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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Airports Company minorities sue to be bought out at fair value

Posted 05 January 2017

The Airports Company of SA (ACSA) went out of its way to attract private investors 20 years ago, promising privatisation and an Initial Public Offering for those who took the bait. Twenty years later, it's an entirely different story. Minorities say they are economic hostages to a company and its major shareholder (the government) that refuses to buy them out for what their shares are worth.

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Mugabe withdraws $6m for 30 day holiday while most struggle to withdraw $100

Posted 03 January 2017

While Zimbabwe's banks lower their daily cash withdrawal limits to between $100 and $200 a day, an increasingly frail President Robert Mugabe withdrew US$6m for a 30 day holiday in Singapore, giving him petty cash of $200,000 a day. Opposition member of parliament Eddie Cross reports on the bleak outlook for the country in 2017, a situation mirrored south of the Limpopo in South Africa.

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DA's draft bill on toll roads gives provinces a say

Posted 30 December 2016

A new draft bill gazetted by the Democratic Alliance proposes giving provinces a say over whether roads are to be tolled or not. This comes amid public outcry over the SA National Roads Agency and its unsuccessful attempt to bulldoze Gauteng motorists into paying e-tolls. Opponents say e-tolls were implemented unlawfully and without proper public consultation. The ruling ANC may find itself torn over support for this bill. To come out in favour of Sanral and e-tolls with presidential elections just two years away could be political suicide.

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How to solve SA's schooling crisis - Eustace Davie

Posted 22 December 2016

Modern schooling has been desribed as a 12 year sentence without trial. The school curricula cannot cover the vast number of learning possibilities to which young people could be exosed. In this article, Eustace Davie of the Free Market Foundation proposes an alternative system that would substantially improve the outcome from our massive investment in education and provide work for the 9 million people currently unemployed in SA.

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A year rocked by corruption scandals

Posted 21 December 2016

2016 was the year of corruption, graft and political upheaval. In SA, President Jacob Zuma clings to power while working out how to avoid facing more than 700 charges of corruption. At SA Broadcasting Corporation, Eskom and other state-owned enterprises, the year was marked by a constant drip-feed of scandal and corruption. But SA is not alone. The presidents of South Korea and Brazil face impeachment proceedings as public outrage over corruption was found to have political consequences.

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SA may be better off under Zuma than those who want to unseat him

Posted 13 December 2016

Frans Cronje of the Institute of Race Relations makes the case that we are probably better off under President Zuma than the destructive communists on the one hand who want to unseat him, and the corrupt cronies on the other. In the middle are the pragmatic reformers who, if they are able to prevail, will have pulled off a remarkable feat.

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FNB checkmated in securitisation case

Posted 08 December 2016

Here's a bit of Christmas cheer: in a year when there were some notable victories for the small guy standing up to bullying banks, Cape Town couple Ahdill Abrahams and his wife Zulfa delivered the coup de gras on which to end the year. The couple have been fighting a 10 year war to prove that FNB had securitised their loan. Here's how they did it. 

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Zuma delaying amended FICA bill "to protect corruption"

Posted 07 December 2016

President Zuma has delayed signing off on the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment Bill which South Africa is committed to enforcing in terms of its international obligations. It allows for warrantless searches in certain instances and would make it more difficult for corrupt officials to operate in the dark. The president believes aspects of the bill are unconstitutional. Chairman of the standing committee on finance, Yunus Carrim, says the committee will take its own legal advice on the matter and then let the Constitutional Court decide.

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