Terror on the dance floor

Monday night’s explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, that killed at least 22 and injured more than 50 is the latest in a series of recent terror attacks aimed at the West.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the government is trying to establish the “full details” of the “appalling terrorist attack” and was expected to call an emergency cabinet meeting to deal with the horror.

But this was not the first time May, and other European leaders, have had to deal with a deadly terror attack — and the threat to the U.K. from international terrorism is severe.

Here is a timeline of recent terror attacks in Europe:

April 20, 2017: Champs Elysees Attack in Paris

An attacker got out of a car and fired an automatic weapon at a parked police van, killing the officer inside, before shooting at others standing on the nearby sidewalk, injuring two before he was shot and killed by police.

The French president said the attack was “terrorist in nature” and promised “utmost vigilance.”

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

April 7, 2017: Stockholm Truck Attack

Five people were killed when a truck driven by a man drove into a pedestrian shopping street and department store in Sweden’s capital city, wounding over a dozen others.

The 39-year-old man allegedly admitted to being a member of ISIS and told police that he had “achieved what he set out to do.”

April 3, 2017: Saint Petersburg Bombing

A suicide bombing on the subway in Russia’s second largest city killed more than a dozen passengers and injured dozens more.

March 22, 2017: Westminster Bridge Attack

Five people, including a London police officer who was stabbed and the perpetrator, were killed in a terror attack. More than 40 people were injured outside the Parliament building.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the act was “sick and depraved.”

ISIS later claimed responsibility.

February 3, 2017: Louvre Knife Attack

A machete-wielding man yelling “Allahu Akbar” attacked soldiers in a shopping mall near the Louvre in Paris. He was shot and wounded by soldiers.

December 19, 2016: Germany Christmas Market

A large truck plowed through a Christmas market in central Berlin, which killed 12 and injured 48 others.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack and said the attacker was “a soldier of the Islamic State” through Amaq news agency.

November 28, 2016: Ohio State

Abdul Razak Ali Artan, an Ohio State University student, ran his car into a group of students, and slashed people with a butcher knife.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack and called Artan a “soldier.”

October 16, 2016: Hamburg, Germany

There was a “lone wolf” knife attack in Hamburg, Germany, killing one teenager.

July 26, 2016: Normandy, France

Two men took five people hostage during a mass at a church in Normandy, and murdered an elderly priest by stabbing him in the chest and slitting his throat. The hostages were freed later, and the two men were arrested.

Then-President Francois Hollande said that the men carried out the attack in the name of ISIS.

July 14, 2016: Nice, France

77 people were killed in Nice, France when a truck drove through a crowd on Bastille Day.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.

June 12, 2016: Orlando Nightclub Shooting

Omar Mateen attacked an Orlando gay nightclub, killing 50 people. Mateen pledged allegiance to ISIS on a 911 call, after the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, and the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11.

ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attack

March 22, 2016: Belgium Attack

There were two suicide bombings on March 22, 2016—one at Brussels Airport and the other in the city’s subway system. Combined, the attacks killed 32 people.

The ISIS cell that claimed responsibility for the Brussels attack was also linked to those involved in the November 13, 2015 terror attacks in Paris.

January 11, 2016: Marseille, France

A teenager attacked a Jewish teacher in Marseille with a machete. He told police that he carried out the attack in the name of the Islamic State.

January 7, 2016: Philadelphia, Penn.

A man shot and wounded a Philadelphia police officer. The man claimed the attack was in the name of Islam and the Islamic State.

December 2, 2015: San Bernardino Shooting

A married couple shot and killed 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif. The FBI is investigating the shooting as an act of terrorism inspired by ISIS.

November 13, 2015: Paris Attacks

A series of coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris killed 130 people and injured hundreds more. The attacks consisted of mass shootings and suicide bombings.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility.

August 21, 2015: Paris

Three Americans were at the center of an attempted mass shooting. They helped to overpower a gunman who was armed with a Kalashnikov, and opened fire on a train from Amsterdam to Paris.

The gunman was on the radar of European counterterrorism agencies, and appeared to be sympathetic to ISIS.

February 15, 2015: Denmark

A Denmark national who was inspired by ISIS went on a rampage through the nation’s capital, killing two and wounding five police officers.

January 7-9, 2015: Charlie Hebdo

There was an attack on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, and four attacks around Paris followed, killing 17 people.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks.

