Daan's Snippets

News:

  • The RAF/Discovery Health spat, regarding medical schemes’ entitlement to claim costs from the RAF, is ongoing in that the RAF has appealed to the Constitutional Court.
  • The Prez has suspended two judges for failing to deliver reserved judgements within the stipulated time frames. Good.
  • The IRR has taken on our state for undermining civil liberties: https://irr.org.za/reports/occasional-reports/civil-liberty-in-south-africa-freedom-under-law-three-decades-after-apartheid
  • The Department of Justice has been in the news for all the wrong reasons of late but, justifiably so. Firstly, there was the news of a third loss of funds to hackers and now the Information Regulator has fined it for not having adequate measures to protect the personal information held on its systems. The State fining the State is tantamount to taking money from one pocket and putting it into your other pocket! But then, the Masters’ offices are generally not in a great state; one hears of files lost in or being unobtainable from remote filing sites.
  • Our Post Office is poised to receive another bailout of R2.4bn, in addition to the R10bn already received. Few of us use the post anymore and even its one-time replacement Docex, appears to be foundering; most of our mail arrives by way of courier. Interestingly, few attorneys have made amendments to their standard contracts requiring service by registered mail. The fact is that our Post Office is no longer effectively deals with such and that many of us do not have ready access to such mail.

Hard news:

Conveyancing:

  • I was recently involved in a dispute wherein a developer had, in terms of section 11.3.b of the Sectional Titles Act, specified that the owners of certain units would be entitled to specified exclusive use areas. The question was whether that entitlement warranted excluding other owners in a scheme from acquiring such ‘reserved’ exclusive use areas. The argument culminated in a recommendation by the Assistant Registrar, Pietermaritzburg that the restrictive conditions be removed by way of a unilateral notarial deed executed by the body corporate. Interesting.
  • In a previous publication I had commented upon the following case: http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZAFSHC/2023/233.html
  • A colleague noted that S6 of the Deeds Registries Act provides that a title revives automatically if cancelled in terms of a court order and that the respondents should not have been called upon to sign a re-transfer. The question, raised by him, was why the relevant Registrar of Deeds had not pointed this out to the court, when providing its report to court. Well said.

Economy and business

Trends:

  • Our Consumer Confidence Index is at its second lowest level on record.
  • For all practical purposes we are in a technical recession with low growth and high unemployment.
  • Foreign investment in South African bonds is down, as may be seen from the following graph:

News:

  • SARS has made it more difficult to export money.
  • Flights within South Africa are becoming cheaper with one competitor even accusing others of offering ticket prices below the cost of operations: Yes!
  • BMW is investing R4.2bn in a manufacturing plant in Rosslyn.
  • Costing us:
    • The Global Peace Index sets last year’s cost of violence in South Africa, at R3.3trl.
    • Our pothole epidemic costs us R500m in new tyres every month.
  • The SABC is owed R44.2Bn in outstanding TV licence fees – remarkable; to heck with user pays, the government intends to institute a household levy to secure funding for this institution. How this is to be collected is a mystery; the obvious answer, but clearly not politically acceptable, is to encode the signal.
  • NPOs have new registration requirements: https://www.phinc.co.za/OurInsights/ArticleDetail.aspx?Title=New-registration-requirements-for-non-profit-organisations

The only interesting news of late, follows on the fanfare with which Solidarity announced its deal with the State on race quotas, following on its complaint to the ILO: Solidarity claims that a blow for freedom of association was struck, kudos to itself. Werksmans says that nothing has or will change: https://www.werksmans.com/legal-updates-and-opinions/the-settlement-agreement-concluded-at-the-ilo-has-not-changed-the-new-employment-eequity-interventions/

Property

Trends:

·       Lightstone reports our average national house-price rise for the past year at 3.8%, which is lower than our inflation rate, indicating price-weakening. This report also sets out price-growth per province, of which (surprisingly) the weakest is Gauteng at 1.8%, whilst the recent front-runner in property prices in South Africa, the Western Cape came in at 6.3%. This The top two (again surprisingly) were Limpopo and Mpumalanga at 7.2% which growth rate is attributed to development within these areas.

·       Somewhat depressingly, the anticipated average house-price growth rate for the balance of this year is 3%, which indicates a further weakening of prices.

·       As has become the custom, the selling price of lower end properties (less than 250K in value) rose some 8.5% and is increasing.

·       Unsurprisingly, a major factor in semi-gration of businesses has become the availability of reliable utilities.

·       Properties for sale spend, on average, some 12 weeks on the market, prior to being sold.

·       The following graph indicates mortgage market share of South African banks; notable are Absa’s drop of a third over 15 years and Investec’s growth:

New debates are:

·       Much like in the generation of electricity, crime syndicates are increasingly targeting water delivery systems to procure tenders. Procurement crime has become an embedded part of our life.

·       The above has led to speculation on water-shedding. Exacerbating the potential of the non-delivery of water is the unintended consequences of a non-payment of municipal accounts culture that formed part of protest against injustice and now forms part of protest about a host of other complaints, on the back of an increasing population and inequality. The fact is that the theft/non-payment of/for services has become a hot potato of note. Take the municipality in which I live – more than 50% of ratepayers are not paying for services. Our municipality argues that it cannot survive and thus raises the price of services for those who do pay. Fair?

A  R15bn mixed-use development is in process in Shongweni, near Durban.

Whilst on developments; the Minister of Public Works has mouthed off (again) on controlling construction mafias but other than creating a national forum we have seen no prosecutions.

Finally, an interesting debate, which I chanced across, was initiated by the SAIV President, holding that agents are offering valuation services to clients, which they are not qualified to render. In essence, an agent may not undertake a property valuation if not a professional valuer in terms of the Property Valuers Profession Act 47/2000: https://saiv.org.za/property-practitioners-unlawfully-conducting-and-offering-free-property-valuations/

Comment

Two topics piqued my interest:

     Chatham House, a London-based think tank, says that our move to National Health Insurance is long overdue as it has become a world trend. Pragmatically, the difficulty held by commentators is that there are few payers and many recipients – reflective of a factual situation where our taxpayers perceive that they do not get enough return for their input and recipients feel that they are underserved given past promises.

     The second is a graph, reflecting VIP protection services in South Africa; reflective of a society in serious trouble:

Lighten up

“This guy called up his lawyer to tell him he was filing for divorce, and the lawyer inquired as to the grounds for the suit. ‘I’ve got grounds, all right,’ sputtered the irate husband. ‘Can you believe my wife told me I’m a lousy lover?’ ‘That’s why you’re suing?’ pursued his lawyer. ‘Of course not. I’m suing because she knows the difference.’”

A bachelor is a selfish, undeserving guy who has cheated some woman out of a divorce.

– Quinn

What’s the only thing divorce proves?

Whose mother was right in the first place.

Contributed by:
Daan Steenkamp Attorneys
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