Daan's Snippets

Gentle Reader,

The publication of Snippets will be halted for three weeks as I will be getting married this weekend – the intended ‘guvvernment’ informs me that a honeymoon is on the cards. I gather that us old folks are excused from taking mead (for good luck and fertility!) and may indulge in brandy.

Tjorts!

Daan

Practice

News:

·      News of a judge refusing to rubber-stamp an agreed-on order in an RAF case is interesting, primarily because the outcome of this case will determine whether judges have the power to reduce agreed settlement amounts in respect of loss of future income. Wait for it.

·      The impecunious and terminally ill Nummawan is in the news again for all the wrong reasons. What interested me was that our Solicitor-General said that the legal fees claim against him has doubled. Any bets on the State ever being paid back?

·      The cadre deployment case is heading to the Concourt. Interesting.

·      The DA challenge over loadshedding being unconstitutional is brave. If the DA carries the day, will unconstitutional loadshedding end there and then?

·      Lawyers behaving badly:

§  an aside on Nummawan’s private prosecution appeal (which obviously will go to a higher court again) was Adv Mpofu being chastised by the court for having failed in his ethical duty to disclose germane information to the court;

§  there is simply must be a more effective way to impeach a person such as Mkhwebane, other than to spend R160m on that impeachment.

·      Whilst on this topic: I have little doubt that few practitioners read the DeRebus as they did of yore, but an article on the obligation to report unethical conduct might be worth reading: https://www.derebus.org.za/are-legal-practitioners-obliged-to-blow-the-whistle-on-unethical-conduct-of-their-peers/

Economy/business

Trends:

·      Inflation is tapering off and the BER’s five-year inflation expectation has fallen to 5.1%. This should, in time, lead to lower interest rates.

·      The S&P Global SA PMI has risen to just above neutral for the first time in six months.

·      Our GDP picked up marginally to 0.6% in Q2 – apparently as a result of less loadshedding, but with the promises of more electricity made not being fulfilled, one cannot see this spurt of growth as much of a predictor, going forward. 

·      The rather dismal news above is echoed in our Consumer Confidence Index improving from -25 to -16, an improvement, but still negative.

·      Grim news is that our self-created state impecuniosity has attracted a litany of comment; the IMF has weighed in warning against a state debt spiral; SARS expects an R82bn shortfall in tax collection this year owing to corporate income shrinking; state expenditure is up 9% in the period April to July; Roodt estimates our fiscal deficit for this year to reach between 6 and 6.5%; our total debt has/will deteriorate(ed) from R500bn in 2006 to R4.7trn in 2025, and this does not take into account state dysfunction such as Transnet which costs us R1bn daily. The result of this is already becoming apparent with Treasury raising short-term borrowing (the government borrowing has swelled from R50bn, per quarter, a year ago to R100bn per quarter this year), a deceleration in what is a wonderfully termed monthly training density in mall retail sales, and Capitec announcing more stringent lending terms.

News:

o   NAACAM has pledged to invest R4.8bn in our automotive components sector.

o   An interesting article on diamond pricing came from MarginalRevolution on the difference in price between lab-grown diamonds and mined diamonds. The former is considerably cheaper, and the price is dropping.

o   Our company law is set to change – the following provides a summary of the proposed changes: https://www.webberwentzel.com/News/Pages/company-law-changes-gather-momentum-a-snapshot-of-the-key-proposed-amendments-in-the-companies-amendment-bills-2023.aspx

o   You will recall that the Beit Bridge border was, not long ago, a no-go area as a result of extreme delays – this congestion has been sorted out with that border now rated best in Africa!

o   An issue which affects engine lifespan, and which cannot be readily detected, is contaminated diesel (think watered-down by the addition of paraffin) being sold in South Africa – buy from the good guys only.

o   Our visa backlog for skilled immigrants is growing worse.

o   Section 197 of the LRA provides that, when buying a business, one needs to take over the employees within that business as part of the deal. Read this article: https://www.werksmans.com/legal-updates-and-opinions/automatic-transfers-of-employment-the-strength-of-section-197/

o   Rising costs may well push vehicle sales to adopt VR to choose a vehicle rather than going for a test drive – I, for one, am certainly not ready for this!

Property

            Property news is thin; what is to be had is the following:

Trends:

·      High interest rates and a raft of other cost increases has resulted in many house owners being unable to repay their bonds.

·      This trend has resulted in the average age of our first-time homeowners rising to 38 – 40 years. 

News:

o   The eThekwini rates boycott appears to be gathering momentum. This is going to be interesting, and one wonders why the mayor of that city does not climb off his high horse and attend the meeting called for by his residents! But heck, lawyers need to live too!

o   Predictably, hijacked buildings are now big news and those who would otherwise have little to do are rushing to evict illegal occupiers… for their own good, nogal!

o   Two large developments have made news lately: 

§  an industrial development in George by Spear; and

§  a R2bn beach resort in Tinley beach by Club Med.

o   The director of the BER published a note on land reform and how it should be done – interesting, but undoubtedly wasted on those who lead us: https://theconversation.com/south-africas-government-has-been-buying-land-and-leasing-it-to-black-farmers-why-its-gone-wrong-and-how-to-fix-it-211938?utm_medium=

o   Sequestrating a member of a HOA, indebted to that entity, is not always a great idea as you must show that such sequestration is in the interest of all creditors.

o   Why should developers opt for a single municipal water supply for a development but have electricity to each owner still supplied by the municipality? The question arises as news holds that developers are becoming loath to transfer the internal distribution network of a scheme to dysfunctional municipalities.

Comment

One of the strangest reports I have come across is The Citizen reporting that Karpowership had donated a game farm to Ezemwelo KZN Wildlife in exchange for its not opposing a plan to build a ship-mounted power plant in Richards Bay harbour. Goodwill my ass!

Another report, also from The Citizen, was that the Zama Zama kingpins now faced asset seizure. Remarkable that law enforcement can be that long in coming!

I habitually look for the lighter side of topics dealt with in these notes. On the topic of marriage, much of the humour leans towards men being abused by their spouses! What follows is a gentler version: 

Lighten up

By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you will be happy.  If you get a bad one, you will become a philosopher.  (Socrates)

My wife dresses to kill. She cooks the same way. (Youngman)

Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.  Second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience. (Oscar Wilde)

Overheard at my garden-club meeting: “I never knew what compost was until I met my husband.”

Contributed by:
Daan Steenkamp Attorneys
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