Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mandela: Press Club to take up MP's actions

Mandela: Press Club to take up MP's actions
2012-02-26 22:33

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Johannesburg - The National Press Club is to meet Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu in Pretoria after MPs briefly detained a Beeld photographer at One Military Hospital, where it was thought ex-president Nelson Nandela was being treated.

By mid-morning on Saturday, news broke that Mandela had been admitted to an undisclosed hospital with a stomach ailment.

This resulted in reporters and photographers rushing from hospital to hospital in Tshwane and Johannesburg trying to locate him.

In Tshwane, Beeld photographer Theana Breugem, who had taken pictures of the One Military Hospital building, was made to delete the pictures after being briefly detained.

Such buildings are assumed to be military key points, with pictures not allowed.

In Johannesburg, journalists were told to vacate the premises of Milpark hospital - where Mandela was treated for a respiratory infection last year.

Press club chair Yusuf Abramjee said he would discuss the treatment of journalists who were stationed outside One Military with Sisulu on Monday.

He said journalists should be treated with respect and allowed to do their job without fear.

"...I've had an indication from the minister's office that she will be happy to meet a delegation from the NPC and the Foreign Correspondents Association hopefully tomorrow [Monday] to discuss the issue," Abramjee said.

"The media has a job to do....I think there could have been some common ground where the defence force could have said let's try to find a resolution or some compromise."


Read more on: npc | lindiwe sisulu | yusuf abramjee | nelson mandela | pretoria | johannesburg | media


Yusuf Abramjee
Media statement by National
Press Club: Saturday 25 Feb 2012: 20h00

While the National Press Club (NPC) welcomes the communication updates from the Presidency on the health and condition of former President Nelson Mandela, the club has questioned the poor handling of the media outside 1 Military Hospital.

... The media started camping out on the main road outside the hospital in Thaba Tshwane shortly after news of his hospitalization broke earlier today.

Military police threatened to arrest journalists and photographers and forced them some 500 meters away from the hospital where Mandela is suspected to have been admitted.

There has been no confirmation so far about where the former president is being treated.

NPC chairman, Yusuf Abramjee, expressed concern at the way Military Police treated journalists today. "The media were alongside a public road.

"The Military Police were like cowboys. They escorted the media away and arrived with blue lights flashing and sirens.

"A Beeld photographer was earlier forced to delete photos of the hospital from her camera," said Abramjee. "They have no right to force anyone to delete photos," , said Abramjee.

Abramjee said while he was on the phone trying to negotiate a spot with a communications officer from the SANDF for the media near the hospital, a military policeman also threatened to arrest him.

"...I asked him what he was waiting for before I decided to move away," said Abramjee.

"We do understand that the hospital is a national key-point. We asked for special permission to be granted but our request was turned down. It's disappointing to see the SANDF treat the media as criminals," he added.

CNN Correspondent in SA, Robyn Curnow tweeted: (@RobynCurnowCNN)
2/25/12 7:50 PM
Why is an old Apartheid law, protecting govt installations, being used to threaten journalists trying to cover #Mandela's illness?

The NPC said it agreed.

Brace yourself for the mother of all tenders

Brace yourself for the mother of all tenders

Sunday Times Editorial | 26 February, 2012 01:57

Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan speaks during a news conference before his 2012 Budget Speech at Parliament in Cape Town February 22, 2012.

Sunday Times Editorial: DID the Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, really think that a decision to spend R300-billion over the next 17 years on nuclear power stations did not merit a mention in his budget speech?

The figure was contained in the detailed budget documentation - page 95 of the National Treasury 2012 Budget Review, to be exact.

Bearing in mind the decade-long fiasco that resulted from greed, fraud, corruption and cover-ups surrounding the R45-billion arms deal, the contracts surrounding this "mother of all tenders" must be placed under scrutiny from day one.

South Africa's growing reputation for corruption derives in no small part from the singular failure of the state to mete out justice to those who had their snouts in the trough during the arms deal feeding frenzy.

The two prominent cases in which action was taken - the prosecution of Tony Yengeni and Schabir Shaik - have been less than convincing.

Yengeni has returned to a high-profile role in the ANC's party machinery and Shaik has been released from prison on spurious grounds to play golf and whine about his unfair treatment.

The R300-billion to be spent on nuclear power must be treated very differently from the outset.

In the first instance, the decision to spend such a vast sum ought to be interrogated publicly. Do we really need to spend so much? Is nuclear the right option?

What are the environmental consequences of placing these power stations "on the coastline"?

In the event that we conclude that this spending is unavoidable, the entire process must take place with transparency and accountability.

Bidders for contracts, sub-contracts and tenders must be made public along with the identities of their local business partners.

Conflicts of interest involving those in a position to influence the nature and scope of tenders must be eliminated.

No person in the cabinet or relatives of a minister should be a beneficiary of any contract related to this project. And members of the government bureaucracy must resist the temptation to make a quick fortune.

The government is about to legally restrict the media's ability to report on matters of state security, which will no doubt include contracts related to nuclear energy.

With the secrecy legislation in place, the door will open for those who make a living by stealing from the public purse to dip their noses into a R300-billion trough.

Now is the time for all those who cherish a free and open society in which power is checked by accountability and citizens are fully informed to take a stand. Don't let your R300-billion be stolen from the public purse.

How free is the press in Southern Africa?A blast from the past

How free is the press in Southern Africa?

Whenever freedom of the press is debated it seems to be inevitable that the discussion will focus on the relationship between the press and the government of the day. Given the current state of play in South Africa and Zimbabwe this is understandable.

Wits Power Reporting Workshop: Deon Basson 1

In South Africa the press is fighting a noble battle against censorship by government. In recent times the press had more often than once had to protect its rights in courts of law against government ministers.

One striking example where the press scored an overwhelming victory was when Beeld successfully defended an urgent application by the Minister of Transport Jeff Radebe to interdict it from publishing further details about the electronic traffic information system eNaTIS 2.

But that is not what I wish to talk about this morning.

I believe press freedom is also endangered by phenomena such as self-censorship and so-called media synergy. The effect of a synergistic relationship will be practically illustrated later-on. Time does not allow for a detailed analysis.

Please consider the following bullet points:

First an international background. I am not naïve about the inner-workings of the capitalist system. But I genuinely believe we must consider the effect of commercialization on freedom of speech and investigative journalism. In his book The habits of highly deceptive media Norman Solomon writes (in an American context):

“Prospects are bleak. Consolidation of media ownership has been so rapid in recent years that now just ten corporations control most of this country’s news and information flow. The top spot belongs to Time Warner, followed by Disney, Viacom, News Corporation (Rupert Murdoch)…Those conglomerates are in business to maximize profits. They are hardly inclined to provide media space for advocates of curtailing their power.” 3

Question is, how do we square up in South Africa on this issue?

A survey done in 2000 among 300 journalists and news executives in the USA revealed that self-censorship is commonplace in the news media. The survey was conducted by the Pew Research Center and the Columbia Journalism Review. About one-quarter of the local and national journalists said they have purposely avoided newsworthy stories, while nearly as many acknowledge they have softened the tone of stories to benefit the interests of their news organizations. Fully four-in-ten (41%) admit they have engaged in either or both of these practices. 4 A challenge to the Wits Journalism School – what about a similar survey in South Africa?

To get an understanding of the above-mentioned phenomenon in global context it is probably necessary to thoroughly study the business and journalistic practices of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. The removal of the BBC world service from his Star satellite network 5 and the infamous self-censorship by Newscorp subsidiary HarperCollins of Chris Patten’s book East and West to appease the Chinese government is a case in point. 6 Patten was Hong Kong’s last governor. In my view the books on Rupert Murdoch referenced below should be prescribed to all journalism students in South Africa.

Closer to home we should take note of an excellent exposition of some of the issues at hand. In a Masters dissertation at the University of Stellenbosch Gabriël Botma, a former art editor of Die Burger investigated media synergy as a strategy at that newspaper and the broader Media24 and Naspers groups comprehensively. His study found that synergy is a popular strategy at Die Burger in an effort to balance economic and political interests in reaction to real and perceived threats to the newspaper’s survival and future growth. The critical study also shows that synergy has negative implications for the content of Die Burger, the organization of coverage, as well as traditional journalistic ideals of independence. 7

What will happen to freedom of the press in South Africa if the full force of a ‘symbiotic’ relationship between government and big business hits the big media companies? Historian Prof. Herman Giliomee wrote in his book Die Afrikaners (my translation) about Naspers:

“There is the further consideration that Naspers as company earns more than three-quarters of its revenue from electronic business. The press group is exposed to interference by a governing party. If provocation is strong enough they (government) can withdraw (television) licenses. 8

A closing paragraph in a leader published in The Economist offers an alternative solution to big media companies who depend on synergistic relationships:

“In future, argues Carnegie, some high-quality journalism will also be backed by non-profit organizations. Already, a few respected news organizations sustain themselves that way – including the Guardian, the Christian Science Monitor and National Public Radio. An elite group of serious newspapers available everywhere online, independent journalism backed by charities, thousands of fired-up bloggers and well-informed citizen journalists: there is every sign that Arthur Miller’s national conversation will be louder than ever.” 9

Finally, on a personal note, I take a bit of pride that I have been fighting on my own for the last 19 months to stop a court interdict and a defamation suit of R20,9m (the FXI couldn’t help financially). So far the matter hasn’t gone to court. 10 I will say a bit more about this in my presentation after lunch. 11 For now I wish to share with you a letter filed by Sharemax Investments (Pty) Ltd in court papers:
Dear Willie 12

Thank you for the confirmation and information on Sharemax you had faxed to me.

