Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Oscar Pistorius: ‘5 years is not enough’

NO Crime No Corruption No Persecutions........

21 October 2014  11:36

Oscar Pistorius: ‘5 years is not enough’

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp – a sentence that has divided society.

BREAKING: Oscar Pistorius sentenced to 5 years in prison for culpable homicide http://cnn.it/18lOyG6 

Absa, Grindrod Bank reject funding to Nova - Sharemax was a Ponzi Scheme according to Noluntu Bam

Special Investigations

Author: Ryk van Niekerk|
October 2014

Absa, Grindrod Bank reject funding to Nova (

Board blames negative media reports and Sarb for failure to secure finance.

Continued negative media reporting about the Nova Property Group has caused Absa and Grindrod Bank to withdraw funding lines to the group, the Nova board said in a recent communiqué to debentures and shareholders of its various investment schemes.

In the communiqué the Nova board does not pull any punches and blames the media for creating a perception of “reputational risk” which led the banks not to extend funding to the group.

The board also lashed out at the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) for not supporting the Nova Group when Grindrod Bank approached it with concerns that its reputation may suffer if it did business with the Nova Group.

The Nova board did not elaborate on the potential impact Absa and Grindrod’s decision would have on the group. Nova did state that the funding from Absa would have been used to upgrade unnamed shopping centres. Nova also does not state whether it has received funding from other sources.


This attack on the media follows a similar notion by Connie Myburgh (pictured), Chairman of the Nova Group, during the group’s annual general meeting in November last year.

The Nova Group was established through the restructuring of the Sharemax property scheme. Nova is controlled by four directors, two of whom: Dominique Haese and Dirk Koekemoer, played important roles in the promotion of Sharemax investment products.

The scheme was recently placed under the spotlight when the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services ombud Noluntu Bam stated that Sharemax was nothing more than a Ponzi scheme and that its directors should also be held liable for investors’ losses.

The directors are appealing this determination.

Grindrod Bank

In the recent quarterly update, the Nova board revealed that Grindrod Bank withdrew a possible funding line, following the publication of alleged “inaccurate” and “misleading” media reports.

The board said discussions between Nova and Grindrod had been at an advanced stage when the bank withdrew from the process last month. “The sole reason advanced by Grindrod for not perusing a business relationship with the Nova Group, was the possibility that Grindrod might suffer so-called ‘reputational risk’, should Grindrod lend funds to the Nova Group,” the communiqué reads.

The board added that Grindrod Bank approached Sarb in this regard, but that the Reserve Bank did not allay these fears.

Grindrod Bank declined to comment on these allegations. A spokesperson said it is the bank’s policy not to reveal reasons for credit application refusals or to comment on said refusals to third parties.


According to the Nova board, Absa also declined to extend further funding to Nova due to negative media reports. The board was “surprised” when it was informed about the bank’s decision.

In the communiqué, Nova alleges that Absa sent the following correspondence to Nova: “I regret to inform you that after much deliberation and consultation with our Head Office it was decided that Absa cannot proceed with entertaining any further transactions linked to the Nova Group. Today again, there was media reporting around this which does not pose well.”

It is not clear who sent this correspondence on behalf of Absa and to what media reports it referred to.

The Nova Board also said it has subsequently terminated its business relationship with Absa and that it settled its previous loan before the due date.

Absa did not want to respond to the allegations. An Absa spokesperson did however state that Absa couldn’t comment on the allegations due to client confidentiality.

“In so far as public statements have been made in respect of Absa's relationship with the particular client, Absa reserves the right to answer in the appropriate forum and at the appropriate time.

“Generally speaking, in making decisions of this nature Absa will consider a number of factors such as quality of existing property portfolio, lease expiry profile, group cash flow, group structure and the manner in which investors receive funds post sale of properties."

Reserve Bank

It is also clear that the Nova board is not impressed with Sarb’s failure to dispel the notion that Grindrod would suffer “reputational risk” if it conducted business with Nova.

The board said Sarb played an intimate and active role in the restructuring of the Sharemax syndications in 2010 and the subsequent creation of the Nova Group, and that one of the purposes of the new structure was to remove the historical negative perceptions of the old Sharemax structure. “…When asked for clarification as to the continued existence of ‘reputational risk’, the Sarb unfortunately appears to be unable to assist, notwithstanding the aforesaid role of Sarb in the restructuring proves and the creation of the Nova Group,” the communiqué reads.

The board went on to say:

“This is indeed an extremely sad state of affairs, when members of the Banking Fraternity and its regulator, the SARB, are unwilling to assist the Nova Group in acting in the best interests of the very “Pensioners” who’s plight the Media continues to lament, under circumstances where it is the SARB, who imposed the Directives on the historical so-called “Sharemax Group” (some 3 years ago), whilst, afterwards, actively assisted in terminating the existence of such historical “Sharemax Group”, and withdrawing the Directives, as a consequence, on 8 February 2012, so as to remove any impediment on and in regard to the historical business of the restructured “Sharemax Group”, constituting, to the best benefit of Shareholders and Debenture Holders, the new Nova Group.”

