Thursday, December 30, 2010









Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hawks boss questions viability of arms-deal probe

Hawks boss questions viability of arms-deal probe
The head of the Hawks, Anwa Dramat, on Wednesday questioned whether it was in South Africa's interest to pursue the only two remaining investigations linked to the arms-deal scandal.

Dramat told Parliament's watchdog public accounts committee, Scopa, that both cases were dependent on obtaining information from other countries, and could therefore take up to 10 years to conclude.

"These two legs await information from other authorities. But even with information from the said authorities, the question is whether it is in the best interest of the country to pursue these investigations, which will take at least five to 10 years and cost more than R10-million."

He added, to the outrage of MPs: "That is for Parliament to take an executive decision on."

Dramat was referring to investigations into claims that senior South African officials took bribes from German and British arms-makers who secured tenders to sell the country German warships and Hawk jet trainers.

He confirmed that a single investigator -- former Scorpions members Johan du Plooy -- has been working on the complex case involving the German Frigate Consortium.

In order to obtain the help of the German authorities, the Hawks asked the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to appoint a judge to issue a request for mutual legal assistance. The matter has since been referred to the Special Commercial Crimes Unit.

"Those dockets were presented to the NPA in June," Dramat said, adding that the Hawks had no choice but to wait for the NPA's next move.

The second case, involving claims of bribes from Britain's BAE Systems, appeared similarly stalled, with the police waiting for a decision from the NPA on whether or not to proceed with charges, or to request further investigation.


Dramat said together the two cases involved alleged illicit payments of about R480-million.

Dragging their feet
Opposition MPs charged that the state of play suggested authorities were dragging their feet and might be under political duress to drop any remaining probe into the scandal, which dates from more than a decade ago.

"It is my impression ... that what we've heard today [Wednesday] is that there is an investigation where there are 460 boxes of documents, 4,7-million computer-generated documents and one investigator apparently assigned to that investigation," David Maynier from the Democratic Alliance said.

"I conclude or infer from that that what we are dealing with here is a non-investigation. The inference is always that we are in a situation like this because there has been some kind of political interference."

He asked Dramat and NPA head Menzi Simelane whether President Jacob Zuma and current or former ministers had ever sought to influence the course of the investigations.

Both Dramat and Simelane strenuously denied any political meddling.

Dramat said he had only met Zuma in person on one occasion, "and there was no discussion of any investigation with the president at all".

"I can confirm that at least on my side there has been no pressure or undue influence that has been placed on me in terms of this investigation."

Simelane added: "The answer is no, I have never discussed any matter in the NPA with President Zuma."

He added that he would not rush the cases to suit the opposition either.

"The matter will be dealt with in accordance with the law and as reasonably and possibly as we can. We are not going to do anything that compromises any investigation just because it suits any individuals or parties that are interested in this matter."

Lack of foreign cooperation
Asked about his decision to order the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) to abandon steps to freeze the foreign assets of former defence adviser Fana Hlongwane in the BAE investigation, Simelane again cited a lack of foreign cooperation among the obstacles encountered.

Maynier quipped that the snail's pace at which both cases were proceeding suggested the "Hawks need a strong dose of investigative Red Bull".

The arms-deal investigations go back to the mid-1990s. In 2008, the Scorpions reopened the case involving BAE's sale of Hawk jet trainers to South Africa and raided the offices of Hlongwane and BAE's Pretoria premises at the end of that year.

In February, Britain's Serious Fraud Office decided to settle bribery charges with arms manufacturer BAE Systems, raising concerns that the South African probe would hit a dead end.

In March, Simelane ordered the AFU not to pursue an attempt to seize millions of rands held in Lichtenstein by Hlongwane, saying he was not convinced by the evidence against him. -- Sapa

Monday, December 27, 2010

What make us an anti-Semite

UK Journo Reflects on FBLA-Delivered Nazi News
By Richard Horgan on December 23, 2010 5:00 PM
We are big new fans of Christina Patterson, a commentator with The Independent newspaper in London. And not just because she today credits FishbowlLA with making her aware last week of a most dubious distinction bestowed upon her by LA’s Simon Wiesenthal Center. (Alongside journalists Helen Thomas and Rick Sanchez, Patterson was tagged by the Center as having written one of the year’s “Top Ten Anti-Semitic Slurs.”)

Patterson’s writing style seamlessly blends a flair for the English language with basic common sense. Under the headline “How I Was Smeared as an Anti-Semite,” the former director of the Poetry Center picks up where we-she left off, describing her astonishment at our Twitter bad news and sharing some of the extensive feedback that followed at her end.

The day after Twitter’s not-so-secret Santa, I had an email from an Orthodox Jew (“you may even,” he said, “say ‘Ultra’ Orthodox”) from New York. He had, he said, seen the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s list. “What you said,” he said, “is not anti-Semitic. I apologize to you for their wrong”.

Read more

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Comments by Sonny

Are the Jews (ZIONISTS) really the "Chosen Race?"

If so, then why do they get persecuted for their beliefs?

The Nazi Hunter's live on.............!


COMMENTS - Christina PATTERSON - The Star

Comments by Sonny

The Security Branch had to afford Simon Wiesenthal VIP protection at the President

Hotel Johannesburg during the early 1970's.

Simon signed my Menu, which, by the way, cost R500.00 pp.

R250.00 of that went to his fund!

A far cry from the Illuminati!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Mail & Guardian to oppose Zuma's appeal

Dec 23, 2010 11:43 AM | By Sapa
The Mail & Guardian said on Thursday it would oppose President Jacob Zuma's application for leave to appeal last week's Supreme Court of Appeal ruling ordering him to hand over a report on the 2002 Zimbabwean election to the newspaper.


President Jacob Zuma. File Picture.

"Our attorney spoke to his state attorney on Tuesday and he confirmed that they will seek leave to appeal. We will oppose their application," Mail & Guardian editor Nick Dawes said.

Dawes said Zuma had until January 6 to serve documents asking for leave to appeal, and the weekly had to respond by January 20.

He expressed disappointment at the latest development in the newspaper's long court battle to get Zuma to release the Kampepe-Moseneke report, believed to confirm widespread abuse during the poll that returned President Robert Mugabe to power.

"We are disappointed. Two courts have given very clear rulings and both have found that the president failed dismally to prove a need to keep the report secret."

The appeal court last Tuesday dismissed the presidency's challenge to a North Gauteng High Court order that Zuma hand the newspaper the report commissioned by then president Thabo Mbeki before the 2002 elections in a strife-torn Zimbabwe.

Both Mbeki and Zuma have resisted repeated calls for the report, compiled by two Constitutional Court judges -- Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke and Constitutional Court Justice Sisi Khampepe, to be made public.

SCA Judge Robert Nugent said the court had to be satisfied that secrecy was justified and the presidency had failed to establish cause for refusing access to the document.

Dawes said it was time for Zuma to comply with the court judgments.

"I really think that what the president ought to do is save some public money, show some commitment to transparency and the PAIA (Promotion of Access to Information Act) process and hand it over."

The presidency was not available for comment.

The legal wrangle is set against a background of unhappiness with the Protection of Information Bill, which introduces lengthy prison sentences for publishing classified documents, and the ruling party's plans to establish a state tribunal to regulate the press.

Sunday Times

Comments by Sonny

Hiding lies is a political game..........!

The year of the hijackers

Some people work hard to make a fortune. Others just take one, writes Jana Marais
Dec 22, 2010 10:05 PM | By Jana Marais
Making millions just became a whole lot easier, with creative opportunists needing little more than a photocopier and an internet connection to make a fortune this year.


