Daan Steenkamp's Snippets

News:

  • Our Department of Justice has appointed a service provider to repair and maintain the court recording systems in courts: remarkable! This sort of neglect is not uncommon – the Pietermaritzburg Deeds Office has microfilm readers which simply do not work because they have not been maintained for many years.
  • The notarial exams, due to be written on this Thursday past, was postponed owing to a “technical issue” meaning that exam papers had not been printed and delivered: remarkable!
  • Another remarkable incident, is a report on a wannabee judge, in Limpopo, who said to the JSC that he was unaware that his PhD, from a langarm institution, the Atlantic International University, was not accredited by the US education Department. One wonders how long it took to graduate?
  • RAF:
    • the six law firms who challenged our Transport Minister on his appointment of an RAF head have lost their application; and
    • the RAF was unable to provide sufficient appropriate audit evidence for claims totalling R27.8bn, and thus could not get an AG clean audit.
  • Attorneys, stealing money, is hardly news: for a candidate attorney to gain access to a trust account to do this, is remarkable, and, without knowing the facts, would appear to be attributable to the negligence of his principal.

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Hard News:

·       Disagreeing with our SCA is either uninformed or stupid? In the case that follows our SCA decided that the lack of a written resolution, for a trust buying property contravened, section 2.1 of the Alienation of Land Act. I choose uninformed… http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZASCA/2006/30.html

·       Two contracts dealing with the sale of land within a family were found to be void owing to common error between the parties, but the litigants had neglected to claim for the Deeds Office, records rectification, and could therefore not be fully dealt with. http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZASCA/2022/41.html

·       When dealing with an ESTA claim for eviction, remember to give the occupant, whose removal is sought, the opportunity to make representations: http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZASCA/2022/40.html

·       Two UJ professors published an article on considerations that would lead to a reasonable prospect of rescuing a company: ask me for a copy.

Economy 

It would appear that a worldwide economic recovery is underway and we are not unaffected by this. Good signs are that our Rand has stabilised and strengthened against other currencies and that both Fitch and Moody’s have upgraded our debt outlook from negative to stable, on the back of surging commodity prices and burgeoning revenue collection rates.

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So-called SARB nationalisation is back in focus. The belief appears to be that, if the state is able to control both the issue of money and its fiscus, then better effect be given to our Bill of Rights via monetary policy. The Reserve Bank would be democratised, meaning thereby that people will determine its policies and so on. This is indicative of a deep misunderstanding of the role of a central bank and the mistaken belief that the people know best. BS

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in tandem with this re-focus is news that we are to get a state-owned bank (think Postbank). The belief appears to be that such a bank will support the emergence of black businessmen. I confess to  scepticism – any entity that supports those who cannot obtain a commercial loan, because of the risk attached to such borrowers, will itself be at risk. A prime  example of this is our Land Bank.

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A StatsSA report, on capital spending in South Africa, records capital spending on public-sector infrastructure in South Africa. Across-the-board, both the public sector and private sector has of late spent less money on capital development, which is indicative of probably incapacity, waning trust and lack of funds: https://www.statssa.gov.za/?p=14872

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The advantage of central banks embracing cryptocurrencies, rather than warnings of Ponzi schemes, and the like is now in the news when it comes to such occurrences – termed institutional adoption. Wait for it.

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An interesting debate arose again on NHI funding: the Health Department correctly holds out that healthcare is a public good and underlies a cohesive society. The causa belli is funding this affair, which the Health Department seems to think is not a problem. It sees the funds spent on medical schemes as a source of income and believes that it could get funds from the RAF and government funds with the only real impact being a wealth tax – which it sees as a good thing. Costs could also be contained by capping what doctors charge and so on. All this sounds good, but the fact is that, in developed countries National Health schemes battle, let alone in a dysfunctional system like ours. I have little doubt that if I was relegated to being cared for by only public health, I would seriously consider leaving this country.

