Cybercrime one of fastest growing criminal enterprises in South Africa

Issued by Mediaservices on behalf of Moyo Business Advisory
Attention: News editors
02 May 2017

No embargo

 With cyber criminals skimming off between R2-billion and R3-billion yearly, hacking in all its forms has become one of the biggest criminal growth enterprises world-wide.

According to the 13th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice held in Qatar in 2015 cybercrime now affects more than 431 million adult victims globally and siphons off more than US$3-trillion a year from the global economy.

Professor SH (Basie) von Solms, Director of the Centre for Cyber Security in the Academy for Computer Science and Software Engineering at the University of Johannesburg, said because cybercrime was not a reportable crime nobody actually knew the exact amount of money that was ripped off.

“Because we do not have compulsory reporting of such incidents (cybercrime), and because so many are swept under the carpet and cannot be included in statistics it may actually be more than the two to three billion rand figure that is commonly quoted.”

“We know that traditional security countermeasures like firewalls and anti-virus programs don’t really do the job anymore. To help the Cybersecurity capacity building efforts in SA, we have introduced a new part-time Certificate course in Cyber security at the University of Johannesburg ( to try and mitigate the desperate shortage of skilled technicians who will be able to attack the cyber problem head-on.”

Von Solms said that small and medium companies were internationally becoming a growing target for cyber criminals and this was also the case in South Africa. That is due to several factors, of which the cost of cyber security protection and the lack of cyber expertise are but two. In 2013 the Government had published a report on the cyber threat to such companies, but very little had been done since to help such small and medium companies to improve their cyber security.

“I believe that better cyber security defences will bring down corruption and fraud, and will improve service delivery in this country, however, the insider threat is very big, and companies must  not only fight the criminals coming from outside, but also those coming from inside.”

Pieter Erasmus, an IT security strategist who works in association with Moyo Business Advisory, said the threat was far bigger than most corporate executives realised.

Responsible for maintaining IT security at a number of banks and at some of the largest-JSE listed companies, his company was dealing with ever increasingly sophisticated attacks.

“We are now dealing with top-tier organised crime syndicates and nation states like China, Russia and North Korea who will go to any length to penetrate systems.”

Erasmus said the biggest problem remained the internal security threat posed by employees who either had an axe to grind, or who wanted to help themselves to company funds.

“The biggest problem remains ignorance and these are the individuals who pose the biggest threat. Through so-called social engineering they can be tricked into disclosing passwords and other valuable information without even realising that they had compromised the company’s integrity.

“When we start working with new clients we often find that even the most basic principles if IT security are being flagrantly ignored such as opening e-mails form unknown senders or clicking hot links on web sites that install malware on computers that give hackers access to the entire network.”

He agreed with Von Solms that there was a desperate shortage of skilled operators who were able to deal with the level of sophistication now being used by black hat hackers.

“We have an in-house mentoring programme for advanced degree students where they get on-the-job training and they will eventually become members of our front-line cyber security defence force.”

Moyo Business Advisory specialises in high-level IT security strategies as well as offering a broad range of services in information technology and business consulting.

Note to subs: For more information please contact Pieter Erasmus on his cell 083 450 7374 or browse

Debt Rescue sells shareholding to Kleoss Capital for undisclosed sum

Issued by Mediaservices on behalf of Debt Rescue
Attention: News/Finance Editors
23 February 2017

No embargo

Debt Rescue sells shareholding to Kleoss Capital for undisclosed sum

The extent to which debt counselling has become a mainstream industry became evident this week when private equity firm Kleoss Capital announced that they had bought a stake in one of the largest debt counselling firms in South Africa, Debt Rescue.

Debt Rescue CEO Neil Roets said that after almost a year of negotiations, Kleoss Capital decided to come on board bringing with them a wealth of expertise and experience in the private equity field.

“We are delighted to have Kleoss Capital on board. We were impressed by their methodological approach to investing and thoroughness during the due diligence phase. We look forward to the strategic partnership and the invaluable inputs Kleoss Capital will be able to make in our already strong management team.”

Roets said their primary reason for selling a share of the business to Kleoss Capital was that Debt Rescue had reached the point where it was ready to spread its wings to bigger and better things.