IN THE DOCK: Sandile Majali
The alleged hijackers of Kalahari Resources, which include Majali, are facing fraud charges in the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court

Forget the tenderpreneurs, who actually still have to build the (often shabby) bridge, road or IT system after oiling the hands of bureaucrats to get a lucrative tender; in 2010, the "hijackers" simply took whatever they wanted.

Two cases caught the imagination of the public this year: the awarding of prospecting rights for iron ore over Kumba's Sishen mine, and the hijacking of Kalahari Resources, allegedly by, among others, controversial businessman Sandile Majali, a key player in the Oilgate scandal in which PetroSA money was diverted to the ANC ahead of the 2004 elections .

The Sishen case, the first high-profile "hijacking" of mineral rights, became public knowledge in March, after Kumba cancelled a favourable iron ore supply agreement with steelmaker ArcelorMittal. Mittal held a 21.4% undivided right in Sishen, but failed to convert this to a new-order right by the end of April 2009.

Kumba subsequently applied for the mining right, while shelf company Imperial Crown Trading (ICT), with very good connections to Luthuli House, applied for a prospecting right over the property, which has been mined for more than 50 years.

After ICT was awarded the right, Jagdish Parekh, an executive in the Gupta family's business empire, bought a 50% stake in ICT. The Guptas are close to President Jacob Zuma and employ his son Duduzane; daughter Duduzile has served as a director of Sahara Computers, the flagship in the Gupta stable.

In August, ArcelorMittal said it had offered R800-million to buy the company, while including the ICT shareholders, the Guptas, Duduzane Zuma and Sandile Zungu, Zuma's close confidante, in its R9-billion empowerment deal.

In Kumba's court papers - it is fighting the matter in the High Court in Pretoria - ICT is accused of forgery and fraud, with evidence indicating it may have had access to Kumba's application before submitting its own, and, in fact, may have simply copied large parts of Kumba's documents for inclusion in its own application.

ICT, which has yet to say how it knew the right had became available, will only respond with its own court papers in January, and a court date is not expected before mid-2011.

This will not be the only story line in the soap opera next year; earlier this month, Kumba chairman Lazarus Zim, who also has close business ties with the Guptas, stepped down from Kumba's board with immediate effect, saying he is "pursuing a business opportunity, the culmination of which will lead to a conflict of interest".

The government, on the other hand, will try to force Kumba next year to reinstate the favourable iron ore supply agreement, at cost plus 3%, and make the cheap tonnage available to any local steelmaker.

ArcelorMittal's empowerment deal may also run into trouble. Earlier this month, the steelmaker said its "consideration of matters relevant to the (ArcelorMittal) empowerment transaction is ongoing, and satisfaction of the conditions precedent remains outstanding", more than four months after the deal was announced.

Given the extent of the allegations against ICT, it seems ArcelorMittal may want to wait for more clarity on exactly how the prospecting right was awarded before including its shareholders in its BEE consortium.

Following Kumba's revelations, a number of other mining companies instituted legal action over the duplicate awarding of rights, including Anglo Platinum, Lonmin, Anglo American and Rio Tinto's Palabora Mining. The Department of Mineral Resources finally admitted its administration system was in a shambles, and in August placed a six-month moratorium on the issuing of new prospecting rights.

While the department has seemingly made good progress with its systems, the jury is still out on the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (Cipro), where nearly 30 companies fell victim to hijacking this year.

By abusing weaknesses in the Cipro system, the hijackers managed to change the directors' information on Cipro's database, which would allow the hijackers to, for example, open bank accounts, or gain access to existing accounts.

This was used to defraud SARS of at least R50-million this year, with the help of Cipro and SARS employees.

Besides Kalahari Resources, other high-profile victims of Cipro hijackings this year include Deloitte Consulting and Bombardier Transportation, the lead company in the Bombela Consortium of Gautrain builders.

The alleged hijackers of Kalahari Resources, which include Majali, are facing fraud charges in the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court.

A psychological assessment of one of Majali's co-accused, Stephan Khoza, found that he was unfit to stand trial as he suffered from schizophrenia and paranoid delusions, and was unable to distinguish between right and wrong.

Two of the other co-accused, Haralambos Sferopoulos and Elvis Bongani Ndala, were also sent for psychological assessment. The case will resume on January 11.

Sunday Times

Comments by Sonny

Who said crime did not pay in SA?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Newsmen freed after mercenary mix-up

December 21 2010 at 07:40am
By Michelle Jones, Peter Fabricius and Reuters
Comment on this story

Ken Geraghty/
Cape Town journalists Chris Everson (left) and Anton van der Merwe (centre) return home tomorrow after being detained in a Somaliland jail for 10 days suspected of being mercenaries. In this photograph, taken some years ago, they are with fellow journalist Ken Geraghty (right) of Alien TV at the Ngorogoro crater in Tanzania.
Two Cape Town journalists detained for 10 days in Somaliland as suspected dogs of war after the plane on which they were passengers was found to be loaded with military equipment are to return home this morning.

They were released by the Somaliland government yesterday after a South African intermediary intervened.

Christopher Everson and Anton van der Merwe were arrested on December 10 when the aircraft landed in Hargeysa in the breakaway state of Somaliland, officially part of Somalia.

They were well known for their work, albeit separately, covering the Trojan Horse outrage in Athlone in October 1985 in which security force members shot dead three people and wounded 13 others.

Everson’s footage of the shootings was credited with serving to strengthen the resolve of international communities to move against apartheid.

Everson, who was then working for CBS News, won an Emmy for his coverage. He has since won three more.

His wife, Su, told the Cape Times the pair were expected to arrive in Johannesburg from Nairobi last night. They would fly to Cape Town later this morning.

She was reluctant to comment and said Everson would speak to the media today.

“I don’t want to give out information that is not correct,” she said.

Everson had every right to speak for himself, Su said. She slammed the press, saying it had failed to report accurately what took place, but declined to set the record straight.

According to initial reports, Everson and Van der Merwe were working for Moonlighting Films, a film production company based in Cape Town.

Su denied the pair had been working for Moonlighting Films, but could not say who they had been working for.

Theresa Ryan van Graan, of Moonlighting Films, refused to comment about Everson and Van der Merwe and did not confirm whether they had been working for the company.

Everson, a cameraman, and Van der Merwe, a sound recordist, had worked for some time as journalists.

The non-lethal military equipment on board the Antonov 24 cargo plane originated in South Africa and was destined for a South African-linked security company in

Puntland, another autonomous northern region of Somalia.

The pair believed they were flying to Puntland to film counter-piracy operations in Bosaso and said that they knew nothing about the South African-linked security company Saracen International.

Saracen is run by Lafras Luitingh, a former senior executive of the now-defunct South African mercenary company Executive Outcomes.

It was not clear yesterday whether Saracen International was in Bosaso to train Somalis to counter pirates or to protect an oil-drilling operation that was about to begin.

The aircraft, carrying military uniforms and other non-lethal military equipment, took off from Entebbe, Uganda, on December 10 and landed in Hargeysa to refuel before flying on to Puntland.

It declared its cargo as clothing and car parts. Suspicious Somaliland authorities investigated and found the military gear. They detained the six Russian crew members and the two South Africans.

Until Sunday, Somaliland’s Air Transport Minister Mohamed Hashi Abdi was saying the two South Africans would be charged with falsely claiming to be journalists.

But yesterday Somaliland’s deputy chief prosecutor, Aden Hero Diig, told reporters that authorities had confirmed that Everson and Van der Merwe were journalists or film-makers, working for SPA, an American TV station.

