Tag: crash

SARS e-filing system on the brink

SARS e-filing is at risk

By Baldwin Ndaba for IOL

The e-filing tax system will crash in the next two years unless urgent measures are undertaken to recall Barry Hore, who masterminded the IT system dubbed Modernisation.

Senior South African Revenue Services (SARS) official Andre Rabie issued the warning during the conclusion of his testimony before the Nugent Commission tasked to probe administration and governance at SARS since suspended commissioner Tom Moyane took over in September 2014.

Moyane allegedly scrapped an IT system which was introduced by former commissioner Pravin Gordhan in 2007 while he was still at the helm.

The system was continued in SARS even after Gordhan accepted a ministerial post in 2009. Witnesses testified that the Modernisation programme improved the SARS IT system, capturing data of all taxpayers including big business and multinational companies.

According to Rabie, a newsflash announcement on December 12, 2014 – three months after Moyane’s appointment – marked the end of the Modernisation project.

Sue Burger, a senior project manager at SARS, yesterday gave shocking details of Moyane’s decision to end the Modernisation system and its impact on her unit. Burger said Moyane’s decision placed more than R66million worth of projects at risk.

Three witnesses, including Burger, painted a worrying picture about how Moyane allegedly collapsed IT systems, customs enforcement measures and nearly scrapped the e-filing tax system – a few months after taking over.

Earlier the commission heard that the modernisation was introduced in SARS in 2007 when Gordhan was there.

Burger told the commission she was the SARS project manager for customs enforcement. She was the leader of a team of 12 people while others also had people working under them, she said.

SARS, at the beginning of each year, under the Modernisation project, adopted an annual performance plan to improve revenue collection and to implement any new legislation introduced by the government, Burger said.

All the units worked as a team and had regular meetings to assess their achievements and failures including budgeting for their different projects.

The commission heard that this was the practice since the tenure of Gordhan and continued with SARS commissioners without fail until September 2014, when Moyane took over.

Burger and others testified that their troubles began on December 12, 2014, when a newsflash appeared on their internal communication system announcing the scrapping of the Modernisation project.

“We were not consulted about it. The decision placed more than R66m worth of projects at risk. It was just like the curtain had fallen,” Burger said.

She told the commission that SARS had since December 2014 failed to account for more than R22m worth of assets which were captured in the e-Central system.

She said Moyane then introduced a new IT partner, Gartner, to set up a new IT system.

According to her, all project managers were grouped into one under her leadership.

Gartner is one of the companies the National Treasury has compiled a dossier on – it was paid more than R200m without proper procurement processes.

Yesterday, the commission heard that Gartner scrapped all the Modernisation legacy projects, but Burger said they had to plead for the e-filing system to be retained.

The hearing continues.

Government’s entire IT system goes down

By Gaye Davis for EWN 

It has emerged that not only Home Affairs but IT systems across government were affected by Friday’s power outage.

The head of the State Information Technology Agency (Sita) has told Parliament that the power outage that caused Home Affairs’ systems to shutdown triggered a “catastrophic event” that affected all of government.

Sita CEO Dr Setumo Mohapi and the Department of Home Affairs have been called to Parliament to explain what went wrong.

Mohapi has painted a worrying picture of system and communication failures.

Sita’s generator kicked in when power from Tshwane municipality failed at 2am but its fuel pump burned out for reasons that are as yet unclear.

An overloaded UPS battery system then went into distress and systems had to be shut down at Home Affairs as well as government’s entire IT plant.

Mohapi on Tuesday explained: “It was a catastrophic event that affected not just Home Affairs but the entire IT system of government.”

Mohapi’s apologised for what happened, including a second power outage that took place on Monday, when Home Affairs systems were again down for around 90 minutes.

Mohapi says he wasn’t informed until hours after the power outage. Home Affairs’ acting Director-General Thulani Mavuso says they also had no early warning, leading to their systems crashing rather than being properly shut down.

Global stock market turmoil: What’s going on?

Stock markets around the world are falling, driven by fears coming out of the U.S. Major indexes in New York, Tokyo and London have suffered steep losses. And a key gauge of investors’ fear spiked to its highest level in more than two years.

Analysts are trying to figure out if it’s a short-term correction for markets that had recently hit record highs or a sign of deeper concerns.

Here’s what you need to know:

What’s happening?

Markets in Asia and Europe are falling Tuesday. Japan’s Nikkei plunged 4.7%, Hong Kong stocks plummeted 5.1% and London’s FTSE 100 was down nearly 2%.

Those drops follow a harrowing day for investors on Monday in the U.S., where the Dow plummeted 1,175 points, or 4.6%. It was the index’s biggest ever point decline in a single day.

Tuesday looks set to be another tough trading session on Wall Street. Dow futures were swinging wildly ahead of the open.

