TISA RAMPS UP #TakeBackTheTax CAMPAIGN AGAINST ILLEGAL CIGARETTES

MEDIA RELEASE
TISA RAMPS UP #TakeBackTheTax CAMPAIGN AGAINST ILLEGAL CIGARETTES

Monday 17 September 2018

The Tobacco Institute of Southern Africa (TISA) has announced the ramping up of its #TakeBackTheTax campaign, calling for an immediate clampdown on rampant tax evasion in the tobacco industry.

The campaign was launched in July this year, on the back of a report by IPSOS which exposed that illegal cigarettes costing as little as R5 per pack are now available for sale in more than 100,000 shops all across South Africa.

The IPSOS study is the most robust scientific analysis of the multi-billion-rand illegal cigarette market ever carried out in South Africa.

Almost 10,000 South Africans have now signed on to #TakeBackTheTax calling on government to put an end to this criminality and ensure that every cigarette sold in South Africa pays all the taxes owed.

At least R7 Billion in taxes could be recouped in this manner. This is a massive figure and could assist Government with providing basic services to millions of people.

TISA has also announced the appointment of renowned anti-crime activist, Yusuf Abramjee, as the official spokesperson of #TakeBackTheTax saying this is the perfect fit for TISA as he has supported this campaign since it began.

TISA Chairman and CEO, Francois Van Der Merwe said: “TISA is delighted that Yusuf Abramjee has agreed to take on a bigger role in our campaign. He is a long standing and passionate anti-crime activist and his role as spokesperson will help to promote #TakeBackTheTax and rally more South Africans to its cause.”

“This campaign is about saying that all companies who want to manufacture and sell tobacco in South Africa must comply with all of the laws of the land and pay the tax owed on every cigarette,” said Van Der Merwe.

Abramjee himself is thrilled with this appointment, saying he firmly believes that “crime needs to be fought at all levels, and the #TakeBackTheTax Campaign is something he feels strongly about”.

“I’ve supported this campaign from the very beginning and am excited to ramp it up to a new level as its official spokesperson” adds Abramjee.

“The illegal cigarette trade is literally daylight robbery. Traders don’t even try to hide it anymore. Cheap cigarettes for R5 and R10 per pack are boldly displayed and sold in almost every shop and on every table top in the country, ever since the breakdown at SARS over three years ago.”

Abramjee points to specific evidence including a submission made in July by the former Head of Customs and Tax Enforcement at SARS, Gene Ravele, who told the Nugent Inquiry into SARS that the decision to allow the illegal trade in cigarettes to flourish was “planned”.

“After I left [in 2015], there was no inspections at cigarette factories. Until today. When the Minister of Finance complains of the lack of compliance, it was planned,” Ravele was quoted as saying then.

In August, National Treasury testified before the SARS Inquiry that their excise receipts from tobacco have also declined by 20% in the past year alone, largely because of manufacturers not declaring all that they are making and selling.

TISA has also revealed that thousands of jobs have been lost in the legal value chain in the past few years and more are at risk today as a result of the manufacture and sale of these illegal cigarettes.

Abramjee is adamant that everyone can see that this problem is now completely out of control and that Treasury and SARS have seen it in their numbers.

“Critically, the Health Ministry statistics show that smoking rates have stopped declining in South Africa. It is no surprise that this is the case when you can buy a whole pack of cigarettes for R5 – R10 on every street corner” adds Abramjee.

“This now needs to be stopped as a matter of urgency!”

TISA is calling on all law abiding members of public to add their names and make submissions by visiting takebackthetax.org and following @TakeBackTheTax on twitter.

Hundreds join convoy to Joburg CBD in honor of the #FallenHeroes 

Media Release

FALLEN HEROES

12th September 2018

Hundreds join convoy to Joburg CBD in honor of the #FallenHeroes 

Johannesburg: Hundreds of representatives from private security companies, CPFs, neighbourhood watch groups and emergency medical providers gathered in Linksfield today to honor the firemen who passed away on the 5th of September 2018 in the Johannesburg CBD fire. Law enforcement agencies also joined the convoy that  left Huddle Park, Linksfield and headed towards the Ellis Park Arena.

“The emergency lights on response vehicles lit up the convey of over 150 vehicles that made me very very emotional” said a resident along the road. 

“Last weeks fire was tragic and heartbreaking, but seeing so many individuals from the security industry come together gives us strength, the type of strength we wish to give the families and colleagues of the #JoburgFire, said George Moraitis from Guardians Security

Families and colleagues of the firemen lead the procession that moved from the arena to a wreath laying ceremony at the burnt building. Members of the convoy created a guard of honor on the route to salute the #FallenHeroes. 

