Daan Steenkamp's Snippets

News:

  • Think of Cliff Richard’s 40 days – that is how long it took for the hacked judicial IT system to be put back in use; but emails are not yet functional. 
  • Our judiciary/judicial system is increasingly under attack:
    • Rohde is having a go at judge Salie-Hlophe following on the SCA’s comments on her judgement;
    • the “subjective belief” defence against a charge of rape has been roundly criticised after the Eastern Cape High Court decision in the Coko rape case; and
    • the tax judgement in the SARS/Spur care has elicited “long-standing concerns about the quality of tax judgements at our appeal courts”
  • The PAIA act does not guarantee access to information by the public. The complained-of authority simply ignores the request, compelling the complaining individual to litigate. Locally we have such an example where the municipal manager in Pietermaritzburg was asked for information relating to the non-prosecution of an entity that caused it great damage with absolutely no response.
  • The RAF saga continues: on the 26th of this month, an application between the RAF and a host of others (in which the RAF seeks to extend an order suspending warrants of execution based on court orders granted for another 6 months) will be heard in the Pretoria High Court.
  • The LSSA has weighed in on proposed regulations by eThekwini that would make conveyancers responsible for X-checking the accuracy of information, given to them, by that municipality. 
  • Conveyancers would have noted that SARS is substantially slower, of late, in producing transfer duty receipt. That august institution circulated a request asking that we do not duplicate cases saying that its official turnaround time is 21 days for such a receipt! Perfectly understandable; the problem is that it’s method of dealing with queries is so laborious and time-consuming, that, very often the only way of sorting the problem out, is by repeating the request.
  • The city of Cape Town has apologised for delays in issuing rates clearance certificates. Refreshing: our lot denies that there is an issue.

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Hard news:

  • courtesy of STBB:
    • bodies corporate should be careful of following the rules when accepting offers in settlement for the payment of outstanding debt. Do look at clause 18 of the following judgement: http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZAKZPHC/2021/81.html
    • a condition in the deed of sale of land, making the transaction is subject to the purchaser obtaining an inheritance; this case turns on the interpretation of obtaining funds and the lesson to be learnt is that one has to be circumspect about phrasing suspensive conditions: http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZAFSHC/2021/226.html
    • the mandament van spolie is available only in cases where the deprivation of possession is illicit. In this case a body corporate withdrew access rights to a tenant of a levy defaulter. http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZAKZPHC/2021/87.html
  • courtesy of Allen West: be wary of post nuptial contracts: in this case the parties had signed a post nuptial contract but never registered it. One of them sought to have this contract declared proof of an agreement between them. The judgement is not yet available on Saflii, but I shall let you have this on request (SSK v FJAK).

Economy

The expected GDP growth in China is down to 4.9% from 7.9 in the preceding quarter. There are several reasons for this, amongst which is an electricity shortage….sound familiar?

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Much more topical is the ongoing discussion of our inflation rate and what it should be. Past research had indicated that 6% represented a value beyond which economic growth declined. I suspect that there will be much talk, but that inflation will happen to us rather than be guided by us.

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A note on a Zimbabwean “dry port” – set directly beside the sea – in Walvis Bay, attracted my attention. The interesting thing is that there is no direct rail connection from that port into Zimbabwe, but that the Zimbabweans intend using the road infrastructure for this purpose.

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Local developmental news is that –

  • Pelindaba is to be replaced; and
  • The helium gas find in Virginia, Free State, could generate an estimated US $100bn of revenue.

Business

On banks:

  • Bank Zero will extend its zero fees offer for another year
  • Investec has been fingered for having involved itself in an overseas/German tax scam.

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The tortoise pace of justice: a year ago the Minister of Tourism introduced a BEE component into the eligibility scoring, for Covid19 relief, from the Tourism Relief Fund. This has now been declared unlawful by the Supreme Court – a bit late for those who needed the money a year ago?

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By now the dramatic delays at the Beit Bridge border post is old news: the delays were caused by construction and the absence of clearing agents at night on the Zimbabwean side. What I had not known was that toll fees of between US $200 and US $340 is charged by the Zimbabweans for truck entry. A bit steep? But then, it is said that the project is headed up by an acolyte of the president, Mr Mnangagwa.

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Give that man a Bells! The steel strike was ended when Seifsa unilaterally implemented a 6% increase, which forced Numsa to back down from its demand for (initially a 15%) increase. The offer was accepted by others and Numsa had no choice but to follow suit. The strike is said to have cost the sector R600m in lost output, and workers R300m in lost wages.

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A local content certification scheme has been launched to easily identify products which meet local production and content standards. This should assist in the local procurement drive initiated by the state.

