Thursday, February 27, 2014

Five killed in Limpopo explosion

No fear No Favour No Explosions........

Thursday 27 February 2014 - 7:14am  JOHANNESBURG SOUTH AFRICA

Govan Whittles 

JOHANNESBURG - Four police officers have been killed and three more rushed to hospital after a massive explosion on the N1 highway in Limpopo during the early hours of this morning.
It’s understood a grocery truck collided with another truck carrying blasting cartridges at around 1am on the stretch of tarmac between Mokopane and Polokwane.

Police were called to the scene and after they arrived, the truck carrying the cartridges exploded.

The four officers were killed instantly.
The police’s Ronel Otto says three others were injured and taken to hospital.

The driver of the grocery truck was in a critical condition, but died this morning.

Otto said, "The explosion caused a crater in the road and parts of the trucks are being found over 300m away."


Police Investigating After Five Killed in Limpopo Highway Explosion

    Posted date:  February 27, 2014

The explosion was reportedly caused by a collision between a grocery truck and a truck carrying explosives. The explosives went off after police arrived on the scene. Four police officers were killed as well as the grocery truck driver.
The explosion ripped a crater into the road, and flung truck parts as far as 300 metres, said Limpopo police on Thursday. Three private cars were also reportedly damaged in the explosion.
In addition to the five killed three people were seriously injured and transported to hospital. One of the three is a police officer.
Police are investigating the incident and the N1 in that section is closed to traffic as forensic officers are on scene.

Five killed, three hurt in N1 explosion near Mokopane

Editor's update: This article has been updated with injured persons and a statement from Acting Government Communication and Information System CEO Phumla Williams and Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa. 

MOKOPANE - Five people have been killed and three injured in an explosion on the N1 near Mokopane in Limpopo. Four of those killed were four police officers.
They were attending to the scene of an accident after two trucks travelling in opposite directions crashed.
Police spokesperson Hangweni Mulaudsi told eNCA the officers had been attending the scene when one of the trucks carrying explosives detonated. He said those who were injured were taken to the Polokwane Medi Clinic for treatment. They were said to be in a serious but stable condition.
The N1 has been closed between Polokwane and Mokopane.
In a statement released by the government Acting Government Communication and Information System CEO Phumla Williams said, "It's a sad day for government and the people of the country to have lost men in the line of duty. Government offers its deepest condolences to the families and friends of the deceased. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. Government is confident that the South African Police Service will thoroughly investigate the incident." 
In a seperate statement Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa also offered his condolences to the families of those who died. 
"We are deeply saddened about this tragic loss of lives of our members, who died whilst on duty.  In their pursuit for safety, they served with dedication right until their untimely passing," read the statement. 
"Our hearts are filled with grief and sorrow because our nation, the South African Police Service and the people of Limpopo have been robbed of these dedicated members. On behalf of the police leadership, management and staff of the South African Police Service, I wish to convey our deepest condolences to the families."
According to the statement Mthethwa was currently on route to Limpopo accompanied by the National Commissioner of Police, General Riah Phiyega. In addition, members of the Employee Health and Wellness team were also en route to the scene to offer the councelling to the families of the deceased. 
We'll bring you more details on that story as soon as they become available.




Wednesday, February 26, 2014

HANNIBAL ELECTOR: THE SPOILER — Prince Mashele reads the ANC’s last rites

No fear No Favour no ANC please.........

Richard Poplak South Africa  26 February 2014  00:54

Midrand Group’s think tank wizard, Prince Mashele, has co-written a new book called The Fall of the ANC. The text is an unbroken indictment of a very broken political party, and if the doyen(ne)s of Luthuli House hated him before its publication, there’s no word for what they think of him now. Could he be the spoiler the party fears? By RICHARD POPLAK.