“Its encouraging to know that, no matter which company or department we represent in our daily positions, we can stand united in times of crises and tragedy”, said Mohammed Modan from Tau Protection Services. 

“We will continue to engage with the City of Joburg and the relative departments to work towards a safer Joburg, said Yaseen Theba from Vision Tactical. It’s important that the family and colleagues get sustainable support, and through the structures of the departments we will plan to continue our support, he added

On behalf of CPF Mondeor Precinct , to those that protect and serve our communities, we salute our fallen Heros ,their sacrifice and dedication will not be forgotten. Our Sincere & heartfelt condolences to the families ,friends and colleagues.

END

For Further info: 

YASEEN THEBA

064 400 0000

ANTI-CRIME ACTIVIST SAYS SOUTH AFRICA HAS A “NATIONAL CRIME EMERGENCY” AND CALLS FOR PARTNERSHIPS

MEDIA STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday 11 September 2018

RESPONSE TO CRIME STATISTICS

ANTI-CRIME ACTIVIST SAYS SOUTH AFRICA HAS A “NATIONAL CRIME EMERGENCY” AND CALLS FOR PARTNERSHIPS

Head of #MakeSASafe and anti-crime activist, Yusuf Abramjee, says the latest crime statistics “are scary and cause for serious concern.”

He says: “Blood, bullets and bodies have become a way of life for many and we have a national crime emergency.”

Abramjee says the average murder rate of 57 per day shows “we have no respect for life and life has become cheap for many.”

Abramjee said a closer look at all crime categories “shows that we are living in dangerous times. Many parts of our country are under siege and criminals are running amok.”

He said police resources had to be beefed-up and “we need to support our men and women in blue at every turn.”

“Yes, the cops are finding it difficult to cope. That’s why we need to all hold hands and mobilize. We need to fight crime and mobilize communities,” said Abramjee.

“Members of the South Africa Police Service (SAPS) are also being killed in their dozens.

“The CIT robbery figures show an increase year on year of almost 60 percent. We’ve had 258 attacks over twelve months. This is shocking! It’s a real worry. The CIT industry needs to take urgent steps and use technology which is available locally to protect guards and the cash. We also need legislation with minimum standard requirement for measures to protect cash vans.

“I’m happy to see that the latest crime stats have actual breakdowns of kidnappings and attacks on farms and small holdings. These stats were previously not listed,” he said.

Abramjee added: “We have to mobilize. We have to report crime and use technology.

“The Namola/Dial Direct Safety App has over 210 000 downloads and we help hundreds of people each week to #GetHelpFast in an emergency by pressing one button. We appeal to the public to download this app,” said Abramjee who is also Chief Ambassador for the Namola/DialDirect safety app.

He said crimes against women and children “are unacceptably high.

“Robberies, at homes and businesses are, are still very high. A large supermarket chain had almost 500 robberies over a year alone. This is a huge cost to our economy.

“We need interventions at all levels and we need them now,” said Abramjee.

The activist is also a member of Crime Stoppers International (CSI) and he appealed to the public to continue blowing the whistle on crime by calling Crime Stop anonymously on 08600 10111.

He said the annual CSI conference will be taking place in The Hague in early October and “we are going to form global alliances.”

“Don’t protect criminals!”

Abramjee called on authorities to also act against the illicit trade. “This is a growing problem and we must take a stand. For example, the illegal cigarette trade is costing our economy billions of rands. This money can, for example, be used to fight crime and resource the police to Make SA safe. That’s why I am supporting the #TakeBackTheTax campaign.

“Let’s join hands and start reclaiming our streets,” Abramjee said.

Abramjee repeated his call for the crime stats to be released “more regularly so that communities can see trends and mobilize accordingly. They come out too late…”

ENQUIRIES: Yusuf Abramjee, cell 082 4414 203

RELEASE OF BUSINESSMAN OMAR CARRIM

RELEASE OF BUSINESSMAN OMAR CARRIM

Monday 18 December 2017

Kidnapped Pretoria businessman Omar Carrim has been released and has been reunited with his family.

He was kidnapped 137 days ago shortly after leaving his business Home Hyper City.

“On behalf of the family, I can confirm the release of Omar Carrim (76). He was released in Olifantsfontein this evening at about 10.30pm,” said anti-crime activist Yusuf Abramjee.

