Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hawks hover over Limpopo premier

SIBUSISO NGALWA | 30 October, 2011 01:14

Image by: Halden Krog / The Times
LIMPOPO premier Cassel Mathale's government is being investigated for alleged fraud and corruption running into hundreds of millions of rands.



A group of disgruntled businessmen have given the authorities a dossier on "irregular tenders" allegedly handed out in the province.

The Forum of Limpopo Entrepreneurs also want Mathale - a key ally of ANC Youth League Presi-dent Julius Malema - to be investigated amid claims that the premier influenced tenders in various provincial departments.

The case has been allocated to the Anti-Corruption Task Team, which comprises the Hawks, the Special Investigating Unit, the Asset Forfeiture Unit and the National Prosecuting Authority.

The dossier was delivered to the SIU and the Hawks offices by the forum and trade union Cosatu last month.

A spokesman for the anti-corruption task team confirmed receipt of the dossier and said: "The investigation is under way, although in the early stages."

The investigation centres on contracts awarded by the province's health and roads and transport departments, which allegedly did not go out to tender.

In the health department alone, contracts totalling R314-million are under the spotlight, with the biggest being a R167-million tender for pharmaceutical equipment.

One of the companies mentioned in the dossier is Arandi Trading Enterprises, which belongs to Malema's cousin Tshepo Malema.

Attention was focused on Tshepo Malema's company after media reports that it received R44-million to supply hospital "referral forms".

Tshepo has previously defended the contract, saying it was above board.

The secretary of the Limpopo entrepreneurs' forum, Siviko Mabunda, confirmed that its members had already been interviewed by the Hawks in relation to the dossier.

"We handed over a list of companies and their directors and the tenders that they got in a corrupt manner ... the Hawks came and interviewed us [and] we are happy about the progress. It means they are following up on the case," he said.

The forum also raised concerns about tenders in the roads department being awarded to a construction company owned by Mathale's business partner, Selby Manthata.

Mabunda said: "We want to know why Manthata is getting all the tenders from the department of roads and transport ..."

Manthata, who has admitted to being the premier's business partner, has declined to comment on Mabunda's allegations.

Hawks spokesman McIntosh Polela confirmed the allegations of fraud and corruption were being investigated. "The case has to do with allegations of fraud and corruption, especially within the departments of health and transport," Polela said.

"We are looking into the allegations to get more information to decide how we move forward."

The Hawks are already probing Julius Malema's business and financial interests.

The youth league president has admitted that his Ratanang Family Trust has shares in On-Point Engineering, a company which effectively decides on the awarding of contracts by Limpopo's roads and transport department.

Mathale's spokesman, Tebatso Mabitsela, said the premier was aware of the investigation, and welcomed any probe into corruption. However, he denied that his boss manipulated the awarding of tenders.

"Political office bearers don't have influence over the awarding of tenders ... " he said.

And it was unfair to single out Manthata's firm when other companies were doing business with the Limpopo government, Mabitsela said.

"We are dealing with many service providers. We wonder why people single out certain individuals ... There is no one who flouts tendering procedures."

Times Live

Comments by Sonny

Why is the ANC lead government so corrupt?

Is it in their Genes?

Or their Gucci suits.......!

It's easy to see why Malema comes from Limpopo!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sharemax-Probe into Sharemax structure concealed..Confidential report found contraventions of Banks Act.

May 2006: It's now a good time to run
IN every life a little rain must fall, so they say. And if you are an investor in Sharemax or similar property syndications, I am afraid you may now be living in a winter rainfall area. The clouds they are a-gathering.

I say this not because I am some kind of financial clairvoyant with a crystal ball to the future, I am just a simple scribe observing the frantic goings-on around me. Come pensioners, widows please heed the call: your savings are in danger, you'll soon have f-all.

My father grew up on a farm and can tell when it will rain by watching the ants in the veld. When they are running around more frantic than ever to salvage what they can and cover up the holes, he knows he'll need his raincoat tomorrow. The current class of exploiters of the greedy are behaving like those ants. On the veld where money is made and lost, they are running around more frantic than ever to salvage what they can and cover up the holes.

As for you, Mr and Ms Investor and 'part owner' of shopping centres, you may not have a raincoat tomorrow. And see that soon you'll be drenched to the bone, yes the times they are a-changing.

Bob Dylan knew this long ago, he was so much older then.

Students of the financial markets soon learn that, however sophisticated the systems become, however bright the 26-year-old geniuses who run the international spider's web spun with money, the eight-legged hairy beast at its core is driven by the oldest and basest of animal emotions � fear and greed.

And more often than not the flies caught in the web are you and I, dear reader, the small investors. You don't see spiders catching other spiders.

Driven by our greed for a fast buck, we believe the fast-talking salesmen's pitch about yields beyond what everyone else is getting, about your capital being guaranteed in risky, unlisted ventures, and we close our eyes to the obvious truth of results that are too good to be true.

Then, when Friedman's reality hits that there is no free lunch, that someone always pays and that the sucker stuck with the bill is you, that's when the fear sets in and you start running. Trouble is, everybody else is running too and by the time you scrum your way to the door marked 'Sell!' it is too late.

The South African markets are not there now. They have been booming for some time and the indications are that they will continue to rise. But no market rises forever and property syndications need a rising property market to survive, because of the bubble built into their structure.

To illustrate: The syndicate bosses control a number of companies, it's called a pyramid. They use company A to buy a shopping centre at its current market value, say R50 million. Then they sell company A, with the shopping centre as its asset, to holding company B for R60 million, thereby securing a neat profit for themselves. Company B pays legal and administrative costs as well as exceptional commissions to hard-selling salespeople and, with another few million for the syndicate bosses thrown in, they syndicate it to the investing public at R75 million.

You see the bubble? You and I, together with the pensioners with lump-sum payments those salespeople love to target, pay R75 million for a property worth R50 million. This can only work if the value of the property increases by 50% to R75 million. And in the property boom of the past few years, the rising tide has indeed carried all ships � but when the momentum slows down, this kind of scheme is not sustainable and the bubble will burst. The tide does not even have to turn, it simply has to slow down.

The syndicate bosses pay interest to the investors from the rental income of the shopping centre, promising that interest receipts will grow by 10% a year. This means they have to increase the shopkeepers' rent by 10% a year. And that while inflation is below 4%. You see the credibility problem?

No wonder then that some property syndications are running around more frantic than ever to salvage what they can and cover up the holes. Look at the strange behaviour of Sharemax, a Pretoria syndication group which has made a number of people called Botha and their associates very rich.

The background is that my colleague Deon Basson has been writing for some time about the incongruities of a Sharemax investment and identifying the dangers for the investing public. The Sharemax bosses reacted with vehement denials and pressure on his editors, consistently withstood by Rikus Delport at Finweek.

The Sharemax protest show, like Shakespeare's poor player on the stage, remained at the level of strutting and fretting, signifying nothing, until January this year when Basson's arrangement with Finweek was dissolved. Within days Sharemax sued him in his personal capacity for some R20 million.

