Likely VAT increase must be handled creatively, says South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) There is more than a 75% chance that the Minister of Finance will raise the value-added tax (VAT) rate in this year’s budget, says Sibusiso Thungo, Tax Manager at the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA). However, he cautions that government must give enough thought to ameliorate the effect of such a rise on the poor. “Our VAT has remained unchanged at 14 percent for many years, and government has vastly increased income needs. There is a limit to how much more personal taxes can be raised and decreased economic activity is likely to affect tax receipts. We were speculating a VAT rate increase in the Mid-Term Budget, which did not materialise, but I fear the Minister may have no alternative now,” he argues. Where will the funds go? The commitment to increase funding for university students dramatically in the wake of last year’s ‘Fees Must Fall’ protests is one unexpected expense that government will have to bear. Other big-ticket items include the National Health Insurance scheme, drought relief and the ever-present possibility of further bailouts for struggling state-owned enterprises like Eskom and South African Airways. Thungo adds that while VAT can be seen as a fair tax because it does not target one particular group of taxpayers, government will have to come up with creative ways of minimising the impact on the poor. Similarly, the Davis Tax Committee has indicated in their findings that VAT is likely to be “the most effective source of additional revenue”, but it also emphasises that any VAT increase would have to be accompanied by sustainable measures that mitigate the “retrogressive effects” on the poor. Protecting the poor One obvious tactic would be to increase the basket of daily necessities that are exempt from VAT. Currently, 19 basic food items, illuminating paraffin, certain government grants, . . .
Functioning with a chronic lung disease, Cannonville resident Peter Moore wants to send out a message of inspiration to other sufferers when he takes part in the river mile at the SPAR Summer Festival this month. The 54-year-old will be testing himself in the disabled mile for the first time when the festival takes place in his home village outside Port Elizabeth on February 25 and 26. Moore, who grew up in Welkom in the Free State, said his main message would be to encourage members of the public to sign up as organ donors. "There are so many young people dying needlessly because of the terrible lack of donors in the country. We have one of the worst percentages of organ donors in the world." Although he didn't know it at the time, Moore's problems started 24 years ago when he ran into a room to close a chlorine gas cylinder that had been inadvertently opened. At the time he was working at a crèche in the Sandton Health and Racket Club in Johannesburg. "I did this so that the children in the play area could be timeously evacuated from the crèche, which thankfully happened without any harm to any child," said Moore. "At that time, being super fit, my intention was to hold my breath for the time it would take me to run into the room, close the cylinder and get out. "Unfortunately I could not hold my breath long enough and as a result my lungs got burnt by the chlorine gas." Moore was told by a doctor that there was nothing they could do to repair the damage and it would probably only affect him when he was older. He said about eight years ago he started feeling short of breath at times and put it down to his advancing age. "In short, within two years I was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and spent many months in hospital. "I was medically boarded and was permanently on oxygen at home. I urgently needed a bi-lateral lung transplant, but due to being inactive and on so much medication, I was too overweight . . .
The Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment (FICA) bill has been in limbo since Parliament assented to it in May 2016. For months, it awaited approval from President Jacob Zuma. But in December last year, the President returned the bill to Parliament, citing concerns over the constitutionality of a single clause that would allow inspectors to carry out searches without a warrant. Since then, President Zuma has been harshly criticised for its delay. SAIPA itself deliberated the constitutional integrity of the clause and has submitted a letter to Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance outlining its reservations. Ayanda Mabida, Company Secretary at the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) says SAIPA acknowledges that FICA is essential to South Africa meeting its obligations as a member of the Financial Action Task Force, an intergovernmental body that sets standards for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other abuses of the international financial system. Lack of specificity “SAIPA has reservations on the warrantless searches,” says Mabida. “There are definite circumstances where offenders may leverage delays in obtaining a search warrant to tamper with or destroy crucial evidence. Rather, our concerns relate to the lack of specificity about the conditions under which warrantless searches can be executed.” In its current form, the amended clause threatens to violate Section 14 of the Bill of Rights, which states that everyone has the right to privacy, and not to have their person, home or property searched, their possessions seized or the privacy of their communications infringed. To paraphrase the FICA amendment, an inspector may enter premises without a warrant, either with consent from the person in charge (provided they’re informed of their right to refusal), or if the inspector on reasonable grounds believes that a) a warrant would be issued anyway, and b) the delay in obtaining one would defeat the end . . .