Carrim has been admitted to an undisclosed hospital where he is getting the required medical attention.

“We appeal for privacy. Let’s give the victim and his family the time and space to recover from the ordeal,” said Abramjee.

The Carrim family has thanked relatives, friends and the community “for all the support and assistance since he disappeared in early August. We are most grateful to everyone and we thank the Almighty for returning our father and brother to us. Thank you for all the prayers and the moral support from the public.”

“We also thank law enforcement agencies,” added Abramjee.

“Omar Carrim and his family will not be commenting any further of this matter for now…We are just grateful
he has been safely returned.”

End

*ENQUIRIES:
Yusuf Abramjee
What’s App Cell 082 4414 203
(UK number: 0044 77 2999 2567)
Twitter: @abramjee

AUTHORITIES HOT ON THE HEELS OF KIDNAPPERS

AUTHORITIES HOT ON THE HEELS OF KIDNAPPERS

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula says investigations into a series or kidnappings are “on-going” and sources say police
are hot on the heels of the criminals.

Today is Day 86 and Pretoria businessman Omar Carrim is still missing.

Carrim (76) was kidnapped on Aug 3.

“Concerned Muslims of Cape Town” have send out several viral messages saying they know who is behind the kidnappings and have vowed to hunt them down.

They have threatened to expose the culprits.

Cape Town businessman Zhaun Ahmed was kidnapped in July and released after his family apparently paid millions of rands in ransom.

Several other kidnappings have been reported.

Carrim is reportedly not well. Let’s pray for his urgent release.

*Yusuf Abramjee is an anti-crime activist.

Are the police really interested in partnerships?

Are the police really interested in partnerships?

We often hear public officials talk about partnerships and they stress the need for it.

Partnerships are critical to take South Africa forward and we know government alone will not succeed without the support of civil society.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) is one such department that always stresses the need partnerships.

But, it’s only talk!

They are not serious at all about partnerships and often alienate communities and the business sector.

I am inundated with calls every week from individuals, NGO’s and companies who want to assist in the fight again crime. They come up with innovative ideas and suggestions.

But, most don’t even get the courtesy of an acknowledgment letter when they write to the police leadership and even politicians.

This is a sad indictment on the SAPS and on our government.

The National Development Plan (NDP) talks about active citizenry. And yet when ordinary citizens take the lead and want to become active, they are shown the finger.

I was convinced that Fikile Mbalula would take partnerships to a new level when he took over as police minister. But, very little has changed so far. Let’s give him a few more months and see if things improve.

The police treat many communities with contempt. No wonder public confidence in the SAPS is so poor.

The same can be said of many other government departments on a national, provincial and local level.

I had a company approaching me wanting to invest millions of rands to make our cities safer. We are still waiting for the City of Johannesburg and Tshwane Metro to respond.

Another NGO offered to give the SAPS groundbreaking technology at no cost. Again, not even a reply.

It’s simple: if these government departments are not keen on partnerships, corporates will invest their money and time elsewhere.

If the police think they can fight crime alone, good luck!

It’s time they smell the roses and wake up to the fact that they will not succeed without partnerships and support from the public.

*Yusuf Abramjee is an anti-crime activist and Namola’s Chief Ambassador
Twitter: @abramjee

NEW ORPHANAGE FOR ENNERDALE SOON

NEW ORPHANAGE FOR ENNERDALE SOON

A new multi-million rand orphanage is to be constructed in Ennerdale, south of Johannesburg.

The project is being undertaken by the local Muslim community and it will be open to all sections of the community.

Speaking at the soil-turning ceremony today, Councillor Mohamed Christians, City of Joburg’s Chair of Chairs, praised civil society for taking the lead.

“I take up the challenge from social activist Yusuf Abramjee and will speak to Mayor Herman Mashaba to see if the city can contribute towards the project.”

Abramjee said the orphanage was “urgently needed in Ennerdale and it will assist some 100 children.”

He said: “If we wait for government, we going to wait for a long time. I salute the local community to taking up the challenge and building this facility.”

Abramjee opened pledges and R25 000 was donated within 3 minutes from the community. A further R300 000 was pledged from a nearby Muslim community.

The Baitul Haleema Orphanage is expected to be completed next year.

Former President of the Muslim Judicial Council, Shaik Irfaan Hendricks, said: “The orphanage will accept children from across society. Children are our future and it is our religious obligation to assist them.”

Hendricks said he was proud of the Ennerdale community and its religious leaders.

