Govt loses court case to scrap Setas, so changes the law

Posted 18 November 2015

Higher education minister Blade Nzimande has gazetted sweeping proposals to scrap sector education and training authorities that receive R13 billion a year from the skills levies. Expect a major fight-back from the Setas and companies which stand to lose billions in levy refunds.

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Davenport loses securitisation case, plans to bring new evidence to court

Posted 17 November 2015

Eastern Cape ostrich farmer Ash Davenport, who was the first South Africa to present a securitisation audit in front of a court, lost his case in the Eastern Cape High Court to stop his farm being sold in execution. But he has a second audit proving beyond any doubt that Standard Bank no longer owns his loan.   

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Acts Online's Business Intelligence Report

Posted 10 November 2015

Acts Online has launched its Business and Legal Intelligence Report, a subscriber service which will be published twice a month, bringing you actionable intelligence that you need to guide your business and your finances. Do not make a decision without first consulting this report. 

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26 bankers sentenced to combined 74 years in Iceland

Posted 09 November 2015

Here's how you do it: round up the bankers who sank your country into bankruptcy and lock them away. Ireland is seeking extradition from the US of the former CEO of Anglo Irish Bank for his part in Ireland's 2009 banking crisis. But Iceland is way ahead of the pack, jailing 26 bankers for a total of 74 years.

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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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Busted! Joburg man catches Standard Bank out over securitisation denial

Posted 03 November 2015

Jack Darier of Parkhurst in Joburg asked his bank whether his loan had been securitised. No way, said the bank. It was the answer Darier was expecting. Meantime he had the proof that the opposite was true. It was a truth test, and the bank failed.

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Plain packaging of cigarettes is tantamount to expropriation

Posted 03 November 2015

The already demonised tobacco industry now faces further interference from the nanny state in the form of new regulations requiring plain cigarette packets and a ban on smoking in public places. Whether you smoke or not, this encroachment on freedom of choice and private property is disturbing.

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Under new bill, govt will own your copyright on your death

Posted 30 October 2015

There is brisk debate in this internet age as to whether copyrights stifle the spread of knowledge. Copyright became a legal phenomenon in 1886 when writer Victor Hugo and others helped draft the Berne Convention. It seems the SA government has joined the anti-copyright movement and wants to assume ownership of your creative works on your death.

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Lessons to be learned from the visa bungle

Posted 28 October 2015

The main lesson to be learned from the damage caused by SA's stricter visa rules for visitors - now relaxed - is that the government needs to pay closer attention to the unintended consequences of policy decisions.

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Huge relief as SA relaxes visa rules

Posted 25 October 2015

The visa debacle that drove an estimated 150,000 tourists away so far this year at a reported cost of R2,6 billion to the economy has finally been relaxed. Visitors applying to travel to SA will no longer have to submit biometric information in person at our embassies. 

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Happy, patriotic news is now official govt policy

Posted 23 October 2015

SA's press is becoming more lapdog than bulldog. The SABC wants 70% "happy, patriotic" news and the government is using its financial clout to muscle in on other areas of the media, as this article from The Economist makes clear.

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Orania is not a home for racial bigots

Posted 21 October 2015

While some newspapers refuse to publish anything positive about Orania on the grounds that it might offend some, Leon Louw of the Free Market Foundation went there and found it clean, hospitable and tolerant.

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Is there a better tax system than the current monstrosity?

Posted 18 October 2015

Is there a better tax system than the current monstrosity? Stephen Meintjies and Michael Jacobs put forward a bold alternative in their newly published book Our Land Our Rent Our Jobs: look at the high growth economies such as Singapore and Hong Kong and follow their lead by imposing a "resource rental" on land.

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Western Cape court disallows garnishee orders issued outside province

Posted 18 October 2015

The days of debt collectors going "forum shopping" by searching out friendly magistrates courts are coming to an end. A recent decision in the Western Cape High Court made it illegal for debt collectors to obtain garnishee orders outside the province. This will almost certainly be adopted by other provinces. 

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Government's visa mistake cost R2,6bn, but relief is on its way

Posted 16 October 2015

A study by Grant Thornton suggests the government's new visa regulations will cost the economy R2,6bn and 5,800 tourism sector jobs this year. Home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba reckons the drop in tourist arrivals to SA is the result of a slowing world economy. In any event, relief is on its way in the form of softer visa requirements.

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Etolls about to collapse

Posted 13 October 2015

Etolls are nearing the end of the highway. As predicted, monthly revenue is down to R60 million while bond repayment obligations are R260 million a monthy. This is a situation which cannot survive.

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There's a debt collection frenzy underway

Posted 11 October 2015

Consumers are being hounded by debt collectors who have bought debts from the banks - a practice which will become virtually impossible under the amended National Credit Act. Consumer Watch advises on how to avoid having to pay debts older than three years - do not admit the debt, and instead raise prescription as a defence.

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Smoke and mirrors of the debt industry

Posted 09 October 2015

A recent case in the Cape High Court highlighted some of the more questionable practices going on in the debt industry. Such cases appear to be proliferating, prompting the courts to refer to it as a "fledgling cottage industry" as voluntary liquidations are apparently the new way to go.

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How SAA shot down its rivals with taxpayer money

Posted 05 October 2015

Competition never sat easy with SAA, which used R30 billion in taxpayer-funded bailouts over the last decade to shut down a string of competitors, from Sun Air to Trek and tiny Flitestar. No competitor was too small to overlook. Now its demons have come to haunt it in the form of two court challenges that could cost the airline over R6 billion in damages.

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Credit blacklisting at an all-time high

Posted 05 October 2015

The SA Communist Party has come out swinging against profiteering financial institutions over recent news that 11m out of 19m South Africans with access to credit are over-indebted.

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Why state enterprises will never be fixed

Posted 30 September 2015

State-owned enterprises can never succeed no matter who runs them, argues Leon Louw of the Free Market Foundation, because the normal disciplines of the market are absent. Managers will serve their political masters, knowing they will be fired if they don't. 

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DA welcomes move to decriminalise defamation

Posted 22 September 2015

The ANC seems to be softening its stance on criminal defamation. The ANC and its partners stood firmly behind the criminalisation of defamation to protect the reputation of President Jacob Zuma, but perhaps realises this is a lost cause and antipathetic to free speech.

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US Justice Department sets sights on Wall Street executives

Posted 21 September 2015

The US Justice Department, stung by criticism that it let Wall Street executives off the hook by allowing their employers to pay fines, has now taken off the gloves. New rules issued to prosecutors require them to focus on individual employees in their investigations, which means more executives could spend time in jail.

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Citizens' confidence in state sinks to new low

Posted 21 September 2015

South Africans' confidence in the state is melting away, as shown by rising service protests, lower voter turnout and surveys which show the majority of people believe the country is headed in the wrong direction.

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Copyright bill is the latest in a litany of oppressive laws

Posted 21 September 2015

SA is becoming more authoritarian by the day as shown by recent amendments to the Copyright Act. These amendments will override writers' and artists' copyright on their death and vest their rights with the state. The rot started with mining and has now jumped the fence to copyright.

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