Women in red

Women in red

The old farts in the ANC benches tried to look nonchalant as a battalion of EFF members – the men dressed in red overalls and hard hats; the women in maids’ aprons and headscarves – took their seats in the National Asssembly for the first time on May 21.

DA MP Lance Greyling had earlier lamented to Noseweek: “They are going to suck up all the media oxygen.” And, indeed, the 25 new kids on the block did just that.

Days after being sworn in, EFF leader Julius Malema was back in the headlines, after having been given more time by SARS to settle his R16-million unpaid tax bill and permission to postpone his sequestration.

And EFF Commissar for Land and Agrarian Revolution, Andile Mngxitama, had written to British businessman Richard Branson to “alert” him that, by buying a 40-hectare wine farm in Franschhoek, he had unwittingly bought stolen property, and the EFF’s land expropriation policy might adversely affect the investment “in the near future”.

Among the 25 EFF MPs to take up seats in Parliament are Hlengiwe Hlophe, Natasha Louw and Magdalene Moonsamy.

Darling, be mine

Darling, be mine

Swartland businessman claims exclusive use of town’s name.

Absolutely no institution will allow the name of a town to be  trademark registered. That’s ridiculous.” So said constitutional law expert Professor Marinus Wiechers in the Boland Gazette on 25 February. In an article, “Businessman wants to make Darling his own” (Sakeman wil Darling syne maak) he was commenting on the fact that a Nico Basson – the man behind Darling Brands, a company best known for the Darling dairy business – is using  trademark law to stop others in the Western Cape town from using the name Darling as part of their businesses or brands. But the prof was mistaken.

Money in the box

Money in the box

FSB top dog, Dawood Seedat, resigns suddenly after allegedly receiving R2 million package in parking lot rendezvous.

Prior to joining the FSB, Seedat was a special consultant to Sars’s investigations division. He is known to be particularly close to forensic auditor George Papadakis (who is contracted to Sars) and to the head of the Sars investigations unit based in Alberton, Pretisha Khoosal. Seedat and Papadakis previously worked together for the forensic audit firm Gobodo on the East Rand. The FSB inspectorate subsequently appointed Papadakis to do several of the forensic audits relating to “Ghavalas Option” pension funds, and appointed him joint curator of Fidentia.

Noseweek has learnt that Papadakis was closely involved in a special Sars audit of Hathurani’s taxes last year, which involved his making several visits to Hathurani’s office. The audit culminated in a special assessment for outstanding tax totalling R214 million, which Hathurani paid in full in March.

Bishops' Old Boys demand special meeting

Bishops' Old Boys demand special meeting

Following Noseweek’s report on attempts by Bishops to cover up and contain the scandal about past sexual misconduct and abuse at the school, old boys are canvassing support for a Special General Meeting (SGM) of the Old Diocesan Union (ODU). They are particularly unhappy with the way the school chairman and its governing body have managed the situation and want greater transparency and fairness.

The purpose of the SGM is to discuss “the apparent violation of the stated objects of transparency and accountability in the ODU Constitution [by] the ODU Committee and its Chairman which resulted in the announcement of Mr Tim Hamilton-Smith’s retirement”.

Resilient's BEE black hole

Resilient's BEE black hole

There's great unhappiness among the black shareholders in the BEE component of the JSE-listed property group, Reslient, who believe they were short-changed.

The Aquarella shareholders claim their shares were worth – and they should have been paid – about R140m instead of the R88m total they received. They say the three BEE entities in Amber Peek should have been paid out R540m in all.

Bobbing and weaving

Bobbing and weaving

Complaints about SA's ambulance-chasing supremo lawyer, Ronald Bobroff, suffer mysterious delays. Until now Bobroff has enjoyed an extraordinarily high level of protection from the Law Society of the Northern Provinces.

Ronald Bobroff has until now enjoyed an extraordinarily high level of protection from the Law Society of the Northern Provinces. They have shielded their former president, who until recently remained an influential member of its council, from the consequences of his many thefts from clients and tax frauds which they have certainly known about since early in 2012.

