Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Sexwale dissolves ‘dysfunctional’ Estate Agency Affairs Board
Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale asks Special Investigating Unit to probe regulatory body of an industry that makes up 15% of South Africa’s gross domestic product
Published: 2012/07/31 10:16:59 AM
THE embattled Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) has been placed under administration, Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale said on Tuesday.
"I am compelled in the interests of bringing certainty and order to place [the board] under administration," Mr Sexwale said in Johannesburg.
In May, the regulatory body for the real estate industry was moved from the Department of Trade and Industry to the Department of Human Settlements, which now constitutes its executive authority.
Mr Sexwale’s move to address the EAAB is seen as positive for the real estate industry, which contributes about 15% of South Africa’s gross domestic product and is seen as important to the economy.
He also called for the Special Investigating Unit to probe the EAAB.
"I’ve also decided the Special Investigating Unit must step in. They must bring in a very strong broom to clean up this mess."
The EAAB has had difficulty ensuring estate agents operating in South Africa’s property market comply with the legislation governing their profession.
The body has come under the spotlight for its poor service levels and because of numerous complaints from the property industry, including reports of estate agents operating without the mandatory fidelity fund certificates, the board not investigating complaints and failing to guide the sector.
This comes at a time when the industry has needed guidance from the board, as there have been many legislative changes in the industry, including in education, financial intelligence, compliance and company law as well as the new Property Charter, and the transformation code for the property sector.
This month alone, the board’s recently appointed chairwoman, Ina Wilken, resigned after succeeding Thami Bolani, and former acting CEO Bryan Chaplog was removed by the board. The EAAB said Ms Wilken’s departure was part of a rotation of the office of the acting CEO. Mr Chaplog, who was acting CEO for a few months, resumed the position of chief financial officer and was replaced by Clive Ashpol, the executive manager for education and training.
Mr Sexwale dissolved the board, saying it was dysfunctional.
"To date when a board is supposed to be having 15 members, they are left with three."
Mr Sexwale will hold a summit with estate agents in September.
With Thabang Mokopanele and Sapa
Monday, July 30, 2012
Sunday, July 29, 2012
Cameron van der Burgh © Action Images
Van der Burgh bags gold medal
29 July 2012, 21:18
Cameron van der Burgh smashed the world record to become the first South African men's swimming Olympic champion in winning the 100m breaststroke gold medal on Sunday.
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Van der Burgh burnt off a crack field, including two-time defending Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima, to shatter the world record in 58.46sec.
Van der Burgh improved the previous record of 58.58 set by Australian Brenton Rickard on July 27, 2009 at the world championships in Rome.
Australian Christian Sprenger took silver and American Brendan Hansen claimed bronze.
The South African couldn't wipe the smile off his face as he sprawled out on the lane rope taking in what was the swim of his career.
"It's a feeling I can't describe right now, it has been a lot of work in the making. Everything has paid off tonight," he said.
"If there is such a thing as the perfect race, I think I swam it at the right time tonight.
"I don't really care about the world record, once you have become an Olympic champion that can never be taken away from you.
"I can tell my kids when they are watching one day that I did that."
Van der Burgh paid tribute to Norwegian world champion swimmer Alexander Dale Oen, who died of heart failure last April while at a training camp in Flagstaff, Arizona, ahead of the London Olympics.
"I just have to pay tribute to Alexander Oen tonight, I know he has been with me this year, I think he helped me finish the race in such a strong manner," van der Burgh said.
"Alexander pushed me in training, it made me realise I had to go faster to win the gold medal, that is what we trained for and that is what we have achieved."
Kitajima finished fifth, failing in his bid to become the first male swimmer to win the same event at three successive Games.
"I wanted to defend the title, but it was really tough and I enjoyed trying to do it," Kitajima said.
"It was a really tough race and I needed the world record to win, I didn't have the ability to be honest. I will do my best in the 200m."
Veteran American Hansen, 30, a world champion in the event five years ago, was thrilled to snare the bronze medal.
"That was as fast as I can go, I was pleased with the outcome. I couldn't go any faster," the Texan said.
FSB probe linked to double killing
( Jana Mrais ) 29 July 2012
The Financial Services Board has been investigating the activities of Herman Pretorius, who allegedly shot his former business partner, Julian Williams, before killing himself on Thursday.
" 'His death is a huge loss. This is a complete loss; a tragedy'Investors are nervously waiting to hear what has happened to their money.
