SA legal collaboration with US challenged

SA legal collaboration with US challenged

The Western Cape High Court is set to examine the constitutionality of a collaboration between South African and US prosecutors in criminal cases spanning more than a decade.

The cases flowed from a series of criminal and civil proceedings against Arnold Bengis and his company, Hout Bay Fishing, which collapsed in the wake of the double-barrelled prosecution that began in 2001. The cases related to over-fishing and sanctions- busting and made world headlines when Bengis  entered a plea and sentence agreement with the South African government.

Now Bengis is seeking compensation from the South African government, the ministers of Justice and Fisheries, as well as various officials.

Booysen to sue Sunday Times for massive damages

Booysen to sue Sunday Times for massive damages

The former head of the Hawks in KwaZulu-Natal, Major General Johan Booysen, and various suspended members of the SAPS Serious and Violent Crimes Unit based at Cato Manor, are preparing to sue the Sunday Times and various senior members of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for “massive” sums in damages, following a recent ruling in their favour by the KwaZulu-Natal High Court.

In December 2011, the Sunday Times published a front-page report, written by its investigations team, in which the newspaper claimed to have uncovered “evidence of an alleged ‘hit squad’ operating in KwaZulu-Natal under the ultimate command of the province’s Hawks boss, Major General Johan Booysen.” 

Two months later, specially appointed police investigators had apparently still not succeeded in finding the “hit squad” evidence the Sunday Times so confidently claimed to have, but Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa, nevertheless proceeded to announce the permanent closure of the Cato Manor unit “due to the stigma given to it by press reports”.

Booysen and most of the members of the Cato Manor police unit were arrested shortly afterwards, in a manner designed to ensure maximum media exposure.

 

Fencing with the actual truth

Fencing with the actual truth

Property developer Bruce Winship’s multi-billion-rand building firm, Grid Construction, habitually short-changes many of its sub-contractors and appears not to care if it drives them to bankruptcy – as exposed by Carte Blanche. In nose173 it was revealed that Winship’s dubious business ethics fly in the face of the values he claims to promote as a trustee of pop evangelist Angus Buchan’s Shalom Ministries, and as a former spokesman for Buchan.

It seems Buchan has been too busy with other matters to address the issue. But, as everyone knows, the Lord works in mysterious ways: where his professed messenger has not found the time to go, the Master Builders’ Association (MBA) has stepped in and is preparing to put Winship back on the straight and narrow.

New deal looms on car repair costs

New deal looms on car repair costs

South African motorists could soon benefit from significant savings on vehicle parts.

Noseweek readers should by now have more than an inkling of the remarkably cavalier attitude that motor manufacturers display towards the rights of South African car owners regarding after-sales service, spares prices, workshop repairs and factory recalls. Over the years manufacturers and importers have become increasingly militant in their efforts to force customers to pay dealers’ hugely exploitative prices for services and parts that are often available much more cheaply from other sources.

Punishments, visited upon those with the temerity to try to save money by shopping elsewhere, have included cancellation of warranties. And horror stories abound of franchises refusing to work on cars that have had any repairs carried out, no matter how small or irrelevant, by “unauthorised” workshops. This, according to numerous accounts, sometimes happens irrespective of whether there is still a paid-up service or maintenance plan applicable on the vehicle. 

But the industry worldwide is now no longer satisfied with having its fangs lodged in the customers’ jugulars for only the period of the warranty and service plan, usually between three and five years.

Fear and loathing around Cape Point

Fear and loathing around Cape Point

Sybrand van der Spuy, accountant, developer and owner of Cape Point Vineyards, intimidates his unhappy neighbours with a barrage of defiance, threats and emotional blackmail

Sybrand van der Spuy, “gentleman winemaker” is a man who likes to get his own way. You’ll find him in Noordhoek, Cape Town, where he owns Cape Point Vineyards. He has also been involved in several developments – making a variety of enemies along the way – one reason being that he’s been known to use the developers’ favourite race trick that goes something like this: Stop opposing my commercial plans or I’ll put sub-economic housing here; I’ll tell the poor you’re depriving them of jobs; and I’ll arrange for them to protest outside your property.

Van der Spuy is equally firm with officialdom. In 2012, after the city issued an order that he stop hosting certain events at his wine estate, he sent a defiant email to various city officials and Noordhoek residents: The letter featured a range of “weapons” in his arsenal of persuasives – defiance, threats and emotional blackmail.

