Tag: South Africa

News: SA has the third-most miserable economy in the world, according to the Misery Index.

South Africa has just been ranked as the world’s most miserable economy after Venezuela and Argentina.

According to Business Insider, Bloomberg’s Misery Index, which ranks major economies by inflation and unemployment expectations, shows South Africa is at the third-worst position among major economies.

While the local inflation rate of around 2.2% is the lowest in 15 years, the official unemployment rate of 30% is the highest in a decade. Government estimates that between 3 and 7 million people could lose their jobs this year.

Thailand, Singapore, and Japan registered as the least miserable nations, with Switzerland in fourth place.

The US jumped up sharply in the misery index – from number 50 to 25.

Economists expect near-term inflation to slide below 1% in the US as a drop in consumer spending drives steady disinflation. The nation’s unemployment rate spiked as high as 13.4% in the second quarter from a pre-pandemic reading of 3.5%, ranking among the worst labor market tumbles around the world.

Israel, Iceland, and Panama were the only countries to suffer a drop close to that seen in the US, according to Bloomberg. Of the world’s largest economies, China and Japan declined the least, while the eurozone and the UK both experienced bigger jumps in joblessness and drops in inflation.

Luxembourg’s economy improved the most between 2019 and 2020, by leaping to rank 30 from 47.

Not all index improvements equate to economic happiness, according to Bloomberg. Some higher rankings were fuelled by demand hits that pushed inflation expectations into negative territory. The top four least miserable economies of 2020 all expect deflation to hit in the near future. Such a trend would likely harm borrowers and worsen already steep recessions.

Photo Credit: Jacques Nel /Unsplash

Education News: Confusion around the closing of schools

A number of public schools in South Africa have chosen to remain open as they await an official government directive stating their required closure.

However, the Beeld reported that some schools remain open because no official regulations around the announcement have been gazetted.

According to Business Tech, the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools (Fedsas) chief executive Paul Colditz said that public schools were left with more questions than answers following president Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement.

“It is not supported by new regulations, directives or the publication of a new school calendar,” he said.

“In this case decision-makers such as school governing bodies are supposed to assume that the existing directives and calendar remain in effect.”

 Colditz said Fedsas is not able to provide guidance to its members until amended directives and a new school calendar are formally published.

“However, schools are closed from Monday, which means that planning has to take place without any legal framework available. This makes an already challenging situation even more difficult.”

 Although the president indicated in his speech that the decision was based on thorough consultation, the final plan was never shared with all role-players, he said.

We were part of meetings where proposals were discussed but there was no consensus on a final plan.”

A number of grades have also not returned to school since the introduction of restrictions in mid-March, with some grades only set to return as late as September.

TimesLive reported that the Gauteng education department is planning to “possibly” phase-in pupils from seven different grades from August, with grades 3, 6, 10 and 11 anticipated to return on August 24. Grades 4, 5 and 9 are also tentatively scheduled to return on the same date.

 Grades 1, 2 and 8 would return on 31 August 31, the circular said, while no mention is made for Grade R pupils.

Crime News: Southern Africa ‘fertile ground’ for extremism – expert warns

Jakkie Cilliers, head of African futures and innovation at the Institute for Security Studies, said SA was a prime target for kidnappings given its relative wealth compared to other countries on the continent.

He said the rise in kidnappings reflected a decline in the criminal justice system and efficiency of intelligence services.

For a number of years, foreign organised crime syndicates have been coming into SA to commit crimes, especially those such as kidnappings. With  law enforcement deteriorating to such a degree, foreign criminal syndicates operates in SA with impunity,” he said.

Cilliers said it was well known that kidnapping syndicates used ransoms as a source of finance for other criminal networks.

Extremist organisations are able to take root when there is a collapse or failure in governance as we see happening in northern Mozambique.

“Such rooting and linkages with violent criminal organisations is happening across southern Africa, including in SA. Three years ago I would say it was unlikely that extremism would find a footing in SA, but opportunities are being created by local governance failures, which have seen the creation of fertile ground for these kinds of organisations.”