In a letter to clients on Friday
from an Abante Group e-mail address, the company confirmed the death of Pretorius. "We are currently assisting the police with investigation and will provide the necessary feedback to our investors as soon as possible," read the unsigned letter, typed on a white page with no letterhead.
The sender, Tharine Swart, could not be reached for comment and did not respond to messages. Calls to the Abante switchboard were cut of
by the operator.
"We are eager to get some news on our investments," one Western Cape-based broker, who has invested his own and clients' money with Pretorius, said on Friday. "Many people around here have invested a lot of money with him and Polus Capital. I certainly hope our investments will be okay."
Pretorius allegedly shot Williams at the Basileus Capital head office in Cape Town on Thursday afternoon, ending a meeting that lasted about 90 minutes.
He fired two shots at Williams in the boardroom before shooting himself in the head.
Pretorius and Williams previously worked together at Abante Capital, which has reportedly been renamed Polus Capital, until Williams left to start a private equity firm Basileus Capital in 2008 with former Western Cape ANC chairman James Ngculu. Pretorius and some of his clients were also shareholders in Wesizwe Platinum, of which Williams was a founder.
Dawn Mokhobo, chairman of Wesizwe, described the deaths as a "tragedy". Williams, whom she had known for four years, was a "talented, very intelligent" person who could "simplify very complex business issues, particularly on the financial side.
"In board meetings, he would always be fiddling around with his cellphone or computer, which I initially thought was very disrespectful. I soon learnt that he didn't miss a word and, when he opened his mouth, he said things that were very substantial," Mokhobo said. "His death is a huge loss."
While she did not know Pretorius that well, he was an active shareholder in Wesizwe and also represented a group of wealthy investors in the company, Mokhobo said. "He was always a gentleman, and he struck me as a real good person. This is a complete loss; a tragedy."
It is understood there was a dispute between Pretorius and Williams about the non-payment of dividends by Avalloy, a Pelindaba-based manufacturer of superalloys .
According to the Avalloy website, Basileus held a 55% stake in the business through SA Superalloys, in which Pretorius allegedly sold preference shares to clients with the promise of lucrative dividend payouts.
A broker, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said SA Superalloys investors were not paid a promised dividend in March.
The FSB has no evidence that there is a link between Abante Capital, which is not registered with the entity, and Polus Capital, said German Anderson, deputy registrar: financial services providers.
Saturday, July 28, 2012
28 July, 2012 22:11
Mine rights fraud case is 'advanced'
Hawks will not disclose timeline in the Sishen investigation. The police investigation into allegations of fraud against politically connected Imperial Crown Trading (ICT), which was controversially awarded a prospecting right over Kumba's Sishen mine, is at an "advanced and sensitive stage", the National Prosecuting
Authority (NPA) said.
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Kumba first half diluted earnings R23,03 vs R28,13 The investigation, which followed charges by Kumba's Sishen Iron Ore (SIOC) in August 2010, was assigned to top prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach, who withdrew from the case in November last year after a complaint was laid against her by ICT's lawyers.
Business Times understands Breytenbach has been replaced by Paul Louw, another senior advocate with the NPA.
The Hawks will not tie themselves to a timeline on the investigation, spokesman McIntosh Polela said.
"As you know, it's a very complex case. Once the investigation is complete, there will be a decision to prosecute."
ICT, whose directors include deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe's partner Gugu Mtshali and Jagdish Parekh, a business partner of president Jacob Zuma's son Duduzane, is accused of using forged title deeds in its application and lying about the date documents that formed part of its application were submitted to the Kimberley office of the Department of Mineral Resources.
Breytenbach was suspended from the NPA in April on charges relating to the ICT complaint, which her legal team argues is a smokescreen for the real reason: her refusal to drop an investigation into suspended intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.
ICT's allegations of misconduct and an improper relationship between Breytenbach and Kumba's lawyers on the ICT matter were discarded in a Northern Cape High Court ruling by Judge Hennie Lacock in May.
The NPA this week refused to disclose the identity of the prosecutor assigned to the case.
"We are not in a position to disclose names of prosecutors allocated cases which are under investigation by the police," NPA spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said.
Ronnie Mendelow, ICT's lawyer, said his client will lay criminal charges against SIOC.
The appeal lodged by ICT and the Department of Mineral Resources against a North Gauteng High Court ruling setting aside the awarding of prospecting rights to ICT is unlikely to be heard by the Supreme Court of Appeals before next year. Judge Raymond Zondo ruled in December that SIOC already holds a 100% mining right at Sishen.