The relationship between Geld-Rapport 13 and Sharemax had always been important to us.

No investor has complained with us that Sharemax doesn’t fulfil its promises. In fact, we only get positive comments.

We don’t want to get involved in a debate between Deon Basson and yourselves. 14 As far as Geld-Rapport is concerned, we feel until this day that Sharemax has rendered an excellent service to investors as an authorised financial services provider.

Consequently, I have requested Johan Geertsema 15 of Geld-Rapport to finalise Sharemax’s participation for 2006.

We are looking forward to an exciting year. We want to keep our readers updated about investment opportunities from the horse’s mouth.

Fanus Gous 16

In conclusion: Take note of a recent Sanef press release dealing with the sub judice rule. 17 Hopefully editors will in future see property syndication schemes for what they are and report without fear or ‘synergy’ about it. Thank you.

1 Basson is an honorary professor in auditing at the University of Pretoria. His contribution is based on a chapter in a book to be published titled Public interest warriors. The book is likely to be published late in 2007 or early in 2008.

2 Mail & Guardianonline, 31 May 2007 retrieved on 31 May 2007

3 Solomon, Norman. The habits of highly deceptive media – Decoding spin and lies in Mainstream News. Common Couragepress, 1999, p. 7

4 The Pew Research Center. Self-Censorship: How often and why – Journalists avoiding the news. April 30, 2000. retrieved on 22 June 2004

5 Chenoweth, Neil. Virtual Murdoch – Reality Wars on the Information Highway. Secker & Warburg. London. 2001, pp. 120, 147, 175, 190, 280, 281, 309, 327 & 337. Also Page, Bruce. The Murdoch Archipelago. Simon & Schuster. London and other. 2003, pp. 464, 468, 471, 472, 473, 474 & 476.

6 Chenoweth, op cit, pp. 282-287 & 295 and Page, op cit, pp. 430, 467, 474, 477 & 486

7 Botma, Gabriel. Sinergie as politiek-ekonomiese strategie in die balansering van idealisme en markgerigtheid by Die Burger Wes-Kaap, 2004-2005. Verhandeling ingelewer ter gedeeltelike voldoening aan die vereistes vir die graad M-Phil aan die Universiteit van Stellenbosch. Retrieved on 3 June 2007

8 Giliomee, Hermann. Die Afrikaners – ‘n Biografie. Tafelberg. Kaapstad, 2004, p. 630

9 The Economist. Who killed the newspaper?, August 26 to September 1, 2006, pp. 9-10. See in the same edition More media, less news, pp. 50-52

10 Transvaal Provincial Division of the High Court. Sharemax Investments (Pty) Ltd vs Deon Basson. Case numbers 2492/2006 and 3208/2006. The court action and many related regulatory issues will be covered in Basson’s book Public interest warriors to be published late in 2007 or early in 2008

11 Basson, Deon. Dubious investment schemes. Presentation at the Wits Power reporting Workshop. Johannesburg, 4 September 2007

12 “Willie” is Willie Botha, MD of Sharemax Investments (Pty) Ltd

13 Geld-Rapport is a bi-monthly supplement to Afrikaans Sunday newspaper Rapport. It’s business plan appears to be to allow companies to write about their industries and then advertise on the same page . The normal business section of Rapport is known as Sake-Rapport. Sake-Rapport has not investigated and written about Sharemax

14 In his founding affidavit (case number 3208/2006) Willie Botha stated: “The editor of “Geld-Rapport” is supportive of Applicant and is of the view that Applicant ‘…’n besondere diens aan die beleggers lewer en ‘n gemagtigde finansiële diensverskaffer is…’ This respected editor has also confirmed that over the years ‘…nog geen belegger (het) by ons gekla dat Sharemax nie hul beloftes gestand gedoen het nie. Trouens ons ontvang net goeie kommentaar.’ A copy of an e-mail by Mr Gous is attached hereto marked “WB7”. The respondent’s campaign can justly be said to be a lone campaign…To demonstrate the falsity and futility of the Respondent’s campaign, I attach and e-mail received from the Editor of the “Geld” section of the Rapport newspaper. The e-mail proceeds to state, contrary to the (alleged) fears expressed by Respondent, that ‘…nog geen belegger het by ons gekla dat Sharemax nie hulle beloftes gestand doen nie. Trouens, ons ontvang net goeie kommentaar.’

15 Basson responded in his answering affidavit: “…historically I got used to it to often work virtually alone on a story. It is indeed not a strange scenario for an investigative journalist. In 2002 I worked for many months alone on the PSCGG/Tigon story although Moneyweb, Business Times and Personal Finance had previously made a huge contribution. Once Mr. Gary Porritt was arrested in December 2002 other newspapers and magazines followed. Applicant cites the favorable publicity it gets from Rapport’s Geld magazine. The magazine actually practices what is commonly known as sunshine journalism. Many articles in the magazine are actually written by directors of companies such as Applicant. The company normally advertises on the same page where the “editorial” is published. In that sense the editorial space had actually been bought. As a newspaper Rapport and in particular Dr. Fanus Gous, the editor of Geld-Rapport and previously editor of Sake-Rapport, had some bad experiences. During his tenure as editor of Sake-Rapport he published various positive articles about Tigon, PSCGG and Gary Porritt. One such article written by dr. Gous “Onderverdeling help Tigon om uit te blink op beurs” was published on 24 October 1999. A copy is attached hereto as “A43“. In 2002 the newspaper published huge advertisements promoting PSCGG as an investment. On 12 May 2002 it published a promotional article titled “Fonds verdubbel beleggers se geld blitsig”. A copy is attached hereto as “A44”. Shortly afterwards the editor of Rapport, Mr. Tim du Plessis phoned me and asked my opinion and he stopped the advertisements and promotional copy. PSCGG was liquidated and its chairman Jack Milne convicted and sentenced to imprisonment. Sadly Geld-Rapport afterwards continued to indulge in sunshine journalism. The email written by Dr. Gous to Applicants (and attached to its application) contains the following sentence: “Ek het Johan Geertsema van Geld-Rapport derhalwe versoek om so gou moontlik Sharemax se voortgesette deelname aan Geld-Rapport vir 2006 vas te maak.” Mr. Johan Geertsema is a former public relations manager and later company secretary of Saambou Holdings. He has since 2003 frequently acted as a consultant to Sharemax while also having a relationship with Rapport. It raises serious questions about the editorial independence of Geld-Rapport.

16 At the time Geertsema was a consultant to both Geld-Rapport and Sharemax.

17 Fanus Gous is a former professor in business economics at the then Rand Afrikaans University and a former editor of Sake-Rapport

18 SA National Editors' Forum (SANEF) Press Statement welcoming judgment ending sub judice rule and reinforcing press freedom. Retrieved on 2 September 2007

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Centre for Constitutional Rights

The Right to be Wrong

Dave Steward

FW de Klerk Foundation

By Dave Steward, Executive Director of the F W de Klerk Foundation

I was recently invited by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Water and Environmental Affairs to make an oral submission on the South African Weather Service Amendment Bill.

The Portfolio Committee met in the old National Assembly chamber, with its green leather benches and dark wooden panels. For 84 years this room was the repository of political sovereignty. The politicians who occupied these benches could - and did - pass any legislation that they liked. There was no consultation with the millions of South Africans whose lives they affected and there was no appeal against the strictures that they imposed.

Now, the tooled green leather desk where order papers had previously been stacked, was covered – somewhat irreverently, but very democratically - with cellophane-wrapped sandwich platters and plastic bottles of fruit juice.

Sovereignty no longer resided in this chamber - or even - in the new National Assembly chamber next door. It now resided in the well-thumbed booklet that I had in my pocket - the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. The public was no longer excluded from the legislative process: instead, Parliament was required by the Constitution to make it part of the debate. I was there because, in our opinion, the legislation being considered by the committee failed to meet important requirements in my little booklet.