By Brooke Singman for Fox News

A local retail stationer has contacted My Office News with a warning of attempted fraud.

The instance began with a request to quote on Monday 15 May 2017 from a certain “George Miller” of Quality Service cc.
He requested a quote for two taping applicator systems and 1 000 PVC 70mm lever arch files.
The retailer immediately became suspicious, as clients usually approach a wholesaler directly for that quantity of stock.
The retailer then began to research the company and discovered that the company name did not match up with the phone number provided.
However, the retailer e-mailed the quote to the address provided and thereafter received a purchase order with an address listed in Bellevue East.
When the retailer googled the address, it was for Raleigh Court in Yeoville/Bellevue East.
The retailer then confirmed with “George Miller” once again via e-mail that full payment was required, and they had to collect from the retailer’s offices once the order was ready.
Following that, the retailer received a proof of payment (POP) via e-mail that looked nothing like other POPs received from Standard Bank:

The retailer then sent all the evidence to the bank. A representative from Standard Bank’s Fraud division responded, saying “We would recommend that no goods released and also no services be rendered as the proof of payment is not valid. If you would like to pursue the matter, you may report the suspects to the SAPS in order for them to continue with investigating the individual.”

Please be wary when receiving large orders from unknown customers.

E-toll mess just gets messier

Sanral may have to restart the legal process from scratch should it want to recover the money it claims it’s owed, or abandon the cases entirely.

Last week, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) barred roads agency Sanral from pleading 55 cases against its members in court on the grounds that it had not followed court procedures and had delayed presenting its cases in court. These 55 cases represent nearly R2-million in outstanding e-tolls.

What this means is that Sanral may have to restart the legal process from scratch should it want to recover the money it claims it’s owed, or abandon the cases entirely. The roads agency has issued several thousand summonses to collect outstanding e-tolls and has obtained default judgement against some who failed to put up a defence in court. Though Sanral has trumpeted these default judgments as precedent-setting victories, Outa says they are nothing of the sort. They merely mean the defendants failed to show up in court and argue the case.

Outa is defending roughly 150 summonses issued against its members, roughly a third of which it says have now been barred.

Sanral is attempting to recover about R11bn in outstanding e-tolls from Gauteng motorists. Some 3m motorists are reckoned to owe e-tolls, out of 3,5-4m registered motorists in the province.

As usual, Outa and Sanral have entirely different interpretations of the same facts. Says Vusi Mona, Sanral’s GM for communications: “There are no matters in which Sanral has been barred from pleading. There have been ongoing engagements with Outa’s attorneys for agreed timeframes for the exchange of pleadings and there are no operative bars against Sanral.”

Both Sanral and Outa had previously agreed to run a “test case” which would serve as a legal precedent, so as to avoid clogging the courts with thousands of cases. Last month, Outa pulled out of the test case process as this was taking too long to get to court, opting instead to lodge papers in the high court in Pretoria in defence of one of its members, Thandanani Truckers and Hauliers, which outlines its opposition to e-tolls.

“We were aware that while developing the complicated e-toll test case process, Sanral was issuing default judgments and declarations against the general public, in the belief they would be able to secure a precedent-setting case,” says Ben Theron, Outa’s chief operating officer. “One would have thought Sanral would have learnt by now that coercion and intimidation have not worked in the past and will not resolve the entity’s mounting debt.

“As far as Outa is concerned, Sanral’s journey of following an extensive litigation process to collect outstanding debt will take years to unfold and is a significant waste of the courts’ time and taxpayers’ money,” says Theron.

Another potential problem for Sanral is the issue of prescription in terms of the Prescription Act, which makes it difficult for creditors to recover debts older than three years.

Who is going to criminalise 3m motorists? We know what happens to governments who go to war with their own people on issues such as this
E-tolls came into being in December 2013, so any outstanding e-tolls from December 2013 to May 2014 may have to be written off by Sanral. Outa chairman Wayne Duvenage reckons that more than R1bn of the outstanding e-tolls have now prescribed and are therefore unrecoverable by Sanral. And it’s getting worse every day.

Sanral’s Mona takes a different view: “To date, the issue of prescription has not been raised by any defendant in any matter where Sanral has sought payment of outstanding e-tolls. In any event, the failure to pay e-tolls is a criminal offence which is not subject to prescription.”

