Monday, April 30, 2012

Top cop baffled by firearms duffers

Top cop baffled by firearms duffers
GRAEME HOSKEN | 30 April, 2012 00:08

Acting national police commissioner Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, who has admitted to having no idea how tens of thousands of officers can have been assessed as either incompetent or not adequately trained in the use of firearms, has appealed to the public not to panic.

Related News
R-5 rifles, shotguns for 'sale' The appeal is being made after heordered that hundreds of weapons confiscated from officers declared to be incompetent in gun-handling be returned to them.

Recently it was revealed that more than 27000 police officers were either not competent or not proficient in the use of state-issued firearms.

Monday next week has been announced as the deadline for the formulation of a plan to ensure that all police officers are competent to use firearms.

According to Mkhwanazi, officers who fail to make the grade and who cannot be placed elsewhere in the police will be forced out.

Mkhwanazi, lashing out at officers who leaked a confidential report on the state of police firearm competency, said there had been "a grave misunderstanding".

"We held several management meetings and, during one such meeting, this internal report was discussed. It was during these discussions that there was a misunderstanding about what to do with those who were not yet competent.

"We're trying to undo this misunderstanding," he said.

Mkhwanazi and his senior management team were last week interdicted by the SA Police Union from disarming police officers.

Despite the interdict, 34 of the 139 members of the Pretoria flying squad, and 90 members of the Hawks in Johannesburg, were disarmed.

Slamming critics, Mkhwanazi, who admitted that the police faced a big challenge, said the service would be criticised if it armed incompetent officers - and if it did not.

"This is not easy. We're facing criminals who do not need competency certificates.

"In the past, we would go to a mountain range and shoot and be declared competent. Now it is a different and costly exercise, which is creating a backlog.

"There are grey areas around police firearm competency. The Firearms Control Act states that policemen have to be competent in the handling of all firearms.

"Because of this, we cannot flout the very law we have been charged to enforce.

"The grey areas, which the internal report highlights, are that though members might need, in principle, to use all three standard-issue weapons and, according to the act, be competent in all three weapons, they don't always use all three weapons on a daily basis.

"A member might only use a pistol on a daily basis that he is competent in, and not a rifle and a shotgun, which he is incompetent in. But because he is not competent in all three, he is declared incompetent, which is not necessarily true," he said.

Mkhwanazi said 129713 officers had undergone firearms training.

"Of these, 102313 are competent and 27400 have been declared not competent.

"But not all 27400 failed, with 20864 having not completed all their training, which includes both a theoretical, legal principles course, and practical training in the use of a firearm."

To be declared fully competent, officers must successfully complete both courses.

Mkhwanazi said the 6536 officers who had failed would undergo urgent retraining.

Asked how the crisis had developed, Mkhwanazi was unable to say.

"I have given a year for this to be resolved. By next week, we will have a plan. Those who are incompetent and who cannot be placed elsewhere will unfortunately have to leave," he said.

'Predator police' in reign of terror

'Predator police' in reign of terror
GRAEME HOSKEN | 30 April, 2012 00:08

Sifiso Makhubu, of Phiri, Soweto, succeeded in suing the police for wrongful arrest and torture Picture: LEBOHANG MASHILOANE
An unprecedented assault by police using unrestrained violence in hunting down criminals is exploding across South Africa.

Related News
Top cops beat pupils - Claim
Video captures cops beating up hawker
Top cop baffled by firearms duffers With pressure mounting on the police to reduce crime and push up conviction rates, officers are pushing the boundaries, leaving hordes of physically and mentally tortured victims in their wake.

With experts warning that torture - which when revealed has a severe adverse effect on prosecutions - is on the rise, many say the line between the police and the criminals is blurring.

For Sifiso Makhubu, torture is something he knows only too well.

Accused of the murder of a Johannesburg policeman three years ago, he and four friends endured nearly 12 hours of agonising torture.

"They beat us. The more I pleaded with them to stop, the more they continued," he said.

With his hands handcuffed behind his back to his ankles, his assailants sprayed him with water and pulled a tyre tube over his face.

"They were doing it to all of us. While they would tube one they would spray us with water and shock us with tazers all over . on our faces, between our legs, everywhere.

"They would tell us we were going to die."

After three years, Makhubu's terror has not ended.

His attackers, still based at the same police stations, often greet him when they see him in the streets of Soweto.

"Nothing has happened to them. I won my case against them but they continue to work. They greet me and ask me how I am doing. I am petrified that something will happen, that this time I will never come home," he said.

Peter Jordi, of the Wits Law Clinic, said the police were predators who, with unrestrained violence, hunted down suspects.

Jordi, pointing to shelves of torture case files, said the violence and power associated with torture gave the police a sense of immunity.

"They have become masters at what they do. After 1994 there was an increase in torture which subsided until the 2000s. Since then there has been a definite increase of unprecedented violence from beatings, electric shocks, near drownings to detention without trial.

"Our law enforcers' string of barbaric actions to find their suspect often results in minibus loads of people being tortured before the right suspect is found.

"Torture is occurring en masse with children falling victim.

"Torture is spiralling out of control. It is happening everywhere with those involved simply moving from one police station to another when caught," he said.

Leading forensic pathologist Reggie Perumal said torture was increasing because the police were paralysed in trying to deal with crime.

"Crime is running away and in the frustration, especially in Gauteng, to bring it under control police are turning to torture.

"From the number of private cases I get it is clear that torture and the violence associated with it, especially in terms of electrocutions with tasers, cattle prods and live wires, is increasing," he said.

Independent Police Investigative Directorate spokesman Moses Dlamini said he could not say if torture was becoming more prevalent and also not say if police management was taking torture seriously.

"There are cases in which officers arrested for torture are, the very next day, promoted. The biggest problem is that torture is not a crime. Instead, a policeman who is a suspect in a torture case is charged with assault with intent to commit grievous bodily harm.

"In our legislation there is no such offence as torture. Draft legislation, which will criminalise torture, has yet to be passed.

"Because torture has not been defined we simply don't know the exact number of offences," he said.

Jacob van Garderen, of Lawyers for Human Rights, said his organisation was "gravely concerned" by the number of cases reported to it.

"What is happening is horrific with cases remaining unresolved for long periods.

"Mechanisms to investigate torture are severely under-developed and under-resourced.

"Though South Africa ratified the UN convention against torture, and is compelled to investigate torture, it has yet to ratify the protocol on the convention against torture which would lead to the establishment of oversight bodies for all places of detention," he said.

Amanda Dissel, the Association for the Prevention of Torture's South African delegate, said it was worrying that South Africa had yet to criminalise torture.

"This is precisely why we see such a recurrence of torture.

"There is a problem in South Africa in ensuring that torture cases are dealt with, with the seriousness they deserve."

Police spokesman Brigadier Lindela Mashigo hit back by saying torture was condemned.

"Respect of human rights is part of [police] training."

Questions unanswered over NPA prosecutor - DA

Questions unanswered over NPA prosecutor - DA
2012-04-30 22:19

Related Links
NPA suspends Mdluli prosecutor
Advocates shocked at action against prosecutor
NPA defends silence on prosecutor saga

Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance said on Monday that important questions relating to the suspension of the National Prosecuting Authority's (NPA) corruption prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach remained unanswered.

Breytenbach, who heads the NPA's specialised commercial crimes unit in Pretoria, was issued issued with a letter of suspension on Monday after receiving a notice of intention to suspend her in February.

According to reports, Breytenbach was responsible for the NPA's arms deal probe and the fraud case against crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.

"The suspension has been widely interpreted as intimidation of a prosecutor who insists on doing her work without fear or favour and who resisted the dropping of fraud charges against crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli," DA MP Dene Smuts said in a statement.

Smuts said the DA had asked acting National Director of Public Prosecutions, advocate Nomgcobo Jiba, during a portfolio committee on justice meeting on17 April, if the threat of suspension was not an attempt to intimidate Breytenbach and if she had been told to drop the fraud charges against Mdluli.

Jiba told the committee that there had never been any instructions or any political pressure. She also said that she did not know where the link between the Mdluli fraud case and Breytenbach’s proposed suspension came from, said Smuts.

The NPA also claimed there was no link between Breytenbach's suspension and Mdluli

"We dismiss those insinuations as baseless," spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said.

Mhaga said the charges related to her conduct in handling one of the cases allocated to her," NPA spokesperson.

"We will exercise restraint in commenting on this matter in view of legal implications in labour issues."

He said all the charges would be dealt with in a disciplinary hearing.


Read more on: da | npa | nomgcobo jiba | richard mdluli | glynnis breytenbach | dene smuts

Our Ganster State

Our gangster state
Justice Malala | 30 April, 2012 00:08

Now that the ANC has managed to get rid of Julius Malema, its troublesome youth league president, and his rude sidekick Floyd Shivambu, the party might want to concentrate on something meatier. It might want to ask its president, Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, what kind of rotten state he is running in its name.

The ANC sent Zuma to the Union Buildings. In its name, he governs South Africa. He should be accountable to it if he is not accountable to the rest of us, the citizenry.