Moonlighting Films supplied the two journalists to SPA for the assignment, according to sources.

The families of Everson and Van der Merwe had asked the South African government to help release the two men.

Iqbal Jhazbhay, a Unisa academic and expert on Somaliland with close contacts to the Somaliland government, helped Pretoria to reach the government.

It is understood that the United Nations, which investigated the incident, also confirmed that Everson and Van der Merwe were bona fide journalists.

The UN probed the incident because all of Somalia is under a UN arms embargo. As a result of the investigation, the six Russian crew are to be charged with breaching the embargo, sources have said.

Officials in Hargeysa say Puntland is obtaining arms despite the UN weapons embargo on Somalia. - Cape Times

The Star

Comments by Sonny

We can guess who had them arrested?

Monday, December 20, 2010

BREAKING NEWS ; wikiLeaks International

December 21 at 9:43am Reply • Report
Interpol has issued a so-called "red notice" for Wikileaks' Julian Assange, notifying police around the world that he is wanted for questioning by Swedish prosecutors related to sexual assault accusations.

The red notice is not an arrest warrant but is used by Interpol to notify national police forces to be on the lookout for a suspect "with a view to their arrest and extradition," according to Interpol's Web site.

The move could intensify pressure on Assange, 39, of Australia, as Wikileaks continues to release tens of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables on its Web site.

On Nov. 18, the District Court in Stockholm ordered Assange's detention "on probable cause suspected of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion." Assange appealed, but the order was affirmed by the Svea Court of Appeals on Nov. 24. On Tuesday he appealed again to overturn the ruling, this time to Sweden's Supreme Court.

Assange has contested the allegations as Swedish prosecutors have wavered over the case, which reports say centers on two women who say they had unprotected sex with him. Assange has maintained the encounters were consensual.

An arrest warrant on rape charges was issued by a duty prosecutor in late August, but quickly dropped by Swedish Chief Prosecutor Eva Finné when she took over the case. A week later, Swedish Director of Public Prosecution Marianne Ny re-opened the investigation into the rape charges and said she wanted to question Assange.

Assange's London attorney, Mark Stephens, said in a statement last week that his client has been willing to be interviewed.

"Despite his right to silence, my client has repeatedly offered to be interviewed, first in Sweden, and then in the U.K. (including at the Swedish Embassy), either in person or by telephone, video conferencing or e-mail and he has also offered to make a sworn statement on affidavit," according to Stephens.

"All of these offers have been flatly refused by a prosecutor who is abusing her powers by insisting that he return to Sweden at his own expense to be subjected to another media circus that she will orchestrate," Stephens wrote.

Efforts to immediately reach Stephens were unsuccessful. Assange is known to frequently travel but has made several public appearance in London this year speaking about Wikileaks.


Comments by Sonny

Assange is innocent until proved guilty!!

Fake cops on the run

December 20 2010 at 04:35pm

Six men are on the run, three dressed as police and three dressed as army men, the North West police said on Monday.

“A Pakistani national was attacked by the culprits in his flat at Stilfontein at the weekend,” said Lieutenant Colonel Lesego Metsi

The men knocked on his door at Harcourt, Stilfontein and then ransacked the place.

The man said he was robbed of goods including jewellery worth R50 000 and boxes of cigarettes worth R15 000.

Three of the men apparently wore police reflector jackets while the other three wore SA National Defence Force uniforms.

They were armed with R5 rifles.

They were travelling in a black Golf GTI and a silver-grey unidentified vehicle.

Anyone with information could contact the nearest police station or call CrimeStop on 08600-10111.

“The suspects are believed to be dangerous and community members are advised not to try to arrest them by themselves.” - Sapa

IOL News

Comments by Sonny

Why 'fake cops?'

They could have been real cops and SANDF members for all we know?

What about the 'Third Force" that runs around with impunity?

Only SAPS/SANDF and criminals have access to R5's and police issue!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

ANC finances in audit probe

ANC finances in audit probe


The ANC in the Western Cape has enlisted a top auditing firm to conduct a thorough probe of its finances over the past three years as the race for the leadership of the province hots up.


BIDDING FOR COMEBACK: Former chairman Mcebisi Skwatsha Insiders in the task team that runs the ANC in the province told the Sunday Times that Deloitte & Touche had begun a full-scale audit of the financial transactions of the province and its six regions from the 2007/8 financial year, when the disbanded provincial leadership was still in charge.

Former provincial chairman Mcebisi Skwatsha, who is bidding for a comeback, is facing a serious challenge from the Deputy Minister of International Relations, Marius Fransman, who has the support of three of the four regions that have already nominated candidates.

Membathisi Mdladlana, the co-ordinator of the ANC provincial task team, confirmed that an audit of the party's financial books was under way, which he said was long overdue.

"We need to know ... does the organisation have money and how much? Who are the funders? How is the money of the organisation spent, because we kept receiving bills as the task team," said Mdladlana.

The audit is focusing on all the financial transactions of the ANC in the province from 2007 to this year.

A provincial insider said Deloitte & Touche would focus especially on how money donated to the party by local businessmen had been spent over the past three-and-a-half years.

"We want local business people to be comfortable when donating to the ANC, to know that their money will be well spent," said the insider.

The audit comes in the wake of claims that the party is in financial difficulty ahead of its elective conference.

It is understood that about R800000 is required to put together the three-day conference, which includes travel expenses, accommodation, food and other costs for about 370 delegates.

ANC headquarters wants the conference to be held before the end of the year, but members of the interim leadership structure, including Mdladlana, have conceded that it will be very difficult to hold the conference before the end of the year.

Mdladlana denied that cash constraints were behind the delay in organising the conference.

"The provincial congress is run by the national executive committee of the ANC, and the NEC has not said to us that there are financial problems," he said.

Two of the party's six regions, the Southern Cape and Dullah Omar, have yet to hold their regional conferences.

MEC awards top job to former prosecutor

MEC awards top job to former prosecutor


A senior state prosecutor who presided over Northern Cape finance MEC John Block's 2003 corruption case - but botched it by failing to call the key whistle-blower to testify - has been rewarded with a top job by Block.


John Block Prins Oliver was one of two state prosecutors who handled the ANC provincial leader's case in 2003 after the Sunday Times revealed how he used taxpayers' money to attend a jazz festival and stay in a five-star hotel with his wife, Noluthando, in Cape Town.

And, up until recently, Oliver was also part of the National Prosecuting Authority team advising the state on the current R42-million corruption case against Block.

This is according to several senior NPA officials. However, Oliver denied this. He resigned as a senior advocate for the NPA in October to take up a job as the CEO of the Northern Cape liquor board, which falls under Block's department.

Block and eight others were arrested in early November by the Hawks for alleged tender fraud related to the purchase of water purifiers and oxygen generators for the Kimberley Hospital.

Oliver started his new R600000-a-year job on November 1.

The Sunday Times has now established that Oliver was responsible for allegedly failing to call the state's star witness, Glen Chase, to testify against Block in the 2003 case.

Chase, who was a senior state accountant in the department at the time, initially blew the whistle against Block and had submitted documented evidence to the prosecuting authority.

Block was acquitted, but was forced to resign as the MEC for transport, roads and public works after opposition parties put pressure on the ANC to give him the boot.

Oliver confirmed to the Sunday Times that he is the new CEO of the liquor board, but said he does not report to Block. He said: "I am not working in Block's office. Yes, the liquor board falls under his department. While it is true that I was one of the prosecutors on John's (Block) corruption case back then, I was not the senior prosecutor. The decision on whether or not to call Chase was not entirely on me."

