Daan's Snippets

When instructed by e-media to pay monies into a client’s account, most practices are very cautious. A x-check against existing account numbers, a phone call or the like may be required to verify the instruction. This week past, the SCA found against a financial services provider which had relied on the electronic instruction purportedly from a client to pay money to a fraudster. http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZASCA/2020/8.html 

The locus classicus  on the topic is http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZASCA/2014/178.html

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What follows is not a recommendation but simply a note on valuations in divorce cases: the writer makes the point that all valuations are not equal and, I think that it is worth a glance if you deal with financial separation in divorce cases. Very few such disputes end up going the full distance in court and one is therefore often left to the mercy of a valuator when agreeing on the division of an estate: https://content.majestic3.com/Articles/CrestCapital/fudging_the_figures.html

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A recent decision by the German Constitutional Court held that the criminalisation of voluntary assistance in another’s suicide is unconstitutional. Good: it is high time that states stop interfering in ones right to life. https://www.jurist.org/news/2020/02/germany-constitutional-court-overturns-ban-on-professionally-assisted-suicide/

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You retire but still need/want to work: may you approach the clients you used to have after retirement, if there is no restraint in favour of your erstwhile company? In the absence of a restraint, yes. The difficulty one faces is that if your old company has a go at you, the litigation involved can be prohibitively expensive and, resource-wise, you are simply not in the same league. Fairness in business is an illusion and the warmth of belonging is temporary. 

http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZAGPHC/2008/355.html

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Fairness in contract: it is established law that an unfair contract will be upheld in order to ensure legal certainty. Only contracts that are contrary to public policy will be struck down. Prof Hutchinson UCT, argues convincingly that the principle of fairness enshrined in our constitution should be applied in future but concedes that ad hoc judgements may result. Ask me for a copy of his article.

Economy

When stocks are volatile, conventional wisdom dictates that you should invest in bricks and mortar, right? Perhaps not, somewhat overexcited predictions are that the US housing market might crash to 29-year lows.

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The VIX is shorthand for a measure of the volatility index of the Standard & Poor 500: a VIX of above 80 (which is the current status) has happened only thrice in history.

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Economist Roelof Botha opines that our restrictive monetary policy stance (read high interest rates to curtail inflation) has resulted in an increase in the financing cost of capital by more than 100% and has curtailed our GDP growth by R560bn. Judge for yourself: https://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/monetary-policy-committee-does-more-harm-than-good-academics-argue-2020-03-17/rep_id:4136

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A coronavirus casualty is the SA budget: our GDP growth might well come in at a projected -2.3% with our current expense/tax income deficit at -10.8%. Roodt says that our economy could contract by up to 6%.

Business

Coronavirus: our younger son has fallen prey to this virus and, I like I suspect most of us, am suffering from serious coronavirus fatigue. Nevertheless, the following may be useful for businessmen:

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Yawn; but for the record:

  • our consumer confidence index fell to minus 9, the lowest in two years;
  • the 9 listed civil construction companies on the JSE have lost 80% of their value since the collusion investigations around the construction of the 2010 World Cup stadiums began. Engineering News suggests that these are now a more appropriate size for current activity levels and are showing signs of life;
  • foreign-born sex workers are deserting in droves as business is just not what it used to be! 12

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South Africa has one large BEE-for-sale attorneys’ practice; the deal is that your newfound partner does nothing in the firm but lends his name at a price. A bargain? There are straightforward commercial deals to be had in a similar vein (no, I’m not pushing this, I’m simply saying that one can buy skin tone): https://www.tusker.co.za/blog/category/whitepaper/

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The sons and I were destined for a Kaokoland dirtbike ride a month hence. SAA has cancelled my local flights twice, each time necessitating a call which, when timed, took 40 minutes. Oh yes, and they don’t work over weekends. SAA deserves to go down the drain. CAPA (the Centre For Aviation) says that by May most world airlines will be bankrupt.

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Price gouging is defined as an increase of the price of goods to a level much higher than is considered fair, i.e. exploitative pricing. Whether an increase in pricing in a pandemic is fair or not is debatable: the Afrikaans idiom in such times is as dit pap reen moet jy skep!

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A black-swan event also poses opportunities: I’m phoned by the chap who manages my pension fund. I congratulate him on the call saying that undoubtedly his call relates to the profits made after encashing my shares prior to the drop in share prices. His somewhat terse response has to do with not having a crystal ball. The fact is that most of us could have seen this coming but those who professionally manage our portfolios don’t have the b@lls and cannot exchange massive amounts of shares in a day. This is not about a crystal ball.

Property

Gross Lettable Area: if you need guidance on the interpretation of this term take a look at this case: http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZASCA/2020/9.html

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We often encounter sales of farms or businesses as a going concern in which one party undertakes to retrench employees. Such arrangements, when agreed to by the purchaser and seller, are unwise: https://www.golegal.co.za/retrenchments-sale-business/

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An article on the winners and losers of the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on our property market may be found at: https://propertyprofessional.co.za/2020/03/19/coronavirus-black-swan-event-for-property-sector/

Quotables

No amount of observations of white swans can allow the inference that all swans are white, but the observation of a single Black Swan is sufficient to refute that conclusion.

David Hume

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There’s more courage and heroism in defying the human impulse, in taking the purposeful and painful steps to prepare for the unimaginable.

Gladwell

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“It has been more profitable for us to bind together in the wrong direction than to be alone in the right one. Those who have followed the assertive idiot rather than the introspective wise person have passed us some of their genes. This is apparent from a social pathology: psychopaths rally followers.”
― Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

Comments

A recent study has found that males operating high-status cars are more prone to be inconsiderate/dangerous drivers. South Africans know this: if all our ministers were to drive Corollas…

Lighten up

What film do you get, by crossing a Ridley Scott military film, and a thriller about “Swan Lake”?

“Black Swan Down”! (shades of Natalie Portman)

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The herd instinct among forecasters makes sheep look like independent thinkers. 

Edgar Fiedler
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I am beginning to suspect a woman invented this Corona virus because:

1. Mostly men die.

2. Football matches cancelled. 

3. Sports events cancelled.

4. Bars & pubs closed.

5. No socializing in public

6. You have to stay at home with your wife for 24/7!!!

Contributed by:
Daan Steenkamp Attorneys
LinkedIn Profile

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