In particular, the bill laid down severe penalties - imprisonment of up to five years or fines of up to five million rand - for anyone a) who issued a severe weather or air pollution-related warning without the necessary written permission from the Weather Service; b) who supplied “false or misleading information” about the Weather Service; or c) who “unlawfully, intentionally or negligently” committed “any act which detrimentally affects or is likely to detrimentally affect the Weather Service.”

By the time I gave my oral submission, the government had already conceded the need to redraft the sub-section that prohibited others from issuing severe weather warnings. The intention had not been to prevent bona fide warnings but to combat potentially harmful and malicious hoaxes.

However, we were still concerned over the sub-sections that prohibited the dissemination of false or misleading information and action that might detrimentally affect the Weather Service. The Chairperson, Johnny de Lange, was astounded. The FW de Klerk Foundation was the only organisation that had objected to these sections! What, he asked incredulously, did we have against measures to prohibit false and misleading information?

I replied that what was false or misleading was often in the eye of the beholder. I said that if a similar provision were applied to the Office of the President it would stifle political debate and have a catastrophic impact on our constitutional democracy.

There is hardly a news report or political commentary that does not include somewhere some statement that government might regard as false or misleading. The essence of political debate is often to determine what is, or is not, false or true. For example, the government no doubt thinks that it is false and misleading for critics to state that the Protection of State Information Bill is intended to stop the public from finding out about corruption.

Can one imagine the chilling effect on editors and commentators were they to feel the need to excise from their articles and statements anything that the government might regard as false or misleading – or face the risk of going to jail for five years?

‘But’ said Chairperson De Lange “those are the maximum penalties - and the courts would have to decide.” Indeed they would, but by that time, the journalist would have been arrested, imprisoned, released on bail and had his or her life severely disrupted.

It is for such reasons that the only limitations placed by the Constitution on freedom of expression are propaganda for war; incitement of iminent violence; and advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion and that constitutes incitement to cause harm. The endurance of what we might regard as false and misleading attacks has always been an integral part of political debate. Those who believe that they have been maligned can sue for libel or complain to the press ombudsman. In most cases, however, they will just have to roll with the punches. Freedom of expression includes the right of others to be wrong.

Also, it is often quite legitimate to take action that might be to the detriment of government organisations. Exposure of corruption; criticism of policy; demonstrations outside government offices or wildcat strikes might all be construed as detrimental actions and thus incur draconian penalties. “Such actions” Chairperson De Lange pointed out, “would have to be unlawful, intentional or arise from negligence”. However, if such actions are unlawful their perpetrators should be prosecuted under the laws that they have broken; if they are negligent, those responsible should be sued for damages; if they are neither unlawful nor negligent, those involved might well be protected by the rights to freedom of expression and free political activity.

Government departments should not be protected by a palisade of draconian penalties from the cut and thrust of debate and legitimate political activity. The Weather Service is one of the most innocuous organs of state and it is unlikely to be the subject of political controversy. However, if the principles involved in the amendment bill were ever applied to all departments they would seriously undermine our rights to freedom of expression and free political activity.

The unacceptability of the penalty provisions in the bill is, of course, not the fault of the Weather Service. The problem lies with the government’s law advisers who should never have permitted such unconstitutional provisions to be included in what should have been an entirely innocuous piece of legislation.

In the meantime, the system functions. As Chairperson De Lange observed the purpose of the hearings was to develop the best possible legislation in the interest of all South Africans. Let’s hope that it does and that all three penalty provisions are withdrawn or made constitutionally compliant. We South Africans are fortunate to have such an open parliamentary system – and to enjoy the rights in my little pocket constitution. We must do everything we can to protect them.

Geagte belegger asook voornemede belegger van Sharemax Investments.

Prospektus nr. 17 van The Villa word tans bemark. Dit is vir ‘n bedrag van R75,0 miljoen, met ‘n aanvanklike opbrengs van 12,5% per jaar sodra die prospektus volskryf is. Tot en met gistermiddag was daar nog ruimte vir R19,8 miljoen.


Sharemax Groeiplan prospektus nr. 3 van Sharemax Bay Estate is reeds op Sharemax se webtuiste geplaas. Die prospektus is vir ‘n bedrag van R15,0 miljoen met ‘n rentekoers van 20,0% per jaar enkelvoudige rente betaalbaar aan die einde van die projek. Die gedrukte kleurprospektus behoort in volgende week beskikbaar te wees.


Dit is vir ons aangenaam om aan te kondig dat Morné Steyn, Suid-Afrika se rugbyspeler van die jaar in 2009 en losskakel van die Springbokrugbyspan ‘n belegger in The Villa word en dat hy ook sy dienste tot Sharemax Investments beskikbaar stel by saamtrekke en ander openbare geleenthede. Dit mag ook van tyd tot tyd gebeur dat sy gesig in sekere reklamegeleenthede gebruik sal word, soos en wanneer dit waarde sal toevoeg.


Sharemax Zambezi Retail Park se huurders gaan gedurende Maart 2010 en die eerste deel van April 2010 hulle onderskeie winkels betrek, waarna die streekwinkelsentrum teen 15 April 2010 operasioneel sal wees. Die amptelike opening van Sharemax Zambezi Retail Park waartydens daar groot promosies gehou gaan word, sal op Saterdag 8 Mei 2010 plaasvind.


Eerskomende Sondag, 14 Februarie 2010 neem Sharemax Investments weer deel aan ‘n program van Reise en Soetkyse op KykNet. Willie Botha , ons besturende direkteur tree in die program op. Dit word Sondag om 08:30 gebeeldsend en word ook op Dinsdag 16 Februarie 2010 en Donderdag 18 Februarie 2010 om 07:00 herhaal.

Vriendelike groete,

André Brand

Direkteur: Bemarking

Dear Sharemax Investor.

The Villa prospectus no. 17 is currently available. It is for an amount of R75,0 million, with an initial income of 12,5% per annum as soon as the prospectus has been fully subscribed. Up until yesterday afternoon there was still room for R19,8 million.

The Sharemax Bay Estate prospectus no. 3 had been placed on Sharemax website. The prospectus is for an amount of R15,0 million with an interest rate of 20,0% per annum simple interest payable at the end of the project. The printed colour prospectus should be available by next week.
It is our pleasure to announce that Morné Steyn, South Africa ’s rugby player of the year in 2009 and fly half in the Springbok rugby team has become an investor in The Villa and that he will be making his services available to Sharemax Investments at road shows and other public gatherings. It may also happen from time to time that his face is used in certain advertising opportunities, as and when it will add value.


Sharemax Zambezi Retail Park ’s tenants will occupy their respective stores in March 2010 and the early part of April 2010, after which the regional shopping centre will be operational by 15 April 2010 . The official opening of Sharemax Zambezi Retail Park , during which huge promotions will be held, will take place on Saturday 8 May 2010 .


This coming Sunday, 14 February 2010 , Sharemax Investments will once again take part in a program of the series Reise en Soetkyse on KykNet. Willie Botha, our managing director will feature in the program. It will be broadcast on Sunday at 08:30 and will be repeated on Tuesday 16 February 2010 and Thursday 18 February 2010 at 07:00 .

Kind regards,

André Brand

Director: Marketing

The Villa Retail Centre
(This document serves only as an explanation of the project which is currently being developed by Capicol 1 and is not a marketing document. Sharemax Investments has already handed in its application for the approval of the prospectus by the Registrar of Companies, which will be made available after approval thereof).
A huge shopping centre is about to rise in our midst. Gauteng will soon have access to a new shopping centre without comparison.

This shopping centre has been expertly developed and the tasteful appearance thereof will entice the public to live their shopping convenience. The developer, in cooperation with a team of experts, is striving to achieve a five star “eco-friendly” development.

The Villa has also been referred to as the “Diamond of Gauteng”. At completion it will be a true landmark in Pretoria, to service the buying public of Pretoria’s South East. The constructions costs are approximately R3 billion. It is located on the crossing of the Delmas Road and De Villabois Mareuil Street, Moreleta Park, Pretoria.

This shopping centre will consist of glass, steel and natural finishes. The size of the centre will reach 320 000m².
Big buying power

The centre’s right of existence is that it is surrounded by eleven thousand established households of a middle to higher income category, as well as 1 500 professionals who conduct their business from the adjacent office complex.
All rights, as well as statutory requirements which must be complied with have already been approved by the local authority and R95 million has been budgeted to upgrade the adjacent roads and public transport facilities.

Big interest from tenants

There is a big demand for lettable area and 50% of the centre was signed up within three months of the introduction thereof. A large amount of these tenants are national tenants with Shoprite Checkers the largest tenant with 10 500m². Other tenants include:

House & Home
Standard Bank
The Hub

Louis Vuitton
First National Bank


Dis-Chem Pharmacy
Incredible Connections
House of Coffees

Ster Kinekor

There is room for approximately 300 tenants in the centre.