Finweek was not sued, neither was its owner, Media24, nor the listed entity Naspers, which owns the lot. It meant Basson had to hire attorneys and counsel at considerable expense to himself and instead of earning a living, he had to spend his working hours preparing court documents. Sharemax, no doubt chuffed that they had sorted out the nasty inconvenience of a journalist doing his duty, continued full steam ahead, managing to get the case placed on the roll of the Pretoria High Court surprisingly soon � Case No 3208/2006, on the roll for 24 May 2006.

Then they received Basson's answering affidavit and realised what all bullies sooner or later do: it's not nice when the victim fights back. Basson was not intimidated and he had a powerful argument. Suddenly the case disappeared from the roll of the Pretoria High Court and Sharemax is not at all in a hurry to get it back on. No no, its attorney told internet newspaper ITInews on 21 April, there is no urgency � maybe June, July, August, September, with the subsequent court action only some time next year.

No wonder. I can just imagine how the court would feel about this attempt to use it as a blunt instrument in the gagging of a journalist.

Because it can hardly be anything else. The crucial question is this: If you feel you have suffered damages of R20 million and you decide to litigate to get that R20 million back, why do you sue the one party you know full well will not be able to pay R20 million? Why don't you sue the magazine that carried the reports? Or the publisher? Or the owner? What is really your motive?

I phoned Sharemax's MD, Willem Botha, to put these questions to him. His recorded voice invited me to leave a message, which I did, giving my name, my number and stating my business. He did not return my call.

You should also know that the consumer affairs committee of the Department of Trade and Industry has called for stricter controls over property syndications, that Freedom Front Plus MP Willie Spies has raised questions about Sharemax in Parliament, that Finance Minister Trevor Manuel promised to follow up, that Sharemax was forced by the authorities to shelve plans for the sale of 19 of its companies and that the Financial Services Board has stated that Sharemax may not use claims of FSB approval to market its products.

Now you decide.


Sharemax restrictions expire in The Villa deal

The acquisition by the troubled Sharemax Group of The Villa, the partially completed R3.5 billion retail development east of Pretoria, is now unconditional.

The Villa was syndicated by Sharemax Investments and funded by about 8 000 investors.

The acquisition follows the failure of Capicol, the developer of both The Villa and the Zambezi Retail Park, to come up with an alternative solution for The Villa by August 15.

Sharemax defaulted on monthly payments to investors from September last year and construction on the Zambezi Retail Park and The Villa ground to a halt in the same month when funds due from Sharemax to Capicol dried up.

About 40 000 shareholders have invested R4.5bn through Sharemax's various property syndications.

The boards of the Sharemax syndication firms last month concluded an agreement to buy ownership of the Zambezi Mall and 80 percent of The Villa from Capicol subject to this suspensive condition.

Sharemax financial director Dominique Haese confirmed yesterday that the acquisition agreement became unconditional last week and the first 30 percent undivided share of the Villa Mall property was scheduled to be transferred to Villa Retail Park Investments from Capicol.

Haese said the board of the Sharemax syndication company was actively engaged with various interested parties about securing funding to complete the project.

"It is envisaged that such a funder would potentially require (that it) obtain a large portion of the balance of the equity in the Villa Mall in consideration for providing the required funding," she said.

Transfer of a further 50 percent undivided share in The Villa would follow in the process of the implementation of the acquisition agreement.

A Sharemax spokesman previously disclosed that some of the Sharemax firms were bankrupt and Sharemax did not have the money to pay outstanding amounts to allow the transfer of ownership of these two developments to take place.

Sharemax Investments owes R64.5 million to Capicol in terms of an arbitration award related to the Zambezi Retail Park. GD Irons Construction, the building contractor for The Villa, has a lien for more than R100m over the property for completed but unpaid work.

But Haese explained last month that the settlement agreement reached with Capicol was structured in such a way that payment to Capicol was only due "in the future".

Haese added yesterday that transfer documents in respect of the transfer of the first 50 percent undivided share in the Zambezi Mall property from Capicol to Zambezi Retail Park Investments had been finalised and transfer was expected after clearance figures had been obtained from the relevant authorities.

She said the portion of the Zambezi Mall that was due to be transferred encompassed the main shopping centre building. The balance of the properties constituting the precinct would follow in the process of implementing the acquisition agreement.

The timetable for the finalisation of the scheme of arrangement processes for the Sharemax syndication companies remained the end of next month and was achievable in terms of "current expectations and prevailing circumstances", Haese added.

Business Report

Probe into Sharemax structure concealed;
Confidential report found contraventions of Banks Act.(Business Report)
The Star (South Africa)
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September 28, 2010 | Copyright
COPYRIGHT 2009 Independent News & Media PLC. This material is published under license from the publisher through the Gale Group, Farmington Hills, Michigan. All inquiries regarding rights or concerns about this content should be directed to Customer Service..BYLINE: Roy Cokayne

A report of an investigation instigated by the registrar of banks into the activities and funding model of Sharemax Investments, the property syndications marketing company, is set to remain hidden from public scrutiny.

Michael Blackbeard, the deputy registrar of banks in the bank supervision department of the SA Reserve Bank, said yesterday that the report by the investigators was an oral report supported by correspondence and a legal opinion from senior counsel, but the report was confidential.

Blackbeard was responding to a Business Report request for a copy of the report.

Sharemax has been in the spotlight since it …

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Sharemax still owes R64.5m to Capicol; zz Zambezi investors stand to lose out, options weighed up.(Business Report)
The Star (South Africa)
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December 9, 2010 | Copyright
COPYRIGHT 2009 Independent News & Media PLC. This material is published under license from the publisher through the Gale Group, Farmington Hills, Michigan. All inquiries regarding rights or concerns about this content should be directed to Customer Service..BYLINE: Roy Cokayne

Troubled Sharemax Investments owes R64.5 million to Capicol, the developer of the Zambezi Retail Park, according to an arbitration ruling.

Capicol chief executive Paul Kyriacou said yesterday that the outcome of the arbitration left investors "in a precarious position" because Sharemax had 90 days to pay but did not know if it had the capital.

Kyriacou warned that if Sharemax did not pay Capicol, the developer would have to launch another procedure, such as a liquidation application, to obtain the amount owing.

"That will be a terrible day for shareholders (of Sharemax). It's the last thing we want to do but the builders would …


Avocado Investments
Press Office Feature : Response to Willie Botha and Sharemax

Company: Avocado Investments
Author: Andre Matthews
Posted: 09 Dec 2007


Email this article Comment on this Article Print this article

We can’t have our supporters experience problems with the products we have on offer

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to Willie Botha’s letter. Considering the fact that Willie believes the best approach to the problem is to cast suspicion on my independence, I think I need to address this first.

Avocado is an independent financial services group made up of an asset management company (AIM), a financial services distribution company (ADS) and an IT company (AIT). I launched it as a broker and, over time, developed a vision to grow Avocado to become a meaningful player in the financial services industry.

The question was how to penetrate the market? Our funds’ performances were good, of course, but so were our competitors’. What additional competitive edge could we bring to the table?

One thing I have often noticed was that several of the big players underestimate the importance of the broker community. Of course, the brokers get taken on holidays, meals, etc. but we think we have something far better to give.