Sarb did not respond at the time of publication.



Special Investigations

Author: Ryk van Niekerk

18 September 2014

Sharemax complaints surge after Bam determination

Sars applies for liquidation of Sharemax and termination of the business rescue process.

The South African Revenue Service (Sars) has applied for the liquidation of Sharemax Investments and for the business rescue proceedings of the company to be terminated.

This follows a lengthy tug of war since 2012 between Sars and the directors of Sharemax and the Nova Group of Companies for the payment of R15.7 million of outstanding taxes.

Sars filed the application in June 2014, as it does not foresee the company being able to pay the debt.

Sars names, amongst others, business practitioner Dawie van der Merwe, former Sharemax directors Willie Botha, André Brand, Dominique Haese, as well as Nova Property Group chairman Connie Myburgh as respondents.


In a strongly worded affidavit Elle-Sarah Rossato contends on behalf of Sars that that the sole reason for placing Sharemax Investments into business rescue was to abuse the mechanism prescribed by the Company’s Act not to pay creditors.

“The inescapable inference is that creditors of Sharemax Investments were misled with a promise that R40 million would be coming their way, whilst the controllers of the first respondent had already decided to abuse the Company’s Act business rescue provisions.”

The R40 million refers to the amount earmarked to be paid to Sharemax Investments shortly after restructuring the investments, and was to be used to pay creditors.

Siegrist Determination

Rossato said in the affidavit that the directors abused the Siegrist Determination as the reason for not paying the outstanding taxes.

Fais Ombud Nolantu Bam handed down the Siegrist Determination last year. Of all the determinations she handed down, it is the most controversial one, that not only held Siegrist’s financial advisor liable for his losses, but also the individual Sharemax directors.

The directors are appealing this judgment.

Rossato contends that Myburgh, the chairman of the Nova Group of Companies, said Sharemax couldn’t pay the amount to Sars due to approximately 500 new complaints lodged at the Ombud following the Siegrist Determination and because the appeal process against the determination has not been completed.

Rossato labeled this position as a “disingenuous abuse of the Siegrist Determination as a reason for the non-payment of the first respondent’s (Sars) debt.”

In total, approximately 2000 of the total 33 000 investors have lodged complaints against their financial advisors regarding investments in Sharemax.

Termination of rescue proceedings

As part of the liquidation process, Sars also applied for the termination of the rescue proceedings for Sharemax Investments, as the requirements for business rescue had not been fulfilled. Van der Merwe was appointed as the rescue practitioner in December 2011 and has since not filed a rescue plan, which according to the Companies Act should have been done within 25 days of his appointment.

Van der Merwe also used the Siegrist Determination as a shield for his non-compliance. Rossato said that this approach was “equally disingenuous”, as the Siegrist Determination was handed down on January 29 last year, more than a year after Van der Merwe’s appointment.


Sharemax and the directors have still not filed their answer to the liquidation application but instead filed a notice for joinder of Siegrist, alleging that Sars failed to include Siegrist as a respondent in their application. They contend that the application is “defective”, as Siegrist’s claim would be prejudiced if Sars’ application is successful. At most Siegrist will be a future creditor in the liquidation of Sharemax.

Topics: South African Revenue Service, Sars, Sharemax, Nova Group, business rescue

Sunday, October 12, 2014

SARS bugged Zuma

No Crime No Corruption In South Africa - Zuma

Piet Rampedi, Mzilikazi wa Afrika, Stephan Hofstatter and Malcolm Rees | 12 October, 2014 09:16

A former spy master blackmailed the South African Revenue Service into paying him R3-million to keep silent about how its rogue intelligence unit broke into Jacob Zuma's private home in Forest Town, Johannesburg, and planted listening devices.

