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Most recent Business & Industry Law Articles posted

Eskom backed off R2.1bn fine to help Guptas

After driving Optimum Coal into business rescue last year, thereby endangering almost 2 000 jobs at the mine, Eskom suddenly reached a settlement that gave the Gupta family a 75% discount on the R2.1bn fine it had levied on the company at the time it was owned by global commodities trader Glencore. Business Day says in March this year, Eskom agreed to accept a R500m settlement for the non-performance penalties it had levied on Glencore.

Collecting Arrear Levies: A New Risk for Your Body Corporate

Levy collections are the life blood of sectional title schemes, and collecting them is likely to get harder with the economic fallout from our downgrade to junk status. So if you own property in a scheme, and particularly if you are a trustee of your body corporate, you need to know about the new SCA (Supreme Court of Appeal) decision in Body Corporate of Empire Gardens v Sithole and Another (240/2016) [2017] ZASCA 28 which puts at risk the body corporate’s right to apply for sequestration of levy defaulters.

Former spy's lucrative deal with SSA turns sour

A routine roadblock has uncovered an off-the-books, multimillion-rand-a-month contract given to a former spy and ANC Youth League backer, who has even roped in President Jacob Zuma’s support. The Sunday Times says it has established, through his lawyer, that spy-turned-businessman Themba Dlomo had been scoring R2.5m a month since 2012 in an agreement according to which he leased top-end vehicles to the State Security Agency (SSA).

Eskom boss' stepdaughter 'captured' R1bn in contracts

The stepdaughter of Eskom boss Matshela Koko has raked in contracts worth about R1bn for her company from the state utility, according to revelations in the Sunday Times. Koketso Choma (26), who graduated just three years ago, was appointed a director at Impulse International last April. Over the next 11 months, the company was awarded eight lucrative contracts from a division of Eskom that Koko headed up until he was appointed acting CEO in December.

Tafelberg sale may lead to unique constitutional test

The Western Cape government may be back in court soon to face the Reclaim My City movement for its decision to sell the Tafelberg site to the Phyllis Jowel Jewish School. A legal representative for the organisation, Mandisa Shandu, confirmed the land-sale decision would be challenged, says a Weekend Argus report.

Government withdraws decision to pull out of International Criminal Court

Justice Minister Michael Masutha has formally withdrawn SA’s decision to pull out of the International Criminal Court, says a report in The Mercury. Masutha confirmed in Parliament yesterday that the country would not withdraw from the ICC. The decision has ended months of speculation after an earlier decision by the government to pull out, says the report.

High Court puts brake on rush to exit ICC

The Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) Deputy Judge President Phineas Mojapelo has labelled government’s decision to pre-empt Parliament in deciding, without consultation, to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) ‘unconstitutional and invalid’ and ordered it to revoke the notice of withdrawal it sent to the UN Secretary-General, reports Legalbrief.

First shots fired in nuke 'state capture' case

The legal challenge mounted by two environmental NGOs to the nuclear deal with Russia – estimated to cost R1trn – which is under way in the Western Cape High Court, has been termed one of the most significant state capture court cases SA has yet seen, according to a Daily Maverick report. The two NGOs, Earthlife Africa and the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute, are squaring up against Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson’s pursuit of 9 600 megawatts of nuclear power.

ConCourt refuses Sanral’s Winelands appeal bid

The Constitutional Court on Friday dismissed an application by Sanral for leave to appeal against the judgment by the SCA in the Winelands toll route matter, says a News24 report. The Constitutional Court’s ruling means Sanral has to restart a public participation process if it wants to continue its plans to toll sections of the N1 and N2 in the Western Cape.

SCA erred on medical savings, ConCourt told

The SCA incorrectly interpreted the Medical Schemes Act when it concluded that funds in a personal medical savings account could not be treated as both an asset and trust property of a member, Genesis Medical Scheme’s Advocate Schalk Burger told the Constitutional Court yesterday.