Sanral is relying on the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act, which criminalises certain traffic-related offences in the Joburg and Pretoria metropolitan areas.
Wayne Duvenage
A legal expert specialising in prescription told Moneyweb that Sanral is treading on thin ground if it is relying on Aarto to recover its debts. “Sanral’s attempts to recover debts is a civil matter, and the Prescription Act applies. If I was defending clients summonsed by Sanral I would argue this vigorously and have any debt older than three years thrown out. I doubt any court is going to look at this as a criminal matter.

“Another point I would argue is that Sanral is potentially engaging in reckless lending in terms of the National Credit Act, since it is effectively issuing credit without doing the requisite credit assessment, despite the fact that Sanral says it is exempt from the NCA.”

Duvenage says the matter of prescription is likely to be contested by Sanral but any entity attempting to criminalise 3m defaulting motorists through the courts is playing with fire. Who is going to criminalise 3m motorists? We know what happens to governments who go to war with their own people on issues such as this.”

Theron says despite warnings from civil society that the Gauteng e-toll scheme would collapse due to its cumbersome, costly and burdensome administrative processes, Sanral and the department of transport have decided to continue their litigious war against motorists.

Meanwhile, earlier this month, Sanral announced that it had cancelled all future bond auctions pending the outcome of a governmental task team inquiry into road funding. Sanral needs to borrow about R600m/month to cover its interest bill and operations, but the auctions have been poorly supported over the last year. Sanral says it has enough cash to last a few months. Institutional investors and rating agencies are increasingly concerned at the state of governance in state-owned companies, which means the government will be left to pick up the tab.

Source: MoneyWeb

The Western Cape government has declared the entire province a disaster area in order to deal with the ongoing drought, MEC Alan Winde said on Monday.

The declaration was made to speed up the reaction time for the deployment of resources to tackle water scarcity, Winde told News24.

The deceleration will be formally gazetted during the course of the week after it was adopted by the provincial cabinet last week.

The Karoo and West Coast municipalities were declared a disaster area in 2016, but the disaster area has now been extended to the entire province.

“The disaster area declaration will help municipalities deal with issues of blockages in the procurement process to tackle the ongoing drought,” Winde said.

By James de Villiers for News24

Car manufacturers say they are still committed to the South African market.

This comes after US carmaker General Motors (GM) announced its plans to dis-invest from the South African market. This is part of the group’s strategy to withdraw its operations in international markets.

GM confirmed to Fin24 that its decision was not influenced by local economic and political factors, such as the downgrade to junk status. GM embarked on a process to review its international operations, and its actions to improve its performance, as far back as 2013, when the group exited Australia, the carmaker said.

GM’s competitors shared similar sentiments about the local investment environment.

Matt Gennrich, General Manager of Communications at Volkswagen South Africa (VWSA), explained that the group takes long term investment decisions, which are not impacted by “short-term socio-political, economic issues”.

Last year VWSA invested R5.5bn toward new product development, with the new products expected to be launched to market next year, said Gennrich. He reiterated that VWSA is committed to the investment, and expects growth in the motor industry. VWSA produced close to 130 000 units in 2016, up from 123 000 in 2015.

Ford, which has been operating in South Africa since 1923, also said it would remain committed to growing its business in South Africa. The company sold 73 856 cars in South Africa in 2016.

So far for 2017, the motor company has sold 23 732 units, said corporate communications manager, Alisea Chetty. The company has doubled the amount of vehicles assembled at its Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria.

Regarding the low economic growth environment, Chetty said challenges such as market and political volatility, power supply concerns, underdevelopment of skills, poverty and unemployment are concerning. But the company remains bullish about the opportunities that still exist in the local market.
Diederik Reitsma, general manager of communications at BMW South Africa said his company was taking a long-term view regarding its investments. The company recently invested R6bn in its Rosslyn Plant in Pretoria.

In 2016, the Rosslyn plant produced 63 000 units. However, a volume below 63 000 is expected in 2017. “[This is] due to normal life cycle developments of the current BMW 3 Series and shutdowns for BMW X3 preparations,” he said.

City Press, reporting on GM’s recent performance, said that even though the manufacturer’s Struandale plant has the capacity to produce 100 000 units, it had not met the annual minimum production volume of 50 000 units since 2013.