We believe that empowering the broker (teaching him to fish rather than giving a fish) will go much further, as his skills will improve and he will be more competitive with all the financial and emotional benefits that flow from that.

If Avocado could help the brokers to become better “fishermen”, both the brokers and Avocado will be able to extract value from the relationship. The brokers would become highly capable, confident and the natural progression will be stronger business flows for them and for Avocado. That is first prize!!

Though we have many friends in the industry, we don’t have time to write articles on their behalf. We have our own dream, our own vision, and we are going after it! We see it, taste it, smell it and we want it! And the joy of it is we can add value to the lives of others while doing it.

So the articles on global growth, Sharemax, market volatility, “knock absorption” etc. are for the brokers and through them, for Avocado. We have written over 100 reports, notes, opinions, etc. and only two (we think) about Sharemax.

As to Mr Botha’s claim that ADS (our distribution arm) was remunerated by Dividend Investments in the past, it is absolutely true. It is also true that ADS now receives distribution fees from Capital Investments (from the merger between Dividend Investments and City Capital), Cadiz, BOE, Blue Ink and Avocado Investment Managers.

What is suspicious about that?

Had we taken up the offer by their marketing manager, Mr Evert Laubscher, 4 weeks ago to distribute their product, ADS would be earning fees from Sharemax as well. In order to grow, we must generate money as best we can and Capital Investments don’t offer property investments below R100 000.

This fact was conveyed to Mr Laubscher. We want distribution rights for smaller investments. However, if we want to achieve our goals, we can’t have our supporters experience problems with the products we have on offer and, considering our view on the latest Zambezi offering, how could we accept a contract?

That aside, to suggest that we are writing about them because we are distributing the products of Capital Investments, who we believe has a far superior product, is silly. You don’t see us writing letters about Blue Ink, Cadiz, or BOE’s competitors, do you?

I see words like “cheap” and “untrue” (I recall a reference to “idiotic” in a previous letter), but I will rather stick to the facts. No matter how hard I try, I can’t equate illustrating our thought processes to brokers a marketing campaign. Then, claiming that I could not make a balanced conclusion without talking to Sharemax was even more confusing.

Isn’t it more sensible to make conclusions from the actual documents (prospectus) provided by the company? In fact, the company makes a big thing about its prospectus and claims others, who don’t have, or can’t have due to legislation, such a document should not be trusted.

Furthermore, considering the threats Sharemax issues to any who question them, would my findings not have been exposed to the risk that Sharemax may have had time to get an interdict to keep me quiet? Also, is message now conveyed that the facts we based the analysis on (from the prospectus) are wrong and there is another version?

It is claimed that my sources are not mentioned. The analysis clearly refers to the Prospectus and Rode & Associates’ opinion of the place, both of which can be accessed on the ITInews website.

Many people know who Erwin Rode is, though I don’t know him personally, but I read thousands of pages of economic research from SA and around the globe year and, if a property economist is involved, Erwin Rode’s opinion is the opinion sought.

Only 3 weeks ago Cees Bruggemans (Chief Economist at FNB and highly respected in SA) had a round table meeting with economists from a range of sectors in SA and Erwin Rode represented property.

In light of the sources I used (Rode and Sharemax’s prospectus) one may find it hard to agree with an assessment which claims that “one must therefore assume that he has pulled most of his conclusions from the air”.

I have studied the “answers to draw a picture of the incorrect assumptions”. Suffice to say that my report was not studied as carefully, as the response was not appropriate for the issues dealt with. The sources of my data is there all to see on the ITInews website, while enough calculations to support our opinion appear on Moneyweb’s site.

Also, there seems to is no sense in talking about Menlyn in Pretoria, or any other place for that matter, as the evaluation by Rode and Associates is about Zambezi Retail Park. Not a “for instance”, but the very same place.

I wish to point out that point clearly states the cap rate is 9.8% and not the 10.4% referred to now. Furthermore, I do not know Capicol, nor do the brokers or investors. All I know is that its website (as I recall), clearly shows that they have dealt with Zambezi 1& 2, as well as being busy with their first big project.

Assuming that Capicol is great, how can one justify risking investors’ money and giving them nothing in return? Capicol does not even pay prime, but prime less 4.5%. The investing community trust the financial services industry to look after their interests. I think it is silly to refer to me being as “unethical” for raising this very valid issue.

The facts are there for all to see in the prospectus. However, using its existence as some sort of defence or justification makes no sense. The reference to an external auditor helps as little as the national rental data is outside his field of experience.

Common sense dictates that we rather take Rode & Associates’ opinion as to what the appropriate mix between nationals and line shops are across SA, what the rate per square meter should be, etc.

As to an apparent parting gift of “we reserve our rights to further handle Andre Matthews’s modus operandi in the forum of our choice”, I advise that we did what our principle of empowering the broker (which includes protecting him against future claims from his clients) demands and my job is done.

I have more important things to do than to keep warning the warned. Be that as it may, I don’t know what was intended with the above statement, but we are not overly concerned.

I repeat that there is no marketing campaign. Nor are we watching specific companies all the time. Issues are studied at random, or upon request from a broker/s, with the purpose of establishing a relationship of trust with brokers and to show them how we think.

The more they read, the sharper they become. This will create a level confidence that improves their hit rate. Over time, that will reflect in Avocado’s growth.

In closing, and as evidence that our loyalty to brokers’ welfare drives us rather than Mr Botha’s referral to remuneration from the earlier Dividend Investments and current Capital Investments, I invite any who doubts me to phone Mr Chris Sickle of Ernst & Young in Cape Town to confirm the following:

Avocado obtained agreement from Capital Investments to appoint our own independent auditors, rather than using their BDO Spencer, to do a monthly check on a host of activities.

This includes a detailed check on the entire property acquisition process, the disposal of properties, as well as certain managerial responsibilities of the directors to the property portfolio.

I don’t wish to bore readers with the details, but it is very comprehensive and aimed at ensuring the protection of investors (and through that brokers) as best one can.

Anyone wishing for details of that list, which will be constantly updated upon the suggestions of Ernst & Young and/or Avocado, may request it from Avocado at or may look up Ernst & Young’s number in Cape Town and speak to Mr Sickle himself.

Ernst & Young have issued a media statement with regard to the above. Please read Correction of factual inaccuracies in "Response to Willie Botha and Sharemax"

Comments: Rudolph: Sharemax 53 Projects, 19 Projects sold 100% Track Record (10.12.2007 17:21)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

AG: State spent R21.1bn irregularly

AG: State spent R21.1bn irregularly

Oct 19 2011
Cape Town
- Government departments and entities last year racked up irregular spending of R21.1bn Deputy Auditor General Kimi Makwetu said on Wednesday.

National departments were responsible for R2.286bn of that total, Makwetu told Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa).

Most of the irregular spending was not identified by the departments themselves but by the AG's office.

Provincial departments were guilty of a collective R16.2bn in irregular spending, while public entities contributed R2.5bn and legislatures R53m.

Makwetu said irregular expenditure often went hand in hand with flawed procurement, which in turn was often a case of state officials or close family securing tenders.

