Daan's Snippets

Economy

The SA BER index remained unchanged in Q2 at 28 points. RMB opined that a technical recession for the first half of this year remains a possibility.

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This week Prof Malikane (Wits) flighted an article on the South African debt situation. He estimates our natural growth rate to be about 3% (which is probably optimistic) and, based on an inflation rate of 4.4%, he recommends QE and commended the ANC lekgotla on raising this issue. My understanding is that QE results in inflation and those who would inflate would want the Rand value of debt therefore to grow less. I know little about the economy but inflating away debt does not appear to be a great solution.

Much of the hilarity on this issue was caused by an ANC statement that could not even get the term for QE right – much enjoyed by those who hold that such a route by a banana republic, such as we have become, is printing money whilst in Europe this would be QE. Discriminatory certainly, but fun.

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This week past it was reported that Ghana had replaced South Africa as the world’s number one gold producer. Minister Mantashe commented that our goldmining sector will continue to shrink owing to a dearth of exploration and investment. And of course, there is no counter to private investors not wanting to invest!

Business

The Competition Commission has been investigating banks for rigging the Rand exchange rate between 2007/2013. The Competition Tribunal has intervened in the prosecutorial discretion of the Commission as it says is that the Competition has suffered a lack of focus in its referral affidavit. First round to the banks. 

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A recent study on the use of a platform, referred to as Observation Learning System, which engages pupils via computer learning, as opposed to standard classroom teaching. The experimental group tested, on average, some 40% better than did the standard group. Tech certainly pays off and is substantially cheaper in the long run than standard teaching (only).

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Zimbabwe will have a new currency by the end of this year. Prez Mnangagwa argued that this would help stabilise prices after a 10-year inflation high. History is against him on this.

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Https v http: a self-confessed computer nerd who is an almost-friend of mine, woke up in a fighting mood and ranted on the use of http. Essentially the S, at the end of the http, indicates the use of a transfer protocol between the server and the user which prevents anyone intercepting the data from reading it. Next time you book plane tickets, take a look.

Property

Flexibility and freedom: this is why millennials rent and do not necessarily buy property. Research by Momentum Corporate found that only 40% of millennial’s are interested in owning a home – a figure that is much lower than previous generations.

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Selling via an estate agent is exorbitantly expensive, right? I note, written by the MD of Rawson Property, on the real cost of low-cost agencies who have fixed-fee contracts, reminds one that a fixed fee of, say, R30 000 is equal to the traditional 5% (?) fee on a sale of R600k. If you are selling at the bottom end of the market, do consider a traditional fee structure.

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Amelia Morgenrood, a PSG financial consultant oft interviewed on RSG, said this week that listed property had undergone a correction and that it might well be worth considering buying property shares again.

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Durban has won the best SA lifestyle city award for the last few years: this, coupled with ongoing (and pending) investment in hubs such as Umhlanga and La Lucia, has led to the North Coast becoming a very popular place to stay. A decent family home sells for about R3.5m whilst something more upmarket would set you back R5m. A snip…

Practice

Litigants should note the changes to the rules of High Court proceedings published in the Gazette of 31 May 2019 (number 42497).

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Section 23 of the Administration of Estates Act provides that all executors shall file security for their conduct and allows for a few exemptions, amongst others, for the surviving spouse of the testator. What about a life partner? I’ve seen an opinion by an SC that holds that such a person would have a reasonable prospect of obtaining an order from the High Court that he be exempted from furnishing such security. The fact is that this legislation needs to be brought up to date.

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A senior lecturer at US, has written an article on the in duplum rule and attorneys’ fees: he says that the statutory in duplum rule does apply to attorneys’ fees; but only up to the date of judgement. If this interests you, ask me for a copy.

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A Maritzburg law firm, who is sponsoring a Maritzburg College pupil who had been caught with a fake ID, will be continuing to sponsor that pupil for hopefully future legal studies. Indeed, great training as a lawyer!

