Theft with impunity

The Bee in my Bonnet Column The editor laments… Theft with impunity

The Bee in my Bonnet Column. By: Robin Hayes (Editor at CBN)
The editor laments…

LIVING in South Africa, like every other place on earth, with the possible exception of Beirut, has its pros and cons.

Certainly for many fortunate Cape dwellers one would be hard pressed to find a more idyllic landscape of sun, sea and mountain vistas particularly now that the flowers are in bloom.

Against this sublime calm however is the reality of the Zondo Commission examining the theft of +/-R500 billion of taxpayers’ money and the ridiculous excuses of those called to account of where they obtained the money for a R3-million Aston Martin with a salary of just R143 000 pa. Or not noticing when R2,5-million is deposited into ones bank account…

It seems that Joe Public are regarded as fair game for theft and extortion not just by corrupt politicians and their cronies but also from the so called captains of industry. Quick to follow this example has created a trend of being able to steal ones assets with apparent impunity, trickling down to Joe Public itself.

I am sure I’m not the only one that has entrusted pension monies with so called reputable pension administrators only to find that the returns promised in the bold type have not been realised on maturity. “Ah, but we are just the administrators” they say and shrug their shoulders after receiving ‘administration fees’ for decades.

Other souls are fighting for their pensions from companies intent on reneging on pension commitments after decades of contributions.

Those who have chosen to invest hard earned cash into properties that they rent out as their form of pension, also take on a huge risk where inept, perhaps corrupt officials allow unscrupulous tenants to effectively steal essential income.

In a typical scenario, a prospective tenant meets the credit bureaux criteria of being able to meet the monthly rent, levy and utilities commitments. The property agents obtain a standard lease signed by both parties, and a deposit which is supposed to cover damages caused during the tenancy.

Tenant moves in and all goes well for a couple of months until the payments cease.

Letters of demand fly backwards and forwards until eventually the lessor has to employ an attorney to cancel the lease but the tenant stays put enjoying occupation, free board and lodging, water and electricity (unless it’s on a prepaid meter).

Eviction proceedings I’m reliably informed can take anything from six months to five years! What a payment holiday!

Also, in a recent case in a secure estate where a tenant was conducting criminal activities – with video evidence from a concerned neighbour – the police took months to react and finally when they applied to a judge for a search warrant it has so far yet to be issued after two months!

I was told of a possible short circuit though. 

It involves ‘hiring’ a couple of muscular gentlemen from a well-known West African state with a dubious reputation, to jointly occupy the premises after the tenant have received notice to quit.

Imagine coming home to find two large obnoxious strangers making themselves at home on your couch and waving a new lease! Better get out quick!