Over the past four years, it produced 167 078 units, this is 40 000 units a year. This includes the Isuzu bakkies manufactured at the facility, City Press reported. In 2016, GM only produced 31 000 units.
This is 5% of the 604 000 units produced by the industry in 2016, according to the National Association of Automobile manufacturers if South Africa (Naamsa).

In a statement issued by GM South Africa on Friday, the group confirmed it commenced a Section 189 process, which may impact 589 employees.

By Lameez Omarjee for Fin24

No less a respected journal than The Harvard Business Review (HBR) recently published an article entitled, Stay Calm When Someone Is Getting on Your Nerves. “Come on, HBR,” I thought to myself, “Is this the best you can do? Nothing like stating something that is so blindingly obvious!”

The basic theme of the article was that we all have people – and customers – who irritate us. People who interrupt, people who are filled with arrogance or sheer stupidity, people who are unreasonable, irrational, and emotional and who blame us personally for everything that is wrong in the world. And that excludes the anonymous people who post nasty things in the social media, and the self-important bullies who can only feel good about themselves if they put you down.

Then the authors write: “To help yourself, remain calm in these situations, acknowledge your emotions and think through why you’re reacting the way you are. For example, you might get angry about being interrupted because it was a major problem at your last job or in a prior personal relationship. Don’t let those associations control you…”

And yet… if an esteemed publication like the HBR feels a need to publish such an article, maybe it’s because most people don’t get it. You are definitely going to occasionally get the “customer from hell.” You may have tried all of the best strategies in the world, maybe even used some of the hints for dealing with complaints, problems and anger covered in one of my previous columns.

There are probably only a handful of responses to people like this, but I have to completely agree that it all starts with you. Whenever I see bad behaviour, whenever I see people troubled in their lives, or whenever there is some conflict or event that challenges all of the things that glue society together, then the first place I look is at the self-esteem.

Why is it true that some people let the smallest thing spark off rage, while others seem to be able to remain calm, no matter what happens? When someone needs to behave in this obnoxious, aggressive and hurtful way, what are they saying about themselves? It’s because they feel weak and vulnerable and insecure. I know the times when I flash a fist at a taxi driver, or snap at someone, or slam a door, those are not the times when I feel good about myself, happy with who I am, and when I just know that the world is just a great, forgiving, generous abundant place. They are the times when I feel fearful, hurt, and out of control. (Under different circumstances when they aren’t attacking you, you may even feel sorry for the customers from hell.)

If we paint the opposite picture, it becomes even more obvious: people who feel optimistic, positive, and who like themselves don’t need to behave like this. They are generous, kind, sensitive, empathetic and helpful towards others.

So how should you deal with your own negative feelings? Many people believe – incorrectly – that bad emotions are always dangerous and powerful. If we express these feelings openly, then we’ll be less popular, lose someone’s love and admiration, or provoke someone’s anger, boredom or dislike. This – being liked by everybody all of the time – is unrealistic. People also believe – and also incorrectly – that it’s unhealthy or dishonest to try to control how they express their feelings. They believe that they have a right, indeed a responsibility, to let people aggressively know how they feel in any manner they choose, no matter what the circumstances or the consequences.

Therefore, there are only two ways we can deal with bad emotions: repress them or express them in the form in which we experience them, that is, negatively. Both of these can be pretty destructive. Repressing your negative feelings happens in one of two ways: denial, (“I can’t admit having these negative emotions,”) or suppression, (“I know how I feel, but I can’t think of a constructive way to express these feelings, so I won’t display them.”) If you do this, you know that you may be sparing others, but hurting yourself. But if you don’t deal with these feelings, they won’t go away. Instead, they show themselves in some of the following symptoms: depression, physical illness, (including headaches, stiff muscles, insomnia, eating disorders, ulcers and even heart attacks,) low self-esteem, emotional withdrawal, (we become apathetic, unenthusiastic, indifferent and uninvolved, just going through the motions,) and even recourse to drugs and alcohol, (we seek escape through substance abuse.)

Destructive expression, on the other hand, can also hurt the recipients and alienate people from you. Moody people thus become isolated from others, often lashing out at the nearest target, and feeling terrible afterwards. They show some of the following behaviours: temper tantrums, (childish, inappropriate, and uncontrolled anger that can be triggered by even trivial things – some of them going back years and years,) sulking and “the silent treatment,” (in which they refuse to explain why they are upset,) and sarcasm, (because they are reluctant to confront the cause of their bad mood directly.) In groups we sometimes call these “passive aggressive” behaviours.