For complete details concerning the tenants who have already indicated that they would like to take space in The Villa, please visit Sharemax Investments’ website at

Sharemax Investments is an authorised financial services provider with FSP number 6153.


Phone me at: 0126543504 or 0824530388

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Zuma NIA tapes riddle

South Africa
Zuma NIA tapes riddle
AMUKELANI CHAUKE and CHANDRÉ PRINCE | 24 February, 2012 00:42

President Jacob Zuma. File photoSave & Share

A spate of mysterious break-ins and fires at some of the state security agency's provincial headquarters are believed to be linked to the elusive President Jacob Zuma spy tapes.
Incidents at National Intelligence Agency offices in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape over the past two weeks have been kept under wraps by police and security officials.

The Times has, however, learnt authorities are focusing their investigations on whether a fire at the agency's Durban headquarters and break-ins at its offices in Pretoria and a branch in George are in any way linked to the search for the controversial spy tapes.

The whereabouts of the tapes - that paved the way for fraud and corruption charges against Zuma to be dropped in 2009 - have been a secret. The recordings have become a priceless gem. They are currently at the centre of two high-profile cases.

The fire at the Durban headquarters, which shares a building with SARS and two call centres, happened two weekends ago.

The fire hit the fifth floor of the NIA offices on the night of February 11, destroying computers, software equipment and furniture, estimated at R2-million.

The police and the agency were mum yesterday, with Hawks spokesman McIntosh Polela saying: "This is a state security matter about which we cannot give out any details."

Sources, however, said that, before the fire, a number of computers were stolen and that they could contain "very sensitive state information", including transcripts and digital copies of the tapes.

The break-ins at the Pretoria and George offices happened last week.

The incidents coincide with a desperate search for the tapes, which are being sought in a Labour Court dispute and a Supreme Court of Appeal case.

The police and crime intelligence sources believe the suspects wanted to either destroy or gain access to the tapes.

"The hunch is that the infamous Zuma-Mbeki tapes were held there ... this is supposed to be classified," a source said.

"A lot is at stake for many involved in the spy tapes if they are released in their entirety," said another.

They said the location of the agency's offices countrywide is generally only known to its employees and top government officials. It suggests the incidents were planned and that the offices were targeted.

According to the sources, there were at least three copies of the tapes, but the digital recordings and transcripts were being kept in different places.

The tapes resurfaced last year during a Commission of Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration hearing involving former Special Investigations Unit boss Willie Hofmeyr and his axed former deputy, Faiek Davids.

Hofmeyr sacked Davids on the basis of an alleged intercepted conversation between Davids and former Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy about ANC leadership battles.

The CCMA ruled in Davids' favour as Hofmeyr could not present the tapes to back his claim.

Hofmeyr subsequently pleaded with the agency to provide him with a copy of the tapes. To date he has not received a copy.

The tapes have become an even bigger nightmare for Zuma, with the DA challenging the National Prosecuting Authority's 2009 decision to drop charges against him on the strength of the tapes.

The DA has asked for copies or transcripts of the tapes.

Zuma said that, should the DA be successful in its application to gain access to the tapes, sensitive and confidential information in the NPA's records about other people and companies would also be exposed.

Last week, Zuma's lawyers conceded that a decision to drop charges against a person could be challenged in a court of law.

DA MP David Maynier questioned the motives of the fire and burglaries and called on Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele to investigate.

Friday, February 24, 2012

2 arrested for brutal Dullstroom murder

2 arrested for brutal Dullstroom murder
2012-02-24 11:41

Related Links
Woman, 78, tortured with clothes iron

Mbombela - Two men who allegedly tortured and beat a 78-year-old woman to death at her home in Dullstroom have been arrested, Mpumalanga police said on Friday.

Lieutenant Colonel Leonard Hlathi said the men, aged 33 and 34, were arrested on Thursday night after they were found in possession of a digital camera and money belonging to the woman.

They would appear in the Belfast Magistrate's Court on Monday.

Johanna Moore's body was found by her gardener when he reported for duty on Thursday morning.

"The gardener told the police that upon [his] arrival, he went inside the house to get cleaning equipment. He then noticed blood on the floor and saw his employer lying in a pool of blood," Hlathi said.

"The victim had visible injuries on her face and burn wounds on both arms. It is suspected that an electric iron was used to assault her as it was found next to the body."

A South African of Norwegian descent, Moore had lived in Dullstroom for 22 years and ran a flower nursery there.


Read more on: mbombela | crime

Lock up corrupt cops, angry judge says

Lock up corrupt cops, angry judge says
2012-02-24 22:30

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Cop who demanded bribe arrested
Corrupt cop to stay behind bars
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Pretoria - Crooked policemen should be suspended without pay pending the outcome of their criminal trials, a judge said in Pretoria on Friday.

Judge Moses Mavundla said he found it mind-boggling that a police officer would risk his career for a paltry amount to help a criminal escape.

His remarks came after he was forced to postpone the trial of two convicted killers in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

They were scheduled to be sentenced on Friday, but one of the two escaped from jail, allegedly with the help of a policeman.

The judge convicted Howard Sack and Christiaan Gray of Eersterust in November last year of murdering Neil Conrad Gouws in a 2009 drive-by shooting in Nellmapius, and postponed their trial for sentencing proceedings.

Their counsel, Piet Pistorius, told the court his attorney told him on Friday, shortly after he had consulted with Sack and Gray at prison, that Sack had escaped after apparently being assisted by a police officer who booked him out.

The policeman has since been arrested and is being detained.

Mavundla said the officer investigating the escape should be given instructions to oppose bail for the policeman.

"It is time that police officers know there will be no bail for them. It doesn't make sense... to have police officers who help criminals to escape and then get bail," he said.

"If we're going to have a disciplined police force and functionaries in all structures of government, mechanisms must be put in place that they [the policemen] must be suspended without pay pending the outcome of the case."

He said the message should also go out to Sack that the longer he delayed, the more difficulty he was going to make for himself.

"For him to be running away won't solve any problems. It will just create more problems for him," the judge said.

"The law is something that cannot be stopped... Even if you escape or eliminate the judge, you can't stop the law because the wheels of justice keep on grinding."


Read more on: police | pretoria | crime

Complaint laid against Zuma

Complaint laid against Zuma
February 24 2012 at 05:12pm


File Photo - President Jacob Zuma. Photo: Jacques Naude

Rightwing group the Gelofte Volk laid a complaint of hate speech against President Jacob Zuma at the Human Rights Commission in Joburg on Friday.

Gelofte Volk leader Andre Visagie said he presented the charges “on behalf of the Boer nation”.

The first charge was for Zuma's singing “the forbidden song”, “dubul' ibhunu” (shoot the boer) at the ANC's centenary celebrations in Bloemfontein on January 11.

The second was against the ministry of police for allegedly failing to intervene at the trial of Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) leader Eugene Terre'blanche's killers, when black people held up signs saying “boere word gebleksem” (sic).

The third charge related to the ANC government's “failure” to employ a special force to protect farmers after the dissolution of military commandos.

The ANC government also discriminated against the Boer youth “in that they are deliberately excluded from employment in the government (and) private sector”, Visagie said.

“Now they are punished for 'apartheid' because they have a white skin.”

The presidency earlier said it was unaware of the complaint by the fringe group.

Spokesman Mac Maharaj said: “I am sure that they (the HRC) will attend to it through the proper procedures”.

He said the presidency would not be sending someone to hear the complaint on Friday.

Visagie said he hoped the case would draw international media attention because “we are killed in this country just because we have white skins”.

The Gelofte Volk (People of the Covenant) was founded by Visagie, the AWB's former general secretary.

About 15 of the group's supporters, most of them middle-aged women, gathered outside the commission's offices before the complaint was heard.

They held up the Vierkleur flag, symbol of the Afrikaner far right, and a placard that read “stop die plaasmoorde” (stop farm murders).

Andries Terre'blanche, brother of Eugene, joined Visagie and the leadership of the Volk to lay the complaint. – Sapa

ANC rejects Zuma complaint
2012-02-25 20:20

Related Links
Hate speech charge laid against Jacob Zuma
Hate crimes will not be tolerated: NPA
'Hate camp'must be probed - DA

Johannesburg - The ANC has rejected the attempt by rightwing group, Gelofte Volk, to lay a complaint of hate speech against President Jacob Zuma.

"It has become fashionable that unknown and unrepresentative rightwing fringe organisations... try and draw attention to themselves by using our president and our struggle history," African National Congress spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said in a statement on Saturday.

"Their claim that seeks of vilify our historic heritage and to project it as a source of hate will not go unchallenged because our history cannot be explained differently or in a manner that will satisfy those who wish it away."

Gelofte Volk leader Andre Visagie laid the complaint at the Human Rights Commission in Johannesburg on Friday.

The first charge was for Zuma's singing "the forbidden song", dubul' ibhunu (shoot the boer) at the ANC's centenary celebrations in Bloemfontein on January 11.