"If procurement and contract management is not complied with the chances are that expenditure is also not going to be complied with. It is very interesting to see the correlation between the two."

He said it was lamentable that those government departments that spent the lion share of state resources - education, health and public works - had failed to clean up their accounting act.

"There are no clean audits in that area where the bulk of expenditures are being incurred," Makwetu said.

"Since 70% of resources are going in this direction maybe the effort also needs to be directed at these areas where there are more and more problems from an accounting point of view.

"I think we must take a view that says where will the best benefit come from and I think it is if a limited amount of effort is given to those areas that have huge expenditures but problematic issues.

"It is not necessarily meant to say focus exclusively on these," he added.

Qualified audits

Health received a qualified audit for 2010/11 while basic education earned a financially unqualified audit with other findings and public works earned a disclaimer - one of the worst audit reports possible.

Auditor General Terence Nombembe said last week he could not find evidence to convince him of the correctness of public works' asset register.

On top of that, the department had irregular expenditure of R16.5m and failed to account for losses of R54m on a vehicle lease deal.

Makwetu highlighted procurement as a problem even for departments that had their books in order otherwise.

"They are doing their accounting properly but failing the test in terms of complying with the system of sourcing goods and services."

"In terms of non-compliance, 92 percent of national departments are in the red, meaning that they have not complied with whatever applicable laws and regulations they needed to comply with," Makwetu said.

Most "would easily migrate to the green" if they made an effort on compliance, notably with supply chain management rules.

Makwetu said Cabinet ministers were briefed on the AG's findings last week.

Other members of the AG's executive team said most departments had good guidelines but lacked dedicated staff who consistently checked on compliance.

They pointed to severe shortcomings in managing asset registers and singled out the land reform and defence departments for criticism in this regard.

Defence "has come a long way" but unfortunately left much of the task of sorting out its asset register woes to consultants who did not acquit themselves properly, Barry Wheeler said.

This put paid to Minister Lindiwe Sisulu's promise that a long spell of qualified audits would end summarily on her watch.

"They still have quite a lot of work to do to get their asset register up and running," Wheeler said.

Correctional services relied too heavily on consultants, who outnumbered the department's own accounting staff by ten to one, he said.

Scopa chairman Themba Godi said the auditor general's findings were disappointing because they reflected the same problems in state departments year after year.

"It is one step forward, two steps back. We would want to move forward all the time."
Read more about: corruption | state spending | tenders

State’s dens of iniquity

State’s dens of iniquity
October 19 2011 at 09:00am

Ziphozonke Lushaba

SHAMEFUL: Some of the Gauteng government-owned houses for which large amounts of money are owed to the Ekurhuleni municipality. Residents living in these houses have been accused of having turned them into brothels and drug dens. Pictures: Ziphozonke Lushaba


GAUTENG government-owned houses are being used as brothels and drug dens, and the illegal occupiers owe the local metro council more than R2 million in rates and services.

This was revealed during the sitting of the Gauteng Legislature yesterday.

The 40 houses and a block of flats – which are in a state of decay – are located in 14th and 15th Avenues in Boksburg North.

DA provincial leader and housing spokeswoman Janet Semple raised concern about the state of these houses when she posed several questions to MEC for Housing and Local Government Humphrey Mmemezi yesterday.

Mmemezi was absent, so MEC for Health and Social Development Ntombi Mekgwe stood in for him.

GET OUT: Benno Robinson fights for the eviction of people living in government-owned houses without paying for rates and services.

Ziphozonke Lushaba
Semple asked whether the Ekurhuleni metro was enforcing municipal by-laws to bring an end to the poor state of health, overcrowding and illegal business activity in the area.

In her reply, Mekgwe admitted to the legislature that the government-owned houses were “being used as illegal boarding houses in terms of overcrowding and renting rooms”.

Mekgwe said notices had been served on registered tenants and that the matter had been handed over to the Ekurhuleni metropolitan municipality’s legal and corporate section.

Those registered owners had remained in their houses after the government bought them out.

She also said it was “not desirable” that the premises had been turned into venues of crime, prostitution and drug dealing. Mekgwe added the metro would investigate claims that the residents were not paying rates and taxes.

According to local residents, including councillor Benno Robinson, their problem began 10 years ago, when the provincial government bought the properties.

The residents further allege the sex workers’ customers, some of them truck drivers – were using the parking lot of a local church to park their vehicles before visiting the brothels.

Robinson said the govern- ment planned to construct a double road on 14th Road. He said the legal owners had vacated their properties but the government had failed to go ahead with the project.

The houses became occupied, mostly by illegal immigrants.

According to Robinson, Ekurhuleni officials are reluctant to deal with the problems because they have been instructed to work through the province regarding issues of health, illegal land use and other laws.

Robinson said Boksburg North was once a lower to middle-class neighbourhood, but the area had become a slum.

Boksburg North police station commissioner Colonel Martin van Nieuwenhuizen confirmed that the government houses were being used for drug peddling and prostitution.

He said the majority of complaints by local residents related to drugs, prostitution, illegal street racing, housebreaking and theft of motor vehicles, and that the houses were the source of most of the crimes.

Last year, The Star reported that more than 780 state-owned houses in Gauteng were occupied by relatives and friends of government officials.
( The Star)

Cops arrested for rape

Cops arrested for rape
2011-10-19 18:00

Related Links
Cape Town man linked to several rapes
Teen raped on way home from school

Johannesburg - Three men, including two policemen, have been arrested for rape in Nelspoort, police said on Wednesday.

The three men, aged between 23 and 33, were arrested on Tuesday, Captain Malcolm Pojie said.

They allegedly raped and abused four girls, aged between 14 and 18, between January last year and April this year.

"It is alleged that the accused performed sexual acts with the victims over a period of time without their consent."

The two policemen were based at the Nelspoort police station. Pojie said more arrests would be made as police believed other people were involved.

A disciplinary investigation had begun.

"We cannot and will not tolerate, nor allow our members to be involved in crime," said provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Arno Lamoer.

The three men would appear in the Beaufort West Magistrate's Court on Thursday on charges of rape, statutory rape and sexual exploitation.


Read more on: george | crime

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

State turns blind eye to corruption, wastes our taxes

State turns blind eye to corruption, wastes our taxes
The Editor,
The Times Newspaper
| 19 October, 2011 00:16

Police commissioner General Bheki Cele. File photo.
The Times Editorial: National police commissioner Bheki Cele yesterday confirmed in parliament that a deposed provincial police crime intelligence boss was paid millions to go away.
Related News
State turns blind eye to corruption, wastes our taxes Joey Mabasa was given, according to Cele, "a section 35 on the basis that there was restructuring and his position was given out by the restructuring".

But there are many unanswered and deeply troubling questions about Mabasa and his payout, including allegations, which were the subject of a disciplinary hearing, that he had links to criminals.

The chairman of the parliamentary security portfolio committee, listening to Cele yesterday, was clearly not buying his explanation. Neither were her committee colleagues.

After hearing that 19 police officers had been retrenched during the past two financial years, at a cost of R31-million, chairman Sindi Chikunga said: "I'm not paying for this ... if I had a way of revolting against it, I would.

