Judgment paints a damning picture of prison life at Sun City

Posted 22 June 2018

Following a complaint that Sun City prisoners in Johannesburg were waiting 20 hours a day between meals, the South Gauteng High Court, on Friday, ordered the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) to ensure that meals are properly spaced through the day. There may be no more than 14 hours between supper and breakfast. The judgment goes beyond prisoners’ rights to meals. Judge SM Wentzel paints a damning picture of a department repeatedly flouting the law and court orders. The prison population is double the capacity of the prison. It is designed to hold 1,339 inmates, but actually holds 2,812.

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3 companies fined 10% of turnover for not filing annual financial statements

Posted 21 June 2018

Three companies have been hit with fines equivalent to 10% of turnover for failing to file annual financial statements within six months of the yearend.

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Fuzzy disclosure by mines obscures the truth about rehabilitation

Posted 21 June 2018

It’s an old trick of the mining game: when it comes to paying for rehabilitation of mined land, duck the liability by selling the mine or declaring insolvency. Or put it under indefinite “care and maintenance”. New research by the Centre for Environmental Rights’ (CER) and Intellidex shows just how opaque mining rehabilitation is in SA.

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How the Hawks were set up to fail

Posted 17 June 2018

Remember the Scorpions? The elite crime busting unit that roped in R4bn in corrupt proceeds in the last year of its operation, before it was dismantled by Jacob Zuma and replaced by the Hawks. The Hawks, by contrast, seized just R35m in its first year in operation, and the number of cases being investigated dropped 85%. Paul Hoffman of Accountability Now, writing in Daily Maverick, explores how to turn this ship of failure around. 

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Is Ramaphoria over before it started?

Posted 13 June 2018

Cyril Ramaphosa's accession to the presidential throne was supposed to have lifted our hearts and souls, but figures just out for the first quarter of 2018 show an economic contraction of 2,2%. The only sector showing growth is government services - no surprise there. The country is at the edge of a cliff, and it is doubtful if anyone in government is fully aware just how serious the mess is.

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Another absurd report from the Public Protector

Posted 13 June 2018

Public Protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane has had a rough time since taking office. First, she ordered Parliament to amend the Constitution – despite the fact that she had no power to do so. Then a High Court found that she was biased and lacked impartiality, as well as being dishonest and incompetent, and ordered her personally to pay a part of the legal costs in a case brought against her. Now she has released a report on Helen Zille’s highly problematic tweets on colonialism that is so legally misguided that it is difficult to believe that a qualified lawyer could write it in good faith. 

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Construction mafia moves from Durban to Joburg

Posted 07 June 2018

It’s a shakedown that’s been going on for several years in KwaZulu-Natal, but is now rearing its head in Johannesburg. Local community gangs, often armed, threaten to shut down construction sites unless they are given 30% of the work.

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EFF's racist remarks reflect panic among its leaders

Posted 07 June 2018

Recent racist remarks by EFF MP Floyd Shivambu suggest panic in the party leadership over the possible return of tax investigators to EFF supremo Julius Malema's door, and the leadership's interesting association with cigarette smugglers. 

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Book review: J is for Junk Economics by Michael Hudson

Posted 04 June 2018

Michael Hudson is regarded by many as one of the world’s best economists because of his willingness to pierce the veil of deceit that passes for modern economic wisdom. His lastet book J is for Junk Economics exposes much of modern economic thought as pure propaganda, according to Moneyweb.

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Massive class action suit against Australian banks

Posted 31 May 2018

A Royal Commission of Inquiry into banking misconduct in Australia has heard heart-rending testimony of brutal banking practices, including cases where pensioners in their 80s were forced to sell their homes to repay loans. Now a massive class action suit is in the bake over reckless lending, focusing on those who took out mortgage loans since 2012. This is one of several class action suits now being launched against the banks.

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The frame-up of Russia continues over downed Malaysian flight MH-17

Posted 28 May 2018

The latest report by a Dutch-led investigation into the downing of a Malaysian airliner in 2014 casting blame on Russia for the disaster follows the same reprehensible flouting of due process as the Skripal poison affair, writes Finian Cunningham.

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Zim farmers have nothing to go back to

Posted 27 May 2018

With the recent news that compensation may finally be forthcoming for farmers whose properties have been compulsorily acquired by the Zimbabwe government since 2000, many of us now face a time of extremely painful memories and decisions, writes Cathy Buckle. 

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Thuli Madonsela: The injustice of shady home auctions

Posted 24 May 2018

Things are getting hot when you get the former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela coming out with her thoughts on shady home repossessions and auctions. It is, as we have argued here for years, a national disgrace. We are pleased that the Portfolio Committee on Finance has been in touch with King Sibiya, Fred Arijs and others who have argued for legal reform in this area. Our prediction is this will become a central issue in the upcoming presidential elections. Now wouldn't that be great, along with jail time for the criminal bankers and their lawyers responsible for this outrage?

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Satire is booming in post-Mugabe Zimbabwe

Posted 24 May 2018

On a stage in a park in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, Carl Joshua Ncube, perhaps the country’s most famous comedian, is coaching a novice. Imitating her act, in which she pretends to deliver a baby, he mimes a doctor slapping its bottom. “People love to hear about bottoms,” he tells her. An hour or so later, he introduces her — and three other wannabe female comics, one of whom is his wife—to a big audience. “In Zimbabwe we only have one female comedian,” he says, mock-solemnly. “We need some competition for Grace!” Feigning anxiety, he adds: “Although we know what happens when people try to introduce their wives to the profession!”