The second was against the ministry of police for allegedly failing to intervene at the trial of Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) leader Eugene Terre'blanche's killers, when black people held up signs saying "boere word gebleksem" (sic).


The third charge related to the ANC government's "failure" to employ a special force to protect farmers after the dissolution of military commandos.

Mthembu denied that Zuma sang the dubul' ibhunu song during the ANC's centenary celebrations.

"We want to restate the facts that in Mangaung during the centennial celebrations, President Zuma did not sing the song that is banned by the Gauteng High Court... [the song] that we are currently challenging."

He warned against the "polarisation" of the South African society that the charges could bring.

"We find their assertion that President Zuma is not their president and that he is anti-whites absurd and unfortunate," he said.

"The ANC has and will continue to champion non-racialism in this country and will not be deterred by anybody or organisation that [wans]t to take this country back to colonial and apartheid rule."

Visagie said he hoped the case would draw international media attention because "we are killed in this country just because we have white skins".

The Gelofte Volk (People of the Covenant) was founded by Visagie, the AWB's former general secretary.


Read more on: jacob zuma | eugene terre'blanche | jackson mthembu | andre visagie | johannesburg | hate speech | politics | racism

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sharemax: Auditor backtracks on opinion

Sharemax: Auditor backtracks on opinion

Complaint against ACT Solutions prompts a change of heart on clean audit.

JOHANNESBURG - ACT Solutions, auditor of the Sharemax syndication companies, has changed its mind on the clean audit it gave Flora Centre Holdings for the 2009 financial year.

It is doubtful whether any of the Flora Centre’s investors are aware of ACT Solutions’ change of heart.

Flora Centre is one of Sharemax’s older and larger so-called income syndications. In 2005 it took R118.5m from investors to buy the West Rand shopping centre.


Rescue plan for The Villa, Pretoria
17 Jan 2011

It will cost between R700-million and R800-million to get The Villa shopping centre property development, south-east of Pretoria back on track according to Paul Kyriacou, chief executive of Capicol.

A rescue plan has been set up for The Villa, Pretoria property development in an attempt to prevent investors from losing hundreds of millions of rands. The plan has not yet received the backing of Sharemax’s board.
His comments come amid threats from the main contractor for the project, GD Irons to liquidate Capicol in order to get payment of R150-million for work done on the project.

GD Irons holds a lien over the property.

Former Sharemax Investments managing director Willie Botha has set up a rescue plan for The Villa in an attempt to prevent investors from losing hundreds of millions of Rands. The rescue plan has not yet received the backing of Sharemax’s board.

In terms of the plan Botha proposes raising an additional R100-million from current investors in the property by asking them to inject R12k each into Sharemax. This money, says Botha, will be used to pay GD Irons and prevent the development from being liquidated.

It would also mean that The Villa could be transferred to the investor company.

Botha says that once this was done, investors could determine a way forward for The Villa, which could be sold as it stands, or raise additional funds to complete it.

However, Dawie Roodt, chairman and chief economist of Efficient Group and an independent director of The Villa says that he is opposed to the plan because companies that are under statutory management are not allowed to trade with the assets of the company without approval from the Reserve Bank.

Geoff Irons, managing director of GD Irons says he is not prepared to lift the lien until the debt is settled. He says his company owes about R100-million to sub-contractors and creditors who were now demanding payment for work done at The Villa.

Irons says that unless the R100-million is received from Capicol he will have to institute liquidation proceedings to recover what is owed.

Construction work on the R3,5-billion shopping centre ground to a halt last year when funds to the developer, Capicol dried up.

Readers' Comments Have a comment about this article

In August 2010, Moneyweb asked whether the Flora Centre’s 2009 financial statements could be believed. A copy of the financial statements can be downloaded here.

The financial statements appeared suspicious because they had increased Flora Centre’s value by 89%, from R104m to R197m. There was little or no apparent reason for this huge increase.

At the time, ACT Solutions director Jacques van der Merwe told Moneyweb: “We have a detailed valuation report from a registered property valuator. These are the facts. We do not consider wild speculations in the preparation of our audit report."

After publication of the article, a complaint was laid against ACT Solutions with the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA). The complainant claimed that the firm should not have given Flora Centre’s financial statements a clean audit.

In order to respond to the complaint, Van der Merwe did some investigating. What he discovered is that the Flora Centre may not be worth the R197m, as claimed in the 2009 financial statements.

Van der Merwe now claims that the Flora Centre’s valuator, Waldemar Gustav Haese, lacked independence. He also says the Flora Centre’s directors were inaccurate when they wrote in the financial statements that the valuator was independent, and that a capitalisation-rate method of valuation was used.

In the financial statements, the Flora Centre’s directors wrote that Haese “is not connected to the group”. However, WG Haese is the father-in-law of Dominique Haese, the former financial director of Sharemax and current CEO of all syndication companies including Flora Centre.

Moneyweb has in its possession a letter sent by Van der Merwe to the Flora Centre directors (click here to download). It is dated 5 November 2010.

In the letter, Van der Merwe says that Flora had provided ACT Solutions with a valuation certificate which reflects a value of R197m.

“The method of valuation is not properly set out in the valuation certificate dated 25 August 2009 of Mr W.G. Haese which was made available to us for audit purposes,” wrote Van der Merwe.

“We have consulted with Mr W.G. Haese recently and he explained to us in consultation that he used a ‘brick and mortar’ alternatively a ‘replacement value’ method as basis of valuation.

“We have also consulted an independent valuator and he advised us that these methods are inappropriate for this type of immovable property where the income stream (rental income) determines the value and that a capitalisation rate method is the only acceptable basis of valuation.”

Van der Merwe claimed it had always been his impression that a capitalisation-rate method of valuation was used for the Sharemax syndication companies.

However, this excuse may be hard for IRBA to swallow.

A capitalisation rate (cap rate) is a method of valuation in which income is used to derive a property's worth. For example, a property with income of R1 000 a year, capitalised at 10%, is worth R10 000 (R10 000 X 10% = R1 000).

The Flora Centre’s financial statements reveal an operating profit of R5.1m. If this is capitalised at 10.5% (the rate supposedly used by Haese), it gives a valuation of R48.5m, which is less than a quarter of Haese’s valuation of R197m.

It is difficult to imagine that ACT Solutions, when auditing the financial statements, did not pick up this discrepancy.

Van der Merwe claims that Moneyweb’s calculation above is over-simplified. However, he declined to offer an alternative.

Van der Merwe says ACT Solutions has already dealt with its concerns “by following the appropriate audit guidelines followed by an auditor when addressing the type of concerns raised in our letter”.

Revealing e-mails

In his letter to the directors, Van der Merwe refers to an e-mail exchange which took place between Flora Centre’s Matthew Osterloh and valuator WG (Wally) Haese on 24 and 25 August 2009.

In the exchange, Osterloh informs Haese: “We always base our valuation on income”.

The e-mails suggest that Haese valued the Flora Centre without even visiting it. They also suggest a willingness on Haese’s part to adjust his valuation to suit the wishes of the Flora Centre’s directors.

It is also clear that Osterloh did not believe the Flora Centre to be worth anything close to R197m. Osterloh informed Haese: “In its current state I don’t believe that the property would be worth much more than about R75m.”

Moneyweb asked WG Haese to comment on his alleged lack of independence and use of the incorrect valuation model. He declined to comment, and referred questions to Sharemax successor Frontier Asset Management. Frontier CEO Dominique Haese did not respond to a request to comment.

The e-mails can be read below.

24 August 2009, 10:36am


What parking is provided (either as number of spots, or as sq. meter)?
From one of the photos, there seems to be some drive-up parking in the office block. If there are indeed parking spots within the office block, as also some covered parking spots, all (or at least some) of these should be income-generating, but I do not note any lettable floor area being allocated to parking in the schedule you have provided.

Covered parking
1.1 Within the building (i.e drive-up parking)

1.2 Externally, in the parking area

Open parking provided in the parking area.
Roof construction:
Over retail areas
Over office block
I can unfortunately not determine any of the above from the photos provided.

What is Sharemax’s own idea of the value of the property? I have the municipal valuation as R171 343 000.


25 August 2009, 8:51am

Wally – We always base our valuation on income. In its current state I don’t believe that the property would be worth much more than about R75 million.

25 August, 2009, 09:30am


Have a look at the attached concept valuations (municipal, insurance replacement and present market), and let me know if it meets your (i.e. Sharemax) requirements.



25 August, 2009, 09:51am


The valuation will not work for the purpose that we wanted it for.

I want to get a low value, much lower than the municipal valuation of R171 343 000.00

This is the local authority’s latest value of the property and our assessment rates payment has quadrupled in the past month.