"If this continues, we will have to find a solution as a portfolio committee; for example, not voting for the budget."

The SA Police Service is but one of many departments that use taxpayers' money to either make their problems go away or to fund the idleness of suspended officials.

Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Sicelo Shiceka is a perfect example of an unresolved problem that taxpayers have been made to fund, despite President Jacob Zuma's promise to act once the Public Protector's report was completed.

This seeming tolerance of wrongdoing can be found in every sphere of government.

Officials caught with their hands in the cookie jar are not dismissed with speed and due processes. What does this say about a collective will to deal with dishonest, corrupt and unfit public officials?

It says so very clearly that, not only is corruption tolerated, but our government has no qualms about wasting our money.

Exclusive: Skeletons spill out of Richard Mdluli's closet

Exclusive: Skeletons spill out of Richard Mdluli's closet
19 October, 2011
Seven months after the arrest of police spy boss Richard Mdluli, a number of cold murder and kidnapping cases linked to him and his co-accused are being investigated - some for the first time.
Related News
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Embattled Mdluli now suspended by SAPS
Mdluli bail shocks Ramogibe family Included in the new investigations is the mysterious disappearance of individuals believed to be crime intelligence informants from Vosloorus on the East Rand more than 13 years ago.

The Times has reliably established that a team of senior Hawks investigators has been ordered to delve into the suspected murky dealings of Mdluli and one of his co-accused in a murder case, Colonel Nkosana "Killer" Ximba.

For the past few months the team has been gathering evidence and compiling dockets, including taking new statements from families of the missing people, victims and police officers who worked at Vosloorus police station where Mdluli and Ximba were previously stationed.

Mdluli and Ximba were notorious during their reign as commanders in Vosloorus and are widely referred to as the "untouchables".

Many of the cases currently unfolding have never been formally investigated because families were too scared to demand police action.

However, sources close to the investigations said the net was "closing in" and that it was just "a matter of time" until the lid was lifted on more criminal activities.

One of the numerous cases currently being investigated involves the disappearance of two men from their Vosloorus homes in 1998.

The pleas for help in tracing their sons by the families of Lunga "Shabba" Khumalo and Thulani "Koli" Shoba have for years gone unanswered.

Khumalo and Shoba - who were 21 and 24 respectively at the time of their disappearance in mid-1998 - were last seen by relatives when Ximba allegedly picked them up from their respective homes in Vosloorus in a police car.

Shoba's mother, Angelina Mtulweni, this week described her battle to determine the fate of her son as 13 years of "hell" and "heartache".

Mtulweni said she had gone to the Vosloorus police station a day after Ximba picked up her son because he had not returned home.

"I told them that my son had not returned after Killer picked him up and they laughed at me and told me to go look for him myself. They warned me that I should not cause trouble," said Mtulweni.

Subsequent visits to the police station proved fruitless.

Mtulweni said she received a telephone call from Shoba about three weeks later. He was crying and said he was in Orange Farm, south of Johannesburg. He also said: "They are hitting me".

"The phone was immediately dropped after he said those words and I knew that something bad was happening to Koli," said Mtulweni.

The families visited hospitals and morgues in Johannesburg and even checked with prisons in their bid to trace Khumalo and Shoba.

Mtulweni said her family had lived in constant fear since the call. Every time they went to the police station to make inquiries, gunshots were fired close to their house at night.

"I feared for my other children's safety. No one ever dared mention their [Mdluli and Ximba's] names as you would be dealt with severely," said Mtulweni.

Khumalo's mother, Busisiwe Khumalo, shared the same fears as Mtulweni regarding the police at Vosloorus police station.

Khumalo's family were petrified to make inquiries.

His aunt, Boniswa, said: "We were scared to go to the police. Those policemen are untouchable. Even now, we don't know what can happen to us for talking to you."

The families say Shoba and Khumalo were police informants and suspect their disappearance is linked to their "knowing too much" and possibly having "dirt on senior police officials" at the Vosloorus police station.

Both families are relieved that the matter is receiving attention.

"I just want to know what happened to him and for those responsible to pay for what they did. I want his remains to bury him so that we can have closure. Not knowing what happened to your child is so painful," said Mtulweni.

Hawks spokesman McIntosh Polela confirmed that a Hawks team was investigating the disappearance of the two men.

"We are still trying to establish concrete evidence that would enable us to move on this matter," said Polela.

Ximba yesterday said he was unaware of the Hawks investigation and referred to it as a "joke".

"I don't give a damn. I'm tired of this s**t. Let them [the Hawks] just do what they want," he said before putting down the phone.

Shoba and Khumalo's case forms part of a broader investigation by the Hawks.

City Press this week reported that a task team headed by Colonel Piet Viljoen had been assigned by Hawks head Anwa Dramat to investigate the murder charges against Mdluli and Ximba.

Mdluli and Ximba, court orderly Warrant Officer Samuel Dlomo and Colonel Mthunzi-Omhle Mtunzi, were arrested in March this year for another cold murder case from 1999.

They face a raft of charges, including murder, kidnapping, conspiracy to murder, assault, defeating or obstructing the ends of justice, corruption and attempted murder.

Mdluli is alleged to have planned the murder of Oupa Ramogibe. The two were allegedly involved in a love triangle with Tshidi Buthelezi, with whom Mdluli had a child.

The Times understands that another case currently being re-investigated is that of the murder of a Vosloorus man for which Ximba was tried, but then acquitted on the grounds of self-defence.

Cele says police 'gatvol' with bail

Cele says police 'gatvol' with bail
2011-10-18 23:26

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Cape Town - It's an old story but police commissioner Bheki Cele told it well.

He recalled on Tuesday how police arrested members of the notorious Rolex gang that specialised in stealing watches made by the Swiss luxury brand only to have a Pretoria magistrate grant the suspects bail yet again.

"About two months ago there was a huge drama in court in Pretoria. The police were tired. In Afrikaans, they were 'gatvol'," Cele told Parliament's portfolio committee on police.

The investigating officer refused to release the suspects.

"The police told the magistrate: 'you arrest me for contempt of court, I'll arrest you for defeating the ends of justice'," he said.

"The police were not budging and by the way, I support them. The police are frustrated on the bail issue."

Cele said mediators were dispatched to the court room and other charges pending against the suspects were brought immediately. Bail was then denied.

Other members of senior police management said the case may date further back than a few months and they could not recall the exact details.

Cele said the Rolex gang appeared to have inside information on who owned the watches because insurance companies made their clients specify the brand names of such items.

As a result the gang knows "that you have it, whether you buy it in Paris or here. They come knocking on your door.

"Everybody who buys a Rolex get registered for insurance, so they have their own database," he said.

The alleged leader of the gang, Kelvin Ludidi, is one of the country's most wanted men. Police said last month that he had been given bail at least 16 times.

Cele told the committee that notorious cash-in-transit heist robbery suspect Seuntjie van Wyk had been bailed 32 times and was on free foot at present.

"He's outside," he said.


Read more on: police | bheki cele | crime

'Superbug' death toll rises to 3

'Superbug' death toll rises to 3
2011-10-18 10:14

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Johannesburg - A third person has died after being detected with a "superbug" at the Life Glynnwood Hospital in Benoni, a spokesperson said on Tuesday.

