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City Power Embroiled in an Equipment Theft Charge as Former Johannesburg Mayor, Herman Mashaba Gets Exposed In the Eldorado Electricity Project

Brian Kazungu

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Brian Kazungu, 08/04/2021

Following the resumption of construction work on the Eldorado Park substation project, this publication has established that a criminal complaint was registered with SAPS on 7 March 2021 under Case number CAS 150/4/2021.

It is alleged that the equipment and related services inclusive of the project’s technical drawings are the property of Setheo Engineering Pty Limited which were acquired and provided pursuant to a contract concluded in March 2021 between City Power and Setheo as principals.

Whose equipment is it? Since the appointment of Actom, a previous sub-contractor of Setheo to be the main contractor in this project, a question that has arisen is on the ownership of the project equipment.

Mr. Stanley Itshegetseng, Deputy Director: Communication and Stakeholder Relations in the office of Councilor Mpho Moerane, the Member of the Mayoral Committee with oversight responsibilities in relation to City Power said that the equipment belongs to City Power and not to Setheo.

“The equipment is the property of City Power because the funds used to acquire it were provided by City Power. In addition, at the time, a new contractor, Actom was appointed recently, the equipment was situated at the premises of City Power. One must accept that possession is tantamount to ownership and should Setheo dispute this, it can approach the courts for relief.”Stanley explained.

However, Mr Mulaudzi of AG Mulaudzi Attorneys and a member of the corporate, civic and community awareness nonprofit initiative, C2C Network begged to differ on that narrative.

“From the facts that we have been able to go through, it is not in dispute that Setheo’s relationship with City Power was not that of a principal to agent one but Setheo was awarded a turnkey project to provide a working substation.

Setheo was responsible for designing, erecting, installing and commissioning a substation. According the complete project was to be handed over to City Power as a solution.  

Contrary to allegations made by the former Mayor Mashaba, that City Power paid to Setheo an amount of R66 million for no work done, the facts on the ground suggest that Mashaba acted maliciously in opening a criminal case against Setheo directors and two former City Power employees alleging that these funds were diverted.

The right, title and interest to the equipment is vested with Setheo until handover of the project on completion and any other legal construction is mala fides.”

While commenting on the same issue, an Eldorado Community Liason Official who is based at the site said: “I can confirm that Mashaba visited the site and at the time the equipment purchased by Setheo had arrived but had yet to be cleared by customs.

It was eventually cleared and delivered here by the order of Setheo. Setheo was the consignee in relation to the imported equipment.

It is my understanding that Mr. Themba Mahlangu, who was the Project Manager, at the time visited the original equipment manufacturers to inspect the equipment before shipment. He was accompanied by Mr. M. Thoka who was arrested at the instigation of Mashaba.

Once the equipment arrived here, it was tested again by City Power officials and I believe it passed the tests. We were all shocked when we heard that Mashaba with his colleagues at City of Joburg were alleging that the equipment did not exist as a matter of fact.

I can confidently confirm that no new equipment was supplied by City Power prior to the appointment of Actom, who apparently were Setheo’s subcontractor, as the main contractor.

I can also confirm that the SAPS officers were here at site to establish the true owner of the equipment and the provider of the platform on which the equipment stands. I told them that the equipment was provided prior to the arrest of the Setheo and City Power officials.

I also gave them the contact details of Actom’s Project Manager working on this project and I was not aware of the fact that there was no handover and takeover process between Setheo and Actom. We are meeting with the MMC today and I intend to establish the truth in this matter.

If the criminal charges are correct, then City Power cannot claim ownership in one forum and in another be party to another forum alleging that the equipment was never purchased. Until the visit by the police yesterday, it had not dawned on us that we could have been sold a dummy.

As a community, we don’t want to be party to Mashaba’s shenanigans. He came here and we told him of the progress of the project but he was driven by some unexplained rage and proceeded to stop the project.

I put the blame for the unfortunate delay of this project on Mashaba and his friend, retired General Sibiya.”

Lawyer Mulaudzi continued to explain that: “This case clearly exposes the abuse of public power by Mashaba and his successors.

