Gov’t Challenges Court in US$10.7M Vehicles Debt

first_imgThe court is yet to come out with a definite decision more than two months after government lawyers challenged the legality of the Commercial Court to hear a US$10.7M vehicle debt lawsuit brought against them by Lebanese businessman, George Haddad.If the court rules that it has jurisdiction, it means that it would proceed into the merit of the case, which may likely compel government to pay US$10.7m debt owed Mr. Haddad, a judicial expert hinted to the Daily Observer.Mr. Haddad‘s lawyer filed a lawsuit against the government claiming that  from 2000 to 2008, their client  sold and repaired several vehicles and also supplied spare parts to government institutions amounting to US$10.7M. However, government is yet to pay the money, despite their client’s persistent attempts to collect payment.Prior to challenging the court’s authority to handle the matter, government lawyers openly admitted that they were indebted to the Lebanese businessman.They made the confession when the court held a conference with both parties. Surprisingly, after hearing government’s admission and subsequent contention over the court’s jurisdiction, the Resident Chief Judge, Eva Mappy Morgan, one of the judges of the three-judge panel that is managing the court, suspended the case without setting a definite date for their ruling into the matter.The judicial expert informed this newspaper that the plaintiff and his lawyers do not know the reason behind the court’s delay in deciding the matter.According to the expert, the act that created the court provides that “It shall have jurisdiction over and in all civil actions arising out of or in relation to commercial transactions in which the claim is at least US$15,000…”The act further provides that “the court has jurisdiction over all commercial cases and claims, irrespective of the residence of parties or what . . . cause of action arose.”It further states that “it has jurisdiction over all disputes in connection with the creation, negotiation, and enforcement of any negotiable instrument, including the liabilities and rights associated with it.”“It has the power to adjudicate all commercial matters within its jurisdiction and . . . claims over which the circuit court, the debt court and the commercial court have concurrent jurisdiction may not need to be moved from the court at which it has been instituted.Despite these jurisdictions, a state lawyer, Cllr. Augustine Fayia, argued that the case be dismissed on the grounds that the court lacks what he termed as “jurisdiction” to try the case.He also contended that the court was established in 2010, which shows that the law creating it prevented it from hearing matters prior to its establishment.Cllr. Fayia’s contention came after the state lawyers and Haddad’s lawyers rested with the final arguments in early February.However, the state lawyer did not deny government indebtedness to the foreign businessman; rather Cllr. Fayia argued that the court lacks jurisdiction.The case arose in 2012, when Haddad’s legal team, the Sherman & Sherman Law Firm filed a lawsuit against government.In that lawsuit, the lawyers contended that from 2000 to 2008, Mr. Haddad sold and repaired several vehicles and also supplied spare parts to government institutions amounting to US$10.7M. However, government is yet to pay the money, despite their client’s persistent negotiations.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Eating, earning from city farms