He should now account to the ANC about why Richard Mdluli, the head of crime intelligence in the SA Police Service, is back at his desk and not in a court of law or behind bars for corruption.

Nothing smacks of corruption in this country as much as the figure of Mdluli, a man who is being mentioned as a possible national police commissioner. Nothing scares me more than the possibility that such a compromised figure stands to assume so much power.

This much we know is true, thanks to the incredibly brave work of journalists at the Mail& Guardian, the Sunday Times and the City Press newspapers. It is worth noting that these journalists would be in jail today if the Protection of Information Act were in operation.

Here is the first thing: within a year of his appointment to the crime intelligence job in 2009, Mdluli appointed seven of his relatives as secret agents. There is no dispute about this. As you read this, seven members of this man's family are drawing salaries from the national cash pile - money that could be used for the poor, the hungry, those who will die of the cold this winter because they have nowhere to sleep.

Instead, as City Press reported last weekend, it is costing the crime intelligence unit R5-million to employ Mdluli's relatives and supply them with luxury cars.

This is not corruption. This is looting. This is the mentality of people who believe they are invincible, that they are protected from on high. If Zuma is not protecting Mdluli, he should suspend and fire the man immediately for just this one piece of absolute corruption.

But there is more to this rot and the depth of it chills me to the bone. Mdluli was not interviewed by police management for the job he holds. He was instead interviewed by four politicians: Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele, the then home affairs deputy minister Malusi Gigaba, who is now minister of public enterprises, and former safety and security deputy minister Susan Shabangu, who is now minister of mineral resources.

Mthethwa is a fierce Zuma defender and is actively campaigning for him to be re-elected as ANC president in Mangaung in December. So is Gigaba, who has acted as the main Zuma defender against attacks by Malema's ANC Youth League. You may also be interested to know that Mthethwa appears on one of the lists drawn up by the Zuma crowd to be in the ANC's top six after Mangaung.

Cwele is the man who has been firing intelligence services heads allegedly because they refused to be used to spy for Zuma. In March Moe Shaik left the State Security Agency. SSA director-general Jeff Maqetuka left in December and the head of the domestic branch, Gibson Njenje, left in September. Cwele is now master and commander of Zuma's spy network.

Mdluli's appointment was not just irregular. It was conspiratorial and it is a crime. These ministers should account for why they were on that panel in the first place and why the then acting national police commissioner, Tim Williams, and other police officials were not on the interviewing panel.

Why were four ministers interviewing a policeman? Were they instructed to hire him and dress up the whole thing?

Will they explain? Of course not. How can Mthethwa explain when, according to City Press, the Hawks were investigating claims that almost R200000 was paid from the crime intelligence slush fund for renovations to his house in KwaZulu-Natal? He is implicated in the crimes. He is compromised.

Mdluli was up on charges of murder, kidnapping, assault and intimidation. There were also charges of massive fraud involving the crime intelligence slush fund. The Mail & Guardian has revealed that those charges were dropped despite a letter from the inspector-general of intelligence, Faith Radebe, in March, in which she said that the National Prosecuting Authority should institute criminal charges against Mdluli: "We are of the opinion that the reasons advanced by the NPA in support of the withdrawal of the criminal charges are inaccurate and legally flawed. We therefore recommend that this matter be referred back to the NPA for the institution of the criminal charges."

That has not happened. Instead, Mdluli is in office and is already re-organising the crime intelligence unit so that it has oversight of all security arrangements for all ministers and dignitaries. What does this mean? Each and every one of Zuma's detractors will be under 24-hour surveillance by this compromised spy boss.

Where are the voices of Gwede Mantashe, Kgalema Motlanthe, Cyril Ramaphosa, Trevor Manuel and others when this rot is being perpetrated in their name? Where is the ANC of OR Tambo?

It is silent, quivering in fear of its own "deployee", Jacob Zuma, a man who is running what is now clearly a gangster state.

Suspended anti-corruption prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach was shot at three weeks ago while driving home.

Mdluli prosecutor shot at
2012-04-30 18:33

Related LinksNPA suspends Mdluli prosecutor
NPA defends silence on prosecutor saga
NPA denies meddling in Mdluli case

Adriaan Basson, City Press
Johannesburg - Suspended anti-corruption prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach was shot at three weeks ago while driving home.

Breytenbach, who prosecuted crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli until the case was withdrawn by her superiors in December, was suspended by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) this morning.

She told City Press she is convinced the shooting was related to her work.

"I have been followed for some time. It happened late in the evening of April 11 on the N14 while I was driving home. Two shots were fired, but both missed."

Breytenbach said she was still being followed. She reported the shooting to the Hawks.

Force her off the road

Last Wednesday morning two BMW motorcycles tried to force her off the road while she was driving home from the gym.

"A metro police car came by and they backed off," she said.

Breytenbach is the head of the Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit in Pretoria.

Apart from the Mdluli matter, she was also working on the arms deal investigation and on a mining rights case involving Kumba and politically connected Imperial Crown Trading (ICT).

Her lawyer Gerhard Wagenaar confirmed her suspension by acting NPA head Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba on Monday, saying the official reason given by the NPA was that his client allegedly abused her powers in the Kumba fraud case.

Breytenbach was the prosecutor in a case concerning the awarding of mining rights at Sishen to ICT. Kumba subsequently laid a charge of fraud against ICT, and Breytenbach was appointed as prosecutor.

Red herring

ICT's directors and legal representatives subsequently complained to the NPA that Breytenbach was seen as being too close to Kumba and its legal representatives.

Breytenbach denies any wrongdoing.

Her supporters in and outside the NPA believe the Kumba complaint is a red herring and that her persistence to prosecute Mdluli led to her suspension by her bosses in the NPA.

NPA spokesperson Bulelwa Makeke confirmed Breytenbach's suspension. "She has been provided with reasons for her suspension after she was given more than enough time to respond.

"The next step will be an internal disciplinary hearing where all allegations will be addressed substantively."

The NPA denied that Breytenbach's suspension was linked to her insistence that the Mdluli case continued.

Last week, Breytenbach provided Jiba with a memorandum, outlining her reasons why the Mdluli case should never have been withdrawn.

- City Press

Read more on: npa | glynnis breytenbach | richard mdluli | crime


Fighting White Collar Crime in South Africa

South Africa | Democracy | 2005

By her second year in law school Glynnis Breytenbach knew she wanted to be a prosecutor. A sturdy daughter of rural Free State, South Africa, she entered the prosecutorial service in Johannesburg in 1987 prosecuting check scams. By 1990 she was prosecuting commercial crimes.

A witness gives testimony at the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court December 9, 2004.

Photo Credit: Sesana Mokoana/USAID

Crime rates surged after apartheid's authoritarian controls were lifted and South Africa became a major destination for crime syndicates that prey on businesses. By 2000 commercial crime was siphoning $6 billion a year from the economy. The South African government began fighting back with laws and crime-fighting institutions adapted from international best practices. President Thabo Mbeki established a Specialized Commercial Crime Court and Prosecuting Unit in Pretoria. The Department of Justice (DOJ) provided permanently assigned magistrates and prosecutors, while the commercial crimes branch of the police assigned permanent investigators. The "Unit," as Breytenbach calls it, had almost no budget when it opened its doors in 1999.

USAID and Business Against Crime (BAC), an association of major South African corporations, stepped in. USAID trained South African prosecutors in financial crime trial skills that Breytenbach describes as "particularly beneficial." BAC refurbished needed office space in downtown Pretoria, converted an underground parking lot into courtrooms and a holding cell, and set up a computerized caseload management system.

Today the Specialized Commercial Crime Court and Prosecuting Unit in Pretoria is a busy place. Police investigators and prosecutors work under common guidelines and in the same office space—"co-location" as it is called. When charges of a commercial crime are reported, the police determine whether it is of sufficient complexity for the Unit. When a docket is opened in the Unit, the senior superintendent of the commercial crimes branch of the police assigns an investigator. Breytenbach, the deputy director of the Unit, assigns a prosecutor. Within 14 days the prosecutor must contact the investigator, according to the guidelines. "Most of the investigators are men," says Breytenbach. "Most of the prosecutors are women." When possible, pairings are made to transfer skills.

The use of computerized "case plan documents" improves case flow management and ensures each docket will contain everything needed for trial. "By the time a docket is ready," says Breytenbach, "even though it's likely a yard thick, the prosecutor knows everything in there." Volume is high. At any point in time each investigator is handling 30 cases and each prosecutor double that amount. During a 12 month period from 2003 to 2004, the court adjudicated 283 cases, with only 15 acquittals, a 95 percent conviction rate. A major reason for the high conviction rate is the use of plea bargaining. Prosecutors from the Unit are always well prepared and the magistrates are highly knowledgeable, and so 40 percent of the accused plea bargain.

