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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Soweto man in court for trespassing in his own home

Posted 10 February 2017

Solomon Nhlapo appeared in the Soweto Magistrates Court this week charged with trespassing in his own home. This bizarre case is by no means unique. Nhlapo has lived in this house since 1965, but when a sherriff arrived with an eviction order in 2014, he realised his house had been sold behind his back for R100 by Nedbank, which claimed a R22,000 loan taken out by Nhlapo's late mother Mary was in default. Yet Nhlapo has written confirmation from the bank itself showing the loan is paid up.

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DA considers laying charge against Zuma for lying under oath

Posted 30 October 2016

The Democratic Alliance is contemplating laying charges against President Zuma for lying under oath, and accuses him of a transparent attempt to delay and frustrate the release of the Public Protector's report into state capture.

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DA to challenge govt decision to leave International Criminal Court

Posted 24 October 2016

Government's decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) is being challenged by the Democratic Alliance. Burundi has also given notice that it intends pulling out of the Court, as Africans realise they - and only they - are subject to prosecution by the ICC. Perhaps President Zuma and some of his cohorts fear they may some day find themselves in front of the ICC, so what better time to plan their escape than now.

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Soweto man's house sold behind his back for R100

Posted 18 October 2016

Solomon Nhlapo is squatting in the Soweto house his late mother first acquired in 1965. Police have told him he in tresspassing in his own home, and this week he has been ordered to appear to the Protea, Soweto, magistrates court on charges of tresspassing. His house was sold behind his back for R100 by Nedbank, all over a R22,000 loan his mother took out with the SA Perm in 1986. What makes this case all the more disturbing is Solomon has written confirmation that his mother's loan is fully paid up.

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Did Standard Bank lie and cheat to get its hands on computer programme?

Posted 07 October 2016

Here's a case with shades of Kenneth Makate's claim that Vodacom ripped off his intellectual property, adn for which he has rewarded earlier this year with R10,5bn in the Constitutional Court. In this case, Johan Reynders of software company ADS says Standard Bank pilfered his intellectual property when it introduced an anti-hacking solution for its online clients in the 2000s. The difference here is Reynders is claiming $10bn from the bank.

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The perversion of the law

Posted 22 August 2016

French economist and philosopher Frederic Bastiat wrote The Law in 1850. It should be required reading for law makers, judges and legal practitioners. Bastiat argues that the law exists in a very narrow sense to protect the individual's body, liberty and property. Beyond that, tyranny beckons. 

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Outa threatens legal action over SAA's "unlawful" funding

Posted 13 July 2016

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has threatened legal action against SAA should it proceed with a R15 billion refinancing of the airline using a boutique finance house, BnP Capital, which has no track record in a deal of this size or nature, and in fact had its Financial Services Board licence revoked. The board of SAA chose BnP over more credible financial institutions, and agreed to pay three times what other bidders were offering - all in the name of "transformation". Then SAA fired Cynthia Stimpel, the group treasurer, for objecting to this outrageous deal.  

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Dead man's chest

Posted 04 July 2016

When Johannesburg businessman Imtiaz Mohammed was shot dead by a disgruntled employee in 2010, it fell to his widow Hajira to wrap up the estate. Only years later she discovered some dirty family secrets intended to keep her late husband’s assets out of her hands. It turns out her dead husband’s business bank account was kept alive by Standard Bank and other members of the family for 18 months after his murder.

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The land of no consequences for those in high office

Posted 19 June 2016

In this article, Rex van Schalkwyk, a former Supreme Court judge, points out several instances where senior politicians and government officials stomped all over the Constitution, not to mention common law standards of fraud, and got away with it. Instead of being held to the same standard as the rest of us, they abusers were sheltered by their political bretheren. 

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Joburg couple lose two houses over photo-copier machine

Posted 09 June 2016

A young Joburg couple ended up losing two houses after falling R17,500 in arrears on a copier machine they were renting. The Kromers knew nothing of the law when all this was going down, but now they are angry - and fighting back. Had they known at the time what they know now, they would have immediately defended the matter and leaned on the Constitutional prohibition on arbitrary deprivation of property. They would also have invoked the Conventional Penalties Act, which prevents a creditor making a claim such as this out of all proportion to the prejudice suffered. 

