Daan's Snippets

News:

·      ChatGPT hit legal headlines when a judge in Colombia used this app to generate a court ruling. The following WW article suggests that we should embrace this aid: https://www.webberwentzel.com/News/Pages/lawyers-2.0-in-a-chatgpt-world-the-human-ai-connection.aspx

·      Ignore court orders regarding custody at your peril: https://www.golegal.co.za/contact-minor-child/

·      The DA will take on the government decision to declare a State of Disaster. I sympathise with the cause but question whether our courts should enter the sphere of governance. Having said this, our courts have introduced some rationality into governance which would otherwise be lacking.

·      It’s the money, not the cause: Ms Mkhwebane’s legal team did not pitch owing to non-payment of their fees by the Public Protector’s office. That office lamented the “significant” spend on her legal fees, defending her impeachment. The latest salvo in this saga relates to her probe of irregular spending by Mabuyane after  Winnie’s death – her department had said it had no more funds to appeal the judgement against her, presumably because she had used it all herself! One may reasonably ask why the lady, whose reputation is in tatters, does not simply call it a day.

Hard news:

·      Medical malpractice practitioners should read this case as this develops our common law regarding the payment of damages by allowing hospitals to provide future medical services: http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZAECBHC/2023/3.html

Conveyancing:

·      West had circulated a note on municipal bylaws relating to SPLUMA earlier this week, reporting on municipalities challenging an order dealing with bylaws which prohibit a municipality from using clearance certificates unless certain payments are to date. Ask me for a copy.

·      In a claim against the LPFF under the old Attorneys Act, that institution pleaded excussion and entrustment of the funds to the long-fingered attorney: if the attorney owns no assets, is it worth having a go at him? http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZAGPPHC/2023/66.html

·      Fire cases are interesting as a land-owner will be liable unless he takes reasonable measures to prevent the spread of fire: http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZAWCHC/2023/26.html

·      Cancellation of the lease and ejectment: http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZAWCHC/2023/22.html

 Economy

There is little, which is favourable, to report on our economy.

The fact is that our country, at most levels, has deteriorated under the current political leadership. This has led to not only the immediate disastrous results (a projected 2Q “technical recession”), but what Kieswetter referred to (in a tax context) as soft impacts. These are, and the list is much longer than this, reputational damage, a loss of confidence in our future, immigration, and growing taxpayer resentment, external investment into our country, Rand slippage (two months ago Rand was trading at R16.30/US $) and so on.

The rescue effort, precipitated by only public indignation (these problems have existed for years) will be hampered by that which caused our current situation in the first place: if our government caused these problems in the face of continued criticism, why should we trust them to fix what they apparently could not handle in the first place? Take the latest saga with Transnet privatising its busiest line – surely this should be its most profitable line?

One cannot blame Ramaphosa – his “leadership” style has been criticised by many but is probably appropriate in the circumstances: the fact is that governance requires so many skills that inputs from others are obviously required. The problem is that Ramaphosa’s support group comprises freedom fighters/cadres/loyalists (hardly qualifications for the job at hand) who have already demonstrated that they do not have the foresight, skills and ability to provide the leadership that is necessary. Just this relegates the result to almost certain mediocrity.

In addition, promises made (by government) are not kept – the latest is a report by Fitch which says that our poor reputation for following through on promises means that there could be downward pressure on our credit rating. Wait for more!

Some 60% of our budget is spent on what is referred to as social wage; providing various forms of support, basic services, and measures to alleviate poverty. The government’s immediate response is not necessarily wrong but probably unaffordable. The following graph makes this point clear; we simply do not have the tax base necessary for the patches that will be required:

The conclusion that one must reach is that we will, at best, muddle on. We will be saved from a Zimbabwean result solely by our larger number of taxpayers contributing to the Fiscus.

Business

There is not much interesting and useful business news aside from the fallout of our power crisis. Some of these are:

·      Santam and Hollard will no longer pay you for damages arising from grid failure;

·      if you misrepresent your educational qualifications you may be fired and possibly mayhem to repay a part of the salary you were “overpaid”; https://www.gb.co.za/dont-fake-it-even-when-you-make-it/

·      how much do you need to start a fast-food franchise? https://businesstech.co.za/news/business/662941/how-much-it-costs-to-own-a-top-fast-food-franchise-in-south-africa/

·      it stands to reason that both the solar panel and electricity storage markets are set to take off in South Africa;

·      UCT is, again, in the news for the wrong reasons – this time because the vice-chancellor may have misled its board; yawn;

·      auditors are said to be less keen on auditing crypto dealers for as they might be held liable for business failures following the audit.

The best medical aid (in terms of consumer opinion) is Bestmed, followed by Medihelp.

From the end of this week employers who make a contribution to retirement funds will be required to provide additional information relating to each employee. The details are set out at the end of the following article: https://bowmanslaw.com/insights/banking-and-financial-services-regulatory/south-africa-employers-take-note-a-new-conduct-standard-on-the-requirements-related-to-the-payment-of-retirement-fund-contributions-and-submission-of-prescribed-information/

Kieswetter (SARS’ chief commissioner) said that there was general agreement with the Treasury that the direction of taxes, particularly for companies, should follow international trends and be downwards. Hope..

Property

Lightstone predicts that our house price inflation will be between 0.9% and 3.7% for this year – below the inflation rate. Loos agrees, adding that our property sector is facing what he terms a longer-term correction and that it will take a while before it turns positive. Eina!

An interesting case in which quite major damages was awarded for latent defects may be found at https://www.iol.co.za/pretoria-news/news/judge-orders-seller-to-pay-home-owner-r400-000-to-repair-damp-smelly-house-17d286ed-cd5a-4a5d-abf3-1e50433ac531

I was not able to find the Saflii reference yet.

How does one calculate the ROI on your rental property? https://www.moneyweb.co.za/qa/advisor-questions/am-i-calculating-the-roi-on-my-rental-property-correctly/

Squatters are a perennial problem in South Africa which is worsened as authorities are loath to act against such. One of our better national parks, the Golden Gate Highland National Park is under threat who have moved into that park. They keep cattle, plant crops and hunt the wildlife.

Comment

South Africa has one of the highest Gini coefficient counts in the world – we are a very unequal society – clearly an undesirable situation. How to tackle this is not clear – liberal economists would propose stimulating the economy in order that the wealth sale generated would trickle down. This is not necessarily an undisputed position – the problem with our economic system is that we believe that each controls his own financial destiny losing sight of the fact that this is far less true for the really poor who cannot readily rise above their circumstances. Difficult.

Add to this our loss of faith in a functional economic system run by our postcolonial disappointment party which feeds us platitudes of hope and resilience when it can, clearly, not generate our reliance thereon.

We gather that another minister will be added to the cohort of ministers governing us – 28 of them. Compare this to the UK which has 22, France which has 19 and Germany 15. ‘Nuff said.

Lighten up

What’s the problem with lawyer jokes?

Lawyers don’t think they’re funny, and no one else thinks they are jokes.

~

How can you tell if a lawyer is lying?

Other lawyers look interested

~

Why are there few Irish lawyers?

They can’t pass the bar.

~

What do honest lawyers and UFOs have in common?

You always hear about them, but you never see them.

~

Contributed by:
Daan Steenkamp Attorneys
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