"I can confirm that," said Adam Pyle.

One more case had also been detected at the private facility, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 10 since Friday.

Further details of the three patients who died were not immediately available.

Underlying chronic illness

On Monday, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said the patients who were infected with the bug already had advanced disease due to underlying chronic illness.

It was likely that the "co-morbidities" played a major role in their deaths.

Dr Steve Taylor, medical director for Life Healthcare said by October 14 nine patients had been confirmed as being either carriers or infected with New Delhi metallo-b-lactamase - which produces an enzyme NDM-1 that makes it extremely resistant to antibiotics.

Previously most patients infected with NDM-1 producing bacteria could be traced back to people who had recently visited India or received medical treatment there, the hospital said.

However, the ability of NDM-1 bacterial resistance to spread rapidly meant that secondary infections unrelated to travel to the Indian sub-continent had begun to surface around the world.

NDM-1 bacterial infections could occur in any healthcare facility worldwide and in South Africa, and had been identified in both private and public sector hospitals in the UK, US, Australia, Japan and Kenya, Taylor said.


In most cases, the NDM-1 producing bacteria lived within the gastro-intestinal tract of a person without causing harm.

People could live for months without even knowing they were carriers of these bacteria and would not present with any symptoms.

However, when human host immune systems become compromised, when gut colonising NDM-1 producing bacteria spread to the bloodstream or urinary tract, or when they were spread from an infected source to a new patient, potentially serious infections could occur, the hospital said.

Extra monitoring has been put in place and all patients admitted to the intensive care and high care units were being screened.

Doctors would also be asked to review antibiotic treatments they had ordered.


Read more on: nicd | johannesburg | health

Zimbabwe diarrhoea outbreak - 7 dead

Zimbabwe diarrhoea outbreak - 7 dead
October 2011
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Harare - At least seven children have died from a suspected diarrhoea outbreak which has affected over 6 000 children in two towns in Zimbabwe over the past week, a state newspaper said on Sunday.

"Seven children died in Masvingo and Kadoma last week following a diarrhoea outbreak which has seen a total of 6 472 cases being recorded in the two towns," The Sunday Mail reported.

"The main problem has always been unclean water and poor sanitation," the newspaper quoted Portia Manangazira, director for disease control in the health ministry, as saying.

"Our main concern is that in most instances 60% of these cases are children under the age of five years."

She called on municipalities to ensure constant supplies of clean water and proper disposal of garbage.

Diarrhoea thrives in areas that do not have proper sanitation. Proper sewage systems and clean water can prevent its outbreak.

Municipalities in Zimbabwe are battling to supply residents with water with some suburbs going for weeks without running water.

Over 85 000 cases of cholera were diagnosed in West and central Africa this year, leading to 2 466 deaths, as the region faces the worst cholera epidemics in its history, Unicef said this week.

Three years ago over 4 000 people died of cholera in Zimbabwe in an outbreak which affected nearly 100 000 people.

According to Uniceff, diarrhoea is responsible for 7.7% of deaths in Africa.


Read more on: zimbabwe | health | southern africa

Foreigners warned to leave Alexandra within 7 days

Foreigners warned to leave Alex
2011-10-18 14:13

Read more stories about
XenophobiaForeigners warned to leave Alex - 18 Oct
MEC condemns attacks on foreigners - 17 Oct
Atteridgeville calm after anti-Somali protest - 15 Oct
Limpopo murder trial postponed - 10 Oct
UNHCR: Multiculturalism inevitable - 03 Oct
Xenophobia in SA embarrassing - premier - 14 Sep
Lonmin's locals-only deal condemned - 29 Aug
More protesters arrested in North West - 23 Aug
19 in court for killing Zimbabwean - 17 Aug

Johannesburg - Residents in the township of Alexandra, in the north of Johannesburg, have put up posters warning foreigners to vacate RDP houses, police said on Tuesday.

"They are delivering pamphlets to those living in RDP houses," said Warrant Officer Kay Makhubela.

The SABC reported that residents had given the foreigners seven days to vacate the houses in the township.

Residents had hung up posters which read: "You are violating our rights to own our RDP houses".

In one of the letters handed out, they said: "The residents of Alexandra don't want ... xenophobia unless you give them a cause to do so", the public broadcaster reported.

In another letter they said: "We demand that you vacate at your own free will without being pushed like animals or aliens".

Tensions were simmering between residents and foreigners.

- Are you there? Send us your eyewitness accounts and photos


Read more on: johannesburg | housing | xenophobia

Piracy at record high

Piracy at record high
Reuters | 18 October, 2011 09:53

A view shows the front deck of the HMS Sutherland, a frigate of the British Royal Navy, at Mina Zayed port in Abu Dhabi.
Pirates attacked a record number of ships worldwide in the first nine months of 2011, but are making off with fewer vessels due to better policing by international naval forces
EThe International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said its reporting centre in Kuala Lumpur recorded 352 attacks on ships, mainly by Somali pirates, from January to the end of September, up from 289 for the same period in 2010.

“Figures for piracy and armed robbery at sea in the past nine months are higher than we’ve ever recorded in the same period of any past year,” IMB director Pottengal Mukundan said in a statement.

While pirates attempted to hijack 199 ships worldwide in the first nine months of this year, they managed to seize control of only 24 ships compared to 35 in the same period last year.

The IMB said the fall in the number of hijackings was due to better policing and intervention since the start of 2009 by naval forces deployed off the Gulf of Aden, which links Europe to Asia.

“Somali pirates are finding it harder to hijack ships and get the ransom they ask for. The navies deserve to be complimented on their excellent work: they are a vital force in deterring and disrupting pirate activity.” said Mukundan.

Piracy and armed robberies in Asian waters, including the Indian subcontinent, fell to 87 incidents over nine months, compared to 106 in the same period in 2010.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Wanted....10 robbbers..ATM bombing in Gauteng

Police are searching for a gang of at least 10 men, linked to at least 8 ATM bombing in Gauteng over past couple of weeks. The men are believed to be from KwaZulu Natal and are heavily armed with AK47s and pistols. One of the suspects was caught on CCTV camera. Anyone with any information on the whereabouts of the suspect, should send a detailed anonymous tip-off to 32211, submit it online at or contact Crime Stop on 08600 10111.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

South Africa to hunt "247,000 most wanted" with billboards

South Africa to hunt "247,000 most wanted" with billboards
South African police plan to erect billboards with photos of the country's 247,000 most wanted criminals, along highways and at street corners.
Erin Conway-Smith October 2011

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — The FBI keeps a list of its 10 most wanted criminals.

In South Africa, police have their 247,000 most wanted, according to a local media report.

The country's top police chief, Bheki Cele, has a plan to hunt down these 247,000 fugitives: publish their photos on billboards erected along South African highways.

“With their names and faces displayed on the billboards, their wives, girlfriends, relatives and even community members will be able to identify them and there will be no place for them to hide,” Cele told the African Eye news service.

“We will ensure these billboards are found on every freeway or street corner in the country," he said.

