Thuli Madonsela: The injustice of shady home auctions

Posted 24 May 2018

Things are getting hot when you get the former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela coming out with her thoughts on shady home repossessions and auctions. It is, as we have argued here for years, a national disgrace. We are pleased that the Portfolio Committee on Finance has been in touch with King Sibiya, Fred Arijs and others who have argued for legal reform in this area. Our prediction is this will become a central issue in the upcoming presidential elections. Now wouldn't that be great, along with jail time for the criminal bankers and their lawyers responsible for this outrage?

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Satire is booming in post-Mugabe Zimbabwe

Posted 24 May 2018

On a stage in a park in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, Carl Joshua Ncube, perhaps the country’s most famous comedian, is coaching a novice. Imitating her act, in which she pretends to deliver a baby, he mimes a doctor slapping its bottom. “People love to hear about bottoms,” he tells her. An hour or so later, he introduces her — and three other wannabe female comics, one of whom is his wife—to a big audience. “In Zimbabwe we only have one female comedian,” he says, mock-solemnly. “We need some competition for Grace!” Feigning anxiety, he adds: “Although we know what happens when people try to introduce their wives to the profession!”

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Tony Webbstock: a warrior has left us

Posted 22 May 2018

Our dear friend Tony Webbstock passed away last Wednesday morning, the result of complications from a decades-long battle with diabetes and – one has to say – inadequate medicine back in the day when diabetes wasn’t as well understood as it is today. Tony was a warrior with a Christian heart, a genius lawyer who put himself at the service of the people against the banks.

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The ugly face of modern banking

Posted 22 May 2018

A 72 year old man gets a 30 year loan which he cannot repay, so he is forced to sell his house. Bank staff are there to flog you stuff you don't want or need. They hate their jobs, but are given stiff sales target to meet so the bosses can get year-end bonuses that run into the millions. When you default, the bank comes after everything you have. Staff are prevented from talking bad about their employers because of "disparagement clauses" in their employment contracts. Even years after they have left the bank. When, customers are asking, will bank executives get time in jail, in this expose in the wake of the Australian Commission of Inquiry into Banking. You could just as easily cut and paste this story for SA. 

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SA editors launch defamation campaign against now defunct Bell Pottinger in UK

Posted 21 May 2018

Three prominent South African editors have lodged a defamation claim against AIG Europe, the insurer for now defunct Bell Pottinger, over the fallen UK media relations giant’s role in the so-called “white monopoly capital” media campaign.

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Does SA need 35 ministers, 9 provinces and 263 municipalities?

Posted 20 May 2018

SA is over-governed. We have 35 ministers, 37 deputy ministers, and 9 provinces each with their own ministers and administrations. Then there are the 263 municipalities, operating another layer of bureaucracy. Perhaps government should set the pace by scaling back on this boondoggle.

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Thank Trump and Bibi for higher oil prices

Posted 18 May 2018

Oil prices spiked from around $40 to nearly $80 a barrel after US President Donald Trump announced last week he was pulling the US out of the Iran nuclear deal. Bibi Netanhayoo's signature is all over this. 

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Pravin Gordhan's campaign to undo rotten deals and save state-owned companies

Posted 17 May 2018

The bad news is that capture of state-owned companies (SOCs) has cost the taxpayer billions of rands, which have been siphoned off into the pockets of crooks and corrupt officials. The good news is that Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan is back on the job and is cleaning out the boards of these companies to make sure the culture of graft is deracinated. Daily Maverick looks at the latest developments.

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EFF wants a state-owned bank to counter the predatory practices of the Big 4

Posted 15 May 2018

The EFF has shown itself a force for progressive change in SA, recently tabling a bill which would allow for the creation of a state-owned bank. In this article on Daily Maverick, deputy head of the EFF, Floyd Shivambu, explains how the existing Big 4 banks - Absa, Standard, Nedbank and FNB - continue their predatory practices against South Africans. This article shows a deep understanding of the extent to which banks are retarding the economic development of the country.

