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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Merry Christmas


To all fellow bloggers around the world who are and have become part of my family, the following quote is so true:

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”

– Calvin Coolidge –        

This will be my last post until next year when I get back. Hope you and your families are all blessed in abundance, and that you will all be kept safe and sound over this period

             Christmas tree                   

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Posted by on 20/12/2012 in Uncategorized

 

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South African banks are also corrupt.


Now that Jacob Zuma has been elected to run the country for the next five years one has to wonder if the banks helped fund his election campaign? If he had been kicked out, would they have to call up all the money he owes them.

Some interesting reading in an article published by Stephan Mulholland which makes one wonder about banks who are supposed to be pillars of moral standing – and they deal with our money…..

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Stephen

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THIS IS THE BUSINESS: Our banks sink into a pit of corruption

by Stephen Mulholland, 16 December 2012, 08:53

BANKS have three basic sources of cash: shareholders’ funds, depositors’ funds and other loans and the revenue they earn on these.

This is aided and abetted, of course, by those endless, complicated schedules of exorbitant fees which no one, including those who design them, appears to understand.

Banks are licensed by the state to accept, and safeguard, our deposits and are expected to abide by high standards of probity and responsibility.

Theirs is a sacred obligation, one which is a pillar of any modern economy and whose balanced and moral behaviour is essential if society is to function efficiently.

It was thus disturbing to learn in the brilliant Mail & Guardian report on the KMPG investigation into the financial affairs of President Jacob Zuma and others how some of our major banks played fast and loose with shareholders’ and depositors’ money to curry favour with our political elite.

These bankers ladled out millions to a proven and reckless spendthrift with an appalling credit record, a known defaulter notorious for spending well in excess of his means on properties, cars and so forth while consistently dishonouring his obligations, like any common schlenter.

They advanced him money for one reason only: to buy political capital.

Those banks – Standard, Absa and FNB – are as guilty as sin of influence peddling, a crime in the US and other jurisdictions.

In the full knowledge that Zuma was a totally unreliable borrower, this is what Absa business centre manager Raymond O’Neil put in writing to his colleagues and superiors: “[Zuma’s] bank balance was the last item on his mind, with more important matters regarding the country and the province to deal with.”

O’Neil went on: “We recommend the opening of the Unique package account for Minister Zuma based on his strategic positioning and importance to the group.” This was after O’Neil acknowledged that he was aware of Zuma’s bad credit record with Standard and Nedbank.

It gets worse. O’Neil then told his bank that Zuma was likely to be elected deputy president and that Nelson Mandela was going to settle his debts. Mandela did come to the party with R2-million for Zuma, which then disappeared into various corners but for a paltry R100000 left in the permanently overdrawn Zuma account.

Absa went further and signed Zuma up as a “private client”, a status then reserved for those with at least R1-million spare for investment. Zuma never had R1 to spare, never mind R1-million.

His private client status was noted in the bank’s records as a political decision, which the M&G says was “seemingly in line with [then] chief executive Nallie Bosman’s view, stated in bank records, that ‘in terms of all financial matters’ Zuma was considered a strategic client”.

This “strategic” client immediately plunged into a huge overdraft which elicited this comment: “The conduct leaves much to be desired, but we have little option but to live with this client in view of his position.”

Standard Bank, which apparently escaped unscathed from Zuma’s shenanigans, cancelled his much- abused credit card and obtained a court order against him.

This did not deter FNB from approving a R900000 bond against the fabled Nkandla compound, chicken feed, of course against the R240-million odd of taxpayers’ money now sunk into that remote hideaway.

In support of this bond an FNB official wrote: “I am sure that the powers that be will assist where we need to bend the rules a little.”

Asked for comment last week FNB responded: “When evaluating risk in a loan application there are cases where we apply management discretion and judgment to determine lending decisions.

There are some loan applications that require discretion and our objective remains to ensure we are making the correct decision in determining the likelihood of repayment of the loan. Reference to bending the rules should be interpreted as management applying its discretion.”

It is sad to see our great institutions sinking into that stinking pit of corruption that many of our ruling political elite inhabit. What a sad example they have set.

* This article was first published in Sunday Times: Business Times

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Just a passing thought – what do the banks tell their shareholders when the arrears figures go up, and it is due to the high profile political players not paying what they owe?  And 10 out of 10 to Standard Bank for cancelling his credit card and taking it to court!!

O’ yes, I was told to include a bit about the above views being expressed are those of the author / blogger and that is is not the view of the banks mentioned, and that although it may be acceptable to me it does not represent the views and policies of my employer.

