Daan Steenkamp's Snippets

News:

  • If a patient, involved in a motor vehicle accident, has no medical aid, private ambulances would probably not transport them, as the RAF is not paying private ambulance services, unless they obtain full particulars of the patient and accident report on submitting a claim. A bit steep?
  • The RAF CE is under attack by six law firms who want him axed for misrepresentations in his CV on applying for the job.
  • Do look at the following website: https://innovationlegal.co.za/

“In its current form, legal knowledge is too exclusive, too expensive. This has to change … and the advocate’s place therein, needs to be streamlined and become more flexible on where and how advocates can practice.”

  • This week past I was presented with a contract in terms of section 7 (6) of act 120/98 in which a husband and his multiple wives sought to regulate the proprietary consequences of their marriage(s). It is a disaster; indicative that the drafter had but a vague understanding of property law. Marriages, especially Muslim and  customary black marriages, have been in the news lately (https://www.golegal.co.za/property-rights-black-marriages/) because the results produced by these are not always fair. An announcement that the Department of Home Affairs has started consultations on a green paper on marriages, is therefore to be welcomed, as our marriage laws have become unnecessarily fragmented and complex. 
  • POPI: the Department of Justice holds a great many financial records of heirs, which one would not wish to make public. Yet, nothing was said of this in the announcement that the Department of Justice was being held hostage in a ransomware attack. If this had been you or I, there would have been hell to pay…
  • Our Minister of Justice has launched a project to consider and recommend on the extension of high courts in order to service remote areas. 

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Hard news:

Economics

The basics (yawn): the IMF upped its estimate of our growth to 5% and BNP expects the Rand to strengthen towards year end. This is broadly in accordance with business expectation for the immediate future.

There are, despite the rosier outlook above, several basic constraints on South African business’ ability to grow – those recently in the news are:

  • SATS – responsible for rail transport – sucks. Railway lethargy impacts on road usage, distribution expense and so on.
  • Port/border/import issues are in the news daily. Take the latest nonsense of a high-capacity railroad planned between Gauteng and the Eastern Cape – yet the existing rail system is not maintained.
  • Our electricity supply is constrained and, judging by the latest reports, we may shortly have more electricity available (owing to private enterprise), but it now dawns on the state that our grid capacity may not be able to support the extra supply.
  • Declining levels of investment; investors grow wary about our energy and water supply challenges.

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Local is lekker? Maybe:

  • Reports have it that the JSE is shrinking. Thirty years ago, the JSE hosted 776 companies; today some 300. In comparison, the Australian Stock Exchange listed 63 new companies in the first six months of this year. PSG’s Mouton has had a go at this institution, saying that the JSE compliance regulations are so onerous that it is difficult to list. He is also now quoted as saying that the draft rules fall well short of its stated intention to improve ease of doing business. 
  • The DTI has announced that only local cement will be used for government projects, intending to bolster local producers of cement. The underlying idea is not new: our automotive investment scheme pays vehicle producers to manufacture locally. Sounds good, but is it?  The difficulty with these schemes is that they make for a great selling point but the cost per employee to the state/taxpayer, is unclear. Reports have it that such subsidies in the car industry, about 10 years ago, cost in the order of R51bn every three years. So, we now have a guaranteed cost for government projects transferred to the taxpayer with a benefit which is not really quantified (rumour has it, by way of example, that the motor manufacturing subsidy cost our state in the order of R1m per job). The beneficiaries of such public largesse, in this case will be, amongst others, PPC. Hardly a squeaky-clean entity which, quite recently, together with other local cement manufacturers, were found guilty of anti-competitive conduct. The DTI lists only the benefits of these schemes but no negatives. Finally, my understanding is that the National Development Plan has produced virtually no result since its formulation in 2012.  So, do you trust the DTI to formulate and implement abstruse economic policy with no calculable benefit, when such enthusiasm is displayed just before the election?

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Really broke? In KZN, 2000 educators’ posts cannot be filled, owing to budget cuts – severely impacting on the “quest to bring about equal, quality and relevant education for all”. At the same time, the Department of Basic Education has opened a recruitment drive aiming to provide 287,000 unemployed persons for placement in schools to enable them to become educational assistants. Put differently, you remove 2000 teachers, but you place, say, 40,000 assistants, in the same schools from which you have now removed teachers. Those who apply do not need a matric certificate. The blurb says that you must have the usual, i.e., communication skills, ability to work with people and, you must love this, “have an interest in academics”.