We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.
George Orwell, 1984
When I sit down at a Tasha’s table belonging to the martial artist who has just delivered the ANC a roundhouse kick to the jaw, I notice beside him a fresh copy of George Orwell’s 1984. Under normal circumstances, I slowly back away from people reading Orwell, because they are not in a happy place. But election season in South Africa does not constitute a normal circumstance—we’re all living the plotline of one or another of Orwell’s novels, Prince Mashele more than most, and I figure that I’ll sit it out and hope for the best.
“I lost my copy,” Mashele explains. “For some reason, I’m going back to the books that I read as a student. They help me understand things.”
If human history is just one endless postmodern meta-novel written by George Orwell—and I’m not saying that it isn’t—then the book Prince Mashele has recently co-authored with fellow academic, Mzukisi Qobo, functions as an addendum one of those dystopian classics. The Fall of the ANC: What Next? (Picador Africa) tells the tale of a ruling party on the cusp of becoming ZANU-PF with a budget. The party’s paranoia is derived from its venality and dysfunction; its enemies—Mashele very much among them—are hunted down one by one. And while the ANC isn’t yet adept enough a big brother to be Big Brother, that kind of expertise can be purchased. As The Fall of the ANC warns on numerous occasions, a dying organism is a desperate organism, capable of just about anything.
And it is Mashele and Qobo’s contention that the ANC is dying. There are more references to cancer than in an oncologist’s textbook, and the prognosis isn’t pretty: “Corruption”, write Mashele and Qobo, “has become endemic in the ANC and so the party cannot cleanse itself without first committing suicide. It must first die before it can have any hope of resurrecting itself with a new, purified soul.”
In other words, this isn’t an encomium. Mashele, a diffident man in professor’s spectacles, has long been one of the ANC’s most consistent critics. He comes from the cloistered worlds of South African academia and political think-tankery, and his own career has proved somewhat controversial. As one of the principals of the Midrand Group, he has recently been embroiled in some unpleasantness with a Mbeki—in this case the intellectual Moletsi Mbeki, for whom Mashele acted as CEO at the Forum for Public Dialogue. The falling out was due to a study of Cosatu shop stewards, which revealed that the union’s rank and file were markedly anti-Zuma in the run up to the Mangaung conference. According to Mashele, Mbeki did not want to publish the report pre-Mangaung, because it might compromise his alleged BEE dealings with Numsa’s financial wing, a powerful Cosatu affiliate. (The minutes of a contentious meeting between the two was leaked to the Mail & Guardianlast year). The accusations are still dinging around boardrooms and legal offices, but the resulting distraction from actual political analysis has been welcome, at least as far as members of the ANC are concerned.
“It’s been ugly,” Mashele tells me. “Since then, I have even heard that I’m deep undercover for the National Intelligence, and I’m actually working for the ANC. But you know, if you read the book, perhaps you would feel otherwise.”
You almost certainly would. The Fall of the ANC is a rollicking, sick-making picaresque that drags us through the earliest days of this country, when “white minority capital” asserted itself of the shores of the Cape of Good Hope, all the way up to the building of Nkandla—a historical narrative that Mashele and Qobo consider uninterrupted by democracy in 1994. Rather, they take pains to portray a country that has always been run by elites for elites, regardless of whether the Big Men used the language of racial supremacy or neo-liberal mumbo-jumbo as their ideological cudgel.
And while no one comes out of this book looking good—not Helen Zille, not Nelson Mandela, not even the average South African, who has been content to sit on her ass for 20 years and watch the joint get fleeced by her so-called leaders—it’s not called The Fall of the ANC for nothing. The authors describe a liberation movement that is too incompetent to govern. And although the ANC fought for the end of Apartheid, it did notbring about the end of Apartheid—a vital distinction. The party was forced to scramble into the role of governing party, wholly unprepared for the task.
“What should have been done following the adoption of the Freedom Charter [of 1955]”, write Mashele and Qobo, “was the conversion of the Charter…into a practical programme for a ‘government in waiting’. There was ample time to do this. The party was more preoccupied with myth=making, however, toying with the impossible task of taking over the country through the barrel of a gun. Even when it had operated underground for more than 20 years, the ANC still did not imagine itself as a government-in-waiting. There is no documentary evidence to demonstrate that they did.”
In other words, myopia and hubris were genetic defaults that metastasised into systemic problems that cannot be cured by any means of medicine. Whether it was Mandela’s “over-moralising” or the “thick layer of mediocrity and incompetence behind Mbeki’s intellectual glitter”, the party was never worth more than the myth of its liberator status. Almost nothing they’ve done in power or out of it constitutes actual governance, according to the authors. Short of taking a principled and fearless stand against white supremacism 100 years ago, everything the ANC has done has been really, really, really bad.
But nothing—absolutely nothing—has been worse than the party’s wealth redistribution policies, the Black Economic Empowerment programmes that have proved to be the crony-capitalist’s bottomless ATM. Put the following on a green and yellow t-shirt and parade it about a rally:
The worst thing about the ANC is that the blacks it has been enriching are not really engaged in production; they wear suits and wait for deals and easy money from their real bosses—white entrepreneurs. Blacks who have benefited from BEE schemes are, in the main, politically connected to the ANC. [I]n truth, BEE has in our opinion been a redistribution scheme for ANC leaders and cronies; the word ‘black’ has been used to legitimise what is in reality a sordid money affair. To encourage them to co-operate in this dirty scheme, 17 million poor blacks are ‘bribed’ with social grants, grants that will never dig these poor black people out of their dark pit of poverty. So while the social structure has its origins in the Apartheid order, the slow pace at changing it is attributable to bad policies and wrong priorities of the ANC government. It is as if the ANC is intent on colluding with the past as a means of keeping its nationalism aflame.
In a recent op-ed in the New York Times, former Senior Editor Bill Keller noted that South African democracy is in its “adolescence”, as if political systems follow the same development patterns as human beings, or elephants. Time and again, Mashele and Qobo rubbish this idea, reminding us that 20 years is, in fact, a political eternity. It took Park Chung Hee 18 years to completely redesign South Korean society, negotiating geopolitical situations so complex that it’s a wonder the country survived at all. In three decades, China’s social institutions—to say nothing of its physical landscapes—have changed completely. And while those countries were reformed (or deformed, depending on your view of China) under authoritarian regimes that burned through humans like tinder, Germany managed to reintegrate its formerly communist east under the very system of social democracy that the ANC insists it practices. Twenty years ago, Keller’s own New York City was a war zone, with over 2000 murders a year. Now, it’s an open-air food court for Goldman Sachs employees.
There are functional democracies and unworkable democracies, but the idea that South Africa has to grow into a governance system is both demeaning and illusory. Very few nations have entered into a democratic age with as much fanfare and lofty rhetoric as this one did—the system was neither imposed from afar nor debated much from within, regardless of how many commies were knocking on the door brandishing copies of Lenin’s What is to be done? If, as the Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen believes, “freedom is development”, than the lack of basic service delivery constitutes a form of oppression no different in practice from that of the Apartheid regime.
According to Mashele and Qobo, the ruling party’s sins are clear: overreach and avarice, among dozens of other, smaller misdemeanors. There were no governance policies in place when Apartheid fell, and those that came into place later were developed on the fly, without any real consensus. Worse, ANC’s leaders and cadre members equated the nation’s borders with the walls of Luthuli House, and everything within those walls belonged to them. None of the inclusiveness and transparency that marks successful democracies are evident in our institutions or the behaviour of those who run them. The poison of corruption seeps into everything from school lunch tenders to the fluffed pillows in the presidential palace.
So, I ask Mashele, are we kaput? Should I shove a chopstick in my eye and be done with it? Is this country doomed to be flushed down the African toilet bowl along with Guinea and Eritrea?
Scenario A, according to Mashele and Qobo, is nightmarishly simple, an equation I’d describe as status quo + time over rage. Why not visit Bekkersdal to see how that turns out?
Scenario B is by no means utopian, just baseline functional: it sees accountable governing institutions emerging from the death of the African National Congress. This might mean a reborn ANC committed to a new path; a new party (or parties) calved from the old; a DA committed to developing viable black leadership instead of renting it; a combination of the above; or none of the above.
“I have no idea what’s going to happen,” Mashele tells me frankly. But there is nothing far-fetched, he insists, about believing that in the next 20 years, all of our maligned institutions—from education to service delivery to the mores of government itself—can be entirely reformed. And he’s right. History insists that two decades can prove an epoch. In South Africa’s case, it’s an epoch we’ve just blown.
If The Fall of the ANC is occasionally too glib, too shrill, and missing the precision needed for a definitive takedown; it’s clouded by melancholy and rage that make it a propulsive read. Prince Mashele clearly takes no delight in the death he takes 200 pages to describe. After all, watching a sun explode is a terrifying business. “I’ve got three daughters,” he tells me, “and their futures are tied to this country. I’m very worried. I would like to see a better South Africa, with better leadership. You can’t draw satisfaction when the country is burning.”
This is version of a statement many people have offered me over the course of this election campaign. Which brings us back to the copy of1984 lying on the table of a sun-dappled salad restaurant.
“This guy—Orwell—how could he write as if he had South Africa in mind back then?” asks Mashele. “Because there are days with I think, no, I am the crazy one. This book and other books like it give me space to think dispassionately, and I think—wait! I am not mad! They are mad, but I am not. I am the sane one.”
He will take some small solace, then, from the book at his side.
“Being in a minority, even in a minority of one, did not make you mad,” wrote Orwell. “There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.” DM
Photo: Cover of The Fall of The ANC: What next? & Prince Mashele.