He described the situation as highly concerning. “The absence of proper border security and policing failures allows these groups [kidnappers] to gain footholds to operate here.”

Private investigator Jack Brice said intelligence showed there was a definite link between kidnapping syndicates and foreign-based crime organisations. He said those behind the kidnappings were typically well-trained, heavily armed and highly organised.

“These crimes are definitely on the rise. There is a lot of money made through ransoms, which vary between R20m and R40m,” he said.

“The ransoms are used to fund the commission of other crimes, including the purchasing of weapons and organisations involved in extremism.”

Brice said those kidnapped were often wealthy foreign businessmen operating in SA.

“Kidnappings are not carried out by Mickey Mouse organisations. These groups do their homework, using their own extensive intelligence networks to scope out their targets often months before they have even arrived in SA.”

Photo Credit:Unsplash

Education: New Online Boutique High School to launch in January 2021

Private online high school Valenture Institute is launching boutique campuses in South Africa.

The first South African boutique campus will be opening in January 2021 in Newlands and is designed to allow high school learners to interact with their peers while taking live online classes.

“Our boutique private high school campuses provide a unique environment where high-schoolers can interact and collaborate with peers in person while studying in live online classes alongside global classmates,” said Valenture Institute.

Valenture Institute said that learners who study through this online high school get the opportunity to connect and engage with experts from organisations like NASA, Google, and Harvard.

Our learning environment encourages group collaboration where students are able to express their personal dreams, goals and aspirations for their future. Our approach is geared towards furthering our students’ individual growth while always considering real-world application.”

The campuses will provide learners with personalised guidance from learning coaches and a variety of impressive facilities and services.

These include:

  1. Private study pods
  2. On-demand transport to and from campus
  3. Grocery delivery
  4. Laundry
  5. Catered meals
  6. Smoothie bar
  7. Yoga studio and meditation area
  8. Production space to produce your own podcast
  9. Gym and personal trainers
  10. Games room
  11. Consultations with a dietician

Valenture also has an additional Cape Town campus set to launch in Constantia, as well as upcoming Johannesburg campuses in Bryanston and Sandton.

Globally, it is also developing campuses in London and Boston.

Pricing for the Valenture Institute Newlands campus is as follows:

Photo Credit: mybroadband

News: Chocolate Log will be discontinued.

Nestlé has announced it will be discontinuing the production of their Chocolate Log product in South Africa from August, cape(town)etc reported.

According to cape(town)etc, the news first hit social media when a speciality food supplier, Aubergine Speciality Foods which supplies South African delicacies for those in Canada, posted on Facebook that the beloved chocolate treat will no longer be available.

The company has since confirmed this, saying: “As Nestlé, our purpose is to delight our consumers through tastier and healthier products.  We know that one of the main drivers of the chocolate category is innovation and that consumers love new products.  Taking this into consideration, we do discontinue certain products and introduce new ones to the market.”

The chocolate, made with a marshmallow centre sitting on a crisp wafer and covered in chocolate, has been a staple of school tuck shops, corner stores and sweet aisles for the past 50 years.

“We equally understand that its discontinuation may somehow disappoint some of our loyal consumers,” said the company.

South Africans on social media are definitely disappointed, with many expressing how much they are going to miss the unique chocolate.

“Nooooo that’s shocking… All the good chocolates get discontinued,” said one.

Others compared this to other chocolates which have been slowly disappearing off our shelves. “First Tempo now this. It’s a travesty,” a social media user said.

Nestlé told cape(town)etc, South Africans have new exciting offerings to look forward to as they plan on bringing out a variety of new chocolates in the coming months.

 

Image: Aubergine Speciality Foods/Facebook

Source: Cape(town)etc

Covid-19: These SA businesses have not survived the lockdown.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused misery in thousands of businesses in South Africa. Already, many have had to close their doors amid the turmoil, Business Insider reported.

