualified lawyer could write it in good faith. 

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Construction mafia moves from Durban to Joburg

Posted 07 June 2018

It’s a shakedown that’s been going on for several years in KwaZulu-Natal, but is now rearing its head in Johannesburg. Local community gangs, often armed, threaten to shut down construction sites unless they are given 30% of the work.

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EFF's racist remarks reflect panic among its leaders

Posted 07 June 2018

Recent racist remarks by EFF MP Floyd Shivambu suggest panic in the party leadership over the possible return of tax investigators to EFF supremo Julius Malema's door, and the leadership's interesting association with cigarette smugglers. 

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Book review: J is for Junk Economics by Michael Hudson

Posted 04 June 2018

Michael Hudson is regarded by many as one of the world’s best economists because of his willingness to pierce the veil of deceit that passes for modern economic wisdom. His lastet book J is for Junk Economics exposes much of modern economic thought as pure propaganda, according to Moneyweb.

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Massive class action suit against Australian banks

Posted 31 May 2018

A Royal Commission of Inquiry into banking misconduct in Australia has heard heart-rending testimony of brutal banking practices, including cases where pensioners in their 80s were forced to sell their homes to repay loans. Now a massive class action suit is in the bake over reckless lending, focusing on those who took out mortgage loans since 2012. This is one of several class action suits now being launched against the banks.

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The frame-up of Russia continues over downed Malaysian flight MH-17

Posted 28 May 2018

The latest report by a Dutch-led investigation into the downing of a Malaysian airliner in 2014 casting blame on Russia for the disaster follows the same reprehensible flouting of due process as the Skripal poison affair, writes Finian Cunningham.

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Zim farmers have nothing to go back to

Posted 27 May 2018

With the recent news that compensation may finally be forthcoming for farmers whose properties have been compulsorily acquired by the Zimbabwe government since 2000, many of us now face a time of extremely painful memories and decisions, writes Cathy Buckle. 

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