It is not clear on what legal and constitutional basis can City Power claim ownership of the physical and identifiable assets that were purchased by Setheo in line with its contractual obligations based on a signed contract.

It would be interesting to see if City Power can provide evidence that it owns the drawings, civils provided by Setheo, and the equipment supplied by third parties including Actom pursuant to the contract.

The law of contracts precludes this kind of self-help to take place especially where public institutions and trust is involved. In fact, City Power ought to have obtained a court order prior to displacing Setheo as a contractor.

It is my understanding that City Power in choosing to deal with this contested equipment has refused, neglected and failed to benefit from the protection of the law. I beg to differ that possession is ownership. The absurdity of this preposterous construction is self-evident.

Imagine I leave a car at your house for storage, then you claim ownership. Equally, imagine you give me money to buy an asset for a project only to find you are taking the asset as yours without my knowledge and consent. This is a recipe for anarchy.’ Mlaudzi said.

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South Africa

South African Businessman, Mr Singh’s Birthday Celebrations, An Epitome of Pomp, Funfair, Civility, Diversity and Excellence

Brian Kazungu

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Mr Jagjit Singh, His Wife and Kids

Brian Kazungu, 06/04/2021

The birthday celebrations for South African businessman Jagjit Singh who is also known as the “Punjab Boy” which was held at The Royal India Restaurant in Sandton, Johannesburg, on the 4th of April 2021, was an epitome of pomp, funfair, civility, diversity and excellence.

Attended by people from various walks of life, including celebrities such as Sophie Lichaba and Llewellyn Cordier, Singh’s birthday which was also declared the JJ Singh Appreciation Day by the Africa Heritage Society, managed to bring South Africans together to celebrate a life of purpose.

Mr Bongani Sibeko, South African film producer (SAWITA), the man behind popular TV Show, Family Secrets, as the Master of Ceremony, breathed a touch of excellence on the mood of this party which was also graced by the firebrand veteran radio presenter Mr Ken Maistry from 702FM.

Many people took turns to shower the “Punjab Boy” with praises and well wishes because of his humane approach to life as well as because of his leadership and business skills which continues to inspire and create opportunities for other people in their day to day lives.

Mr Singh who dedicated his 39th birthday to raising funds for the treatment of cancer patients, donated R5000 to the C2C-BOAF Cancer Initiative and encouraged others to also participate in this worthy cause through the https://sa.africaemart.com/product/C2C—1873-CANCER-INITIATIVE-CAMPAIGN-gYCKl.

In celebrating and honouring Mr Singh for his noble deeds and proclaiming his birthday as the JJ Singh Appreciation Day, the Africa Heritage Society Chairperson Mr Mutumwa Mawere reminded people that they cannot create life but can rather celebrate its renewal.

“Life has its origin and human beings can’t create life, they can only reproduce it and this reproduction is renewed annually.

He added that in coming up with the Africa Heritage Society which honoured Singh with an appreciation day, the main issue which inspired the organisation was the question of identity i.e., Who Am I? Who is an African? What kind of an Africa do I want to see etc.?

When we celebrate your birthday, it’s just a reminder that this is the day you were born. It doesn’t give you an identity because we were all created. When we celebrate life, we are actually celebrating the renewal of another instalment.” Mr Mawere said.

Nadira and Ashley Govender presented Mr. Singh with an Honorary Diamond Membership and an Award on behalf of Birthday Club South Africa (BCLUBSA) which organized the birthday event in partnership with BMW Fast Track Racing, C2C and MTown Sherriff.

“We, at BCLUBSA and the founding members are honoured to celebrate the life and journey of Mr Singh. Mr Singh, we humbly welcome you as a diamond member to the Club. We wish you the best of everything in the years ahead. May you prosper in all you do.

As a club, we want to assist our new members in celebrating their lives and journeys and being blessed with seeing another year.

When we began this venture, I stumbled across a quote which says: The two most important days in your life are the day when you were born and the day you find out why.