At the time Zuma was unemployed after he had been fired as deputy president. He was in the running for the ANC presidency and had just been acquitted on a rape charge.
The spy master, known as "Skollie", whose real name is known to the Sunday Times, was the head of SARS's covert Special Projects Unit, later renamed the National Research Group.
Documents seen by the Sunday Times and SARS officials who spoke on condition of anonymity claim that the unit also intercepted a meeting between Zuma and SARS executive Leonard Radebe at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Durban ahead of the ANC's 2007 Polokwane conference.
The unit was established in 2007 when Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Pravin Gordhan was the commissioner at SARS.
The unit specialised in penetrating crime syndicates engaged in smuggling cigarettes, drugs, rhino horn and ivory.
A senior intelligence official confirmed this week that the cabinet security cluster had independently established that a bug had been planted in Zuma's house.
The unit is now the subject of three separate probes by the Office of the Inspector General of Intelligence, the Hawks and SARS itself.
The unit's existence and alleged targeting of politicians aligned to Zuma in the run-up to Polokwane has been reported on before.
But, based on access to confidential minutes of unit meetings, internal memos, e-mails and reports, and interviews with former and current unit members, the Sunday Times can reveal for the first time that:
Evidence exists that the unit illegally intercepted the e-mails and phone calls of taxpayers;
SARS flouted its own policies to secretly recruit agents;
Agents were paid from a secret cost centre;
SARS provided agents with new identity documents with new names; and
Agents conducted physical surveillance and "house infiltrations" to spy on taxpayers.
These actions are illegal as they violate the National Strategic Intelligence Act, which says only South Africa's military, police and intelligence structures are allowed to gather covert intelligence.
A National Intelligence Agency report on "irregularities taking place at SARS" dated December 15 2009, and seen by the Sunday Times, states that the unit "conducted surveillance activities, house infiltrations and comprehensive security checks on the identified targets".
SARS vehemently denies the unit was involved in mail intercepts and phone tapping.
However, proof that the unit intercepted phone calls and e-mails is contained in WhatsApp discussions, seen by Sunday Times reporters, between SARS enforcement head Johann van Loggerenberg and his former lover, Pretoria-based attorney Belinda Walter. Both Walter and Van Loggerenberg made the messages available to the Sunday Times.
At the time the pair were romantically involved - while she represented a number of high-profile tobacco producers under investigation by Van Loggerenberg.
In a WhatsApp sent to Walter on January 14, Van Loggerenberg writes: "We are running plenty lines. More lines mean more data to sift."
Referring to one of Walter's former clients, Van Loggerenberg indicates that "their lines are super-hot".
He also copied e-mailed questions received by the same client from a journalist in WhatsApp discussions. Asked how he obtained the information, Van Loggerenberg replies: "Intercepted."
On another occasion he refers to his "watcher and listener ladies [who] don't waste time to draft reports for me on personal stuff".
Memos show the unit was set up by deputy SARS commissioner Ivan Pillay in February 2007 when he managed SARS's enforcement and risk division. Its 26 agents included SARS enforcement officials and operatives and investigators drawn from the Scorpions, NIA and military special forces.
Agents received training in mobile, electronic and physical surveillance, house penetration and phone and mail interception at a conference centre in Montana near Pretoria.
Weekly meetings were held at a guest house in Brooklyn, Pretoria, and agents worked from private homes, cafés and restaurants. A memo sent from the unit's data analyst on May 14 2008 outlines "rules of play" that include "group is not known" and "cost centre is not known".
SARS chief strategy officer Pete Richer, a former NIA executive, recruited "Skollie" from the NIA, and he in turn head-hunted agents from intelligence structures.
According to the minutes of a meeting on June 12 2008, Pillay gave its leaders "verbal instruction not to follow the normal policies and procedures" in recruiting agents.
Skollie had a falling-out with SARS management and decided to leave. He demanded a large payout for his silence. After Skollie left SARS, Van Loggerenberg managed the unit.
Minutes show that two months after Skollie was paid the R3-million, SARS warned unit members that "contact with Skollie must be broken completely. Any contact must be authorised. If he makes contact it must be reported in writing via unit leaders to Mr Pillay."
A SARS memo dated March 28 2008 shows Skollie's payout was disguised as a payoff for the remainder of his three-year contract plus R87000 in "accrued leave pay".
Pillay and disgraced former SARS commissioner Oupa Magashule, who was then the general manager for corporate services, signed off on the payment.
A former unit staff member said the money was Skollie's "silence cheque" after he fell out with SARS top brass.
"The division created conflict and [Van Loggerenberg] came in as a mediator and finally [Skollie] was fired but not before he threatened to expose the unit and was offered a 'silence cheque' and the unit members [were] warned to cut all ties and communication with him," the former member said.
Contacted this week, Skollie declined to comment.
Radebe, whose phone was tapped and meeting with Zuma bugged, and former SARS executive George Nkadimeng, who brokered Skollie's deal, later died in separate car crashes.
Former staff members added that Van Loggerenberg told the meeting the entity was "created because the commissioner [Gordhan] himself envisaged a unit that would obtain and understand things related to the illicit economy that cannot be obtained through the normal means".
SARS had realised it needed "information from NIA and the [police] crime intelligence units but these departments were faced with some problems that made the exchange of information difficult".
SARS spent millions of rands on equipment for the unit. According to the minutes, the unit requested R546-million from Pillay to buy CCTV cameras, binoculars and portal radios, among other equipment.
Van Loggerenberg and Gordhan refused to answer detailed questions and referred all inquiries to SARS spokesman Adrian Lackay.
Lackay confirmed the existence of the National Research Group, but denied it was involved in covert intelligence gathering.
"SARS has been aware of numerous attempts to tarnish its reputation by, among others, alleging the existence of an illegal covert unit - the NRG," said Lackay.
"SARS has never had a covert intelligence unit and has never bugged any telephones. SARS does not have and never had the capability to intercept communications or to conduct illegal covert operations."
Lackay conceded that SARS paid Skollie a sum of money but denied it bought his silence over the bugging of Zuma's home.
"SARS did not pay [Skollie] to leave his post or to 'shut up and disappear'," he said.
"We are not in a position to divulge the money details of the contract as this constitutes confidential information to the taxpayer. The contract was terminated early due to personal reasons relating to [Skollie] that resulted in [both parties] agreeing on a final contract settlement amount payable," he added.
Lackay said "the NRG was never involved in any illegal activities including the 'bugging' of Mr Zuma's house".
He said the WhatsApps between Van Loggerenberg and Walter were "private conversations in which he deliberately lied to his girlfriend at the time".
Van Loggerenberg would explain this to the SARS investigation and the inspector-general of intelligence.