This “protection” is amply demonstrated by the fact that in 2013 the society’s then president, Busani Mabunda, was willing to lie under oath to the North Gauteng High Court on Bobroff’s behalf. Mabunda, president of the Black Lawyers Association, has been known to describe Bobroff as “the cleverest lawyer that I have ever met”.

It's business as usual at Grid

It's business as usual at Grid

Noseweek had hoped to deliver a tale of forgiveness and restitution this month concerning Bruce Winship’s Grid.

When he said they were organising to square all his old debts by 15 April, we thought that would take a miracle – especially when he told us they would spread the word far and wide that even creditors who’d written off their money years before should lodge their claims and would be met with a “generous” response. 

A month after their unrealistic self-imposed deadline, Noseweek started phoning around Durban and came up with just one happy contractor: Anton Fouche of Industrial Linings, who had been paid about R730,000 of the money due to him.

 

More heat than light

More heat than light

A South African entrepreneur claims the solar jar he invented is being undercut by cheap Chinese knock-offs. But, as Helen Grange discovers, there may after all be nothing new under the sun.

South African entrepreneurs are increasingly threatened by Chinese products that are apparent replicas of their own ideas, but sell for far less. One of them is engineer Harald Schulz, whose well-loved Consol Solar Jar now has a close relation, the Organic Soul Solar Jar, publicly endorsed by Carte Blanche presenter Derek Watts.

The Consol Solar Jar is a simple but inspired “green” invention. Solar-powered LED lights are charged by sunlight harnessed through a small solar panel on the lid.

When is a house an eyesore?

When is a house an eyesore?

City officials order owner to clean up his act.

In 2008 Noseweek ran a story about a couple, Koos and Carla Bleker, who had signed a joint will through Absa – each leaving their estate to the other and with Absa appointed executor (nose108). When Carla died the estate was worth very little (just an old house in Oranjezicht, Cape Town) but the fee Absa was proposing to charge – R100,000 – would have forced the 80-year-old widower Koos to sell the house.

The couple’s son, Alex Bleker of Malmesbury, stepped in and fought hard to persuade Absa to renounce its executorship so that he could wind up the very simple estate himself. Absa wouldn’t budge, so Alex eventually had to pay the shortfall after the bank threatened to put the old man out on the street. He did, however, manage to get the fee reduced.

Spray goes astray

Spray goes astray

National health officials accused of incompetence.

The importers of a controversial “immune-boosting” spray that was impounded by the Medicines Control Council (MCC) four days before its official Eastern Cape roll-out to HIV-positive patients with TB, say they have fallen victim to the confusion or incompetence of officials at the national Department of Health.

Referring to the recent intervention of the police and inspectors of the MCC  (nose174), Guy Saulez, aggrieved director of Saulez Agencies CC, importer and distributor of the supposedly immune-boosting Immutides Spray protested: “We have not put a foot wrong but we’ve been absolutely castigated and had our company name emblazoned all over the place. It’s not a scam, we’re not corrupt and there are no tenders involved.”

Risky business

Risky business

Sixty percent of clinical drug trial results are not being shared with the public.

Never mind illegal drugs, prescription medication is being increasingly fingered as a major cause of premature death in rich countries. But they continue to be marketed and sold as though the risks were perfectly acceptable. A website called Rxisk.com could change all that.

“No one knows drug side-effects like the person who is taking a pill. Yet your voice is increasingly being silenced. You and your doctor may have been told there is no evidence linking the treatment you are on to the problems you are experiencing. This is because most data on prescription drugs is owned by the multinational pharmaceutical companies who run almost all clinical drug trials (60% of which are never reported). They simply are not sharing data that may affect their bottom lines.”

Latest reports from Africa Confidential

Latest reports from Africa Confidential

Mid-life crisis as the African Development Bank turns 50.

These are heady times for the African Development Bank. Against a background of resurgent economic growth, the AfDB started to celebrate its 50th birthday at its Annual Meeting in Rwanda in May. The celebration attracted a galaxy of African political and business leaders for some unexpectedly forthright discussions about the state of the continent. Over the coming months, the bank returns to its ancestral seat in Côte d’Ivoire, which it left a decade ago, at the height of the civil war. Over that time, many African economies have doubled or tripled in size, thanks to better national management, a huge boost in trade with Asia and investment by Western companies. That upturn in capital inflows raises questions about the future of the AfDB and other multilateral financial institutions. 