Block is out on R100000 bail after he allegedly ensured that government officials awarded contracts worth more than R42-million for water and oxygen plants at grossly inflated prices to a Cape Town-based company, Intaka. Uruguayan businessman and Intaka CEO, Gaston Savoi, allegedly spent R16-million on bribes to Block and his other co-accused, with the money being disguised as "commissions". Savoi is also out on R100000 bail.

Block, who is still an MEC, was not available for comment yesterday.

Prominent businessman to appear in court next week

Alex Eliseev | Yesterday

Police in Mozambique on Thursday said a prominent businessman arrested with R18 million in cash is due to appear in court next week.

Businessman Mohammed Ayoob was caught two weeks ago at the Swaziland border and again this week while trying to enter Mozambique.

Ayoob’s family has reportedly been linked to drugs-trafficking networks in that country and elsewhere in southern Africa.

Authorities in Mozambique are not willing to give more details about the case against Ayoob.

Earlier this month, he was released on bail after being caught in Swaziland with R18 million in cash.

He then tried to cross over into Mozambique through the Goba border post and was taken into custody. He is now at a prison in Maputo while police figure out what to charge him with.

The allegations against his family emerged in one of the recently released WikiLeaks cables.

Eye Witness News

Comments by Sonny

Is Mohamed Ayoob related to Nelson Mandela's one time struggle friend and lawyer

Ismail Ayob of Johannesburg?

Makes sense, does it not.

Oh, the missing "O" indicates wealth!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Just another Class Revolution in America

Obama accused of caving to GOP 'blackmail'
CHRIS MCGREAL - Dec 14 2010 00:00

United States President Barack Obama is bowing to Republican demands to extend a deep tax cut for wealthier Americans, to the fury of some of his allies who say he has succumbed to "blackmail".

In a bruising political battle that appears to set the tone for Obama's dealings with the Republicans in Congress following their midterm election victories, the president had sought to extend a tax cut for middle-class Americans introduced by the George Bush administration seven years ago, which expires at the end of this month. But he wanted to see a return to pre-cut rates for households earning more than $250 000 a year, on the grounds that wealthier Americans can pay more. The move would generate trillions of dollars for the financially strapped treasury over the next decade.

The Democratic leadership believed that, provided the middle class was looked after, the Republicans would find it difficult to justify tax cuts for the wealthy.

The House of Representatives, still controlled by Democrats until the new Congress is sworn in next month, passed Obama's plan by a clear majority, but Republicans blocked the legislation in the Senate at the weekend, saying they would rather see everyone's taxes rise than scrap cuts for the wealthy.

Some Democrats called on Obama to stand firm and let the Republicans carry the blame for the inevitable middle-class backlash. But leading Democrats say he is backing down and has agreed to extend tax cuts for everyone. In return, the White House appears to have extracted an agreement to extend benefits for the long-term unemployed.

Obama recently said his priority was to "prevent the middle-class tax increase" that would have occurred if there was no agreement.

"Republicans want to make permanent the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. I've argued that we can't afford it right now. But I've also said we have to find consensus because a middle-class tax hike would be very tough not only on working families, it would also be a drag on our economy," he said.

"We've got to make sure we're coming up with a solution, even if it's not 100% of what I want or what the Republicans want."

Leading Democrats were frustrated over Obama's backtracking. Senator John Kerry, the former presidential candidate, accused Republicans of holding the country hostage. "They've said, 'we're willing to hold that hostage so that we can give the wealthiest people a bonus tax cut'," he said.

Outgoing House speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly expressed deep unhappiness, saying the White House gave in too easily to Republican pressure. Richard Durbin, the second highest-ranking Senate Democrat, said the agreement to extend the tax cuts for the wealthy was "against my judgment".

Paul Krugman, the Nobel economics prize-winner, urged Obama to stand firm against the Republicans' "tax-cut blackmail", which will cost the US treasury $4-trillion in revenue over the next decade and prompt a "major fiscal crisis".

"If Democrats give in to the blackmailers now, they'll face more demands in future. As long as Republicans believe that Mr Obama will do anything to avoid short-term pain, they'll keep taking hostages.

If the president endangers America's fiscal future to avoid a tax increase, what will he give to avoid a government shutdown?" Krugman wrote in the New York Times. But University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato argued that Obama had little choice but to make a deal.

"The Democrats haven't adjusted to the fact that they lost the election badly. Republicans designated maintaining tax cuts as their top priority," he said.

"The Republicans have pulled it off at the right moment. It's immediately after the election with two years to go before the next election. So they are pleasing their constituency, which believes in that from top to bottom -- not just the rich but [also] their middle-class members -- without suffering real electoral consequences. That's why Obama caved. In the end, everybody's taxes would have gone up. Republicans would have held to this and blamed Obama."

Sabato said the confrontation set the tone for Obama's dealings with the Republican-controlled Congress and an increasingly belligerent Republican leadership in the Senate next year. -- Guardian News & Media 2010

Mail & Guardian

Comments by Sonny

Is this just another "Class Revolution?"

The Republicans intend revving the Obama administration in 2011!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Wikileaks warriors target Amazon

December 13 2010 at 10:25am
Comment on this story

A support group for WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, calling itself Anonymous knocked out Amazon's European servers for several hours amid denial-of-service attacks on companies that have stopped doing business with Wikileaks.
The European websites of online retailer Amazon were knocked out for hours on Sunday night, amid attacks in recent days on other companies that have stopped doing business with the embattled WikiLeaks organization.

In Germany, attempts to view the website resulted in error messages. The world's largest internet retailer also saw its servers in Britain, France and Italy similarly affected, though the websites were viewable again late on Sunday.

Amazon's US websites appeared unharmed, and the company issued no immediate statement about the incident, which follows hacking attacks last week on the websites of Visa, MasterCard and Paypal.

The credit-card and online-payment firms had recently refused to handle donations to WikiLeaks, which has been posting some 250,000 US diplomatic cables on the internet, to the consternation of Washing and scores of other governments. Those denial-of-service attacks, in which the websites are bombarded by requests for information, were claimed by a group of WikiLeaks sympathisers known as Anonymous.

Similarly, Amazon, which is also a major provider of online commercial services, recently withdrew server space that was used by WikiLeaks. Amazon cited alleged illegal activity by the website.

Amazon and the other firms insist that their recent actions against WikiLeaks were not the result of any US or other government pressure.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is currently jailed in London over an arrest warrant issued in Sweden, where prosecutors are investigating alleged sex crimes. Assange's lawyer, Mark Stephens, said in a German media interview published Sunday that the case was part of a US-led conspiracy. - Sapa-dpa

The Star

Comments by Sonny

The trumpet sounded, the walls started crumbling, it was sounding the fall of

president BARACK Obama's administration in the USA!

The internet is mightier than the Atom Bomb!

If the CIA runs FaceBook, then why were they caught with their rods down?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The MALEMA Files......

What Julius told the Americans

MMANALEDI MATABOGE - Dec 10 2010 07:33

Julius Malema, the ANC Youth League president, reminded Fikile Mbalula, his ally, a former youth league leader and now sport and recreation minister, on which side his bread was buttered when Mbalula wanted to withhold support for Jacob Zuma during his rape trial in 2007.

Read the rest of our WikiLeaks package:

Zuma: Mister Nice Guy

Mbeki prickly but crucial

SA dealer in Zim diamond claim

'Cargate' duplicity

East Rand firms on US critical list

In a United States embassy cable released by WikiLeaks this week, Malema is quoted as telling US diplomats during a visit they paid to Limpopo that "he [Malema] also hinted that Fikile was told his position depended on his support of Zuma".