That being said, we as a club represent love, peace, unit and culture bringing together people from different backgrounds, appreciating life and sharing in joy with the most dearest friends and family.” Nadira explained.

Interpol Ambassador, Mr Andy Mashaile spoke highly of JJ, the Punjab Boy, describing him as a great man and a General.

“You are a great man. You can’t walk with champions when you are not a champion….When Generals invite you into their room, you become a General. It is God who caused you to be a General. It is God who asks those people to call you into their room and tell them that this man is a General…. Long story short, you are not a lowly person….. Your behavior tells us that you are a winner.” The Ambassador said.

Speaking at the same event, Lavo Wines founder and the CEO of Polyzomba Rail Contractors which specializes in Rail construction and maintenance, Lerato Pretorious described Mr. Singh, the owner of The Royal India Restaurant as a true “Royal Man”.

While presenting him with a blanket in line with her Sotho culture, Lerato further narrated how what started off as mere business encounter with the Punjab Boy has culminated into a typical family association of a brother and a sister.

In her emotion and gratitude filled birthday speech, Lerato said “JJ, you are a true Royal Man. You command respect and you are confident. You demonstrate your leadership skills to both well established and new businesses. I admire your hard and smart work.

Your magnificent story From India to South Africa, detailing how you started and where you are now is very humbling and inspiring. You are a loving husband to your wife and a good father to your children.

You now speak many South African languages and you always encourage your stuff to improve their lives. I am grateful for the partnership between Lavo Wines and The Royal India Restaurant. I am very excited and already enjoying the benefits.”

Veteran South African freedom fighter, politician, psychologist and academic, Dr Sathasivian Cooper in absentia expressed his excitement on the fact that Singh dedicated his birthday for societal benefit, a gesture which he described as a worthy selfless contribution to humanity.

“It is fantastic that you have dedicated your birthday to societal benefit, unflinchingly sharing your knowledge, skills, experience and resources. This is the mark of a selfless member of the human family which more of us can emulate.

There is no better contribution that we can make in serving those less fortunate than ourselves – through no fault of their own – than conscious and considerate enabling of true community underpinned by compassion and commitment.” Dr Copper said.

The internationally recognised South African martial arts legend and President of Karate South Africa, Mr Sonny Pillay who once honoured Mr Singh with a Commendation Award of Honour in Karate on its 101 Charity Awards described the ‘Punjab Boy’ as a man with a heart of gold.

In a speech read on his behalf by award winning karate instructor and executive member of Karate South Africa, Mr Kruben Pillay who described Singh’s birthday party as first class event, Singh was praised and congratulated for his tenacity, determination and courage.

“Allow me to pay tribute to my dear friend JJ, a dynamic personality who never fails to exhibit tenacity, determination and courage despite the turbulence times we live in. JJ has a heart of gold and will give you a t-shirt on his back even if it’s the last one if a friend is in desperate times. It noteworthy how JJ has kept The Royal India alive….. A remarkable achievement indeed……”Mr Pillay said.

While giving a vote of thanks to family, friends and well-wishers who gathered at The Royal India Restaurant for the birthday celebrations, Mr Singh appealed to everyone to continue supporting the hospitality industry and wished that it can continue to prosper together with the rest of the country.

He also encouraged people to always check on each other during these challenging times and expressed appreciation to President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Command Council for allowing the hospitality industry to operate during the Easter Holiday.

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South Africa

South African Businesses Cry Foul Over The Non Bearable Basic Eskom Tariff During Covid-19 Pandemic – “Reduced Consumption Versus 100% Basic Fee Is Extortionary.”

Brian Kazungu

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Brian Kazungu, 17/02/2021

Businesses in South Africa are crying foul over what they termed as non-bearable basic Eskom tariffs which they consider to be extortionary when taking into account the reduced actual consumption which resulted from the Covid-19 induced lockdowns.

Some business owners who said they had engaged Eskom over the matter expressed concern on the fact that the power supplier has continued to bill them as normal and yet the lockdown has prevented them from utilising their properties since people are being made to work from home.