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Tony Webbstock: a warrior has left us

Posted 22 May 2018

Our dear friend Tony Webbstock passed away last Wednesday morning, the result of complications from a decades-long battle with diabetes and – one has to say – inadequate medicine back in the day when diabetes wasn’t as well understood as it is today. Tony was a warrior with a Christian heart, a genius lawyer who put himself at the service of the people against the banks.

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The ugly face of modern banking

Posted 22 May 2018

A 72 year old man gets a 30 year loan which he cannot repay, so he is forced to sell his house. Bank staff are there to flog you stuff you don't want or need. They hate their jobs, but are given stiff sales target to meet so the bosses can get year-end bonuses that run into the millions. When you default, the bank comes after everything you have. Staff are prevented from talking bad about their employers because of "disparagement clauses" in their employment contracts. Even years after they have left the bank. When, customers are asking, will bank executives get time in jail, in this expose in the wake of the Australian Commission of Inquiry into Banking. You could just as easily cut and paste this story for SA. 

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SA editors launch defamation campaign against now defunct Bell Pottinger in UK

Posted 21 May 2018

Three prominent South African editors have lodged a defamation claim against AIG Europe, the insurer for now defunct Bell Pottinger, over the fallen UK media relations giant’s role in the so-called “white monopoly capital” media campaign.

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Does SA need 35 ministers, 9 provinces and 263 municipalities?

Posted 20 May 2018

SA is over-governed. We have 35 ministers, 37 deputy ministers, and 9 provinces each with their own ministers and administrations. Then there are the 263 municipalities, operating another layer of bureaucracy. Perhaps government should set the pace by scaling back on this boondoggle.

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Thank Trump and Bibi for higher oil prices

Posted 18 May 2018

Oil prices spiked from around $40 to nearly $80 a barrel after US President Donald Trump announced last week he was pulling the US out of the Iran nuclear deal. Bibi Netanhayoo's signature is all over this. 

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Pravin Gordhan's campaign to undo rotten deals and save state-owned companies

Posted 17 May 2018

The bad news is that capture of state-owned companies (SOCs) has cost the taxpayer billions of rands, which have been siphoned off into the pockets of crooks and corrupt officials. The good news is that Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan is back on the job and is cleaning out the boards of these companies to make sure the culture of graft is deracinated. Daily Maverick looks at the latest developments.

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EFF wants a state-owned bank to counter the predatory practices of the Big 4

Posted 15 May 2018

The EFF has shown itself a force for progressive change in SA, recently tabling a bill which would allow for the creation of a state-owned bank. In this article on Daily Maverick, deputy head of the EFF, Floyd Shivambu, explains how the existing Big 4 banks - Absa, Standard, Nedbank and FNB - continue their predatory practices against South Africans. This article shows a deep understanding of the extent to which banks are retarding the economic development of the country.

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How SA should tackle the redistribution of land in urban areas

Posted 13 May 2018

In this interview, co-author of “Securing Land Tenure in Urban and Rural South Africa”, argues that talk of land expropriation without compensation is premature, as this is already catered for in the Housing Act. Rather make use of existing laws to accommodate the unhoused before taking the radical step of amending the Constitution to allow expropriation without compensation.

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How Nedbank is claimed to have lied in court

Posted 09 May 2018

Durban businessman Ian Brakspear's company was liquidated by Nedbank over a R7m loan he says he neither asked for nor received. He was put through nearly a decade of hell, including a 2 week trial in Durban, as the bank's legal representatives painted him as mendacious and delusional. He lost his case, then his mother Dorothy brought a case before the Jersey court asking for evidence of these supposed payments sent and received. The bank was forced to hand over its so-called Bankers Book - nothing, nada, zilch. No evidence of the payments anywhere in sight. If you listen closely, you can almost hear the sound of guillotines being hoisted at Nedbank's head office in Joburg. Martin Welz of Noseweek looks into the story.

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Zanu PF is falling apart with 90 days to go before elections

Posted 07 May 2018

Zimbabwe's ruling party Zanu-PF appears to be falling apart with just 90 days to go before elections. President Emmerson Mnangagwa (pictured left), who was helped to power by a soft coup that removed his predecessor Robert Mugabe, is now facing challenges from the military in the form of Vice President Chiwenga. This does not look good for either the ruling party or the country. Some 50,000 business people have poured into Zimbabwe in recent months hoping for a change in the country's disastrous policy direction. MDC representative Eddie Cross explains what's going on.

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Will Ramaphosa's investment drive get off the ground?

Posted 07 May 2018

President Ramaphosa plans an investment conference later this year with a target to attract, well, we're not quite sure - anywhere between R240bn and R1,2tr a year, or perhaps it is $100bn in foreign direct investment. His figures are murky, but the real problem is he has poisoned the well before he even started with talk of expropriating land without compensation. Following through on this will send a signal that any Constitutional guarantees on property are meaningless. Now Ramaphosa appears to be walking back on this threat, no doubt sensing his task of economic regeneration is dead in the water if expropriation is part of his agenda. John Kane-Berman of the Institute of Race Relations explains what's going on.

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