Mbalula was then the league president and Malema was the league's Limpopo secretary.

"At the time, seven months before he toppled former ANC president Thabo Mbeki, Zuma was still facing rape charges."

The South African government this week declined to comment on the leaks, but officials said privately it wanted WikiLeaks to be shut down.

"Our preference is that this thing must be shut down. There are powerful people in this country that are worried. You just don't know what is next," a highly placed government source said.

'Crazy old man'

Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, the minister of international relations and cooperation, is reportedly unhappy about being quoted as saying that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was a "crazy old man". "She knows it is a view that not many people will disagree with, but she doesn't want to be the one quoted on it," a source said.

The exchange between Malema and US embassy staff is said to have taken place when a US embassy political officer and political assistant visited Limpopo to assess the build-up to the ANC's Polokwane congress in 2007.

"Malema admitted that ANCYL president Fikile Mbalula did not want to support Zuma during the rape trial but that the regional [Limpopo] leadership insisted, arguing that if the youth league defended Zuma on corruption charges, they could defend him on rape charges, since both acts are immoral," the leaked cable reveals.

Malema, described by US officials as "frank and friendly", also dismissed *Tokyo Sexwale, now the minister of human settlements, as a spent force as far as the 2007 contest was concerned, saying he had missed his opportunity.

Malema defended Sexwale's business interests, saying he was not a capitalist "because he only owns shares of companies, not actual means of production".
Malema confirmed that Zuma was being propelled towards the ANC presidency by a wave of sympathy sparked by the perception that Mbeki had given him a raw deal. He might not have been picked as a candidate "if Mbeki hadn't gone after him". Zuma was "a victim of a conspiracy similar to what would happen in American politics", Malema said.

'Brilliant' Motlanthe

But the youth league had begun lobbying behind the scenes for ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe to become South Africa's next president if Zuma ended up in jail.

"However, he added that, although "Motlanthe is brilliant, you can't understand anything he says", the cable reports.

The cable makes it clear that the Americans considered Malema "a force in South African politics".

In a separate cable in November last year, also posted on WikiLeaks, US diplomats examined the reasons for Malema's political strength and extensive media coverage.
"He was the most vocal member of the ruling party during the ANC's 2009 national election campaign, and his public presence does not seem to be waning now that the new government is in place.

"It has never been adequately answered whether Malema speaks on his own or with backing from senior leaders of the party. Regardless of whether his views are sanctioned, however, it is becoming clearer that President Jacob Zuma respects Malema and his place within the movement."


The Americans noted Malema had visited Standerton to investigate service delivery protests and that after he had met residents and provincial and municipal officials, several municipal officials of the Lekwa municipality, including the mayor, had been fired.

When the Mail & Guardian approached Mbalula for comment, he said it was the first he had heard of the allegations that he was persuaded to support Zuma during the rape trial.

"I don't know why Julius would say that to the Americans. There were two Americans who wanted to interview me about Polokwane but I refused.

"My support for President Zuma was never in doubt. I was very clear that I knew that he was being set up."

Mbalula said he remembered a national executive council meeting of the youth league at which Zuma's rape trial was discussed and Malema was vocal about the need to support Zuma. "He said if we don't support President Zuma on the rape trial it meant we should also retract our support on corruption charges," Mbalula said.

No Americans

Malema denied meeting any Americans and discussing ANC Polokwane issues. "I don't know any Americans and I have never met any Americans."

He also defended Mbalula's position on Zuma. "There was never a point when Mbalula doubted our support for Zuma. All of us supported Zuma. Those Americans should not involve me in their issues."

US assistant secretary of state for African affairs Johnnie Carson told reporters on Thursday that the WikiLeaks relevations do not "represent the totality of interests the US has in Africa." He said, "The depth, strength and character of our relations with Africa will continue." -- Additional reporting by Lionel Faull

Mail & Guardian

Comments by Sonny

All the more reason for WikiLeaks to continue with its good work!!

Fuck the scared and worried "Shadows" out their in the cold!

The HLOPE files

Hlophe application dismissed
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA Dec 11 2010 07:17

An application by legal advocacy body Freedom Under Law (FUL) to force the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to reopen its investigation into Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe was dismissed in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Friday.

FUL applied to the court to set aside four different decisions by the JSC in respect of a complaint by 13 Constitutional Court judges, who accused Hlophe of gross misconduct, and his counter-complaint against them.

The organisation also wanted the court to order the JSC to hold a formal inquiry into the complaints.

The judges accused Hlophe of trying to improperly influence judgements in pending matters involving Jacob Zuma before he became president.

Hlophe in turn accused the judges of violating his constitutional rights by publishing their complaint before lodging it with the JSC and before giving him a hearing.

The JSC in August last year decided to discontinue its investigations by announcing the matter as finalised.

FUL contended the only way to restore the public's trust in the judiciary was a full public inquiry and that the JSC's decision not to continue with the investigation threatened the rule of law and the country's future as a democracy.

FUL argued that when judges were accused of gross misconduct, the JSC had to undertake an investigation in order to vindicate the judges who were innocent and to condemn those who were not.

Hlophe, who opposed the application, accused FUL if having an attitude that it knew better and simply dismissing the attitude of the judges concerned as being irrelevant. The court was told that Hlophe had no intention of pursuing his counter-complaint against the Constitutional Court judges and that the judges had also accepted the JSC's findings.


No merit
Judge Peter Mabuse ruled against FUL on every legal argument raised in support of its application.

He stressed that it was not the court's duty to determine the veracity of the complaint and counter-complaint, but to establish if the JSC had followed the procedure laid down in its rules when it considered the complaints.

Mabuse said he was satisfied that there was no merit in FUL's complaint that two of the commissioners involved in the decision -- Andiswa Ndoni of the Black Lawyer's Association and advocate Ismail Semenya of Advocates For Transformation -- were biased and should not have participated.

He found that the JSC had been properly constituted and entitled to make the decision it took not to continue with the matters. The decision was also supported by the majority of members.

Mabuse said he agreed with the argument advanced by the JSC that it was objective in considering and determining the complaint and counter-complaint and found that the decision had been rational.

"... Having considered all the evidence, the JSC found that there was no prima facie evidence which, if proven, could establish a case of gross misconduct against anyone of the parties.

"That is the end of the inquiry by the JSC.

"It would be wrong for the JSC to extend its inquiry beyond what it was required to do," Mabuse concluded. -- Sapa

Mail & Guardian

Comments by Sonny

This whole debate sounds like traditional healing!

Now we can see how bias leads to racism!

The Brother's Club is getting stronger by each complaint!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Investor judge ‘not affected in Absa case’

December 10 2010 at 05:49am
By Wiseman Khuzwayo

Business Report

Absa head offices in Johannesburg CBD. Photo by Simphiwe Mbokazi

There was no realistic possibility that the shareholding of a judge in a hearing involving Absa would influence his decision in a matter against the bank, the Constitutional Court ruled yesterday in a case in which Rico Bernert, a businessman, is suing for damages of R78 million.

An appeal by Absa against a judgment at the North Gauteng High Court, which found that Bernert was entitled to damages, at the time unquantified, was allowed by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).

Bernert appealed to the Constitutional Court on the basis that one of the judges on the panel, Azhar Cachalia, owned 1 000 shares of Absa’s stock, with a value of approximately R138 000.

At the time, the total number of issued shares in Absa was 718 210 000, with a value of about R100 billion.

