Tag: government

EFF calls for the nationalisation of our banks

If Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has his way, a “Banks Ownership Act” would be passed by Parliament, ensuring the State nationalise commercial banks in South Africa without compensation.

Introducing a debate on the issue in the National Assembly on Tuesday, Malema said: “There are no banks in South Africa that have meaningful ownership by black people”.

Malema said his party’s manifesto appreciates other forms of ownership are not excluded — including ownership by private individuals, the State and pension funds.

No single investor will own more than ten percent, he said.

“Our view is that the State ownership should be prioritised but should not completely close out other forms of ownership,” the fiery EFF leader said.

“This model of combined ownership, anchored by the State, makes sure banks are democratised…”

The ruling African National Congress (ANC) rejected Malema’s proposal.

ANC Member of Parliament (MP) Adrian Williams said banks would not just surrender their money.

“They are going to force this government to pay back the money,” Williams said.

“South Africa does not exist in a vacuum. When it comes to international finance we are just a cog in the capitalist wheel.”

He cited various examples where the State took over the ownership of banks and failed.

Williams said government would also assume the liabilities and debt, which would have an impact on the fiscus, and would result in poor South Africans and not the rich suffering.

The Banking Association of South Africa (BASA) also responded, saying the National Assembly entertaining the debate was “alarming”.

“Any nationalisation of banks will have a direct impact on stability, and will seriously undermine what fragile levels of confidence remain in our economy and society,” BASA said in a statement.

“We cannot allow ourselves to be in a position where we are further undermining the competitive positions that remain because of political expedience.”

BASA called on Treasury to provide certainty about its policy position regarding banks.

By Chantall Presence for IOL 

Government wastes R51.1bn in a year

An evaluation of those annual reports submitted to Parliament by national departments and their entities have revealed that R51.1 billion was wasted in the 2016/2017 financial year as a result of irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

Entities were the biggest offenders, accounting for nearly R35.9 billion, or R70%, of the total.

This staggering amount is sure to increase as the departments of Environmental Affairs, Defence, and State Security have still not tabled their annual reports. Similarly, South African Revenue Service, South African Airways, South African Express, South African National Roads Agency, and Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa have not finalised their annual reports.

Audit results of departments and entities were once again dismal with no fewer than 22 outstanding audit reports, as well as a litany of disclaimed (3), adverse (4) or qualified (28) audit opinions. More than 20% of all audits were either outstanding or failed to meet accounting standards.

Concerningly, the Auditor-General (A-G) raised “going concern” issues with the following entities: Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), the National Health Laboratory Service, PetroSA and the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). The A-G could not provide audit opinions for either the Unemployment insurance Fund or the Compensation Fund.
National departments once again failed to meet their own targets with key ministries among the worst performing:

Similarly, key entities are among the worst performing:

South Africans run the risk of becoming jaded by the governance failures of the ANC government. However, we must never lose sight of the opportunities lost by the R50 billion squandered through irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

Governance failures come at a great cost to South Africa’s most vulnerable. We cannot rest until every valuable resource is directed at improving the lives of honest, hardworking South Africans.

By John Steenhuisen MP, Chief Whip of the Democratic Alliance

Government may sell stake in Telkom to fund SAA

The revelation on Wednesday that finance minister Malusi Gigaba is considering selling a big chunk or possibly even all of government’s 39.3% in Telkom, at face value, is fantastic news.

There is absolutely no reason for government to continue to hold onto a significant stake in the telecommunications operator — if there ever was one, which is debatable.

On paper, now is the right time to sell the company. Under the leadership of CEO Sipho Maseko and chairman Jabu Mabuza, the company’s fortunes look better now than they have in many years.

President Zuma’s disastrous eight years in office mean the chickens are coming home to roost
The problem with selling distressed assets is they go for a song, raising almost nothing for the fiscus. Telkom is no longer a distressed asset — in fact, it is in such a strong position that it is taking the fight to its big mobile rivals, winning market share and giving them a serious headache. Consumers are loving it. Maseko’s praises should be sung from the hilltops.

It’s the wrong time to privatise state-owned assets when they are in trouble. It’s far better to turn them around, and then hive them off, ensuring the private investors that are brought in contribute meaningfully to the fiscus, in the process hopefully avoiding tax increases or even allowing for tax relief. South Africa desperately needs a well-managed programme of privatisation.

Black hole

The possible sale of Telkom — revealed in a secret cabinet document leaked to the Democratic Alliance — is being considered to raise money to throw into the black hole that is the national airline, South African Airways.

(That the DA was given this document is testimony to the fact that the ANC is a house divided. Secret documents are being leaked to the opposition, providing insight into the shambolic state of the ruling party. But that’s another story.)

