Coffin case duo denied bail

Coffin Case duo, Theo Jackson and Willem Oosthuizen, were denied bail on Thursday, after bringing the application to the High Court in Middleburg pending the outcome of the application for leave to appeal.

This, after Jackson’s representative, Advocate Wayne Gibbs, argued that his client, Oosthuizen, was not a flight risk as he had adhered to his bail conditions before being sentenced.

Oosthuizen’s representative, Advocate Org Basson, similarly argued that the court’s conviction was heavy-handed, and that common assault was more fitting. They further argued that a different court (the Supreme Court of Appeal) would reach a different verdict, as their clients had not killed anyone.


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Demands for justice

Jackson and Oosthuizen were convicted of assault, attempted murder, kidnapping and intimidation in August, after forcing victim Victor Mlotshwa, into a coffin and threatening to pour petrol over him. The incident was filmed and went viral on social media, igniting an outcry and demands for justice. The pair were sentenced to 11 and 14 years respectively.

Judge Segopotje Mphahlele refused to grant the pair bail, saying that their conduct went against the spirit of the Constitution, and that she did not believe there was any prospect of success at the Supreme Court of Appeal, and that another court would not come to a different conclusion.


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Emotionally taxing ordeal

The courtroom was almost packed to capacity on Thursday, with Mlotshwa and his mother seated in the front row of the public court gallery. Mlotshwa said that seeing his attackers fighting for freedom in court had been an emotionally-taxing ordeal for him:

“I was shocked (on Wednesday) when I heard that they are appearing in court…Coming to court for the case has been affecting me emotionally.”

Mlotshwa’s mother also commented that she found the conduct of the two men to be “humiliating and disgusting”.


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Disguised remuneration settlement opportunity in the UK

The new measure will introduce a loan charge on disguised remuneration avoidance schemes that remain unpaid on 5 April 2019.

These types of schemes (including contractor loans) are used by employers and individuals and seek to avoid paying income tax and NICs. This is usually done by utilising a loan or other payment from a third-party which is unlikely to be repaid.

HMRC has often stated that the only way to avoid the new loan charge in 2019, is by making a repayment of the loan balance or settling your tax liability with HMRC in advance. A new settlement opportunity has been launched to allow those affected to settle their tax affairs before the loan charge comes into effect.


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Any taxpayers that want to settle their tax affairs should register their interest with HMRC by 31 May 2018. This must be followed by the submission of all required information by 30 September 2018 to allow time to settle the taxpayers’ affairs before the new charge starts in April 2019.

Planning note
The settlement terms vary depending on whether the taxpayer is classed by HMRC as a contractor, employer or employee but in essence, any income tax and NICs liabilities that are deemed due will need to be repaid together with interest in some cases.

This is a complex area and those affected need to consider their options carefully. Please call if you would like more advice on this issue.


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Cyril’s backers crack the Rand’s multi-month slump

With the two-horse ANC presidential race beginning to lean in favour of Cyril Ramaphosa, the market is starting to price in his victory and the Rand is firming up.

This was compounded with the news that South Africa managed to dodge a bullet when Moody’s decided to postpone our credit rating downgrade until the political fog clouding the presidential race had lifted. All this buoyed the Rand in last week’s trading.

The local currency has struggled ever since Malusi Gigaba released news of the poor state of our economy in his budget speech. So this is the first time we have seen some major pull-back from the Rand against the major currencies.


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News that the government plans to reduce the fiscal deficit by implementing country-wide expenditure cuts and higher taxes has also helped to lift the Rand. The Rand has strengthened more than 5% from levels it sank to on 16 November after S&P Global Ratings downgraded South Africa’s credit rating.

The focus is firmly on the African National Congress elective conference taking place in just less than two weeks. IT is unlikely that any other of the data sets being released this week will have as profound an effect on the Rand’s movements as any potential political banana skins.


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South Africans involved in Commission probe of UK church

A group of South Africans have become involved in the shocking disappearance of R6-million over in the UK, TimesLive reports. This disappeared from the coffers of a UK church and its associated charity.

The two-year investigation under the auspices of the British Charity Commission has caused a divide in the congregation.

The key flashpoint currently between the two camps, those who support the probe and those who support the elders, is the closing of the church until the probe is completed. To make matters worse, besides not being able to go to church on Sunday, the commission revealed the pastor has been fired.

Besides the Pastor, Martin Phelps, the church accountant Jonathan Martins has also been fired. The trustees – Clemont Harry, Mike Myers and Lyn Fulford – have been suspended and the commission has appointed an interim manager, Keith Mills. This turbulence and confusion has left its mark. There has been controversy regarding the expense of the interim manager.