Sunday, February 23, 2014

A cold case, a sizzling battle: Betty Ketani murder trial, week oneLADY JUSTICE

No Fear No Favour No hidden skeletons in the closet..........

Alex Eliseev  Life, Etc 23 February 2014  06:37 (South Africa)

As the clock ticks down to the Oscar Pistorius eclipse, another trial has started in a court across town. The Betty Ketani 'cold' murder case is a fountain of intrigue which splashes higher and higher with each passing court day. It also shows how quickly the legal advantage can swing from one side to the other and all the way back. ALEX ELISEEV suggests that those planning to follow the Oscar show should brace themselves for the ride.

After two years of suspense, the Betty Ketani trial finally began last week. Of course it was two years for all of us, but for her family it’s been almost fifteen years of waiting for some kind of closure. Ketani, a mother-of-three and head chef at Cranks restaurant in Rosebank, disappeared without a trace on May 20, 1999.
Thirteen years later, a confession was found hidden under a carpet and shook a deeply slumbering case wide awake. A few weeks later, six men were behind bars for her kidnap and murder, including the alleged author of the confession, two policemen brothers and by now the group's least popular member, the man who hid the confession and forgot all about it when he moved houses.
There is no doubt that this is a one-in-a-million case, as state prosecutor Herman Broodryk SC has been quoted saying. The way Ketani survived the first attempt to kill her and was then snatched for a second time from hospital; the bones which were send for DNA tests to Bosnia; the handwriting analysis which has been going on behind the scenes; the other abductions and tortures; the fact that three of the accused have flipped; and that prosecutors are aiming for a murder conviction without a body, motive or murder weapon all make up a crime thriller like no other.
And all of it with a confession that began with the words, “If you are reading this then I am dead.”
In the corridors of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) the trial has been referred to as a “battle of the lions” because Broodryk is up against Laurence Hodes SC, one of the most experienced defence advocates in the land. Both men have collected a mountain of experience and are capable of putting on a spectacular legal showdown. Admittedly, so far, they have only growled and scratched each other in court, with the real brawl still looming.
The state opened its case with a policeman who brought with him the original, yellowing police forms which were filled in when Ketani vanished. Up next was Ketani’s brother, who reported her missing. Fast forward thirteen years… and the third witness was the supermarket chef whose family discovered the letters while ripping up the carpets. He identified the confession before court as the very same one he unearthed in March 2012.
Carrington Laughton is the alleged mastermind of the crime (he categorically denies it) and the alleged author of the confession (he denies that too). The fourth witness was his ex-wife, Jayne Laughton, who identified his handwriting and signature and gave a fascinating glimpse into the man behind the headlines. (Remember how Glenn Agliotti’s ex-fiancée was the one to sink Jackie Selebi in his corruption trial?).
The state then summoned Claudia Bisso, a forensic anthropologist, archeologist and specialist in osteology. In other words, a bones expert. Bisso was a stupendous witness, impressing all sides with her knowledge and experience (she’s worked in Bosnia, Kosovo, Sierra Leone and the Congo, to name a few places, and is currently helping the NPA locate and exhume victims of the Apartheid regime).
Ketani is believed to have been buried in a shallow grave at the same Kenilworth house where the confession was found. A few years later, her body was dug up and disposed of. The grave was excavated several times and eventually, in July 2012, six small bones were discovered and sent to the International Commission on Missing Persons in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, home to the world’s best DNA scientists.
Bisso had been called to the scene to identify the bones as human, which she did. She also testified that the way the police handled the final excavation was “perfect”, given that the site had already been disturbed. The defence is arguing that the crime scene was contaminated and therefore anything found there is meaningless.
As Bisso walked out of the witness box, the state’s case was a steady train steaming along the railway, witness after witness. As expected, Hodes was putting up a mighty fight. He is very, very good at what he does. But there had been no major upsets and, whatever the judge makes of them in the end, the witnesses had stood their ground.
Then came Teunis Briers, a veteran of the police’s forensics laboratory in Pretoria and the man who dug the grave, found the bones, sealed them and kept them safe. Briers was a vital witness, given the defence’s attack on the chain of evidence.
Briers was on the back foot from the word go. He had made a couple of typos in his original statement and had been forced to write a second one to clarify the mistakes. Hodes feasted on this, before clawing at the way the excavation was handled, why only three (not six) bones were photographed and why there was confusion about the date of the dig. Briers fought back with the ferocity of a meerkat. Despite Bisso describing his excavation as “perfect” (mighty high praise from a global expert) he failed to defend it with vigor. And then came the real drama…
Ketani’s three children all gave DNA samples to the police, which were later sent to Bosnia by Briers’ department. The samples were drawn in the Eastern Cape and brought to Pretoria. There, Briers opened them up to take out a police report (a J88), which had been sealed with the samples by mistake. He took new evidence bags, sealed them up and sent them on their way. But the problem is that, despite physically standing in court to explain this, he hadn’t done so in his statements and Hodes immediately claimed that the “chain was broken”.
In a drunk driving case,” he declared, “if the seals don’t add up, the chain is broken and the accused goes free.”
Broodryk immediately jumped in to try to rectify this, but Hodes objected, arguing that it amounted to introducing new evidence. The lions found themselves in legal deadlock and the judge asked them to prepare arguments, which will be heard later on and settled by the court. As things stand, the DNA leg of the state’s case is in danger, which is serious, given that Ketani’s body was never found and the state’s case relies on a great deal of circumstantial evidence.
So imagine: a one-in-a-million chance discovery of a confession hidden under a carpet; a two-year investigation; DNA tests carried out in Bosnia (only a handful from South Africa have ever been sent there); hope for Ketani’s family reignited; and now the way a single police officer sealed a couple of little bags has turned out to be a stone along the railway, possibly something even more damaging.
It’s far too early to say what kind of effect this will have on the Ketani trial or even who will get their way once arguments over this dispute are heard. But there are important lessons here:
Don’t make hard and fast assumptions about any case until it is heard in full. Don’t allow your mind to be made up after each witness has testified. Expect twists and turns. Expect a fierce fight by the defence, which can swing a case back and forth. Accept that witnesses can make or break cases. And don’t invest all of your emotions into the day-to-day roller-coaster ride… save some for your own life. DM
To read all about the Betty Ketani murder mystery, go
To follow the trial: @alexeliseev and @ewnreporter
Alex Eliseev is an Eyewitness News reporter.
Photo: Betty Ketani's ID photo and the shallow grave she was allegedly buried in for a few days.



A Labour Dispute gone viral?

This Cold Case was dying to stay unsolved!





Jeffery responds to De Klerk

No Fear No Favour No Traitors please......

Sapa | 23 February, 2014 14:20

FW De Klerk
Image by: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

Concerns that President Jacob Zuma's government is undermining the independence of the courts are baseless, Deputy Justice Minister John Jeffery has said.

