Time to get rid of SAA

Posted 12 December 2017

SAA has shown itself to be one of the most incompetently run organisations in SA, and that’s saying something when you stack it up against Eskom and other state-run organisations. It needs a lifeline of R10bn from the state just to keep limping along. James Peron argues that it is time to get rid of the airline, just as other countries have done. It needs to be sold to a well-managed private operator, while keeping the SAA brand.

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The choice that could save SA, or wreck it

Posted 08 December 2017

Frankly, it's not a great choice: Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma or Cyril Ramaphosa as the next leader of the ANC and possibly the country. Dlamini-Zuma will be hell-bent on protecting her ex-husband Jacob Zuma against 783 charges of corruption. Ramaphosa, a former trade union leader turned billionaire, is seen as friendlier to business and likely to return the ANC to its Freedom Charter roots. As The Economist argues, opposition parties hoping for a wrecking ball like Dlamini-Zuma to win the election race are playing a dangerous game. She might just win, and then we face the prospect of a hereditary kleptocracy.
  

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New court rules make it harder for repossessed homes to be sold for a pittance

Posted 06 December 2017

One of the outrageous abuses taking place under the noses of our courts in SA is the ability of banks to repossess homes when a customer is three months in default, and then sell the property at sheriff’s auctions for a pittance. This leaves the customer without a home, and an outstanding debt to the bank. Needless to say, this abuse was a gift to criminal syndicates and property speculators, who feed on the misery of others by picking up these properties for as little as R100. Well, that just became a whole lot more difficult. New court rules gazetted last week make it far more difficult for banks to get away with this. For distressed home owners, putting up a strong defence against the banks got a whole lot easier. 

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SA preparing to enforce some of the strictest data protection laws in the world

Posted 05 December 2017

The Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act changes the way people and organisations are required to handle personal data. Drawing on legislation in force in Germany and the UK, the new Act imposes heavy penalties for abuses. This, says Sage South Africa, gives SA some of the strictest data protection laws in the world.

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Zim's white farmers see opportunity in Mugabe's exit

Posted 01 December 2017

Zimbabwe's new president Emmerson Mnangagwa does not share his predecessor's hatred of white farmers, and as a farmer himself appears keen to use agriculture to revitalise the economy. This has given hope to several farmers who were evicted from their farms as part of the country's controversial land reform programme, according to AFP.

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SA actively invited junk status

Posted 29 November 2017

The ANC knows very well what needs to be done to avoid junk status. For many years, however – and especially in the past 11 months, when the threat of downgrades has been most acute – it has been doing the opposite. So much so, in fact, that it seems to have been inviting junk status, writes Anthea Jeffrey of the Institute of Race Relations in Biznews.

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Mugabe's allies scatter to the winds

Posted 26 November 2017

Zimbabwe's former information minister Jonathan Moyo is smart, funny, always ready with a stinging quote to reduce his political opponnents to ash. According to Richard Chidza, he was also a political turncoat who jumped sides whenever it suited his own political survival. With the swearing in of new Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa last week, Moyo is once again out in the cold. The diehard Mugabe supporters have lost their chief patron, and for some this is the end of their political careers. Some may end up in prison. Will Jonathan Moyo survive this time, as he has done so many times in the past?

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Life after Mugabe

Posted 26 November 2017

Robert Mugabe, the former president of Zimbabwe, has been granted immunity from prosecution and a $10m lump sum golden handshake. In the view of many Zimbabweans, this is a small price to pay to get rid of the old man and his wife, Grace, who had ambitions of succeeding her husband. Now the hard reality sets in. The new president Emmerson Mnangagwa delivered an inauguration speech on Friday that sounded very much like the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) policy platform - re-engaging with the wider international community, tackling corruption, sorting out the thorny land reform issue (and whether and what to pay white farmers who were dispossessed without compensation). In this article, MDC representative Eddie Cross spells out the challenges that lie ahead. The optimism of Zimbabweans has never reached such heights. Will it be short-lived?  

