Daan's Snippets

Generally:

·       Erratum: in my last publication I reported that an underhand contract between married parties could not take precedence over an ANC. This was incorrect.

·       A contract with no cancellation clause may still be cancelled on reasonable notice: https://www.golegal.co.za/contract-duration-cancellation-clause/

·       Our former Chief Justice has gone into politics – is it possible for a judge to do this? Take a look: https://pmg.org.za/committee-meeting/14380/

·       Journalists are repeatedly denied information on the basis of the sub-judice rule – when does it apply: https://www.moneyweb.co.za/news/south-africa/why-government-officials-cant-hide-behind-the-sub-judice-rule/

·       If you marry a person of the other gender and that person undergoes a sex change, are you still married? West sent through a note on Friday (the case is not available, to the likes of myself, yet) but the Western Cape High Court said yes, although the ID of the individual will change.

Conveyancing:

·       The compulsory report-to-Fica-cash-threshold has been lifted to R49.999.99.

·       The Registrar of Deeds is holding a series of meetings aiming at familiarising conveyancers with the intended electronic deeds registration system. Undoubtedly the way to go – I confess to being sceptical (but emphasise I have not attended this meeting yet) as the incumbents would surprise me greatly if they managed to pull this off successfully where others, better equipped, had failed.

·       One cannot claim an improvement lien over rural land: at paragraph 16 http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZAGPJHC/2022/743.html

Property

Developments:

·       BusinessTech reports that as corollary to semi-gration, there is a move to what is referred to as “neighbourhood” properties i.e., affordable, old-fashioned and high-quality neighbourhoods such as Melville (Johannesburg) and Mowbray (Cape Town).

·       IOL reports a huge demand for warehousing space, owing to large companies needing to bolster their warehousing and distribution systems.

·       Sun International will be floating a vacation club at Sun City. Great idea, but I cannot help but wonder who still invests in property clubs.

·       Eskom will be providing land, adjoining Majuba and Tutuka, to four independent power producers, in order that they may produce additional power commercially.

·       Of late much has been written about so-called business forums in, especially, KZN. These entities threaten developments with violence or disruption and require their members to be employed or/and require a percentage of profits. Recently a large developer (Calgro) quit development in that province and announced that it would never return; additionally, there was a commotion about water deliveries in Wartburg, both of which was disrupted by locals demanding money/participation. On the same note, our KZN Premier met with the eThekwini mayor on the disruption of developments in Durban. The fact is that these fora are little else than associations of criminals on the make and our policing system simply cannot manage intimidation.

Generally:

·       The Land Bank is again in the news with it reportedly having received this R10bn in bail out funds from our state. You might recall that the bank defaulted in 2020 and has now reportedly repaid 43% of its outstanding debt. I confess to still being surprised that a moneylender can be short of cash. In any event, interestingly, RMB has stepped into the breach and will provide funding for the agricultural sector – private enterprise to the rescue/into the breach.

·       Residential tenants who do not pay their rental are a perpetual problem and I have addressed enforcement issues for homeowners’ associations. Generally, as an individual landowner, may you cut off services to a non-paying tenant? Be careful: https://www.golegal.co.za/non-paying-tenants/

·       Is it possible to steal a house? Apparently: https://www.moneyweb.co.za/in-depth/investigations/hawks-bust-housing-theft-syndicate-in-mpumalanga/?

Economy

General economic news is grim: the IMF says that a third of the global economy will shrink in the coming months and has cut our expected economic growth to 2.1%.

The fact is that our Eskom woes, the glacial pace of our infrastructures programme, the Sanral tender issues, continuing Transnet malfunction and Portnet strikes have done us few favours.

Nevertheless, there are one quite funny and two somewhat disturbing economic reports that one might note:

·       Our cabinet has reportedly endorsed an investment plan proposing that rich countries assist financially to ensure that South Africa meets our climate commitments. Sounds good – the problem is that our coal to renewable energy conversion will need US $46.5bn to pull off; more than five times the sum that Western nations have pledged to the project over the next 3 to 5 years. The African begging bowl on the back of us being owed something for colonial exploitation…whatever, at least, when it comes to receiving, we are ambitious.

·       Intellidex says, in a recent report commissioned by Business Leadership South Africa, that there is a high probability that South Africa will be grey listed by the FATF for non-compliance with anti-money laundering measures. Our government is reportedly taking measures to avoid this but, the fact is that this will probably happen and will hurt.

