Company, director sentenced for R5.7m SARS fraud

The South African Revenue Service’s (SARS) efforts to clampdown on swindlers, received a shot in the arm when a company and its director received suspended sentences for defrauding the revenue collector of R5.7 million.

This came after YB Mashalaba and Associates (Pty) Ltd and it’s director, Yandisa Bavulele Mashalaba, pleaded guilty in the Bloemfontein Regional Court of PAYE fraud for claiming a false PAYE credit of the R5.7 million.

In a statement, SARS said an investigation by its auditors found that a false Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) credit was submitted to nullify a tax debt to the value of R5.6 million.

The PAYE credit was disallowed by the SARS auditors, said the revenue collector.

The company was fined R 100 000 suspended wholly for five years, while the director was fined R 500 000 or five years imprisonment suspended wholly for five years.

SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter in the statement said companies and their directors would face criminal prosecution if they transgressed the law and tried to defraud the fiscus of any revenue that was due to the state.

“SARS will make it hard and costly for any taxpayer who wilfully and intentionally seeks to break the law as we expect every taxpayer to meet their obligations and pay their fair share of tax,” he said on Tuesday.

 

Source: South African Government News Agency

Fund established to assist youth-owned businesses affected by looting

Youth-owned enterprises affected by the recent looting and violence have until Friday to submit applications for a fund to assist them during these challenging times.

The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) has established the Youth Enterprise Rebuilding Fund to assist youth-owned enterprises affected by the recent looting and violence, and have no form of insurance cover.

In a statement, the NYDA said the fund, which is reserved for youth owned businesses in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, is specifically established to ensure that youth owned enterprises who are affected can return to their business operations, as soon as is practically possible.

“The fund will exist alongside other forms of government support to business and jobs in these challenging times. Details of the fund are available on the NYDA website www.nyda.gov.za.

“The NYDA encourages all young people who may have been displaced from employment because of the recent violence to apply for support from the Unemployment Insurance Fund. Details can be found on https://ufiling.co.za/uif/ or through a Department of Employment and Labour Centre,” the agency said.

The applications for the fund close on 30 July 2021.

The NYDA has also welcomed the reimplementation of the monthly Social Relief of Distress Grant and its extension to caregivers, as well as the extension of the UIF Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) for sectors affected during Alert Level 4.

The agency noted that these are important mechanisms in supporting young people and the economy during the pandemic.

“The NYDA remains committed to supporting the Economic Recovery and Reconstruction Plan, which encompasses the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention, which was announced in SONA (State of the Nation Address) 2020 and reaffirmed on Youth Day 2021. Addressing the youth unemployment crisis remains front and centre of the economic recovery plan,” the agency said.

 

Source: South African Government News Agency

Suppliers warned against price gouging

The Gauteng Department of Economic Development has warned suppliers not to inflate the prices of essential items listed under the Consumer and Customer Protection and National Disaster Management Regulations and Directions.

These are items issued in terms of Regulation 350 of Government Notice 43116 (Regulation 350).

The warning comes after reports of possible food shortages had emerged in Gauteng following recent public unrest.

Regulation 350, read with sections 40 and 48, was gazetted by government to prevent suppliers from profiteering during the period of the national disaster.

This was done to protect consumers against unfair, unreasonable and unjust pricing.

“It is unreasonable and unfair for suppliers of goods to take advantage of this state of national disaster by unfairly increasing the prices of goods without any economic justification to do so,” the department said in a statement.

The Chief Director: Consumer Affairs and Business Compliance, Adv. Fati Manamela, says both Sections 40 and 48 of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), make it prohibited conduct for a supplier to increase their prices unconscionably.

“Section 48 states that a supplier must not offer to supply, supply or enter into an agreement to supply goods and services at a price that is unfair or unconscionable.

“Unfair, unreasonable or unjust pricing (price gouging) is when a supplier increases the prices of goods or services that do not correspond to or not equivalent to the increase of providing that service or good,” Manamela said.

The goods and services in question are those which relate to basic food and consumer items, emergency products and services, medical and hygiene supplies, as well as emergency clean-up products and services.

A supplier or person contravening these Regulations could be fined up to R1 million, a fine of up to 10% of a firm’s annual turnover, or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months.

Consumers are encouraged to monitor the market and report any suspicious unfair price increases of these goods and services.

“The Gauteng Office of Consumer Affairs will continue with its efforts of implementing the provisions of the CPA by reducing and ameliorating any disadvantages experienced in accessing any supply of goods or services by consumers,” Manamela said.