Prior to the hearing, Bernert’s attorney, Louis Nel, met with the presiding judge, Robert Nugent, and the banking group’s lawyers.

Judge Nugent informed Nel that one of the five judges due to sit in the appeal was a shareholder in Absa and expressed the opinion that the outcome in the case would have no influence on the bank’s share price.

Nel agreed, but Judge Nugent did not ask Nel to inform Bernert of the shareholding. Nel informed Bernert of this only after the hearing, although on the same day.

According to Bernert, there was no time to do so prior to the hearing of the appeal because the hearing was about to start. He added that he decided to wait for the outcome of the case as judgment in his favour would have rendered it unnecessary to ask for recusal.

In a unanimous judgment, Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo held that where there is a possibility that the outcome of the proceedings will affect the shareholding of a judge in a company that is a litigant before the court, that judge must recuse himself or herself.

Having regard to the value, nature and extent of Cachalia’s shareholding in this case, it was held that there was no realistic possibility that the outcome could affect his shareholding or that his shareholding would influence his decision.

The Star

Comments by Sonny

Is this case not similar to the one in which Judge John Hlope stood to be impeached?

Has double standards not slowly crept into the Judiciary?

Soon the Supreme Court of Appeals will also be traditional!

What would happen is the Judges whole family had shares in ABSA and this was not


Is Justice not grey or slightly tainted?

Turbulent week at Telkom culminates in criminal probes

December 10 2010 at 05:49am
By Asha Speckman

Independent Newspapers
The fallout from allegations of corporate governance breaches at Telkom escalated yesterday as the telecoms group disclosed that the SAPS and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) were conducting criminal investigations into certain activities at Multi-Links, Telkom’s loss-making Nigerian unit.

The news of the probes caps a tumultuous week for Telkom, which finds itself on the defensive and trying to contain the damage stemming from an explosive 30-plus page whistle-blowing report that the Communications Workers Union (CWU) sent to the firm last week.

Telkom said in a statement it was aware that memorandums containing a wide range of ”unsubstantiated” statements relating to the alleged lack of corporate governance at Telkom were circulated to the media and various parties.

The CWU document, in Business Report’s possession, alleges serious violations of Telkom’s corporate governance processes. It also alleges corruption and other violations by various individuals, including some that have left the group.

The document names among its recipients the JSE, the office of the public protector, Parliament and the Minister of Finance.

Among the allegations are that several large contracts were not reviewed and approved by Telkom’s legal services department in line with its governing structures and procurement processes, and that Multi-Links’s then chief executive and chief financial officer knowingly allowed payments of the contracts to be processed.

Telkom said its board believed that the release of the memorandums was designed to distract it from its ongoing investigations. It also said a number of matters contained in the memorandums were already known to the company and were in various stages of inquiry.

Forensic auditors at Ernst & Young were tasked by the Telkom board to perform an investigation into many aspects of Multi-Links and this had culminated in criminal and disciplinary processes being initiated, the company said.

A Telkom spokesman would not say when the Ernst & Young investigation began.

“The findings of the Ernst & Young investigations have been handed to the SAPS and the NPA for consideration. The (latter) have subsequently instituted criminal investigations into certain activities at Multi-Links,” Telkom said.

It added that it was not in a position to provide further details of the criminal investigations. An internal disciplinary process had also been instituted against various Telkom employees for failing to comply with company policies and for mismanagement, Telkom said.

Colonel Vish Naidoo, a spokesman for the SAPS, confirmed that the police’s Serious Economic Offences crime unit was investigating but he declined to give details when contacted on Wednesday.

“At this stage I can only confirm that there is an investigation relating to alleged corruption. The investigation is not against any individual and at this early stage of the (inquiry) it would be premature to implicate any person or persons,” Naidoo said.

Telkom’s audit and risk committee met on Wednesday to formulate a response to mounting scrutiny.

The chairman of the committee, Sibusiso Luthuli, said that apart from the issues already examined by Ernst & Young and other investigations, many of the statements in the recent dossiers were frivolous personal attacks on certain senior Telkom executives.

“However, the board takes all allegations seriously and will investigate where appropriate,” said Luthuli. -

The Star

Comments by Sonny

Why can't the ANC keeps their fingers out of the tills?

All the parastatals are the same - CORRUPT!

Now the SA Banks are following suit!


Telephone cables are stolen by thieves who sell them to scrap dealers, and ‘fencers!’

The cables are shed along the way of their protective plastic/rubber covering by burning it off.

Then the copper is exported in bulk to far off shores like China.

Copper cables have recently been replaced by fibre optic cables.

Copperless optic cables were thought to be useless to criminals to steal.

It has now emerged that fibre optic cables are broken down and the Kevlar is used to make bullet proof vests for police and security industries!

One good thing comes out of all this theft!

Affirmative action leaves nothing to rot, this includes your possession.

All gets recycled for profit of the previously disadvantaged!

No wonder the ruling party is so strong, financially!

God bless the President and his inner circle!


Author Unknown According to legend he suffers from PTSD and was institutionalized after writing this article…….

This is how they justify corruption......."The chairman of the committee, Sibusiso Luthuli, said that apart from the issues already examined by Ernst & Young and other investigations, many of the statements in the recent dossiers were frivolous personal attacks on certain senior Telkom executives"..............

The sons and grandsons for their heroes have spoken!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Zuma controversial, but smart

Zuma controversial but smart, says leaked cable

Dec 09 2010 12:30

The rise of Jacob Zuma to South Africa's presidency was an "astonishing achievement", according to United States diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks. Zuma became South African president in May 2009 after a bruising battle for the leadership of the African National Congress with former president Thabo Mbeki, who was forced by the ruling party to step down in late 2008.

"Zuma's rise to the pinnacle of South African politics at the same time that serious questions about his character were headline news is an astonishing political achievement in itself," said a diplomatic cable sent by the US Embassy in Pretoria before Zuma was sworn in as president on May 9 2009.

Zuma was the subject of a long corruption investigation. Graft charges against him were dropped in April 2009.

US diplomats saw the South African president as adept at political survival and an accomplished political tactician who used his populist support to his advantage.

"Throughout the most difficult times of the past few years, Zuma came across as reluctant to draw first blood, only displaying subtle determination to take the fight to his aggressors. This is consistent with a leader that is aware of his own strengths -- smart power," the cable said.

But diplomats also raised concern about Zuma's ties to the left -- the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), which are in a governing alliance with the ANC and helped him rise to power.

"His close association with the ideological left of the ANC alliance has raised some worries about the impact on economic policy by close Zuma allies in the SACP and Cosatu," the cable said.

Since taking office, Zuma has maintained most of the government's pro-business policies.

Mbeki felt that a Zuma presidency would cause a sea-change in politics.

"Mbeki believed that a Zuma presidency would be a disaster for South Africa and would split the ANC".

Mbeki, who drew widespread criticism for failing to tackle an Aids pandemic in his country, is described in another diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks as "thin-skinned" and "hypersensitive".

"US government officials meeting with Mbeki should be prepared to recognise his defensiveness and high sensitivity to criticism," the cable said. -- Reuters

Mail & Guardian

Comments by Sonny

Thank God for a Free Press.

Otherwise we would never have found out how clever our statesmen were!

A bloodless Coupe - Here in SA!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cipro suspends five staff members after fraud investigation

Cipro suspends five staff members after fraud investigation

By: Chanel de Bruyn
21st August 2009
TEXT SIZE The Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (Cipro) has suspended five of its staff members for allegedly participating in fraudulent activities, CEO Keith Sendwe announced on Friday.

