Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Corruption in KZN - lawyers charged

Corruption in KZN - lawyers charged
2010-11-22 21:55

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KZN man charged with fraud, corruption

Pietermaritzburg - Three Durban attorneys, arrested and granted bail in Pietermaritzburg on Monday, are to face charges along with high profile personalities previously charged with corruption and money laundering.

Nozibele Phindela, Jabulani Thusi and Ian Blose, who were granted R15 000 bail by regional Magistrate Chris van Vuuren, were ordered to appear with the original accused in the matter on December 2.

The attorney's firm Kuboni Shezi is also charged in the case.

A total of 10 individuals and seven companies are charged on 17 counts of corruption and money laundering. Not all the accused are charged with all the counts.

The original accused include Sipho Derrick Shabalala, former head of the KwaZulu-Natal provincial treasury and Uruguayan Gaston Savoi who along with his Intaka Holdings was arraigned on similar charges in Kimberley.

An allegation is that Shabalala dishonestly accepted or agreed to accept more than R1m from Savoi and/or Intaka to exert influence to grant a tender to Intaka for water purification plants.

Allied to this is a fraud charge in that he by misrepresentation negotiated disposal of R44m poverty alleviation fund money with the effect that the money was paid to Intaka for water purification. Also accused are Busisiwe Nyembezi, a former head of the KwaZulu-Natal health department, and Beatrice Shabalala, wife of Sipho Shabalala.

Attorney Sandile Kuboni, Lindelihle Mkwanazi, a shareholder of Rowmoor Investments, and Yoliswa Mbele, also a former head of the provincial department of health are also the accused in the case.

Another accused is Blue Serenity Investments whose shareholders are Sipho and Beatrice Shabalala.


Read more on: corruption gaston savoi

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fraud, theft, bribery, perjury and ogling porn during working hours are some of the charges laid against more than 20 magistrates.

You're fired!
Commission throws the book at dodgy magistrates, telling them:
Nov 10, 2010 10:07 PM | By THABO MOKONE


Fraud, theft, bribery, perjury and ogling porn during working hours are some of the charges laid against more than 20 magistrates.


19 cases of misconduct range from taking bribes to sexual harassment Related Articles
•Cape magistrates on the wrong side of the law
The Magistrates' Commission told the parliamentary portfolio committee on justice yesterday that it would throw the book at errant judicial officers. It has already fired two magistrates and suspended three. The conduct of 16 others is being investigated.

Two magistrates in Western Cape were fired for lying to the Magistrates' Commission, which oversees the conduct of judicial officers, and to the Law Society of SA, which regulates attorneys.

Their deceit led to them being found to be not "fit and proper" to remain in judicial office.

Andre Louw, a member of the ethics committee of the Magistrates' Commission, said the axed magistrates were Ashika Maharaj, of George, in the southern Cape, and Nathier Jassiem, of Mitchells Plain, Cape Town.

Maharaj, who faced eight charges of misconduct and was found guilty on five, had referred to the death of a man as "good riddance to bad rubbish" while presiding over a case involving a car accident, Louw said.

Maharaj allegedly defrauded clients while practising as an attorney before her appointment as a magistrate, he said.

Maharaj denied making the "good riddance to bad rubbish" remark in a written response to the charge, but confessed to lying about it during her disciplinary hearing.

"She conceded under cross-examination that she had lied. She said it is easier to lie on paper than in front of people. She is now being criminally charged with perjury," said Louw.

His colleague, Hans Meijer, told MPs that the commission had ruled that Maharaj was not fit and proper to hold office and had dismissed her.

Jassiem was exposed as moonlighting as an attorney while serving on the bench, and then lying about it to both the Magistrates' Commission and the Law Society of SA, Meijer said.

During the misconduct hearing, Jassiem claimed that he had been dealing only with estates and conveyancing, and that he was not "practising as an attorney". His explanation was rejected.

"You can't serve two masters," said Meijer. "If you can't make a career choice, we will do it for you.

"He lied. He misled both the law society and the commission. He's not a fit and proper person to hold the office of magistrate."

He said the Magistrates' Commission was investigating a further 19 cases of misconduct by judicial officers across the country, ranging from taking bribes to sexual harassment and presiding over trials while drunk.

The 19 cases include:

ýA Louis Trichardt, Limpopo, magistrate has been suspended and is facing criminal charges after allegedly accepting a R5000 bribe after colluding with a prosecutor and a defence lawyer about the outcome of a criminal case;

ýA magistrate in Cala, in Eastern Cape, is being investigated for submitting a claim for using his private vehicle for official work when he allegedly used a court car; and

ýIn North West, a magistrate in Lichtenburg is facing three charges of theft. He allegedly gave himself powers to adjudicate on any matter, including civil and labour cases.

