Category: Money

Turning the wheels of Justice

It would seem that the wheels of Justice do eventually turn albeit very slowly in South Africa. And, just how slowly seem to be the case when Elsie Gundwana found herself on the wrong side a case against her by Nedbank and Steko Development. Simply put, this woman was in the process of losing her home due to a sale in execution.

The problems started as far back as 2003 when the first judgment was passed against her. She then paid monies over to the bank and continued to pay irregularly over the next few years and was under the assumption that the matter had been resolved. It was only in 2007 that Ms Gundwana found to her horror that the sale in execution was indeed to take place.

After a further payment to the bank Ms Gundwana once again assumed that the matter was under control. In August the property was sold in execution to Steko Development and she continued to live on the property. It was only after an eviction order was granted that all these irregularities came to light. Through all the various hearings it was proven that her constitutional rights had also been trampled on by the courts through a lack of information and correct procedures.

After a series of appeals by all parties concerned the matter the judgment against Ms Gundwana will be rescinded. Ms Gundwana has been fortunate to have this decision changed and ruled in her favor but sadly many others have not been so lucky.

What has been uncovered during this is a veritable nightmare that consumers should be made aware of. Through an intervention by Consumer Guardian Services, a company that specializes in helping consumers through the tangle of legalities involved with sales in execution, it has also come to light that Ms Gundwana has been overcharged quite dramatically by the bank.

Apart from all of this, it has also come to light that there are a huge number of corrupt sheriffs who are appointed by the banks to execute the auctions on these properties. It would seem that the sheriffs are involved with crime syndicates to purchase these properties for knock down prices – some as low as 30% of the real value of said properties.

This practice was exposed by Noseweek in an article published in December last year. At last the Board of Sheriffs has been shaken out of its slumber and is now taking action against this odious practice. It is extremely sad that the plight of a poor woman is what it takes for the wheels of justice to finally turn but the hope is that by exposing banks that overcharge and rooting out corrupt sheriffs these same wheels will turn a bit faster in the future.

South African Banks together with Sheriffs of the High Court in Bond Scandal

Consumer Guardian Services (Pty) Ltd (CGS) has discovered that various banks in South Africa have illegally overcharged Bond account holders in excess of R1 billion in illegal fees. These fees include non taxed legal fees; bond interest rates calculated on these illegal fees as well as overcharged interest on wrongly calculated bond balances.

According to Johan Muller (Managing Director) of CGS, a Cape Town based company this practice of illegally overcharging clients has been in existence for more than 20 years. To make matters worse, according to a publication by the National Credit Regulator, ABSA, First National Bank (FNB), Nedbank and Standard Bank agreed in December 2010 that no homes will be attached and sold until 30 June 2011.

Despite this undertaking, more than 1400 homes per month have been sold on instruction by these banks through the Sheriff of the Court since December 2010. To add insult to injury various Sheriffs are working in tandem with private syndicates who buy these properties, in some instance at 30% of the debt value and immediately then re-sell these properties to third parties.

Johan Muller who personally settled in excess of R90 million of overcharged interest with South African Banks, has embarked on a mission to expose these ill gotten profits and rightfully recover the overcharged amounts. The problem which most home owners face once the sheriff sells the property to the syndicate, the client is blacklisted for hundreds of thousands of rands.

CGS has successfully interdicted the transfer of many of these ill gotten properties on behalf of many clients based on the fact that the bank has made errors on the balances claimed from the client. Certain banks are buying their own properties back for a nominal amount, but nevertheless hold the bondholder responsible for the balance. Muller has personally been offered bribes from syndicate members in excess of R100, 000 “just to make the file go away”! He has also received many calls and threats from sheriffs who complained about his interference with sales of execution of properties.

Muller has knowledge of certain attorneys acting on behalf of banks, sheriffs and syndicates enriching themselves at the expense of the distressed home-owner. Muller has first-hand experience of certain sheriffs owning up to 3 luxurious homes and up to 9 cars. CGS employs various attorneys to assist home owners in their defence against the banks and the cancellation of execution sales by the sheriff.

For further details contact Johan Muller on 021-3000 150 or facebook: consumer guardian services.

You and Your Rights – Insolvency

When you cannot pay your debts (because they exceed your assets), you are said to be insolvent.

Although insolvency itself is not a crime, criminal charges can often follow the sequestration of an estate. These may be for not having kept proper records of transactions or for common law crimes such as fraudI (for instance, by obtaining credit by claiming that you can pay for goods when you know that you cannot).

If you’re insolvent, you can seek an out-of-court settlement with your creditors, surrender your estate, or in some cases apply to the magistrate’s court for an administration order. In certain circumstances, your estate may be sequestrated as insolvent at either your own initiative or that of acreditor.

Sequestration proceedings are designed to freeze an insolvent estate and to place it in the hands of a trustee, who liquidates it and distributes the proceeds among its various creditors.

If your estate is sequestrated after you have become insolvent, you may, subject to certain conditions, apply for rehabilitation. If your application is successful (if you are rehabilitated), the court will declare that you are no longer an insolvent and that you are free to trade and contract.

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