“We have twice been voted the best debt counselling firm in South Africa by both the public and by the major role players in our industry which included the major banks.”

“By having Kleoss Capital on board, we have access to the brightest and the best minds who have the ability to assist us to build on our success and take the business to the next level. Kleoss Capital is also a 100% black owned and managed investment manager.”

Roets said Kleoss Capital approached them because they considered Debt Rescue a leader in their field and was of the view that the company offered significant growth potential.

Hale Matsipa together with Andile Keta and private equity practitioner, Zain Laher founded Kleoss Capital, a R1.2 billion growth equity fund, in 2014.

“We decided to join forces because we wanted to create a business where we could put the expertise that we had learnt in our banking environment to full use.

“We wanted an arena where deal sourcing, deal structuring, debt and capital raising and acting in an advisory capacity to clients who wanted to dispose of their businesses was our main focus.

“We were confident that we had the requisite skills and the experience to raise sufficient capital to get an investment business up and running by bringing our expertise to the table to grow whatever businesses we chose to invest in to create value for our investors.”

Matsipa said their ambition was for Kleoss Capital to be a multi-class investment manager in the alternative space.

“We look at a wide range of attributes such as the value of the companies, how much capital they need and what they plan to do with it to grow the business.

“We look at their transformation credentials and see how best we can help them to add value and ultimately sell it for a healthy profit.”

Explaining how they decided on which companies to invest in, Matsipa said the first thing they looked at was whether they could get a healthy return on their investment.

He said his company would work closely with the management team at Debt Rescue on a value-add basis.

“We believe Debt Rescue has a bright future and is ready for the next phase of its corporate life where we see the business growing to generate solid returns for our investors. We believe that in Debt Rescue we have a solid platform for improving the lives of the millions of over indebted South Africans.

Note to subs: For more information, please contact Neil Roets on his cell: 083 644 7406 or e-mail  or Annaline van der Poel on 083 415 4626   URL:


Gauteng health MEC ordered to pay compensation to child victim of negligence

Issued by Mediaservices on behalf of Christopher Consulting
Attention: News editors
15 March 2017

No embargo 

Gauteng health MEC ordered to pay compensation to child victim of negligence

Despite assurances by the health ministry that South Africa’s hospitals were safe and places where the safety and welfare of patients came first, yet another case of negligence has been adjudicated against the Gauteng MEC.

The mother of a toddler who fell out of his hospital bed while being treated for pneumonia, sustaining a concussion and a fractured leg will be receiving R150 000 in damages from the MEC for Health.

The health authorities denied culpability claiming that the two-year old had jumped out of bed of his own volition and that they were not responsible for his injuries.

Hlako contended that her son was under their care and that it was incumbent upon them to look after him and to ensure that was safe.

She only noticed five days after the fall that he had a bump on his head and that his speech was abnormal.

It was only after the child had undergone a brain scan at the Steve Biko Hospital five days later that it became clear that he had sustained a concussion.

Doctors gave him antiepileptic medication and he was referred to a speech therapist before being taken back to Mamelodi Hospital.

The child was eventually discharged on April 27 2015.

The mother held the hospital staff responsible for the incident.

Sunelle Van Heerden, marketing manager for Christopher Consulting who funded the forensic investigation and who appointed the legal team said it was telling that none of the role players including the nurses whose job it was to take care of the toddler accepted responsibility for what had happened.

“They continued to claim that they had done nothing wrong and that child had ‘jumped out of bed’”.

Van Heerden said not enough people knew that they were liable for compensation when they were injured due to the negligence of others.

“I am amazed on a daily basis about how reckless people can be when it comes to the safety and wellbeing of others whether it be in hospital or in a public place.”

“We all have a reasonable expectation that we will be safe. When injury or death occurs as a result of negligence the injured parties have the right to be compensated for their loss.”

“Christopher Consulting funded the risk and all disbursements including the attorney’s and advocate’s fee, on the claim of Daniela Hlako on a no-win-no-fee basis. This gave her equal access to the law and to a world class legal team.”

Advocate JP Nel who acted on behalf of the mother said that the R150 000 settlement was reasonable under the circumstances.