 

 

 
4 Comments

Posted by on 20/12/2012 in South Africa, World happenings

 

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Singing of National Anthems.


How is it that someone is hired to sing an anthem only to have the person make a total mess of it?

Doesn’t the person doing the hiring have a list of potential singers, and then have auditions to see if the candidates at least have the ability to do a rendition of the anthem that does it justice?

It seems that on Sunday some unnamed (at this stage) lady sang the national anthem at the ANC’s elective conference in Mangaung (Bloemfontein) and made a total hash of it.

It seems that we as a nation just dont learn. In 2009 we all had to hear how  our national anthem was totally murdered by Ras Dumisani when he attempted a totally off-key renditioning of our national anthem.

And lets face it, we have plenty of brilliant singers in South Africa that could be called upon to do a good job of singing the anthem. Even our Springbok rugby team would do it better! 🙂

A couple of tweets sum up the general feeling of the population:

Twitter user Khaya Dlanga wrote: “That lady who led the singing of the National Anthem sang like she was a goat about to be slaughtered”, to which another replied that he was being kind to the goat

 

Zelda la Grange, former president Nelson Mandela’s personal assistant tweeted: “This chick can’t sing for shit! #Mangaung” haha!!! Ouch!”

 

 

 
4 Comments

Posted by on 18/12/2012 in South Africa

 

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What a cheek!


 

stirring the crowds

stirring the crowds

Photo – City Press

 

Take me back, I’ll be good – Malema

 

The very cheek of some people never fails to amaze me.

My favourite ‘wannabe president one day’ Julius Malema has now suddenly had a change of heart. He is now pleading with the ANC to take him back into the party.

Yet just the other day he was spouting out against ANC saying that he didn’t need them in his life!

After seeing the newspaper headlines  Take me back, I’ll be good – Malema I got to musing if Malema hasn’t got an alternative motive for wanting to be brought back into the security of the ANC party?

Currently there are more than 60 charges that have been brought against Malema. These include racketeering, money laundering, multiple charges of fraud, corruption, and a small matter of owing the revenue services R16 million in unpaid taxes, penalties and interest.

The charge of racketeering that was added against him is very serious as it carried a possible life sentence.( At least Malema and our president Jacob Zuma both share the dubious honour is being charged with racketeering)

Since judgement was obtained by the revenue services I haven’t heard that they followed through and attached any of Malema’s properties or assets in Gauteng or Limpopo.

Now suddenly Malema and his band of fellow expelled cronies, ousted ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu, and former ANCYL secretary general Sindiso Magaqaare, are willing to behave and act appropriately if they could get their old jobs back. Does Malema really think that president Zuma has such a short memory and that he has forgotten the verbal attacks that he made against the president?

Does Malema think that if he should be welcomed back into the ANC fold that certain high up members will pull enough strings to make all his problems slowly disappear or be ignored? We have seen this happen often enough that it could become a possibility. I can’t think of a better reason for Malema wanting to get back into the ANC party. Never mind that in years to come we might all look back at the ANC and know that instead of being the oldest liberation movement in Africa that they became the most corrupt political party in Africa!

Another thought I had while sitting waiting for the hi-way to be cleared of some serious carnage this morning was: Who is still funding Malema’s lavish life style, as he doesn’t have a paying job or any funds of his own?

 
4 Comments

Posted by on 18/12/2012 in Humour, Musings, South Africa

 

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Musing about some birds in garden


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We have quite a numer of doves that come to visit us early morning and late afternoon. Here is a Cape Turtle Dove (Streptopelia capicola). They have become so tame that they come right into the kitchen to steal the dog food. The rock pigeons still stick to the garden but have in the last week or so decided they dont have to fly away if I walk past their feeding area while looking the opposit way.

Barbet

The Crested Barbet (Trachyphonus valillantii) actually has a nest in a palm tree a few metres away. From the sound coming from the nest (a round hole in the truck of the palm tree) it seems that there are some little Barbets waiting to spread their wings.

I have been putting out an apple a day for the last couple of months and the Barbets are the first to come feed on it before the Blackeyed Bulbul’s make an appearance.

I have to chase a couple of Indian Mynas away on a regular basis as they seem to make it their mission in life to terrorise the other birds. They are pretty intelligent and seem to keep a distance when I come out of the house, yet will sit pretty still when the wife comes out! They have invaded the trees at a hospital nearby (a block away) and early evening they make one hell of a racket but that is a story for another day.