Comments by Sonny

Yes, the ex Bosses of SARS/banks/insurance  companies, churches just go on to corrupt the rest of civil Society.
Newspapers would not get sold if it wasn't for Zuma and his cronies!
Who fathered that DEMON?
South Africa is on the downward spiral!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Right of response: Department of Environmental Affairs is not shirking its responsibilities

No Fear No Favour No Animal Poachers accepted here......

Edna Molewa (Life etc)   29 September 2014 09:47  (SOUTH AFRICA)

A recent op-ed by Karen Trendler took on the rights and living conditions of elephants in South Africa, as well as some upcoming proposals by the Department of Environmental Affairs. Here, as is her right and in the interest of open debate, the Minister, EDNA MOLEWA, offers her response.

The analysis of the Department of Environmental Affairs’ Norms and Standards policies with regards to elephants (‘Molewa takes aim at wild elephants’; Daily Maverick 17 September 2014) carries an emotive and loaded headline – but also belies a misunderstanding of the department’s mandate and responsibilities with regards to these animals.
It is incorrect to state that the DEA has abandoned key provisions of the Norms and Standards for the management of elephants in South Africa; and that recent amendments could “overturn the founding principles of the 2008 norms”.
At issue here is the question of mandate; and whether the DEA, as a body charged with conservation, is legally able to enforce matters relating to animal welfare.
In terms of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004 (Act No. 10 of 2004) (NEMBA) the Department of Environmental Affairs does not have the legislative mandate to regulate matters relating to animal welfare.
A judgment of the Supreme Court of Appeal - SA Predator Breeders Association (SAPBA) v Minister of Environmental Affairs (29 November 2010) upheld this restriction.
In the case in question, the court found that the Minister of Environmental Affairs, inter alia, did not have the legislative mandate to regulate ethical or animal welfare matters, or issues not related to conservation.
As a result, I may only regulate activities of a nature that they may negatively impact on the survival of listed threatened or protected species.
However, I am legally mandated in terms of NEMBA to ensure, among others, the “protection of species that are threatened or in need of protection to ensure their survival in the wild”, and “that the utilisation of biodiversity is managed in an ecologically sustainable way”.
The Norms and Standards, adopted in May 2008 are regularly reviewed and where necessary, updated or amended every four years. It is worth noting that proposed amendments to the Norms and Standards are not unique: but form part of the regular process of revision of departmental regulations, in response to prevailing conditions.
For example, since the latest Elephant Norms and Standards came into effect, the DEA has become aware of implementation and enforcement challenges facing owners and managers of elephants, but also conservation authorities.
These include requirements relating to an elephant management plan, as well as lack of clarity regarding who is responsible to develop a management plan for a roaming (wild) elephant - in instances where its origin cannot readily be determined. In addition, certain provisions do not adequately specify whether they apply to wild or captive elephants.
To address these potential problems and streamline the implementation process, the DEA convened a general stakeholder consultation workshop on 12 August 2014. Additional challenges were identified at this workshop, including but not limited to methods for euthanasia, as well as issues of alignment with provisions of the Threatened or Protected Species (TOPS) Regulations involving elephants.
Discussions from this workshop as well as submissions received from stakeholders will inform subsequent amendments to the Elephant Norms and Standards. The draft revised Norms and Standards will be gazetted in 2015, providing further opportunity for interested and affected parties to participate in the process.
Daily Maverick readers should note that the welfare of both domestic and wild animals is regulated by two other Acts of Parliament, namely the Animals Protection Act, 1962 (Act No. 71 of 1962) and the Performing Animals Protection Act, 1935 (Act No. 24 of 1935 as amended).
Both these acts fall under the administration of the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
To ensure that the well-being of elephants in captivity is adequately addressed, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has been requested to assist by publishing the draft Minimum Standards for the management of captive elephants in terms of the Animals Protection Act, 1962.
We are neither shirking our responsibilities nor are we “removing” or “overturning” any critical provisions in our laws relating to the welfare of animals - because they are simply difficult to enforce or implement. We are merely bringing them in line with the legislative mandate of the Minister of Environmental Affairs. DM
Edna Molewa is Minister of Environmental Affairs.
Photo: Some of the first 40 elephants wander round in the bush after being released into newly-named Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park in Gaza Mozambique, 04 October 2001. The 35,000 square kilometer park is a cross-border game reserve between South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. EPA PHOTO AP POOL/THEMBA HADEBE