"Comments such as these are ironic, particularly in view of what our courts and judiciary looked like under the previous dispensation," he said while delivering the Dullah Omar Memorial Lecture in Durban on Saturday.
"The FW de Klerk Foundation criticised the current structure and composition of the Judicial Service Commission because, they argue, the fact that there are politicians who serve on the JSC amounts to political interference, which, according to the foundation, threatens to chip away at the foundations of our constitutional democracy."
Jeffrey said under the apartheid regime, judges were appointed based on race, not merit.
"The process for appointing judges is outlined in the Constitution.
And it is a much more open, consultative and transparent system," he said.
"To accuse the ANC of chipping away at the foundations of our constitutional democracy, when it follows the procedure as set out in section 178 of the Constitution is simply absurd.
How can it be unconstitutional to follow the Constitution?"
He said under Zuma's leadership, South African courts had become more independent, representative, accessible and legitimate.
Last month, former president FW de Klerk criticised the African National Congress for discriminating against people based on race.
"These policies, in the ANC's so-called second phase of transition, are overtly directed against South African citizens on the basis of their race," De Klerk said in Cape Town on January 31, in a speech to mark 20 years of democracy.
"That is unconstitutional and the antithesis of the goal of national reconciliation."
De Klerk, who unbanned the ANC and released South Africa's first black president Nelson Mandela from 27 years in prison in 1990, said South Africa had failed to provide decent education and jobs.
The time had come for "serious talks" between the government and all those targeted by its version of transformation, such as farmers, the media, civil society organisations, and small and large businesses.
"We have failed to provide all but a small percentage of our children with decent education," he said.
De Klerk, who shared the Nobel peace prize with Mandela in 1993, said South Africa's greatest transformation failure was that it was now a more unequal society than in 1994.
He referred to the country's Gini coefficient or measure of income inequality.
"Our Gini coefficient of 0.7 makes us one of the most unequal societies in the world."
The closer the coefficient is to one, the higher the inequality in a country.
"The main beneficiaries of affirmative action and black economic empowerment have been the emerging black middle class and elite, and not the vast majority of truly disadvantaged South Africans."
He said, however, that the ANC had achieved remarkable successes since it came to power under Mandela in 1994, including building 3.5 million new homes, providing electricity, water and sanitation to 80 percent of the population, and extending social grants to more than 16 million people.
Abdullah Mohamed Omar, better known as Dullah Omar, was a South African anti-apartheid activist, human rights lawyer, and justice minister in Mandela's government.
He died in March 2004.

Times Live


F W De Klerk you should have fore-spelled the outcome of this disaster, yet you and your
BroederBond went ahead and traitored the now marginalised.
Go back to your Jewish and Greek roots and handle your accolades of destruction!

Yes, Zuma is the product of your BETRAYAL!

Yes, you are right, Zuma and his security cluster, selectively hand picked the JUDICIARY!


Sharemax sues over Basson's book- A History news report - 2008- Sharemax property investors misled by 'copy-and-paste error'

Special investigations

Author: Julius Cobbett|
21 August 2008 16:05

Photo: Willie Botha

The litigious property investment company seeks to prevent publication of new book.

Attorneys for property syndication company Sharemax have again sprung into action, this time to prevent the publication of former journalist Deon Basson's book Public Interest Warriors.

Ironically, the action might have the effect of focusing further public attention on the offending book. It could also have the effect of further depleting the time and financial resources of Basson, a longstanding opponent of Sharemax. The two have been involved in extensive litigation. Sharemax accuses Basson of writing articles that are false, defamatory and damaging. Basson accuses Sharemax of poor disclosure and excessive fees on its investment products, among other things.

Sharemax's attorneys Botha, Willemse and Wilkinson applied to the High Court on Tuesday to interdict Basson from printing, publishing, distributing or selling his book. Alternatively they sought to prevent certain chapters being published, which they believe are damaging to Sharemax.

The interdict application was based on an affidavit made by Sharemax MD Willie Botha. According to Botha, Basson's book creates the false impression that Sharemax directors are greedy, untrustworthy, dishonest and opportunistic. Botha also objects to Basson lumping Sharemax with failed and fraudulent investment schemes.

Botha argues that Sharemax is a licenced financial services provider and is authorised to sell unlisted shares and debentures. He says Sharemax has successfully marketed more than 50 property syndications worth approximately R4bn. Botha says that many investors have realised capital gains on their investment in addition to earning income.

He claims that that Basson failed to find comfort in the fact that Sharemax has been assisted by "reputable commercial attorneys" Weavind and Weavind and auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers and ACT Solutions.

The affidavit also contains startling allegations against Basson. Botha claims that Basson tried to "torpedo" a transaction which saw Sharemax investors agree to sell some of their properties. He also accuses Basson of being "in cahoots" with people in the liquidations industry and of promising to write articles that would cause harm.

Basson denies these allegations and responds that what Sharemax might see as a "torpedo", he sees as doing research. "They see you talk to someone and then claim you're in cahoots with them," says Basson. "As far as I'm concerned it's all nonsense."

Botha says that Basson has to this day refused to disclose who is paying his costs of defending Sharemax's legal action against him. Basson denies he is being externally funded and says he's paying all his costs himself.

Basson says he will respond to the interdict application in due course. He adds, cryptically, that it's about time that "many people in the media and at regulatory authorities wake up. Some of them are in for a surprise".

Click here to download Sharemax's interdict application.

Topics: Willie Botha, Sharemax, Deon Basson


The Money Whisperer

Author: Magnus Heystek|
01 February 2013 13:20
Opinion: Deon Basson was right about Sharemax

Sharemax is a Ponzi scheme, a Ponzi scheme, a Ponzi scheme, a Ponzi scheme….

There - I’ve said it, and for the first time it can now be said without fear of being threatened with bullying letters from one of the phalanx of lawyers used by Sharemax over many years.

This is the one consequence of the ruling by the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services (Fais) Ombud Noluntu Bam, who finally had the courage to blow open the festering sore known as the Sharmax Property Syndications with a courageous and honest ruling that sets in motion far- reaching consequences, both legal and financial, for the advisors, directors and other parties associated with this.

The other consequence is that, unless this ruling is somehow overturned by the Financial Services Board (FSB) Appeal Panel or another court, the floodgates are now well and truly open for financially dispossessed investors, particularly in the Zambezi Mall and The Villa, to pursue their claims through the offices of the ombud.

These two schemes in particular had all the characteristics of a Ponzi scheme: investors handing over money in order to get a little bit of their money back. This could only continue as long as there were other investors in the back of the queue to pay the investors in the front of them.

In total about R2.5bn was invested into these two schemes, most of it now simply gone….

