Gentle Reader,
There will be a hiatus in the delivery of these newsletters as, a week hence, our elder son and I will undertake a muddy bike ride in the backwoods of the Eastern Cape. There is little there, but the people are interesting: I said to a farmer, letting out a remote cottage to us, that we would be arriving kaalg*t and hungry. He offered a braai. When I suggested that a few beers thrown in would make us life-friends, he was enlivened; I was treated to photos of home-grown beer, properly bottled, labelled and such.
Heck, lots of nothing, skaap tjops and beer… I might never come back.
Daan

Practice

Mental? Yes, lawyers are not superhuman and we are not perfect and many of my colleagues are ass*oles. But we need sympathy: 28% of our number (USA stats) struggle with depression, another 25% have drink issues, 19% struggle with anxiety and 23% with stress. Very few normal guys out there? And, that is not all, most of us have problems which include social alienation, work addiction, sleep deprivation, profit over values issues, job dissatisfaction and work-life conflict. I have not gotten to the bottom of this, but my practice number does not have an M-prefix (the guys in Gauteng do)… (ex GoLegal).

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There are moves afoot to make the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act applicable to domestic workers. The headline (Btech)says that employers will have to exhaust all rehabilitation and reintegration processes before laying off an employee. This is going to be interesting.

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You will recall that I had said that, in the week past, a virtual meeting between practitioners and the Deputy Minister of Justice would take place regarding delays in the Masters offices: the Minister kicked the can down the road and a Masters office protocol (which does not fully deal with the issues at hand) was produced. If you have not seen this, ask me for a copy.

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A note from the SA Geomatics Institute (land survey) reported that the act 70/70 approvals are functioning again: think less slow.

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As student, I found the test for negligence and that for wrongfulness confusing – this was not helped by a professor insisting that he teach us what the law to elect should be rather than as interpreted by our courts. An article by prof Knobel on this topic is available on request.

I also have a somewhat technical article on the misapplication of our doctrine of piercing the corporate veil by Marais available on request.

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Licence to plunder:

Economy

Our economy is starting to pick up and hope springs… There are, however, a few issues which simply will not go away, and few are as urgent as the governance and financial issues in local government. It is pleasant to argue about tax but if you have no water or electricity, things get hectic quite quickly. A recent suggestion from SALGA is that SARS withholds tax return/refunds until services/rates taxes have been paid. Low hanging fruit: the question one must ask oneself is who is most guilty of not paying for services and how many of those submit tax returns (as distinguished from those who pay tax/PAYE)?

There has even been talk of adding local taxes to PAYE – this also is a pipe dream. Imagine the chaos that would result from SARS sending regular payment requests to companies having thousands of employees?

The fact is that those who pay income tax have every reason to be sceptical about government spend of taxes paid. The problem with third-tier tax arises solely from the unwillingness or inability of local authorities to collect from those whom they connect but who do not pay for services, and to prosecute those who steal electricity and water.

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There is talk of reform of our economic system but, until now, that has been just that: talk. Our state’s sense of urgency, in general, is glacial. Increasingly, the private sector is saying that we are heading for a financial cliff –a Bloomberg article, published last week, predicts failed-state status for South Africa in ten years if we do not change our political and economic trajectory. The fact is that many of those who emigrate, do so now, as the perception is that our government will not change direction and that it is better to leave than to stay. The intended three-year block on pension funds, for those who financially emigrate, is seen as an attempt by the state to discourage this, which, in turn, increases the urgency for leaving.

Business

For some years our state has been wanting to partner with private investors – a great scheme for retaining control whilst not paying for things. It wants to replicate this with SAA and such. A note on Moneyweb this week, dealing with minority shareholders in Acsa, will serve as salutary warning to those who get into a minority shareholder situation with our state/SOEs.

Until now the state wanted your money, not your expertise.

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Mr Mbalula wants to introduce a demerit taxi system – described as a penalty regime. Great idea but frankly; good luck with that!

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Why do some infrastructure projects run over budget? An interesting solution has been proposed by two academics: the distinction between successful projects and those which are not successful, lies in whether the state adopts a strategic rather than an administrative stance: https://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/infrastructure-projects-fail-when-procurement-is-pursued-administratively-rather-than-strategically-2020-09-09

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Of interest to all of us, with the demise of ADSL on hand, is where to buy fibre services; take a look: https://mybroadband.co.za/news/fibre/366618-fibre-prices-in-south-africa-network-and-isp-showdown.html?

