AWARE of sanctions

21 07 2011

While waiting for my printer cartridges to be recharged yesterday I picked up a brochure for AWARE (animal and wildlife area research and rehabilitation) which is a really worthwhile NGO/charity set up by Zimbabwe veterinarians committed to help saving Zimbabwe’s besieged wildlife. While browsing their site to see a bit more than was on the brochure I noticed that I could donate through PayPal, my pet hate on the internet. This is why: “Error 3028: You have accessed your account from a sanctioned country. Per international sanctions regulations, you are not authorized to access the PayPal system, For more information about your PayPal account status, contact complianceverification@paypal.com”.

It’s not the first time that I have tried donating to a worthwhile cause and fallen foul of PayPal’s adherence to “sanctions”. In Zimbabwe’s case the sanctions are supposed to be targeted on certain individuals who no doubt find it slightly inconvenient and certainly have the means to circumvent them. Pity the charities and others with no particular political affiliations who are hurt by the system; they certainly don’t have the means, otherwise they would not be advertising.

Now I am sure AWARE¬† is not looking to Zimbabweans in Zimbabwe for donations but as you can see by the error message, ANYONE trying to make a payment from a “sanctioned” country is blocked. I am sure¬† with a little bit of effort and thought a system to allow vetted (no pun intended) charities to receive donations through PayPal could be set up. It’s a pity that PayPal seems to have corned this particular market and I am not at all sure that they are actually required to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe (Amazon does not have an issue at all). I am told that there are ways around this that require use of a satellite link that shows the IP address to be other than in Zimbabwe but I could not be bothered to find a satellite link so I guess that PayPal has won this one. AWARE, of course, has lost.





Chancers

23 06 2011

A note arrived on my desk last week. There were two columns listing the prices of basic commodities such as maize meal, salt, sugar, cooking oil, rent and flour under the headings of “Old price” and “New price”. Apparently prices have gone up some 20% though over what period it did not say. It is no co-incidence that today is wage day and without actually saying it, this was a request for an increase. There was a wage increase in February of 28% so I was more than a bit annoyed and some of the supposed prices listed looked more than a bit hight to me. Shopping is not one of my fortes but I am aware of what prices are so decided to check them out.

I called into a local supermarket on the way back from town and after checking around found that current costs of the listed commodities were actually LESS than those listed on the “Old price” column! When I mentioned this I was told yes, but these prices are for the supermarket where we live. Well in that case it is worth getting on the bus and going into town. I will see later today if there is another request for a meeting with the labour to discuss this.

Earlier this week another chancer arrived at the office. Smartly dressed, he waited politely at the door while I was on the phone. I glanced at the government letterhead on the paper but did not take much in except that it there was something about “Anti Sanctions Music” and they were looking for money. I suppose I should have perused it a bit closer but I couldn’t be bothered. When I asked incredulously what “Anti Sanctions Music” was I was told it was just that; they wanted to make music against the targeted sanctions imposed on various individuals and organizations in Zimbabwe. The cheek of it; they wanted me to give the government (or whomever it was) money so that they could make protest songs! I told him I wasn’t into that type of money and handed the letter back.





Sanctioned!

6 05 2010

It was a purchase of all of 32 euro – some plastic parts for one of my radio controlled models. I went through the due process of filling in my card details on the internet only to find that it would not go through. The PayPal dialogue box came up with a message: “Error 3028. You have accessed your account from a sanctioned country. In accordance with international sanctions regulations, you are not authorised to access the PayPal system. For more information about your PayPal account status, contact complianceverifications@paypal.com.”





Getting legal

5 03 2009

Part of the requirement of being allowed to trade in real money is a FCA (foreign currency account) at one’s local bank. I did that just now and it was surprisingly easy and in theory I can get a REAL VISA CARD!!! which will actually work anywhere. There is a cost of course; the Reserve Bank deducts 5% of any deposits (and yes, ALL cash has to be deposited – right) and there are bank charges but Joyce told me there were not that many. We’ll wait and see on that one. The Reserve Bank has plundered these FCAs in the past so I am not too keen on depositing all my takings, just yet.

I heard this morning that Barack Obama has renewed the sanctions against Zimbabwe (targeting individuals and their companies) for another year. I could not help but notice the new Landcruiser on the way to the cafe this morning. It seems that Toyota has found a way “around” the sanctions along with Benz, BMW, etc…





Getting legal

5 03 2009

Part of the requirement of being allowed to trade in real money is a FCA (foreign currency account) at one’s local bank. I did that just now and it was surprisingly easy and in theory I can get a REAL VISA CARD!!! which will actually work anywhere. There is a cost of course; the Reserve Bank deducts 5% of any deposits (and yes, ALL cash has to be deposited – right) and there are bank charges but Joyce told me there were not that many. We’ll wait and see on that one. The Reserve Bank has plundered these FCAs in the past so I am not too keen on depositing all my takings, just yet.

I heard this morning that Barack Obama has renewed the sanctions against Zimbabwe (targeting individuals and their companies) for another year. I could not help but notice the new Landcruiser on the way to the cafe this morning. It seems that Toyota has found a way “around” the sanctions along with Benz, BMW, etc…