Port Elizabeth, 8 February, 2017: The South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd (SANRAL) would like to notify travellers that controlled blasting is scheduled to take place between Dutywa and Mthatha tomorrow, Thursday, 9 February 2017 from 11am until 1pm. The blast will take place at approximately KM 25.3 (road marker) which is 25.3 KM from Dutywa when travelling towards Mthatha. “The road will be closed during the blast. The road closure will be kept as short as possible, however motorists can expect the road to be closed up to a maximum of two hours,” said Mbulelo Peterson, SANRAL Southern Region’s Manager. Motorist travelling eastwards towards Mthatha may consider utilising either of the following two alternative routes by exiting the N2 at Ndabakazi on to the R408 towards Ngqamakwe/ Tsomo or via the R409 at Dutywa towards Ngcobo. Both routes link to the R61 and then re-join the N2 in Mthatha. Similarly motorists travelling westwards towards East London may consider using the R61 when leaving Mthatha and then link back to the N2 via either R408 after Ngcobo or R409 towards Tsomo. The alternative route is 60 kilometres longer and may add approximately 40 minutes to your trip between East London and Mthatha. “Motorists are asked to plan their trips accordingly, consider alternative routes and to use caution when making use of the road,” said Peterson. SANRAL apologises for any inconvenience. #controlledblasting #Dutywa #Mthatha #R61 #N2 CLICK HERE to submit your press release to MyPR.co.za. . . .
Auto Agent, the maker of brilliant car dealer websites in South Africa has partnered with a leading car sales website. This partnership enables car dealers to push their vehicle stock to multiple platforms from their own dealer site. Car dealer website company Auto Agent celebrates it's sixth year of serving South African car dealerships with high quality websites. From it's outset, the goal was to optimise dealer sites for mobile audiences by providing mobile friendly navigation as standard across it's customer interfaces. Used car dealers responded positively to the Auto Agent sales platform with it's mobile friendly navigation and easy to use administration, catering for the website stock management, 3rd party advertising, promotions and staff management. Leads management that features SMS notification, email and database storage that can be output as XLS spreadsheets for later analysis. Most recently, Auto Agent has partnered with cars.co.za (and previously with olx.co.za) to facilitate a streamlined inventory upload across multiple selling platforms. This means that dealers now have 3 powerful sales platforms from which they can generate sales leads: pickacar.co.za, usedcarsforsale.co.za and the recent addition of cars.co.za. This has been one of the strengths behind the Auto Agent platform as it frees the dealer from having to manually load his vehicle stock across multiple car selling sites. Auto Agent is particularly excited to offer Cars.co.za on it's platform as they have become a major player in the online used car sales space. Back in 2011, founder Pierre Theron saw that the used car dealerships were not well served and that many home grown solutions and DIY dealer sites simply generated more admin for car dealerships. Apart from loading to the 3rd party automotive sales websites, car dealers were burdened by having to load to their own websites too, with little benefit. The Auto Agent catchphrase "load once" was coined and dealers were now . . .
White-collar crime costs the South African economy a huge amount every year. One expert puts the figure at R930 million a year, and poor conviction rates are estimated to be driving a 50 percent rise in this kind of crime. “White-collar crime is hard to detect and it can be difficult to bring perpetrators to book and recover stolen money or repair the damage caused,” says David Loxton, Partner at law firm Dentons SA in Johannesburg, specialising in corporate investigations and compliance. “It makes very good business sense to put measures in place to prevent employees from putting your business at risk.” Based on his years of experience, Loxton suggests the following tips to stop white-collar crime before it even begins: Screen employees properly and timeously: “I am surprised at how often I have been asked to vet a senior employee’s credentials long after he or she has been appointed,” he says. “Companies need to be sure that employees have the qualifications they have, and that they have a record of honesty.” Maintain a strict segregation of duties: It is critical that those approving expenditure or any sort of contract are not those who action them. In tough economic times, when retrenchments occur, it can be hard to maintain proper segregation of duties but, says Loxton, it is a vital safeguard against common types of fraud, such as payments to bogus suppliers or the granting of tenders to family members. Ensure you have a good, anonymous tip-off line: Whistle-blowing by employees or customers is one of the primary sources of information about underhanded practices by an organisation’s employees. Prioritise an internal audit function - and make sure it is effective: Experience shows that internal auditors, with their inside knowledge of how the company works, are second only to whistle-blowers as identifiers of fraudulent practices. Use powerful software to perform exception monitoring in real time: This software is relatively inexpensive . . .