Breytenbach's team does not shy away from the rich or powerful. One trio of stock brokers was hit hard with 5,256 counts of fraud involving $4 million. Breytenbach's team has successfully prosecuted senior members of parliament and senior police officials. Building on this success, the DOJ has opened additional courts in Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, and Durban. All four courts maintain conviction rates of over 90 percent. Breytenbach smiles when her visitors ask her to account for the Unit's success. "Co-location, good case planning, and high retention," she says, her green eyes shining with pride. She should have added hard work, because her staff works 16 hours a day. "We are seeing a deterrence effect," she says. "Once we get a sufficient number of higher skilled prosecutors, in five to ten years, white collar crime will be under control."


Advocates shocked at action against prosecutor
2012-02-06 12:33

Related Links
NPA denies Mdluli, Breytenbach link
Arms deal prosecutor 'not yet suspended'
Prosecutor 'refused to stop probe'

Johannesburg - Former National Director of Public Prosecutions Vusi Pikoli and other senior advocates have expressed shock at the disciplinary action against prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach, according to a report on Monday.

"The disciplinary investigation against her is a huge shock and a surprise," Pikoli told Beeld newspaper, adding that he knew her as a fearless, dedicated and extremely competent prosecutor.

Breytenbach had found herself at the centre of controversy since last week, when the National Prosecuting Authority notified her she had to provide the organisation with reasons by Tuesday why she should not be suspended.

She is alleged to have abused her power in the investigation into a fraud charge laid by iron ore mining company Kumba against Imperial Crown Trading.

The NPA has denied a link between the possible suspension of Breytenbach, deputy director of the specialised commercial crimes unit in Gauteng, and the dropping of charges against suspended crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.

‘Lack of competence in the NPA’

Advocate Jan Henning, NPA former deputy director, described the action against her as a low point in the body's history.

"If the motives for the actions against her are less than pure, the process has to be halted, for the sake of the justice system, the morale of prosecutors and the image of the NPA," he told Beeld.

According to another former NPA deputy head, Jan D'Oliveira, Breytenbach was an experienced prosecutor who would never undermine the Constitution.

"There is a total lack of competence in the NPA, where decisions are being made by people occupying senior posts, who actually have no experience prosecuting cases from the lowest to the highest courts, or giving guidance to subordinates," he was quoted as saying by Beeld.

The NPA stated last week it regarded the investigation against Breytenbach as an internal issue.

NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said they would not entertain questions about reports that Breytenbach was told to stop work on the fraud investigation involving Imperial Crown Trading's allegedly falsifying a prospecting licence.

It was reported last week that Breytenbach carried on with the investigation regardless of the order.


Read more on: npa | vusi pikoli | judiciary

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Pension fund legal battle drags on