For the late Deon Basson this vindication comes too late. His legal battle with Sharemax was a direct cause of his sudden death by heart attack. I was friends with Deon Basson since our days at Beeld in the early 80’s and we often - not often enough now in hindsight - had a beer and a burger, chatting about many things, lately more often than not about his research on Sharemax and his continuing legal battles with it.

For the record: Sharemax was suing him for R20m in damages for alleging that the financial model of Sharemax was unsustainable and in effect…..a Ponzi scheme. I think his estate needs to consider a damages claim against Sharemax and its directors.

His career path in financial journalism took him to the Financial Mail, Finansies en Tegniek and Finance Week amongst others, in the process winning an unprecedented six Sanlam awards for financial journalism. In the end he stopped entering this competition, he told me once, because he was afraid of being labelled a “windgat”.

Along the way he also was made a honorary professor in accounting at the University of Pretoria.

What was worth mentioning was that Sharemax did not sue the publications that carried his articles but Basson in his private capacity, thereby avoiding a long and drawn out legal battle with media giant Naspers. I understand that Naspers abandoned Basson in his financial hour of need. He won most of his Sanlam awards while working for this group and each time he won they would brag about “their” top journo, but when the chips were down they were nowhere to be seen.

The Sharemax lawyers used all the dirty tricks in the legal profession, making the shenanigans of the lawyers in The Good Wife look like the actions of Mother Theresa.

Funded by an endless supply of money they served papers on Basson, often changing their pleadings, requesting postponements etc., all with one objective in mind: to silence Basson and wear him out, both physically, mentally and financially.

In one court appearance the Sharemax lawyers even tried to use Basson’s health (he suffered from a bi-polar condition) in an attempt to discredit his testimony and analysis of their accounting methods.

A week before his death I had lunch with Basson. He gave me some chapters of his unpublished manuscript on Sharemax called “Public Interest Warriors” in order to get my view and to check some facts. There was no need: his facts were meticulously researched.

He also admitted during this lunch that Sharemax was getting to him. Financially destitute, abandoned by his erstwhile employers, most of his friends as well as the regulatory environment, his last words to me were:” Ek is tam, hulle ‘grind’ my nou....”

A week later he was dead, a sudden heart attack.

After his death Sharemax bought the manuscript of Basson’s book from his estate for an amount rumoured to be R400 000. His wife, also suffering financially, had no choice but to sell.

But Sharemax could not stop the tidal wave of exposés now coming at them from many quarters, particularly Moneyweb, the Afrikaans radio station RSG , Finweek and finally at the death, Beeld and Rapport.

The other English newspapers were missing in action in all of this. If you google ‘Sharemax’ on the Business Day website you find only five references to Sharemax, two of them written by the late Ian Fife who wrote about the possibility of Bonatla buying Sharemax. Nothing else about one of the largest financial scams in South African history.

It is my view that Business Day simply ignored this story, as did most of the English press, due to the fact that most of the distressed investors were old, white Afrikaans pensioners, and they could not be bothered with their fate.

It is furthermore my view that were more black investors the victims of the Sharemax scam, the regulators, including the FSB, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Reserve Bank and the Hawks would have stepped in a long time ago. A group of 4 000 Swazi military veterans have lost all their money in this scheme.

Mention has to be made of two other activists in all of this: forensic accountant André Prakke and Moneyweb’s Julius Cobbett.

Cobbett has been streets ahead of any other journalist in his articles on Sharemax and Picvest, the other large failed property syndication. I tried to get other journalists interested into the growing debacle at Sharemax. Cobbett was the only one who got out of his air-conditioned office and travelled more than 40 kilometres to a derelict and dusty shopping Sharemax syndication called The Fern, next to Dainfern where I live.

We were joined for a short lunch by André Prakke, who also worked tirelessly behind the scenes with his razor-like analysis of the financial engineering taking place at several Sharemax developments. In almost all instances could he point out that investors’ interest payments were being funded or supplemented by a secret slush fund, the hallmarks of a Ponzi scheme.

The Fern was a R40m syndication marketed by the Sharemax brokers at the time, with the prospect stating that it was an “upmarket shopping centre fully let with a steady stream of wealthy shoppers from Dainfern and surrounding areas…..”

The only problem was that the shopping centre was virtually empty, the anchor tenant Pick’nPay had left months ago and all that was left was a rag-tag collection of estate agents, hairdressers, a pizza joint and an ATM. Quite simply: they were lying, and so did Willie Botha, previous MD of Sharemax when he was quoted by Cobbett in one of his articles in response to his questions on The Fern.

On further analysis I established that The Fern had a bond of R28m with Nedbank at a fixed rate of 14, 5%. It was broke and underwater but still it was being marketed by Sharemax. Furthermore, on reading through the prospectus it took a while to establish that you were not investing in the property itself but merely lending money to a different company via a debenture which in turn lent the money to Sharemax.

On the phone-in radio programme on RSG, which I hosted Friday evenings from time to time with Andries van Zyl, we were often, particularly in 2010 and 2011, asked our views on the merits of investing in a Sharemax development. The answers were always the same: do not touch it with a bargepole!

Rather invest in a listed property fund, the best performing asset class over ten years or more if you wanted to invest in property, was my view.

This naturally drew the ire and legal threats from Sharemax who insisted on a meeting with Moneyweb and me. A date and time was agreed upon and Sharemax sent a list of 11 representatives from Sharemax who would form their delegation, including Willie Botha.

Feeling a little outnumbered we wrote back to state that apart from Andries van Zyl, executive producer Janine Bester and myself we would like to include André Prakke in our team. The meeting was immediately cancelled with no further explanation. Very soon thereafter the SA Reserve Bank stepped in and declared the scheme to be in contravention of the Banks Act and forced Sharemax to stop taking money from the public. This was the beginning of the end.

For his efforts Prakke had to suffer the continued legal threats from the legal bully boys employed by Sharemax. Prakke tells me that a week after Basson’s death he received a phone call from a Sharemax-lawyer with the ominous warning: you‘re next. He has never been sure if it was in reference to Basson’s death or the possibility of a lawsuit.

The Ombud’s ruling also has dire consequences for Weavind and Weavind, the Pretoria legal practice into whose trust account the investors’ billions paid in terms of an explicit undertaking that no money was to be released until the properties (Zambezi and The Villa) have been transferred into the investors’ name. As we know now the billions of rands that came into the account left it almost immediately.

Likewise the auditing firm ACT Solutions have some answering to do. They too have been reported to IRBA, the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors, to explain their role in this unravelling property scheme.

This is not the last word on the Sharemax- saga. Expect similar developments in regard to Picvest, another failed property syndication which is currently under business rescue. Here too the final words have not been spoken.

