‘Confidence-building’ Budget welcomed

first_img23 February 2012Business has welcomed Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s 2012 Budget, saying it rightly emphasized the need for a collaborative effort from all South Africans in working towards a growing, inclusive, job-rich economy against the backdrop of a weak global economic outlook.Business Unity South Africa (Busa) described the Budget as credible, broadly balanced and confidence-building, saying it was pleased with the central priority the Budget placed on the expanded infrastructure programme.“This initiative should not only aid in building modern infrastructure, but will also reduce poverty, create decent work and expand employment opportunities,” Busa said in a statement on Thursday.Need to be globally competitiveBusa was further pleased with the emphasis on the need for South Africa to be globally competitive, further tax relief for small business and micro-enterprises, and a simplified tax regime for SMMEs.It said the small and emerging business sector had the greatest potential for job creation.“We welcome as business additional allocations of R55.9-billion over the next three years and an additional R9.5-billion for an economic support package.“We also welcome the 43 major infrastructure projects and further detail on how they will be funded. In this vein, we look forward to the infrastructure summit which the President is planning to convene soon,” said Busa.Sars commended for raising R739-billionThe Banking Association of South Africa commended the South African Revenue Service for raising R739-billion under difficult economic conditions. “The national Budget has, for the first time, passed R1-trillion, highlighting the significant expenditure by government,” it said.The association said Gordhan had demonstrated visionary, honest and practical leadership.In his speech, Gordhan commented on the high banking costs in South Africa. The association said that, while increasing competition in the sector was leading to a more efficient sector with lower costs, had to be noted that South Africa had high broadband costs, costs of protecting cash and significant compliance costs.It said it was working with National Treasury in this regard.Dividends tax rate increase ‘a shock’Des Kruger, Director: Tax at Webber Wentzel law firm said that the increase in the dividends tax rate had come as a shock, given that all previous announcements and the law as it stands at present indicated a 10% rate.“The proposed 50% increase in the dividends tax rate to 15% so late in the day will no doubt cause considerable administration burdens on those companies and regulated intermediaries that have to account for the tax,” said Kruger.He added that foreigners owning property in South Africa would be adversely affected by the increase in inclusion capital gains tax (CGT) rates, because non-residents are required to pay CGT on the disposal of any immovable property owned by them in South Africa.However, Kruger did welcome the proposal to allow a deduction for interest incurred on the acquisition of shares to be deductible in certain circumstances.PKF chartered accountants and business advisers was surprised by the unexpected increase in the rate at which the new Dividends Tax was being levied at 15% – when 10% had been anticipated – and the increase in the rate of capital gains tax (CGT) from 10% to 13.3% for individuals, from 14% to 18.6% for companies and from 20% to 26.7% for trusts.‘High-income earners targeted’Eugene du Plessis, director of tax at the company said the Budget had hit the high net worth individual (HNWI) sector.“They are targeting the HNWI with measures that can only affect the wealthy, and by removing legitimate means of reducing their tax burden,” Du Plessis said.“While this is being viewed as ‘a more equitable means of spreading the load’, targeting the high proportion of their income that HNWIs earn from passive investments, in reality it is making South Africa such a high-tax country for the wealthy that there is little incentive for them to live here as opposed to more developed countries.”The coalition of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), the South African Council of Churches (SACC) and the South African Non-Governmental Organisation Coalition (Sangoco) said it welcomed that government spending would be increased to 32% of GDP in 2012/13.State ‘must learn to spend its allocations better’However, the coalition said, it was concerned at the capacity in national departments, provincial governments and local municipalities to spend the allocated amounts in a manner that will boost the industrial capacity of the economy and create decent jobs.The coalition, referred to as the People’s Budget Campaign (PBC), said it was concerned that the Budget deficit would decrease to 3% of GDP by 2014.“The unpredictability of the current economic crisis in Europe will continue to impact our economy negatively,” the PBC said. “It is therefore important for government to avoid decreasing the budget deficit over the MTEF and thus prevent our economy from deteriorating into a second-round recession.“Cutting deficit spending is simply not a sound economic measure given the global economic crisis and the triple crisis we continue to face at home.”While the coalition welcomed the allocation of infrastructure spend to the tune of R3.2-trillion over the three-year period, it said it must be complimented by the need to increase the capacity of the state to appropriately spend the allocated amounts.“We welcome the proposed establishment of the municipal infrastructure support agency that will enhance infrastructure development capacity of the rural municipalities.”The coalition said it rejected the proposed adjustments in tariffs by the minister regarding e-tolling in Gauteng to pay for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project.“The PBC rejects the continued reliance on user pay principle in the development of road infrastructure. We do not support e-tolling and call for a reliable, safe, affordable and integrated transport system,” it said, noting the acknowledgement made by Gordhan that the e-tolling system will have a negative impact on the road users in the province and workers in particular.The coalition said it was appalled that some learners were still being taught in mud houses, and demanded the elimination of them in the financial year. The Budget also failed to reduce teacher-learner ratios in the rural and township schools, it said.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Vancouver Aquarium files civil claim suing city and park board over cetacean

