Klatzow to take on FNB in class action

Posted 01 June 2016

A forensic scientist is planning to bring a class action suit against FNB over its systemic failure to represent its clients' interests on online banking fraud cases. The trigger for this was an attempt by FNB to reach a partial rather than a full settlement of a client's claim that R300,000 was stolen out of her account. FNB attempted to push at least some of the blame on the client. 

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The fight back begins, Greek activists block home foreclosures

Posted 28 May 2016

Where is South Africa's spirit of protest over outrageous bank behaviour in removing people from their homes? Greek activists have taken to protesting outside court houses and successfully blocked 800 home repossessions in the process. Perhaps South Africans will wake up from their slumber and start a similar movement here. Any takers? 

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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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How one woman beat the big banks by reading the small print in her mortgage bond

Posted 25 May 2016

What happened to Lisa Epstein in the US echoes the experience of thousands of South Africans faced with foreclosure - fuzzy legal language, missing documents and a simple strategy of bankruptiung their clients by dragging out legal arguments. Lisa studied up securitisation on her own, read the small print, and finally beat the bank. Here's what happened. 

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Gordhan being hounded by a disintegrating government

Posted 23 May 2016

Finance minister Pravin Gordhan's "imminent" arrest for allegedly setting up a rogue investigations unit in SA Revenue Services some years ago is a symptom of the disintegration within the government. The Hawks could better use their time chasing down the R25,7bn in irregular spending reported by the auditor general in 2014, and nearly R1bn more in fruitless and wasteful spending. 

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Criminalisation of cartel conduct comes into effect

Posted 19 May 2016

As of this month, price fixing, market allocation and collusion could carry prison sentences of up to 10 years. Company managers and directors are now playing in a different league. The kind of collusive tendering we saw in the World Cup and Gauteng Freeway Project will in future likely result in criminal charges against the company bosses involved.

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Zuma's back - is Pravin on borrowed time?

Posted 15 May 2016

The presidency was quick to squash rumours that finance minister Pravin Gordhan is about to be arrested for his alleged role in setting up a rogue investigations unit when he headed up SA Revenue Services. But the Hawks appear to have other plans. Zuma's recent behaviour suggests he is far from beaten. His mood was ebullient in recent days as visited Eskom's head office and declared power cuts a thing of the past. Then it was on to SAA to bestow his blessings there. Maybe Pravin will see out his term to 2019, but don't count on it.

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Jobs crisis is just beginning

Posted 11 May 2016

The latest figures show unemployment up at 26,7%, but the worst is yet to come. SA could lose a further 400,000 jobs next year according to one estimate, as reported in Moneyweb. This spells trouble for the ruling party heading into the local elections later this year, and the opposition will make sport of these figures to boost their electoral chances. 

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Court decision is a blow to trade union stranglehold over workers

Posted 09 May 2016

The Free Market Foundation's challenge to labour unions was heard recently in the High Court, with both sides hailing it as a victory. It's clear the Foundation has grounds to celebrate as the judge's findings will make it more difficult for the minister of labour to extend so-called Bargaining Council Agreements (BCA) to employers who fall outside the BCA system. The Foundation says this is a victory for the millions of South Africans unemployed, and for marginalised workers.

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The West is travelling a road to economic ruin

Posted 05 May 2016

Economist Michael Hudson recently had plenty to say about the Panama Papers. He has a new book out called Killing the Host which explains how US banks set up branches in Panama and Liberia - where income tax rates are zero - as a way to attract criminal drug money to the US rather than Switzerland. And how international corporations can book their earnings in Panama at zero tax, meanwhile the cash is safely stowed in a New York bank. Paul Craig Roberts looks at how Michael Hudson has deciphered the world of international finance, revealing a thinly disguised ruse of global proportions aimed at enriching the 1% at the expense of the 99%.  

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Capitec accused of reckless lending

Posted 05 May 2016

Capitec is accused of making unjustified revenues of more than R1bn through its so-called multi-loan products. The accuser is Summit Financial Partners, which advises low income consumers with financial advice. The multi-loan products being sold by Capitec are claimed to generate margins of between 150% and 500%, according to Business Day.

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EFF's Malema high treason charge over threats of violence

Posted 02 May 2016

Economic Freedom Fighter leader Julius Malema leads an increasingly schizophrenic life, applauding the Constitutional Court when it rules against President Zuma over his Nkandla private residence, but trashing the Constitution in the next breath by threatening to remove the government through force if necessary. One of the drafters of the Constitution, George Devenish, looks at the implications.

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Rogue sheriffs put on notice that they will be held liable for illegal evictions

Posted 02 May 2016

All 277 sheriffs around South Africa were put on notice this week that they will be held jointly and severally liable with the banks for unlawful evictions. This follows the sale in execution and eviction of two property owners in Kwazulu-Natal, despite the fact both had cases for rescission of judgment filed with the High Court. Adv Douglas Shaw, who is representing the evicted property owners, warned all sheriffs' offices around the country that evictions and auctioning of properties are unlawful where the property owner has applied to the court for an appeal or rescission of judgment. 