Conservation specialist Karen Trendler says wildlife crimes are highly tactical. Credit: Gerry van der Walt/WildEye

JOHANNESBURG – The Endangered Wildlife Trust says the arrest of 10 members of a rhino poaching syndicate is an indication of how highly organised criminals have become.
They are expected to appear in the Hatfield Magistrates Court tomorrow.
Over the last five years, the syndicate has reportedly obtained over 84 horns worth nearly R22 million.
Others involved include a Hawks official, a pilot and an attorney.
Conservation specialist Karen Trendler says wildlife crimes are highly tactical.
"These aren’t just people who are shooting a rhino because they don’t have money and they need to feed their family. This is highly organised crime with mass profitability.”
(Edited by Victoria Campbell-Gillies)



Abraham Smit was arrested two weeks ago by the Hawks after apparently evading American authorities.

Trudie Ras, Jacobus Steyn and Abraham Smit, who are allegedly members of a rhino poaching syndicate illegally acquired an estimated R22 million worth of rhino horns. Picture: Valeska Abreu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - One of 10 people accused of being part ofmultimillion rand alleged rhino poaching syndicate is also wanted by Interpol.

Abraham Smit, who is also known as Arno Smit by people whom he allegedly conned in America, was arrested two weeks ago by the Hawks after apparently evading American authorities for four years in connection with fraud charges.

He is bringing forward a bail application in the Pretoria Magistrates Court, along with four other people while the remaining six have decided to postpone their applications until next week.

Details of an Interpol warrant of arrest for Smit emerged yesterday with the state expected to place it on record when the bail application continues.

He now faces a list of charges in this country relating to organised crime and racketeering for his alleged involvement in the rhino poaching syndicate said to be the biggest and most violent in the country. 

In his affidavit read in court during his bail application, Smit stated that he previously lived and worked in America, but had no pending cases or charges against him. 

It's expected that the state will place the Interpol warrant on record today.

Meanwhile, animal activists who attended yesterday's proceedings say bail for all of the accused should be denied. 

Miranda Friedman from Activists for Animals Africa said, “The fact is that there may not be harmful to another human being, but to other rhino.”

Smit and two others, including the alleged kingpin's wife, is facing a schedule five offence while anther suspect, Jacobus 'Bonnie' Steyn, is facing a schedule one offence. 

An American TV news Network is reporting that Smit was a major con man who scammed people out of millions. 

It's understood one of the woman he conned was met on an internet dating site for millionaires. 

(Edited by Gadeeja Abbas)






Monday, September 22, 2014

Pickvest directors acted dishonestly – FSB

Moneyweb News
Special Investigations

Author: Hanna Barry|

22 September 2014 00:22

Pickvest directors acted dishonestly – FSB

Appeal dismissal raises serious questions.

Directors of property syndication promoter Pickvest have launched an application in the Pretoria High Court to have an incriminating determination by the Financial Services Board (FSB) reviewed and set aside.

The decision, which was made in February by the FSB’s Appeal Board, found that Pickvest’s directors acted dishonestly and without the care, skill and diligence expected of financial services providers (FSP) under the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services (FAIS) Act.

This formed the basis of the Appeal Board’s dismissal of Pickvest’s appeal against an April 2013 decision by the board’s Registrar of Financial Services Providers to have its FSP licence withdrawn.

The Registrar withdrew Pickvest’s licence last year because it said the decision by the company’s directors (among them Durand Botha, brother of Sharemax mastermind Willie) to use investors’ money to pay for properties without first taking transfer of these properties amounted to a failure “to meet the personal standard of honesty and integrity required by s 8 of the [FAIS] Act of a fit and proper financial services provider”.

Pickvest promoted 22 different property syndication schemes known as Highveld Syndications (HS), a number of which are now under business rescue. Investors bought units (a mixture of shares and loan accounts) in any one of the HS companies by depositing money into the trust account of Pretoria attorneys Eugene Kruger & Co. Incorporated.