Why is it happening?

There are a bunch of concerns fuelling the selling. One is the worry that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates faster than previously expected. That was triggered by U.S. jobs data on Friday that showed wage growth is picking up – which could mean faster inflation.

When interest rates rise sharply, stocks often fall. Higher rates can eat into corporate profits. Rising rates and inflation can also cause problems in bond markets.

Experts have warned repeatedly in recent months that both stock and bond markets were getting too hot. And some analysts say the current losses could even be a good thing.

“This correction is a healthy development for the markets in the long run, and the equity bull market, while bloodied, is not broken,” Scott Minerd, global chief investment officer at Guggenheim Partners, wrote in a research note on Monday.

Why are U.S. issues affecting global markets?

The U.S. is the world’s largest economy and home to the biggest financial markets on the planet. The dollar is the currency of reference for investors around the world. What happens on Wall Street almost inevitably ripples around the globe. Markets in other global financial centres, like London and Tokyo, are particularly sensitive to it. But more closed systems, like China, are often less heavily affected. Stocks in Shanghai are down 2.2% since Thursday compared with 8% in Tokyo.

How worried should you be?

It depends who you ask. But assuming the current stock market declines are a short-term drop rather than a sign of deeper problems, financial experts generally say you shouldn’t panic.

Even if stocks continue to decline over the next few days, market corrections are normal, Greg McBride, Bankrate.com’s chief financial analyst, said.

The U.S. and other major economies are growing healthily at the moment.

“I caution investors to really be patient here and look for opportunities and not to panic,” Ross Gerber, CEO of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth and Investment Management, said on CNN. “It’s really not a time to be worried about the long-term prospects of the market.”

What does this have to do with Trump?

The plunging stock market is awkward for President Trump. He’s frequently taken credit for the big run-up in U.S. share prices during his presidency.

“It’s a risky game to talk about the markets. But it seems like Trump is going to live or die by the stock market,” said Greg Valliere, chief global strategist at Horizon Investments.

The White House said in a statement that Trump was focused on “our long-term economic fundamentals, which remain exceptionally strong.” The statement cited strengthening economic growth, low unemployment and increasing wages for workers.

But some of Trump’s policies also feed into the concerns weighing stocks at the moment.

The recent huge tax cuts for businesses were initially cheered by investors. But they also prescribed expensive medicine to an already healthy U.S. economy.

Stimulating a strong economy could be too much of a good thing. Morgan Stanley warned in the fall that “overheating” the economy may backfire by causing stocks to “boom then bust.”

And the current stresses in the bond market reflect the concerns that the U.S. Treasury needs to take on more debt to pay for the tax cuts.

By Jethro Mullen. Matt Egan, Sherisse Pham, David Goldman and Kathryn Vasel for CNN

They promised the glitch would not steal Christmas for online shoppers. They did not deliver.

As Black Friday neared, online retailers claimed they were ready to fend off system overloads and crashes when thousands of shoppers look for bargains.

Last year shoppers using Takealot.com ran into problems in the checkout process. This year the company advertised sales of up to 80% off for weeks in advance, while it said it had prepared for five times the average payday traffic.

However, the message greeting many shoppers trying to login after midnight disputed that claim.

Takealot sent out tweets apologising for the downtime: “The @TAKEALOT website and apps are temporarily down due to overwhelming volumes. We’re working hard to resolve the issue and we hope to have the site operational as soon as possible.”

Of course, users were quick to jump online to share their frustrations – often with memes.

For the majority of Black Friday, users who got onto the site were shown this message:

Takealot wasn’t the only online retailer to suffer, with users reporting that several other retailers had crashed at one time or another after midnight. While some have since come back online, others are still struggling. Another of the worst affected was Superbalist.

By Times Live 

WhatsApp messenger service suffers major outage

WhatsApp was hit by a major outage last Friday morning, preventing people around the globe from using the world’s most popular messaging app.

Users of the Facebook-owned app could not send or receive messages as the service continued to say it was “connecting”, though no connection was made.

According to DownDetector, there were problems across Europe although users in India, Pakistan, Singapore and Iraq also reported that they could not access the service.

Whatsappdown was the top trending item on Twitter in India, which is the app’s largest market. Around 200 million of the messaging app’s billion-plus users are based in India.

A spokesperson for Facebook in Singapore said the company was investigating the matter, Reuters reported.
The online messaging app went down in the U.K. at approximately 8:30 a.m. GMT (4.30 a.m. ET), before users were able to reconnect around 30 minutes later.

The reported connection error comes as Apple released the iPhone X on Friday, with people eagerly anticipating the tech giant’s latest flagship phone in stores globally.

Facebook was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.

By Sam Meredith for CNBC

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