After receiving complaints from companies, Cipro had initiated a forensic investigation in the middle of last year. By December, 143 individuals had been suspected of participating in fraudulent activities, Cipro chief information officer Dr Michael Twum-Darko told a media briefing in Johannesburg.

A further internal fraud investigation, started earlier this year, had led to the suspension of the five employees, all said to be junior staff members, pending the outcome of the investigation.

Cipro planned to prosecute any perpetrators involved in the matter.

A number of cases had also been opened with the South African Police Service against individuals who claimed to be agents of Cipro, said Sendwe.

He explained that the alleged fraudsters had falsely claimed associations with entities that were registered on Cipro’s data base in order to clone legitimate businesses for financial gain.

“A number of companies have incurred considerable financial losses through the callousness of individuals who participate in these fraudulent activities,” he stated.

However, Sendwe and Cipro COO Melanie Bernard-Fryer would not be drawn on how much money was involved in the fraudulent activities, saying only that investigations were continuing.

Cipro had established a multidisciplinary task team to conduct a full investigation into the extent of the fraud, said Sendwe.

Bernard-Fryer said that the organisation was, in collaboration with a number of other parties including the South African Revenue Service (Sars) and the Department of Home Affairs, conducting a comprehensive audit of the 458 000 private companies and the 3,5-million close corporations that were registered with Cipro.

Sendwe emphasised that the organisation had zero tolerance for fraudulent activities.

“It is both inconceivable and unacceptable that this could have happened. We wish to provide our clients with the assurance that we have done everything within our means to block possible avenues that could be exploited in order to commit crimes of this nature,” he said.

In the interim, the organisation was putting measures in place to prevent further fraudulent activities from occurring. These measures included a new customer verification system and a verification system for external agents of Cipro.

Meanwhile, Bernard-Fryer said that Cipro, in collaboration with Sars, would be deregistering about 65 000 companies in the near-term.

While some of these might have been involved in fraudulent registrations, this was mainly as a result of these companies not having paid their taxes or submitting their tax returns to Sars, she noted.

Edited by: Mariaan Webb Topics in this article
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Subscribe me to the Free Daily Email Submit Comment Cipro CEO Keith Sendwe discusses the alleged fraud uncovered during recent investigations (Videographer: Nicholas Boyd; Editing: Darlene Creamer)
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(From left): Cipro executive manager for compliance and risk Tintswalo Nkuna, COO Melanie Bernard-Fryer, CEO Keith Sendwe and chief information officer Dr Michael Twun-Darko. Picture by: Duane DawsCipro CEO Keith Sendwe Related Articles
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Sharemax investors seek judicial management

Sharemax investors seek judicial management
Julius Cobbett
07 December 2010

Court papers argue that the statutory managers are not doing enough to protect investors.

JOHANNESBURG - A group of Sharemax investors want to place certain Sharemax syndications under judicial management. If their court application is successful, it could have a big impact on all investors. Virtually all companies placed under judicial management are eventually liquidated. And the liquidation of investment schemes usually has disastrous results for investors.

The investor group, represented by attorney Chris de Beer, has applied to the North Gauteng High Court for permission to apply for the judicial management of seven Sharemax syndications. The syndications are: The Villa, Zambezi Mall, Waterglen, Rivonia Square, Stonewood, Nelspruit Hyper and Sharemax Waterfall.

De Beer acknowledges that judicial management seldom has a successful outcome for investors. But he argues that the Sharemax situation is so severe, judicial management is the best method of preserving value for investors and protecting them from further harm. De Beer says it's his hope that liquidation can be prevented.

De Beer says that the statutory managers appointed by the Reserve Bank do not have the powers they require to properly protect investors' funds.

At the time of writing, neither Sharemax nor its statutory managers had responded to Realestateweb's requests for comment.

The application will be heard in court this Friday. If it is successful, De Beer will ask the court to appoint Sharemax's current statutory managers, Neels Alant and Jaco Spies, as judicial managers, together with Elizabeth Prinsloo, Ettienne Naude and Jayant Pema, all of whom are liquidators.

In his argument for judicial management, De Beer focuses primarily on Zambezi Mall, Sharemax's second-largest syndication.

The amount invested in Zambezi is estimated at between R750m and R1bn. The shopping centre is complete, tenants have moved in and are trading. However, Sharemax investors do not own the centre and they are not receiving income.

Zambezi Mall is still owned by its developer, Capicol. Sharemax and Capicol are in dispute over how much money is owed for the shopping centre. The matter recently went to arbitration. Capicol claims the arbitrator ruled in its favour, and that Sharemax indeed owes it millions of rands.

But De Beer argues that the arbitration is flawed, because both Sharemax and Capicol want the same thing: a high price for Zambezi. This would allow them to maximise their own profits on the development.

Thus, argues De Beer, there will be no incentive for anyone involved in the arbitration to raise issues that are very relevant to investors. He identifies these issues as follows:

The relationship between Sharemax and Capicol. De Beer says there is no arm's length relationship between Sharemax and Capicol. As an example, he points to an option granted to Fine Asset Investments 119, which allows it to purchase Zambezi at a predetermined price. "Therefore if the property development is extremely successful, Fine Asset Investments 119 (Pty) Ltd will be able to purchase the business, so as to obtain such benefit rather than the investors, who actually put up the capital for the business to become a successful concern," says De Beer. He reveals that the shareholders of Fine Asset Investments are Sharemax Growth and Capicol director Paul Kyriacou.

De Beer reveals that he has been informed that former Sharemax MD Willem Botha recently visited Cyprus together with Kyriacou. This "business" trip apparently took place about a month ago, after Sharemax's problems surfaced. "There is on the probabilities, no reason why they would have done that, except to secure funds channelled away from these developments into offshore bank accounts in Cyprus," claims De Beer.

Furthermore, De Beer notes that Capicol director David Pieterse is the son of Sharemax national purchasing manager Bertie Pieterse.

Inflated rental income. The Zambezi prospectus states that the eventual selling price of the Mall will be determined by the income earned in its first month of operation. However, De Beer questions whether the rental income figures can be trusted. He says he's been informed that various tenants in the mall are owned or controlled by Capicol, including Me: It's All About You, Maxi Cine Plex, Get More and Eve's Evening Dresses. It is alleged that these tenants are charged an inflated rent, which in certain instances exceeds R500 per square meter per month.

The court papers also reveal that Sharemax has "withdrawn" millions of rand from its syndication companies. Realestateweb has previously discussed loan accounts between Sharemax and its syndication companies. The loans helped subsidised interest payments to investors.

De Beer says that the payments made by the syndication companies to Sharemax means that it is preferred over other creditors. He claims that the statutory managers have been made aware of these payments but have allegedly taken no steps to curb them. De Beer is seeking an interdict to prevent the shifting of funds between Sharemax and its syndication companies.

Another point of concern raised in the court papers is a "rescue plan" that is allegedly being orchestrated by former Sharemax directors through an entity called FA-Assist, which was created in September this year.

An FA-Assist letter dated November 5 2010, states that R750m should be obtained before November 30 2010 to save The Villa. It calculates that 9 000 investors should each contribute R84 000 and 600 brokers each R1.25m to yield R756m. Thereafter a further R750m would be required before September 30 2011.

"The only conclusion that can be made from the aforegoing is that Sharemax is again attempting to obtain further funds from innocent investors to pay for investments that cannot be profitable and in respect of which [it] again intends to earn unjustified returns," says De Beer. "It is extremely disconcerting that the statutory managers, with knowledge of the steps Sharemax is again taking by targeting investors again to put further funds into the developments, are not taking any action."

