Can Herman Mashsaba clean up the corrupt mess he inherited in Joburg?

Posted 22 February 2017

Joburg's new mayor Herman Mashaba inherited a frightening mess of corruption and graft in Joburg. City employees are being fired daily, and a special Forensic Unit has been set up to deal with the volume of corruption and fraud being uncovered. Sara Gonn at the Institute of Race Relations looks at what's going on in the city.

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Cheating banks face maximum penalties over forex scam

Posted 22 February 2017

When the rand dipped past R17 to the US dollar in January 2016, it looked suspiciously like a coordinated attack. Now it has emerged that 18 banks were involved in manipulating the rand, and the Competition Commission says it is taking no prisoners. But will anyone go to jail or will white collar criminals get another free pass, as they always do?

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Court declares withdrawal from International Criminal Court invalid

Posted 22 February 2017

South Africa's refusal to arrest Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir while on a visit to the country in 2015 prompted a move by government to resign from the International Criminal Court (ICC), which had an arrest warrant out for al-Bashir. The Pretoria High Court has now declared this withdrawal from the ICC to be invalid, and has ordered deput judge president Phineas Mojapelo to rescind the notice of withdrawal.

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If you're a Kuga owner, take on the finance companies rather than Ford

Posted 21 February 2017

The story of the self-immolating Kuga has become a PR nightmare for Ford, and a matter of huge concern for Kuga owners, several of whom are reportedly planning a class action against the company. Leonard Benjamin argues that this could be self-defeating. First, you have to apply to the court to be recognised as a class, then begins the long and agonising process of litigating. A far better solution is to hand back the car to Ford, stop paying the instalments, wait for the financing bank to sue, and then bring a counter-claim under the National Credit Act.

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Bank pays home owner R300,000 after being caught in insurance rip-off

Posted 16 February 2017

Maybe it's not the mortgage payments that are killing you. Maybe it's the insurance premiums buried in the monthly mortgage instalments. This is no joke. Three cases have come to light where home owners found themselves drowning - not because of the mortgage payments, but because of the insurance products they were sold at the time they took out the loan.

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Zuma's love affair with alternative facts

Posted 14 February 2017

Wits University academic Patrick Bond takes a look at President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation address and then proceeds to separate fact from fiction. The outcome is a president who makes all the right noises, but fails to deliver in the key areas.

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Sanral slapped down by Concourt over Western Cape toll roads

Posted 13 February 2017

SA National Roads Agency's (SANRAL) has failed in its appeal against a High Court decision issued last year blocking it from launching road tolling on the Cape Winelands route. It seems SANRAL's legal troubles are getting worse, and as the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse has laid charges of perjury against former CEO, Nazir Alli.

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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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Remember those power outages? Turns out they weren't necessary after all

Posted 09 February 2017

Eskom’s claim that electricity tariffs are too low is hardly credible, says an uncensored report into the mess at the power utility. Among the problems it uncovered is that too many in management seemed far more focused on leveraging Eskom’s vast buying power for their self-interest, rather than to drive efficiencies, according to this investigation by Financial Mail.

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Litany of allegations in Barclays mortgage suit

Posted 09 February 2017

The fallout from the 2008 subprime crisis continues to rattle on down the ages. This time, a US law suit involving Barclays shows how employees knew the mortgages they were underwriting were bad, yet continued to securitise them. 

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How to defend your home against bank foreclosure

Posted 05 February 2017

Of all your assets, your home is the most important. More than 100,000 homes have been repossessed by banks since the Constitution came into effect more than 20 years ago. Most of these were repossessed because the home owners lacked sufficient knowledge of the law. The good news is that it is getting easier to prevent the banks getting away with this. The object of this article is to try and save your house and explore your legal defence options when the bank attempts to foreclose on your bond. 

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Goldman Sachs appointees fill the Trump administration

Posted 31 January 2017

Has US President Donald Trump, like his predecessors, been captured by Goldman Sachs? One would think so, looking at who he has just appointed to his administration. If that's the case, former Goldman Sachs alumni Nomi Prins says we can look forward to another administration doling out favours to the banks. Already, Trump has made six appointments comprising former Goldman Sachs employees. How did this onetime boutique bank end up on top of the world? Nomi Prins explains.

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New hate crimes bill turns petty insults into a crime with 3 years jail

Posted 31 January 2017

In terms of the new hate crimes bill, calling lawyers "blood-sucking parasites" could land you in jail for three years. This new bill will make South Africa unique in the world by creating 17 different categories of potential victims of insulting language, over and above race, ethnicity, religion and gender. These new categories include culture, belief, occupation and gender identity. Should this bill become law, South Africa will become a frigid, humourless place where every work spoken or written will have to be carefully measured.

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Can you consent to an illegal eviction order?

Posted 25 January 2017

Nearly 200 people living on a commercial property in Berea, Johannesburg, are challenging an eviction order, on the grounds that they did not agree to it and that even if they had agreed, the order was unjust.