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How SA should tackle the redistribution of land in urban areas

Posted 13 May 2018

In this interview, co-author of “Securing Land Tenure in Urban and Rural South Africa”, argues that talk of land expropriation without compensation is premature, as this is already catered for in the Housing Act. Rather make use of existing laws to accommodate the unhoused before taking the radical step of amending the Constitution to allow expropriation without compensation.

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How Nedbank is claimed to have lied in court

Posted 09 May 2018

Durban businessman Ian Brakspear's company was liquidated by Nedbank over a R7m loan he says he neither asked for nor received. He was put through nearly a decade of hell, including a 2 week trial in Durban, as the bank's legal representatives painted him as mendacious and delusional. He lost his case, then his mother Dorothy brought a case before the Jersey court asking for evidence of these supposed payments sent and received. The bank was forced to hand over its so-called Bankers Book - nothing, nada, zilch. No evidence of the payments anywhere in sight. If you listen closely, you can almost hear the sound of guillotines being hoisted at Nedbank's head office in Joburg. Martin Welz of Noseweek looks into the story.

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Zanu PF is falling apart with 90 days to go before elections

Posted 07 May 2018

Zimbabwe's ruling party Zanu-PF appears to be falling apart with just 90 days to go before elections. President Emmerson Mnangagwa (pictured left), who was helped to power by a soft coup that removed his predecessor Robert Mugabe, is now facing challenges from the military in the form of Vice President Chiwenga. This does not look good for either the ruling party or the country. Some 50,000 business people have poured into Zimbabwe in recent months hoping for a change in the country's disastrous policy direction. MDC representative Eddie Cross explains what's going on.

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Will Ramaphosa's investment drive get off the ground?

Posted 07 May 2018

President Ramaphosa plans an investment conference later this year with a target to attract, well, we're not quite sure - anywhere between R240bn and R1,2tr a year, or perhaps it is $100bn in foreign direct investment. His figures are murky, but the real problem is he has poisoned the well before he even started with talk of expropriating land without compensation. Following through on this will send a signal that any Constitutional guarantees on property are meaningless. Now Ramaphosa appears to be walking back on this threat, no doubt sensing his task of economic regeneration is dead in the water if expropriation is part of his agenda. John Kane-Berman of the Institute of Race Relations explains what's going on.

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Let's not get too excited about Ramaphosa

Posted 04 May 2018

Political analyst Aubrey Matshiqi says we should not get too excited about President Ramaphosa. He has a year to run the country before the next election. This is a long time in politics, and his “collateral beauty” – as Matshiqi puts it, when stacked against the ugly administration of his predecessor – may be exhausted by then. He is hailed as a great negotiator, but is also seen as a serial compromiser. Which interests will he serve most loyally? There is a chance the country will tire of Ramaphosa rather quickly. That said, the job of the Democratic Alliance and Economic Freedom Alliance, which feasted on the corruption and incompetence of former President Zuma’s government, will be made so much harder under Ramaphosa, who simply doesn’t present that easy a target.

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I know which country the US will invade next

Posted 02 May 2018

Which country will the US invade next? US comedian and presenter of RT show "Redacted Tonight with Lee Camp" points out a few common threads linking all the countries that have fallen to a US regime that increasingly behaves like a rogue state. What joins Libya to Syria and Iran? Here's a clue: they all dumped the US dollar.

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SA's strike rate not as ugly as you might think

Posted 01 May 2018

South Africa’s parliament is currently debating amendments to the Labour Relations Act that will change how workers can go on strike. For example, the amendments would require trade unions to hold secret ballots to decide on strike action and introduce a mechanism where strikes could be resolved through an advisory arbitration panel.

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Plunder Down Under: the rot in Australia's financial services

Posted 25 April 2018

The place is Australia, but the pattern is the same we have seen in other parts of the world, with banks gouging their customers with merry abandon. It has all the elements of a crudely crafted, if effective, tale: banks and other financial services, founded, proud of their standing in society; financial service providers, with such pride, effectively charging the earth for providing elementary services; then, such entities, with self-assumed omnipotence, cheating, extorting and plundering their client. 