Write to Julius Cobbett:

Monday, December 6, 2010

DA @ Work 5 December 2010

5 December 2010

A Weekly Newsletter from the Leader of the
Democratic Alliance:

Heading in the right direction, step-by-step

As we look towards another election year in 2011, it is worth reflecting on the challenges ahead. At our Federal Congress earlier this year, I said there were two ways a political party can grow in a complex plural society such as ours. An easy way and a hard way.

The easy way is to mobilise around race and abuse patronage to entrench power. The difficult way requires convincing South Africans that politics is not a contest between race groups, but a choice between policies that offer different pathways into the future. This is what the DA is trying to do. And because we have started winning elections at local and provincial level, we now have the opportunity to demonstrate what this difference means where we govern.

It is an enormous challenge. It takes a long time to turn a government around, and an even longer time for the impact to be felt at grassroots level. Progress happens in incremental steps, each imperceptible on its own, but with a gradual cumulative effect over many years. Sometimes there may even be relatively big leaps – such as the Western Cape’s recent “full house” of clean audits (a first in our democracy). Yet this would hardly count as “service delivery” for people living in shacks. They would probably say: “So what? Where is my house? What has the government done for me?”

The fact is that most South Africans do not link poor financial management and corruption with poverty and service delivery failure. Almost everybody knows that the ANC is corrupt, but many will continue to vote for it anyway.

Another profound irony is that the more services are delivered, the higher people’s expectations become, and the more dissatisfied they often are. I was particularly aware of this during the summer months of my tenure as Mayor of Cape Town, when complaints poured in from ratepayers in some upmarket suburbs about the rate of the grass growth on the verges!

Contrast this with a recent visit I undertook to a rural village in Limpopo. There I was deeply moved to see the excitement of villagers receiving their first functioning communal tap, supplied by a local farmer. The government water system has never worked and people have had to buy water from the few villagers who have boreholes. Access to a single communal tap with free water will fundamentally change their lives. Yet, despite the absence of the most basic service delivery, over 90% of the people there continue to vote for the ANC, election after election.

Where the DA governs, free basic services (water, electricity, sewage, refuse removal and rates rebates) are taken for granted, to the extent that many people do not even recognise these things as service delivery. Not long ago, at the launch of a newly completed housing project in Cape Town, I was met by angry protestors holding placards reading: “We demand an extra room”.

Against this background it was significant that Minister of Human Settlements Tokyo Sexwale recently made it clear that the government cannot provide a free house for everyone who demands one. Acknowledging that the established approach to housing delivery is unaffordable and unsustainable, Minister Sexwale said it was essential to grow the economy so that people could get jobs and contribute towards their own housing.

This new approach is described as “incremental” housing development. It involves a partnership between the state, communities and individuals. The days of government delivering a finished product to passive recipients are drawing to an end.

As important as Minister Sexwale’s statement, was the recent acknowledgement by Angie Motshekga, Minister of Basic Education, that it will take two decades to address backlogs in education. This realistic assessment comes against a background of her equally important acknowledgement that education for most young South Africans has declined since the advent of democracy.

In this context, it is encouraging and significant to know that improvement is possible. This week, the renowned international management consultancy, McKinsey and Company, released a report titled “How the world’s most improved school systems keep getting better”. It included Western Cape schools in its study of the world’s 20 steadily improving education systems.

Senior educationists attribute the Western Cape’s gradual improvement to the introduction (during the DA-coalition’s brief tenure in provincial government ten years ago) of externally moderated literacy and numeracy testing for children in grades 3 and 6 (we have now included grade 9 learners as well). The initial pitifully poor results, measured against international benchmarks, literally “shocked” education practitioners into action to improve the outcomes. This has led to a marked improvement, particularly in literacy (up by 17% over the period), prompting the province’s inclusion in the McKinsey study on school improvement.

There is still a very long way to go, but it is encouraging to know we are heading in the right direction. It is equally encouraging that Minister Motshekga has now followed this “testing” model in the rest of South Africa.

This past week marked a further watershed for education development. It will have an even greater impact on continuous improvement than the grade 3, 6 and 9 testing.

On the evening of 30 November 2010, the Western Cape Provincial Legislature approved the Western Cape Provincial School Education Amendment Bill. In ten years’ time, this moment will be recognised as a catalyst for quality improvement in education. In the week ahead, it will be my privilege to sign the Bill into law. It will come into effect on 1 January 2011, marking the start of a new era in effective education management.

The significance of the Bill is that it introduces real accountability into our schooling system. Principals and their deputies will, for the first time, have performance contracts directly linked to the learner outcomes achieved at their schools – against set targets. This provision will strengthen the provincial government’s ability to apply appropriate school improvement strategies, provide the necessary support – and act decisively against schools that consistently under-perform. The Bill reintroduces school inspections in the classroom to ensure that teaching and learning take place at the standards required. In short, the Bill enables real and meaningful intervention to arrest and reverse education decline.

As with all meaningful reform, it will take time to see the results. But with sufficient political will and managerial competence, there is a good chance of the impact being felt by the end of our current term, which is now only three and a half years away!

In the meantime, TV news continues to be dominated by the tripartite alliance’s seemingly endless parade of commemorations and events, characterised by obsolete rhetoric and an obscene waste of money. This trend will escalate towards the election, as the ANC pulls all the emotive levers to extend its control, entrench race-based thinking, and obscure the real policy choices for South Africa.

We have no option but to continue on the difficult path we have chosen. We will continue to do what we can, where we can, to improve peoples’ lives, one step at a time. If we can make the impact of our policies felt where we govern, issue by issue, we can offer a real alternative, break the shackles of race, and secure South Africa’s future.

Yours Sincerely,

Signed Helen Zille

Every year, the Democratic Alliance (DA) produces a Cabinet Report Card reflecting our assessment of the performance of the members of the Cabinet, in keeping with our constitutionally mandated oversight role as the official opposition. President Zuma is one of the weakest performers in his own Cabinet. Minister of Women and Children, Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya, who earned our only zero score. One of the stars of the Zuma administration is Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi, who is quietly and judiciously going about undoing all the damage done to this department by some of his predecessors.


Public service: Baloyi praises DA-run Western Cape for 100% submissions compliance rate

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes Minister of Public Service and Administration Richard Baloyi’s open praise for the DA’s Western Cape administration, which he has applauded during a presentation on non-compliance of Directors-General in respect of the Financial Disclosures Framework Act. Minister Baloyi cited the DA-governed Western Cape’s 100% compliance rate in its submissions in terms of the Act as a powerful example of what happens when the right “management” and “political authority” are in place.


Road Accident Fund: Major restructuring needed to save organisation

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is concerned that recently released details regarding the RAF’s indebtedness are only the tip of the iceberg. The fund has technically been insolvent for many years now and despite several interventions (R2.5 billion in additional appropriations; a cap on claims) the fund is still battling with a backlog of over 300 000 claims amounting to over R42 billion, said Stuart Farrow, Shadow Minister of Transport.


16 Days of Activism: Getting the basics right to protect women

The 16 Days of Activism provides all South Africans with an opportunity to take heed of the domestic violence that still ravages our land, and which particularly affects women and children – even while they should be enjoying the peace of a democratic dividend. Continuing with our focus on the 16 Days of Activism, the Democratic Alliance (DA) proposes that the Zuma administration consider implementing a range of practical measures that can have a profound effect on curbing domestic violence against women.


Find out more about the Democratic Alliance on our website.
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Contact the DA leader or your local public representative.
Read previous editions of SA Today on our website.

Comments by Sonny

In the end the ANC will destruct itself!!