News in South Africa 11th January:

1. Level 4 more likely:

Another spike in Covid-19 cases is coming, health experts have warned, but they say it can be avoided or its severity reduced if Gauteng is moved to lockdown level 4 for 21 days.

Level 4 more likely
Image taken by: Matthias Groeneveld

The experts warned a significant spike in cases was expected in Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal due to the anticipated influx of holidaymakers heading back to the provinces at the end of the festive season.

They further warned that the spike was expected to last between three to six weeks as many people return to their workplaces.

The national health department reported that the country had 20,999 new cases on Thursday, with more than 5,533 new cases coming from Gauteng.

UKZN’s Prof Mosa Moshabela said: “The most important thing right now is to stop new infections. Every new infection we prevent is less pressure on our limited resources – hospital beds, oxygen and our healthcare workers. If Gauteng has to move to level 4 for 21 days to prevent new infections, they should do it. We need everything at our disposal to stop new infections.”

Moshabela said the effects of holiday travel were already being felt in Limpopo and Mpumalanga due to cross-border travel.

“Not only will people be coming back with Covid-19, but the border congestion is a major superspreader event. Ideally, everyone crossing the border should be going into quarantine. Similarly, everyone who is arriving back to Gauteng should be going into quarantine with or without symptoms,” Moshabela said.

2. Gauteng second wave still to peak:

Though still loath to commit to any sort of hard prediction, experts are starting to talk about another two weeks of increases before Gauteng’s second wave of coronavirus infections peaks. As the province is approaching 50,000 active cases.

Gauteng is likely to enter the peak of the second wave in two weeks’ time, according to Professor Mosa Moshabela, dean and head of Nursing and Public Health School at UKZN.

Moshabela says the exponential increase can be attributed to movements during the December holidays.

He is warning that it would get worse before it gets better.

“My sense is that Gauteng is unlikely to peak in the next week, we can expect perhaps in the next two weeks for Gauteng to peak and only then can we then begin to see a clear downward trend,” he said.

“We know that the peak of the second wave is going to be much higher than for the first wave and we know at the moment that it is showing signs that it is almost twice as high. My fear and concern is that it can get worse.”

3. SAPS deployed for lockdowns:

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has, since Tuesday, been deployed to parts of the Western Cape to support local law enforcement in identified hotspots.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) said a contingent of SANDF members had started operations in the Cape Town metro on Tuesday and in the Garden Route on Saturday.

“The areas the deployments already covered include, among others, Khayelitsha, Nyanga, Delft, Kraaifontein, Mfuleni, Mitchells Plain, Lentegeur, Samora Machel and Philippi East. In addition, the deployments focused on the Disaster Management Act regulations in relation to enforcing the curfew between 21:00 and 06:00,” said police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa.

On Wednesday, Police Minister Bheki Cele confirmed the SANDF had been roped in to assist the police to keep bathers away from beaches along the Garden Route in the Western Cape.

4. SARS knuckles down on offshore tax:

The time for hiding their heads in the sand about tax is over for SA expatriates, says Jonty Leon, legal manager at Tax Consulting SA.

South Africans living or working abroad can no longer “avoid” the long arm of the SA Revenue Service. Stricter legislation to back its efforts to collect taxes and an emerging system of global financial data sharing increases SARS’ ability to detect taxpayers who historically “flew under its radar”.

“Under pressure to meet its revenue quotas, SARS has started auditing the country’s non-compliant expatriates in earnest. We have been warning expatriates that this was coming and now that it’s here,” says Leon.

“The safest route to remove ambiguity on tax residency status is to follow the formal financial emigration process. This process is being changed and a new more stringent regime will be implemented from 1 March 2021.”

He advises South Africans intending to relocate to another country to follow the formal exit procedures and, most importantly, ensure their tax affairs are in order beforehand. He also advises that those who have already left permanently, should ensure they have done so in a compliant manner, and have had themselves noted as non-resident for tax purposes.

Whether a South African must declare their worldwide income and pay tax on it to SARS is determined by their tax residency status, not their physical location or period outside the country.

5. Bitcoin scam same as previous scams:

The founder and CEO of Mirror Trading International (MTI), Johann Steynberg, is in the wind with the keys to the kingdom.

So said a Mirror Trading International statement issued on 22 December purporting to be from the remaining leadership and management of the organisation.

This sudden unravelling of a scheme which produced a constant stream of weekly profits for its members evokes several comparisons to another such failed “bitcoin trading pool” – BTC Global.

BTC Global imploded at the start of 2018, prompting an investigation by the Hawks. If this investigation yielded any results, they have not been disclosed to the public in the past three years.

Much like MTI, BTC Global promised too-good-to-be-true returns on your investment. It also used a multilevel marketing scheme to rapidly recruit new members.

When the money finally dried up, BTC Global’s alleged founder vanished and the failure of the scheme was blamed on him. The same thing is now happening with MTI.

Another interesting similarity between the two schemes is the number of key people that were part of BTC Global and MTI.

In addition to BTC Global, many of the founders, leaders, and management of MTI have also been involved in several other schemes.

Johann Steynberg was involved with Cryptogold, Ker-ching, Kipi, Syntek,, and Dragon Mining.

Cheri and Clynton Marks were both involved with My Daily Choice, Syntek, and MMM.

Willie Breedt was CEO of VaultAge Solutions, which is currently undergoing liquidation following accusations earlier this year that Breedt scammed around 2,000 investors out of an estimated R227 million.

All information sourced from articles posted by: BusinessTech, Business Insider, TimesLive, ENCA, News24, Fin24, and MyBroadBand.

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