Daan's Snippets

Economy – Stats SA reports that retail sales registered pedestrian growth of just 0.2% yoy for the first quarter of this year. It is estimated that our GDP may have dropped by about 2% quarter-on-quarter.

Mining output had plunged 8.1% in February and had contracted 1.1% yoy for the first quarter.

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Au contraire the PMI finally breached the 50-point mark in April, rising to 50.3 points, for the first time in 10 months.

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FNB says that our middle-income consumers spend 25% of their income on debt interest.

Business

Our energy Minister has informed NERSA that it should consider granting licences to small-scale embedded generation projects with capacities of above 1 MW. Good.

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I had known that a bridge had been opened between Maputo and Katembe, mainly because the Chinese-built road between that point and the Kosi Bay border post would impinge upon the remoteness of the Elephant Park. What I did not know was that this bridge is the longest suspension bridge in Africa.

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An interesting dilemma is the importation of cheap chicken: on the one hand imports result in cheaper meat, especially for the poor; on the other an 82% ad valorem tax on bone-in cuts of chicken (and 82% for boneless cuts) is necessary to allow local producers to be competitive. Judge for yourself.

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For those businessmen who are not au fait with the so-called ECT Act: the following note on contracting via email may be instructive: https://www.golegal.co.za/electronic-signatures-communications/

Property

A note by Reimag says that one could expect commercial property prices to rise on the back of decreasing property vacancy levels. I confess to being sceptical; take a look: https://www.reimag.co.za/blog/2019/05/13/election-results-set-to-boost-commercial-property-prices-and-lower-yields/

Coincidentally an article in The Mercury suggests that investment in SA Reits is probably a good bet at present owing to the Listed Property Index being at the same level as it was at the beginning of the year. 

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Trusts are homebuilders and should comply by registering with the NHBRC: http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZASCA/2019/20.html

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The Western Property Development Forum, at its Cape Town conference, held that bureaucratic delays in approving property development has seriously damaged the development and construction industry.  https://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/wc-property-2019-05-17/rep_id:4136

Practice

The Business Insider ran an article this week reporting that 42% of males and nearly three quarters of females in legal practices had been bullied. Similarly 43% of women and 12% of men say that they had been sexually harassed. Globally, one in two female respondents and one in three male respondents say they have been bullied. So much for fearlessness in our profession…

In the same vein is an article in the PER which deals with an employer’s responsibility to deal with the workplace consequences of harassment after the perpetrator is disciplined but remains at work: https://journals.assaf.org.za/index.php/per/article/view/5169/7465

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Allen West, this morning, drew my attention to a case that I have not yet been able to find on SAFLII: a judgement by the SCA in which it says that ownership, irrespective of the date of transfer, vests in a spouse on delivery of the court order and not transfer. Andre Fisher v Ubomi Ushishni Trading and others SCA 1085/2017.

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Advocate Dali Mpofu (he of the EFF) had apparently encouraged persons to vote twice, experimentally of course. One wonders if our much feared NPA will take him to task? If it does, would a criminal transgression such as this lead to him being struck off the roll?

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Legislation prohibits the attachment of public school property for debt. This was challenged in the Concourt this week. The argument for the applicant is that, if this is not done, a school could use state resources to litigate but could suffer no loss if it lost. A successful claimant against a school might well have a legitimate claim but no way to pursue this.

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Is it possible to restrict, in an MOI, the time period within which the delivery to the company concerned of a proxy, granted by a shareholder to another? After all, section 58.1 of the Companies Act provides that a proxy may be appointed by a shareholder at any time. Take a look: https://journals.assaf.org.za/index.php/per/article/view/4401/7446

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More on companies: one of the proposed amendments to the Companies Act is that the CIPC will have to endorse or reject a submission of amendments to an MOI within 10 business days after receipt. If not, that MOI will be deemed effective.

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Tech4law reported that we will be implementing paperless digital courtrooms. This is great but implementation will probably be an issue – in the somewhat down to earth words of a colleague, who I questioned on this development: our lot battles to ensure that the magistrates’court has lavatory paper, let alone…

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The misconduct which culminated in this review, to the best of our knowledge, is unprecedented in the annals of the judiciary in this country.  We hope it will never be repeated by any judicial officer. Thus starts a case in which a magistrate consulted one of the parties in respect of a judgement which he had yet to deliver. When this came to light all hell broke loose: http://www.saflii.org/cgi-bin/disp.pl?file=za/cases/ZAECMHC/2019/5.html&query=minister%20of%20police%20v%20vowana

Quotables

“How dreadful the knowledge of the truth can be 

When there’s no help in truth.” 

Sophocles, Oedipus Rex

Comment 

An adjunct Prof resigned from UCT after publishing an article, which hypothesised that countries, into which African slaves had been imported, ended up with lower cognitive ability. The hypothesis was found to be correct- but the Prof had omitted submitting his work to the UCT ethics committee for prior approval. Whatever one’s take on this, two things are clear: the gentleman concerned is not socially woke and UCT will not publish truth if it does not match politics. A no-win situation.

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What criminal law remains in me is old but I seem to recall that one of the tenets of punishmen,t is that those who are entrusted and abuse that trust are punished more heavily than others. I know of several legal secretaries, who having been entrusted with the handling of funds and abused that trust, were given sentences of between five and eight years; as first-time offenders nogal. I know of at least two colleagues who likewise abused what I had thought was greater trust and nicked many times more than did the secretaries I have in mind, and who have not been sent to gaol. Not fair? My principal taught me to fear the then equivalent of our LSSA (or whatever that once august body is now called) as misdemeanours were visited upon swiftly. My perception is that those who currently govern our profession have become soft.

Lighten up

Oedipus Complex

Like father, like son! 

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‘Ek twyfel nou of ons ‘n suksesvolle huwelik gaan hê, Ma. Die sielkundige sê Marvin het ‘n ernstige Oedipus-kompleks.’ Ma haal haar skouers op en sê, ‘Moenie luister na sielkundiges se stories  nie. Ek het Marvin mooi uitgekyk en ek sê hy is ‘n oulike man. Kyk net hoe lief is hy vir sy ma.’  

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A Freudian slip is when you say one thing and you mean your mother.

Contributed by:
Daan Steenkamp Attorneys

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