Edcon

According to a new deal, Retailability, which owns the Legit chain of stores, will buy the most profitable Edgars stores – the rest will be closed. An announcement of a similar agreement for Jet is expected within a week.

Comair

The owner of kulula.com (and local operator of British Airways in SA) also filed for bankruptcy protection during lockdown. Across the world, other airlines found themselves in the same position, including Flybe (UK), Trans States Airlines and Compass Airlines (US), Virgin Australia as well as Avianca in Colombia. SAA has been in business rescue since December.

Comair’s business rescue practitioners warned that the airline requires a “substantial” cash injection and that it can only survive if it sells half its planes. Under the most enthusiastic scenario, it won’t take to the skies before November.

Media24 publications

Media24 has closed a number of print publications, and restructured others as the pandemic wreaked havoc on advertising income.

Associated Media

Associated Media Publishing, which published Cosmopolitan, House & Leisure, Good Housekeeping and Women on Wheels, shut down last month, blaming the “devastating” impact of Covid-19. The company was launched in 1982 by magazine doyenne Jane Raphaely.

Caxton magazines

More magazine casualties could include titles like Bona, Country Life, Essentials, Food & Home, Garden & Home, People, Rooi Rose, Vrouekeur, Woman & Home and Your Family after their publisher Caxton and CTP Publishers & Printers announced that it is “withdrawing” from magazine publishing. Buyers for these titles are sought – failing which, they will be closed.

Phumelela Gaming & Leisure

Founded in 1997 and based at the Turffontein racecourse in Johannesburg, the company is SA’s biggest horse racing business. It operates four racecourses, more than 200 tote outlets and online sites, as well as a telephone-betting centre. It also owns Betting World, which has nearly 70 retail outlets and an online platform.

It filed for business rescue during lockdown, but thanks to R100 million in emergency funding from the Oppenheimer family, it may still be stabilised.

Pretoria Society of Advocates

Commonly known as the Pretoria Bar, the lockdown has worsened its financial situation. It is owed millions by its members, and may apply for liquidation.

Prada in South Africa

The Italian luxury group Prada shut its only store in South Africa during lockdown. The Sandton City store – covering an area of 800 square meters and designed by architect Roberto Baciocchi – opened its doors five years ago.

Time Freight

The courier company – which is part of The Laser Group – is no longer operational after the lockdown brought its business to a halt.

Restaurants and bars

Wendy Alberts, CEO of the Restaurant Association of South Africa (RASA), told Business Insider that “dozens of restaurants” are going out of business every day.

The Kitchen in Cape Town

Where former US first lady Michelle Obama famously had lunch in 2013. Launched in 2009 by chef Karen Dudley, it announced last week that it would close its doors.

Pablo Eggs Go Bar

Popular Melville restaurant Pablo Eggs Go Bar has also announced that it has closed down. “It’s been a wonderful four years on that magical corner but in these uncertain times we have decided to consolidate our financial exposure and we simply lack the financial needs to reopen,” its owners said in an Instagram post.

The Myoga restaurant,

The Myoga Restaurant launched in 2007 in the grounds of The Vineyard hotel in Cape Town, has also closed. “Having weathered two recessions, a water crisis and now Covid-19, it is time to close Myoga’s doors and look to the future,” says owner Mike Bassett.  “The way we live, including the experience of eating beautiful food, together, is forever changed. We need to make sure that where we can affect it, that change is for the better.”

Joburg Bar in Long Street

The legendary Joburg bar in Long Street, Cape Town has also called it quits after more than two decades, and the Kalk Bay Theatre & Restaurant did not survive lockdown.

Domino’s Pizza:

South Africa’s once high-flying pizza industry has been dealt a blow with the announcement that the Domino’s Pizza business is being liquidated. A total of 55 stores and about 770 employees will be impacted by the closure, which is with immediate effect.

Flight Centre’s Cruiseabout

Flight Centre, South Africa’s largest travel company, will close 40% of its stores and shut its cruising holiday Cruiseabout brand, with its customers and bookings to be transferred to the rest of the business.