A Magistrates' Commission member, Steve Swart, an MP for the African Christian Democratic Party, said: "I find these allegations almost unbelievable and shocking in the extreme for a judicial officer to have acted in such a way.

"If the allegations are true, he has no idea how to disburse justice and it's clear there is abuse of office," he said.

A magistrate at the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court is to return to work after being cleared of keeping explicit pornographic material on his office computer.

Meijer said the magistrate did not source the pornography but watched it repeatedly.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

21 359 South African lives lost in World Wars

21 359 South African lives lost in World Wars
10 Nov 2010
Richard Nortje

AT 11 am on November 11, 1918, the guns on the Western Front fell silent, ending one of civilisation’s most costly and greatest tragedies — World War 1.

With the declarations of war in August 1914, South Africa was obligated to join the effort and as early as the September 14, South African troops had entered German-held South West Africa (Namibia). The campaign was successfully concluded in July 1915 with minimal casualties but by the following month a second campaign was launched against German-held East Africa (now Tanzania). Facing a small but sophisticated German force, the South Africans battled against the German guerrilla campaign, made worse by an unpredictable climate, difficult terrain and disease. The 700 South Africans buried or commemorated in the Dar es Salaam War Cemetery bear testimony to the harshness and reality of the bitter struggle.

In August and September 1915 an infantry brigade was raised in Potchefstroom for overseas service. The four regiments numbered 160 officers and 5 648 men and were drawn from the various provinces of South Africa.

Although it was planned to send the brigade to France, in December 1915 they were diverted to Egypt to take up operations against Senussi tribesmen and Turkish forces who were threatening the vital supply and communication route provided by the Suez Canal.

On July 1, 1916, the heaviest loss of life for a single day occurred during the Battle of the Somme, when the British army suffered 57 470 casualties. By this time the South African Brigade had already arrived in France and on July 14, three of the brigade’s regiments entered Delville Wood. Over the next six days, surrounded on three sides, the South Africans would suffer appalling casualties as a result of the constant German artillery bombardments and fierce hand-to-hand fighting. When finally relieved, only 755 men from a force of 3 153 would answer to their name at roll call.

Over the next two years the South African Infantry continued to serve with distinction in France and Belgium, suffering more than 4 000 fatal casualties. Two South Africans won the Victoria Cross for their gallantry deeds.

Apart from the epic tragedy at Delville Wood, South Africa would mourn yet again the mammoth loss of life of her sons when in the early hours of February 21, 1917, the troop transport ship (the SS Mendi) collided with another vessel in thick fog while en route from Plymouth. More than 600 of the 800 officers and men of the South African Native Labour Contingent on board were lost.

By November 1918 the German army was broken and when the firing finally stopped on November 11, the line reached by the South African advance guard represented the eastern most point gained by any troops of the British armies in France and thus allowed them to have the honour of finishing the war at the spear-point of the advance to victory.

Today, 92 years on, we still acknowledge Armistice Day or Remembrance Day or Poppy Day as it is commonly referred to. Around the world, this day commemorates not only the end of World War 1 but also acknowledges the sacrifice paid by all those who died during conflict. Apart from the wreath-laying and memorial services, the familiar poppy is worn during the proceedings, usually ending with a two-minute silence.

This two-minute silence was started by King William’s Town-born Sir James Percy Fitzpatrick. In 1916, while attending a church service in Cape Town, a moment of silence was held for the dead soldiers and years later when he heard that November 11 was going to be observed as Armistice Day in London, he asked for a two-minute silence throughout the British Empire, one minute as a tribute to the dead soldiers and the other for the survivors. Fitzpatrick, the author of Jock of the Bushveld, had been affected by war. He lost a younger brother during the Matabele Rebellion of 1896 and another in the Anglo-Boer war. It was during World War 1 that his son, Percy Nugent George, was killed in action while serving with the 71st Siege Battery, South African Heavy Artillery. Fitzpatrick’s suggestion was taken up and on December 14, 1918, a year after his son’s death, Cape Town became the first city in the world to observe the two-minute silence.

The symbol of the poppy goes back to 1915 when a Canadian soldier by the name of John McCrae wrote a poem about poppies growing on the graves of dead soldiers. He himself would become a casualty of the war, dying from meningitis in 1918. This poem inspired an American poet to sell poppies to the public and give the benefits to needy ex-soldiers. Eventually, the Americans had women in France sewing artificial poppies, with all the money raised going to war survivors. Thus the symbol for Remembrance Day was adopted — it was chosen because of the poem as well as the fact that they were the only flowers that grew abundantly on the battlefield.