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Judge takes just 45 seconds to dismiss DA's attempt to suspend head of public prosecutions

Posted 26 May 2016

Judge Dolamo took just 45 seconds to dismiss a case brought by the Democratic Alliance calling for a commission of inquiry into the National Director of Public Prosecutions, Mongcobo Jiba, who has a long and storied history of going to bat for President Zuma in his own troubles with the law.

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Drop in complaints related to EAOs, but Credit Ombud report shows how dodgy lawyers inflate debt

Posted 16 April 2016

The Credit Ombud reports a drop in complaints related to emolument attachment orders (EAO) after the so-called Stellenbosch case, which is now before the Constitutional Court. But the Credit Ombud's annual report for 2015 also shows how dodgy law firms are creating fictitious debts and some unregistered credit providers are refusing to furnish statements of account when asked to do so by customers. 

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Finally! SA moving out of the Stone Age when it comes to home repos

Posted 27 January 2016

As Acts Online has previosuly reported, SA is in the Stone Age when it comes to home repossessions. The good news is that the courts are considering changing its rules to prevent houses being sold at auction without reserve prices.   

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Please call me case ends up in Concourt

Posted 18 January 2016

Nkosana Makate has waged a 16 year battle to get what he argues is his rightful reward for inventing the Please Call Me service while an employee at Vodacom, which has a different view of how the servuce came about. Now the case is about to be decided by the Constitutional Court.

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Residents fight back against banks' eviction tactics

Posted 02 December 2015

Stories of mass evictions were common during the apartheid years. It's happening again, this time at the behest of the banks, but the victims are of every race, including the poorest of the poor. One human rights group has decided to fight back. 

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A Christmas gift for Lennie the Liquidator

Posted 26 November 2015

Last year, two days before Xmas, Lennie Katz, the liquidations supremo at Edward Nathan Sonnenberg, served summons on Noseweek and its editor Martin Welz for “wrongful defamation” over stories he had written on the Brakspear v Nedgroup and other cases. Welz and Noseweek are defending the action. Here’s the latest.

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FNB sells R1,4m property for R10,000 - move along, nothing to look at here

Posted 04 November 2015

FNB valued Mike Russwurm's house in Johannesburg at R1,4m just a few years before he fell into arrears. It then went and sold his house at auction for R10,000. Yes, you read that right. That's less than 1% of its original value. Here's what happened.

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Bogus land claims get short shrift at the Supreme Court

Posted 10 April 2015

Tales of bogus land claims and scammers are legion. One farmer was subjected to a bogus land claim for 10 years, and was met with delays and incompetence when he tried to get answers from the Land Claims Commission. The Supreme Court of Appeal had some choice words for the Commission in a recent case.

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Supreme Court allows City of Cape Town to reveal Sanral's e-tolling secrets

Posted 31 March 2015

The Supreme Court of Appeal has ruled that court files are open to the public, reinforcing the Constitutional Court's view that proper reporting on court proceedings was vital in promoting open justice and accurate public knowledge of the justice system. 

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Better to mediate than to litigate

Posted 11 March 2015

Litigation is expensive and, by its nature, adversarial. The justice system will soon be able to offer court-based mediation as an alternative method of dispute resolution, where opposing parties will be encouraged to find one point of common agreement, rather than multiple points of disagreement.

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Eskom hit by R600m law suit over pensions and funeral cover

Posted 15 December 2014

Eskom has been hit with a R600m law sui8t by two firms claiming the state power utility unlawfully terminated pension and funeral cover policies for its employees.

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Steel group loses court battle over environmental documents

Posted 27 November 2014

The Supreme Court of Appeal in a scathing judgment has ordered ArcelorMittal SA to hand over documents to an environmental group concerned with monitoring environmental practices by private companies. This case has wide implications for business in South Africa.

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Hofmeyr takes puppet master to court in Twitter war

Posted 24 November 2014

Two entertainers - Steve Hofmeyr and puppet master Chester Missing - will battle it out in court this week over accusations of racism. This is thought to be the first time a puppet has been cited in court papers.

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Eskom moves to prevent jail time for executives

Posted 10 November 2014

Westinghouse is asking the North Gauteng High Court to jail two Eskom executives for failure to hand over documents relating to a R4,3 billion tneder at the Koeberg nuclear power station. Eskom is fighting back, claiming this is a "gross abuse of the court process."

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