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Economy

Stats SA reports that 44% of SA households receive at least one social grant, up from 30% 15 years ago. This somewhat depressing news prompted me to look further: I was lent a copy of the SA Survey 2019 by the IRR; the statistics are most interesting. Some of these are:

Two years ago –

  • 6.2 million persons contributed to privately administered pension funds;
  • 1.2 million persons contributed to the GEPF;
  • 50 (yes) persons contributed to the Telkom Pension Fund.
  • The top retirement fund by assets was the Eskom Pension Fund holding R131 992 million, yet it is not amongst the top 10 such funds by membership; not too shabby?
  • The total student to teaching staff ratio of South African universities was 50.8.
  • The student enrolment ratio was 72.6% black 6.4% coloured 5.2% Asian 15.8% white.
  • Unionisation stood at 6% for agriculture, 72% for mining, 35% for manufacturing, 50% for electricity and 56% for community, social and personal services.

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Last year debt to municipalities over 90 days, stood at R 35 billion for water, 11.2 billion for electricity, and 22.7 billion for rates. Of this R6.3 billion was due by the government, 17.1 billion by the state and 86 billion by households.

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In 2017 our a merchandise trade with foreign countries were as follows: China R115 billion exported and R203 billion imported; Germany R 84.2 billion exported and R127.5 imported; India R55.6 billion exported and R52.2 imported and, lastly, USA R88.7 exported and R72.9 billion imported.

Lastly, our population growth for Coloured, Indian and White persons has remained relatively stable for the past 50 years whilst our black population grew from just over 15 million to a current 45 million.

Business

The UN World Meteorological Organisation has predicted a 60% possibility of weak El Niño conditions from September onwards.

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The WHO has declared burn-out a legitimate syndrome. This may be described as follows: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupational_burnout

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The former Black Business Council president has been charged with fraud and theft of R 5.7 million: this is not about race, it is about those who lead us generally: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

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The African Continental Free Trade Idea came into force on Thursday, when 22 countries African countries ratified the deal. This will cover a market of 1.2 billion people with a gross GDP of $2.5 trillion. The removal of protectionist hurdles might well help our continent to move away from exporting commodities and building manufacturing capacity. Current intra-African trade stands at 15% compared with 20% in Latin America and 58% in Asia. SA’s largest African economic competitor, Nigeria, has not signed up yet.

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Bitcoin is the largest crypto-currency, yet accounts for only 1.3% of economic transactions. Why? Apparently because most holders only speculate, which speculation is driven primarily by hype.
https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2019-05-31-bitcoins-rally-masks-uncomfortable-fact-almost-nobody-uses-it/?

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From today, unions have to canvas members in a secret ballot before calling a strike after the 180-day transitional provision lapsed (to allow unions to change their constitutions). Similarly, an employer organisation has to make provision for secret balloting before locking out striking employees. BDLive

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We carry on about the long-term effects of plastic in the sea and so on but, in the short term, pollution is a greater problem: the sea at both Green Point and Durban harbour is excessively polluted by raw sewerage. I gather that the latter situation is improving, but very recently, fishing in the Durban harbour had been suspended and the Green Point water is up to 400% dirtier than could have been expected. This was found when those, who build a desalination plant for Down was unable to operate this owing to the water quality being 10 times worse than the worst expectation that the tender had called for.

Whilst on the topic: 20 new Marine Protected Areas have been declared off our coasts increasing the protected area of ocean wildlife 10 times.

Property

Our Registrar of Deeds has, in his infinite wisdom and sagacity, seen fit to ban any recordal of deeds office information when searching records. One must apply for a copy and pay for it. The difficulty here is not the ruling itself but the inefficiency that goes with it: it can take from 3 to 14 days to get a copy.

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I confess that I have always been discomfited by clients asking advice on so-called life-right purchases into retirement schemes. Conceptually one bets on one’s longevity against statistics which are probably loaded in favour of the developer. Part of the difficulty is also that such schemes are reinvigorated by repeat sales and the ability of the developer to sustain short-term losses. If the scheme falters, one ends up having nothing. Judge for yourself:
https://view.joomag.com/real-estate-investor-magazine-south-africa-may-june-2019/0552134001556794573

 Practice

An interesting aside, which I would not recommend you test, is a note written by a candidate attorney holding that regulation 108 (5) (b) of the Road Traffic Act Regulations states that one may apply for a new driving licence card. The suggestion is that there is no express indication that an expired driving licence is invalid. What is interesting is that no one had bothered to read this to date!

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A Masters dissertation, comparing consumer rights with those of service providers, when dealing with enforcement clauses, leads one to the conclusion that there is a disproportionate shift of rights to the consumer to the detriment of service providers. Take a look:
https://repository.up.ac.za/handle/2263/65724

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The concept of ownership when dealing with trust law can be complicated. I hold an article by de Waal, Prof in private law US in Afrikaans if this interests you; ask me.

Quotables

I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.

Plutarch 

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Oxymoron of the month: ANC integrity committee

(TimesLive reported that 23 senior figures were asked by that committee to decline public office. Whilst some resignations may be expected, resignations ”would not on  on principle”.)

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Subtlety may deceive you, integrity never will.
Oliver Cromwell

Comment

Men are happier when married but women should not bother, says Paul Dolan, a professor in behavioural science at the London School of Economics. Men calm down on marriage but women have to put up with their nonsense and actually live longer if never married. Osmotic happiness?

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Last night’s E-news broadcast a warning by the N3 Toll Concession suggesting that we should be wary of travelling on the main roads by night especially the N3. This morning, by my count, 3 trucks had been burnt at Estcourt, 1 at Clairwood, 1 at mid-Pietermaritzburg, 1 on the M7, 1 on the Warburg Road, 5 at Cato Ridge, 2 fuel tankers abreast of the Liberty Mall Pietermaritzburg, 1 truck at Mooi River and 1 at Amanzimtoti. Whichever way one looks at this state of affairs, protests (if these be such) have gotten out of hand and simply cannot be condoned.

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Why do you remember little detail of everyday life but a rich treasury of a busy week’s holiday? Apparently, predictability is the key this phenomenon; novelty is remembered better but cannot be sustained. So, look for new experiences, sparingly:
http://timharford.com/2019/05/why-going-on-holiday-gives-us-more-memories/

Lighten up

The other day I saw the price of a whole chicken in Woolworths; I assumed that it had died in Medi-clinic.

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On the subject of food: Houston police have arrested a man believed to have eaten 23 pizza delivery men, six Jehovah witnesses and two postmen. Imagine such a Capetonian eating politicians?

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On honesty/integrity

  • An honest politician, a generous lawyer, and Santa Claus were in an elevator at a swanky hotel. As the door opened for them to get off, they noticed a $20 bill on the ground. Which one picked it up?
    Santa of course; the other two don’t exist!
  • Do you ever hear girls say:  “I’m not religious, but I’m spiritual.” I like to reply with: “I’m not honest, but you’re interesting!” Tosh
  • Honesty is the key to a relationship. If you can fake that, you’re in. Jeni 

Contributed by:
Daan Steenkamp Attorneys

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