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So, do you appoint guys you like, i.e., guys like you, or go for diversity? In an ideal world, one wants diversity in one’s business, as this should increase one’s reach in terms of contacts. A TED.Ideas write-up on the topic sounds great, but does not really give firm direction on this: https://ideas.ted.com/how-to-make-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-a-reality-at-work-not-just-a-mission-statement/

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It is trite that one should diversify one’s investments and, depending on one’s take on future developments in South Africa, it might be wise to also invest beyond our shores. The following may be useful in this respect: https://www.moneyweb.co.za/in-depth/sanlam-private-wealth/whats-the-best-structure-for-your-offshore-investment/

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I had, many years past, when I kept statistics of income and salaries in the legal world, compared salaries paid to various classes of legal employees. I disseminated these on request. Such conduct will probably be frowned upon today as an employer-related anti-competitive practice. Take a look: https://www.cliffedekkerhofmeyr.com/en/news/publications/2020/Competition/competition-alert-14-september-Competition-Act-implications-for-workplace-collusion-.html

Wits’ dental school will be closing as failing infrastructure and a lack of funds has made it impossible to treat patients and train students.

Property

Our third-quarter average house price increased by 5.4% over the same period last year. The number of sales increased by some 20% year-on-year. 

SA office vacancies are at an all-time high (some 2,9m square metres is vacant – around 15.4% of the total available space) and is expected to get worse. The CBDs that suffer most are Durban at 21.3%, Nelson Mandela Bay at 20%, Sandton at 18.7%, Joburg at 18.3% and Cape Town at 16.2%.

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CSOS reported that it recorded an increase in complaints against bodies corporate and says that these are primarily owing to bodies corporate not providing information to residents which bodies corporate rely on to take decisions. It is compulsory to provide governance information to members except for the personal information of others.

Whilst on bodies corporate, the embargo that may be invoked by a body corporate against transfer before all levies are paid, does not extend to legal costs and the like: https://stratafin.co.za/2021/10/14/protection-of-the-body-corporates-security-for-arrear-levies/

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A short discussion on suspensive and resolutive conditions may be found at https://www.golegal.co.za/property-sale-conditions/

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Ne’er-do-well: our Land Bank made a R1.6bn loss for its last financial year – the third in a row. It prattles on about transformation through partnerships with the public and private sector…who would want to “do business” with an institution that perpetually makes a loss? Oh yes – the State!

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Firsts:

  • Conradie Park is our first vertical FLISP development with the first unit earmarked for tenancy in December. This will form part of a R3bn mixed use project, comprising 3600 residential units.
  • The Waterfall City development within the Mall of Africa, was awarded the Best Retail Architecture as well as the Best Office Development in South Africa awards.

Quotables

“It’s a serious crisis impacting millions of people … To build a road costs money … We make all sorts of commitments in the manifesto [but] who pays? Where are the resources going to come from for all of that?”

Mbeki

Comment

Eswatini is undergoing an upheaval with locals protesting the governance of King Mswati. That country is a kingdom and calls on Sadc to intervene to impose democracy, is probably inappropriate, unless the subjects and their king decide to implement such a system of governance. The fact is, as I had said before, that democracy is not necessarily a better political system than an autocracy. The problem is that proponents of democracy see such a system as being more equal and spreading, at least the say on things, around. The imposition of a democracy will not necessarily make the poor less so. Perhaps the problem lies more in the King’s lavish lifestyle than in his system of governance?

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We have politicians promising to respond to the needs of the people, a better life for all, fixing potholes and so on. The fact is that a 2nd 3rd or 4th chance to the same persons will not necessarily produce a better result – our country is poor and dysfunctional for many reasons. Most of us are feeling the pinch at a local level where service delivery is patently failing. These issues cannot be addressed unless municipalities collect money from those who are due to pay, increase efficiency and lower their costs. Perhaps a part of the unhappiness is that those, who represent us at local level, also live excessively well and believe themselves to be so entitled. Like the king, abovementioned.

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With the passage of time, it has become clear that Covid-related deaths extend further than those who are diagnosed and die from that virus. Statistics show that our average yearly death rate is substantially higher (about 34%) than before the advent of the pandemic. Whether this is directly due to undiagnosed Covid cases or to so-called collateral cases, i.e., those ill for reasons other than Covid, but who could not gain access to hospitals owing to the press. The result of this is that our life expectancy rate is down from 62 to 59 for males and 68 to 64 for females.

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The purpose of a beauty pageant is to select the most beautiful and elegant entrant? No, says a French feminist organisation, who says that contestants perform a work service and should be protected from prejudice under French employment law. The organisation holds that the entry requirements violate equality laws and is sexist. Absolutely true: the difficulty of course is that if one ignores the entry requirements and picks a winner who is not gorgeous, no one will watch the show.

Lighten up

I confess that I am stuck in a binary gender view. The following are not:

  • I’m Jewish and Nonbinary.

My pronouns are oy/they.

  • I was real upset when I lost my nonbinary friend at the store
    But I felt better when someone told me “They’re there.”
  • There are 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary, and those who don’t.
  • A logician tells a colleague his wife just had a baby.

– Is it a boy or a girl?

– Yes.

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This is for Jody, a computer-nerd friend:

Contributed by:
Daan Steenkamp Attorneys
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