Category: Money

New property owners not liable for old debt, court rules

Municipalities cannot hold a new property owner liable for a previous owner’s historical municipal debt, the Constitutional Court ruled on Tuesday.

The precedent-setting ruling gives relief to home and business owners, who have been saddled with years of historical municipal debt – as long as 20 years – and have been denied municipal services until the debt had been paid. The outstanding debt relates to water, electricity, rates and taxes associated to a property.

In a ruling majority written by Justice Edwin Cameron, the court found that upon transfer of a property, a new owner is not liable for old municipal debt. The court upheld a ruling by the high court in Pretoria in November last year – mainly that the liability of the old municipal debt rests with the previous owner.

Constitutional case launched against SA banks

Over 225 applicants, primarily from Gauteng’s poorer townships, have instituted a R60 billion claim for damages against some of South Africa’s biggest banks.

GroundUp reports that the case revolves around a number of unlawful repossessions by the banks over the past 23 years, with the R60 billion figure based on the average estimated loss of home equity value, multiplied by the roughly 100,000 homes repossessed since 1994.

Nedbank, Absa, FirstRand Bank and Standard Bank are cited as respondents in the case, as well as the National Credit Regulator, the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development, the SA Human Rights Commission and the High Court Rules Board.

Massive R60 billion Constitutional case launched against SA banks

Auction Alliance’s network of dubious allies

Auction Alliance
Auction Alliance

IN THE dying days of December 2011, billionaire heiress Wendy Appelbaum decided to add another wine farm to her property portfolio when she bid for Dave King’s liquidated Quoin Rock farm. But she was hoodwinked on the auction floor by Rael Levitt, of Auction Alliance, who attempted to drive up the bids by placing a phony bidder in her path. Appelbaum became wise to him and over the course of the next few weeks, she attracted considerable attention to the attempted fraud.

The media then moved in and began to dig around Levitt and the firm he had started in the mid-1990s. In the middle of February 2012, a newspaper report that Levitt attempted, unsuccessfully, to interdict, exposed years of dodgy dealings that linked bank staff, liquidators and attorneys to a money-making racket, allegedly orchestrated by Levitt and Auction Alliance.

Suid Afrikaanse Bankbase vir miljoene gedagvaar

Mnr. Piet Liebenberg, voorheen voorsitter van Die Sakebank en mnr. Willem Boshoff, voorheen uitvoerende hoof van die bank, is die afgelope week in twee hofgedinge weens die beweerde bedrieglike of roekelose hantering van sake by Die Sakebank gedagvaar.

Die eise deur twee PSG-filiale, Axiam en Capitec, bedra R147 miljoen plus rente.

Verdere dagvaardings teen bekende sakelui, wat ook na bewering betrokke was, word nog voorberei.

Liebenberg en Boshoff het Die Sakebank op die been gebring met die slagspreuk “goeie etiek is goeie sake”.

Toe die bank in 1998 genoteer is, was daar ‘n stormloop om sy aandele te bekom, glo vanweë Liebenberg se groot aansien onder beleggers.

Liebenberg is ook ‘n bekende in kerkkringe en het in 1999 op die nasionale kerkeberaad gesê sakeleiers het “Bill Clintons” geword deur weg te draai van die basiese waardes van die Bybel .

Die Sakebank het vir die jaar tot einde Maart 1999 ‘n wins van R45 miljoen getoon met aandeelhouersgeld van R474 miljoen.

Die PSG-groep het Die Sakebank in 2000 oorgeneem. Kort daarná is bevind dat die sake van Die Sakebank “chaoties” was. Pleks daarvan dat die verwagte netto batewaarde R150 miljoen bedra het, was die maatskappy niks werd nie.

Die aandeelprys was in dié stadium 5c teenoor sy hoogtepunt van R17,00.