More from GlobalPost: In South Africa, yet another top cop's home is robbed

Cele said the billboard project is already underway. But one observer warned of the potential trauma these billboards may pose to victims of crime.

The billboard may show "someone who broke into my house and stole a whole lot of stuff. It’s even worse for survivors of more serious crimes like rape, robberies, hijackings and attempted murder who may have to see the faces of their tormentors every time they drive past these billboards," wrote a columnist in The New Age, a South African newspaper.

South Africa has a notoriously high crime rate, in particular violent crime, with an average of 46 murders a day in a country with a population of 49 million.

But the latest annual crime statistics, released last month, show the crime rate in South Africa to be declining, with attempted murders down more than 12 percent. The murder rate has dropped to just below 16,000 people killed a year, down from 18,000 in past years.

The billboard plan may yet be stymied by the possible suspension of Cele, who is being investigated by President Jacob Zuma over property deals.

More from GlobalPost: South African fraud investigators slam country's top police chief

In July, a South African corruption investigator ruled that Cele and a government minister were involved in “maladministration” of "unlawful" property deals, involving the leasing of old buildings for the police at prices far above the market rate.

South Africa's Sunday Times newspaper recently reported that Cele may be suspended while a board of inquiry deliberates on his role in the allegedly fraudulent property leases.

SAPS denies spy claims

SAPS denies spy claims
Article By: Mandy Weiner
Sat, 15 Oct 2011 7:20
The South African Police Service on Friday denied allegations that the government's National Intelligence Agency (NIA) were spying on citizens private communications illegally.

The Mail & Guardian reported on the extent and ease of the practice, suggesting that no one was exempted from the government's all-seeing eye.

It came against the backdrop of turmoil within the country's intelligence agencies which had seen the departure of NIA director general Gibson Njenje.

SAPS said procedures and 'fail safes' were in place to ensure that no illegal interceptions would occur in the country.

The processes were subject to full compliance audits and inspections by the office of the inspector general of intelligence.

The inspector general's office also said all complaints have been investigated and no unlawful interceptions were found.

According to the newspaper report government's intelligence agencies have the capacity to see your text messages, hear your cellphone conversations, pinpoint your location and access your emails without getting permission from a judge.

The practice is rife particularly within the police's crime intelligence office.

Meanwhile, a high ranking operative had confirmed the claims to Eyewitness News.

Pupils held for exam corruption

Pupils held for exam corruption
Sun, 16 Oct 2011 8:16
Two matric pupils were arrested for allegedly trying to buy two exam question papers near Polokwane, Limpopo police said on Saturday.

Police, acting on a tip-off, set a trap with an education official in Lebowakgomo around 9am on Friday, Lt-Col Mohale Ramatseba said.

They caught the girls trying to buy the maths and physical science question papers from the official at a cost of R2000 each.

The girls, aged 18 and 19, were pupils at Saint Ignatious College in Polokwane.

They were expected to face a corruption charge in the Thabamoopo Magistrate's Court on Monday

Rapist father evades sentencing 50 times

Rapist father evades sentencing 50 times
2011-10-16 20:27

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Mandla Khoza
Mbombela - A self-proclaimed pastor convicted of raping his daughter and fathering her three children is finally expected to be sentenced on Monday after 50 postponements.

The man, who cannot be named to protect the identities of his daughter and her children, was found guilty on nine charges of rape.

He was arrested when his wife reported him to the police because he had told her he would give her R500 lobola to marry his daughter.

The court case started on February 23 2006 and he was convicted on April 2 2008.

Since then, he has avoided sentencing 50 times.

It was postponed each time because either there was a problem with his lawyers – whom he regularly fired – or because he was ill.

The prosecuting team has told the court that the man could not be sentenced in absentia, or when he was unable to stand before the magistrate, or when he did not have a lawyer present.

During his 50th appearance for sentencing on October 12, the man was pushed to court in a wheelchair.

The court heard that his lawyer could not attend the proceedings because he had not been paid.

The convict, who was groaning throughout the proceedings, also told the court that he was feeling dizzy.

The case was postponed for his lawyer to be present.

“We have done our part and we are now waiting for the sentence to be handed down,” said Mpumalanga police spokesperson Leonard Hlathi.

- African Eye

Read more on: mbombela | crime

Youth agency chief ‘can be held liable’

Public manaYouth agency chief ‘can be held liable’
2011-10-16 10:00

Steven Ngubeni

Thanduxolo Jika
The chief executive of the National Youth Development Agency, Steven Ngubeni, can be held liable and forced to repay amounts that were spent irregularly during last year’s ­so-called “kissing festival”.

This is according to Andre Prakke, an expert forensic auditor, who studied the documents that Media24 Investigations obtained relating to the World Festival of Youth and Students in December. An investigation into the matter reveals that the agency blew R106 million.

Last week Media24 Investigations revealed how the agency made exorbitant payments to politically-connected business people and artists.

Some of the shocking expenses included R100 000 for ­balloons, R90 000 for a headstone and R60 000 for confetti. These figures were contained in documents Media24 Investigations obtained after a 10-month legal battle applying the access to information legislation.

This week Prakke discovered that the agency had not ­followed guidelines specified by the Public Finance ­Management Act.

The festival was funded through a R40-million grant from the National Lotteries Board and R29 million from the Presidency, among others.

Said Prakke: “This is part or is a government agency and has to comply with the provisions of the act... It is also clear that ­virtually all the funding came from government and the ­Lotto, which is deemed to be part of government funds.”

He added that he found there were some suppliers who were contracted and paid without proper procedure and also without the required tender procedure followed in particular for supplies above R50 000.

“Very few of the suppliers had submitted any tax clearance certificates which is obligatory. There was one supplier who submitted a tax clearance certificate who was not a supplier and some invoices were not accompanied by purchase orders.

“One supplier was also not a registered business entity as provided on the particulars of the invoice...,” Prakke said.

He also discovered from the documents that private expenses were paid for by the agency, which was against the act.

Ngubeni, a former deputy secretary-general of the ANC Youth League, conceded in an interview last week that proper procedures had not been followed in all cases, but defended the agency’s conduct in spending the R106 million.

The “kissing festival” is also the subject of an investigation by Public Protector Thuli ­Madonsela.

- City Press

R3.5m for dodgy cop

Dramat R3.5m for dodgy cop
2011-10-16 10:00

Jacques Pauw
Former Crime Intelligence (CI) boss Joey Mabasa, who is under police investigation for bribery and corruption over his links to Radovan Krejcir, was this week given a R3.5-million golden handshake. He was also given credit for an additional 14 years service to boost his pension.

The 46-year-old Major General Mabasa, who was fired earlier this year as Gauteng CI boss for his alleged links with Czech fugitive and fraud accused Krejcir, was under police investigation for bribery and corruption.

Police announced last week that Mabasa was “discharged” because “his services were no longer needed and because it was in the interest of the service to discontinue his job”.

City Press spoke to two sources closely involved in the investigation into Mabasa and both were taken aback by the package he was allegedly offered.

Mabasa, who sat for six months at CI doing nothing, was apparently offered a multimillion rand package to leave the force after he refused to be redeployed as station commander of the Phalaborwa Police Station in Limpopo.