 
 

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Flower photos for a change


The politics and eToll have been in the news this entire week and I’m tired of blogging about it for this week. So here are a couple of photographs of flowers in our garden. I was also trying out my new 50mm lens, which I am really enjoying.

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9 Comments

Posted by on 14/12/2012 in Photo

 

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Unlawful Mining


I have on previous occasions blogged about how the mining companies are raping of country. Since the news of the possible mining broke way back in 2001 we have seen how greed has paved the way for the mining company to get away with breaking a plethora of laws and getting away with it.

And because we are allowing them to flaunt the laws, other mining companies all across South Africa are saying to themselves: If they can get away with it, so can we. A glaring example of this is the fracking debacle taking place in the Karoo.

Here is a copy of the mail I received. Especially for those of you living along our pristine (at the moment) beaches – take note of what is possibly coming your way in the future as they work their way down the coast.

And don’t say in a few years that you were not warned!

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SOS Mtunzini Conservancy

Our Beautiful Natural Heritage

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Dear Friends of Zululand and the environment,

Imagine our natural heritage in KwaZulu Natal – preserved in parks like Umfolozi, Hluhluwe, and Mkuze to mention a few. Think of the incredible privately owned game parks also conserving our natural heritage and underpinning the tourist industry. Picture how these preserves of biodiversity combine with the rural landscape, agriculture and forestry to produce the unique landscape that is KZN and that sustains the tourist industry. But then imagine an opencast mine for 20 years next to a Zimbali, next to Umfolozi, next to Mkuze Game Reserve. What would the impact be on these iconic places, of a development that must destroy everything to extract the minerals required for our flat screen TVs? What would the impact be of such an altered landscape on tourism in KZN and the jobs provided by these national assets?

Is it possible that in KZN, a game park or tourist lodge could suddenly find itself gazing into the void of a mining pit, or looking up at the blunt profile of a tailings dam instead of the natural tree line, while at the same time being buried in dust? Sadly, as things stand at the moment, the answer is yes, and for some the nightmare may be real! In fact it is about to happen to the picturesque coastal town of Mtunzini and to Twinstreams, the oldest environmental training centre in South Africa.

How is this possible in an area where regional and municipal planning have identified agriculture and tourism as the key drivers of development and growth? Well, it is certainly possible in a country where mining often appears to trump all, enabling it to avoid answering the tough questions that the various authorisation processes are intended to tackle. In the end result, authorisation is seldom turned down and is often a box-ticking exercise, and a mine is seldom held to account for the damage it causes.

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The pressure to mine is real and it is growing. Currently there is prospecting on the sea bed off the north KZN coast for minerals and oil, and opencast mineral sand mining all along the east coast on the primary and secondary dunes, and now even further inland next to the Ongoye forest west of Mtunzini. Such rampant unplanned expansion of mining has the potential to ruin the eastern seaboard of South Africa and reduce it to chaos. The potential for sustainable job-creating industries like agriculture and tourism will be lost to short term open cast mining projects.

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TRONOX KZN SANDS

The proposed TRONOX KZN SANDS Fairbreeze mine is a massive open cast mineral sand mining operation situated only 100 metres south of the picturesque coastal village of Mtunzini, and immediately east and west of the N2 freeway – the gateway to Zululand. This open cast mining process is a very destructive, unsightly process with uncertain prospects for rehabilitation post-mining.

It is well known that the Save Our Sands (SOS) Mtunzini Campaign is opposed to this mine in particular, and to open cast mineral sand dune mining in general, on the eastern seaboard of South Africa – with its high population and potential for tourism and agricultural industries. The SOS Mtunzini campaign is currently participating in all the authorisation processes currently in progress with respect to the Fairbreeze mine. Our objective is to get TRONOX KZN SANDS to do a full Scoping and Environmental Impact Assessment, something that the law requires for this scale of activity, but which Tronox has avoided up to now. We believe that only then will there be a transparent and comprehensive evaluation of the project, which will result in it either being stopped, or modified to be less destructive to the environment and amenities of Mtunzini and a wider Zululand.

TRONOX KZN SANDS appears however, to be determined to mine at all costs and as soon as possible. The authorisation processes conducted by TRONOX KZN SANDS appear to be characterised by a lack of transparency, a propensity to take short cuts, and avoidance of the expected legislated process, so denying stakeholders administrative justice and severely prejudicing stakeholder rights – your rights. These are complaints that we have raised at every juncture in the authorisation processes.