The carnage on South African roads made the news headlines again. The Minister of Transport recently announced the death toll over the December holiday period at a news conference. According to Minister Dipuo Peters, a total of 1,714 people lost their lives over this period. This number is most probably an underestimation of the real death toll on South African roads - as a number of commentators pointed out. This high number of traffic-related fatalities was, however, no exception, but part of a growing trend that is likely to continue. The usual causes of the high mortality on our roads were once more pointed out: speeding, drinking, texting, driver errors, etc. And quite predictably, the solutions proposed revolved around more and harsher regulations, and the enforcement thereof. But could there also be a link between the mortality on our roads and the morality of road users and traffic officials? The South African Citizens’ Bribery Survey 2016 conducted by The Ethics Institute, which was released just before the December holidays, points to a possible link between morality and mortality – at least as far as traffic related deaths are concerned. The study found that the top five instances for paying bribes in South Africa were the following: Avoiding traffic fines (36%) Getting jobs (18%) Getting drivers’ licences (15%) Getting discounts or free goods from business (7%) Getting tenders (4%) “From this list above it is clear that most instances of bribery (51%) are related to traffic offences or illegitimate drivers’ licences,” says Professor Deon Rossouw, CEO of The Ethics Institute. “Although there are many other explanations for the carnage on our roads, traffic related bribery must be taken seriously as one of the contributing factors to the high mortality on our roads.” Professor Rossouw cautions: “As long as road users know that they can bribe their way out of speeding, drinking, or any other driver related offences, they . . .
Port Elizabeth, 5 February 2017: The South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd (SANRAL) would like to notify travellers that blasting is scheduled to take place on the National Route R61 Section 8, between the Majola Tea turn-off and Tombo at 3pm on Wednesday, 08 February 2017. The blast will take place at 3pm and the road will be closed approximately 60,8 km from Mthatha CBD or 20,2 km from Port St Johns, between 2:55pm and 3:45pm. “Residents are requested to vacate all houses near the blast area up to a radius of 500m by 2:45pm”, says Mbulelo Peterson, SANRAL Southern Region Manager. Stop-and-go sections are planned for this section of the road and motorists are requested to plan their trips accordingly. SANRAL apologises for any inconvenienced caused. CLICK HERE to submit your press release to MyPR.co.za. . . .
Addressing food scarcity, job creation, and poverty in Urban areas is our goal. We have been establishing organic vegetable gardens in and around Port Elizabeth for the past ten years. In the drive to Grow your Own we are ready to roll out Community Gardens along plans and designs which have been developed and tested. Our aim is to provide interested gardeners and farmers with the infrastructure to develop self sustainable areas to produce natural tasty food with a high nutrient value on an on going basis. Our approach is fully organic, using natural earth processes and local resources, in a simple basic way. The outcome is to feed the hungry, produce healthy communities, offer job opportunities, develop self esteem, independence and pride (building a nation). We need to become aware of where our food comes from, how it is produced, what additional substances it contains and what the nutritional value is. Nobody else is concerned about the quality of our food, as long as it sells. The quality of our lives now and in the future, is largely determined by what we take in through our mouths. Nothing we eat just passes through, it either builds us up or causes damage. The price of food is increasing at an alarming rate. The more a household can grow at home and supplement the food budget the greater the saving and the healthier the family. The priority in starting a garden is to get the soil right. The soil along the coast is mostly poor for growing vegetables. A good soil mix (black bush soil mixed with red bush soil and manure) needs to be brought in and mixed with a good compost in a ratio of approximately 1:3. To save on quantity, the soil can be placed in either box planters or a trench beds. The vegetables need to grow in a fairly sunny area and must be protected from the wind. Establish a reliable source of water with rainwater tanks or recycled grey water. Once seeds or seedlings reach a reasonably sturdy stage a mulch of dry grass placed around . . .
With an array of events on offer for the younger generation, there will be plenty of incentive for competitors to join in the fun at the SPAR Summer Festival, which takes place on the shore of the Sundays River this month. The festival in Cannonville on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth on February 25 and 26 traditionally attracts about 5 000 participants and supporters. Although the river miles for men and women anchor the weekend on the Sunday afternoon, organisers have created a varied programme which caters for the youth. SPAR advertising and promotions controller Roseann Shadrach said it was a top priority for them to promote healthy exercise among the young. "We believe that any physical activities assist children greatly in the development and maintenance of strong healthy muscles. "Physical activities also improve motor coordination, which enhances their development of various other performance skills." She said the retail group were equally excited to promote the festival as a family outing, with the emphasis on outdoor activities. "The SPAR Summer festival has been redesigned to encourage family participation, especially in a time where digital games are so popular and easily accessible. "What could be better than smearing on the sunscreen and scooting the kids outside for a day of fun? "Whether they love to play games or prefer nature activities, the festival offers plenty of ways to get your child off the couch and into the great outdoors." Event organiser Michael Zoetmulder said they wanted to promote the fact that it was more than a swimming weekend. "Families will be able to enjoy the surroundings, activities and a variety of stalls." The swimming action for children will take place on the Sunday morning when the Wakaberry Kids Across the River races are held. These are for swimmers in the U8, U10 and U12 age groups, as well as for those with special needs. Zoetmulder said children could also take part in the . . .