*Magnus Heystek is a director at Brenthurst Wealth.



Law firm: Summons against Sharemax

Home News Commercial Law firm: Summons against Sharemax

14 Jan 2011

Weavind & Weavind, the attorneys acting for Sharemax Investments has launched a R9-million damages claim against Pierre Hough, managing director of Chase International, Chase Consulting, financial planner Toffie Risk and Johanna Margaretha Magdalena Bosman, an investor in Zambezi Retail Park syndication.

The firm is claiming R2-million while its seven directors are each claiming R1-million from Bosman, Hough and Chase Consulting because of damages that they allege were a result of Bosman’s conduct.

In its particulars of claim, Weavind & Weavind list a number of statements alleging that funds deposited into the firm’s trust account had been stolen. The allegations were apparently made in affidavits drafted in support of a complaint to the Law Society of Northern Provinces and a criminal case.

Weavind & Weavind says the allegations are wrongful and defamatory and implied that the directors were implicit in the theft and shared the proceeds. It claims the statements were made with the intention to defame the firm and its directors and injure their reputation.

Hough, who had assisted in compiling the affidavits, said that the damages claim lacked substance and merit and he confirmed that all the respondents named in the Weavind & Weavind application would defend the action.

He said the damages claim was aimed at scaring off other investors in the syndication to prevent them from lodging claims against the law firm.

Jaco Fourie, a senior legal official within the disciplinary department of the Law Society of the Northern Provinces says the organisation is awaiting a response from Hough to the allegations made by Weavind & Weavind. Once it has received the response it will present its evidence to a disciplinary committee of the law society.

A case of fraud was opened against the firm after Sharemax defaulted on monthly payments to investors in September last year. The commercial crimes unit is investigating the case.

Readers' Comments Have a comment about this article? Email us now.

It was the illegal release of the trust funds that started the whole feeding frenzy and made a joke of all the investor safeguards provided for in the Unfair Business Practices Act.

Go for them Pierre. You have a lot of support out here - how about us starting a fund to pay a bounty on each one of those involved being put behind bars. - L. Oldacre

Hi, lees News 24 van vandag,kyk in watter weelde leef Botha en Brand,hoe kan hulle met die bedrog wegkom terwyl ek en my vrou, altwee pensionarise, van dag tot dag moet leef op genade,ek kan ook my eiendom verloor,het nie meer n inkomste nie en ons leef op R2,000 n maand.Mense,hoe werk die wet dat skelms ons geld kan vat en daarmee gegkom?

Ek wat n leek is weet nie watter kant toe nie,het probeer werk kry maar is te oud,het 10 jaar terug n hartomleining gehad.Het ook nie geld om n saak te maak nie,glo nie dit sou in alle geval gehelp het nie.WAT kan ek doen,groete. - Willem

Pierre Hough · Chairman and CEO at La Lucia Property Investments Limited

Big deal! I am informed by a Moneyweb journalist that Weavind & Weavind have struck a deal with the NPA in order to avoid prosecution for their part in the Sharemax fraudulent scheme.

They will apparently turn state witness against the directors of Sharemax. As far as the damages action is concerned, they withdrew their claim against Toffie Risk and Retha Bosman in dubious circumstances, and they have done absolutely nothing about taking the damages claim against me any further.
It was a smoke screen, a red herring to detract investors from also not filing complaints against them.
I look forward to see the outcome of all this and who gets egg in the faces.
Reply · · 19 September 2013 at 01:51


Investors are after Sharemax’s legal firm
Home News Commercial Investors are after Sharemax’s legal firm
22 Oct 2010

The attorney acting for Sharemax’s investors, Kobus Schabort has sent a letter of demand to Weavind & Weavind demanding that it repays R1,55-million to 11 investors who deposited money into the firm’s trust account.

The deposits were paid to be part of The Villa property syndication but construction of this centre has been halted after Sharemax stopped paying funds to the project developer, Capicol.

Weavind & Weavind has 21 days to respond to the letter of demand and Schabort says that should he not get a response then he would initiate legal proceedings to liquidate the legal firm.

He says that the investors first had to execute a claim against Weavind & Weavind before making any claims against the fidelity fund of the Law Society of the Northern Provinces.

Sharemax has apparently raised billions of rands for development of the 30 property syndications it has been involved in over the past 13 years but last month the Registrar of Banks stepped in and appointed statutory managers to manage the repayment of funds to investors from its syndications after the Sharemax funding model was found to contravene the Banks Act.

Weavind & Weavind has been identified as the attorneys acting for the property syndication scheme in the prospectuses issued for The Villa and Zambezi Retailer Park. However, these properties have apparently not been transferred to the syndication vehicle. The withdrawal of funds from an attorney’s trust account is prohibited unless the properties have been transferred.

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21 May 2013

Sharemax property investors misled by 'copy-and-paste error'

Sharemax's directors told their auditors they made a "copy and paste" error in the prospectus of the Zambezi property syndication that misled investors about the security of their investments.

This is revealed in the latest determination by Noluntu Bam, the Ombud for Financial Services Providers, in which she orders an adviser, who is an accredited Certified Financial Planner, as well as Sharemax and four of its directors, to make good the loss suffered by an elderly woman who invested in the scheme.
Click to enlarge
The Zambezi property is now an empty shopping centre, and millions of rands need to be spent to rectify problems with the roads around the centre, the ruling reports.

Investors stopped receiving payments in 2010.

In her latest ruling, Bam relates replies from Advoca Auditors, then known as Act Audit Solutions, to her questions about whether the auditors reported the transfer of investors' funds out of the trust account of Sharemax's attorney, Weavind & Weavind, to the developer of Zambezi as an irregularity to the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (Irba).

The transfer was irregular because the Zambezi prospectus stated that investment funds would remain in the trust account of Weavind & Weavind until the property was transferred into investors' names.
Click to enlarge
Property syndicates are also required to keep investors' funds in an attorney's trust account until the property is transferred to the syndicate. This is in terms of a general notice issued under the Consumer Affairs (Unfair Business Practices) Act by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in 2006.

The promise that funds would be held in a trust gave some peace of mind to investors such as 73-year-old Mrs B, who invested R490 000 in Zambezi on the advice of her financial adviser, Edward Carter-Smith.

Bam says most investors would not have participated in the syndicate had they been informed their funds would not enjoy the protection of an attorney's trust account.

But despite the DTI's notice saying it applied to all property syndications, Advoca told Bam it obtained legal advice that the general notice did not apply to the Zambezi syndication or Sharemax's other troubled scheme, The Villa.
Click to enlarge
Advoca also told Bam that the Sharemax directors said the transfer of the money from their attorney's trust account was no reportable auditing irregulatory because the reference to the money being held in trust should not have been in the prospectus and was a "bona fide 'copy and paste' mistake" made during the drafting of the prospectuses.