Remember that we have already established the fact that defensive behaviour does not help. Yes, criticism is hard to accept especially when you work hard, when you are trying to please people, and when you feel it is unjustified. It is hurtful. But trying to justify your behaviour, or even trying to shift the blame or prove that the other person is wrong, is futile. They will all be rejected by the other person unless you have worked through all of the conflict and anger.

Of course you have a right to feel anger and express it sometimes. Anger doesn’t have to lead to violence or more anger. Your goal is to learn to deal with anger more constructively, not to ignore it or to repress it. Also, don’t rationalise your reluctance to express anger. Excuses like, “I won’t say anything because I’ll hurt the other person’s feelings,” are ways of explaining to yourself why you don’t do what you have never learned to do. Instead of dwelling on the reasons why you don’t express anger, concentrate on learning how to do it.

There’s a lovely legend I’d like to end off with: One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil – It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Goodness – It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

If you feel strong, confident, secure, and have good self-esteem, you will be able to deal with unhappy and abusive people, no matter what they throw at you. This is the big secret of keeping yourself calm.

In part 2 of this series we will look at some of the practical things you can do to calm down upset customers.

By Aki Kalliatakis, managing partner of Leadership Launchpad

Open plan: the suboptimal office?

Although the current work zeitgeist is for open plan offices, further thought is needed to keep different types of office workers happy throughout the workday.

Linda Trim, director at Giant Leap, says the open plan office has been around since the 1960s when it was first introduced in Germany to boost communication and de-emphasise status.

“As the idea took hold in North America in the decades that followed, employers switched from traditional offices with one or two people per room to large, open spaces.

“Right now, it is estimated that roughly two-thirds of U.S. workers spent their days in open-plan offices. South Africa has a similar experience.”

But as the layout became commonplace, problems emerged.

A 2002 study of Canadian oil-and-gas-company employees who moved from a traditional office to an open one found that on every aspect measured, from feelings about the work environment to co-worker relationships to self-reported performance, employees were significantly less satisfied in the open office.

One explanation for why this might be is that open offices prioritise communication and collaboration but sacrifice privacy.

“A reason for this is that ‘architectural privacy’ (the ability to close one’s door) went hand in hand with a sense of ‘psychological privacy’. And a healthy dose of psychological privacy correlates with greater job satisfaction and performance.” Trim noted.

With a lack of privacy comes noise—the talking, typing, and even chewing co-workers.
A 1998 study found that background noise, whether or not it included speech, impaired both memory and the ability to do mental arithmetic, while another study found that even music hindered performance. There’s also the question of lighting.

Says Trim: “Open offices tend to cluster cubicles away from windows, relying more on artificial light. Research has shown that bright, overhead light intensifies emotions, enhancing perceptions of aggression which could lead to a lack of focus during meetings if arguments get heated.”

Another under-appreciated twist is that different personality types respond differently to office conditions. For example, a study on background music found its negative effects to be much more pronounced for introverts than for extroverts.

“Even the office coffee machine could be hurting some employees. Although a moderate dose of caffeine was found to enhance long-term information retention and was ranked as the most important thing in the workplace by an Inspiration Office survey in 2016, caffeine has previously been shown to hinder introverts’ cognitive performance during the workday.”

A recent craze is the standing desk, inspired by the widely reported health risks of sitting all day. One study found that people who sat at least six hours a day had a higher risk of premature death than those who sat three hours or fewer—regardless of physical-activity level. But being on one’s feet presents its own health risks: standing for more than eight hours a day has been tied to back and foot pain.

So what’s a company to do?

“Give employees their own private offices, with plenty of sun, and turn off the overhead lights.

“Supply the introverts with noise-canceling headphones and decaf, but pump the extroverts full of caffeine and even let them listen to music now and then.

“And don’t let anyone sit too much—or stand too much.” Trim adds.

On Friday, doctors at Whipps Cross Hospital, east London, logged into their computers, but a strange red screen popped up. Next to a giant padlock, a message said the files on the computer had been encrypted, and would be lost forever unless $300 was sent to a Bitcoin account – a virtual currency that cannot be traced. The price doubled if the money wasn’t sent within six days. Digital clocks were counting down the time.

What happened?