There are a few changes to be made on your valuation:

1) ERF 35 has been sold

2) I would remove the word modern under the description of improvements

3) The entrances do not have automated doors


25 August, 2009, 11:20am

Matthew, O.K., attached docs refer, for scrutiny and comments:

I have valued Flora down to the lowest level I can realistically, using a balanced mix of present income generated, calculated replacement cost, depreciation / maintenance, etc.

It is not much below the municipal valuation however. The replacement value is just higher than the municipal value.

Bear in mind that my first draft valuations sent to you for comment reflected “true” valuations, as would still have been applicable at the beginning of this year.

If you really need to lower the valuation any further (for municipal reasons only: NOT for purposes of Sharemax share issue), I can do so, based on the purchase price escalated from 2005 to date, which will probably put the valuation at around R152 000 000 after depreciation, etc. Would this help at all?

Please advise.



25 August, 2009, 2:19PM

Thanks Wally. Leave the valuation as previously sent to me, that is at R196 700 180 and replacement value of R218 555 750

Can we get it signed off today?


Author: Julius Cobbett|
23 February 2012 15:17
Sharemax: Auditor backtracks on opinion

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Kidnapped couple sold by pirates

Kidnapped couple sold by pirates
February 23 2012 at 08:07am
By Leanne Jansen


File Photo: Durban sailors Bruno Pelizzari and his girlfriend Deborah Calitz were photographed sailing off Tanzania in 2009.

Durban couple Bruno Pelizzari and Debbie Calitz were sold by their pirate captors to members of militant group Al Shabaab and then on to Somali “business people”, but Gift of the Givers is optimistic that when money again changes hands for the two, it will be for their safe return home.

Having negotiated the ransom for the couple down from $4 million (R32m) to under $1m (R8m), the Pietermaritzburg-based aid organisation believes that this could happen “soon”.

Pelizzari and Calitz were kidnapped more than a year ago when Somali pirates seized the yacht Choizil off the Tanzanian coast.

The organisation’s founder Imtiaz Sooliman believes that dealing directly with the group now holding Pelizzari and Calitz had played a part in reducing the ransom.

“They were sold twice. First the pirates had them, then Al Shabaab, and now business people,” he said.

Sooliman believes that the couple were sold by the first two sets of captors to recover the money spent on sheltering, clothing and feeding the hostages when it became apparent that their families were not rich and that the SA government was not going to pay the ransom.

Pelizzari’s sister, Vera Hecht, has campaigned tirelessly to raise funds for the ransom. She created a website documenting her appeal so that the pirates could track her efforts.

“They somehow got the impression that Vera is wealthy. We told them they’ll wait until the end of the world (for $4m),” Sooliman said.

He said his contact had seen both Pelizzari and Calitz.

Although Gift of the Givers was handling the negotiations, it was up to the couple’s families to raise the ransom. - The Mercury

Sharemax: Big bucks for syndication directors

Special Investigations
Author: Julius Cobbett|21 February 2012 15:45 Sharemax: Big bucks for syndication directors

Fees of R4.3m paid on top of normal salaries. Reserve Bank’s concerns revealed.
JOHANNESBURG - Directors of the Sharemax syndication companies have been well paid for their efforts to restructure the schemes. In total five directors stand to make R4.3m, mostly for consulting services billed at R1 500 an hour.

For the two executive directors, Dominique Haese and Dirk Koekemoer, this money is paid over and above normal salaries received from Sharemax successor Frontier Asset Management. Haese’s salary at Frontier is R80 000 a month. Frontier is the company that manages and administrates the old Sharemax property portfolio. For this work it collects a percentage of assets under management.

The amounts paid to directors are disclosed in rescue scheme circulars which were sent to all 34 000 investors of Sharemax syndication companies. When the circular was compiled, R2.5m had already been paid to the five syndication directors, and a further R1.8m was budgeted, bringing the total to R4.3m.

Haese had already received R1m for consulting fees. Koekemoer had received R780 000. Accountant Rudi Badenhorst, who is supposed to be an independent, non-executive director of the syndication companies, was paid R600 000 for his consulting services. For each of these three directors, a further R500 000 was budgeted.

An amount of R240 000 has been budgeted for the chairman of the syndication companies, retired judge Willem Hartzenberg. An amount of R76 000 was budgeted for independent director Koos Maartens. A portion of this amount had already been paid.

It appears that no payments were made to former independent director Dawie Roodt, who resigned in July last year.

Reserve Bank concerns

Moneyweb can reveal that the Reserve Bank-appointed statutory managers, Jaco Spies and Neels Alant, raised a number of concerns about the directors’ income flowing from consulting services. These managers were appointed to ensure the syndication companies’ compliance with the Banks Act. They were relieved of their duties earlier this month, after investors voted in favour of the rescue scheme and it received court sanction.

Initially, Haese, Koekemoer and Badenhorst used entities to invoice the syndication companies. An example of these invoices can be downloaded here.

Haese invoiced in the name of a sole proprietorship called D. Co Financial Services. Koekemoer used a close corporation called Ruwach Properties and Investments. Badenhorst used his firm, Badenhorst Auditors and Accountants.

This use of entities did not sit well with the statutory managers. In May last year statutory manager Jaco Spies instructed Haese not to “make any payments to director-related entities”.

Later that month, Spies’s co-manager Neels Alant wrote to Haese: “Based on independent advice Jaco Spies and I have identified a number of concerns relating to the remuneration of directors and which concerns require the board’s urgent attention.”

Alant continues: “We have conveyed these concerns to the Chairman [retired judge Willem Hartzenberg] and have also decided to postpone decisions on whether or not to consent to any of the payments that have been claimed by directors or their entities thus far.”

With the advice of an independent legal firm, it was later agreed that the directors’ fees were to be fully disclosed in the scheme circulars. The directors also agreed to claim remuneration in their personal capacities, and not through corporate entities. Invoices in the names of the directors’ entities were cancelled and never paid. New invoices were prepared in their personal capacities.

Long hours
The invoices mentioned above show how the directors put in long hours for their work on the rescue scheme.

Haese’s sole proprietorship, D. Co Financial Services, submitted an invoice for March to the Sharemax syndication companies for R120 000. Haese billed her services at R1 500 an hour, which means she worked 80 hours. Assuming a 160 hour work month, this left just half of her available time for full-time employer, Frontier.

Haese says this indicates that she worked many late hours and lots of overtime.

Koekemoer’s close corporation, Ruwach Properties and Investments, invoiced for 69.5 hours totalling R104 250.

Badenhorst’s firm issued an invoice R103 500 in March 2011 for 69 hours of consulting services.

If you think these directors were burning the candle at both ends, spare a thought for Connie Myburgh, for whom 250-hour work months are not unusual. In just one week, 23-29 April, which included a 21-hour work day, Myburgh billed Sharemax investors a total of 102 hours. Myburgh’s rate is R3 000 an hour. (See the details of the invoice below this article.)

The rescue scheme’s piggy bank

But the statutory managers’ concerns did not stop at director remuneration. They were also worried about the manner in which the Sharemax rescue scheme’s costs were to be funded.

To pay the millions that the Sharemax rescue scheme would cost, the directors needed cash, which they sourced from one of Sharemax’s better-funded growth syndications, Country View.

Not that Country View, a proposed retirement resort, was in good financial health; it simply had not yet spent all of the R83m it solicited from public investors. This made it an attractive piggy-bank to fund the rescue scheme.

Once Country View had received the R83m from its investors, sometime in 2007, it loaned the money to a private company called Planet Waves 110. Such loans were standard procedure for Sharemax’s 12 growth syndications (see Sharemax’s black hole syndications).

Around April last year, Haese and her co-directors, with the assistance of corporate lawyer Connie Myburgh, created a R5m loan facility, which they used to borrow money from Planet Waves to fund the Sharemax rescue costs. This loan is to be repaid by all syndication companies on a pro-rata basis.

The Reserve Bank was concerned that this loan might be illegal. In May the Reserve Bank’s Michael Blackbeard informed Chairman Willem Hartzenberg that the Bank was concerned about the loan’s legality. A copy of this letter can be downloaded here.

Haese says that the board of directors obtained external legal advice, which caused the loan to be structured and implemented in such a manner that the concerns raised by the statutory managers and the Registrar of Banks were addressed, and subsequent approval was granted for the incurring and implementation of this loan.

Blackbeard instructed Hartzenburg and his co-directors not to exceed the original loan limit of R5m. However, when it came to the Reserve Bank’s attention that the limit of R5m may be exceeded, it took the drastic step of freezing the Country View cash.

In an e-mail dated June 7 last year, Alant informed Haese that her wings had been clipped: “I have exercised stricter control over the investment account held at Mercantile Bank in the name of Planet Waves 110 (Pty) Ltd,” he wrote. “The bank has accordingly been instructed not to allow the withdrawal of funds held on behalf of Planet Waves 110 (Pty) Ltd.”