Business

Hybrid work, i.e. the ability to work partly in office and partly at home, is the trend which style of work undoubtedly has advantages over a conventional workplace model. This is unpacked quite interestingly (especially in relation to working time) by Microsoft in the following article: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/worklab/triple-peak-day Do take a look.

Naturally, a shift into digital economy has already attracted the attention of our Competition Commission which has has expanded its interest into digital transactions. 

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Another hoary debate, which you might find interesting, is one on the balance between maximising profit for shareholders and caring for employees as priority. Easy to do in a small company but less so when you are running Anglo-American? Judge for yourself: https://www.ted.com/talks/hamdi_ulukaya_the_anti_ceo_playbook

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So, if you do seek pastures greener: tax rates may well influence your choice:

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All of us must have noticed that imports into South Africa take longer but have not come to the realisation that such delays will end up with us paying more for fully involved products. It is said that global supply chain backlogs are not easing and that especially electronics, basic food products, clothing, and machinery will take longer to arrive and will cost more.

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Our Minister of Basic Education will be embarking on curriculum changes to ensure a “competency-based curriculum framework that addresses the unique South African context” (whatever this means). She says that schooling is not a training mill for industry but for social cohesion… (She may be right but, in my experience, it is difficult to take up graduates into a profession where many candidates are functionally illiterate). Hence a rewrite of history and the curriculum generally, is the point to start, says she. Oh yes, the dire state of school infrastructure, was also mentioned which was refreshing. What is good about this, is that two years of early childhood development is set to become compulsory for all children prior to children entering our formal school system.

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As an aside, a judge suspended pension pay-outs to a discharged employee who had allegedly sold information to a competitor – possibly worth considering, if you think that you may not get paid by the person involved: https://www.groundup.org.za/article/telkom-freezes-pension-employee-being-sued/

Property

The residential rental market is recovering from double-digit vacancy rates last year and is reportedly normalising. TPN says that household rental tenants, in good standing, has improved since last year.

Interestingly the formal rental housing market in Gauteng makes up about half of all Gauteng household properties. In the Western Cape, the percentage of rental properties to total households stands at 38% – apparently owing to an increase in owner-occupied properties.

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The graph that follows, is a comparison of residential property price rises in comparable countries – note that the graph line in South Africa for the past 15 years or so is flat:

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Lastly, the best performing Metro neighbourhoods are listed in the following article: https://propertywheel.co.za/2022/04/sas-best-performing-metro-neighbourhoods-over-the-past-year/

Comment

Over the past week several high-profile ANC members had been suspended for financial irregularities:

o   the Eastern Cape education department head (unspent R205m on infrastructure);

o   the SSA office manager (R260m); and

o   Secretary of Defence (R150m).

Attaboy Cyril.

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In the same vein, our former State Security Minister, resigned last week from her new post as Minister, Public Service and Administration, blaming others for not having acted on intelligence regarding the rioting that took place last year; saying that her reports were not to the liking of others. She says that she was victimised, but will not say by whom. She says others are playing games but she clearly plays also.

Lighten up

Q: What’s the difference between an accountant and a lawyer?

A: Accountants know they’re boring.

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Q: What’s the difference between a female lawyer and a pitbull?

A: Lipstick.

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A woman journalist and George Bernard Shaw were at a banquet.

She to him: “Mr. Shaw, I don’t know how you can prostitute your

art the way you do”

Shaw: “Madam, in our own way, we are ALL prostitutes.

Woman: “Sir, how dare you!”

Shaw: “Madam, if I offered you ten thousand dollars, would you

go to bed with me?”

Woman (thinks): This guy is just crazy enough to pay that much

to prove a point… “Yes, I would”.

Shaw: “Madam, if I offered you twenty-five cents, would you go

to bed with me?”

Woman (offended): What do you take me for???

Shaw: “That, madam, is an established fact. We’re just haggling

over the price!”

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Ex The Idler: definition of hormone: when the cheque bounces in a brothel.

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After my wife died, I couldn’t even look at another woman for 10 years.

But now that I’m out of jail, I can honestly say it was worth it!

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