Hout Bay’s Mariner’s Wharf

The harbourfront centre, which opened in 1984 and houses several shops and restaurants, “has taken the extremely difficult decision to cease trading until the economy recovers”. Employees have been retrenched.

Bishop Bavin school

The prestigious private Bedfordview school has shut its doors, allegedly due to a financial crisis, News24 reported. According to a Gauteng Department of Education spokesperson, many independent schools are experiencing financial difficulties as some parents are not paying fees as expected amid the lockdown, and widespread loss of jobs.

The Gadget Shop

The company, which sold a wide range of “gifts, gadgets, gizmos or items of wonder” online and from 11 stores, closed down last month.

Rebel Tech

The online tech hardware retailer has also closed its doors. The Johannesburg-based company was founded in 2008. “Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 situation and its subsequent challenges, the cards that were dealt were too much for Rebel Tech to overcome,” the company said.

Source: Business Insider

Photo Credit: Karen Dudley in The Kitchen.

 

 

 

 

Municipalities: 18 of the worst money horror stories in SA

Shocking financial mismanagement continued at many South African municipalities in the past year, the latest report from the Auditor-General (AG) into local government found.

The AG, Kimi Makwetu, entitled his report “Not much to go around, yet not the right hands at the till”, and it shows enormous unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure – as well as “inaccurate and lacklustre revenue collection”.

Many municipalities are crippled by debt and unable to pay for water and electricity.

Only 8% of municipalities received a clean audit, and on average they took 180 days to pay creditors. Irregular expenditure exceeded R32 billion – up from R24 billion in the previous year.

Here are some of the worst instances of municipal mismanagement.

 

1) Madibeng: Municipal money was used to pay for clothes and AMC cookware

Debit orders against the municipality’s bank account were used to pay accounts of private individuals for items such as clothing, DSTV, and AMC cookware.

“Despite reporting this to the municipal public accounts committee as well, no investigation or action has been taken to stop these transactions or to recover the money from the individuals and safeguard the municipality from continuing to incur financial losses.”

2) Metsimaholo: Civil servants classified as ‘indigent’ 

Civil servants and individuals doing business with government are listed on the municipality’s indigent register, which means that they are exempted from certain payments. Additionally, more than 2,600 dead people are also still included on the indigent register.

In the previous year, the municipality also spent almost R22 million on the Oranjeville Sports Complex. “For the amount spent, only a fence was visible during our site visit,” the AG says.

“We reported some of these findings in prior years and the municipality’s leadership did not take any action to address them.”

3) Fezile Dabi District: Double disaster with financial statements

Also situated in Sasolburg, with Metsimaholo as one of its administrative areas, the district’s financial statements were prepared by two different consulting firms. The first consultants were paid R300,000 to prepare the financial statements – but the municipal manager rejected the statements, citing “poor quality”.

“However, no action was taken by the municipality to ask the consultants to re-perform the work or recover the funds paid to them,” the AG found. The second set of consultants were paid R1.6 million for the preparation of a completely new set of financial statements. “Based on our findings on the financial statements, it is clear that the second firm of consultants did not apply due care when preparing them. No action was taken against the officials for poor performance. Moreover, no action was taken against the second consultants for the poor delivery that resulted in the regression of the audit outcome.”

4) Dihlabeng: Millions spent on a shoddy road

Situated in Bethlehem, the municipality spent R1.5 million more on a new tarred road than budgeted – and the project was also completed six months late. When management inspected the road immediately after completion, they identified cracks and patches, as well as the absence of stormwater channels in critical sections. “This led to the recording of an impairment of R3.5 million in the financial statements,” says the AG. “No consequences had been implemented against the contractor or the official who allowed the project to be completed with poor-quality workmanship at a cost higher than the contract value.”