So, Gigaba has a R10bn-plus hole to plug at the floundering SAA, which has been mismanaged for years under the watch of chairwoman Dudu Myeni, a close friend of President Jacob Zuma.

The concern is government is selling a good asset — using good money — to prop up an airline that should have been privatised years ago (and, of course, that shouldn’t have been allowed to be driven into the ground in the first place by incompetent managers).

But there’s a bigger issue here. Gigaba, facing a crisis over SAA, appears to be caught like a deer in the headlights, unsure about what to do. This is symptomatic of a finance minister out of his depth and, worse, a government that is failing.

Government already chased away Korea’s KT Corp, sending a terrible message to foreign investors that the country is not open for business.

If Gigaba simply starts selling government’s Telkom shares on the open market, it could prove disastrous for the telecoms operator’s shareholders. Not properly managed, the company’s share price could be decimated as the state dumps its holding.

Far better would be to sell the stake to someone through a managed process, led by advisers. But sell it to who?

Government already chased away Korea’s KT Corp, sending a terrible message to foreign investors that the country is not open for business. If there are potential foreign buyers, now is the time to ask them to step forward. But is this government prepared to sell the stake to a foreign company? Remember, it was the ANC government that almost scuppered Vodafone’s acquisition of Telkom’s stake in Vodacom, sending the rand tumbling at the time. Sanity, thankfully, eventually prevailed.

Local buyer?

Who locally could buy the stake? That’s far from clear. It’s unlikely the Competition Commission would permit one of Telkom’s big rivals to buy it. It’s not in consumers’ interests for that to happen as it would concentrate the market into the hands of three players.

But Gigaba, desperate for money to prop up an airline that has been ruined by his government, faces having his hand forced. The last thing he wants to — or should — do is to expand the budget deficit even further than it’s already stretched to bail out a bankrupt airline. He needs money from somewhere. Are there other options? Maybe. Government’s already sold a chunk of its stake in Vodacom to fund another state-owned disaster, Eskom. The Public Investment Corp, which invests public servants’ pension money, bought that stake. Maybe it will be asked to get involved again.

Whatever he decides to do, Gigaba can’t be rash about it. President Zuma’s disastrous eight years in office mean the chickens are coming home to roost. And the finance minister is in the unenviable position of having to try and fix some of the mess. The wrong decisions now could make things even worse.

By Duncan McLeod for TechCentral 

A recent High Court decision has likely set a new precedent that could allow for private citizens and bodies to perform basic service delivery functions with taxpayers’ money.

In the judgement, the Eastern Cape High Court ordered the provincial Roads Department to reimburse farmers who carry out maintenance themselves, subject to strict conditions including giving the department 30 days notice of the repairs and obtaining at least two independent quotes.

At the time of the judgement, president of Agri Eastern Cape, Douglas Steyn, told the Eastern Cape paper, Dispatch that the ruling would likely to have far-reaching consequences around the country as other farmers and civil society groups will follow suit.

This was confirmed by civil group Afriforum, who noted that it has subsequently begun using similar legal means to provide basic service delivery functions around the country.

Speaking in the 12 March edition of the Rapport, head of AfriForum’s local governance division, Marcus Pawson, noted that it had not only been reimbursed for roads but other basic services such as the removal of trees, and the replacement of water pumps.

The Rapport also noted that Pawson and Afriforum announced plans to use the judgment to set precedent in other provincial jurisdictions so that people would not have to be reimbursed on a case by case basis but could then implement the fixes using specific legal guidelines.

Source: www.businesstech.co.za

The Right2Know Campaign (R2K) and the Democratic Alliance has lashed out at State Security Minister David Mahlobo, who at the weekend said the regulation of social media in SA was being discussed at government level.

At a justice, crime prevention and security cluster media briefing on Sunday, Mahlobo indicated that the African National Congress-led government was contemplating regulating South Africa’s social media space.

In a statement on Tuesday, R2K said this would be an abuse of power that undermined democracy.

“R2K has already raised concerns that South Africa’s state security structures have abused their surveillance powers and shown a disregard for democratic process.”

R2K said members of the state security cluster had tried to paint their critics as “threats” who must be targeted.

“Now, out of thin air, we have state security proposing to ‘regulate’ social media. This is a clear move by state securocrats to try [and] clamp down on freedom of expression and increase their powers to censor the internet.”

Cyber bullies

R2K said the call from Mahlobo came on the back of a range of existing and “deeply problematic censorship policies”.

“Regulation of social media already exists. [Platforms] like Twitter and Facebook have added self-regulation measures to empower users to take action against online harassment and cut down on the spread of fake news and propaganda.”

