Daan Steenkamp's Don Quixote

Gentle Reader, In praise of … cost? - Bhaktapur is the cultural capital of Nepal. It is also busy, poor and dusty. It takes me 8 minutes and 70 Rupees to be diagnosed, issued with a script, taken up into ER, purchase the drug and be given a rabies shot. That is not R10. The SA cost of one dose of rabies vaccine (excluding the service) is in the order of R550.

Roads in Nepal are incredibly bad (at one point we averaged 11 km/h), dusty, busy and dangerous. In Nagarkot we replace two sets of rear motorbike brake pads, get our chains tightened, lubed and fix a puncture. This does not take ten minutes and costs 1200 Rupees; R150, roadside shack, informal sector price. My equivalent brake pads in South Africa cost in the order of R650 a pair.

These are two examples; public and private sector.

Yet, a 650ml beer costs more than a supper.

I presume that the lesson to be learned is that beer is always worth whatever one pays?

Daan

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Economic Review

The mismanagement of South African finances is clear for all to see. What does hurt is the most recent BER report, which lists what might have been achieved in South Africa over the past eight years. Probably the most damning is that our GDP growth has underperformed that of our peers substantially – and we regard those guys as losers!

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For three years running Capitec bank has been ranked as the top South African bank; currently in the top eight worldwide. I bet the organisation from which those, who founded this bank, broke away, have not asked why it could not accommodate these founders? 

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Roubini has weighed in on Bitcoin by commenting that traders in Bitcoin, who refer to similar currencies as “sh*tcoins”, gravely insult manure!

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An interesting note was published by MarginalRevolution in which research held that virtually all poverty reduction comes from economic growth and migration – not redistribution or philanthropy.

https://www.cgdev.org/sites/default/files/alleviating-global-poverty-labor-mobility-direct-assistance-and-economic-growth.pdf

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You will recall that, some months ago, much was made of SARS holding back VAT refunds. This was, of course, hotly denied, but now turns out to be a sum of approximately R27.4bn which needs to be repaid by March 2 019. Eina!

 

Business review

An interesting aside on tax bracket creep, is a BankservAfrica note which says that, if inflation is considered, the average annual growth of South African salaries after tax and expenses has only been 0.5% for the past five years. 

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Cesa reports that the confidence levels in the consulting engineering sector has deteriorated to the lowest level ever in the first six months of this year. Many engineering companies are said to be operating in survival mode. One wonders if the promised state capital spending will come in time.

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Buy proudly South African? Bell has commented that an appeal to patriotism over price simply removes import pressure from local producers. Price is king – see above. 

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Australian scientists are reported to have discovered a nanophotic device which can increase Internet speeds by up to 100 times by harnessing twisted light beams. This may well turn out to be one of the great discoveries of our time.

 

Property review

The retail property sector appears to have outperformed the other property sectors over the past two or three decades, says Loos - FNB. The long-term house price index had inflated by 670% since 1996 and that of the retail property market by 877%.

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IOL, publishing a report by a Rawson property franchisee, says that the Western Cape housing rental market has reached a point where supply outstrips demand. This should result in a normalisation of Western Cape rentals.

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FLISP: are you aware that if you are a first-time home buyer earning less than R22k per month, you are entitled to a subsidy?

https://www.flisp.co.za/

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The Times reported that Oceans Umhlanga, the potentially largest mixed-use development (R4.3bns worth) in the country has stalled. The difficulty appears to be the financial well-being of Liviero Building and is ascribed to “contractual complications”!

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True ownership: the Mthonjangeni (think Dingaan’s kraal) community and the Ingonyama trust is at loggerheads over land claimed by and expropriated in favour of that community. The trust wishes to hold the land in trust rather than have the community owning land in their own name saying that the community is subject to the king and that the land in question belongs to the Zulu nation. Ominously, it says that if this is not done there will be “conflict, chaos and bloodletting”. A threat, which I have no doubt, will sway the Land Claims Court…

 

Practice review

Old style black marriages were out of community of property by default. Such marriages under the Transkei Act have been found to be unconstitutional as it discriminated against women from the former homeland.

http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZACC/2018/40.html

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I am indebted to Paul, who drew my attention to ST v CT: in this case a waiver of the right to claim maintenance upon dissolution of marriage contained in an antenuptial contract, was held to be invalid and unenforceable. This is worth a read for those who do divorce cases.

http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZASCA/2018/73.html

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Legal Aid SA provides legal assistance to those who are too poor to afford private lawyers. That organisation has received a (proposed) 5% baseline budget cut. This equates to a reduction of matters to be handled by that organisation by approximately 51000.

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The Chief Registrar of the High Court, Pietermaritzburg has informed KZN practitioners that, as of 1 December, summonses that have a monetary value of less than R400 000 will not be issued from the High Court, Pietermaritzburg.

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It is rumoured that the protection of others or property will no longer be a valid reason for owning a firearm under the draft Firearms Control Act. I would be surprised if this ever makes final legislation.

 

Quotables

“For many of us, freedom—economic, political, civil—is an end in itself, not a means to other ends—it is what makes life worthwhile. We would prefer to live in a free country even if it did not provide us and our fellow citizens with a higher standard of life than an alternative regime. I believe that free societies have arisen and persisted only because economic freedom is so much more productive economically than other methods of controlling economic activity.”

Friedman

 

Comment

The office of the KZN Premier has not obtained a clean audit – again. More talk about action plans and heads to roll coming?

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A desperate challenge: a most interesting development is unfolding in Mexico: a “caravan” of migrants is approaching the USA border and Trump has called out the military. Will they shoot a hungry man?

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The rise of us: a secondary school in the Eastern Cape had not passed a number of pupils, thus not entitling them to write all the subjects of their Matric. The students burnt down the administration block, assaulted the deputy principal and refused to write the exam. I believe these worthies should go through life without a Matric – they deserve to. This is but another example of socialism derailed.

 

Lighten up

I refer you to my earlier comments on beer:

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Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

Benjamin Franklin

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When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading.

Horning

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"Sometimes, when I reflect on all the beer I drink, I feel ashamed.  Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the brewery and all of their hopes and dreams. If I did not drink this beer, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered. I think, it is better to drink this beer and let their dreams come true, than be selfish and worry about my liver.”

Babe Ruth

Contributed by:
Daan Steenkamp Attorneys 

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