Daan's Snippets

Economy

The week before last it was reported that Zimbabwe would be releasing its own currency by year end. It’s interim currency, the RTGS $ has plunged 60% against the US $since February and things are getting worse (its annual inflation reached 97% in May alone). One cannot but be sceptical if yet another currency is to be a introduced with a debt-ridden banana-republic in charge of printing.

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Moody’s reported on our burgeoning Gini index: an interesting take on this issue, which focuses on disparity, is to consider actual income levels of those at the bottom. There seems to be merit in this: what really matters is how well off or not those at the bottom end of the range is. 

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Facebook is set to launch a crypto-currency named Libra next year. The currency is named after the Roman weight measurement, the astrological sign for justice and the French word for freedom. Freedom justice and money! One wonders if Libra accounts will be Fica-ed?

Business

I had a son at UCT and, compared to other universities’ administration, its was positively dreadful. Of late UCT has made the news for the implementation of questionable political-driven educational content. Yet, QS Quaccquarelli Symons ranks it the best South African university. The Lord be merciful to us..

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Prof Jansen, who I hold in high esteem, suggests that the dumbing down of our education system lies in our government not understanding the issues. He questions subjects like life orientation and mathematical literacy. The difficulty in his words, is inequality: I am amazed that you can have a school with three Astro turfs and a polo pool and 10 km away a kid can drown in his own sh**. Focusing on questionable matric passes rather than quality is going to get us nowhere.

More of the same: a squabble at UKZN, revolving around a compulsory Zulu module for architecture students came to the fore this week. This is not new: Those-Who- Know-Better decreed that, at RAU in 1971, I had to pass so-called Wetenskapleer (one of these was a module on communism that TWKB decreed that I needed!) I and II: the only student I knew who obtained a degree without having passed those, was a chap who was given (I think) an MIT scholarship after he had graduated with a 100% pass over the first three years. Even the Swart Skoene did not have the b*lls to fail him. 

Some more: the Council on Higher Education has, in its report on the LLB degree, called for transformative constitutionalism, decolonisation and africanisation of legal studies. I confess to being unclear on what this will bring if implemented?

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Another disrupter: Virgin Money will soon launch a zero monthly fee bank account featuring cheap cross-border payments. Virgin is clearly aiming at the bottom end of the market and hopes to garner 2 million customers within 18 months.

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Kufungisisa, a Shona word for stress/depression meaning, literally, thinking too much is a common idiom for such distress in sub-Saharan Africa. If that is the definition, I doubt whether any of our ministers would be so afflicted.

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Sygnia has “fired” Deloitte: one can but speculate whether this was Ms Wierzyscka being kragdadig or that fund being unwell.

Whilst on stocks: Moneyweb ran a report yesterday listing the only 19 general equity funds which had delivered annualised returns above inflation for the past five years. Take a look: https://www.moneyweb.co.za/investing/only-19-local-equity-funds-have-beaten-inflation-over-five-years/

I came across a route map of ancient trade networks: https://easyzoom.com/imageaccess/ec482e04c2b240d4969c14156bb6836f

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Money and politics: the EFF has called for the GEPF to sell its shares in Naspers: decide for yourself. (I wonder whether ministerial pensions are invested as part of the GEPF?)

Property

The average house price growth in the Mother City has dropped to its lowest level in 10 years.

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The following article on the new Property Practitioners Act may interest you: https://www.kznindustrialnews.co.za/news/what-landlords-and-tenants-need-to-know-about-the-property-practitioners-act?utm_ 

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The Tourism Amendment Bill aims to bring short-term rentals such as Airbnb under the umbrella of Tourism’s authority. This apparently stems from formal hospitality sector pressure. 

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A common difficulty, that purchasers of holiday accommodation has, is opening a rates account in a city 6 Hours drive away: if you need this done in Durban or surrounds, I would recommend a gentleman by the name of Wes Brits; he does an excellent job.  wesbrits1@gmail.com

Practice

The Cape High Court has referred the Sexu*l Offences Act back to Parliament with recommendations for changes. The perennial difficulty is whether or how one should categorise a previous offender to protect children.

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The following link takes you to a mini-dissertation on the use of personal servitudes for estate planning: https://dspace.nwu.ac.za/bitstream/handle/10394/25528/Marneweck_D_2016.pdf

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Last week I vented my spleen on ANC issues: here is more: I, from time to time, see accrual-style ANCs in which certain assets are included in the estate of one of the parties with the very same assets listed as those not to be taken into account when calculating the accrual: in RM v BM 2017 (2) SA 538 (ECG) such an ANC was declared void. (courtesy of Christie)

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COIDA and domestic workers: on 28 May the High Court in Pretoria handed down an order that the exclusion of domestic workers from compensation for occupational injuries and diseases is unconstitutional. Sounds fair; the question is how one is to implement this – I suspect that most domestic employees are not registered for UIF and are not recorded for tax and other purposes. 

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A note on force majeure, and the inclusion thereof in a contract, on Golegal, is worth a re-read: https://www.golegal.co.za/force-majeure-contractual-arrangements/

Quotables

Information is not knowledge.

Einstein

Comment

A note in the Witness this week suggested that without humility one cannot learn as the humble are more likely to acquire knowledge and insight than those lacking in this virtue. It went on to suggest that humility might be something one can only have when one is not aware thereof. Interesting.

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All in a name this: I have a (naïve?) colleague who wished to register her daughter with initials BS; likewise an Afrikaans family member wanted the initials WC for his son… Now I see that there is a WC probe…apt.

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Hoax papers: consternation in the groves of academe. Three authors spent 10 months writing 20 hoax papers to illustrate the BS that is accepted as academic study, such as Canine Rape Culture in Dog Parks; this article gained special recognition for excellence from the journal Gender, Place and Culture as one of 12 leading pieces in feminist geography et cetera et cetera. When exposed, academics (rather than considering the standard for academic acceptance) were not impressed – pulling a fast one on academic journals disqualifies you from the community of scholarship: https://www.chronicle.com/article/Sokal-Squared-Is-Huge/244714

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An interesting aside, that I chanced upon, is that the word serendipity derives from the island Sri Lanka, known in the Roman times as Serendivis… quite probably so named because those guys play reasonably decent cricket…

Lighten up

Lewensvraag: Voordat je lacht met kinderen die nog in de Kerstman 

geloven… bedenk dat er volwassenen zijn die nog in de Springboks geloven!   

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What is the South African version of LBW? 

Lost, Beaten, Walloped.

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What is the main function of the South African coach?
To transport the team from the hotel to the grounds.

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Jip—we beat Afganistan…
I really did not know they played cricket…


Batsman: Umpire’s word’s final. Was it a no-ball or wasn’t it?
Bowler: An yer’ll get a licking if you sez wrong!

Contributed by:
Daan Steenkamp Attorneys

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