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On a more interesting note – TheDrive has reported on so-called robodogs; these are thigh-high quadruped machines that look like dogs, but which see and hear what others do not. Take a look: https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/36229/the-air-force-just-tested-robot-dogs-for-use-in-base-security

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TASEZ: a planned special economic zone in Tshwane, which, if executed on, will result in the manufacture of automotive components enabling an increase in the local-content levels of SA-manufactured vehicles from 40 to some 60% in 15 years time.

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The World Trade Organisation is said to be in a dire need of a make-over: given the politicization of world trade, this is going to be quite a challenge. One such issue is what constitutes a developed or developing country – such countries may receive special treatment.

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New and more stringent EEA targets are coming:  https://businesstech.co.za/news/business/426434/south-africas-major-transformation-law-is-coming-these-are-the-planned-changes-you-should-know-about/

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Oh yes, diversity requirements will now form part of who wins an Oscar or not: https://consequenceofsound.net/2020/09/academy-awards-diversity-inclusion-best-picture/

Property

So, where do you go to when sick and tired of Gauteng – and after our CV19 experience, you don’t really need to stay there? BTech ran an article on where South Africans are semigrating to now:

  • The Cape West coast;
  • The Winelands;
  • The Garden Route;
  • The Little Karoo;
  • The North Coast of KZN;
  • Hartebeespoort;
  • The Vaal;
  • Lanseria;
  • The Waterberg in Limpopo; and
  • Towns in Mpumalanga close to Mbombela and the Kruger National Park.

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With those who can afford to buy houses and it being cheaper to buy than to rent, rentals are under pressure. Compared to yoy inflation of 2.2%, the weighted average national rental growth rate for June is 1.6%. The Western Cape is still the most expensive province in which to rent accommodation with Gauteng second, followed by the Northern Cape (of all places).

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The Property Professional ran an article on who gets to nominate the transferring conveyancer. This article is not entirely correct: the reason why the Seller gets to nominate the transferring conveyancer is primarily because only the Seller acts in transferring. This is an exception to the rule that delivery is a bilateral act. The purchaser pays the cost of transfer from custom and contract. The conveyancer is responsible for the contractual weal of both parties and not just that of his client. My absolute bête noir is an agent phoning me and saying that the seller has nominated me as the conveyancing attorney and that he will get me the transfer if I give the purchaser a decent discount. I understand that I am stuck in a dated mode where I find it distasteful, from a professional perspective, to engage in a Chinese market and, more especially, becoming beholden to anybody. The fact is that virtually every high-end client, these days, asks and gets a discount – except when dealing with the large corporate practices which have overheads that preclude willy-nilly discounts. Professional distance is no more – price governs who will survive.

Comment

Our ongoing debate on discrimination was crowned by the absolutely over-the-top stink (with unfortunate collateral damage) raised by our enfant terrible party about a hair advertisement. When the inevitable whatsiname hit the fan, we discovered that the destabiliser of our nation, the third force, is still here and absolutely needs to discredit that party! What is true, is that most whites are unaware of the undertones of discrimination which undoubtedly exist. I took time to ask of Black and English friends (note that I group many black nations as one and distinguish between whites) and found that many of them had in the past, and still, experience discrimination. Amongst whites this ranges from haughty Englishmen to rubbish Afrikaners and is particularly prevalent when blacks deal with whites. The fact is that discrimination occurred in the past and still occurs. That this is exploited by those, who cannot otherwise cobble together a raison d’être, I find seriously objectionable.

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The above questioning had me re-examine our recent history. When in power, the English promoted English interests, so did the Nats with Afrikaans interests, so do Blacks today (except that, in this age of equality, justification is required). Get used to it; it is human nature to prefer one’s own. Corruption is not owned by the ANC.

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The latest fracas on the ANC hitching a ride to Zim (and, of course, there is clearly nothing politically wrong with this) is simply another example of the ANC failing to distinguish between itself and the state. The fact that other parties also represent our population, simply did not enter their minds.

Quotables

Looking at the fact that we see a declining trend of infection rates and a healthcare system that is no longer overwhelmed, there is absolutely no reason in this depressed economy where we have lost just over three million jobs – we cannot afford to operate with further restrictions…

Busi Mavuso, CEO – Business Leadership SA

Lighten up

What is the difference between a Harley and a vacuum cleaner?

The position of the dirt bag.

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It was only when I bought a motorbike that I found out that adrenaline is brown.

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Did you hear that Matthew McConaughey lost his left hand in a motorcycle accident?

Now he is allright.

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How do you spot an Afrikaner in a car wash?

He is the one on a motorbike.

~

Contributed by:
Daan Steenkamp Attorneys
LinkedIn Profile

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