Note to subs: For more information please contact Sunelle van Heerden of Christopher Consulting on 012 460 7050 or on her cell 083 738 0996

Courts taking increasingly dim view of personal injuries caused by negligence

Issued by Mediaservices on behalf of Christopher Consulting
Attention: News editors
17 March 2017

No embargo 

Courts taking increasingly dim view of personal injuries caused by negligence

South African courts are taking an increasingly dim view of injuries caused by the negligence of others and growing numbers of claimants are succeeding in claiming compensation for their injuries.

One of the latest to succeed is Crystal Ann Beaver who managed to obtain a court order stipulating that the Villa Funchal restaurant in Willowmore Park is 100% liable for the injuries she sustained when she fell over a step in their toilet cubicle which was in darkness and higher than the rest of the floor.

Sunelle Van Heerden, marketing manager for Christopher Consulting who funded the forensic investigation and who appointed the legal team said it was evident from the growing number of cases passing through the courts that more people had become aware of the fact that they could claim compensation if they got hurt because of the negligence of others.

“In this instance there was no warning sign to alert users of the toilet that the floor in the stall was higher and that they should mind the step.”

Beaver, 62, a wage clerk, claimed around R1,8-million from Villa Funchal. No quantum has as yet been set and will be determined at a later trail.

On February 9 2014, Beaver injured her spine and lost several teeth when she fell. She was taken to the OR Tambo Memorial Hospital in Boksburg by paramedics.

She was temporarily paralysed and could not move either her arms or her legs.

After she was released she remained in continuous pain and is no longer able to walk her dogs or go fishing – two of her great passions.

Although there has been a growing awareness among the public that they were liable for compensation in cases where negligence was involved, Van Heerden said not enough people were aware of their rights under the law.

“I am amazed on a daily basis about how reckless people can be when it comes to the safety and wellbeing of others whether it be in hospital or in a public place.”

“We all have a reasonable expectation that we will be safe. When injury or death occurs as a result of negligence the injured parties have the right to be compensated for their loss.”

“Christopher Consulting funded the risk and all disbursements including the attorney’s and advocate’s fee, on the claim of Crystal Ann Beaver on a no-win-no-fee basis. This gave her equal access to the law and to a world class legal team.”

Note to subs: For more information please contact Sunelle van Heerden of Christopher Consulting on 012 460 7050 or on her cell 083 738 0996



Many deeply indebted consumers will not qualify for credit amnesty 

Almost half of deeply indebted South Africans will not qualify for the government’s credit amnesty which becomes effective on April 1 because they had not paid up their accounts in full.

According to figures supplied by the National Credit Regulator (NCR) 9.69 million or 48.1% of all indebted consumers have “impaired” records and would therefore not have their adverse listings removed from credit bureau databases.

Intended to “wipe the slate clean”, the initiative, driven by the Department of Trade and Industry will compel credit bureaus to remove all adverse listings of consumers who had paid their accounts in full.

Neil Roets, CEO of Debt Rescue, one of the largest debt management companies in South Africa, welcomed the move.

“By keeping the records on credit bureau databases even after accounts had been settled – in some cases for up to five years – has caused great suffering for many people. It has denied them credit to which they should have had access. It will also prevent employers from discriminating against them when they apply for jobs.”

Roets said many people who had fallen into arrears had been the victims of unsecured loans that had been recklessly granted to them by credit providers who often used dubious practices to talk them into taking on more debt.

He pointed out that far too many South Africans in especially the deep rural areas were wholly uniformed of the protection measures available to them under the terms of the National Credit Act.

“We know from experience as debt counsellors that relatively few people are aware of the fact that if it can be proved that a credit provider provided a loan when the lender was already over-extended and it can be proved that he acted recklessly, that loan is null and void.”

He said banks and other financial institutions extending unsecured loans were often guilty of not providing their customers with the full facts of how interest would mount up and the steps that would be taken against them in the event of non-payment.

He said the amnesty that would become effective on April 1 also makes provision for the ongoing removal of adverse listings including judgements for bad debt on an ongoing basis as soon as outstanding accounts had been settled.

“We know South Africans are drowning in debt because many of them come to us for help by being placed under debt review in order to protect their assets. The fact that we are experiencing exponential growth in the number of clients walking through our doors shows clearly just how bad the situation has become,” Roets said.