The municipality also paid a contractor R9.5 million for the construction of the Clarens Water Treatment Works. “However, when we visited the site we found that no work had been done. We then identified that R3 million had been paid for the project’s designs and R6.5 million had been used by the contractor to purchase the material for the project, but this was stored at his own premises,” the AG said. 

5) Moqhaka: Sewage contaminates drinking water

The municipality did not undertake the necessary repairs and maintenance at the Kroonstad Wastewater Treatment Works, resulting in the collapse of a newly-activated sludge plant, flooding the old biological plant with raw sewage, the report found. This sewage was pumped into the Vals River (a tributary of the Vaal River) – the town’s main source of drinking water.

The spillage of sewage above the drinking water extraction point resulted in unnecessarily high purification costs for the municipality. Additionally, the municipality lacked skilled and experienced personnel to ensure the wastewater plant’s continual maintenance and repairs. Due to the lack of preventative controls, the municipality spent a lot of money to remove the sewage from the river, which could have been avoided. No action was taken by the council against the officials responsible for these municipal failures,” according to the report.

6) Nala: No internal audits for five years

The internal audit unit at the municipality, situated in Bothaville, has not produced any reports for the past five years, despite paying salaries of R800,000 per year. This was because the head of internal audit did not have the relevant qualifications and skills.

7) Mopani District: Suspect spending of drought relief money

The district received R85 million in drought relief in March 2019, to establish boreholes in drought-stricken areas. Almost R60 million was spent by June last year, however the AG found evidence of duplicate payments, payments made without evidence that work had been done, and money paid for water provided through water tankers instead of being used on boreholes.

8) Collins Chabane: Big payment to the wrong person

A payment of R900,000 was made to the wrong supplier, and the municipality only managed to recover around R225,000 of that amount.

9) Modimolle-Mookgophong: No investigation of dodgy spending

Millions in irregular, unauthorised as well as fruitless and wasteful spending at this local municipality in the Waterberg was not investigated.

“The three main political parties in the council could not reach consensus on the process that needed to be followed in conducting an investigation into such unwanted expenditure. In some instances, the expenditure was condoned without any consideration of the circumstances under which it had been incurred,” the AG found.

10) Vhembe District: VBS was just ignored

Vhembe lost R369 million due to the collapse of VBS Mutual Bank, which meant it couldn’t pay for repairs and maintenance of water pipes and boreholes, which resulted in water interruptions. 

Still, the municipal public accounts committee recommended to council that irregular as well as fruitless and wasteful expenditure relating to prior years be condoned without being properly investigated. “Such actions make the oversight of these committees questionable,” the AG found.

The municipality also processed payment for the same supplier invoice twice, amounting to more than R1.1 million.

11) Bela-Bela: ‘Leadership simply does not care’

The AG was scathing in its assessment of the municipality, which also didn’t address problems with irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

“As far as the audit outcomes are concerned, there was no improvement at the municipality and no collective effort by the political leadership to address outcomes and service delivery issues (for example, the roads in town are in a very poor condition), despite the town being a popular tourist destination. The perception is that leadership simply does not care.”

12) Victor Khanye: Accounting system down for six months

The AG found a “complete breakdown” in internal controls at the municipality. The accounting system did not work for half of the year, with the result that the municipality transacted through the bank without recording the transactions on the accounting system.

13) Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District: A VBS investor reinstated, R25 million spent on accounting ‘without any value being realised’

The district is in severe distress after losing almost R151 million due to the VBS collapse. “The suspended municipal manager, who was responsible for this investment, was reinstated without any actions being taken despite recommendations to the council by the disciplinary board in this regard,” the AG found.

It received almost R130 million from government for infrastructure, but these projects were not completed in the previous year, the AG also found. “This caused an uproar in the community and led to protest actions.”

There was a lack of basic controls, and consultants were used because a chief financial officer was not appointed. “We noted evidence of deteriorating accountability on the part of the municipality’s management, as all processes during the audit were led by the consultants. The basic errors identified in the financial statements were indicative of a lack of review and proper monitoring of the work done by the consultants.The finance unit, consisting of 25 staff members, had a salary cost of R9,3 million and a further R15,6 million was spent on consultants without any value being realised,” the report found.