April 2012 Nonhlanhla Kambule 13/11/02. Dube Tshidi,Deputy Executive Officer_Financial Services Board.
Bruce Cameron The legal team of the Johannesburg businessman Simon Nash, who is facing criminal charges arising from the stripping of surpluses of two retirement funds in the 1990s, served a slew of 16 summonses last week in his latest attempt to bring his prosecution to a halt. And in the legal argument that ensued in the Specialised Crimes Regional Magistrate’s Court in Johannesburg, a threat was made by Nash’s legal team to have the chief executive of the Financial Services Board (FSB), Dube Tshidi, arrested because he did not arrive in court on Tuesday. Instead, Tshidi had sent his legal representative to make suitable arrangements for his reappearance in the trial within a trial. This is the latest turn in a case which has seen a nasty campaign by Nash aimed at discrediting the FSB and others, secret recordings of conversations, suing and counter suing by the various parties, complaints and investigations by various law societies and bar councils about legal teams and further allegations against Nash. Nash is standing trial on charges of theft, fraud and contravening the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, arising from the stripping of the surpluses of more than R100 million in current value from the Sable Industries Pension Fund and the Power Pack Pension Fund (later the Cullinan Group Pension Fund). The 16 people summonsed by Nash’s legal team include Glynis Breytenbach of the National Prosecuting Authority; the head of the Nash prosecution team and former Transvaal attorney general, Jan D’Oliveira, and members of his team; Hawks investigator Jan Judeel; Tony Mostert, the curator/liquidator of the various affected retirement funds and other attorneys in his legal practice; Tshidi and Jurgen Boyd, the FSB deputy executive in charge of pension funds and other FSB members. There was semi-chaos at the court last Monday as the 16 people subpoenaed and/or their representatives were forced to stand around, with Nash’s legal team being accused by the parties that they knew that all the subpoenaed individuals could not be called to give evidence. The FSB objected in court to the validity of the subpoenas that ultimately resulted in an agreement that Nash would file affidavits to support the relevance of the subpoenaed information and to provide grounds upon which the court should lift the secrecy provisions imposed on the information and documentation required under the subpoenas. Initially in a media statement, Nash’s public relations representative, Lance Rothschild, who has also been involved in the campaign aimed at discrediting the FSB and various parties, falsely claimed that the subpoenas were based on a “judgment” handed down by the presiding magistrate Piet du Plessis and made various factually unsupported claims. Nash’s legal team argued that Nash’s rights to privilege and therefore a fair trial have been compromised by information provided by June Marks, the former attorney to the Cadac Pension Fund, to both the FSB and Tony Mostert, who is the curator/liquidator of the surplus stripped funds as well as the Cadac Fund. In court papers Nash has been accused of using Cadac Pension Fund cash to pay for his criminal trial as well as investing the Cadac Fund assets in a head office of the Cadac company. At the end of 2010 when the FSB was investigating placing the Cadac fund under provisional curatorship, Marks provided information relating to the affairs of Cadac to both Mostert and his team and the board. However, Marks, who now repre
sents Arthur Brown of Fidentia fame, secretly recorded her conversations at the time, including conversations when she was not in the room where the matter was being discussed. According to court papers, Marks then handed over the tape recordings to Nash because Mostert refused to pay Marks for providing assistance to Mostert in rectifying the affairs of the fund. Mostert told Business Report that Marks was obliged to co-operate with him in terms of the court orders appointing him as provisional curator. The National Prosecuting Authority refused to give Marks indemnity from prosecution for using money from the Cadac fund to pay her bills as well as those of various advocates used in Nash’s legal battles. Marks has since been successfully sued for more than R10 million by Mostert for not only being paid and paying advocates involved in Nash’s criminal trial, but also for over charging the Cadac fund for the payments. Marks is appealing the High Court judgments against her and has also issued summonses against some of the former Cadac trustees (excluding Nash and his wife, Elena) for an equivalent amount. Nash and his wife allegedly authorised the payments on behalf of the fund, according to court documents. Nash now claims that the information provided by Marks in consultation with the FSB and Mostert, was privileged and compromises his right to a fair trial in his current surplus stripping trial, even though the recordings mainly deal with the Cadac fund and not the surplus stripping funds and despite the secrecy provisions applying to the secretly recorded conversations. Marks, who was the only witness called to appear before Du Plessis on Tuesday, rejected the arguments of Nash’s legal team that the information she provided to Mostert and the FSB was privileged and contended that the privilege was not that of Nash. Nash’s legal team has also been trying to halt the admission in evidence in his criminal trial of the FSB inspection report that led to the placing of the Sable and Power Pack Funds under curatorship on the basis that the law did not allow the FSB to make an inspection report public, which includes that they claim using it in the trial. A trial within a trial on this point still has to be finalised and the Nash camp’s intention is to extend the trial within a trial on the privilege issue, hoping that the entire case against Nash will be dismissed without the merits of the case being argued before the court. Mostert told Business Report that the only person Nash’s team needed to subpoena to obtain the information was Marks. “The rest of us were subpoenaed simply to waste our time.” He said that attached to the summonses were extracts from claimed transcripts of the Marks tape recordings, which was a contravention of secrecy clauses of Inspection of Financial Institutions Act and the Financial Services Board Act and secrecy provisions contained in various court orders appointing him (Mostert) as provisional curator, under which the recorded conversations took place. The secrecy can only be lifted by court order. Marks had allegedly previously contravened the secrecy clauses by handing the recordings to Nash as part of an alleged “set-up” to expose Mostert and Nash in turn attached transcripts thereof to the court papers seeking the removal of Mostert as the provisional curator of the Cadac fund. Mostert said that he had evidence that during April 2011 Marks phoned Nash and offered the recordings to him as a product in result of the staged set-up, which Marks claimed, occurred with the co-operation and support of counsel representing her at the time, Henk Louw. Rothschild denies that there was a set-up. The criminal trial was adjourned to May 14 for argument relating to the validity and enforcement of the subpoenas. Du Plessis ordered, at the demand of Nash’s representatives, that some of the witnesses re-appear on May 21. The subpoenaed witnesses reserved their right to contest the validity of the subpoenas. Apart from the initial media statement announcing the subpoenas, Nash and his legal team declined to comment. Marks said in an e-mailed response to the article: “In so far as your comments relate to me they bear no resemblance to the truth and you publish them at your own peril.” -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Issue: Mar/May 2011 Editorials SURPLUS STRIPS Gnashing of teeth A trial within a trial certainly has its moments. The accused is on one hook and has been trying to catch his accuser on another. Simon Nash, charged in the Johannesburg Regional Court with stripping a surplus from the Sable Industries pension fund, has formally called on Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to suspend Financial Services Board executive officer Dube Tshidi until Tshidi's attempt to avoid the possible incrimination of himself has been resolved. He has also asked DA MP Dion George to urge a parliamentary inquiry into the relationship between the FSB, Tshidi and attorney Tony Mostert. It follows the refusal by Tshidi, under cross-examination by Willem de Bruyn (counsel for Nash), to answer a question. This was after Tshidi had taken advice from his lawyer not to answer. The question was on why Mostert had been appointed curator of the Cadac pension fund after he had already been appointed curator of the Sable fund when there was a known dispute between the two funds. The Sable fund has a claim of roughly R8m against the Cadac fund. Some excerpts from the transcript, summarised where appropriate, give the matter context: De Bruyn: Shortly before Christmas last year, the FSB applied (to the High Court) for the Cadac pension fund to be put under curatorship. That application was ex parte and in camera. The curator appointed was one Tony Mostert. Court: On the same contingency thing? De Bruyn: We do not know (whether there is a 25% contingency fee for Mostert from his Cadac appointment) because there is a huge dispute between the Sable and Cadac pension funds. Mostert is now curator on both sides . . . The next event after the appointment of Mostert was a search and seizure at the offices of the Cadac pension fund and the Cadac company (of which Nash is executive chairman). Mostert was effectively the person in charge of this search and seizure. Despite protest from his lawyers, the court was told, Nash's privileged documents and emails were taken. These included matters related to the criminal trial and to the Cadac company. Mostert had been refused access to them, but he had called in FSB inspectors who attached the computers and servers. De Bruyn contended that all Nash's privileged communications could then be accessed. De Bruyn: I beg leave to hand up Mr Tshidi's affidavit, the complete affidavit in the curatorship application (to the High Court for curatorship of the Cadac fund). Prosecutor (Jan D'Oliveira SC): The state objects to this being submitted. Court: Mr D'Oliveira, before Mr de Bruyn got up I wanted to indicate to you that at the outset this morning there was reference to this particular application and the fact that this particular trial is in fact referred to in this document. It must be relevant. Prosecutor: As the court pleases. De Bruyn: Mr Tshidi, you have a copy of this document. Tshidi: Yes. De Bruyn: In paragraph 4 you said ‘The Cadac pension fund has been the apparent victim of surplus transactions pursuant to which it received assets from the Sable fund to which it was not entitled. Sable is also under curatorship as a result of the involvement of the parties identified herein.' As we stand here today, Mr Mostert is the curator of both the Sable and Cadac funds. Correct Tshidi: Correct. De Bruyn: How could you appoint him in view of this conflict? Tshidi: In view of? De Bruyn: This conflict. The Sable fund has a claim against the Cadac fund. How could you appoint the same curator on both sides? Is it going to be the plaintiff Sable fund, the curator Mostert, the attorneys Mostert & Co (against) the defendant Cadac fund, the curator Mostert and the attorneys Mostert & Co? How could you do that? Prosecutor: This is again irrelevant. Court: Well, it is relevant, sir, in the fact that it is in the affidavit. There are conflicts in the affidavit. You will see that the Cadac fund, the Sable fund and Mr Nash personally are placed on both sides of it. Tshidi: Your honour, I have the following comment to make. Comment one, there is a return date on this matter (to the High Court on March 29 for the Cadac fund curatorship). Comment two, it came to my attention – and that prompted me to an application to place this (Cadac) fund under curatorship, because it came to my mind that the assets of the Cadac fund are being used to fund this litigation (by Nash in defending the criminal charges against him). That is all I want to say. The rest I will say during the return date. De Bruyn: But how could you conceivably have appointed Mr Mostert in view of this glaring conflict of interest as the curator of the Cadac fund? Why not another independent person? Tshidi: As I said, I prefer to answer that on the return date. At this point, Etienne Theron (the advocate instructed by Rooth & Wessels to represent Tshidi and the FSB) intervened. He wanted to speak privately to Tshidi, which he did outside the courtroom. The court then resumed. Court: Yes, you have taken advice. Theron: Your worship, Mr Tshidi indicates that he is not prepared to . . . (intervenes). Court: Well, he can tell me that, sir. Right from the word go I have indicated that I have no problem with you advising him, but Mr Tshidi is the witness so let him testify. If he says ‘I am not going to answer that question', then that is fine but he will have to give me a reason Tshidi: Your honour, I am not keen to answer that question. That is all I can say Court: You know, there are a lot of questions asked of witnesses that they are not keen to answer, sir, but the fact of the matter is if you say to me that you believe that it might have other implications and those implications might lead to prosecution on your part, then by all means you can say ‘I want to remain silent'. Tshidi: I was going to move on to say, your honour, I am not keen to, but if ordered by the court to answer I will answer and the implications are that this matter is still going to be, it is before the (High) Court and I do not want to incriminate myself as the Registrar. Court: Well, then you are perfectly entitled to say under those circumstances ‘As it might incriminate me I do not wish to answer'. Tshidi: I will remain silent on this matter Court: Thank you, sir. That is all we need from you. It is on record. All right. De Bruyn: I just want to make (it) clear. You refuse to answer on the basis that you may incriminate yourself? Tshidi: I prefer to remain silent. De Bruyn: On the basis that you may incriminate yourself? Tshidi: Yes. HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIPS The trial of Simon Nash, a trustee of the Sable pension when surpluses from it were allegedly stripped, might only be an early round in a more protracted contest. Through cross-examination by his counsel, Nash has taken the fight to FSB executive officer Dube Tshidi, the FSB itself, and curator Tony Mostert. Their side of the story has yet to be fully aired, as doubtless it will be, while Nash has yet to appear in the witness box and be subjected to cross-examination. If he goes down, it won't be for not fighting. In fact, he's been fighting since he was charged five years ago. Unlike several others who had availed themselves of the "Ghavalas option", Nash did not enter a plea bargain to avoid prosecution. Whether he was offered the opportunity is moot. During the January hearing, to be resumed, the relationship between his adversaries was exhaustively canvassed; in particular, whether documentation and related information gathered under the Inspection of Financial Institutions Act had been passed on to the police, the prosecuting authorities and others. There was contention over lawful compliance. Under the Act, the Registrar must "take all reasonable steps" to ensure that the inspector he appoints "will be able to report objectively and impartially on the affairs of the institution". There are also secrecy provisions, to prevent leakage of draft reports, and procedures to be adopted for disclosure of final reports. On affidavit, Tshidi had stated that a section of the Act empowered him "under certain circumstances to provide any information obtained during an inspection to the curator". At issue was whether Cor Potgieter, the FSB-appointed inspector, could have been impartial and objective. According to the evidence, he had investigated certain fund transfers that he himself had previously approved in his capacity as an FSB official. There was also cross-examination of Tshidi on whether he knew of Potgieter personally submitting draft reports to Mostert and the prosecuting authorities, and of being involved in assessing the suitability of witnesses for intended prosecutions. Tshidi said that he didn't know. Also in the spotlight is the role of Mostert, specifically whether he could possibly have influenced prosecutions, plea bargains and settlements. He is the curator or liquidator of all the pension funds allegedly (or, in plea bargains, admittedly) stripped. These are the funds of Mitchell Cotts, Lucas SA, Picbel Groep, Datakor (two funds) and Sable. Late last year he was appointed curator of the Cadac fund as well. Not only is he the curator but there appears to be no constraint on his law firm being appointed to act in the curatorships as well. For the curatorships he is remunerated on a contingency basis equating 25% of monies recovered. Some two years ago he agreed to accept a lesser percentage for monies recovered above a defined limit. Given the huge settlements so far effected – including those with Sanlam and Alexander Forbes, which had received no financial benefit (TT Oct '10-Jan '11) – the fees so far accumulated by Mostert on the curatorships alone would run into many tens of millions. Attempts by Nash to obtain via subpoena the copies of all agreements between the FSB and Mostert or his law firm, on how Mostert and the firm are being remunerated, have been resisted. Also unclear is how Nash's prosecution, for which former Transvaal attorney-general Jan D'Oliveira was brought from retirement, is being funded. There's another bit of information so far not in the public domain. It's how much of the amounts paid in settlements have been received by fund members during the five years of the respective funds' curatorships. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- FSB chief Dube Tshidi: When the law enforcer becomes the accused He loves the job and has just been reappointed for a second term, but being South Africa's chief financial services regulator is acutely frustrating, says Dube Tshidi, executive officer of the Financial Services Board. FRUSTRATED: Dube Tshidi It is easy to see why he feels this way. Almost five years ago the Financial Services Board (FSB) fingered Fidentia CEO J Arthur Brown for allegedly misappropriating millions of rands belonging to a mineworkers' pension fund. Investigations led to criminal charges being laid and the curators being sent in to recover what money they could for the beneficiaries. The case still has not come to court. Instead Brown has taken the curators to court, accused the FSB of bullying him, threatened to lay charges against it for criminal defamation and approached the court to have the charges against him thrown out because media speculation has impaired his right to a fair trial. The courts have rejected his attempts but now, with stupefying chutzpah as far as Tshidi is concerned, Brown is hitting the talk circuit (tickets at R175) and plugging a "tell-all" book he is about to publish which will prove it is the FSB which is the real culprit and he the real victim in all this. Tshidi, 57, says the ease with which alleged white collar criminals are apparently able to turn the tables on their accusers and endlessly delay court proceedings against them is damaging public confidence in the regulator. "You have the responsibility to protect the integrity of regulators, and you will only achieve that by taking effective action against wrongdoers." What is his response to Brown's allegations of criminal defamation against the FSB? "If you look at everything printed in the media or heard on radio talk shows you will not pick up a word of this coming from the FSB." The FSB has confined itself to investigating the case and handing its report to the enforcement agencies of government, he says. "We never went to the media and said Arthur Brown has stolen from the widows and orphans. What we have said is that assets belonging to widows and orphans of a particular pension fund were misappropriated." When does he think the case will be heard in court? "I can't tell you. There are so many sideshows around all these big cases. Just when you think you're going to court to deal with the merits of a specific case something else crops up, another sideshow. We don't know at this stage when the proper case is going to be heard." He finds it "terribly frustrating", he says, and would like to see a new system that makes it easier for regulators to bring alleged offenders to book. "I would prefer a judicial system or an enforcement system which says if there are allegations against an entity or individual in the financial services sector there should be a special court that can deal with that matter there and then. No sideshows. Let's get to the real case and deal with it. "It depends on government and the judiciary whether they would entertain such a request [for a special court], but the request has been made." There is already a specialised commercial crime court which was established more than 10 years ago precisely to speed up the investigation and prosecution of financial services fraud, but Tshidi does not think it is doing the job. The ongoing Arthur Brown saga has highlighted the weakness of the current system. "After all these years we haven't even started dealing with the case. We need to have a fresh look at this commercial crime court and ask, 'is it serving the original purpose it was created for?' We have to revisit it." So must the legal rights of the accused be put on hold so that the nitty gritty of the case against them can proceed? "Their legal rights and constitutional rights must be respected, but within the main case, not around the main case. All the rights of the individuals we're pointing fingers at must be respected, but the case must start" What everybody would like to know is where Brown is getting the substantial amounts of money needed to pay for the court actions he has initiated to delay the only case that, as far as Tshidi is concerned, really matters. The same question can be asked of others who seemingly have all the money in the world to pay top legal teams to delay their day in court. It's an issue that Tshidi finds particularly galling. "You go and fight for your rights and justice using contentious profits. How correct is that?" Is this not where the Asset Forfeiture Unit comes in? "Yes, but have the assets been forfeited? They're still there and they're being used to defend the actions taken," he says. Because of delays in the justice system, the regulator becomes the accused, he says. "The law enforcers are now the accused. We have people who have committed crimes, pointing fingers at the law enforcers and saying to them, 'You're the ones who are out of order'." In spite of his obvious frustrations, there have been deeply satisfying successes. None more so than ensuring the distribution to members of surplus pension fund money. Last year, Tshidi said companies were sitting on more than R60-billion of surplus pension fund money. There was a time when nobody would have been any the wiser and members of the funds would have had little hope of seeing any of it. The dice were loaded against them, but that is changing. "Only last week we approved a surplus fund distribution of R20-billion to former and current fund members." And there will be more, promises Tshidi.