Zodwa Ntuli the deputy director general at the dti said the credit bureau system as it exists at present has been an impediment for many ordinary consumers.

“It hasn’t worked as a tool to avoid reckless transactions,” said the minister, while also urging credit providers that they must conduct proper affordability assessments.

For more information, please contact Neil Roets on 083 6447406 or e-mail  URL:

Appeals Court issues judgement against Pioneer Foods

Appeals Court issues judgement against Pioneer Foods

In a David and Goliath struggle, a small Free State maize milling company won a case in the Supreme Court of Appeal against food giant Pioneer Foods in a trade mark dispute that goes back over a decade.

After Pioneer initially applied for an interdict to stop the Bothaville Milling Company from passing off its Star product on their trade mark by using an allegedly similar get-up for their maize meal, both the Bloemfontein High Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal found in favour of the Bothaville company and also awarded costs to the respondent.

Mariette Du Plessis, a partner with the law firm Adams and Adams said the dispute centred on the fact that both companies used a star as part of what in legal terminology is known as their products’  “get-up”. This includes the name of the product as well as the graphics and colours used on the packaging.

“We were able to show that Bothaville Milling’s get-up was sufficiently different to the point where there was no reasonable chance that a consumer could confuse the two products.”

In his judgement, Mr Justice MJD Wallis found that Bothaville Milling did not pass-off their “Star” maize meal as the “White Star” brand sold by Pioneer Foods.

Arnold Steyn, CEO of Bothaville Milling said it was a great victory for his company.

“The judgement shows clearly that big corporates cannot simply walk over the rights of little guys like ourselves and that the rule of law is very much alive and well in South Africa.”

Steyn said that even through costs has been awarded to the mill’s legal team, they would still be substantially out of pocket.

“We were fighting for our very existence so even though we took a financial knock, we have come out the other side stronger knowing that our trade mark is safe and that no other corporate can lay claim to it.”

The court found that Pioneer Foods had fallen short of proving that there was any confusion in the minds of consumers and that they could clearly differentiate between the two products.

Bothaville Milling has been supplying its “Star” brand of maize meal in primarily the KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape areas for more than 11 years and has a fiercely loyal consumer base.

“Our product is of the highest quality and most consumers ask for it by name and would not in any way be confused by a product that looks similar,” Steyn said.

For more information, please contact Mariette Du Plessis of Adams an Adams attorneys on 0825572691 or Arnold Steyn of Bothaville Milling on 056 515 1071 or on his cell 082 958 1897

Fake court orders used to illegally dock the salaries of indebted workers

The probe into the alleged fraudulent issuing of garnishee orders by four employees at the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court in Alberton, south of Johannesburg, is merely the tip of the iceberg of a nation-wide problem.

Neil Roets CEO of one of the largest debt counselling companies in South Africa, Debt Rescue, said the problem had been around for a long time but was escalating dramatically as consumers were falling deeper into debt and credit grantors becoming ever more desperate to collect on unsecured loans.

“Virtually anybody with basic knowledge of how the court system works can falsify a garnishee order duping an employer to deduct money from a worker and to pay it into an account stipulated on the court order.”

In one matter, the orders obtained instruct the employer of five Meyerton factory workers to deduct amounts ranging from 12% to 25% of their low-income salaries each month. The Justice Department has confirmed it is conducting a forensic investigation into the matter.

Clerks of the court were often the main culprits. “It is common knowledge in the credit industry that garnishee orders can be obtained fraudulently upon payment of relatively modest bribes.

According to Peter Allwright, director of Horizon Forensics, industry experts had indicated there were about three million emoluments attachment orders in place.

He said a 2012 investigation by law firm ENS, where he was previously employed, uncovered rife abuse of these orders. It revealed that 59% of the orders contained invalid or incomplete information, invalid case numbers, were fraudulently obtained or incorrectly served.

“Clerks of the court are being bribed, or organisations themselves are duplicating the stamps, signatures and case numbers and completely bypassing the courts,” he said.

Allwright said often the “financially vulnerable” were targeted by these fraudulent orders because they did not have the resources to get legal advice.


Roets said they came across cases on a regular basis when deeply indebted consumers come to them for debt counselling. A significant number of the orders that they investigated in the past had been fraudulent. Some were in fact issued by clerks of the court who had been bribed to ignore the legal process and simply issued them on the spot.