One of the landlords who signed an Integrated Electricity Supply Contract with Eskom said that because of the lockdown and its impact on their operations, their actual consumption has reduced by 70% but the power company is not cooperative in having the tariff adjusted.

They also revealed that attempts to discuss the issues with Eskom proved to be non-effective as the company indicated that the process to apply for the alteration of a supply contract to reflect the reduced consumption to current level takes about 12 months to process and approve.

“Just imagine spending 12 months paying 70% more on something when you really know you must be paying only 30% of that amount.

For example, on an integrated supply contract of 315 KVA, you have to pay about R12 000 ceteris paribus but our current consumption is only 90 KVA. Why should we then pay for the absurd 200 KVA that we are not using?” The businessman fumed.

Business owners who were organizing themselves into a group of aggrieved parties that share a common problem said they were planning to take Eskom to the courts in order to invoke the Force Majeure principle which they said was provided for in the contracts.

A lawyer who commented on the issue said “rather than leave their fate to the common law doctrine of Supervening Impossibility, in modern times, parties, in a bid to manage risk, have sought to regulate Supervening Impossibility by specifically making provision for it in written contracts.

These clauses can either broaden or narrow down the scope of the doctrine depending on what the parties agree. Such contractual clauses have popularly come to be known as “Force Majeure” clauses.

Thus in the event of supervening impossibility, the Court will look to the “Force Majeure Clause” to determine the dispute. In the absence of such a clause the court will apply the common law.

Secondly, it is important to understand that the actual legal principle is that of “Supervening Impossibility”. Normally, a party who fails to deliver his part of the bargain is guilty of “breach of contract” and the offended party can sue for specific performance or cancellation and damages.

However, if performance has been rendered impossible by an occurrence beyond their control such as “force majeure” in the form of, e.g. an earthquake, volcano, tsunami or a plague, they are absolved from liability.

Therefore in this case, force majeure (e.g. a Tsunami), is the supervening event that has made performance impossible.” He explained.

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South Africa

Umkhonto We Sizwe (MK) Gauteng Tells Zuma To Respect The Constitution And Face The Zondo Commission

Brian Kazungu

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Brian Kazungu, 14/02/2021

In its national press statement dated 12 February 2021, the MK National Council in Gauteng reminded former president Jacob Zuma that “LEADERS HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO LEAD BY EXAMPLE AND DEFEND THE CONSTITUTIONAL ORDER”.

It highlighted that even though the disclosures at the Zondo Commission can be uncomfortable and painful, the MK sees no reason to second-guess its leaders and take a hostile posture towards the Commission on Allegations of State Capture.

Describing the Commission as a necessary bitter medicine which South Africa needs in curing itself from the corruption virus, MK National Council in Gauteng said that it cannot remain silent when law and order is under threat.

It further made a plea to former President Zuma to desist from listening to the advice of those who are seeking to manipulate him into violating the law for their selfish interests.

“As our ex-Commander, we feel we have an obligation to ask you Cde President to ignore the advice of those who encourage you to turn your back on our constitutional order.

…..There are many who encourage you to defy the courts not for your wellbeing but theirs. They are fugitives from justice, who see you as their Moses who must show them the way to standing up against legality as a way of escaping responsibility and accountability for their choices.

Please Comrade President, deny these would-be bandits the example and the motivation they so desire to claim you as their idol and choose the people you struggled for”. Read the statement.

Gauteng MK also called for the investigation of misconduct among some comrades on allegations of defiance against the constitutional order and pleaded with the ANC NEC to look into the welfare of war veterans in an attempt to save them from being used as cannon fodder in factional fights because of their desperation.

It also expressed its interest to reach out to the ANC, SACP and COSATU in Gauteng in order to strengthen a progressive front in defense of the values of the movement as well as for national interest and to safeguard the future of children.

The reminder for President Zuma to respect the constitution, according to Gauteng MK comes as a solidarity gesture with the ANC Veterans League, Eastern Cape MK LWVs, and other progressive organizations and individuals who have already stood for the defense of the constitutional order.

Attached below is the full press statement by Gauteng MK:

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