It was soon revealed Barts Health Trust, which runs the hospital, had been hit by ransomware, a type of malicious software that hijacks computer systems until money is paid. It was one of 48 trusts in England and 13 in Scotland affected, as well as a handful of GP practices. News reports soon broke of companies in other countries hit. It affected 200,000 victims in 150 countries, according to Europol. This included the Russian Interior Ministry, Fedex, Nissan, Vodafone and Telefonica. It is thought to be the biggest outbreak of ransomware in history.

Trusts worked all through the weekend and are now back to business as usual. But the attack revealed how easy it is to bring a hospital to its knees. Patients are rightly questioning if their medical records are safe. Others fear hackers may strike again and attack other vital systems. Defence minister Michael Fallon was forced to confirm that the Trident nuclear submarines could not be hacked.

So how did this happen? The virus, called WannaCry or WannaDecrypt0r, was an old piece of ransomware that had gained a superpower. It had been combined with a tool called EternalBlue which was developed by US National Security Agency spies and dumped on the dark web by a criminal group called Shadow Brokers. Computers become infected with ransomware when somebody clicks on a dodgy link or downloads a booby-trapped PDF, but normally another person has to be fooled for it to harm a different computer. EternalBlue meant the virus could cascade between machines within a network. It could copy itself over and over, moving from one vulnerable computer to the next, spreading like the plague. Experts cannot trace who caused it, whether a criminal gang or just one person in their bedroom hitting “send”.

Like a real virus, it had to be quarantined. Trusts had to shut down computers and scan them to make sure they were bug-free. Doctors – not used to writing anything but their signature – had to go back to pen and paper. But no computers meant they couldn’t access appointments, referral letters, blood tests results or X-rays. In some hospitals computer systems controlled the phones and doors. Many declared a major incident, flagging up that they needed help. In Barts Health NHS Trust, ambulances were directed away from three A&E departments and non-urgent operations were cancelled.

The tragedy is that trusts had been warned of such an attack. Dr Krishna Chinthapalli, a junior doctor in London, wrote an eerily premonitory piece in the British Medical Journal just two days earlier telling hospitals they were vulnerable to ransomware hits.

How to avoid ransomware
Ransomware is a sophisticated piece of malware that blocks the victim’s access to their files, and the only way to regain access to the files is to pay a ransom.

Here are a few tips to avoid ransomware:

  1. Back up everything on the company network – create a sane, quiet backup system and use it daily.
  2. Don’t use Windows XP – it’s a little hard to believe but unsupported operating systems on office computers put data at risk. Consider an upgrade.
  3. Buy a hard drive and back up documents off-site – even if ransomware hits you overnight, you’ll have a few days’ data on this external backup. This will prevent the destruction of important records.
  4. Back up to the cloud – use an internet-based service like Google to store back ups.
  5. Ensure your network security is up-to-date. Install any patches provided by the security software you use.

Businesses often cite cost as a pain point when explaining why they don’t have back-ups or adequate security.
The ultimate question businesses need to ask themselves is: can your company afford to pay the ransom?

Sources: Madlen Davies for www.newstatesman.com; www.techcrunch.com

Government has unveiled plans to limit emigration by tracking those leaving SA for more than three months.

Despite working on building a more inclusive South Africa with opportunities for all, the government’s solution is to try and limit the number of South Africans leaving the country.

Sounds unbelievable? Well, it is.

On Sunday, Rapport reported that cabinet has approved a piece of legislation – don’t worry, it’s not law yet – that would allow the department of home affairs to put a trace on all South African citizens planning to leave the country for more than three months.

According to BusinessTech, the Department of Home Affairs’ White Paper on international migration would be used as a means of keeping tabs on folks outside of the country and to try and limit the number of people looking to leave.

The document also outlines the department of home affairs’ plans on how to deal with the massive influx of African immigrants looking for greener pastures in Mzansi, with the controversial ‘open borders policy’ forming the backbone of said strategy.

Since Jacob Zuma wrestled control of South Africa away from Thabo Mbeki we’ve seen an upswing in South Africans emigrating to the UK and Australia and, according to the paper approved by cabinet, emigration has been increasing by about 9% year-on-year, with more and more black professionals looking to leave.

Following Jacob Zuma’s latest cabinet reshuffle and the subsequent ratings downgrade, the number of South Africans enquiring about emigration options has surged significantly… no surprises there.

So what does government propose: limit those leaving and track the rest, instead of focusing on inclusive economic growth.