Meanwhile, DA spokesperson on telecommunications and postal services Marian Shinn said the call from Mahlobo was “worrying”.

“Such statements pose a direct threat to media and internet freedom in SA. Instead of making such irresponsible threats, our government should rather distance itself from the continent’s despots when it comes to developing policies and regulations for internet behaviour.”

Shinn said Mahlobo’s concerns about false news and scams needed to be looked at against the backdrop of “the pending 2019 general election and the increasing denial of digital rights by African governments feeling threatened by the citizen empowerment that the world wide web facilitates”.

Shinn highlighted how the SA government, “along with cyber bullies such as Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and India”, had voted against the United Nations Human Rights Council’s declaration that access to the internet was a human right.

By Kaveel Singh for News24

Small businesses could save SA

The government has the opportunity to rev-up much needed economic growth in South Africa by creating a stable political environment and the right policies for small businesses.

This is the message from Anton van Heerden, MD and executive vice president at Sage for Africa and the Middle East.

“South Africa’s small businesses are resilient and it is heartening to see how determined our entrepreneurs are to get to the top,” he said.

“They hold the key to creating jobs, reducing inequality and creating a more thriving South Africa.”

Van Heerden explained that it is promising to see the South African government putting the small and medium business sector at the centre of its economic policies.

“The government’s National Development Plan envisages 90% of new employment by 2030 will be generated by (small, medium & micro enterprise businesses) SMMEs.”

He pointed out that Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan also mentioned in his Budget Speech last year some small business-friendly steps, such as easing regulatory burdens for businesses.

“Minister Gordhan also announced that government has earmarked R475m for the Department of Small Business Development to help small and medium businesses.”

Van Heerden told Fin24 that Sage would like further details to be unveiled in the approaching Budget Speech in February.

“We hope that in the upcoming Budget Speech for 2017, we’ll see the finance minister put some more flesh on the bones of government’s plans to drive economic growth and entrepreneurial activity in South Africa.”

Sage is also interested to learn what is important for small businesses.

“By listening to small business owners and supporting them with a stable political environment and the right policies, government has the opportunity to turbo-charge South Africa’s growth.”

In this regard, Van Heerden explained that Sage would welcome more government support for SMMEs around export opportunities, more tax incentives and grants for companies that export successfully.

“We’d also like to see a simpler tax and regulatory environment for smaller companies. For example, turnover tax and exemption from VAT already simplify tax administration for the smallest businesses who take advantage of them, but these concepts could be extended to companies with slightly more than R1m in turnover.”

Van Heerden suggested that micro-business owners should be encouraged to grow rather than face more onerous tax and regulatory burdens once their turnover exceeds R1m. “What about lifting it to R2m or R3m?”

Global research published by Sage ahead of the World Economic Forum found that a mere 17% of small businesses feel represented by politicians in their country’s decision making.

Respondents were from Australia, Benelux, Brazil, Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, Morocco, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, UK and the US.

Almost half (46%) of them singled out export opportunities, and grants as being the most important thing that government can do to help them.

Improvements around political stability (45%) was highlighted as the second most important, while creating a stable regulatory environment ranked third (38%).

Sage announced the launch of its Forum for Business Builders in a bid to give business builders a platform to connect with policy makers.

It aims to bring entrepreneurs from around the world insights, events and policy-forming partnerships to give them a powerful collective voice that can be heard on the world stage.

Source: www.fin24.com

Three Mbombela traffic and licensing centres have closed due to shortage of stationery.

Motorists are unable to renew their vehicle licenses, among other things.

It is reported that the shortage arose because the Mbombela Municipality ordered stationery late.

The centre has been closed since Monday.

Usually a hive of activity with motorists and learner drivers seeking services, on Thursday many had to leave without being assisted.

“I came here for learner’s license and I find that it is closed, it is a big problem,” says an applicant.

“I am all the way from Kaapsehoop, all I want is to renew my vehicle license and I am being turned away,” says a motorist.

Another motorist adds, “What if they fine me because my license has expired, what is going to happen?”

Two other centres remain closed, a problem the Mbombela Municipality has promised to resolve.

Municipality spokesperson Joseph Ngala says, “We have a situation were an order for forms and other papers was placed very late, we would like to apologise to the people of Mbombela for the inconvenience caused. We understand that this is something that should not have happened.”

The municipality is hoping that no motorists will be fined during this period.

By Mweli Masilela for www.sabc.co.za
Image credit: www.sabc.co.za

  • 1
  • 2

Follow us on social media: 

               

View our magazine archives: 

                       


My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
Top