The FSB says the agreements signed by investors in response to the prospectus of HS 21 made no provision for the property syndication’s obligation to secure transfer of properties before withdrawing money from the trust account to purchase them. It thereby contravened a 2006 Department of Trade and Industry (dti) Notice gazetted in terms of the Unfair Business Practices Act (formerly the Consumer Affairs Act), which stipulates that investor funds can only be withdrawn from a trust account in the event of transfer of the property.

Pickvest claimed that Kruger advised it that the notice did not apply to them. The reasons given by Kruger for this opinion were chiefly that the dti continued to register company prospectuses after March 2006 even where these contained provisions that were not in accordance with the notice in question.

However, the FSB says it is plain that “any company which is a syndication promoter falls within the ambit of the notice”. The fact that registrations were affected by dti officials as Kruger points out “is of no moment”, according to the board, since these proclaim only the fact of registration and are not an expression of departmental approval.

That Pickvest’s prospectus in respect of HS 21 said nothing of the need to ensure transfer of properties before paying for them “obviously failed” to meet the requirements of the notice and “therefore failed to provide investor protection from the sort of outcome which eventuated”, the FSB says. This outcome is that “investors involved had bought shares in companies that were not, after all, the owners of the properties which were due to provide them with the promised returns on their investments. In short, they were left with tenuous rights of questionable, if any, value,” the Appeal Board’s ruling states.

FSB not investigating Pickvest further

The FSB says it is likely that the directors of Pickvest were aware of the relevant provisions in the notice and it is insufficient for them to “shelter behind what could have been nothing more than a brief oral assertion by Mr Kruger”. The board finds that Pickvest’s directors acted with a “dishonest state of mind” in their withdrawal of investors’ funds and “consciously closed their minds to pursuing lines of enquiry which could have informed them better but which would also have demonstrated to them that what they chose to believe was in fact and law mistaken”.

It is not clear how much money was withdrawn from Kruger’s trust account, but the FSB concludes it involved “a substantial sum” since HS 21 had more than R1 billion invested in it.

Caroline da Silva, deputy executive officer for FAIS at the FSB, says that the outcome of the review application with the High Court may determine whether there are grounds for claims against Pickvest and whether agreements signed by investors are null and void because they did not comply with the dti’s notice. According to the FSB, non-compliance with the notice constitutes a criminal offence punishable by way of a fine of R200 000 or five years’ imprisonment or both.

Manasse Malimabe, head of the FAIS compliance department, says the FSB has not initiated further investigations into Pickvest subsequent to the Appeal Board’s dismissal.

Pickvest’s directors did not respond to requests for comment. Business rescue practitioner Hans Klopper, involved with the HS companies, said he had no interest in Pickvest.
Topics: Pickvest, Sharemax, Financial Services Board, FAIS Act, Highveld Syndications, Caroline da Silva, Manasse Malimabe, Willie Botha, Durand Botha

Protecting Olympus from falling: ANC goes for broke to defend Zuma

No Fear No Favour No One Party State..........

Ranjeni Munusami South Africa 22 September 2014 01:37 (SOUTH AFRICA)

One could only imagine how the discussion went down at this weekend’s ANC national executive committee (NEC) meeting that led to a rather astounding media statement released on Saturday. The ANC said it wanted Parliament to protect President Jacob Zuma and his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa from being humiliated and embarrassed by opposition parties. The ANC seems to be proposing “alternate” forms of accountability, such as Zuma and Ramaphosa addressing imbizos, instead of having to face Julius Malema and his militant red brigade in Parliament. This is officially the point where the ANC loses the plot of how a democratic state should be run. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.

