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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Ministers threaten to quit if Zuma stays

Posted 29 November 2016

Business Day reports that several ministers are planning to resign should President Zuma remain in office, raising the stakes in SA's growing political crisis. The choice for these ministers - who remain unnamed - are to face Zuma's axe or to pre-emptively push him to resign.

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Here's comes the seasonal blizzard of summonses from the banks - how to defend yourself

Posted 29 November 2016

This is the season to be jolly, but in January and February the hangover sets in and the banks start issuing their seasonal blizzard of summonses. Now is the time to prepare yourself.

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Sanral's next great scheme - a road through Pondoland that nobody wants

Posted 24 November 2016

SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) is fighting wars on multiple fronts. It attempts to toll the Cape Wineslands route was recently thrown out of the Cape High Court, while indigenous community members in Pondoland are resisting efforts to carve a beautiful new highway through closely-knit communities in the Eastern Cape. Many of the studies on which Sanral relies for motivating the Pondoland route have been debunked by independent studies, but Sanral is determined to press ahead in apparent disregard for the local people and the Constitution, as social activist John Clarke points out in this article.

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Don't sabotage SA's internet success story

Posted 24 November 2016

Social justice is a good thing so long as it remain within the bounds of sanity. When #Feesmustfall jumps to #Science mustfall and #Datamustfall, something weird takes over. Independent economist Luke Muller points out that campaigners pressing for lower data prices ignore the evidence that data prices are competitive and there are multiple suppliers. No conspiracy to look at here. Evidence of this is the fact that the percentage of South Africans accessing the internet grew from 7,6% to 52% over the last decade.

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Another dagger at the heart of banks attempting to recover debts without original documents

Posted 22 November 2016

Here's another tale of heartache for the banks, this time involving FNB, which attempted to claim R74,144 from a customer who had acquired a vehicle by way of instalment sale. The problem is FNB arrived in court without the original documents. The judge made short work of FNB's case and booted it out of court. In this case, the defendent Adrian Hart represented himself using a DIY defence template developed by a debt defence specialist. 

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From Trump to Malema, media bias is exposed for all to see

Posted 16 November 2016

Donald Trump's election to the presidency in the US, despite an unrelenting media campaign against him, has exposed the shameful bias of the mainstream. The same bias is visible in SA, when few in the media are willing to challenge employment equity laws for fear of being labelled "racist". Or Julius Malema's insane calls for violence against whites. Or government's disastrous national democratic revolution that has brought the economy to a standstill. Where are the investigative journalists challenging this madness?

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ConCourt orders return of eNatis to government

Posted 14 November 2016

Former transport minister Sbu Ndebele has returned from his posting in the Australian High Commission to answer charges he received a R10m bribe for the extension of the eNatis contract to private company Tasima. Last week the Constitutional Court ordered the control of the Electronic National Traffic Information System (eNatis) be handed back to government after it was found that Tasima's five year contract entension, awarded in 2010, was unlawful.

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SA faces its "Trump" moment

Posted 14 November 2016

South Africa looks like it is facing its own "Trump" moment. In this excellent analysis, Capital Economics suggests that President Zuma may have survived last week's no confidence vote, but his end is nigh nonetheless. Zuma's game plan is clearly to find a friendly successor ahead of the ANC's elective conference in December next year. Then he may choose to resign knowing he will likely escape prosecution for corruption. The succession battle will likely provide fodder for a newly energised opposition ahead of the presidential election in 2019. South Africa is ready to turn its back on the Zuma era.

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Working class Americans boot out the bums

Posted 09 November 2016

Donald Trump's victory in the US presidential election is a victory of the working class over the oligarchs. But as former Ronald Reagan staffer Paul Craig Roberts points out, if Trump holds out the hand of conciliation to the neocons and warmongers who lurk at the trough of every US administration, then we will know that he has been captured by the oligarchs. The big loser in all this is the mainstream media, whose shameless shilling for Hillary Clinton was without precedent. Their credibility lies in tatters, and their priggish view of working class Americans has been exposed for all to see. Just one day ago the New York Times was calling it 87% certain that Clinton would win and the world would go on as it always has. Their readers are deserting them, as trust in establishment media hits an all-time low.  Ditto for the TV networks. Interesting times indeed.

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The tide has finally turned against Zuma

Posted 07 November 2016

The release of the state capture report by the Public Protector has shifted the balance of power away from President Zuma. Senior elements within the ANC now deem it safe to come out against him. Meanwhile the DA is shifting a chunk of its HQ to Johannesburg to ride a two and a half year campaign to unseat the ruling party from Gauteng, writes Keith Gottschalk.

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Sanral's mysterious and wishful accounting

Posted 04 November 2016

When will SA National Roads Agency acknowledge that much of its e-tolls debt is unrecoverable?

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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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Knock-out blow for Absa in Cape High Court over securitisation accusation

Posted 27 October 2016

Absa's attempt to obtain summary judgment against Cape Town's Greg Smith was summarily thrown out of court last Friday. Ironically, Smith spent much of his life working on advertising campaigns for various banks. What's fairly unique about this one is Smith specifically accused the bank of securitising his loan. While the judge didn't address this, he did not like that Absa turned up in court with recreated documents instead of the originals.

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