Down and out

Down and out

Two old men emerge from a shed in Sydney, carrying a surfboard bag. In it, almost certainly, is the body of a university student and alleged drug dealer, Jamie Gao, found later that week floating in the harbour. “Almost certainly”, because the three men were captured on CCTV walking into the shed, and only two and a bag emerged.

One of the two is the infamous Roger Rogerson, 73, a rotten cop and former detective who served two prison terms in the ’70s and ’80s but who in the past decade managed to claw his way back to some kind of larrikin hero status, harking back to a nostalgic past when crime was simple and real men were in charge. Rogerson wrote a book, did talk tours and had a “reputational resurgence”, said the Sydney Morning Herald’s editor. But the glamour is gone with the news he was involved in a $3 million drug deal that went wrong.

The man who stole justice

The man who stole justice

Are judges too weak to defend the law against Lennie the Liquidator? One investec victim, Justin Lewis,  fought back vigorously as Katz applied for his personal sequestration to 'cut him off at the knees'. But Katz ...
 
Women in red

Women in red

The old farts in the ANC benches tried to look nonchalant as a battalion of EFF members – the men dressed in red overalls and hard hats; the women in maids’ aprons and ...

Darling, be mine

Darling, be mine

Swartland businessman claims exclusive use of town’s name. Absolutely no institution will allow the name of a town to be  trademark registered. That’s ridiculous.” So said constitutional law expert Professor Marinus Wiechers in ...

Money in the box

Money in the box

FSB top dog, Dawood Seedat, resigns suddenly after allegedly receiving R2 million package in parking lot rendezvous. Prior to joining the FSB, Seedat was a special consultant to Sars’s investigations division. He is known to ...

Bishops' Old Boys demand special meeting

Bishops' Old Boys demand special meeting

Following Noseweek’s report on attempts by Bishops to cover up and contain the scandal about past sexual misconduct and abuse at the school, old boys are canvassing support for a Special General Meeting ...

Resilient's BEE black hole

Resilient's BEE black hole

There's great unhappiness among the black shareholders in the BEE component of the JSE-listed property group, Reslient, who believe they were short-changed. The Aquarella shareholders claim their shares were worth – and they should have ...

Bobbing and weaving

Bobbing and weaving

Complaints about SA's ambulance-chasing supremo lawyer, Ronald Bobroff, suffer mysterious delays. Until now Bobroff has enjoyed an extraordinarily high level of protection from the Law Society of the Northern Provinces. Ronald Bobroff has until now ...

It's business as usual at Grid

It's business as usual at Grid

Noseweek had hoped to deliver a tale of forgiveness and restitution this month concerning Bruce Winship’s Grid. When he said they were organising to square all his old debts by 15 April, we thought that ...

More heat than light

More heat than light

A South African entrepreneur claims the solar jar he invented is being undercut by cheap Chinese knock-offs. But, as Helen Grange discovers, there may after all be nothing new under the sun. South African ...

When is a house an eyesore?

When is a house an eyesore?

City officials order owner to clean up his act. In 2008 Noseweek ran a story about a couple, Koos and Carla Bleker, who had signed a joint will through Absa – each leaving their ...

Spray goes astray

Spray goes astray

National health officials accused of incompetence. The importers of a controversial “immune-boosting” spray that was impounded by the Medicines Control Council (MCC) four days before its official Eastern Cape roll-out to HIV-positive patients with ...

Risky business

Risky business

Sixty percent of clinical drug trial results are not being shared with the public. Never mind illegal drugs, prescription medication is being increasingly fingered as a major cause of premature death in rich countries. ...

Latest reports from Africa Confidential

Latest reports from Africa Confidential

Mid-life crisis as the African Development Bank turns 50. These are heady times for the African Development Bank. Against a background of resurgent economic growth, the AfDB started to celebrate its 50th birthday at ...

Down and out

Down and out

Two old men emerge from a shed in Sydney, carrying a surfboard bag. In it, almost certainly, is the body of a university student and alleged drug dealer, Jamie Gao, found later that ...