Interdict

TRONOX KZN SANDS has recently started construction of the Fairbreeze mine before all the authorisations are in hand, and before the environmental appeal process has been completed. It contends that in respect of the bulk of the mine, it requires no planning approval, since it “commenced mining” in 2002. What it in fact did in 2002, was a sampling exercise, which it described as such in a public notice at that time, stating that mining would only commence some years later. It thus seeks to avoid any planning scrutiny of the vast bulk of the mine, on the basis that because in 2002 no planning approval was required, and because it “commenced mining” then, it is exempt.  We contend that their interpretation is wrong, both in law and in fact. Since, however, Tronox has unilaterally started the mine, and clearly has no intention of stopping, we are required to interdict it until these authorisation processes are completed. Failure to do so will result in a fait accompli, because by the time the processes are completed, the mine will be up and running, and most of the environmental harm will have been done.

There is of course a much wider issue than just the plight of the Mtunzini community. Mining development without planning approval has profound implications for the future of KZN and other provinces. Municipalities are required to have clear development plans for their areas that spell out the future trajectory of development. If the mining industry is not subject to municipal planning and expects to be able to come and go as it pleases, what are the implications for local investment? Tourism is a long-term investment, and eco-tourism is critically dependent on the underlying environmental assets. It is simply untenable that mining – or any other enterprise for that matter – should have carte blanche to cut across long-term planning strategies, destroying a carefully crafted planning vision for the area, without subjecting the proposal to detailed planning scrutiny. We therefore say that this mine should in its entirety be subject to planning scrutiny before it starts, and any attempt to circumvent that – as TRONOX KZN SANDS is seeking to do – cannot be allowed.

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At a Crossroads

We are therefore at a crossroads. It is sadly true that unless we as civil society act now to force TRONOX KZN SANDS to comply fully with the law, no-one else will. TRONOX KZN SANDS seems to have taken the stance that it will simply start mining, and continue unless someone stops it. If we don’t act who will? To do this we need to raise about R300,000 to interdict TRONOX KZN SANDS and compel it to stop mining until all the authorisation processes are complete. We believe the outcome of these processes will have a material effect on whether, or in what form, Mtunzini will have to endure this mine.

SOS Mtunzini request for your financial support

Please help us by giving us the financial support we need to ensure that the powerful mining industry complies with the law and follows correct municipal planning procedures. In order to meet our goal and raise the R300 000 we need, we ask that supporters of our cause donate R250 or R500 or R1000.

SOS Mtunzini (Save Our Sands) is the joint campaign of the MRA (Mtunzini Residents Association) and the Mtunzini Conservancy to address the proposed sand dune mining to the North and the South of Mtunzini. The Mtunzini Conservancy (Reg. No. 2007/006455/08) is a Section 21 company. The Mtunzini Conservancy has Section 18A tax status and can issue tax certificates for donations made.

Please make your donations to:

The Mtunzini Conservancy at any branch of First National Bank

or via the internet to:

First National Bank
Sort Code: 220130
Account number: 62093027475

Please use your business name or surname and initials as a reference and fax to + 27 86 512 6476 or email to bwkewley@telkomsa.net the following information:

  1. Proof of payment
  2. your full name
  3. postal address
  4. E Mail address and your telephone number

For donations from outside South Africa, the details for the bank and bank account are as follows:

First National Bank
Empangeni Branch
PO Box 13, Empangeni 3880
KwaZulu Natal
South Africa
Sort Code: 220130
Account number: 620 930 274 75
SWIFT Code: FIRNZAJJ659

If you have any problems, you can contact the Operations Manager at First National Bank, Empangeni:

Mrs Reeva Cornelius
Telephone: +27 35 772 6763
Fax number: +27 35 7922591

The Mtunzini Conservancy (Reg. No. 2007/006455/08) is a Section 21 company (Non Profit Organisation).

The Mtunzini Conservancy has Section 18A tax status and can issue tax certificates for donations made. Our auditors are:

Hills Howard & Associates (Pty) Ltd.
PO Box 585 Empangeni 3880
Tel: +27 35 772 6611

Thank you for supporting SOS Mtunzini.

Yours faithfully
Barbara Chedzey
Chairperson Mtunzini Conservancy

SOS Mtunzini Committee members

Stan Whitfield: 083-655-8983
Barbara Chedzey: 083-326-0699
Doggy Kewley: 083-630-1839
Wendy Forse 082-722-3333
Jim Chedzey 083-326-0698
Bruce Hopwood 083-301-2958

 
 

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