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Winnie Mandela and apartheid's hidden history

Posted 25 April 2018

A new documentary on Winne Mandela – called simply Winnie – is fascinating both for what it reveals about the hidden history of South Africa’s transition away from apartheid and for its relevance to other, current struggles. Jonathan Cook, writing in Dissident Voice, suggests the documentary shows how history has been manipulated to paint Nelson Mandela as a saint and Winnie as a rogue. We need to develop the critical intelligence to prevent ourselves being manipulated and set one against the other. Otherwise, those who seek to challenge the current order will either be tamed, like Nelson Mandela, or destroyed, like Winnie Mandela.

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A shocking judgment that cannot be allowed to stand

Posted 24 April 2018

The Standard Bank v Nkwana case recently decided in the Pretoria High Court seemed to be a major step back for home owners facing repossession and eviction. The case was argued on behalf of Nkwana by Lawyers for Human Rights, and will almost certainly be appealed - especially the court's ruling that it was okay for banks to continue selling repossessed properties for a fraction of their market value. This absurd judgment prompted a response from former public protector Thuli Madonsela: "With due respect to the court, I consider this judgement to be grossly unjust and inequitable. It is as a setback regarding social justice. Should this matter be taken on appeal, it would be great if all those concerned about social justice join in as amicus curae."

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Dismay as judge dismisses damages claim for child who drowned in pit toilet

Posted 23 April 2018

Five year-old Michael Komape drowned in a pit toilet at a Polokwane school in 2014. His family sued the Limpopo Department of Basic Education for R3m in damages, calling more than a dozen witnesses in a two week trial argued in November last year. It was a harrowing exploration of a dysfunctional government department that had the money to fix school infrastructure, but didn’t – returning unspent money year after year to the provincial treasury. The state offered the family R450,000 in compensation before the trial commenced, but this was rejected as too low. Judge Gerrit Muller threw out the family’s claim for damages of R3m – leaving the family effectively bereft.

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AfriForum lobs a few grenades at Julius Malema

Posted 19 April 2018

AfriForum is throwing the book at EFF leader Julius Malema, with multiple private prosecutions being brought against him. The latest private prosecution relates to fraud and tender corruption involving Limpopo company On-Point Engineering. AfriForum advocate Gerri Nel - who famously prosecuted SA Olympic blade runner Oscar Pistorius for the shooting of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp - has attacked the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for failing to take forward numerous cases against Malema. Malema, in response, challenged the "white racists" to bring it on, and said the prosecutions were to divert attention away from his call for land expropriation.

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Pretoria court cements its reputation as the banker's best friend

Posted 16 April 2018

A judgment just handed down by the Pretoria High Court allows the banks to continue selling repossessed properties without a reserve price. This flies in the face of changes announced just months ago - after years of lobbying - to stop this practice (which has resulted in homes being sold at auction for as little as R10). Late last year High Court rule 46 was amended to allow judges to impose a reserve price. Reading through this judgment, it is hard to argue with those who say the courts are merely extensions of the banks. The judgment has shocked many in the legal community who have being fighting banking malpractices. The case is being appealed by Lawyers for Human Rights.

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Grace Mugabe gets a taste of land invasion

Posted 15 April 2018

Grace Mugabe, wife of the deposed Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe, has complained to the police that vandals had invaded one of the farms she "owns" in the Mazoe district of Zimbabwe. Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) parliamentarian Eddie Cross was so moved by this outrage that he penned this open letter to her, asking what it is like to be at the receiving end of the cruelty she meted out to ordinary Zimbabweans and farmers. Here is a rather decent though probably incomplete catalogue of her crimes.

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Property rights are human rights

Posted 13 April 2018

The EFF’s attempt to amend the Constitution to allow for expropriation of land without compensation – with the support of the ANC – is a direct attack on the most fundamental rights enjoyed by all South Africans. If they can take away your land without compensation, they can take anything they want. Chris Hattingh of the Free Market Foundation looks at what’s going on.
 

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SA's sad history of land, blood and missing title deeds

Posted 10 April 2018

SA has a long and sad history of land expropriation and then denying black South Africans the right to own land. When this prohibition was removed in 1991, government passed ULTRA - the Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Act, which was supposed to hand title deeds to 5m South Africans. This never happened and remains one of the burning scars of the last two decades.

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