The white paper is, reportedly, the first of its kind put forward by the department of home affairs, aimed at preventing – or limiting — South Africans from emigrating.

By Ezra Claymore for www.thesouthafrican.com

Terrorists get SA passports

Fifteen unused South African passports, some containing pictures of South Africans on an international terrorist watch list, have been seized from an al-Shabab courier in Tanzania.

A police crime intelligence source told The Times that at least one of the passports, some of which had visas for European countries, contains a photograph that might be that of international terror fugitive Samantha Lewthwaite, also known as “the White Widow”.

The passports were seized from a man believed to have dual South African and Tanzanian citizenship. Officers from the Hawks’ crimes against the state unit and State Security Agency were dispatched to Dar es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania.

The team returned last week after interviewing the alleged courier and examining the passports.

Hawks spokesman Hangwani Mulaudzi refused to comment on the circumstances of the arrest, the charges the man faced, and whether he would be brought back to South Africa.

He said the Hawks were alerted after the man was found in possession of a “number of our passports”. The matter was receiving “serious” attention in both countries and at Interpol.

“This is very worrying,” said Johan Kruger, head of the UN’s eastern Africa drugs, transnational crimes and terrorism programme. “We are focusing on strengthening our capacity in eastern Africa around terrorism prevention. This includes crimes related to terrorism such as the use of illicitly obtained travel documents, fraudulent travel documents and terrorism financing.”

The arrest is a major breakthrough in the fight against terrorism in Africa. According to Hawks sources, it will help in anti-terrorism operations under way in South Africa.

A Hawks source said the suspect had been under observation after Tanzanian authorities were tipped off about his arrival in Dar es Salaam. The officer, who cannot be named, said it was understood that he was due to deliver the passports to another al-Shabaab operative when he was arrested.

‘White Widow’ trail has gone cold: Kenya police
“All of the recovered passports are legitimate. They contain the images of several South Africans on international terror watch lists. Among the photographs is one of a woman who might very well be Lewthwaite.”

Lewthwaite, a UK citizen, lived in South Africa between 2009 and 2011 under a false South African identity. She fled South Africa on a fake South African passport.

She has been linked to numerous terror attacks, including the Westgate Mall assault in Kenya in 2013.

Her husband, Germaine Lindsay, was one of the suicide bombers involved in the 2007 London bombings.

In 2015 it was reported that Lewthwaite had been killed in the Ukraine, but Hawks sources say the latest arrest suggests that she is still alive.

White Widow’s Joburg love story
Questions are now being asked about how the passports, which are not forgeries, came into the possessin of Islamic terrorist group al-Shabab. Applicants for a South African passport must submit biometric data, including fingerprints.

Home Affairs spokesman Thabo Mokgola refused to comment.

A police crime intelligence source said the 15 passports were issued recently. He said they contained pictures of terror suspects wanted in Europe and Africa who were believed to be linked to al-Shabab.

He said the courier had numerous links to Lewthwaite. He used the same networks as she while in South Africa to obtain passports.

“He is also believed to be linked to an al-Qaeda operative killed in Mali early last year. That man was also found with South African passports.”

‘White Widow’ linked to hits
The source said the authorities, through Interpol, were investigating the suspect’s movements into, out of, and around South Africa.

“He has been placed in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. His travels from South Africa to Tanzania, and the people he met travelling to Dar es Salaam, are being investigated.”

Koffi Kouakou, of the Wits School of Governance, said the “wealth” a passport provided was immeasurable.

“It’s a powerful key. South Africans can travel to scores of countries without a visa.”

He said the fact that the suspect was arrested with so many passports called into question the security of South Africa’s passports.

‘White widow’ passport probe
“It shows South Africa’s security cluster systems are compromised. The only way such people can access our passports is through corrupt officials,” said Kouakou.

Terrorism expert Jasmine Opperman said members of al-Shabaab and Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram in South Africa all had access to genuine South African passports, for which they paid up to R60,000 each.

“It’s exactly how Lewthwaite travelled,” said Opperman.

SA probe into ‘White Widow’ passport ongoing
Opperman said interviews she had with Boko Haram and al-Shabab operatives showed that although South Africa was, for now, regarded as a base at which to recoup from, finance and plan terrorism attacks, the country was vulnerable to exploitation by extremists operating in Africa and the Middle East.

By Graeme Hosken for www.timeslive.co.za

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