Tit-for-tat banks guilty of misleading advertising

April 27 2012 at 09:00am Brendan Roane BOTH Standard Bank and First National Bank have been found guilty of misleading advertising, after they accused each other of ambiguous and unsubstantiated marketing. The banks took each other to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) last month over adverts they believed to be misleading to consumers. FNB was found to be misleading for its claim that its Smart Zero account is the “first bank account in South Africa with a zero monthly fee”, as other banks have offered this service in the past, including Standard Bank and even FNB itself. In one of its complaints, FNB claimed Standard Bank’s posters, which read “free cellphone banking, free telephone banking and free internet banking”, were misleading. The ASA agreed and found the posters did not “clearly inform consumers that certain costs apply” because the bank either charged a subscription fee for unlimited transactions or charged per transaction. Standard Bank has two weeks to remove the offending posters. FNB could not substantiate its headline in a print advert in a Sunday newspaper in February which read “Be with FNB, the bank that LEADS in saving you MONEY”. The advert was based on misleading or unsubstantiated claims and was found to be confusing to consumers. FNB also hit out over Standard Bank’s claim of “We even pay your network charges” for its internet banking. This claim is “highly unlikely because third-party network providers are not going to specifically measure and disclose only banking-related usage”, said FNB’s complaint to the ASA. ASA ruled that Standard Bank would have to amend this advert to read “We even pay your mobile charges when you dial…” followed by the number the consumer would phone to register for cellphone banking. This is because only the phone call to register for internet banking, and not the data used in internet banking, would be covered by Standard Bank.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Zuma to remit jail sentences, move angers

2012-04-27 22:02 Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma announced on Friday that his administration would grant a special remission of sentence to specific categories of sentenced offenders, probationers and parolees. He said there would be a six months' blanket special remission of sentence for all sentenced offenders, probationers and parolees. An additional 12 months' special remission of sentence would be made for all sentenced inmates, probationers and parolees, excluding those sentenced for aggressive, sexual, firearm and drug-related offences. The remission would also not apply to inmates who had been declared dangerous criminals. It is the first special remission of sentences he has granted since taking office. Zuma was speaking during at a Freedom Day celebration in Pretoria where said the remission was in keeping with the spirit of the celebration of the country's 18 years of freedom and in line with established international practice. He said previous remissions had also been granted to coincide with key national days. Slap in the face There was a remission when former president Nelson Mandela was inaugurated on 10 May 10 1994; the first Freedom Day on 27 April 1995; Mandela's 80th birthday on 18 July 1998; and to mark the first year of former president Thabo Mbeki's second term in office on 30 May 2005. Zuma said the ministers of the justice, crime prevention and security cluster would provide the details and specific circumstances of those who would benefit from the latest reduction. He said the categories and lengths of remission were based on a Cabinet decision made in relation to the special remission of 2005. The move angered the Democratic Alliance. The remission of sentences announced by President Jacob Zuma on Freedom Day is a slap in the face for crime victims and their families, the DA said in a statement. "In addition, it diminishes the deterrent effect of sentences," said DA correctional services spokesperson James Selfe. Selfe said there was overcrowding in prisons and corrective measures were needed, but there were more imaginative ways the problem could be addressed. Community-based sentencing would enable perpetrators to give back to the community, he said. - SAPA Read more on: da | james selfe | jacob zuma | prisons
E-TOLL speed bump April 27 2012 at 09:00am -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ANGELIQUE SERRAO After hours of listening to Sanral, Treasury and Transport Department attorneys arguing that any further delays in the implementation of e-tolling would be disastrous for the economy, Cosatu’s Zwelinzima Vavi tweeted that the ANC had decided to postpone tolling by a month. Soon afterwards, the ANC and Cosatu made a joint statement that the decision was made after a meeting in which alternative funding models were discussed. This latest delay is the fifth time e-tolling has been postponed in just more than a year. It is difficult to say what impact this could have on Judge Bill Prinsloo’s ruling, due to be announced tomorrow. Judge Prinsloo has to decide whether to grant the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance’s request to delay e-tolling for as long as it takes for a full case on the legality of e-tolls to be heard by a court. Vavi tweeted: “ANC and Cosatu leadership agreed to postpone implementation date for etolls by month to allow task team more time to explore alternative funding.” The tweet came through seconds after the final responding arguments were made by the alliance’s Alfred Cockrell SC. This means that this latest postponement was not communicated to Judge Prinsloo in court, so it is unclear whether he can consider it in his judgment. Sanral CEO Nazir Alli and manager Alex van Niekerk must have known something was up, because as Cockrell was making his arguments, they kept on leaving the courtroom with worried looks on their faces. Once court ended, the ANC and Cosatu’s decision to postpone e-tolling for a month was the topic of conversation, with alliance members wondering what effect this would have on their case. They, along with the public, will now have to wait until tomorrow morning to find out, because that is when Judge Prinsloo will give his judgment. This was an unexpected twist to a day filled with legal arguments and one or two diversions. The first was when Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan quietly slipped into court, sat for a bit and listened before slipping out again. The other was a group of theatrical dancers who stripped to their underpants, saying they were taking an e-shower. When police showed up, they quickly dressed and said they were there to add their voices to the anti e-toll debate. At least two hours were spent by the state trying to stop the interdict from going ahead, much of it focused on the risk to the economy if there was any delay – all strangely contradictory to the ANC/Cosatu statement released while argument was under way. Sanral attorney David Unterhalter SC said the granting of the interdict would cause Sanral to suffer irreparable harm because it would be unable to raise funds on the international market. “This will reverberate through the financial markets. Damage that is done in months will take years to rehabilitate. Greece knows about this,” he said. For every month e-tolling was delayed, he said, Sanral would lose R220 million. “My client considers that a massive amount of money. They are asking us to close the shop door and that is a very serious thing to ask a court to do,” Unterhalter said. “They (the alliance) are trying to turn off the tap for my client’s income stream.” The Treasury’s Jeremy Gauntlett SC made further arguments about the potential harm to the economy. “These are decisions that were made nobly (declaration of tolling), and it does not rest with campaigners who are not successful politically to question that,” said Gauntlett. He said that if even one month of Sanral defaulting on its debt was to go by, the government would have to cover the entire R20 billion debt. “Inevitably other projects will then suffer,” Gauntlett said. “We are at a time of high financial instability. Since 1985, the country has never had a debt default.” He added that if the interdict was granted, it would last not just a few months, because it would take well into next year for a full case on the legality of e-tolling to be heard. See Page 2 The Star Comments by Sonn Fellons always cry foil in SA. It's pay back time for the perpetrators!! God help ou 18 year old "FREEDOM" without DEMOCRACY & TRANSPARENCY!!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Top 10 Scams