ANC national executive committee meetings are interesting phenomena in human behaviour. They are governed by some unwritten law of the jungle that requires members to stake their own political survival on declarations of praise for whoever is at the top of the food chain, and swear annihilation on their enemies. It’s how you would imagine the Sicilian mafia conducts board meetings – without the obligatory bloody shootout at the end.
There have been defining moments in time that illustrate how these meetings normally unfold. In 2002, former president Nelson Mandela went to an NEC meeting to try to talk sense into the ANC so that they adopt a more rational posture on HIV/Aids. At the time, the organisation was sitting by impassively as a human catastrophe was playing out, with government following the denialist line of former president Thabo Mbeki and his then health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, denying life-saving treatment to people living with HIV/Aids.
Mandela thought that he could appeal to the collective wisdom of the ANC leadership at that time so that they could force government to roll out a comprehensive treatment programme. Mandela was not prepared for what greeted him at the meeting. Speaker after speaker lambasted him for publicly contradicting the party’s policy on Aids drugs. Mandela left the meeting devastated, not only at the insolence but also the reluctance of anybody in the then 60-member NEC to break ranks with a herd that was defending an irrational and ridiculous position.
Six years later, the composition of the NEC had changed and the tide had swung against Mbeki. This time the post-Polokwane 80-member NEC was meeting to decide Mbeki’s fate after High Court Judge Chris Nicholson found that he had politically manipulated President Jacob Zuma’s corruption case. Again, speaker after speaker in the NEC meeting got up to vent condemnation of Mbeki and justify his recall from office.
It is the rule of the mob, the clinging to a false notion that defending and supporting whoever is leader of the party at the time is a political calling. It is the conflation of the interests of the party leader with that of the good of the organisation.
It is irrationality in its highest form, lobbed around in a room where the main political power of country is vested.
On Saturday, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe issued a statement in the midst of an NEC meeting to announce an appeal to Parliament to “restore to the House the necessary dignity and decorum, [and] appreciation of its rules”. “Amongst the issues discussed today has been the concerning developments in Parliament, particularly the obvious intention to humiliate and embarrass the president and the deputy president whenever they appear in the House,” Mantashe said.
The crux of the statement is this: “The NEC cautions against continuing this trend of negatively exposing the Head of State to disrespect and intended humiliation by a fringe group committed to undermining democracy”.
This means that the NEC decided that Zuma, and his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa, should not have to meet their constitutional obligations to account to Parliament as they stood the chance of being challenged and disrespected by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). Mantashe did not name the EFF in the statement, but his reference to “fringe group” is a nod to previous colourful descriptions of the red brigade, such as “rebels” and Nazis.
It has been apparent for the some time that the ANC has no idea how to contend with the militancy and aggression of the EFF. The ANC has repeatedly condemned their behaviour and has tried to swing public opinion against Julius Malema and his crew. The problem for the ANC, however, is that despite the EFF’s audacious behaviour, they are not getting mass censure for their repeated assaults on the ANC leadership. If anything, the EFF’s protest in Parliament demanding that Zuma “pay back the money” for the Nkandla upgrades won them some leverage and respect outside their primary constituency.
It is clear that the EFF is becoming emboldened by the day and realise that turning Parliament into a battlefield is working in their favour. Other opposition parties are also siding strategically with the EFF as they appreciate that Malema & Co. are able to rattle the ANC like nobody else has been able to before. For the ANC this must be extremely disturbing as they now know that despite their howls of protest, the EFF is likely to continue dictating the parliamentary agenda by default, no matter how much control the ruling party has over the organs of state and institutions of Parliament.
The ANC NEC has now decided that they need to protect their senior most leaders from the wrath of the EFF. However, they want Parliament to shield the president and deputy president from attacks from the EFF and other MPs who might climb the bandwagon. Both Zuma and Ramaphosa’s parliamentary question sessions degenerated into shouting matches with the EFF hurling insults – and Floyd Shivambu’s middle finger – at them.

What is interesting though is that the Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete, who last week survived an acrimonious motion of no confidence debate against her, would have been in the ANC NEC meeting when these matters were discussed. Surely she and others who are knowledgeable about the rules of Parliament and the constitutional obligations on accountability should have cautioned the meeting that members of the executive could not dodge having to answer questions in Parliament.
It would also be expected that Mbete and many others in the room would have reasoned with the rest of the committee that it is not Parliament’s business to protect the president and deputy president, but to ensure that they are held to account. And if they are refusing to do so, surely Parliament should frown heavily on them for that?
However, despite the Speaker being in the room, the NEC statement read while the president and deputy president remain accountable to Parliament, they will now engage the people of South Africa “through various other platforms including direct contact with our people such as the recently relaunched Izimbizo forums”. While it is laudable that the ANC wants its leaders to have more direct contact with ordinary citizens – which is somewhat rare out of election season – it is rather bizarre that these are being proposed as alternate methods of accountability.
Unfortunately for the ANC, the Constitution does not provide for innovative alternatives to parliamentary accountability in the event of a rambunctious group being elected to serve as MPs. Zuma and Ramaphosa stand the risk of violating the Constitution should they chose to avoid accounting to Parliament – and perhaps one of the 80-member NEC should have known that this is grounds for impeachment. Surely some people in the room would have also realised that it would undermine democracy for the president to show up only to deliver the State of the Nation Address and attend the Budget, and avoid Parliament otherwise.
So why would the ANC take the risk of violating the Constitution and undermining South Africa’s parliamentary democracy by making such an announcement?
It is clear that the ANC is not reading the public mood accurately about the level of resentment about the costs of the upgrades at Zuma’s Nkandla home. They seem to think that more people would be angry about the EFF disrespecting Zuma than with those wanting him to pay for the undue benefits he and his family received. The ANC – or at least those in the NEC – would rather rally behind Zuma than consider the long-term damage this posture will have on the organisation.
The ANC would rather self-destruct in the mission to protect its leader than tell him to respond to the questions he is obliged to answer in Parliament. It is staggering that nobody in the senior most leadership structure of the ruling party proposed this as a possible solution to the ANC’s dilemma of how to contend with the EFF.
What we have now is a deliberately blinkered approach and a clumsy argument that the EFF’s attempt to hold Zuma to account is actually an attack on democracy. Asking hard questions of the president is hardly an assault on the state or an attempt to bring government to its knees.
So far, the only attack on democracy would be for the president and deputy president to snub Parliament and hold government-funded events to sell the “good story” to the nation.
If Olympus is falling, it is only because Olympus is refusing to accept responsibility for what has gone wrong under his leadership. If only one in a room of 80 of the ANC’s elected leaders had the courage to speak truth to power and say so. DM