“While we welcome the investigation at the Palm Ridge court, investigators need to look at the wider picture across the country where poor people are being massively defrauded on a daily basis.”

He said it was not only smaller micro lenders who were involved in the bribery.

“We know for a fact that some banks take shortcuts to obtain garnishee orders – often without the knowledge of the person who it was issued against.

“While the law strictly speaking does not require the person to be present in court, there is a whole procedure that has to be followed before a credit grantor can resort to docking the employee’s salary.

“There has to be proof of the fact that the credit grantor had sent letters of demand and informed the consumer that a garnishee order would be taken out against him or her if the debt was not settled within a prescribed period,” Roets said.

With more than 25% of all workers unemployed, unsecured lending has for many become the only means of survival and when they fall behind in their payments, their only option is debt counselling which places them under debt review.

“At this point, they enjoy the protection granted to them under the National Credit Act, Roets said.

“This means that we negotiate with creditors on their behalf and work out a sustainable repayment plan. During that period a credit grantor is not permitted to attach the assets of the worker nor take out a garnishee order against him or her.”

With some 20 million credit-active consumers collectively owing R1.45-trillion, there was a very real incentive for court officials to fall prey to bribes offered to them for fake garnishee orders.

For more information, please contact Neil Roets on his cell: 083 644 7406 or e-mail URL:


Welcome to those of you who have an interest in learning how to write hard-hitting press releases that actually get published.

Sitting on both sides of the divide – both as a journalist/foreign correspondent as well as a public relations consultant – I think I am in a position to make some value judgements. The fact that I have been a journalist for the past 40 years perhaps gives me some insight into what constitutes a good press release as opposed to the ones that ends up in the dustbin.

For starters, it has to be a news story that can compete on an uneven playing field where news editors and news directors get bombarded by literally hundreds of news stories from around the world. Your release has to be so well written that it is the one that is chosen over the many other good stories.

A hard-hitting press release about the company, product or service will get your client out into the public eye at a fraction of the cost of advertising.

News stories carry a far greater weight in the public eye than advertisements. People believe what they hear aired as news stories on the electronic media and what they read in the form of editorial in the print media. In contrast, most individuals are highly sceptical about the content of advertisements. Surveys have shown that it takes many repeats of an ad before it builds any credibility.

Many times readers see an ad and they know that what they are reading is just overblown hype. Most readers are more likely to trust independent authorities such as reviewers, columnists, reporters or broadcasters.  A well-written press release has the power to radically influence public opinion and our experience over the past 17 years has proven that beyond a doubt.

Over the next weeks and months we will share with you some of the tricks of the trade that get press releases used in the print media and clients on radio and TV. In the meantime, browse my website at for some more background information on who I am and what I do.

One issue that I was not going to raise because at first it seemed petty but now seems a lot more important, is that of press releases being sent to me in my capacity as a foreign correspondent servicing a number of news organisations in the United States. They are almost uniformly poorly written, riddled with typos and spelling errors as well as grammatical errors and appalling syntax.

In this day and age of spell checkers and even an elementary grammar checker on MS Word this is simply unacceptable.

These musings are not going to teach you good English – for that you have to go back to school. What it will hopefully help you do, is to write a story as opposed to a scrappy press release that will get published.

I’ve had the privilege of working with some major South African and international clients and have helped many of them grow and prosper by positioning them as leaders in their field.

More next week……


Writing a press release is the cornerstone of public relations. On the one hand it has to get the client’s message across to the outside world. On the other hand it cannot be a marketing brochure because it will be immediately discarded by the news editor of the publication or electronic media on the receiving end. It is a delicate balancing act which firstly has to meet the need of the media organisation – in short it has to be a cracking good news story. On the other hand it has to contain the client’s marketing message but in such a manner that it is non-intrusive and almost subliminal. Hard-sell does not work because those press releases invariably end up in the dustbin.


Because Mediaservices has some of the top news writers in South Africa as both owners and staffers, we are able to produce hard-hitting and punchy press releases that can compete with running news stories from all over the world and accordingly regularly end up on the pages of all the major media in South Africa. Our stories have even been featured on the BBC World Service and on CNN.