Consumers in Gauteng are encouraged to report instances of what they view as unreasonable price hikes to the Gauteng Office of Consumer Affairs on the email address: consumer@gauteng.gov.za for processing and referral to the Competition Commission and the National Consumer Commission.

 

Source: South African Government News Agency

SAPS Management joins the Premier and his delegation on a visit to ensure peace and stability in Mopani District

MOPANI – The SAPS Provincial Management in Limpopo led by the Deputy Provincial Commissioner responsible for Crime Detection Major General Samuel Manala and Mopani District Commissioner Major General Maggy Mathebula have yesterday, on Thursday 22 July 2021 joined Limpopo Premier Chupu Stanley Mathabatha and his Members of the Executive Council during a visit at Namakgale and Phalaborwa areas in the Mopani District as part of Government’s intervention to ensure peace and stability in the province on the possible looting of businesses. The visit was also aimed at monitoring compliance on the COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

 

Premier Mathabatha commended the residents of Limpopo for remaining calm when other parts of the country were in turmoil. Furthermore, Government appreciates the efforts of Taxi Associations, citizens, and other stakeholders that include Traditional Leaders, Faith Based Organisations, Civil Society Movements for vigorously spreading the message of peace during the past week.

 

The Premier was welcomed by MEC of Transport and Community Safety Mme Mavhungu Lerule-Ramakhanya at Namakgale Taxi Rank and the entourage thereafter held a briefing session at the SANTACO boardroom.

 

During the briefing session, Major General Manala updated the Premier that there is no reported incidents of looting or violent protests in the District since the past week up to date. He went on to commend the enhanced cooperation between the police in the District led by Major General Mathebula and various stakeholders such as the CPFs, the taxi industry and other non-governmental structures.

 

The monitoring programme commenced at Namakgale Plaza and Taxi Rank and then continued at Phalaborwa CBD, Mall, Plaza and Eden’s Square Mall.

 

Source: South African Police Service

One suspect fatally wounded, two seriously injured and others apprehended as police foil business robbery

POLOKWANE – The determination of the South African Police Service in Limpopo Province to stamp out criminality, especially violent crimes, led to the arrest of four suspects including a police Constable during a foiled business robbery in Motetema policing area outside Groblersdal this afternoon, Friday 23 July 2021 at about 15h00. The fifth suspect was fatally wounded during the shootout.

 

The Police received information about the suspects travelling in two motor vehicles who were intending to rob one of the businesses in the Leewfontein area. A snap operation comprising of the Limpopo Tracking Team, Limpopo Provincial Investigating Unit, Pretoria Airwing and Motetema Detectives was activated to track down the suspects.

 

The armed suspects had already entered the business premises when the operatives arrived. When noticing the police, the suspects reportedly got into two vehicles and sped off into different directions. A high speed car chase ensued and the occupants of one of the vehicles that took the direction of Mapyane allegedly started shooting at police members who returned fire.

 

The said vehicle came to a stop and two injured suspects were immediately arrested. One of them was identified as a police Constable stationed at Mahwelereng Police Station. The third suspect was found fatally wounded. One firearm was allegedly found in the vehicle. The other vehicle, a Ford Ranger, was cornered near Groblersdal and two suspects were arrested. The Police searched the vehicle and found a firearm.

 

The Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service in Limpopo Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe has welcomed the arrest of these suspects and has thanked community members for continuously assisting the police in the fight against crime. “The arrest of one of our members should send a strong message that the South African Police Service does not have a place for criminals masquerading as police members”, said Lieutenant General Hadebe. She concluded by hailing the recovery of firearms at the hands of these dangerous suspects.

 

The suspects aged between 34 and 36 are expected to appear before the Motetema Magistrate’s Court soon, facing charges of business robbery, murder, attempted murder, possession of illegal firearms and ammunition, possession of suspected stolen motor vehicle and reckless and negligent driving.

 

Police investigations are continuing.

 

Source: South African Police Service

NW completes poultry abattoir for emerging farmers

North West Agriculture and Rural Development MEC, Desbo Mohono, has welcomed the completion of the first departmentally-owned poultry abattoir in the province.

 

The facility is situated at Kgora Farmers Training Centre near Mahikeng, and it is the first of many projects currently ongoing at Kgora.

 

The new abattoir can slaughter up to 500 birds a day and it operates fully under the supervision of an independent meat inspector as it is the requirement by law.

 

It is fully compliant and has been registered as a low throughput abattoir.

 

Mohono said the facility is already benefiting the local farmers who  are mostly newcomers to the poultry industry with limited resources and who cannot afford the cost of private abattoir services.