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The South African Connection to the Church

The Phelpses, both Martin and his wife Sandy, Myers and Fulford trained at the Rhema Church South Africa during the 1980s. The Phelpses then established Rhema Church London in 1991. The Rhema Church South Africa CEO Giet Khosa denies any association between the South African group and the London church.

The commission investigation was triggered due to auditors not being able to account for various funds. These mainly related to the credit card and petty cash expenses. The commission statement regarding auditors said they were…..

“unable to obtain sufficient audit evidence to quantify how much of the expenditure incurred on the charity’s credit cards of £203‚707 (R3.7-million) and petty cash expenditure of £76‚161 (R1.4-million) was incurred in accordance with the FULFILLMENT of its objectives”.

It also seems £86,055 (R1.5-million) was used for “overseas development workshops”. That would raise my suspicions too. The commission announced that they owe R6.8-million to the UK government through its charity. One of the charity’s properties will have to be sold to recoup the debt.


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Trailer alert: First look at ‘SuzelleDIY’ starring as a bridezilla in Tali’s Wedding Diary

ShowMax has just released the first trailer for their debut original series, Tali’s Wedding Diary, a mockumentary starring Julia Anastasopoulos (aka SuzelleDIY).

Premiering on 14 December 2017, Tali’s Wedding Diary follows a self-obsessed Sandton princess (Julia) who’s moved to Cape Town and is filming the build-up to her wedding to her property-agent fiancé Darren (Anton Taylor, star of the popular web series Jozi Shore and the award-winning short Money, Keys, Phone).

“Tali and Suzelle are very different characters,” says Julia. “Everyone loves Suzelle, but audiences are going to love to hate Tali – she’s definitely a bridezilla, who’s determined to have the perfect wedding, with or without her husband-to-be.” She says while Suzelle would love Tali, Tali would find Suzelle irritating.

Tali’s Wedding Diary was inspired by Julia’s own wedding to SuzelleDIY director Ari Kruger. Their shared sense of humour was part of what brought them together and they had lots to laugh at in the build-up to their wedding. “There’s so much comedic material in getting married,” says Julia. “You meet the funniest people and there’s so much stuff you can’t actually believe, but somehow we’d never seen a wedding parody in a South African context before.”


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Since introducing SuzelleDIY to YouTube, Julia and Ari have created more than 80 Suzelle videos with over 23 million views. They’ve taught over 2.5 million people How To Make A Cinderblock Bench and another million How To Make A Braai Pie. Kruger has also directed two Vimeo Staff Pick short films, Jakkals13 and Focus.

For Tali’s Wedding Diary, they’ve surrounded themselves with an all-star cast, including Lara Lipschitz, who just won Best Actress at NYC Web Fest for her series Chin-Up; three-time Savannah Comics Choice nominee Glen Biderman-Pam; Fleur du Cap Best Actress winner and 2017 Safta-nominee Kate Normington (Those Who Can’t); and two-time Fleur du Cap winner Guy de Lancey (The Pervert Laura). Look out for cameos from the likes of Top Billing host Lorna Maseko; Nic Smal from Derick Watts and the Sunday Blues; Nicci Saint Bruce (Push Push); members of Al Bairre; and, of course, Gina Collins (Marianne in SuzelleDIY).

Tali’s Wedding Diary is the debut ShowMax Original, building on the success of this year’s acclaimed co-productions: iNumber Number with Mzansi Magic and Waterfront with kykNET.


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“There’s no question that there’s a strong demand for local content and that it can be a key differentiator,” says Chris Savides, ShowMax Africa Head. “When Julia and Ari approached us, we loved that they weren’t pitching a Hollywood show cut and pasted into South Africa, but rather characters straight from Sandton and Sea Point. We plan to keep giving our customers the best international shows out there, but at the same time offer something nobody else has – truly local programming like Tali’s Wedding Diary, made just for them.”

“Working with ShowMax has been almost like a dream come true,” says Ari. “They gave us creative control, which is unheard of here. I feel like we got everything we set out to get; we didn’t have to compromise on the things we really wanted. That’s a very fortunate place to be.”


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WEEKEND THINKING: Don’t do as I say; do as I do …

Last week we visited the Palace of Westminster, or Houses of Parliament, where British politicians work and meet.

Certainly one of the most famous must-sees of the beautiful old building is Big Ben, which of course is not the watch, but the clock. And old Ben is now in the process of undergoing a “facelift”.

What was particularly interesting to me was one of the reasons why you can be elected as a member of the House of Lords: being an expert in a certain area.