Ennerdale Councillor Danny Netnow said the Muslim community always assited. “We salute you.”

Netnow said Abramjee promised to support a local project when he visited Ennerdale last year to donate R1m to a local charity for Syrian refugees and orphans.

Operation SA led the drive.

“Abramjee kept to his word and we are seeing local now benefetting,” said Netnow.

Moulana Bilal Vaid from the Jamiatul Ulama South Africa (Council of Muslim Theologians) said the project needed all the support.

KIDNAPPING ALERT: ACT NOW TO CRACK THE RINGS

by Yusuf Abramjee.

The next big organized crime has hit South Africa- Kidnappings.

There has been a series of kidnappings over recent years and it appears to be escalating.

What is worrying is that these syndicates are becoming more daring and they are clearly sophisticated.

Kidnapping syndicates have been operating for some time – taking their victims and demanding ransoms running into tens of millions of rands.

Many of these gangs have been arrested. Others continuing cropping-up targeting largely Indian, Pakistani, Chinease, Bangladeshi Zimbabwean and Mozambican nationals living in South Africa.

Many of the victims are forced to pay ransom locally. Other gangs demand payment in foreign countries making it difficult for law enforcement agencies to follow the trail.

I assisted a family of Polokwane last year when Anisah Moosa was kidnapped. The gang demanded R3-million cash and they were eventually arrested. The suspects are all South Africans.

There has since been a number of similar kidnappings. A businessman in Mafikeng was kidnapped a few weeks ago and freed by police within 24 hours. Arrests were made.

A wealthy Cape Town businessman, Naushad Deshmukh Khan, 46, was kidnapped late last year. The kidnappers demanded millions of dollars in cash.

Sources say a ransom of $750 000 was eventually paid and Khan was freed two months later. No arrests have been made.

Khan’s kidnapping was the first in South Africa having the features of an international organized crime syndicate at work. For obvious reasons, some of the information cannot be shared.

In July, prominent Cape Town businessman Zhaun Ahmed (71) was kidnapped outside his offices in Woodstock. He is still missing.

And earlier this month, Pretoria businessman Omar Carrim was kidnapped after leaving his business in the city for home in Laudium. He is also still missing.

Carrim’s luxury car was found burned on the outskirts of Erasmia west of Pretoria the next day.

Reports say there have been ransom demands for Ahmed and Carrim. But the families are refusing to talk. All they are pleading for is the safe return of their loved ones.

Last week, a Bangladeshi restaurant owner was kidnapped in Lenasia. Again, there has been a ransom demand.

The kidnapping of Ahmed and Carrim seems to have been well-organized and I will not be surprised that highly-trained former foreign soldiers could be involved as “runners.”

Local rogue cops may also be aiding and abetting the syndicates.

The kingpin/s could be even sitting abroad and giving orders. All they are interested in is getting the hard-earned cash from their victims.

Kidnappings were rife in Maputo for years. Scores of business people were kidnapped. While most were freed after paying tens of millions of dollars in ransom, two victims were killed.

Police is Mozambique, assisted by international law enforcement agencies, broke the backbone of these syndicates.

Speculation is rife locally that some of these gang members from Maputo may be involved in the latest kidnappings in South Africa.

The string of kidnappings has caused much fear and panic, especially amongst South Africa’s Indian community and also foreigners living in South Africa.

Some have taken steps to beef-up their personal security and that of their families.

The gangs are demanding millions of rands from their victims- far beyond their life-long savings.

Authorities need to act with vigour and get to the bottom of these kidnapping syndicates.

These gangs think they can get away with their ill-gotten gains. The law will eventually catch-up with them. Remember, you can run but you cannot hide!

Money laundering syndicates are also apparently working in cahoots with these kidnapping syndicates.

Someone, somewhere, somehow knows something. We need to break our silence and get these criminals arrested. If anyone has any information, please come forward.

Let’s also pray for the safe return of the victims.

If authorities don’t act now and act decisively, criminals will continue running amok.

We must stand united and DO something. We need to fight crime as a collective and we must now NOT allow these thugs to take our country over.

I remain hopeful that Police Minister Fikile Mbalula and the SAPS will act decisively. Crime is out of control and communities must stand up and say “enough is enough”. Let’s unite.

Now is the time! It’s time to #MakeSASafe

*Yusuf Abramjee is an anti-crime activist. He is an Interpol #TurnBackCrime Ambassador and also Namola Safety App’s Chief Ambassador.
Twitter: @abramjee