Copper theft barometer up

The copper theft barometer increased last month to R11 million, from R10.7m in February, the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) said on Thursday. It said this was 10 percent higher than the previous year, and above the 2013 monthly average of R10.5m. “The relatively low monthly volatility in the series over the past 13 months would suggest that R10m has become the new initial benchmark,” Sacci said. “While this is a positive development… it is still a very high number.” The copper theft volume indicator increased last month to 153 tons from 136 tons in February. “The outlook for reduction in copper theft levels for this year remains relatively optimistic,” helped by a lower copper price, Sacci said. “Once the R10m-a-month benchmark is established, the next benchmark should be set below R5m a month.” – Sapa


Transfer must proceed – court

The Constitutional Court has found in favour of a woman seeking to secure transfer of a property after paying half the purchase price, but then defaulting on further instalments. It upheld Lorraine Botha’s appeal against a judgment by the Northern Cape High Court. That court had granted the trustees’ application to cancel her sale agreement and to evict the laundry business she ran from the premises. Botha, who bought the property in 2003 for R240 000, then unsuccessfully counter-applied for an order to transfer the property into her name, a ruling she appealed in the country’s highest court. In a unanimous decision, the Constitutional Court found Botha was entitled to transfer of the property as it would be unfair to deprive her of it after she had paid half the purchase price. However, the court ordered her to register a bond and to pay all outstanding arrears. – Sapa


Singh’s Phoenix property seized

The Asset Forfeiture Unit had seized property and cash belonging to Durban businessman Jay Singh, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said on Thursday. The unit had seized the property comprising 1 244 flats in Phoenix, Durban, valued at R317 million, as well as R101.8m in cash, NPA spokesman Nathi Mncube said. “The property was preserved on the basis that it is the proceeds of unlawful activities, namely fraud, perpetrated by a certain entity known as Woodglaze Trading by fraudulently transferring the block of flats to an entity known as First Metro Housing Company without its knowledge and consent,” Mncube said. A commission of inquiry is probing the death of two people following the collapse of a mall being built by another of Singh’s companies in Tongaat in November last year. – Sapa


Moneyweb tries to assist court

Moneyweb had filed an application in the Tsakane Magistrate’s Court in Ekurhuleni, asking that its journalist assist the court in deciding whether administration orders should be granted, it reported on Thursday. “This is a very serious case where desperate people are exploited… hopefully this act of activist journalism… will prevent the further fraudulent exploitation of vulnerable people,” Moneyweb editor Ryk van Niekerk said. The application, brought on Wednesday, requested that its journalist be admitted as a friend of the court, and sought to question the validity of 15 debt administration order applications brought by PI Debt Solutions. – Sapa