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For example, I immediately think of someone like Lord Sebastian Coe who received the title of Lord in 2000. Who better to talk about sport matters than a former world record holder in the 800 m, with gold Olympic medals in 1 500 m.

Well, what about it?

There are still too few practical inputs from entrepreneurs to promote good decision making at a political level, and even less when it comes to business education.
There are still too many lecturers with an academic foundation who feed future business leaders theoretical information.

This problem, however, starts at a political level in South Africa, where the content of these courses is determined; and therefore I won’t be too hard on these business profs.

So what now?

I leave you with my version of an old saying: “Don’t do as I say; do as I do …”


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South African court doubles Oscar Pistorius’s prison sentence

A South African appeal court has more than doubled the former Paralympian Oscar Pistorius’s prison sentence for murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

The supreme court of appeal (SCA) increased Pistorius’s sentence from six years in prison to 13 years and five months.

Pistorius killed Steenkamp, a model and law graduate, by firing four bullets from a handgun through a closed toilet door in his luxury home in Pretoria on Valentine’s Day 2013. He claimed he had mistaken her for a burglar.

Steenkamp’s family welcomed the longer sentence and said it showed that justice could prevail in South Africa. “This is an emotional thing for them. They just feel that their trust in the justice system has been confirmed this morning,” Tania Koen, a spokeswoman for the Steenkamp family, said on Friday.

The SCA said Pistorius “displays a lack of remorse, and does not appreciate the gravity of his actions”.


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The high court judge Thokozile Masipa initially sentenced Pistorius to five years for culpable homicide in 2014. The sentence was much lower than many had expected and was widely criticised.

He served only 10 months of the five-year sentence in prison before being released and put under house arrest.

The state appealed against the culpable homicide conviction, and it was later replaced with murder by the SCA in 2016. Masipa handed down a six-year jail term in July 2016 – described as “shockingly lenient” by state prosecutors.

The athlete was not in court for Friday’s ruling, where the court handed down the minimum 15-year sentence prescribed for murder in South Africa, then subtracted the years Pistorius had already served in jail.

Critics said Pistorius had received preferential treatment as a wealthy, white celebrity.

Pistorius, who turned 31 on Wednesday, has always maintained he fired in the mistaken belief that an intruder was hiding behind the door.


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His lawyers have just one avenue open to them if they want to challenge the new sentence handed down by the supreme court, and that is to appeal to the constitutional court, the highest court in South Africa. Pistorius failed with an appeal to the constitutional court last year to challenge his murder conviction.

In an announcement that took a matter of minutes, the supreme court justice Willie Seriti said a panel of judges had unanimously upheld an appeal by prosecutors against Pistorius’s original six-year sentence.

Under that initial sentence, the double-amputee runner could have been released on parole in mid-2019. Now, the earliest he will be eligible for parole is 2023.

Pistorius should have been sentenced to the prescribed minimum of 15 years for murder, Seriti said, as he delivered the verdict of a panel of five judges at the SCA in the central city of Bloemfontein. There is no death penalty in South Africa.

Friday’s decision also has possible consequences for where he is held for the remainder of his sentence. Pistorius was moved from the high-security Kgosi Mampuru II prison in central Pretoria to Atteridgeville, which houses prisoners sentenced to six years or less. Pistorius might now be moved back to a higher-security facility.


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Allister Coetzee laughs off suggestions that his time at the Boks may be up

Bok coach Allister Coetzee is quite adamant he is going nowhere following suggestions that his time at the helm is drawing to a close after a less-than-satisfactory two years pulling the reigns.

Since Coetzee took over from Heyneke Meyer in 2016, the Boks have won less than half of their 24 games so far, registering just 11 wins.


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According to SA Rugby Mag, Coetzee and other members of the coaching team could find themselves seeking employment elsewhere as SA director of rugby Rassie Erasmus is set to make some significant changes in the setup next year.

There have been rumours that the Bok head coach, alongside his assistant Matthew Proudfoot are both looking at a move back to Japan where they once worked, coaching the Kolbeco Steelers in 2015 before assuming their current roles.

Quizzed about this in Cardiff on Monday, Coetzee simply laughed it off.


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What you need to know before visiting the Margaret River area in Australia

While the area is quite popular for its beaches, famous landmarks and beautiful natural wonders, it boasts a huge following of wine-loving travellers to its amazing wineries.

If you are looking to see as much as possible then make sure to travel there during Australia’s months of summer – which usually begin in December and run through February. Although the winter months could be nice too, you won’t get to see as much as you would in the daylight hours of winter which just dwindle away before you’ve even got to your destination.

Read on to learn more about what to keep in mind when travelling and what to see when visiting this region.