‘Nuff said.

Business

An oft used greeting for businessmen would be: so, how’s business? Judging by what was said above, not too bad, thank you. However, our business confidence index has been trending downwards over the past months as is retail sales.

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Shorts:

  • Generally speaking, you should not attempt disciplinary hearings unless you know what you’re doing. The following may help: https://www.golegal.co.za/company-disciplinary-hearing/
  • The demand for office space has declined dramatically, following on the Covid pandemic. Working remotely is fine and has benefits – one of these is that you’re not limited to employees who stay close to your place of work but can choose the best person worldwide. Two problems that remain are how to inculcate business culture into such employees and how to train new staff?
  • The Department for Basic Education will be implementing a new General Education Certificate for grade 9 learners later this year, ahead of a national rollout in two years. The intent is to provide those, who leave school early, with some sort of a certificate for achievements up to this point. Part of this is a form of assessment which “breaks away from examinations” and is intended to provide a holistic picture of the learner. Probably not a bad idea; as with everything here, implementation is going to be problematic.

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Many years ago, I bit a dentist who was hurting me. I held on, got out of the chair and ran for it. On my return, a week later, there was a sjambok hanging over the back of the chair as I walked in. Injections were and is still often painful. There is now a promise of painless injections – take a look: https://www.iol.co.za/lifestyle/health/watch-scared-of-needles-newly-developed-virtually-painless-injection-hailed-as-a-breakthrough-195dc48a-33ac-5a7c-a893-2804792c2a45

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Why would you buy from one supplier and not another? Sinek presents a compelling idea on persuading clients to support you, which is great if you have personal contact with a client or if you market really well. Look: https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action?

Property

There’s not much new news on property affairs:

  • Our property market is recovering except for the office rental sector.
  • Predictably, the markdown of shopping centres, following on unrest, has prompted purchases of such by the optimistic – in this case Futuregrowth.
  • Of interest is the latest Rode report, which deals with developments in the market and rental performance. Look: https://rode.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/State_of_prop_market_2021_2.pdf
  • Set against the backdrop of waning public service at municipal level, it is self-evident that green buildings, i.e., those minimising energy and water use, will sell better than ordinary buildings in future.
  • The Eris Property Group will be investing an additional R365m into student accommodation.

Quotables

“People aren’t born white, they become white.”

Thuram

“It is clear that doing or saying unintelligent things is no barrier to political success.”

Burnett

Comment

The end is nigh! Superman has come out as bisexual.

I immediately add that I am a supporter of gender equality and the LGBTQIAPD community. But, hell’s teeth,..Superman! Will Lois Lane be supplemented by Louis Lee? Incidentally, did you know that there are 72 genders? It would certainly take a superman to accommodate that lot.

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Entitled? The difference between a benefit and an entitlement is that the former is an aid or an advantage while the latter is a right. For war veterans to feel that they are entitled to monetary compensation for services rendered 25 years ago is, mildly put, surprising.

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The following statements made by politicians are beyond rationality – an indication of chutspah or idiocy?

  • The Talking Hat: “When you continue to undermine the police, we will give every police officer leave from November to January.”
  • Mr Malema: “You who have Sassa are boring because you are too lazy to reproduce.” “That is an insufficient number (of children). Don’t be afraid to reproduce like our grandparents did — there’s money, and we’ll take care of the kids.” “The EFF will provide them with free education from kindergarten to grade 12, as well as free food and free university education if they complete matriculation properly.”

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The latter Idiocy reminds me of our preacher about building the nation in 1980, when there were no babies to baptise on the first of any month. He arrived at a friend’s house and asked when they would be starting a family: the answer was “now-now” – he left in a hurry.

Lighten up

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”

― Albert Einstein

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“In politics, stupidity is not a handicap.”

― Napoleon Bonaparte

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“You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity.”

― Robert Heinlein

Contributed by:
Daan Steenkamp Attorneys
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