Bam says it is "startling" that the directors are claiming there was a mere mistake in the prospectus, as it was a material clause and the prospectus had been issued repeatedly between 2007 and 2010.

The ombud says the claim is disingenuous and against the probabilities.

She says the auditors do not give any details about when the error was discovered and what action, if any, was taken to inform investors.

Bam says the auditors did not accept the directors' explanation and reported the matter to Irba anyway. However, they did not report the matter timeously, she says, and they ought to have known that investors' money was being lent to the developers of Zambezi, who used the same funds to pay 14 percent interest back to Sharemax.

In an earlier determination, on a complaint by Mrs S, a widow who invested R649 000 in Zambezi, Bam also asked Sharemax's directors to explain the irregularity, and reported Weavind & Weavind to the Law Society.
Click to enlarge
In her latest ruling she says she found their explanation "unacceptable".

The only reasonable conclusion that can be drawn from the directors' conduct is that they were "involved in a scheme calculated to defraud members of the public", the ombud says.

Bam says Sharemax was a Ponzi scheme and its directors broke the law.

For this reason, as in the earlier matter, Bam found Sharemax and its four directors, Gerhardus Goosen, Johannes Botha, Dominique Haese and Andre Brand, liable together with the adviser who recommended the scheme to the pensioners.

A company trading as Unlisted Securities South Africa, which allowed advisers and brokers who were not qualified to use its licence to sell Sharemax to investors, was also held liable.

Sharemax has appealed the earlier matter.

Bam says Mrs B complained that she and her 71-year-old husband were in poor health and had told Carter-Smith she was a conservative investor and did not want "all her eggs in one basket".

Carter-Smith told Bam that Mrs B had invested in the PIC (Picvest) property syndicate previously and she found the Sharemax syndicate better suited to her needs.

Carter-Smith told Mrs B she could earn a 50-percent return on Zambezi in the first year, and the risks were as remote as that of the banks collapsing

Bam says that, as an adviser with 25 years' experience, CarterSmith should have realised that a return of 50 percent "is ridiculously extravagant" and questioned how it was possible.

She says Carter-Smith failed to comply with the code of conduct under the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act by failing to give advice "honestly, fairly, with due skill, care and diligence".

She says Carter-Smith failed to apply his mind to the fact that Mrs B was a pensioner, unable to tolerate risk, and she had asked for her capital to be guaranteed with some growth and an income. Carter-Smith asked Mrs B to sign a disclosure document that made it clear that Sharemax represented a risk to capital and that income was not guaranteed.

He also failed to offer Mrs B alternative products, Bam says.

Personal Finance

Sharemax law firm register new company
Home News Commercial Sharemax law firm register new company
13 Dec 2010

Weavind & Weavind, the firm of attorneys who act for Sharemax, has registered a new company W and W Associates with the same physical address and auditors as Weavind & Weavind.

The Law Society of the Northern Provinces has apparently not been informed about the new registration. All new law firms are required to register with the law society and obtain a fidelity fund certificate.

Weavind & Weavind recently received a letter of demand for the repayment R1,55-million from a group of Sharemax investors who had deposited money into the firm’s trust account for The Villa and Zambezi Retail Park property syndication.

The letter of demand is a precursor to a possible liquidation application.

Raiford Johnson, a senior partner at Weavind & Weavind confirmed that the new company had been registered but claimed that it had done so to meet any future needs the company might have in terms of expansion or diversification.

He says that none of the directors or employees of Weavind & Weavind have any intention of practising in any other capacity than as directors and employees of Weavind & Weavind.

The dispute with Weavind & Weavind and 11 Sharemax investors is related to a government notice issued in 2006 that prohibits the withdrawal of funds from a trust account before the properties in a syndication have been transferred to the syndication vehicle.

However, neither Zambezi Retail Park nor The Villa were transferred although money was allegedly paid to Sharemax. Weavind & Weavind says the government prohibition does not apply to the firm.

An investor has lodged a claim fro R200k with the fidelity funds of the Law Society and the Attorneys Insurance Indemnity Fund. The same investor has apparently opened a fraud case at the Brooklyn police station in Pretoria.

The case has been transferred to the commercial crimes unit.

Sharemax defaulted on its payments to investors in September this year and all construction work at The Villa and Zambezi Retail Park has been halted. Apparently 40 000 shareholders have invested about R4,5-billion in property syndications marketed by Sharemax.

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Sharemax attorneys deny ombud’s claims of irregular conduct

Sharemax attorneys deny ombud’s claims of irregular conduct
February 4 2013 at 08:00am
By Roy Cokayne
Comment on this story

Legal issues sorrounding Bonatla's proposed acquisition of by Simphiwe Mbokazi 099
Roy Cokayne
Sharemax Investments’ attorneys, Weavind & Weavind, have labelled allegations by the financial advisory and intermediary services (Fais) ombud that the firm contravened the Attorneys Act and a government prohibition as “gratuitous and unfounded”.
Raiford Johnson, Weavind & Weavind’s managing director, said on Friday that the firm rejected the contention it had contravened a government notice issued in 2006 prohibiting the release of investor funds held in trust for investment in property syndications before the properties being syndicated had been transferred into the syndication vehicle.
In a determination released last week, Fais ombud Noluntu Bam concluded that Zambezi Retail Park, which was promoted and marketed by Sharemax, was “nothing more than a Ponzi scheme” in which investors were paid interest out of their own funds.
The determination followed a complaint by Gerbrecht Siegrist, a 67-year-old pensioner from Tigerpoort in Pretoria, who invested R580 000 in Zambezi but is now destitute.
Bam ordered Siegrist’s financial advisor Cornelius Johannes Botha, trading as CJ Botha Finansiele Dienste, Sharemax Investments, FSP Network, Sharemax and USSA director Gert Goosen and Sharemax directors Willem Botha, Dominique Haese and Andre Brand to jointly and severally pay Siegrist R580 000.
Johnson stressed that the complaint related to the role of all the respondents to the complaint, which did not include Weavind & Weavind.
The issues of the determination did not concern his firm “in any way, shape or form”.
Johnson said it was unclear why Bam had found it necessary to accuse Weavind & Weavind of irregular or inappropriate conduct because these were “completely irrelevant to the issues she was required to determine”.
Bam recommended the Law Society investigate the trust account of Weavind & Weavind to establish how and under what circumstances investors’ funds were paid out of the firm’s trust account.
“It is clear the attorneys did not comply with the Attorneys Act and the Law Society guidelines. Nor did the attorneys comply with the investor protection provisions of the Government Gazette,” she said.
Bam said that in the prospectus and the marketing of the Sharemax product, two significant representations were made to the investing public: that their funds would be deposited into the trust account of the attorneys where they would enjoy protection; and that the attorneys, acting independently, had “satisfied themselves that the whole scheme was compliant with the prevailing laws”.
She said the attorneys claimed that the government notice was not applicable to the Sharemax schemes but the firm did not provide any legal or factual basis indicating why the government notice did not apply to the firm.
Bam said Weavind & Weavind’s view on this was also contrary to what was stated in the prospectus and there was a duty on Sharemax and the firm to disclose in the prospectus that the government notice did not apply to this transaction.
Johnson said the government prohibition was only applicable to “public property syndication schemes”, which referred to schemes in which investors were invited to participate by investing in entities “whose sole assets are commercial, retail, industrial or residential properties”.
“The investors who participated in the Villa and Zambezi Retail property syndication were not invited to invest, nor did they actually invest, in the property investment companies themselves. Their investments were in the investment companies’ holding companies, which did not own commercial, retail, industrial or residential properties at all, but only a share in and a claim against the subsidiaries who did own properties of that nature.”
Johnson said the properties were also not the subsidiaries’ sole assets, which also included rental businesses and other property, “such as furniture, equipment and so forth”.
The Law Society had already investigated several complaints against Weavind & Weavind and all allegations made against the firm had been rejected as “being without merit”, Johnson added.