·       Lastly, the following graph shows the size of central banks when seen against the background of expenses/GDP – again, we are not shy to spend (A less generous interpretation would point to inefficiency? Courtesy of Codera:

Business

Financial News:

·       The draft Revenue Laws Amendment Bill adds changes/clarifications to the two-pot retirement system i.e., one which allows a member to make one taxable withdrawal a year from the savings pot i.e., one third of the total sum with the two thirds balance preserved until retirement. The fact is that this move goes against the intent of saving for retirement. If you need to draw against retirement funds, generally your future financial life will be hard.

·       Whilst on retirement; older style retirement South African annuities performed as follows:

·       The SABC reported an evasion rate, of TV licence payments, of some 82%. What to do? Easy impose a public media levy on all households and businesses; those who govern us had the choice of curbing illegal viewing via a box top system, but this would be socially unacceptable – much easier to levy those who pay tax with more tax.

·       Take a look at which of our listed companies produce the highest dividend yields on the JSE: https://dailyinvestor.com/south-africa/4290/companies-with-the-best-dividend-yields-on-the-jse/

Travel:

·       FlySafair has secured the rights to fly to several neighbouring countries which cements its position as the dominant budget airline in our country.

·       The proposed travelpass system holds that an online travel declaration system will be introduced to “simplify” passenger movement at South African airport. Simplify my ass: this is little else than governmental control on the export of funds.

·       New car prices are set to increase by approximately 10% owing to the Rand/US dollar exchange rate.

Odds:

·       Our CSIR was, once, an institution to be proud of. The following statistic speaks itself:

The publication rate of that institution is abysmal, to say the least.

·       But then, this is probably in line with a statistic which I stumbled across recently: Africa produces a mere 2% of the global scientific research output (source Edwin Naidu).

·       You should be paying your domestic worker, who works eight hours a day, at least R3710 per month; says an article from BusinessTech. Statistically this may be acceptable, but I believe this to be seriously inadequate.

·       Lastly, hardly good news; Zimbabwe currently has interest rates running at 200% – the highest in the world.

Comment

It would probably be correct to say that South Africans are more sensitive to race then others: the Dischem hullabaloo is but the latest on that topic. The problem with BEE is that our policy failure to date and political promises, drives ever-more aggressive implementation of empowerment goals set by those who govern us. Pragmatically, politics should not drive business efficacy.

On the same topic: the Australian Research Agency has announced that it would give half of its research grants for senior and middle-career scientists to women and non-binary applicants from next year, so as to address gender inequality in research funding. This sounds fair, doesn’t it? The difficulty is that, unless funds are allocated to the best researchers, the best research will not be produced. Political kowtow does not necessarily produce the best scientific results.

This week past, farmers in the north-west of KZN sought to prevent coal trucks from driving through their communities as they hold that these vehicles were ruining local roads and making them unsafe. The fact is that the Transnet failure has led to social and economic confrontation.

Our Prez’s climb-down on ministerial perks is to be welcomed, if only as proof that there are some who still are shamed by the excesses of those in power. 

If others cheat, how can you compete? In our profession, competition certainly is not always fair: there are those who buy work, there are those who bribe officials and there are those who simply cheat. So, does one cheat/bribe also in order to stay in business? Some years back this would not have been a question you would have dwelt upon but, of late, such practices have become so widespread, that any lawyer must needs ask himself this question – an indictment of our society and an indication that we will not escape these practices which are widespread in the rest of Africa.

Business fora/mafia regularly demand work/a share of profits in return for safe passage of developments, in what they regard as their backyards. You will recall that in mid-March Ramaphosa announced specialised SAPS units to protect against so-called construction Mafia. The mere fact that my note, above under the property section, that such intimidation is still rife, is an indication that these organised criminal groups are prevailing over political promises to curb their interference with development.

Lighten up

The following comment, ex The Daily Friend hurts, is funny and is brave:

In South Africa, government is riddled with old-school communists, corrupt looters, and incompetent patronage appointees, while the political opposition is populist, power-hungry, petty, or apt to shoot itself in the foot repeatedly for lack of discipline and half-decent public relations.

I want a divorce, I told the judge. All my wife does every night is go from bar to bar.

What is she doing that for, asked the judge.

Looking for me!

Judge Thirion (a Pietermaritzburg judge (famous for all the wrong reasons), to a lady who had gotten her swearing in wrong, thrice:

(Gravelly hard Afrikaans accent) Madam, when you get married you say I do, when you get divorced, you say, so help me God.

Again: Zapiro

Contributed by:
Daan Steenkamp Attorneys
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