 

“The facility is one of many important interventions by the department aimed to improve the lives of communities in the rural areas, through infrastructure development. Among the department’s goals with the establishment of facilities of this kind, is to give local food producers a platform to grow their businesses, the local economy and to create job opportunities.

 

“We have a meat inspector at the abattoir so we can confidently say to the farmers who are bringing in their chickens for slaughter that we are slaughtering under proper hygienic conditions,” Mohono said.

 

The abattoir will also be used to train university students.

 

The MEC noted that the International Meat Quality Assurance Services (IMQAS) has recently trained a group of over 50 third-year animal health students from North West University in the facility, and they want to bring other universities.

 

A local farmer who is benefitting from the abattoir, Sipho Khoza from Bodibe Village, outside Mahikeng, said he is happy about the quality of services he has received from the abattoir.

 

Khoza, who runs a poultry business and employs 17 temporary workers, has used the facility to slaughter his chickens.

 

“I brought to the facility 200 chickens from my farm for slaughtering at this abattoir and after the service, all I can say is that I was happy. All of the chickens were sold to one of the local shops on the same day… I will definitely call again,” said Khoza.

 

Founder and owner of Keatlaretse Tumediso Farming, Keatlaretse Mosiane from Ramatlabama, also praised the department for building a slaughterhouse that accommodates emerging poultry farmers.

 

“It was thoughtful of government to build such infrastructure to promote us emerging farmers,” Mosiane said

 

Mosiane said at some stage she wanted to use one of the privately-owned abattoirs to slaughter her chickens but she was told the abattoir can only slaughter a minimum of 1000 chickens. At the time she had only 200 chickens.

 

“We are grateful for this facility and what the department has done for us as emerging farmers,” Mosiane said.

 

The department said the facility stands ready to be used to train farmers who own, or want to own a poultry abattoir.

 

“For training offered at the Kgora Farmers Training Centre and all other requirements to utilise this departmental owned facility, farmers are encouraged to enquire with State Extension Officers or with their local agricultural area offices,” the department said.

 

Source: South African Government News Agency

Government, business commit to rebuilding SA economy

Government and business leaders from industries affected by the recent destruction of property and violence, in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, have committed to working together to rebuild the South African economy.

This commitment was made by 90 business leaders during a meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday in the wake of the civil unrest.

The vandalism and torching of various businesses affected operations and livelihoods in the two provinces.

Representatives from sectors such as retail, agriculture, automotive, telecommunications, banking and transport met with the President, Ministers and the Premiers of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. In a statement, the Presidency said the meeting reflected on the challenges faced by key industries and discussed priorities and measures that need to be taken to rebuild and reposition the country.

“Business made practical suggestions for immediate recovery steps, support to small businesses and longer term inclusive economic growth.

“The President outlined government’s priorities, including the restoration and maintenance of stability with the increased deployment of security personnel; securing essential supplies by opening critical supply routes; provision of relief and support for rebuilding; and accelerating inclusive economic recovery,” said the Presidency.

At the meeting, the importance of focusing on rural and township economies and increased investment in infrastructure development was emphasised. The meeting also discussed steps to assist companies, particularly small businesses, to claim insurance and access other support measures.

“The meeting agreed on the need to work with greater urgency to tackle poverty and unemployment and improve the living conditions of all South Africans. Among other things, this requires a common effort to mobilise investment, develop appropriate skills and create opportunities for young people in particular.”

President Ramaphosa welcomed proposals raised by business leaders and their commitment to work with government, labour and communities not only to rebuild their businesses, but also to transform the economy.

He said the security situation would have severe humanitarian, economic and social consequences. “There is virtually no part of the economy that has not been affected by the violence, and there is probably no part of the country that will not feel the effects in some form or another because of the way our supply chains work.”

However, he said government and business leaders should build a social contract to respond to the crisis, and to rebuild an economy that is far more resilient, sustainable, dynamic and inclusive.

He reiterated that the attacks were used as a “smokescreen” to carry out economic sabotage through targeted attacks on trucks, factories, warehouses and other infrastructure necessary for the functioning of the economy and the provision of services.

Despite the efforts of instigators, business people, worker representatives and community leaders had played a remarkable role to defend property, to protect communities, to open supply chains among other supportive steps.

“Taxi owners have defended malls. Businesses have provided food and fuel to their workers. Today supermarkets are feeding our security forces. Some of you have supplied cars to our forces,” said President Ramaphosa.

 

Source: South African Government News Agency