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SA courts make popular judgments at the expense of the law

Posted 28 April 2016

Some recent cases have sparked alarm among those concerned with the rule of law in the country. One of them, surprisingly, is the Constitutional Court case ruling over President Zuma's Nkandla residence. The court effectively ruled that a presidential appointee outside the judiciary may make rulings on unproven allegations. In another case, Oscar Pistorius' conviction for unintentional murder has now been turned into outright murder. Something is wrong here, argues Leon Louw. 

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The economic underworld of bankruptcy for profit - Part 2

Posted 26 April 2016

In the second part of this series, William Black testifies before the Inquiry into the banking crisis in Ireland. He talks from a US perspective, but explains how to tell when banks are behaving recklessly (when their loan books are growing faster than the economy), how bankers have lobbied politicians to get rid of pesky legislation that inhibits their gambling instincts and how they have managed to avoid going to jail. This is fascinating testimony into the dark heart of modern banking.  

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The economic underworld of bankruptcy for profit

Posted 24 April 2016

Professor William Black, an expert on banking and economics from the US, testified in 2015 before the Joint Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis in Ireland. In his testimony, he pointed out that the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 is certain to repeat because none of of the criminal bankers that bankrupted the country had been sent to jail - unlike the "Savings and Loans" crisis nearly two decades earlier in the US, which resulted in more than 1,000 convictions. One of the indicators that tell us banks are making "liar loans" is the speed at which lending is growing. If Black is right, modern banking will sink us all. 

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Goldman Sachs $5bn fine is a sham and a disgrace

Posted 21 April 2016

Goldman Sachs got slapped with a $5bn fine for selling worthless pieces of paper called subprime mortgages. But as this story from Newrepublic.com makes clear, the victims who lost their houses over this fraud will get little of the cash. The lawyers, the Treasury and the Justice department are the main winners. Goldman Sachs will only pay out roughly $2bn, which is a fraction of the money the bank made from securitisation transactions during the financial crisis leading up to 2008.

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Nkandla ruling by Concourt has put politicians back in their boxes

Posted 16 April 2016

The Nkandla ruling by the Constitutional Court may represent a watershed event for South Africans. The court ordered President Jacob Zuma to repay a portion of the taxpayer money used to build his Nkandla private estate. The ruling also demonstrated to politicians that they are not above the law, and this is arguably the main outcome of this case. Eustace Davies of the Free Market Foundation looks at the implications of the case.

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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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"Capitalism" is the most abused and misdefined word in English

Posted 15 April 2016

Leon Louw argues that capitalism is the most abused and misdefined word in use today. Like "left wing" and "right wing". These words have become smears to stiffle debate and authenticate the state's capture of basic liberties.

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The fall-out from Zupta scandal is just beginning

Posted 15 April 2016

The ANC has made a strategic blunder in throwing its support behind their crippled leader, Jacob Zuma, writes Allister Sparks. That will come back to haunt the party. But we are slowly learning how a compromised cabinet, packed with Zuma toadies, were all set to green light the building of several Russian-made nuclear reactors, and how the Guptas and Zumas were going to make a killing. Former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene blocked the deal and was fired. Here's how it went down. 

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Herman Mashaba - South Africa's Donald Trump?

Posted 14 April 2016

Herman Mashaba founded the cosmetics group Black Like Me in the teeth of apartheid oppression and has built several successful businesses since then. Last year he announced he was joining the Democratic Alliance and has put his name forward as a mayoral candidate for Johannesburg. He wants to see an end to all race-based legislation, the repeal of Section 32 of the Labour Relations Act that extends collective bargaining agreements to companies that are not party to these agreements, and focus instead on building the small business sector. What would Joburg look like under Mayor Mashaba?

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South Africans of all races agree that BEE doesn't work for them

Posted 12 April 2016

It’s about time the government actually listened to the people it claims to represent. A new survey out by the Institute of Race Relations has some rather depressing news for the elites, such as our billionaire deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, who is determined to intensify black economic empowerment (BEE), even though the vast majority of South Africans now recognise these policies favour the politically connected rather than the poor.

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Zuma's exit plan is unravelling before his eyes

Posted 10 April 2016

President Zuma could leave office with a salary of R2,8m a year for life, but he was gambling on something much bigger, writes Peter Bruce at Business Day. His plan involved the Gupta family and the successful conclusion of two business deals - the financing of the Russian nuclear reactors and the Guptas' purchase of the Optimum coal operation. Both are now in trouble. 

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Selective leak of Panama Papers is a perfect blackmail tactic against enemies of the empire

Posted 07 April 2016

Several South Africans were fingered in the so-called Panama Papers expose which detailed how "the rich and powerful hide their money in off-shore tax shelters". Among them were Zimplats, Fidentia and President Zuma's nephew, Khulubuse Zuma. But as Moonofalabama.org points out, this selective leak is a classic blackmail tactic against enemies of the US empire. 

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