Mnr. Alec Erwin, minister van handel en nywerheid, het mnre. Mervyn King en Harvey Wainer verlede jaar opdrag gegee om ondersoek in te stel na verskeie moontlike ongerymdhede by Die Sakebank wat tot sy mislukking kon gelei het. Destyds is gesê daar sal na die finansiering van aandele-opsies vir direkteure en Die Sakebank se betrokkenheid by die mislukte Macmed gekyk word. Ander mense wat destyds in verband met die ondersoek genoem is, sluit in mnr. Desmond Smith, gewese uitvoerende hoof van Sanlam en waarnemende voorsitter van Die Sakebank se ouditkomitee, asook ‘n lid van sy vergoedingskomitee, en dr. Malesela Motlatla en mnr. Leonard Fine, albei lede van die oudit- en vergoedingskomitee.

‘n Verslag is voltooi, maar dit is nog nie bekend gemaak nie.

Die Sakebank is sedert 1998 tot TBBH, Axiam en toe Capitec Bank herdoop.

In die eerste saak teen Liebenberg en Boshoff beweer Axiam dat Liebenberg en Boshoff in 1998 en 1999 hul pligte wederregtelik verontagsaam het deur lenings van R60 miljoen aan mnr. Jan Louw toe te staan. Die lenings is na bewering nie terugbetaal nie.

Louw was die stigter en baas van ProEquity, ‘n batebestuurder, wat betrokke was by die aanvanklike mislukte hotelprojek by Oudekraal in die Kaap.
Die Sakebank het ProEquity oorgeneem en Louw het ‘n direkteur van Die Sakebank geword. Sedertdien is ‘n vonnis van R160 miljoen teen Louw verkry.

In die tweede saak beweer Capitec dat Liebenberg en Boshoff, as direkteure van Capitec Bank, in 1999 bedrieglik of roekeloos opgetree het deurdat hulle toegelaat het dat sekere aandele as sekuriteit vir ‘n gerief van R50 miljoen van Absa Bank dien, wetende dat dié aandele onderhewig was aan ‘n ooreenkoms wat dit verbied.

Capitec beweer dat mnr. Richard Foyn, ‘n direkteur van Capitec Bank, die gerief met Absa beding en die aandele aan Absa oorgedra het. Foyn is ook ‘n verweerder in die tweede saak.

Voordat hy Die Sakebank gestig het, het Liebenberg verskeie poste in die bankwese beklee.

Millions refunded in credit charges

Millions refunded in credit charges
Millions refunded in credit charges

Cape Town – Over R3 million has been refunded to consumers charged excessive interest and fees by credit providers, the National Credit Regulator (NCR) said on Tuesday.

NCR registrations manager Adrian Skuy said the National Credit Act specified the rate of interest and fees that credit providers could charge.

The act required credit providers to be registered when they entered into credit agreements with more than 100 consumers, or where a consumer’s principal debt exceeded R500,000.

The NCR had refunded R3m in excess charges since its inception in 2005.

Skuy said that where consumers had been overcharged by unregistered credit providers, the agreements were void from the outset and therefore not enforceable.

“This means that the consumer will be under no legal obligation to pay in terms of the agreement.

“For their part, the unregistered credit providers can only claim in terms of the common law on the basis of unjustified enrichment.”

Skuy advised against working with unregistered lenders, especially online providers.

These providers sometimes requested personal information online, increasing the risk of identity theft and fraud.

Consumers should look out for a provider’s NCR registration status and number on all credit agreements, and on a certificate displayed at a place of business. – Sapa

Auction Alliance Scandal

Robin Hood to the rescue!

A whole lot has been written about Rael Levitt the embattled CEO of now disgraced company Auction Alliance. The whole scandal erupted after a complaint was lodged by billionaire businesswoman Wendy Appelbaum with the Consumer Complaints commission. Stories have appeared in both the mainstream and financial press. Levitt stepped down as CEO which has added further fuel to the fires that are raging around both the auction industries and financial and legal professions. It seems that this would be a battle of Goliath versus  Goliath and would not have any impact on the man in the street. Not so however.

It’s a veritable can of worms that has left many people all the way down this particular food chain feeling very uncomfortable and nervous. Who wouldn’t be with SARS and various other bodies all rallying around to uncover the truth? It’s the stuff of good gangster movies and who knows, perhaps a movie in the making. Most people would simply shrug and walk away because they feel they have no recourse against  this issue and trying to get their story heard let alone justice being served.

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