Top 10 scams 2012 It seems the more advanced the technology, the more imaginative the con. Helen Grange Unless you’re a recluse with no internet, cellphone or bank card, you will have encountered a fraudster intent on scamming you. The more advanced the technology, it seems, the more imaginative the con. Like most South Africans, I receive an attempted scam via e-mail almost daily, most often pretending to come from my bank, prompting me to do something online that would result in my account being cleaned out. And recently, I had my credit card “skimmed” at a popular Joburg restaurant, and within 24 hours R4 000 was withdrawn in cash from my account. But arguably the most unconscionable scams are perpetrated on people who are lonely or naively generous, like the women who fall for “419 heartbreakers”, confidence tricksters who romance them online and then con them out of money. Hawks spokesman MacIntosh Polela says cybercrime costs SA millions every year, even though the scamsters have to work hard to get a “hit”. “Only a few will respond and among those who respond, very few of them will pay the money,” he says. But someone will always take the bait, unfortunately, which is why scamming continues to be a widespread scourge. The only defence against the scam is awareness. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it is. And never respond to an e-mail, SMS or phone call requiring you to submit personal information, even if it’s in the form of a threat to your account being suspended due to some third-party interference. Never participate in any “sale of goods”, “survey”, “competition”, “lottery” or “inheritance” scheme requiring any personal information over the phone or the internet. If you’re selling something, confirm payment with your bank before releasing the goods, and if you don’t remember entering a competition or buying a lottery ticket, you haven’t won anything. The top 10 scams to look out for: 1. The 419 heartbreaker scam The 419 scams have been around since the dawn of the internet, the oldest one speaking of an inheritance that the sender is due, but your bank account details are needed to deposit the funds, in return for which you’ll get a percentage. Another oldie is the e-mail from Western Union telling of a “deposit” into your account and requiring your personal information. But the 419 scam is always evolving. The latest is the “419 heartbreaker” scam which preys on women on online dating sites. A man will initiate a correspondence with you and, over several weeks, romance you and gain your trust. Then comes the very plausible reason for why they need you to advance them some money. They have a cash flow problem or they’ve had an accident. The 419 heartbreaker’s correspondence looks authentic and oozes charm, but the reality is that these are being generated by criminal syndicates, says Polela. 2. Phishing These are the e-mails purportedly from your bank requesting various online actions, all to gain access to your bank accounts. A young woman who got caught, Phindile, says she got an e-mail from her bank prompting her to verify her details. What she didn’t realise was that the link provided was to a fraudulent website. “The website page that I clicked on to looked exactly the same as my bank’s site, and I even received an RVN number (a one-time PIN) on my cellphone, so I thought it was all legitimate. Next thing I knew an amount of R15 300 went out of my account.” In all these attacks, it’s your banking information that the fraudsters are after. Without the account holder’s banking details and passwords, the fraud would simply not be possible. Don’t go there, ever. 3. Smishing SA has one of the highest cellphone penetration rates in the world, so it’s a wide open field for the SMS version of phishing. Many people have received an SMS supposedly from your bank requesting, for some reason, for you to verify your account details. in some cases, an alarmist message requests you to make a call rather than go to a false link. The person on the other end of the line is a fraudster adept at eliciting critical information, including your PIN code. Remember, as banks keep telling us, you will never be asked for your PIN over the phone. 4. False payment confirmations Lyl, a complainant on, says she advertised furniture on Gumtree that was bought by someone called Max. “He said he’d deposited money into my account, and I received an SMS confirming this, but when I checked with the bank, no money had been cleared,” she says. The hoax payment confirmation by SMS usually appears to come from your bank. Always verify that the money is indeed in your account before releasing the goods. 5. UNETHICAL APP downloads CHARGES Criminals and unethical developers are now using premium-rated SMSes to defraud people via the cellphone applications they download. Google recently removed 22 applications from the Android market because they conned people into agreeing to premium SMS charges. “This is not strictly fraud but certainly unethical in that the charges are hidden by misleading terms and conditions and the application’s sign-up process doesn’t give the customers any other option other than to agree to the premium charges,” says Pieter Streicher, MD of The first line of defence is to diligently check your phone bills for any unusual amounts being deducted. And only download the more popular apps. “You also need to check the permissions that you grant the application on installation: you should be sceptical if a basic game, for instance, requires access to address books and the internet, or needs the ability to send SMSes,” says Streicher. 6. SIM swops One of the outcomes of a phishing scam could be a SIM swop. The fraudster already has your cellphone number and can get enough additional information to request a SIM swop from your network operator. They then have access to both your bank account details and the SIM card needed to complete transactions. Fortunately, the networks have tightened up on their SIM swop processes and this type of fraud is decreasing, says Streicher. “However, it is still worth knowing about, and if your cellphone ever stops working for no reason, you should assume the worst and contact your bank and network operator immediately.” 7. Credit card skimming Card skimming usually takes place when fraudsters capture card data on devices similar to those used for legitimate point-of-sale or ATM transactions. The devices fit snugly over the card slot on an ATM and can even include a camera to record the PIN. But the main point of compromise is when you hand over your credit card. As I was personally caught out, I know how easy it is if you’re not concentrating. In my case, the waiter took my card away briefly and when he returned, I entered my PIN without covering with my other hand. Never let your card out of your sight and when entering your PIN, cover the PIN pad. 8. Unscrupulous subscription services Cellphone users need to be aware that unscrupulous Wasps (wireless application service providers – the companies that provide much of mobile content) can bill any SA cell number and can even detect and record your cellphone number if you browse their websites using your cellphone. Unlike the desktop internet where credit card numbers need to be entered and orders need to be confirmed, on a cellphone all that is needed to bill you is your number. A particularly notorious one sends you an SMS saying you’re now subscribed to it, at a cost of R20 a day. The Wasp Association advises sending “Stop” in reply to a message received. The service should in most cases be stopped, or alternatively result in an error message which would contain details regarding how to properly unsubscribe from the service. And, again, check your phone bills for charges you didn’t authorise or ongoing charges for subscription services that you didn’t realise weren’t one-offs. 9. Counterfeit merchandise If you’re buying anything expensive, beware of fakes. It’s big business, and a lot of it’s happening online. Just recently, police arrested four men who tried to con a businessman into buying fake gems, which were ostensibly worth R250 000. The businessman set up a sting operation and the men were arrested. The “gems” were nothing more than four pieces of glass covered in the melted silicone tube of a TV set. 10. Microsoft scam These scamsters call you claiming to be a Microsoft employee. They tell you they have found out you have a problem with your computer (who hasn’t?). Then they ask you all sorts of questions and prompt you to do all sorts of things with your computer “to sort out the problem”. Their aim is to get into your computer remotely, and to access all your private info. Alternatively, you’ll be told you’ve won the “Microsoft Lottery”, and that Microsoft “requires credit card information to validate your copy of Windows”. Another one is an unsolicited e-mails from “Microsoft” requesting a “security update”. Don’t go there.

R-5 rifles, shotguns for 'sale'

R-5 rifles, shotguns for 'sale' GRAEME HOSKEN | 26 April, 2012 A top-secret police investigation has revealed the indiscriminate theft of tens of thousands of rounds of state ammunition from a Gauteng police firearm training institute. Despite the theft and the alleged "sale" of ammunition from another training facility, no one has been suspended or fired. Instead, the officers have been transferred to different police stations across Gauteng. The investigation, which began late last year, has been kept tightly under wraps, with provincial police management refusing to comment in detail on questions. The discovery of the investigation comes as police are embroiled in a firearm competency saga, which has seen 27000 of the country's 160000 operational police officers being declared unfit to be in possession of their firearms. The probe has seen 90 Johannesburg Hawks members, who are involved in serious and violent crime investigations, having to surrender their weapons while 34 of the 139-member Pretoria Flying Squad have been confined to police charge offices. Firearms trainers have been ordered to surrender their weapons if they have not been issued with firearm competency certificates. Sources close to the investigation say that nearly 100000 bullets for handguns, R-5 semi-automatic assault rifles and shotguns were stolen from a police training facility in Soweto last year. The theft follows the alleged sale of 88000 rounds of R-5 ammunition from the Benoni training facility. These facilities are used to train police in the use of their weapons and street survival courses. The investigation has resulted in the commanders of the province's various firearm training facilities being ordered to transfer all their weapons and ammunition to the Gauteng police logistics armoury. Provincial police spokesman Brigadier Neville Malila said: "The criminal theft, as well as the disciplinary investigations into the missing ammunition at a Soweto training facility has been concluded. "No suspect could be identified in the criminal matter while internal sanctions were handed to members who worked at the facility during the time of the discovery of the theft. "No ammunition or firearms were reported missing at any of the other Gauteng training facilities," he said. Sources said two sergeants from the Soweto and Benoni facilities have been transferred to nearby police stations. A policeman said the Soweto theft was discovered last year after questions were raised over missing ammunition. A whistle-blower at Benoni then alerted police management that instructors at Benoni were allowing civilians to shoot at their facility. "In exchange for being allowed to shoot with R-5s, people had to pay certain officers R700. "Senior officers tried to cover this up by requesting surplus ammunition from other training facilities in the province." No investigation into this has been launched, and so far no officer has been charged. A Gauteng trainer said what was happening was criminal. "They take our weapons away, but we are expected to go onto the streets and die protecting people. "What has happened is criminal and what police management is doing is criminal," he said.