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Mashaba plans to sue Home Affairs over processing of illegal immigrants

Posted 23 November 2017

Joburg Mayor Herman Mashaba wants to know who is in his city legally and for those whose documentation is not in order to be processed by Home Affairs. And to achieve this he is preparing to take the Department of Home Affairs to court, arguing that the challenge of illegal immigration was a crisis in the city and that the responsibility for “immigration control lies with national government and not local municipality”.

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Zim: the genie of freedom has been uncorked and won't go back in the bottle

Posted 22 November 2017

Zim opposition member of parliament Eddie Cross reports on the events of the last few days, culminating in the resignation/removal of Robert Mugabe and his coterie of "criminals" from power. There is a palpable sense of freedom in the country, but we should be modest in our expectations. Zanu-PF has signalled its intention to go it alone in government, without inviting opposition parties to the table. A million people gathered on thre streets of Harare in the last few days to bid the old man good riddance. The genie of freedom has been uncorked and will not go back in the bottle. Long-suffering Zimbabweans are in no mood to entertain another dictator dressed up as a saviour, if that is what Mugabe's successor Emmerson Mnangagwa has in mind. These are interesting days indeed.

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SA's wealthiest woman wins defamation suit against ANN7 owner Mzwanele Manyi

Posted 21 November 2017

Billionaire entrepreneur Magdalena Wierzycka has won a defamation suit against ANN7 owner Mzwanele Manyi, who acused her of economic terrorism. Manyi argued that this was robust discourse and any attempt to stifle debate would have a chilling effect on free speech.

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Jubilation in Zimbabwe as the Mugabe era fizzles

Posted 19 November 2017

Zimbabwe opposition member of parliament Eddie Cross reported a week ago that the era of Robert Mugabe was coming to an end. Little did he know just how prescient that prediction was. A few days later the army had taken over in a soft coup and placed Mugabe and his family in "protective custody". The old man refused to go, but it now seems he has no say in the matter. As Eddie Cross argues in this article, the fired vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa is likely to lead a transitional government, which will have to act quickly to restore credibility to the country. This means opposition members may be included in any interim cabinet. We also find out from Cross that Mnangagwa has a history of human rights abuses, but is not known particularly for corruption.

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The end of Mugabe and the rise of Emmerson Mnangagwa

Posted 15 November 2017


A week ago Eddie Cross, an opposition member of parliament in Zimbabwe, predicted that the end of Robert Mugabe's reign in Zimbabwe. In this article he outlines the forces at work in that troubled country, as the military takes control of the political structures and holds the 93 year-old president under virtual house arrest while ostensibly battling "criminal elements" trying to sieze control. Who will replace Mugabe? Enter Emmerson Mnangagwa, fired last week by Mugabe and now invited back to the country. Or, as Eddie Cross suggests, will this open the door to free and fair elections next year? 

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Zim headed for military rule - Zim ambassador

Posted 15 November 2017


Reports from Zimbabwe this morning say the army has arrested several cabinet ministers and there are unconfirmed reports that President Robert Mugabe and his family are under virtual house arrest in Borrowdale, a suburb of Harare. The official opposition ambassador to SA, Austin Moyo, says all indications are that Zimbabwe is headed to military rule.

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Liar liar: Brown vs Qoma. Who's telling the truth?

Posted 15 November 2017

Eskom spokesperson Khulani Qoma laid into public enterprises minister Lynn Brown yesterday, saying "she lies all the time." What is she supposedly lying about? Well, just about everything, including the influence of the Guptas in making Eskom board appointments, to the true financial health of the state-owned electricity provider. Brown hit back with a few jabs of her own, calling the parliamentary inquiry into state capture a "kangaroo court".

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Parents of drowned child seek justice

Posted 12 November 2017

Michael Komape died in a toilet at school. Now James and Rosina Komape are going to court to compel the state to provide decent sanitation to schools across Limpopo.