How to Get There and Get About
A big plus point of this location is that it’s just a few hours away from Perth, making transport options more accessible. The Margaret River region includes the regions of Dunsborough and Busselton to the country’s southern Augusta area. While there are buses which will get you there from Perth, you could also rent a car and drive down there yourself. Another point to remember is that the area itself does not have public transport and the few means of getting about via tours are quite expensive. So the best way around would be to rent a vehicle.


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Take A Full Day Wine Tour
After that long drive from Perth to the Margaret River region you’re bound to be thirsty, so feel absolutely no guilt in making your first stop at a local winery. The region offers several estates where visitors could arrange for a wine tasting tour and an opportunity to savour some specialized wines such as the Amelia Park wines available at the local estate. Here, amidst a picturesque setting visitors can mingle and discuss the various styles of wine with the Amelia Park Estate’s sommelier who will be the best to advise visitors on which bottles to purchase as souvenirs to take back with you.

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse
A famous landmark is the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse which can be found to the south of the Margaret River region. Tourists flock to the lighthouse not to gaze at its structure but to take in the sunset on the special lighthouse tour. Perhaps the best view in the region, the tours are usually quite crowded so it’s best to go in early. The tours are informative with lots of tit-bits on the history of the lighthouse and arranged at 30-minute intervals.

Sugarloaf Rock
Here’s another vantage point from which to take in the sunsets at Margaret River, the Sugarloaf Rock. The rock’s name is derived from its familiar shape and can be found a little away from the coastline. Not many travellers will go out of their way to visit a rock, but this one is said to be pretty special. A point to note is that if you’re going to wait for the sunset, then don’t forget to cover well as the heavy windy conditions in the area make it quite cold even in the summer.

Meelup Beach
For some fun and sun, head out to Meelup beach where the clear waters and white sandy shores are sheltered from rough waves and wind. It is the ideal beach for a family vacation, especially when travelling with children.

The above-suggested places to visit are but a few select options. Western Australia is bustling with activity and is ever ready to welcome guests at any time of the year and should definitely be on your bucket list of places to visit.


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What you need to know before visiting the Margaret River area in Australia

While the area is quite popular for its beaches, famous landmarks and beautiful natural wonders, it boasts a huge following of wine-loving travellers to its amazing wineries.

If you are looking to see as much as possible then make sure to travel there during Australia’s months of summer – which usually begin in December and run through February. Although the winter months could be nice too, you won’t get to see as much as you would in the daylight hours of winter which just dwindle away before you’ve even got to your destination.

Read on to learn more about what to keep in mind when travelling and what to see when visiting this region.

How to Get There and Get About
A big plus point of this location is that it’s just a few hours away from Perth, making transport options more accessible. The Margaret River region includes the regions of Dunsborough and Busselton to the country’s southern Augusta area. While there are buses which will get you there from Perth, you could also rent a car and drive down there yourself. Another point to remember is that the area itself does not have public transport and the few means of getting about via tours are quite expensive. So the best way around would be to rent a vehicle.

Take A Full Day Wine Tour
After that long drive from Perth to the Margaret River region you’re bound to be thirsty, so feel absolutely no guilt in making your first stop at a local winery. The region offers several estates where visitors could arrange for a wine tasting tour and an opportunity to savour some specialized wines such as the Amelia Park wines available at the local estate. Here, amidst a picturesque setting visitors can mingle and discuss the various styles of wine with the Amelia Park Estate’s sommelier who will be the best to advise visitors on which bottles to purchase as souvenirs to take back with you.

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse
A famous landmark is the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse which can be found to the south of the Margaret River region. Tourists flock to the lighthouse not to gaze at its structure but to take in the sunset on the special lighthouse tour. Perhaps the best view in the region, the tours are usually quite crowded so it’s best to go in early. The tours are informative with lots of tit-bits on the history of the lighthouse and arranged at 30-minute intervals.

Sugarloaf Rock
Here’s another vantage point from which to take in the sunsets at Margaret River, the Sugarloaf Rock. The rock’s name is derived from its familiar shape and can be found a little away from the coastline. Not many travellers will go out of their way to visit a rock, but this one is said to be pretty special. A point to note is that if you’re going to wait for the sunset, then don’t forget to cover well as the heavy windy conditions in the area make it quite cold even in the summer.

Meelup Beach
For some fun and sun, head out to Meelup beach where the clear waters and white sandy shores are sheltered from rough waves and wind. It is the ideal beach for a family vacation, especially when travelling with children.

The above-suggested places to visit are but a few select options. Western Australia is bustling with activity and is ever ready to welcome guests at any time of the year and should definitely be on your bucket list of places to visit.


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