Charity involved in counterfeit trade

Charity involved in counterfeit trade April 26 2012 at 01:30pm By Anelisa Kubheka and Yogas Nair Counterfeit goods were seized and 13 foreigners arrested during a raid at the India trade fair at Sahara Kingsmead Stadium, in Durban. Picture: Marilyn Bernard Thirteen people were arrested and counterfeit goods valued at more than R650 000 were seized at the India trade fair at Sahara Kingsmead Stadium on Wednesday in a joint raid by Sars, police crime intelligence and Home Affairs officials. The fair has been hosted by the Phoenix Child and Family Welfare Society for the past eight years. According to Heinrich Botha, an intellectual property investigator (counterfeits) for Sars, many of the stall holders with counterfeit goods were not South Africans and an identity verification process had to take place. The swoop started at 11.30am and by midday counterfeit goods including falsely branded handbags, purses, clothes, skin-lightening creams and cellphone covers had been seized. “We reacted on a tip-off that a container filled with counterfeit goods had been offloaded here on Tuesday,” Botha said. He said they had also received information that counterfeit Blackberry Bold cellphones were on the market and selling for R3 600. Of the 13 arrested, some faced charges of dealing in counterfeit good, Botha said. Others would be charged for being in the country illegally. One trader said of the raid: “They immediately closed the fair and locked all the traders in. We were interrogated about who invited us to the country, how we came in, whether we were selling or exhibiting goods and how long we have been in the country for.” While officials went about their business, an angry patron – turned away at the gate – screamed that they should have intercepted these goods at the harbour instead of inconveniencing her shopping. Sharm Maharaj, president of the Phoenix Child and Family Welfare Society, described the raid as unnecessary. He said they were engaged in a legal deal with a company called Fame India – headed by Mumbai businessman Baba Singh. The entire deal was legitimate, he said. The society benefited up to R70 000 annually from entry ticket sales. “The money helps towards funding our shelters, HIV/Aids programmes and poverty alleviation programmes. “This is a legal transaction and the paperwork for the fair is in order. If there are any illegal dealings, the offenders must be brought to book.” Maharaj said all the relevant paperwork, including visas and passports, was handed to the authorities on Wednesday, and after midday the fair was reopened. He denied that any goods were seized or that anyone had been arrested. “This raid was orchestrated by the local businesses, who are under pressure because of these fairs. The bottom line is they must stop exploiting the public. They must be more competitive. “Also, there is no way they will pump that kind of money into the society. And, this is much-needed money. It is for the communities that need it desperately.” Head of the SA Traders Association Ragnish Singh welcomed Wednesday’s raid. “This is the first time in years that something has been done. These fairs are killing our businesses.” He said that since their inception, the fairs had affected their annual turnover by almost 30 percent. “According to our investigations, the annual turnover for these fairs is about R250 million a year. The sad reality is that the bulk of this money does not stay in our country.” After initially selling only eastern garments, the fairs had now expanded to include furniture, jewellery, electronic equipment, cellphones and falsely branded accessories and clothing, he said. - Daily News

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hawks bill 'could go back to ConCourt'

Hawks bill 'could go back to ConCourt' 2012-04-24 10:49 Related LinksNew Hawks bill inadequate - expert R100 000 anti-corruption challenge for youth Hawks bill respects ruling - police Hawks inadequate - Glenister Corrections, Corruptions and Counterfeits Get the facts about corruption and counterfeit Now R294.95 buy now Lauren Hess, News24 Cape Town - The South African Police Service amendment bill could end up back at the Constitutional Court if it is signed into law in its current form, a crime and justice researcher has warned. Speaking to News24 in Cape Town, Institute for Security Studies (ISS) researcher ChandrĂ© Gould warned that the bill did not meet all of the Constitutional Court's requirements, namely that it be free of political influence. The bill was drawn up after the Constitutional Court ruled that chapter six of the SA Police Service Act, as amended, which enabled the disbanding of the Scorpions and the formation of the Hawks, was constitutionally invalid. Minimalistic requirements Gould said the bill addresses some of the ConCourt ruling’s requirements but in a “minimalistic way”. “We have an opportunity, because of the ConCourt judgment, not only to come up with a body that minimally meets those requirements but to come up with the best kind of body that we can have to deal with and investigate corruption in South Africa. “Because corruption is a serious problem for South Africa, we really need to take whatever steps are necessary to come up with the best body necessary." Gould said the amendment bill had several flaws, one of them being that the unit [the Hawks] is kept inside the police and is answerable to the police commissioner. “While they’re within the police, there are two things that compromise their independence. One: the bill says that the national commissioner of police decides on the budget of this unit. “Now, because the commissioner is not an independent person, it’s a person that is appointed perhaps for political reasons, for as long as that person controls the budget of the unit, the unit can’t be independent. Controlling the budget is a way of controlling the unit.” 'Not independent enough' Gould said the other problem was that while the Hawks remained within the police, it won’t be seen as being “sufficiently independent”. In the SA Crime Quarterly, Irvin Kinnes, a PhD student at the UCT Centre of Criminology and Gareth Newham, the head of the Crime and Justice Programme at the ISS, argued a point supporting this. Kinnes and Newham cited an example in which current Hawks boss Lieutenant General Anwa Dramat “shelved criminal investigations into crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli... allegedly on instruction from acting National Commissioner General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi”. One of the bill’s other flaws is that it does not set out clear guidelines for who the unit’s head should be. “According to the bill in its current rendition, the person appointed to the head of this unit could be a politician! “It could be somebody who has no investigation experience. It could be anybody.” Hugh Glenister, who took the case to the ConCourt, will be speaking at a Parliamentary hearing on the bill on Tuesday. Gould, Newham and members of other bodies will also be making presentations for the next two days. - Follow Lauren on Twitter - News24 Read more on: iss | hawks | police | corruption

Zuma nephew pays up in possessions

Zuma nephew pays up in possessions April 24 2012 at 09:32am By Gugu Mbonambi Comment on this story -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Khulubuse Zuma at President Jacob Zuma s wedding. Photo: Sibusiso Ndlovu The first cracks in Khulubuse Zuma’s business empire appeared on Monday when some of his goods were sold by auction to pay a R10 million debt owed to a security company. The items included three BMW cars and household furniture. But Zuma and other Aurora Empowerment Systems directors’ legal woes are far from over, with trade union Solidarity threatening to serve them with court papers this week to recover more than R4m that the embattled company owes to 101 destitute mineworkers. In Verulam on Monday, Zuma’s 3-Series BMW fetched R15 500, his BMW 755i was sold for R88 000 and a 5-Series BMW fetched R14 700. A sound system belonging to Zuma, a nephew of President Jacob Zuma, was knocked down to R30 000. Other items that were auctioned included a microwave oven, a double-door fridge, a washing machine, a dining-room suite, a leather lounge suite and a TV. The vehicles and appliances were confiscated by the sheriff from Zuma’s home in Umhlanga, Durban. His luxury sports vehicles weren’t on auction. Tweeting from the sheriff’s premises in Verulam, author and blogger Sarah Britten (@Anatinus) said: “Buyer of 3 Series has discovered that there’s all sorts of stuff missing from the engine. Paid R15.5k for it… Passenger seat in the 3 Series is broken. Presumably Khulubuse went for rides in it. A condom and bath soap were found in it.” The Sunday Times reported that Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Zondwa Mandela, Zuma’s business partner in the embattled mining group, would also be targeted. Both allegedly owe “a fortune” to creditors after their venture in the Grootvlei mine in Springs collapsed. These three BMWs were sold on auction. INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS In January, Aurora was ordered to pay Protea Coin Security R10m it was owed. When it failed to pay up, Protea Coin went back to court and targeted both Zuma and Mandela personally. Britten later tweeted: “Friend calculated the total from the Khulubuse auction and it comes to just over R160k. Not quite the R10 million he owes Protea.” The STAR Comments by Sonny This is how the ANC elite think the are above th
e law & the poor!! Their reign will also come to an abrupt end..... SOON!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Decoding Kgalema: Enigmatic pretender to the throne


Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe's left-leaning politics, policy positions and fitness to govern have come under scrutiny since he recently informed his confidants in the ANC that he was ready to challenge Jacob Zuma for the party's highest position in Mangaung at the end of the year.