Sunday, September 21, 2014

Láng wag kom vir Sharemax-geld

Láng wag kom vir Sharemax-geld
Heléne Cilliers
Sondag 21 September 2014 5:00 vm.


Sharemax het sedert hy in Desember 2011 ’n sakereddingspraktisyn aangestel het, steeds nie ’n sakereddingsplan voorgelê nie. Kragtens die Maatskappywet moes dit binne 25 werkdae daarna geskied het.

Sharemax-beleggers kan jare wag om hopelik minstens ’n deel van hul geld terug te kry indien die Suid-Afrikaanse Inkomstediens (SAID) se aansoek om die likwidasie van die omstrede eiendomsindikasie slaag.

Die SAID het ’n aansoek in die Noord-Gautengse hooggeregshof ingedien om Sharemax se sakereddingsproses tersyde te stel of, alternatiewelik, om ’n bevel te kry om dit ter syde te stel en die maatskappy te likwideer.

Sharemax, waarin sowat 33 000 beleggers – hoofsaaklik pensioenarisse – belê het, is in 2013 as ’n Ponzi-skema beskryf deur die ombudsman vir finansiële adviseurs en tussengangerdienste (Fais).

Hy is in 2011 in sakeredding geplaas, maar luidens die hofstukke wat die SAID ingedien het, het dié proses tot ’n einde gekom as gevolg van nie-voldoening aan die Maatskappywet.

Hy sê ook daar is geen redelike vooruitsig vir redding nie en dat Sharemax nie in staat is om sy skuld te betaal nie.

Sharemax het sedert hy in Desember 2011 ’n sakereddingspraktisyn aangestel het, steeds nie ’n sakereddingsplan voorgelê nie. Kragtens die Maatskappywet moes dit binne 25 werkdae daarna geskied het.

Die SAID sê hy is ’n krediteur van Sharemax omdat dié hom uitstaande BTW van meer as R15,7 miljoen skuld.

Indien die likwidasie-aansoek toegestaan word, lê daar nog ’n lang proses en ’n gewag voor voordat beleggers hul geld sal terugkry, indien enigsins, volgens ’n plaaslike likwidasie-onderneming.

Boonop kan die saak uitrek omdat Sharemax nog nie ’n beantwoordende verklaring ingedien het nie, maar wel kennis gegee het dat hy ’n regspunt gaan aanroer omdat een van sy skuldeisers, Gerbrecht Siegrist, nie ook as een van die respondente in die saak genoem is nie.

Omdat Sharemax nog in sakeredding is, kry Siegrist dieselfde voorkeur as die SAID, sê hy.

Indien die SAID se aansoek toegestaan word, sal sy status van ’n konkurrente skuldeiser verhef word tot ’n voorkeurskuldeiser, sê Sharemax.

Indien Sharemax gelikwideer word, sal die SAID en banke eerste in die ry staan as voorkeurkrediteure, volgens die likwidasiemaatskappy met wie Sake-Rapport gepraat het. Werknemers en beleggers staan dan tweede in die ry as die konkurrente krediteure.

Indien die likwidasie-aansoek toegestaan word, sal dit ’n tyd neem vir alle krediteure om hul eise in te dien, waarna Sharemax se totale skuld bepaal kan word.

Volgens die likwidasiemaatskappy is Sharemax egter tans ’n “leë dop” en sal sy direkteure waarskynlik verantwoordelik gehou moet word vir sy skuld.

Sharemax vra egter dat die SAID se aansoek tersyde gestel word omdat hy nie Siegrist as ’n respondent aanhaal nie.

Hy sê ook in sy kennisgewing dat hy volgens die SAID insolvent is, en indien dit die geval is, sal die bedrag wat Siegrist toekom as ’n konkurrente krediteur baie verminder in verhouding tot hoeveel die SAID s’n sal styg as ’n voorkeurskuldeiser.

Volgens die likwidasiemaatskappy kan dit enigiets van ses maande tot ses jaar duur om die likwidasieproses af te handel.