Future withdrawals required Reserve Bank approval.

Haese says that at no time was the R5m exceeded: “In fact a further agreement was entered into requesting a provision for further funding and approval was given by the Reserve Bank thereon after due consideration.”

The cost of the rescue scheme has been budgeted at R19m. The single biggest item is legal fees.

Says Haese: “One needs to consider that R19m divided by 34 000 investors equals R559 per investor, nothing in terms of potential astronomical – and now avoided – liquidation costs, where investors would have been left with nothing.”

Coenie Willemse, a lawyer representing the directors, stated on their behalf that without the Planet Waves loan it would not have been possible to implement the various steps of the Section 311 scheme of arrangement. (Click here to download Willemse's full unedited response)

“Every one of the legal entities in the Sharemax syndication group of companies, is obliged to, in terms of the approved loan agreement, contribute its share of this funding on a weighted pro-rata basis.

“This loan is based upon an approved valid and binding loan agreement, which will provide Country View with a better return as previously,” Willemse said.

A copy of this article was sent to Willemse, lawyer for Haese, Koekemoer and Myburgh last week.

Willemse’s full unedited response to the article can be read here.

A week in the life of corporate lawyer Connie Myburgh


Attend to drafting scheme documentation

pertaining to Income Plan project. (4 hours)
R 12,000

Attending to further drafting of scheme
documentation. (8 hours)
R 24,000

Attend to drafting further documentation

pertaining to Villa and Income Plan documentation,

attend to checking documents as tracked,

amending same and further processing, attend

to numerous telephone calls with various parties

for purposes of collecting and checking

information for purposes of incorporating into

documentation, attend to discussing various

aspects of structures and documentation with

counsel and Mr Derek Cohen. (16 hours)
R 48,000

Attend to further drafting of documentation,

checking of documentation and various

discussions with various parties in regard to

various aspects of structures and documentation

being prepared. (19 hours)
R 57,000

Further preparation of documentation, including

finalising documentation pertaining to Villa

project, attending to Mrs Cohen, Rembe and

Badenhorst during consultation when financial

aspects of Villa transaction discussed, debated

and incorporated into final Villa documentation,

attend to arranging signature of Villa documentation,

finalising , all Villa documentation, including

pagination and the like, copies and the like, and

procuring dispatched to Pretoria and issuing at

Court for purposes of hearing the matter at 10h00

on Friday, 29 April 2011, attend to further intensive

drafting after discussions with various parties

providing information, and in particular, attending

to the checking of numerous documents having

been prepared and typed, attend to extreme urgent

drafting of documentation pertaining to Income

Plans project, including discussions in regard to

financial aspects thereof with various parties,

including Messrs Cohen, Badenhorst and

Koekemoer. (20 hours)
R 60,000

Attend to finalising Villa documentation and

procuring filing at Court, attend to working further

on extreme urgent basis in regard to Income Plan

documentation, including discussions in regard

thereto, both with regard to structure and financial

implications. (21 hours)
R 63,000

Attend to discussing Villa transaction with

counsel for purposes of briefing counsel for

hearing of the Villa matter in Court, attend to

finalising Income Plan matters under great urgency,

attend to procuring the signing of Income Plan

matters and documentation, attend at Court when

counsel briefed and matter heard in Court, attend to
assisting counsel in Court when order with regard

to Income Plans transaction granted, attend to

travelling back to Johannesburg, attend to further

drafting of documentation required for Income

Plan matters, attending to perusing documentation

and finalising further drafting, attend to further

checking of documentation and discussing of

various aspects of documentation and structures

with Mr. Badenhorst, attend to discussing Villa

transaction with Counsel and finalising. (14 hours)
R 42,000

R 306,000


‘Shoot rhino poachers from the air’

‘Shoot rhino poachers from the air’
February 23 2012 at 07:40am
By Colleen Dardagan

Businessman Vincent Christoforous and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife head Bandile Mkhize show off the Sikorski 300 helicopter that Christoforous gave to the Imfolozi Game Reserve to fight rhino poaching from the air. Picture: Colleen Dardagan

South Africa’s war against rhino poaching will be won from the air.

A frail Ian Player, 85, who was instrumental in saving the white rhino from extinction in the 1960s, told a gathering at Durban’s Virginia Airport on Wednesday that, like the Libyan war where Britain and France used air support to turn the tide for the rebels fighting on the ground, so should the “war” against rhino poaching be fought in SA.

“If we say this is a war, and it is, then it makes sense we need support from the air,” he said.

Player, together with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife CEO Bandile Mkhize and businessman Vincent Christoforous, was announcing the success of daily helicopter patrols over the Imfolozi Game Reserve over the past five months in turning the tide against escalating rhino deaths in the park.

Christoforous, who heads Durban’s King Shaka Aviation, gave a Sikorski 300 helicopter, pilots and R500 000 in funding for the trial. But his resources were not unlimited and now that the project had proven the success of the helicopter patrols, Christoforous was calling on corporate business to step in to assist.

“It is important we roll this out now across the province. We are asking for R4 million to R5m from corporates to keep the programme going and to help us roll out more patrols in private and public game reserves over the next two years.”

Dr. Ian Player announced the success of helicopter patrols in the Umfolozi Game Reserve, in KZN, at a media briefing on Wednesday. Picture: Colleen Dardagan

He believed the project had merit for big business because of the profile and extent of exposure rhino poaching was attracting across the world.

The head of the anti-poaching unit at Imfolozi, Lawrence Munro, said the air patrols had “saved” the lives of at least six rhinos. “From October to December 2010, seven rhino were killed in the reserve, whereas in the same period last year, when the helicopter was in operation, only one was lost. Our systems were exactly the same as the previous year, except now we added the helicopter, which patrols every day and responds immediately to calls from our rangers on the ground,” he said.

Munro said poachers had reportedly given the helicopter a nickname. “It’s Isiqgila or knobkierie. They don’t like it,” he said.

However, the owners of private reserves that border the Imfolozi Park expressed concern as poachers had moved operations to their properties.

David Attenborough said that he was spending at least R200 000 a month on security for his rhinos. “What we have to talk about is how our security companies can link up with the helicopter project,” he said.

Munro said incidences of after-dark poaching had also increased because of the daily patrols. “But that means I can now use my full complement of staff at night,” he said. - The Mercury

Rhino activists threaten global boycott on SA products

Rhino activists threaten global boycott on SA products

Conservation activists have threatened to push for a global boycott on South African products if the government does not immediately stop all trade in rhino horn.

In a petition delivered to the presidency in Pretoria on Wednesday, they also demanded the destruction of the state's rhino horn stockpiles within 60 days.

Concern over the unabated killing of rhinos was spreading beyond South African borders, said Marianne du Plessis, a director of the non-profit body Section 24 Rights Coalition.

"Not only us, the people represented here, the international community is deeply concerned with the ongoing killing of our animals," she told reporters.

"The concern also centres around our government's lack of a strong will to stop the problem."

Du Plessis said section 24 of the Constitution dealt with "the protection of the environment for the benefit of present and future generations", but that there had been inadequate implementation of those dictates in the country.

"We have gathered more than 22000 signatures in this petition from South African communities and other countries across the world.

"Government has 60 days to turn around the situation or we call for drastic action, including a boycott."

The international mobilisation of a boycott on local goods would affect agriculture, tourism and service provision sectors of government.

Du Plessis said her organisation enjoyed the support of numerous international partners, such as the International Animal Rescue Foundation, an umbrella network of institutions which advocate for nature preservation and humanitarian relief.

The activists burnt a model wooden rhino horn at the Union Buildings in a symbolic act intended to convince the government to destroy its horn stockpiles, a move they believe will save the endangered rhino.

Rian Geldenhuys, another director at Section 24, said South African authorities needed to decisively engage with their counterparts in the Asian countries to which most of the country's rhino horns were exported.

"Government's action will be very critical in this campaign. They cannot be denouncing trade in rhino horn and at the same time they are sitting on a large stockpile of those horns. We want those horns destroyed," said Geldenhuys.

Head of public liaison in the presidency Mosa Sejosingoe received the petition and said the message would be delivered to President Jacob Zuma. -- Sapa

Bizos joins opposition of Info Bill

Bizos joins opposition of Info Bill
Well-known human rights lawyer and anti-apartheid activist, George Bizos has added his voice in opposing the Protection of State Information Bill.

22 February 2012 | MUSA MOHAMED

JOHANNESBURG - Well-known human rights lawyer and anti-apartheid activist, George Bizos has added his voice in opposing the Protection of State Information Bill.

Bizos joins other prominent personalities, such as Nobel laureates Nadine Gordimer and Desmond Tutu, in opposing the proposed law being pushed by the ANC in Parliament.

Public hearings on the controversial Bill are currently under way, spearheaded by the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), with a report on the outcome of the hearings expected to be tabled in the NCOP in April.