Motlanthe remains an enigma and not much is known about him, his ideological approach on issues, or his position on the democratisation and socioeconomic transformation of South Africa.

Motlanthe, whose politics are rooted in the internal mass democratic movement that challenged the powerful state during the last days of apartheid, has so far not publicly announced his plans to challenge Zuma. But his close allies have indicated that he will enter the race when the ANC officially opens nominations by the branches in October.

The ANC Youth League is leading a campaign to replace Zuma with Motlanthe and ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe with Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula.

The anti-Zuma voices on the ANC national executive committee and national working committee that are calling for leadership change include the party's treasurer general, Mathews Phosa, NEC member Tony Yengeni and Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale.

Motlanthe's supporters in the party argue that he should succeed Zuma because he is worthy to hold the highest office, given his history as a unifier and a strategist of note, and his being without equal in terms of his ability to resolve conflict among warring factions in the alliance.

But there have been controversies tainting his otherwise good reputation both inside and outside the party.

Motlanthe has been closely associated with the ANC front company Chancellor House, which the Mail & Guardian first exposed in 2006. He has repeatedly insisted that the company will not do business with the government, but it continues to benefit from its partnership with Hitachi Power Africa, which won the contract from Eskom to supply crucial components to the giant Medupi power station currently being built. Critics point out not only the conflict of interest this represents, but also the delays in the construction linked to Hitachi Power. Chancellor House has also operated in regulated industries, notably mining, where it may well be able to secure preferment from the government without contracting directly with the state.

Motlanthe was central to the efforts to secure oil allocations from Saddam Hussein for ANC donor Sandi Majali and has never fully answered questions about his role in the apparent corruption surrounding the United Nations' oil-for-food programme.


But his numerous supporters list a number of qualities they believe make him the ideal person to lead South Africa beyond the Zuma years. They say he is not a demagogue, populist or careerist and abhors anarchy, unprincipled behaviour, patronage, palace politics and the factionalism afflicting the party today.

According to ANC senior leader and former Mbombela mayor Lassy Chiwayo, Motlanthe is one of the few leaders in the ANC today who can straddle with ease all classes and sectors that constitute the broader movement. Chiwayo worked with Motlanthe during the turbulence of the early 1990s.

He said: "As ANC regional chair, he played an instrumental role in bringing [together] the different strands of ANC members drawn from returned exiles, political prisoners, underground operatives, mass democratic movement structures, the trade union movement and self-defence units, from which he commanded admiration, respect and support."

Although influenced by leftist theories, Motlanthe's comrades say he is not an outright leftist in the mould of Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. One ANC leader close to the deputy president likened him to Neil Kinnock, the former British Labour Party head who gave Conservative Party leader Margaret Thatcher sleepless nights during her reign.

"He is a product of the left and could be best described as a social democrat," said Chiwayo. "He definitely sees transformation and democratisation beyond the confines of capital."

Former ANC spokesperson Smuts Ngonyama, who worked closely with Motlanthe while the latter was still ANC secretary general, described him as sober, profound, a voracious reader and a deep thinker.

"He is not someone who blows his own trumpet," said Ngonyama. "He is always reluctant to push himself on issues. People ignore him because he is modest.

"He does not put too much [of a] label on himself as a Marxist-Leninist or something. He puts more effort [into] people."

Ngonyama believes that Motlanthe could fix the current crisis facing the ANC as it enters its second century and faces the possibility of losing power at some point in the future.

Many in the ANC and outside the party believe the disciplinary action against ANC Youth League leaders would have been handled differently if Motlanthe had been at the helm. It is understood that he favoured a political solution to the youth league impasse rather than disciplinary action.

Ngonyama, who defected to the Congress of the People after the recall of former president Thabo Mbeki, said Motlanthe did not believe in the politics of factionalism as the practice was destroying organisations.

"Even when we concluded the youth were [being] destructive, he would insist we should give them time to speak," said Ngonyama. "He believes in correcting issues before he takes action. He believes discipline should not be punitive."

Matlala, who was chief negotiator for the National Union of Mineworkers when Motlanthe was the union's general secretary in the early 1990s, said he was a good listener.

"This is why it is easy to associate with him, irrespective of your cluster," said Matlala. "He remains ordinary when he is with the poor and the rich."

Ngonyama said Motlanthe's leadership style had earned him a lot of respect, even among opposition parties in Parliament. "This is because he answers questions [from the opposition] not in a dismissive manner. He is not a man of grandstanding."

Although Motlanthe appears to enjoy wide support, his detractors question his lack of judgment in the Oilgate scandal, the Pamodzi Investment Holdings' R12billion loans scandal and his role in the hoax emails scandal.

Former director in the presidency Frank Chikane, who thinks highly of Motlanthe, wrote in his book Eight Days in September: The Removal of Thabo Mbeki that he had tried twice to warn Motlanthe that the emails were false: "The language used in my name in official communications was so outrageous that no one could ever believe them. In fact, the emails were like cut-and-paste texts."

Motlanthe's detractors say he upset a lot of ANC leaders after he distributed copies of the email at an NEC meeting, giving them credence.

The involvement of his romantic partner, Gugu Mtshali, in a scandal -- after she allegedly solicited a R104-million "bribe" to obtain government support for a South African company trying to clinch a R2-billion sanctions-busting deal with Iran -- raised concerns about his reputation as a man of integrity.

However, his supporters pointed out that he acted with integrity when he immediately asked the office of the public protector to investigate any wrongdoing in
the deal.

Motlanthe's critics have also dismissed him as "inefficient, indecisive and lacking a backbone".

An ANC leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the M&G that Motlanthe had not been the best ANC secretary general and accused him of being responsible for the collapse of branches during his term in office.

A political life in brief
Kgalema Motlanthe was born on July 19 1949 in Johannesburg's Alexandra township.

As a student activist, he was influenced by the ideologies of the Black Consciousness Movement and its leader, Steve Biko. He was detained for 11 months for furthering the aims of the ANC and was again arrested in 1977 and sentenced to 10 years on Robben Island.

Motlanthe is a former ANC chairperson of the Pretoria-Witwatersrand-Vereeniging area (now Gauteng), former secretary general of the National Union of Mineworkers and former ANC secretary general, succeeding Cyril Ramaphosa.

Among the leaders who inspired Motlanthe are Rivonia trialist Govan Mbeki, radical ANC leader Harry Gwala, South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani and former president Nelson Mandela.

Motlanthe in his own words

On the ANC's relationship with the Bretton Woods institutions:
"It is very fashionable for people to say that the macroeconomic policy of the country was dictated by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank."

On nationalisation:
"No, no, it's not going to happen."

On the economy:
"Contrary to the view that there must be less state involvement in the economy, the lessons from the recent economic crises corroborate our enduring position that more state involvement is sought to secure [the] orderly socioeconomic development of [South Africa's] citizenry."

On the party:
"Among others, the ANC must studiously avoid substituting itself and its leaders for the people. Instead, it must be a vehicle for the people's aspirations."

On the party's future:
"No organisation is guaranteed eternal life based only on its historic achievements alone, or merely because it fashioned the course to freedom. Organisations are sustained through long-term visions resulting from conscious actions taken today in the interest of present and future generations … The reason for this is that the masses of our people still trust the ANC to carry out its historic mission in a manner that upholds its founding principles, while at the same time keeping tabs on epochal imperatives that beset it."

On the youth league:
"We need the youth league to be militant, determined and creative. It is that kind of youth league that we need. This dynamism of the youth league will allow the ANC to remain on its toes as it moves to accelerate socioeconomic transformation."

On the national democratic revolution:
"But comrades, revolution is deliberate. Revolution is never by accident -- revolution is deliberate and it is methodical. And so it is important that we must always test whether we are organised correctly to advance the revolution."

On the party's renewal:
"An organisation is only relevant to the extent that it is radical."

On the ANC's 100 years:
"Thus the success of the next 100 years of the ANC will be judged on our ability to raise a new generation of South Africans that has equal access to opportunities and development resources to build a prosperous nation."

On the land question and its expropriation without compensation:
"You will not have that outside of the law."

On mining:
"From a national standpoint, the enviable rents from these resources should be used to develop the economy as a whole, not to profit a handful of mining companies."

On global leadership:
"There is therefore a dire need to question age-old doctrines that have occasioned nothing but untold misery for people in the developing South so that we begin to reimagine a new world -- a new humanity -- by values other than greed and sheer rapine." -- Charles Molele, Matuma Letsoalo and Michelle Pietersen

Mail & Guardian

Comments by Sonny

If this is not a reflexion on the facts that Zuma does not accept opposition to his throne, then is is evidence that we are heading for a dictatorship in SA.

Malema seems to have won the first round here!