Sebokeng hospital facing major legal action after alleged medical malpractice


Sebokeng hospital facing major legal action after alleged medical malpractice

A Pretoria reservations clerk was forced to lie in her own blood for almost 6 hours while giving unassisted birth while nurses in the ward ignored her impassioned pleas for help.

Bridget Moleboheng was admitted to the Sebokeng hospital in the Vaal Triangle during December 2010 and from the outset she was treated with indifference and disrespect. Her water had broken and she was in urgent need of medical assistance.

“Because I had the temerity to ask that I be attended to I was called “Madam” and everybody went out of their way to be rude to me,” Moleboheng said.

Moleboheng, who works for a Pretoria-based Hotel is in the process of suing the hospital and the government for substantial damages sustained during her stay at the hospital.

Her real nightmare started when she started giving birth: “Instead of helping me and telling me what to do, the nurses stood around chatting to each other about their personal lives ignoring my pleas for help.”

When the baby started moving down the birth canal, she screamed for help and still her cries for help were being ignored.

“The nurses kept screaming at me that I should keep quiet. At this point the baby was being born and still I was being ignored,” she said.

“While I was in agony and scared to push on my own, the nurses left the ward then went to sit at the corridor and continued chatting & laughing. They made it clear that I was going to be ignored because I had dared to ask questions and that I had behaved like a ‘madam’”

Sunelle van Heerden a professional consultant from CP van Zyl Attorneys said what had happened to Moleboheng was an everyday occurrence at certain state hospitals and the only way they would change was through legal means.

“It is clear that government lacks the will to change the horrendous conditions in state hospitals and ultimately it is left to the public to seek legal advice in order to bring them to book.”

Moleboheng eventually gave completely unassisted birth to a baby boy after many hours of labour.

“I pleaded with the nurses in the ward to help my baby who was at this point was turning purple. I asked them to help my baby even if they did not want to help me,” Moleboheng said.

“I had spoken to my husband on my cell phone to tell him of my desperate plight but he was refused permission by the security guards at the hospital to enter. I had not eaten for many hours prior to giving birth and after being refused food by the nurses, I asked him to bring me food which they initially refused. Only later after repeated pleas by him was he allowed to give some food to a security guard who brought it to me,” she said.

When the baby was born – without any assistance from the nurses or the midwife – she was refused permission to either hold him or breastfeed him even though he was crying.

“Despite the fact that there was non-medical staff including males walking through the ward, I was left lying naked in my own blood and the doctor that was supposed to attend to me was seeing other patients who were admitted before me.”

Removing her afterbirth was also performed with the utmost callousness with a doctor blaming the pain he was causing her on the fact that she was “fat”.

“He ignored my screams that he was hurting me and treated me worse than a dog,”   she said.

She eventually used her feet to stem the bleeding and passed out several times before she was attended to and given a blood transfusion.

“I bled until the blood came all the way to my breast and almost to my neck,” she said.

After eventually having the afterbirth removed in an operating room, she was allowed to go home permanently scarred by the horrific experience.

It was recently reported that the Gauteng health department currently faces 101 legal claims totalling R235million, which reflect a horrific decline in treatment standards at our hospitals.

These claims are due to alleged negligence at various public hospitals that resulted in the death of patients, among other things.

Soweto’s Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital, the largest hospital in the southern hemisphere, tops the list with 26 claims worth R22,8million.

Seventeen of these claims are due to alleged negligence leading to brain damage and cerebral palsy in new-born babies.

The department revealed these startling statistics in its 2010-2011 financial report to the public accounts committee in the legislature.

The highest claim at Chris Hani-Baragwanath is R5million for damages following the “death of a patient after treatment of a toothache and abscess in the gum”.

The second highest number of claims is against Pretoria’s Steve Biko Academic Hospital with 12 claims totalling R16million, including a R4million claim for allegedly stopping life support without consent of next- of-kin, and another R2million after a “wrong eye was operated on, resulting in blindness”.

DA’s health spokesperson Jack Bloom said: “These claims reflect a horrific decline in treatment standards at our hospitals. Although some amounts claimed are clearly unrealistic, they reflect the trauma of patients who feel they have been victims of bad treatment.”


For more information, please contact Sunelle van Heerden at CP van Zyl attorneys on 012 460 7050