Daan's Snippets

News:

·       From 15 June, a legal Ombud (headed by retired judge Desai) will serve members of the public who have fallen victim to ‘injustices within the legal profession’. The intent is aimed at creating an ‘accountable legal profession’. The LPC welcomed this turn of events – but see below.

·       A report in the Daily Maverick, on our increasingly dysfunctional justice system, included a note that GroudUp will be taking the LPC to court, for failing in its duty to discipline errant lawyers. Good. I have seen it failing to prosecute attorneys who stole millions of Rand. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

·       A short note, on piercing the corporate veil (ignoring the distinction between a company front and its errant controller), may be found at https://www.golegal.co.za/corporate-veil-companies/ You could also find the case Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Another v B Xulu and Partners Incorporated and Others [2022] 1 All SA 434 (WCC) (ex West and not available to me) on the same topic.

Hard news:

·       New cost tables for Magistrates’ Court work was published in the Gazette (number 46475) of 3 June 2022 – take a look.

·       Beware of giving undertakings to pay on transfer: http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZAGPJHC/2022/383.html

·       Repurchase of shares – section 164 of the Companies act: http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZASCA/2022/85.html

Economy

You might recall that I had, last week, made a note on the risk of world stagflation having increased. Our economy is picking up but so is our inflation rate. The problem is that the pick-up of our economy is modest, if that and inflation is certainly not contained, given externally induced price rises. A partial result of this is rising unemployment with reports holding that our expanded unemployment rate is some 45%, with the Nelson Mandela Bay area having the highest unemployment rate (Cape Town has the lowest). Our youth unemployment rate stands at a staggering 66% with many graduates unable to find employment. The fact is that rising costs, coupled with low growth, is a direct threat to social stability in this country.

On this topic, a report holds that our Human Development Index value has been improving over the past 30 years – which sounds good. The problem is that our ranking on this issue, worldwide, is dropping. This means that, despite our improvement in this index, we are growing slower than other countries. The prime issues are schooling, life expectancy, and a skills mismatch between our education system and the requirements of business.

Business

As government service delivery wanes, the private sector steps into the breach: think transport, security and so on. The latest is Discovery providing fire engines in Johannesburg. The fact is that business in South Africa could provide much cheaper services but must kowtow to political objectives and fill the service gaps that one might reasonably expect from governance.

An interesting development is the Nelson Mandela Bay Chamber challenging the methodology followed by NERSA in determining municipal electricity tariff charges. The fact is that existing users must pick up an estimated 25% loss (read ‘theft’ – – some 40% of meters are estimated to have been tampered with) of electricity within that municipality which loss is primarily attributable to municipal dysfunction. The difficulty, of course, is that, even if that chamber wins its case, it’s municipality will remain broke(ish) and Eskom will continue to take losses – which increased by R8bn, just in the past year (bringing its total debt due by municipalities to some R41bn).

A burning topic, ignited by the realisation by many that physical presence at an office is not a necessity, is whether the privacy gained by working from home, should be sacrificed for inculcation into corporate culture. The retention of employees by employers where hybrid work presence is not an option, will become an ever-burgeoning problem.

Two side notes attracted my attention:

·       UJ has for some years, not performed to its potential. A report, that UJ now occupies the second place in a ranking of local universities (after Wits), is heartening.

·       A note in The Guardian that car tyres produce vastly more toxic particle pollution than exhausts (2000 times!), was interesting.

Comment

A foundation may be defined as an organisation, establishment, or the like, devoted to the promotion of a particular cause or programme, especially one of a public, educational or charitable character.

Reading that the Jacob Zuma Foundation is funding the prosecution of Adv Downer, caused me to reflect on whether the constitution of that institution enabled the exploration of such byways – I would be surprised to find that this is the case.

Quotables

This week brought two reports regarding disruptions at universities: the first was a VUT building set alight by students in protest against their not receiving allowances, also video clips showing exam disruptions at UCT. For the latter’s SRC to make statements like the following will ensure that those who pay for education will become increasingly uncomfortable:

“We abhor and condemn the opening of criminal charges of trespassing and damage to property by UCT against the workers. This is an act of suppression and demonstrates the continuous silencing of workers.” 

Lighten up

Why are priests called father? Because it’s too suspicious to call them daddy.

What do Priests do on their birthday?

Celibate

My wife divorced me for religious reasons. She worshipped money and I didn’t have any!

Q: What kind of fun does a priest have?

A: Nun.

Contributed by:
Daan Steenkamp Attorneys
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