first_imgVANCOUVER — The Vancouver Aquarium is suing the city and park board over the 2017 cetacean ban for breach of contract and claiming it lost millions of dollars in revenue.In May 2017 the Vancouver’s park board voted 6 to 1 to approve a bylaw banning whales, dolphins and porpoises in captivity.The bylaw went into effect immediately, preventing the Vancouver Aquarium from bringing new cetaceans to its facility in Stanley Park.In the civil claim filed May 14, the Vancouver Aquarium states attendance has dropped in the last two years, adding the bylaw has interfered with the aquarium’s “ability to carry out day-to-day administration” of the Marine Science Centre.“Compared to 2016, attendance at the Marine Science Centre in both 2017 and 2018 has declined by approximately 13 per cent,” the aquarium says in the claim.“Based on 2016 admission rates, this decline in attendance equates to a loss of approximately $4 million in revenues for each of 2017 and 2018.”  The Vancouver Aquarium has one senior-aged Pacific white-sided dolphin named Helen that the park board continues to support.“She was rescued from fishing nets many years ago, and has no pectoral fins as a result,” says a spokesperson for the aquarium.A B.C. Supreme Court judge had agreed with the aquarium’s attempt to quash the park board bylaw and declared it void. But that ruling was overturned in February by a panel of three Appeal Court judges, who sent the matter back to the B.C. Supreme Court.The Vancouver Aquarium says as the matter is currently before the B.C. Supreme Court, it is not in a position to provide additional details on the lawsuit.For more than five decades, cetaceans have been a central feature of the aquarium and its efforts to engage the public, the lawsuit says.In January 1999 the aquarium housed five belugas, one killer whale and one Pacific white-sided dolphin, it says.By September 2011 the aquarium had four belugas, three pacific white-sided dolphins and one harbour porpoise, the claim reads.In the early 2000s, it says the aquarium began planning a three-phase, $100-million expansion of the Marine Science Centre. It says the first phase included improvement of “facilities and systems” for cetaceans costing more than $2.75 million, while the second phase included expansion of habitats for cetaceans including the Canada’s Arctic exhibit.Over the last two years the lawsuit says the aquarium wrote off $2.2 million in design and consulting costs for the new Canada’s Arctic habitat for cetaceans, and lost a “major private donation” equal to $7.5 million which was in support of the habitat. The lawsuit says the aquarium also revised its plans for the second phase of the expansion project.The aquarium had announced in February 2017 that it would phase out its cetacean program by 2029. But it intended on bringing in five more belugas in the interim once it opened its Canada’s Arctic exhibit.“The ability to control the day-to-day administration of the Marine Science Centre — including the choice of what aquatic animals to bring into or display at the Marine Science Centre — is crucially linked to the Vancouver Aquarium’s fiscal sustainability,” the lawsuit says.  The lawsuit says since 1995 the aquarium has owned and operated the Marine Science Centre in Stanley Park under a series of licence agreements with the city, represented by the park board.The aquarium pays two licence fees, it says. This includes a fixed fee of $150,000 which is to be increased by $25,000 after every five years, and a monthly amount based on a percentage of gross revenues from retail food and beverage sales, it says.“Despite the changes to its permitted uses under the license agreement, the Vancouver Aquarium has continued to pay combined annual licence fees to the park board and the city in excess of $290,000,” the lawsuit says.A statement from the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation says it has received a claim for damages in response to the 2017 amendment of the bylaw to restrict the importation and keeping of cetaceans at the Vancouver Aquarium.“The Park Board is reviewing the claim with legal counsel and considering its options going forward. The Park Board will have no further comment while this matter is before the courts,” the statement says.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Were you turned on by this at all RCMP officer asks Indigenous