first_imgEarning cash from garden vegetables at Siyazama Community Garden at Macassar in Khayelitsha, the vast township outside Cape Town in the Western Cape. (Image: Harvest of Hope) At Abalimi Bezekhaya’s packing centre in Philippi township vegetables are packed in boxes for sale to more affluent families in Cape Town as part of the Harvest of Hope project. (Image: Irin Photo)Nestled among shacks set on the sea-sand soil of the Cape Flats, an impoverished region of informal settlements and townships near Cape Town in the Western Cape, there is a life-saving 5 000-square-metre patch of green.“This garden has changed my life,” said Phillipina Ndamane, 74, a member of the Fezeka Community Garden (FCG) in Gugulethu township. “We were suffering; we had no food to eat so we tried to make a garden.”The FCG, beneath towering electricity pylons, is one of 800 community and home gardens nurtured into existence by Abalimi Bezekhaya, an urban agriculture and environmental action association.Since its inception in 1982 as a Catholic Church project, from which it separated in 1994, Abalimi Bezekhaya, meaning “farmers of home” in isiXhosa, has helped individuals, groups and community-based organisations develop permanent organic food-growing and conservation projects as the basis for sustainable livelihoods, job creation and poverty alleviation.Abalimi provides training and low-cost, subsidised gardening resources like manure, seeds, tools, and organic pest control at its two gardens in Nyanga and Khayelitsha townships, which are staffed by fieldworkers from those communities.Some 3 000 micro-farmers use of the gardens, but the benefits spill over into the wider target of roughly 1-million people who live in the vast informal sprawl on the outskirts of metropolitan Cape Town, where unemployment is around 40%.Growing self-sufficiencyAbalimi helps farmers develop their own organic vegetable gardens to supplement their diet, improve household food and nutritional security, and provide sustainable additional income. The personal satisfaction, community building, and heightened self-esteem that come from growing food are added benefits.“We didn’t know a lot of things like spinach, which is a healthy thing; we didn’t even know the green pepper! Now I eat green beans, and the children, they also like all these vegetables,” said Phillipina, who helps care for at least a dozen grandchildren.For some, the gardens are a better alternative to conventional employment. “If this garden had been here before, I wouldn’t have gone to work outside as a domestic worker,” said Shaba Esitang, 78. “As a domestic worker, you’re working for the money to pay for the vegetables. But in the garden, you grow your own veggies to eat or sell. You own it.”The advantages manifest not only on the dinner table: those who grow more than they need sell the surplus.“They employ themselves – we’re there only to motivate and help,” said Abalimi operations manager Christina Kaba.A hopeful harvestAt Abalimi’s packing centre in Philippi township, half a dozen women and one young man wash and sort piles of brightly coloured vegetables and pack them into “weekly boxes” of produce that are pre-ordered by families in well-off suburbs of Cape Town.With the assistance of the South African Institute of Entrepreneurship, Harvest of Hope was created in early 2008 to provide a new market for excess produce. As a result, nearly 10% of the farming groups now earn a secure monthly income.A box of vegetables sells for R95 (US$9.50), half of which goes directly to the farmer. Current output is around 120 boxes a week, according to Abalimi’s director, Rob Small, who maintains that the project could create one full-time job earning up to R3 000 ($300) a month on just 500 square meters of land.“But it’s a farming job, not a nine-to-five, so that’s the tricky part: to inspire people to work that hard, and that’s where the limiting factor comes in – most people are waiting for something easier.”“The biggest limiting factor is poor people not gaining quickly enough the skills and tools with which to supply the market. We’ve got enough farmers, but most are uneducated or semi-educated – some don’t know what a square meter is,” Small commented.“If they had those skills and tools, and the ability to work consistently at a disciplined level, we could be supplying 600 boxes and more in the next month. The demand is definitely there.”Despite the lack of alternative jobs, the youth have not shown any great enthusiasm. “Young people don’t want to even see the garden – they think gardens are done by poor and uneducated people. When I started, people laughed at me; they said, ‘How can you come to Cape Town to work in the soil like a rural area?’” Kaba said.Small agreed. “Probably there wouldn’t be an urban agricultural movement in Cape Town if there wasn’t 40% unemployment, but it’s starting to be the case that bigger rewards are coming, and lately a lot of young faces are checking in,” he commented. “They’ve heard, and smelled the money, and once they get involved, who knows? They might even find they love farming.”Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Mary Alexander at marya@mediaclubsouthafrica.comSource: Irin NewsRelated articlesParprika farming boosts economy An infusion of innovation Sweet deal for cocoa farmers Natural fibre takes off Growing the organic business Useful linksAbalimi BezekhayaHarvest of Hopelast_img read more

Brand South Africa congratulates Springboks for World Cup 2015 performance

first_img(Image: South African Rugby Union)Johannesburg, Friday 30 October 2015 – Brand South Africa joins South Africans across the country in congratulating the Springboks for placing third in the Rugby World Cup 2015 following their match against Argentina.Brand South Africa’s CEO, Kinsley Makhubela, said, “The Springboks have played with passion and from the heart throughout the World Cup. You carried the South African flag proudly and unwaveringly during this tournament.”“South Africa is proud is your performance, your commitment and your passion. We look forward to welcoming you home,” concluded Mr Makhubela.last_img

New roadblock for Manipur varsity

first_imgTribal students’ bodies have given a highway blockade twist to the Manipur University crisis.Three organisations have threatened to impose a five-day economic blockade on all national highways connecting State capital Imphal if the authorities concerned cannot let normal classes and other academic activities in Manipur University resume by October 8.Separate university These organisations have also demanded a separate Hill Central University to ensure that the tribal students have an alternative to the disruption-prone university in the non-tribal dominated Imphal Valley.The All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur, the Kuki Students’ Organisation-General Headquarters and the All Naga Students’ Association, Manipur, had on October 2 served a seven-day ultimatum to the University authorities to resume classes. The decision to go for a highway blockade was taken at their meeting on Thursday.Manipur depends on two arterial highways – one via Nagaland capital Kohima and the other via Jiribam on the Assam-Manipur border – for supply of essential commodities. A third highway through Mizoram is relatively less used.These highways pass through areas dominated by the Nagas and the Kuki-Zomi tribes, and blocking them has been a popular mode of protest against the allegedly partisan Manipur government.At their meeting on Thursday, the ATSUM, KSO-GHQ and ANSAM said they were “anguished by the premeditated holding of the career of students to ransom because of the agenda of a few individuals with vested interests in Manipur University”.‘Facing hardships’The three organisations said that tribal students face hardship every year. “We want a Hill Central University so that all the colleges in the hill districts can be affiliated to it and be assured of ideal academic atmosphere,” a joint statement said.The tribal students have stayed away from the agitation by organisations of Manipur University’s students, teachers and staff since July against alleged financial and administrative irregularities by Vice-Chancellor Adya Prasad Pandey. The Ministry of Human Resources Development had made him go on leave till a two-member probe committee submits a report on the allegations against him, but the university continues to burn. On September 20 midnight, police and paramilitary forces raided the campus and rounded up 89 students and six teachers for allegedly manhandling Pro-Vice-Chancellor K. Yugindro. Based on his FIR that the students and teachers had tried to kill him, the police arrested nine students and six teachers.last_img read more