Many years later, during the 1939-1945 war, South Africa would yet again pledge her support to the United Kingdom, mobilising her forces to fight in Italian-held Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) and Somaliland. From there, they travelled to the Western Desert of North Africa to face the German Afrika Korps and finally to the Italian mainland where they attempted to make a final push towards Europe.

During both wars, the people of South Africa served all over the world and many died far from home. Commemorated by the War Graves Commission, the number of South Africans who died is 9 445 for the 1914-1918 war and 11 914 for the 1939-45 war.

Percy Fitzpatrick’s suggestion was taken up and on December 14, 1918, a year after his son’s death, Cape Town became the first city in the world to observe the two-minute silence.

Rhino poaching suspect commits suicide

Rhino poaching suspect commits suicide
2010-11-09 23:08

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Marietie Louw-Carstens, Beeld
Johannesburg - A man who was allegedly involved in the illegal sale of rhino horns in Limpopo killed himself on Tuesday night.

Tommy Fourie, 51, from a farm in the Musina district, committed suicide just after 19:00.

Fourie had allegedly sold 36 rhino horns illegally to Jacques Els, a game farmer from Thabazimbi.

Police spokesperson Ronel Otto confirmed on Tuesday night that Fourie had shot himself. He had apparently gone to a hill near the farmstead late in the afternoon.

Beeld has learned that he shot himself with a hunting rifle, after he phoned a friend and told him of his plan.

The Musina police were still on their way to the scene late on Tuesday.

Sale of horns

Fourie appeared in the Musina Magistrate’s Court early in September charged with the illegal sale of 36 rhino horns.

He was released on R5 000 bail.

Els also appeared in the Musina Magistrate’s Court last month and was released on R30 000 bail. Fourie would have appeared in court again along with Els on January 28.

Investigators into a rhino poaching syndicate, of which 11 suspected members were arrested in September, said Fourie and Els are not involved with the group, yet Beeld sources said they are part of the syndicate.

Dawie Groenewald, the suspected mastermind, his wife and two vets from Modimolle are among the 11 suspected members of the syndicate.

Read more on: poaching polokwane

SANDF combat readiness below par, DA reveals

SANDF combat readiness below par, DA reveals

Tuesday, 09 November 2010 16:24
PARLIAMENT - The combat readiness of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) is not up to par, Democratic Alliance MP David Maynier said on Tuesday.
Speaking in the National Assembly during members’ statement time, he revealed further extracts from a leaked copy of an interim report of the national defence force service commission.
The report has not been made public.
“On combat readiness, the interim report found that it is possible that the level of combat readiness in the SANDF is not quite as good as it should be,” Maynier told MPs.
Last week, quoting from the same document, he told the House that morale was so low in the SANDF it “could even threaten state security”, a comment that drew a sharp rejection from Defence and Military Veterans Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.
“The bad conditions of service that David Maynier refers to that he says is a threat to national security is lies being spread to discredit the SANDF and its leaders for political gain.
“We reject the lies and ongoing campaign by David Maynier to negatively project the SANDF. It is a known fact that he hates the SANDF and will do anything to bad mouth and spread lies about the organisation,” her ministry said in a statement.
On Tuesday, Maynier said Sisulu appeared to have “blown a political gasket”. She was trying to persuade South Africans that all was well in the defence force. However, the report showed service conditions in the SANDF were totally inadequate.
“On service conditions, ŠitÆ found that salaries of junior members are totally inadequate, and forced them to live in informal settlements far from their places of work, and that the effects of transport costs significantly dilutes their incomes, leading to social, psychological and family crises.
“The salary situation is so poor that some members state that they would rather have their right to vote revoked in lieu of non-payment of personal income tax.
“The housing allowance is regarded with ridicule, at R500 per month, because it cannot serve to cover bond repayments, and members are not able to get bonds through the commercial banks, given their poor salary levels,” Maynier said.
Responding in the House, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor said Sisulu had taken “extensive steps” to address the challenges she had encountered when she took over the portfolio.
“We have to acknowledge the steps she has taken to improve... the conditions of service, the status of the defence force, and the provisions the defence force require in order to carry out its work,” Pandor told members.
Maynier, who serves on Parliament’s defence portfolio committee, vowed last week that he would not allow the reports’ contents to remain hidden.
“Using successive members’ statements, I will read extracts from the interim reports. These will show not only that the defence force is in deep trouble, but that the minister misled the Speaker, misled this Parliament, and misled the people of South Africa,” he said at the time.
- Sapa