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The Joburg township where outlaws make the rules

Posted 24 January 2017

Thousands of illegal miners descend each morning into the bowels of the old Modder B mine to the east of Joburg. This is outlaw country, where guns and knives are the arbiters of petty squabbles. You can hire a hitman for a few thousand rand. The centre of this activity is Lindelane, which is - literally - the garbage can of Joburg.

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Tony Webbstock on SAFM - how to get out of debt slavery

Posted 23 January 2017

In this SAFM interview, Tony Webbstock of Debt Admin explains how to get out of debt slavery. What prompted this interview was a controversial article on Acts Online which advised South Africans to simply stop paying unaffordable debt. Tony explained how this position is supported by the law.

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Is it constitutional to make hate speech an offence?

Posted 23 January 2017

Do we need a hate crimes bill to stamp out racism, sexism and other forms of unacceptable speech? As some legal commentators have already pointed out, laws already exist to stamp out hate speech, and incitement to violence is already a crime. Why do we need this new legislation? And will the government apply it equally, in which case several members of parliament, including the EFF's Julius Malema, would now be in jail? Safura Abdool Karim at Groundup argues the case.

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SA cannot afford its over-sized government - Nedbank

Posted 22 January 2017

SA's debt burden has now reached 50% of GDP, and government has expanded the public service to the point where it is unaffordable. This is one of the factors weighing on ratings agencies as they contemplate a sovereign downgrade for SA to junk. If this happens, about R600bn will flow out of the country. 

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How to stop paying illegal garnishee orders in one simple step

Posted 20 January 2017

Garnishee orders are illegal if they are issued in a remote jurisdiction, and the law allows you simply to stop paying and recover anything you paid in settlement of these illegal orders, plus interest. Here's how you do it.

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What has happened to the rainbow nation?

Posted 19 January 2017

Race baiting is the default political tool of dishonourable politicians seeking short-term goals. Detailed studies by the Institute of Race Relations shows ordinary South Africans of every colour are less concerned with the issue, and believe merit should be the basis for job selection. When Julius Malema says he is not calling for whites to be slaughtered (just yet?), are we to believe whites are here under sufferance? Rex van Schalkwyk, a former judge of the Supreme Court of SA, looks at what has become of the rainbow nation and whether we should believe politicians who cry racism as the source of all evil.

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Regulator takes Standard Bank to court to stop practice of "set-off"

Posted 18 January 2017

The National Credit Regulator (NCR) is seeking a high court order to stop banks from unilaterally taking money from customers’ savings accounts to settle outstanding balances on their credit agreements — a practice which the regulator says is widespread.

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Project Spear - the documentary banned by the SABC to shield the government

Posted 16 January 2017

In 2011 Sylvia Vollenhoven put together an explosive documentary explaining how R30 billion was allegedly stolen from government in the final years of apartheid. The SABC refused to air the documentary, claiming it did not meet broadcasting standards. As the documentary explains, some of this money went to Broederbonders, and there's allegations of a former apartheid-era minister rushing off to the US with suitcases of looted money. One Reserve Bank shareholder asked to see evidence that the Reserve Bank actually has the gold it says he does, and is told this is forbidden. Then there is the R1,1 billion "lifeline" from the Reserve Bank to Bankorp (now part of Barclays Absa), of which only the capital had to be repaid. And as Judge Willem Heath points out, this loan was guaranteed with government bonds. If that seems weird to you, imagine your mortgage bank lending you money to buy your house and using it's head office as the collateral. It doesn't get much weirder than this.

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Call for inquiry into state capture by corporations - is this Zuma's payback for Zuptagate?

Posted 16 January 2017

One of the targets of those calling for a public inquiry into the looting of state resources by apartheid-era monopoly capitalism is oligarch Johann Rupert, who last year called for Zuma to go. This is payback time. There is a long story behind this episode, going back more than 20 years when Sanlam-owned Bankorp (now part of Absa) received an illicit bail-out, funded ultimately by taxpayers. It is certainly worth re-opening this saga, but an inquiry would be pointless if it didn't also look into repeated allegations of bank-capture of the court system.

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Houses being sold multiple times by corrupt officials south of Joburg

Posted 10 January 2017

South of Johannesburg, in the dirt poor area of Thulamntwana, shack dwellers were promised houses of their own after President Jacob Zuma visited the area in 2010 and found people living "like pigs". Six years later, hundreds of residents who scraped and saved together money to get housing allocations say thieves have made off with their money, and then sold the same property multiple times.

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Free yourself from debt slavery - how to stop paying interest, bank charges and collection costs

Posted 08 January 2017

The holiday season is over, and the debt collection wolves are out in force. You may find yourself falling behind on your mortgage, overdraft or credit card payments. Then you will likely be issued with a summons. Don’t fear, says Armand Rinier. There are lawful ways of beating off the wolves. In this article he explains your legal rights when it comes to debt, and how you can stop paying interest, bank charges and collection costs. 

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