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PPA v PSA: it appears that an agreement had been struck in 2007 that directors of public prosecutions and chief prosecutors were to receive benefits in accordance with the so-called Occupational Specific Dispensation. This remuneration was approved in 2014, but Shaun Abrahams refused its implementation. The parties went to court and it is reported that the presiding judge was shocked by the attitude of the NPA towards its senior personnel. This is going to be interesting.

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I note by a regular Mercury columnist referred to an insult cabled by an African correspondent to his Fleet Street masters, ending off with the phrase rude letter follows. The late Pierre Odendaal was reputed to have similarly dealt with the opposition by writing across the letter and sending this back: F**k O**; rude letter follows. I adopted, with his consent, his logo, modernised. 

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Legal practice and the adjunct fields that we have an interest in have suddenly spawned a host of interesting developments. There is the Seriti Commission said to be a whitewash, that stands to be reopened, and now the readmission of an SC advocate, Ntai who had taken a R5m bribe and was struck from the roll in 2013. This gentleman has now convinced the Limpopo judge president and a colleague of his remorse and was given a “second chance”. The report states that the judges accepted that that he was naïve and the victim of media assault. An SC naïve..really?

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This week post I was phoned by a colleague and asked about the evidential value of a notarial contact – in this case an ANC. I quoted the standard point of departure which is that there is a presumption that every statement contained in a notarial deed is true. However, what happens when a notary does not draw the contract himself – as is the case with a great many ANC’s in South Africa? In such cases, a local attorney would advise on the format, have the intended spouses sign a power of attorney and have that ANC executed remotely, often at the seat of the registry. A colleague, to whom I had expressed my disquiet, referred me to Ex parte Moodley: that court found that the usual presumption would not apply and that the notary puts himself at risk as he would not necessarily know whether the parties were properly informed or not. Essentially: sign your ANC before the notary in person.

My bete noire about remotely executed ANCs is where middle-aged persons, who clearly have estates enter into accrual regime contract and the declare their estate values to be zero. The effect of this is that they share both estates equally on divorce or death – if this is their wish why don’t they then just say so? To declare a zero value is both lazy and not true.

http://www.ghostdigest.com/articles/agents-appearing/55398

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GoLegal published an article on funding a (legal) practice: essentially it recommends that you borrow via an incorporated entity as the interest on the loan could then be deducted from tax, resulting in considerable saving. This is true but is also an option not available to those who start up. It is hard to borrow against the promise of a practice. 

Funding of legal practices is a perennial problem. Many, if not most, firms have a perpetual overdraft. This is simply financial laziness and indicative of partners who are hungry, impatient and who do not earn enough. An overdraft should be smoothing mechanism rather than an institution in a practice.

Quotables

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.

Seneca

Comment

Iranian police have shut down 547 restaurants and cafes in Teheran for not observing Islamic principles: the infractions included “unconventional advertising in cyberspace, playing illegal music and debauchery”.

Witness 10/6/19

See the quote above –‘nuff said.

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So much for serving: former Labour minister Oliphant says that she resigned in order to take a pension at a minister’s salary rather than serve in Parliament where she would be taking a 50% income cut. Yes, the Labour Minister should know.

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Uncle Sam: an assessment of the wealthiest 19 nations by the Wellington-based Human Rights Measurement Initiative, held that the US scored poorly on especially safety from the state: the US has the death penalty, extrajudicial killings by the police, border issues and such. At least here everyone is safe from the state – especially the police (and I mean everybody!).

Lighten up

A wonderful extract from the cartoon Treknet:

“I had tea with Annie”

“I thought she wasn’t talking to you”

“Iced tea….”

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From The Idler:

A cricketer’s wife phones the grounds, the call is put through to the dressing room and she asks for her husband.

“He’s just walking out to bat.”

“Okay, I’ll hold the line.”

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A stockbroker urged me to buy a stock that would triple its value every year. I told him, “At my age, I don’t even buy green bananas.”

Pepper

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The only reason I would take up jogging is so that I could hear heavy breathing again. 

Bombeck

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You know why I feel older? I went to buy sexy underwear and they automatically gift-wrapped it.

Rivers 

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An aged man is but a paltry thing,

A tattered coat upon a stick, unless

Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing… Yeats

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Contributed by:
Daan Steenkamp Attorneys

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