Liquidator entitled to property under SARS control

SARS cannot prevent a liquidator from taking possession of property by virtue of the fact that the duty and VAT of the property has not been paid, says Virusha Subban, Claire van Zuylen and Yue Li, of Bowmans, in an analysis on the Polity site. They examine the recent SCA judgment in CSARS v Van der Merwe NO, where it was held that a liquidator is entitled to take the possession of the property in terms of the Insolvency Act, even though the duty and VAT of the property has not been paid to SARS.

Kumba agrees to R2.5m SARS settlement deal

Anglo American’s disposal of its stake in SA’s largest iron ore producer became easier on Friday, when Kumba Iron Ore agreed to a R2.5bn settlement with SARS – a penalty much smaller than feared. A Business Day report notes Anglo is in the throes of a major portfolio restructuring as it sells off assets in bulk commodities to repay billions of dollars in debt and to focus the business on platinum, copper and diamonds.

Blue Financial Services seeks R163m damages

Beleaguered micro-lender Blue Financial Services is pursuing R163m in damages from Standard Chartered and BancABC, which it blames for its failed recapitalisation in 2010, says a Business Day report. ‘Blue shareholders placed reliance on (the banks) to perform certain obligations in terms of the recapitalisation of Blue and then for no plausible reason, (the banks) repudiated (the agreement),’ said Blue CEO Johan Meiring.

Businesswoman gets restaurant back after court action

A Limpopo businesswoman has won a court battle against the provincial Transport Department after it shut down her restaurant on the premises of the Polokwane International Airport almost two years ago. A TimesLIVE report says Ipfi Maumela’s woes began when the restaurant was raided by police and officials from the department amid allegations that she was operating without a liquor licence‚ owed R1.9m in rent and hired undocumented foreign nationals.

Please Call Me battle heading back to ConCourt

Telecommunications giant Vodacom is still prepared to negotiate with Please Call Me inventor Nkosana Makate on whether to compensate him a share of revenue that the service has generated. This, notes a Moneyweb report, emerged from Vodacom’s affidavit filed this week in response to Makate’s latest application at the Constitutional Court, which seeks clarity on last year's groundbreaking order that compelled the company to enter into in good faith compensation negotiations with him.

Graft, nepotism cost Johannesburg millions – AG report

Three officials employed by the state benefited from the City of Johannesburg to the tune of R18.5m, according to an Auditor-General report released yesterday. Corruption, nepotism and the falsification of documents are some of the issues revealed by the Auditor-General in the city’s integrated annual report for the 2015-2016 financial year, says a City Press report.

Hundreds of licensing centre officials linked to scam

The Gauteng government has concluded a wide-ranging investigation into financial irregularities at 34 provincial licensing centres‚ indentifying a syndicate that could involve hundreds of officials who have been accepting bribes in exchange for clearing unpaid fines.

Sanral prepares to serve e-tol summonses

Sanral has prepared 6 286 summonses in a bid to recover R6.2bn in outstanding e-toll debt from Gauteng motorists, notes a Business Day report. Sanral is also gearing up for its legal fight with Outa over an e-toll test case that could provide final clarity on how the user-pays principle should be applied.

Full Bench dismisses bid to operate wellness spa at home

The Georgiou Boutique Hotel and Spa in Port Elizabeth has lost yet another court battle with Nelson Mandela Bay Metro and will have to close its wellness spa. A Daily Dispatch report says Yvette Georgiou failed in her appeal to a full Bench of the Eastern Cape High Court (Grahamstown) against a judgment in terms of which she and her husband Phillip were interdicted from operating a health spa at their luxury Kragga Kamma home.

Supreme Court of Appeal victory for KZN liquor retailers

The SCA has ruled that provisions of a KZN Liquor Act which stated that stores could not be situated next to schools or places of worship did not apply to pre-existing licence holders, says a report in The Mercury. The court was dealing with an appeal brought by Shoprite Checkers against a judgment by KZN High Court (Pietermaritzburg) Judge Mahendra Chetty last year, in which he had found that businesses with old licences – granted under the 1989 Act – and new licences had to comply with the provisions.

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