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Book review: The President's Keepers by Jacques Pauw

Posted 09 November 2017

Jacques Pauw's new book The President's Keepers has lit up the country, with PDF versions making the rounds in case the state tries to ban the book. As well they might. It details how President Zuma avoided filing tax returns before and during his presidency, because to do so would illuminate that he was a fatally compromised man. He was and is, in fact, a kept man, receiving payments for his upkeep from some truly dodgy characters. Then, of course, Pauw details how the intelligence and other organs of government have been captured and looted.

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SAA: a case of the poor subsidising the rich

Posted 07 November 2017

Former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni has been removed from her position at the airline but will not go quietly. She has now insinuated that Bidvest is one of several companies supposedly looting SAA, and had a dig at her old boss - former finance minister Pravin Gordhan - for holding shares in Bidvest. This is rather desperate stuff from the woman under whose watch SAA clocked up losses of more than R10bn. James Person of the Moorfield Storey Institute unpacks the problems at SAA and concludes the airline, far from being a national asset, is a national liability where the poor are subsidising the rich.

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South Africa at the tipping point

Posted 06 November 2017

South Africa is at the tipping point: hopelessly in debt, with economic decline as far as the eye can see, and captive to a government clueless as to what do do next. Temba Nolutshungu takes us through the prognosis, and it isn't pretty.

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Katlehong family evicted over home loan arrears of R1,000

Posted 06 November 2017

Ernest Mashaba and his family were evicted from their home four times after Nedbank repossessed the property at auction for R10. By Nedbank's version, the family was R1,105 in arrears. But independent legal and financial expert Leonard Benjamin looked into the case and believes the Mashabas were in credit on their account soon after the bank started legal proceedings.

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US court exposes the Achilles Heel of securitisation

Posted 02 November 2017

A court in New Jersey in the US has hammered a giant nail in the coffin of banks involved in securitisation. An attorney specialising in home loan foreclosure and securitisation in SA says the case should be liberally quoted in our local courts where banks are attempting to foreclose without the original documents. The website Living Lies explains the importance of this recent decision.

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The JFK murder solved by citizen investigators and journalists

Posted 29 October 2017

The murder of President John F Kennedy 54 years ago has been described as the “crime of the century”. If US and Western news media cannot discuss this seminal event openly and honestly, let alone investigate it, then what does that say about their credibility? For half a century, the mainstream press has clung to the story that the killing was done by a lone nut, Lee Harvey Oswald. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) invented the "conspiracy theory" slur to prevent honest investigation of the JFK crime scene. Finian Cunningham systematically dismantles this implausible lone nut theory and shames the media in the process.

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The curious arrest and intimidation of Prof Norman Finkelstein

Posted 29 October 2017

Professor Normal Finkelstein is a renowned US academic and champion of human rights. So it came as something of a surprise when earlier this month he was arrested in New York, apparently for his defence of a former student, Dr Rudolph Baldeo, who Finkelstein was assisting in a rather messy divorce. Here is a case where the plaintiffs' attorneys perjured themselves and intimidated Dr Baldeo under threat of losing his medical license to hand over his life's work and savings. When Finkelstein promised (and did) expose the corruption in the case, he suddenly received a visit from the police. Incidentally, Dr Baldeo had been to South Africa as a volunteer doctor, just as he had been in half a dozen other countries. Mary Serumaga details the story, and what it says about men's rights, and how easily these are traduced in the rush to defend women - even if their testimony is fake.

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SAA: Life after death

Posted 26 October 2017

Sooner or later the government is going to have to confront selling off SAA, the national airline, just as it is now considering selling its shares in Telkom to meet its groaning revenue targets. This would not mean the end of the national airline. It is something multiple airlines around the world have faced with stunning success, as James Peron points out.

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Gigaba's budget runs out of other people's money

Posted 25 October 2017

Finance minister Malusi Gigaba's medium term budget is bereft of ideas. In the words of former UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher, the problem with socialism is you eventually run out of other's people's money. Here is a budget that makes it clear the money has run out and the government has no idea how to solve the problem - so, all major decisions have been deferred to February next year. The welfare state continues to grow, government hopes spending on infrastructure will ignite growth, and the projected revenue shortfall of R50bn may have to be settled through the sale of Telkom shares and other state-owned assets. 

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