14) Mamusa: Documents stacked on floors, infighting, and threats

Located in the town of Schweizer-Reneke, the municipality has received 11 consecutive disclaimed opinions for its audits. “They did not have a proper records management system, as documents were not kept in a strongroom or even in file cabinets. Instead, documents were stacked against the walls on office floors,” the AG said.

The AG also found the “most severe political infighting”, and says political leadership did not take responsibility for the audit process.

The municipality’s administrator received numerous threats and was prevented access to the municipal buildings by the protesters.

The council has been dissolved.

15) Maquassi Hills: Two people in the same job

Located in the town of Wolmaransstad, the municipality is currently under administration. The council appointed a municipal manager and the administrator appointed a different municipal manager, with the result that the municipality had two accounting officers.

“This muddled accountability totally disrupted not only the audit process but also the operations of the municipality, as no decisions could be made or actioned,” the AG said.

16) Ngaka Modiri Molema District: Overpayment for water tankers that travelled further than physically possible

There was a frequent overpayment for water tanker services in the district. The district failed to ensure that claims received from the supplier were appropriately checked before payments were made, resulting in payments made for distances longer than those actually required to be travelled to deliver water to rural communities, the AG found.

17) Lekwa Teemane: No money left

The municipality, situated in Christiana (which also includes the town of Bloemhof) is on the brink of collapse, the AG found. After its debt payments, there is almost no money left to pay operational expenses. “Due to these cash-flow constraints, the municipality used [infrastructure] grants to fund their operations, which in turn affected service delivery as funds earmarked for capital projects to improve infrastructure were misspent.”

18) Emakhazeni: ‘Complete breakdown’

The AG found internal financial controls had completely broken down. “The municipality relied on consultants to do bank reconciliations, assist with the management of the asset register and also prepare financial statements, despite having individuals employed in the finance unit to do so.”

 

Source: Business Insider

 

Covid-19: South Africa’s strange lockdown strategy

Other countries implemented a lockdown when cases started to rise and waited for the number of COVID-19 cases to go down before they ease their lockdown restrictions.

South Africa is going in the opposite direction and is easing lockdown restrictions as the spread of the virus is increasing.

Professor Salim Abdool Karim, chairperson of the Health Minister’s COVID-19 advisory group, said this places South Africa in a unique position.

Instead of increasing restrictions during the growth phase of the virus to reduce its spread – like in other countries – South Africa is allowing more movement and larger congregations of people.

This fuel the spread of the virus across the country as the number of COVID-19 infections is nowhere close to reaching its peak.

Many people criticised this strategy, saying instead of flatting the infection curve the government has only flattened the economy.

South Africa overtook China in the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases two weeks ago, and since then, the growth rate has continued to increase.

South Africa versus China

To illustrate South Africa’s unique lockdown strategy, it is educational to compare it to China’s lockdown in Wuhan and other cities in Hubei.

China

  • When the virus started to spread in Wuhan, China imposed severe transport restrictions in the region on 23 January.
  • Three weeks later, when the growth was reaching peak levels, China imposed a strict lockdown by shutting down all non-essential companies and manufacturing plants.
  • A week later, it shut down all schools in the region as a further measure to curb the spread of the virus.
  • The travel and other restrictions remained in place until the number of active cases flatlined.
  • It eased the two-month lockdown on 22 March and waited for nearly three more weeks before allowing all transportation to resume.

South Africa 

  • In South Africa, a national state of disaster was declared on 15 March, and on 18 March schools were closed.
  • Two weeks later, the country went into a strict national lockdown where the government shut down all non-essential companies.
  • Because of the lockdown, the number of new daily cases remained low but the economy started to suffer, which forced the government to ease the restrictions on 1 May.
  • The daily cases started to increase in May, but despite this growth, the restrictions were further eased on 1 June, with schools reopening, religious gatherings being allowed, and domestic travel opened for business purposes.