By Paul
Kruger on 4 Feb 2013
in Compliance
and Legislation
It has become a hackneyed phrase to term an event “ground breaking”.
In this instance, I think it applies.
We have for a very long time voiced our concern over the fact that
determinations were only made against the intermediaries involved, especially
where investments were made in what the media dubbed “toxic
In her latest determination, the FAIS Ombud included the directors and
associates of Sharemax in resolving a complaint from a client.
The respondents in the case were:
Cornelius Johannes Botha – the intermediary who placed the investment
Sharemax Investments Pty (Ltd) – product provider and promoter of
investments involved
FSP Network trading as Unlisted Securities South Africa (USSA)
Gerhardus Rossouw Goosen – Sharemax director and compliance officer, and
both director and key individual of USSA
Johannes Willem Botha – director of Sharemax
Dominique Haese – Director, key individual and representative of Sharemax
Andre Daniël Brand – director of Sharemax
I extracted the three
pages containing the issues investigated, and the Ombud’s findings. I strongly
recommend that readers take the time to read it. Please click
here to download it.
The first issue investigated by the Ombud concerns whether non-compliance
with the FAIS Act by the advisor led to the alleged loss by the complainant.
For the first time, it also set out to determine “…the role and consequences
of the second to seventh respondents conduct in this investment, in their
capacities as licensed FSPs, product providers and principals in terms of
Section 13 of the Act.”
In addition, it wanted to determine the consequences of any breach of the law
by the last six respondents.
The findings of the Ombud would be termed “guilty on all charges” in normal
legal language. The list of findings contain the following:
The intermediary contravened the Act by recommending an inappropriate
FSP Network is responsible for the consequences of its representatives.
Sharemax failed to make a full disclosure of the scheme in the prospectus
and investors were misled.
“The directors of Sharemax and FSP Network were aware of the fact that the
scheme was both illegal and not commercially viable and yet they recklessly
took investors’ funds.”
The final conclusion reads: “The directors of Sharemax and FSP Network must
be held personally liable for the complainant’s loss.”
The determination had to be divided in two sections in view of the size of
the document.
In section one, an explanation of what led to the eventual determination is
particularly scathing in so far as the role of FSP Network is concerned. In
particular, its failure to train representatives under supervision is
The Ombud is also convinced that there was no real “arms length” distinction
between Sharemax and FSP Network. Rather than act as a genuine broker network,
FSP Network was intent on selling only Sharemax products.
This determination is bound to raise substantial interest from both legal and
industry circles. One immediate focus is on the possible implications for
intermediaries who recommended property syndications as an investment medium for
In this instance, the intermediary was not absolved from blame. The question
that arises is whether other advisors, such as Deeb Risk, who were previously
instructed to refund clients, can now request joint responsibility from the
directors and promoters of Sharemax. The same applies to those yet to face the
wrath of the Ombud.
In a determination concerning an investment in the ill-fated Leaderguard
Securities, the late Charles Pillai stated that the directors of Leaderguard
wove such an intricate web of lies and deception that neither investors nor
advisors were able to discern between fact and fiction, or words to that effect.
This did not, however, prevent him from finding against those who invested funds
in Leaderguard.
We will be spending a lot of time dissecting this determination. It provides
a whole new perspective on culpability when investments go sour. Of particular
interest is the Ombud’s determination on which party is responsible for payment
to the complainant.
Perhaps, it is the start of a new era where the consumer will at last enjoy
the protection envisaged in the FAIS Act.
On Thursday, we discuss the view of the Ombud regarding the role of the
product providers and directors, and what the term “…jointly and severally, the
one paying the other to be absolved…” entails.


AnonymousFebruary 5, 2013 at 12:18 AM




AnonymousFebruary 5, 2013 at 3:07 AM
Comment as taken from FA News Editor:

"Forensic investigator, Pierre Hough, claims that an offer of compromise to Sharemax creditors won’t resolve problems facing investors in the scheme. Sharemax’s application for permission from the High Court to reach an offer of compromise with creditors may be halted according to Chase International managing director Pierre Hough. He says the planned offer of compromise is trying to legalise an illegal act and is prejudicial to the rights of prospective investors. Hough, who is a business strategist and specialist forensic investigator, alleges that there were no investors or shareholders in either The Villa or Zambezi Retail Park because a condition that had to be met for the scheme to become effective had not been fulfilled. He says this condition was that the properties be transferred to the syndication vehicle and this condition had not been met. He says that in terms of the government notice on property syndications, the money deposited by prospective investors into the scheme had to be repaid to them Hough says that the government notice is clear: the money deposited must be repaid to the applicants and he claims, the issue of share certificates to prospective investors is “highly irregular” and “possibly fraudulent”.( From the internet) Question:The money which was invested in tthe property syndiaction scheme was paid into Sharemax's attorney's trust account. Why must the broker repay the funds invested to the client. Should Sharemax not refund the investor the money they took in as an "investment " which was paid according to the prospectus into the attorneys trust account now that all has come to a standstill. The Zambezi Mall was officially opened last year April 2010.They have tenants ,but it is stated that the buildingwork is not complete.It does not make sense


AnonymousFebruary 5, 2013 at 8:24 AM
A potential investor would be an immediate fool to invest in this fraud ridden Ponzi scheme.....

Let the old investors be paid out their lost pensions before new 'fools' get raked in!

Is this a case of throwing good money after 'bad money?'

OMG what nonsense......