What the Aussies can learn from us

What the Aussies can learn from us

When an idealistic young South African human rights lawyer, fresh out of apartheid South Africa, arrives in the relatively tame Antipodes, what does she do with her talents ? Andrea Durbach (defence attorney in the infamous Upington 25 trial in the mid-1980s) found that  Down Under there’s still much to do on the human rights front.

“When I come back to South Africa and see how race is discussed – with such a robust understanding and a thrashing out of all the issues – I realise that Australia has a great deal to learn from South Africa.”

What she’s found on her more recent visits – in between witnessing the full range of South African issues: desperate unemployment; inequality; escalating protests; and brutal crimes – “is that at least people are thrashing out the raw issues related to race”.

By comparison, she says, Australia is a country in deep denial about its serious race issues.

Latest reports from Africa Confidential

Latest reports from Africa Confidential

Chinese Checkers. Millions at stake in Mugabe game

Zimbabwe has confiscated the platinum and copper interests of Hsieh Ping-sung without compensation after a fall-out with President Robert Mugabe and his family, Africa Confidential learned recently. Mugabe and Hsieh, a Taiwanese-born South African, are locked in a legal battle in Hong Kong over a flat which Mugabe claims was held for him in trust by Hsieh’s company, Cross Global, but which Hsieh now says he owns.

Lady Justice turns blind eye

Lady Justice turns blind eye

Reclusive judge turns blind eye to her own eviction notice and sits tight and ignores threatened legal action.

Cape Town businesswoman Lizette Piha was delighted when she was told she’d be getting a judge as a tenant in her Bloemfontein townhouse. But ever since Free State High Court Judge Shamin Ebrahim moved in just over a year ago, Piha has had one problem after another with the tenancy, to the point where she eventually decided she’d rather sell up and be done with it.

But she can’t sell because Judge Ebrahim is refusing to vacate the premises. This is despite several formal notices of termination of lease (which, in any event, had reached its expiry date) and despite several attempted interventions by the Judge President of the Free State.

Officials push illegal medication

Officials push illegal medication

Cash Cows are in force as Eastern Cape health officials try to milk TB patients by using illegal drugs. Only intervention by the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), prevented the government and top health officials in ...
 
SA legal collaboration with US challenged

SA legal collaboration with US challenged

The Western Cape High Court is set to examine the constitutionality of a collaboration between South African and US prosecutors in criminal cases spanning more than a decade. The cases flowed from a ...

Booysen to sue Sunday Times for massive damages

Booysen to sue Sunday Times for massive damages

The former head of the Hawks in KwaZulu-Natal, Major General Johan Booysen, and various suspended members of the SAPS Serious and Violent Crimes Unit based at Cato Manor, are preparing to sue the ...

Fencing with the actual truth

Fencing with the actual truth

Property developer Bruce Winship’s multi-billion-rand building firm, Grid Construction, habitually short-changes many of its sub-contractors and appears not to care if it drives them to bankruptcy – as exposed by Carte Blanche. ...

New deal looms on car repair costs

New deal looms on car repair costs

South African motorists could soon benefit from significant savings on vehicle parts. Noseweek readers should by now have more than an inkling of the remarkably cavalier attitude that motor manufacturers display towards the ...

Fear and loathing around Cape Point

Fear and loathing around Cape Point

Sybrand van der Spuy, accountant, developer and owner of Cape Point Vineyards, intimidates his unhappy neighbours with a barrage of defiance, threats and emotional blackmail Sybrand van der Spuy, “gentleman winemaker” is a man ...

What the Aussies can learn from us

What the Aussies can learn from us

When an idealistic young South African human rights lawyer, fresh out of apartheid South Africa, arrives in the relatively tame Antipodes, what does she do with her talents ? Andrea Durbach (defence attorney ...

Latest reports from Africa Confidential

Latest reports from Africa Confidential

Chinese Checkers. Millions at stake in Mugabe game Zimbabwe has confiscated the platinum and copper interests of Hsieh Ping-sung without compensation after a fall-out with President Robert Mugabe and his family, Africa Confidential ...

Lady Justice turns blind eye

Lady Justice turns blind eye

Reclusive judge turns blind eye to her own eviction notice and sits tight and ignores threatened legal action. Cape Town businesswoman Lizette Piha was delighted when she was told she’d be getting a judge as ...