South Africa has now reached a rapid COVID-19 growth phase, and the government has yet again eased restrictions on public gatherings, sit-down restaurants, and business events.

Source: My Broadband

Photo Credit: My Broadband 

 

 

 

 

CRIME NEWS: Criminals target Gumtree users during lockdown

The popular classifieds platform Gumtree has seen an increase in scams during lockdown, as fraudsters benefit from doing deals over a distance according to Business Insider.

“The pandemic has seen more South Africans sell their items in an attempt to raise additional cash, and as those listings increase, so do scam attempts. With lockdown, buyers and sellers are inclined to transact online only rather than face to face or without viewing an item in person and using electronic payment methods rather than cash. This does lead to more instances of fraud,” says Estelle Nagel of Gumtree.

Many South Africans are also desperate for cash in tough times. “(This) means that we are less risk averse than normal and more likely to take a gamble in terms of safety,” she adds.

However, while there are more scam attempts, criminals are not necessarily more successful. The ratio of successful transactions versus fraudulent transactions is unchanged and less than 0.5% of transactions are reported as fraudulent, according to Gumtree.

The platform is, however, concerned about the sharp rise in “buyer scams”.

Buyer Scams

  • A fraudster will send through a fake proof of payment to a seller;
  • Typically a SMS that looks like an electronic transfer has been made;
  • Then send an Uber driver to collect the item.
  • The fraudster will then abscond with the product.

High-value items are often targeted,  particularly electronics like gaming consoles, tablets, phones and laptops. Of late, however, more scams with motorcycles have been reported.

 

Best Defence against a buyer scam.

  • Never hand over an item until the money has cleared in your account.
  • Once money has been received, transfer it to a separate account to avoid the fraudster cancelling the transfer from their side.

Nagel recommends that you continue to communicate via the Gumtree platform, and not on Whatsapp.  “Even though times are tough, don’t compromise on personal or financial safety. There are millions of legitimate buyers for your items – take time, negotiate and wait for the right one.

During the coronavirus crisis, criminals have targeted South Africans with various new scams.

Phishing Sites

These scams include sending victims cellphone messages with links purporting to be reports about the virus in their area, instead the links click through to phishing sites, which steal the victim’s credentials, says  the South African Banking Risk Information Centre.

Email Scams

 There has also been a surge of fake, but very realistic,emails offering products such as masks, or fake offerings of vaccines, leading to phishing websites, Sabric says.

 

Source: Business Insider

Photo Credit: Unsplash

CRIME NEWS : Four arrested for smuggling cigarettes worth over R1 million into South Africa

Four suspects have been arrested for allegedly smuggling illicit cigarettes worth over R1m into South Africa, police said on Tuesday.

Police spokesperson Brig Motlafela Mojapelo said the K9 unit, soldiers and custom officials arrested the suspects during an operation on the N1 between Beitbridge and Musina.

A vehicle with two occupants was stopped and when the members searched it, illicit cigarettes were found stacked in bags, Mojapelo said.

He added that the probe led the team to a nearby mall where a suspect was found loading cigarettes into a vehicle.

The suspect was arrested after attempting to evade arrest.

“More information surfaced that these cigarettes were to be transported to a certain warehouse in Musina town where more cigarettes were stored.

“The team rushed to the given address and on arrival, a vehicle already loaded with illicit cigarettes was found parked at the warehouse. The team started searching and master boxes of more illicit cigarettes were found in one of the rooms.”

Mojapelo said several other boxes of cigarettes were found in a second room.

“As the members were busy unpacking them, one suspect was found hidden between the boxes and was immediately apprehended.”

Police recovered three vehicles and 4,040 cartons of illicit cigarettes with an estimated value of over R1m.

The four suspects, aged between 32 and 34 are expected to appear in the Musina magistrate’s court soon.

 

Source: DispatchLIVE

Photo Credit: DispatchLIVE

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