Last Tuesday, your contributor Illana Melzer wrote about the “disgrace” of garnishee orders in a mining company where it had been found that 59 percent had not been authenticated and 39 percent were (hastily?) cancelled as soon as they were investigated. (Business Report, October 22).
It is widely believed that a comparable state of affairs prevails in many companies, especially those reliant on poorly educated labour. Moreover, this is not a new phenomenon, nor is it different from the continuing practice by certain retailers to devise small-print legalities by which unsophisticated hire-purchase customers may be tricked (yes, tricked) into monstrously overpaying for their purchases.
Where are the auditors, internal and external, in this? Where are the fraud police? Where is the control over debt collectors? If we track media reports it seems debt collectors, who are often in association with attorneys, are notorious for disregarding information about debts no longer owing; is that not criminal neglect?
If a garnishee order isn’t cancelled as soon as the vendor has recovered the full amount, the system is faulty. If the system does signal correctly but no action is taken, this is a clear case of fraud.
If the purchaser continues to pay beyond the amount to be recovered, what happens to the money? Who is sitting on the excess?
If I lend someone money and he unwittingly pays me back too much, and I keep quiet, then am I not guilty of theft?
Because of garnishee orders large numbers of mostly lower-level employees may have so little take-home pay that they can’t afford daily needs, let alone school fees. It’s well known that this is a factor behind the clamour for higher wages when, in fact, the gross emoluments may be relatively high.
Why haven’t the unions taken this up? It would be a relief to see them doing something useful and educative for their members instead of aggravating the cries for more pay. Unions should teach members about the deadly trap of living beyond their means. They should lobby for the introduction of effective restraints on vendors, who ought to be compelled to access the existing indebtedness of would-be purchasers.
Of course, this would be dismissed as an invasion of privacy, but naive people need to be protected from their innocent folly. It’s not enough to put up notices saying “Beware of sharks”; barriers and nets are required.
Newlands, Cape Town
Give readers real data on R1.5 trillion SA debt
National debt of South Africa: R1 570 838 224 810. One trillion, 570 billion, 838 million, 224 thousand, 810 rand. Increasing by almost R4 000 a second. From the South African Debt Clock. Source: South African government data.
Mr Editor, this should have been your headline instead of pussy-footing with percentages of gross domestic product, a b*****t figure if ever there was. Even your best columnist, Ethel Hazelhurst, does not mention this, the steady growth of which is proof of the finance minister’s ineptitude.
You refuse to print my letters when I warn readers against the man leading us into a hermetical debt trap that the only clever finance minister this country had, Trevor Manuel, managed to evade.
That our politicians don’t care a damn that the country is sliding towards financial ruin is not surprising, but that Business Report shows no better sense is shameful.
That no one has the gumption to recognise that 50 million people, of which not even a quarter is capable of work, must bring in R110 000 000 000, yes, 110 bleddy billion rand, per year, which is the interest on the debt that “lauded” Pravin Gordhan has inflicted on this country.
Well, you people don’t seem to twig either. You had better give me a column to keep your readers aware of happenings.
De Kelders, Gansbaai
Skills development is weapon of prosperity
Please allow me to express my disappointment at comments made by Tony Balshaw of Mazars (Business Report, October 15). In particular, is it for him to assume prosperity in the beneficiaries of the Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment Act lies in hand-outs and welfare?
To quote him: “Black communities will be worst affected”, from the reduction of socio-economic development from 25 to 5 points. Though I am not sure about accuracy of this statement, Balshaw must begin to accept that no country has ever been built on hand-outs. The amended codes have appreciated the fact that development is the only weapon on which we can build the foundation to prosperity.
Though I have reservations about the amended codes, I choose to see the positives, which will be good for our country, including so-called black communities. Together with the socio-economic development, skills and enterprise or supplier development are cause for celebration. They encourage substantive interventions which should be of worth to the investors.
Executive director, SIM Consulting