Mabasa was given permission to add 14 years to his service, which enables him to retire at 60. Besides his multi-million payout, he will continue to receive his pension and free medical insurance.

Mabasa’s wife, Dorcas, and Krejcir’s wife, Katarina, started a company together in 2009 and, in the process, became co-directors. At the time, Mabasa claimed they were separated, which was allegedly false. Mabasa’s wife allegedly received a bakkie from Krejcir.

Mabasa was also linked to circumstances surrounding the murder of Teazers boss Lolly Jackson last year. He was said to have received a call from Jackson’s alleged murderer, George Smith, after the killing.

Mabasa didn’t answer his phone this week and after a series of text messages responded: “In the Eastern Cape. Only coming back on Sunday. Signal very, very bad.”

The revelations surfaced in a week where it was also revealed that a special Hawks’ task team had uncovered evidence of nepotism, corruption, fraud and mismanagement in the CI unit.

City Press was informed by top intelligence sources that cash from the R200 million-a-year CI secret fund – officially called the Secret Service Account – was unaccounted for and was central to the investigation.

The Hawks special task team was headed by Colonel Piet Viljoen and four colleagues who were brought from Cape Town to Gauteng in March by Hawks head Anwa Dramat to investigate murder charges against former CI boss Richard Mdluli.

During this investigation, Viljoen unearthed widespread corruption and nepotism, allegedly committed by Mdluli.

He had, among others, appointed seven family members and friends at CI, where most still worked.

Mdluli, on trial for allegedly murdering his former lover’s husband, was charged with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, kidnapping, assault and intimidation.

He was also standing trial on fraud and corruption in a separate trial.

During Viljoen’s investigation into Mdluli, he uncovered further corruption and nepotism in CI and several of its top police officers, among them the chief financial officer, Major General Solly Lazarus. Lazarus was in charge of the secret fund.

Last week, another senior CI officer, Colonel Heine Johannes Barnard, appeared in the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court on charges of fraud and corruption.

The Hawks investigation sparked a war between the Hawks and Crime Intelligence.

City Press was informed that Dramat was summoned by police chief General Bheki Cele and questioned about the extent of the investigation.

Sources revealed that Cele suggested the preliminary findings of the Hawks investigation might simply suggest “administrative shortfalls and oversights” and requested Dramat stop the investigation. Dramat refused.

Both Cele and Dramat denied that there was a call to stop the investigation.

“The secrecy provisions around the administration of the Crime Intelligence Secret Service account can never be used as a shield to hide fraud and corruption,” said Cele.

“Nor can the mere fact that this fund is audited yearly be interpreted to mean that a need to investigate its administration can never arise.

“I most definitely never questioned the need for this fund to be investigated either by the Hawks or by any other organ of the SAPS.

“Whether an investigation into this fund shows one or hundreds are guilty, you can rest assured that arrests will follow,” Cele said.

Dramat said yesterday: ‘‘It is not true that there is a probe into the CI as a whole. We are investigating certain individuals, as it has been reported in the media already.

“It will be incorrect to say there is a grand investigation of the CI. It is wrong. It is not what I am doing.’’

City Press understood that this investigation had put enormous pressure on Dramat, who indicated recently that he might leave the unit as a result of the pressure and interference.

‘‘We realise that there are people who might want to create an impression that there is tension between the Hawks and the CI, but that is absolutely not the case.’’

City Press was also told that Dramat received an email from the State Security Agency (SSA, formerly National Intelligence) saying that Viljoen’s phone was being tapped by CI. The two agencies shared facilities at the Office for Interception Centres and this was where the SSA discovered that CI was doing surveillance on Viljoen.

City Press reported in March that CI policemen tapped the phones of Hawks investigators.

The Hawks team found several examples where top police officers appointed family members and friends in CI or registered them as agents and informants. Allegations include:

» CI members bought a Harley Davidson motorcycle, a quad bike and a farm in KwaZulu-Natal from the secret fund;

» A group of policemen recently spent R22 000 on a dinner at a fish restaurant in Johannesburg that they paid for from the fund;

» Top policemen took spouses and girlfriends along on overseas trips, all paid for from the secret fund; and

» An incident two weeks ago when two CI policemen were robbed of R2.2 million in the middle of the day in downtown Joburg after they had drawn money from the secret fund. They were held up at the Xavier

Road off-ramp in Johannesburg last Friday, City Press reported.

Mdluli alone appointed his former wife as a colonel, his present wife (who used to be a clerk at Home Affairs) as a colonel, his son as a captain, his daughter as a warrant officer, his sister-in-law as a warrant officer, his wife’s cousin as a colonel and a friend as a constable.

According to media reports in October last year, a number of concerned CI operatives compiled dossiers that the unit was teetering on the brink of collapse owing to mismanagement, fraud, corruption, nepotism and a lack of leadership.

The cops alleged that top CI leadership were caught in a web of criminality – that cops abused covert premises, abused secret funds and registered family and friends as agents.

The dossiers alleged that Lazarus had created 250 new CI posts without consulting human resources. Family and friends of top officers were in several cases appointed to these posts.

Shortly after these revelations, police obtained an interdict that prevented the Sunday Independent from publishing details of malfeasance and violations of law by CI.

Mdluli didn’t answer his phone this week.

– Additional reporting by Julian Rademeyer and City Press staff reporters

- City Press

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cop attacks newspaper photographer-- 9 Soweto Officers charged for criminal offences

Cop attacks newspaper photographer
2011-10-14 14:08

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Johannesburg - Charges have been laid against a police officer said to have attacked a photographer from The Star, the newspaper reported on Friday.

Charges of intimidation, assault, and malicious damages were laid against Lieutenant Colonel Pedro Magadidzha after he and photographer Dumisani Sibeko were involved in a scuffle at the Protea Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

Magadidzha testified in a case involving nine police officers charged with corruption, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstance, and assault.

He apparently charged at Sibeko after the case was adjourned and wrestled the camera from him. He allegedly flung the camera, breaking its lens.

"Why are you taking pictures of me without permission," he reportedly yelled at Sibeko.

The newspaper said the officer grabbed the camera before Sibeko could run away, then went to an office demanding that Sibeko delete the picture.

Another struggle ensued between the two.

The charges were laid at the Moroka police station.

The nine Soweto police officers have been granted bail of R5 000 each.


Read more on: police | johannesburg | soweto | media

Friday, October 14, 2011

Ex-Bafana player in court over truck hijack

Ex-Bafana player in court over truck hijack
14 Oct 2011 | Sapa
Stolen goods worth R3.4 million were found in a warehouse he allegedly owns
Former Bafana Bafana and Jomo Cosmos player Lebohang Morula appeared in the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate’s Court on Friday, police said.

Warrant Officer Mathews Nkoadi said Morula was granted R1500 bail.

He was arrested in connection with the hijacking of a truck, after stolen goods worth R3.4 million were found in a warehouse he allegedly owns.

The goods apparently originated from a truck recently hijacked between Gauteng and Durban.

Morula was a member of the national squad at the 1998 Soccer World Cup in France.