first_imgThis underage teenager was interrogated by police for more than two hours after filing a sexual assault complaint. Photo: Cullen Crozier/APTNHolly Moore and Brittany GuyotAPTN NewsVideo obtained by APTN Investigates shows a Kelowna RCMP officer interviewing an under-aged Indigenous teen for more than two hours after she reported a sexual assault while in care of the B.C child welfare system.APTN is protecting the victim’s identity.The youth is left alone with male officers throughout the two and a half-hour video from March 2012 and when female workers from the ministry are present, they are not supporting her except to offer her a hamburger.According to a recent interview with the woman, the alleged sexual assault by an acquaintance was first reported to the youth’s foster parent who took her to hospital.Kelowna RCMP constable interviewed the alleged victim for more than two hours The officer also points out inconsistencies in her statements.These included whether she told the alleged assailant “no” during the time when he was kissing her or when he was taking her clothes off.He also asks her why she stayed in the assailant’s home and took the bus with him.No charges were laid against the alleged perpetrator of the assault, something sadly unsurprising to the woman today.“I think a lot of Aboriginal women can relate to this,” she said. “Maybe now that there is video evidence of how police treat victims something will be done about it.”Punished for reporting assaultA statement of claim filed in March 2019 by the youth in the video claims she was punished for reporting that sexual assault.Court documents obtained by APTN say social worker Siobhan Stynes, and the youth’s then-foster parents accused the youth of falsifying the incident “for an excuse for using drugs.”It also alleges that “no meaningful investigations were carried out surrounding the circumstances of the sexual assault.”Read More:Social worker accused of punishing Indigenous youth for sexual assault allegation while in foster parentB.C. social worker sought out Indigenous high risk youth because no one would adequately safeguard their interests says claimThe video was released as the result of a Notice of Application to disclose all investigation notes in a civil suit against the Ministry of Child and Family Development, social worker Riley Robert Saunders and supervisor Siobhan Stynes.The lawsuits, including one class action, describe an alleged scheme where youth had joint bank accounts with Saunders and their funds were siphoned off, exposing the young people in care to homelessness, drugs and exploitation. The allegations have not been proven in court.Watch: APTN Investigates reporter Cullen Crozier profiled some of the cases in Broken Trust.APTN has reached out to the RCMP, Ministry of Children and Family Development, Robert Riley Saunders and Siobhan Stynes and has not heard [email protected] files from Cullen Crozier Police briefly interviewed her and then she was brought into the West Kelowna RCMP detachment the next day for questioning with two ministry workers.She said a male officer immediately took her into an interview room and started to barrage her with questions.“I felt very alone in there,” she told APTN. “There was no parental support for me there at all. I was terrified.”“Were you at all turned on during this at all? Even a little bit?” the officer said. “You understand that when a guy tries to have sex with a female and the female is completely unwilling it is very difficult.”In one exchange, he appears to question how hard she tried to fight during the alleged assault.“Go over again with me how did you try and get him to stop,” he said. “Did you scream ‘no’ did you say ‘get off me’, did you say ‘this was rape? I need you to stop?’”“I don’t remember, tried to get my legs around him to try and get him to stop,” she said.“Okay… um I don’t know how that would work, if he’s having intercourse with you and your legs are flat.” the constable answered.center_img At one point the constable asks the teen if she is lying and if she knows the “seriousness” of what she is reporting.“Do you know what could happen to people who are accused of that?” he said. “They could go to prison for up to 14 years.”“You do understand making a report to police that is false is a crime,” he added that, “it’s not something we joke around with just so you know.”He also accuse the teen of lying to avoid getting in trouble with her foster parents.“Is one of the reasons why you came up with this is because you thought you might be pregnant and you thought you might need the pill?” he said.“It’s because I had just gotten taken advantage of and I didn’t consent to it,” she answers.The officer asks the teen why she asked the alleged perpetrator to wear a condom during the attack“Because I already knew it was going to happen and there was no escaping it,” she said to which he answered  “what does that tell me about your level of consent and your level of denial?”last_img read more

Worlds oldest Olympian Bahamian Sir Durward dies with family at his side

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Sir Durward Knowles oldest living Olympic Champion, celebrated 100 Years Nov 2 Related Items:#bahamasgoldmedal, #oldestolympian, #sirdurwardknowles Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppNassau, #Bahamas – February 26, 2018 – Sir Durward Knowles, who up to Saturday was the world’s oldest living Olympic champion died at the age of 100 in his home country of The Bahamas.Revered for his philanthropic work, his striving to forge a stronger bond between black and white Bahamians in an initiative called One Bahamas and saluted for his accomplishments as a decorated sailor – Knowles slipped away on Saturday.#SirDurward on  November 2nd 2017 marked a century of life, a goal he desperately wanted to accomplish.  The intriguing Bahamian hero told us, at a book signing that he wanted to live to see 100 years old, and he did it.  One hundred years and nearly four months Sir Durward lived and lived a robust life.Last November, The Bahamas held a slew of events – nationally – to help the Olympic champion sailor celebrate the milestone.There are many outstanding feats for the man, who now leaves a nation in mourning but satisfied at his amazing life.  Sir Knowles is the first champion for The Bahamas at the Olympics level and he did it in sailing at the Tokyo Games in 1964; before the gold, Sir Durward won bronze as a sailor and Sir Knowles is one of the longest competing Olympians in history, attending eight of the Games in all, seven of them consecutively.Knighted in 1996, Sir Durward supported the disabled with donations of wheel chairs… he supported sailing, ensuring the culture remained vibrant and prominent… and he shared his story of tenacity, with anyone, anywhere that he went.His family confirmed his death was on Saturday February 24 at 2:15pm at Doctor’s Hospital in Nassau, New Providence.Flags today fly at half mast for Sir Durward Knowles, Bahamian Sea Wolf… may you rest in peace. Recommended for youlast_img read more