Bizos and his colleague William Kerfoot, believe the Bill threatens many of the fundamental values and principles enshrined in the constitution.

They said that the Bill will have a chilling effect on freedom of expression and will work to silence whistle blowers, journalists and – concerned citizens.

“Rather than revisiting apartheid-era securocratic methods of information protection, the Bill must seek an appropriate balance between state secrecy and human rights,” they said.

They made a submission on the Information Bill to the NCOP, on behalf of People Against Suffering, Suppression, Oppression and Poverty (Passop).

Bizos and Kerfoot argue that the drafters of the Bill had not given careful consideration necessary for such significant change in the law of the country.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Judge praises Cato Manor detectives

Judge praises Cato Manor detectives
February 20 2012 at 05:32pm

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Detectives from the Organised Crime Unit at Cato Manor – recently disbanded after allegations that a “death squad” operated there – have come in for praise from a High Court judge.

While a top-level investigation is being carried out into the allegations, detectives who investigated a notorious cash-in-transit heist robbery and an associated murder back in 2006, are also in the spotlight. This time, it is for their professional work on the case involving the “KZN-26” gang, whose lengthy trial in the Pongola High Court is now coming to an end.

Five of the KZN-26 are from the Durban area, three from elsewhere in KZN and the others from Gauteng.

Judge Jan Combrick began his judgment last Monday and will resume it today.

”What makes this trial somewhat unique is the introduction of wide-ranging and detailed cellphone evidence… Suffice it to say…that 72 000 calls were analysed,” he said.

More than 100 witnesses were called, including Thembiso Sithole, a tactical support officer employed by Fidelity Cash Management Services (its cash vehicles were targeted).

Sithole, (who was later killed in an unrelated incident), became suspicious even before the robberies and the murder went down after seeing four vehicles travelling in convoy with groups of men inside in the early hours of October 2, 2006 – the day of the heist.

However, police failed to act, despite repeated requests.

Sithole even shadowed the cavalcade to Msingazi, a suburb of Richards Bay, where one accused, Mbuso Mncube, lived. But when he told the local police how many suspects there were there, they refused to go, saying that they were afraid.

The KZN-26 gang was in custody at Westville, but was later transferred to the Ebongweni maximum security prison at Kokstad for security reasons.

One accused, Lebohang Mothepu, died from natural causes while still at Westville Prison during an adjournment in the lengthy trial, which began a year after two Fidelity cash-in-transit vehicles, 30km apart on the N2 in Zululand, were ambushed, overturned and attacked with firearms.

One vehicle, a Toyota Hi-Ace panel van, which was near the Charters Creek turn-off, 20km north of Mtubatuba, was not armoured and was robbed of R1 118 413-00. In their haste, the gang left behind R350 000.

Other stolen money was found in the Msingazi house. More than R1 million was recovered, the investigating officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Eddy van Rensburg, said yesterday

They deliberately smashed into the corner of the vehicle, causing the driver to lose control and overturn.

The suspects got nothing from the second vehicle, a Toyota Dyna truck, on the N2 near the Penicuik turn-off near Kwambonambi, because it was armoured. They failed to get inside after ramming it with a speeding 7-series BMW and overturning it and then attempting to cut open the hinges.

A security guard, Thembinkosi Gumede, was later killed while the suspects were in a plantation road abandoning stolen vehicles that had been used in the Penicuik heist.

Twenty-four suspects, who were heading to Durban, were nabbed at the Mvoti Toll Plaza, south of Stanger, by police, led by Captain Bongonkosi Mncube of the Richards Bay Organised Crime Unit.

Fourteen occupants were ordered to get out one at a time with their hands raised, and after a stand-off lasting two to three minutes, they stepped out with their arms aloft. Ten other suspects were rounded up in two other vehicles and two others were arrested later.

The unsuccessful attempts by Sithole, detective Mncube and a Fidelity investigator, Kevin Govender, to get the police to respond to calls for help, prompted the judge to say: “The professionalism displayed at the scene of arrest is of the highest order.… What we find heartening…was the thoroughness and commendable competence with which the arrests, search and collection and recording of exhibits was carried out on the scene of arrest and, later, at the offices of the Organised Crime Unit at Cato Manor.” - Daily News

Machanik’s R2.5m plea flop

Machanik’s R2.5m plea flop
2012-02-19 10:00

Adriaan Basson and Charl du Plessis
Disgraced estate agent Wendy Machanik withdrew from a R2.5 million plea bargain at the last minute this week – because she’s broke.

City Press can reveal that Machanik was on the brink of making a deal with the state that would have seen her pay a fine – rather than go to jail – for stealing clients’ money from her trust account.

But Machanik couldn’t come up with the R2.5 million for the fine and was forced to fire her lawyers.

Cyril Ziman, her former lawyer, confirmed that the once-powerful estate agent’s deal with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) had collapsed “because she couldn’t come up with the amount”.

Instead, Ziman withdrew from the case on Friday and Machanik remains on bail.

She has since appointed attorney Michael Salomon and advocate Sam Cohen to represent her.

City Press is in possession of an unsigned plea bargain agreement between Machanik and the state that was supposed to be handed in on Friday.

In it Machanik admits to stealing clients’ money and says she has proverbially “fallen
from grace”.

Machanik was planning to plead guilty to contravening three sections of the Estate Agency Affairs Act and to 115 counts of theft.

In the plea agreement, she admits she:

» Failed to keep accounting records that were necessary to fairly reflect the state of affairs of Wendy Machanik Properties;

» Failed to have the accounting records of Wendy Machanik Properties audited from 2006 to 2010;

» Failed to notify the industry regulator of the existence of a trust account held at Nedbank for Wendy Machanik Properties; and

» Unlawfully misappropriated money in her trust fund.

“Without derogating” from her admissions, Machanik continues to state that Wendy Machanik Properties was one of the leading estate agencies in the country.

By late 2005, the agency lost key staff members in the accounting department and the accounting system changed, leaving the agency vulnerable.

This was never properly fixed. Wendy Machanik Properties also operated a rental business and tenants were asked to deposit money into a different trust account. The industry regulator was not notified.

Machanik was further planning to admit to the cardinal sin for estate agents: dipping into your trust account for personal use.

“The accused unlawfully and without any entitlement accessed the trust account, and caused transfers to be made to the Wendy Machanik Properties business account, trade creditors and to herself.”

Machanik planned to argue that, as a result of her guilty plea, she would become disqualified to act as a director of a company and that her image was seriously dented by at least 400 media articles that were published about her case.

In mitigation, Machanik would’ve argued that she had passed grade 11; had been a gifted ballet dancer who performed in Swan Lake, The Nutcracker and Aida; had achieved numerous Business Woman of the Year awards; used all her “earthly assets” to settle her liabilities; and that her friends had offered to pay the R2.5 million fine on her behalf.

Apart from the fine, Machanik would have been sentenced to correctional supervision of three years.

A tired-looking Machanik, dressed in a black and pink dress, arrived alone at the Johannesburg Commercial Crimes Court on Friday, where her case was suspended to March 14.

- City Press

Security boss 'tried to silence whistleblower'

Security boss 'tried to silence whistleblower'
2012-02-20 21:15

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Cape Town - The acting state security director general came under fire for trying to “silence” a whistleblower in the department on Monday.

The Right2Know campaign said in a statement that it “strongly condemns the actions” of the acting director general, Dennis Dlomo.

This follows a City Press article on Sunday about fraud in the state security agency’s medical scheme.

The whistleblower, Roberta Nation, claims that the State Security Agency (SSA) tried to cover up her allegations of fraud. Nation was in charge of the fraud unit of the SSA’s medical scheme.

Nation reportedly launched a grievance procedure following her complaints to superiors about rampant fraud at the scheme, known as OpMed.

After numerous attempts to deal with her grievance within the SSA came to nought, she opted for lawyers outside the agency to take up her case.

“She has taken the step of going to the press as a last resort, after the agency failed to do anything substantive about her claims,” the R2K said.

The SSA, however, told City Press it wasn’t a whistleblowing matter but rather a “labour relations issue” that simply needed to be handled within the agency.

“All members of the civilian intelligence community are governed by the Intelligence Services Act... For internal proceedings, people have lawyers of their choice from within the civilian intelligence community, including the office of the inspector general of intelligence.

“No one in internal processes gets representations outside.

“It is just contrary to the idea of internal proceedings. This is because access to premises and classified information is only allowed to those who possess valid security clearances.

“Lawyers of your choice that are outside would not have security clearances. They would be incompetent to represent anyone without such access.

“The prohibition is international best practice.”

The activist group said that the incident was symptomatic of the need for “radical revisions” in the secrecy bill that would include protecting whistleblowers. The group said the matter was of particular urgency in the state security cluster because it lacks accountability to the public.

- News24

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