- Lawyers misbehaving (judging by what follows, a popular practice):
- News 24 reported on a fracas over trust monies between two KZN attorneys resulting in Mr Rajcoomar being struck from the roll.
- Our LPC has woken up, only two weeks late, and has explained why it was unable to comment on an Eastern Cape colleague, who had been taken on by it two years ago, for having dipped into medical negligence funds it held on behalf of minors.
- A Cape Town attorney has been sentenced to 10 years for fraud and theft amounting to R7.5m.
- Thabo Bester’s attorney has been charged with attempted rape and assault!
- Judge Hlope was again in the news, owing to his appeal against a finding of gross misconduct having lapsed, whilst he busied himself with litigation for unlimited state funding of costs incurred and to be incurred.
- Whilst not on par with the above, a recent case involving practitioners sanctioned for bringing hopeless urgent applications should be noted. Such practitioners may be barred from charging for their services: http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZALCJHB/2023/172.html
- The JSC was slated by the SCA for not dealing properly with the removal of judge Motala from office: http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZASCA/2023/103.html
- The State has announced the creation of appeals panels for practitioners against findings by the LPC.
- Whilst not lawyers, the RAF has found itself under scrutiny, for some years, for rank mismanagement leading to delayed payments of claims and so on. The recent chaos, at a block settlement affair, resulted in Scopa wading into the fray after visiting the offices of that entity: https://www.citizen.co.za/news/boxes-everywhere-scopa-unhappy-mps-visit-raf-offices/
- The Department of Justice lost R18m in a siphoning off of money from the Guardian’s Fund – one gathers that this is not the first time that this has happened.
- New High Court fee tariffs came into being on 19 June.
Hard news (and more misbehaviour!):
- An article on the setting-aside of a winding-up order may be found at: https://www.werksmans.com/legal-updates-and-opinions/when-a-seance-to-raise-the-dead-is-permissible-sca-makes-finding-on-nature-of-discretion-exercised-when-setting-aside-a-winding-up-order/
- A somewhat lurid news article states that a marriage partner is under no legal duty to disclose an extra-marital affair (in this case resulting in a child not fathered by husband); the case may be found at: http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZAFSHC/2023/236.html
- MacRoberts published an article on the mismanagement of disciplinary processes resulting in a stay of prosecution: https://www.macrobert.co.za/insights/posts/mismanagement-of-disciplinary-processes-and-undue-delays-in-hpcsa-proceedings
- In this case a Free State practice was taken on by a client: http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZAFSHC/2023/237.html
- A practitioner seeking reinstatement as director of an attorney’s practice: http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZAGPJHC/2023/712.html
- A practitioner taken on by the LPC for theft of trust funds: http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZASCA/2023/96.html
- Recall of funds paid into a trust’s accounts and prescription: http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZAGPPHC/2023/444.html
- Is an insurer entitled to withhold payment where a claim is partly fraudulent and partly genuine? http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZASCA/2023/101.html
- When a partnership dissolves, partners are free to carry on any business that they please – there are exceptions: https://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZAECELLC/2023/13.html (courtesy STBB)
- I am often approached by clients wishing to interdict the transfer of a property; here is an example of this: http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZAGPJHC/2023/710.html
- A property transfer may be reversed if the transfer took place as a result of incorrect estate information: http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZAFSHC/2023/233.html
- Interpretation of a will where a habitatio was granted over the property already occupied by another: http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZASCA/2023/100.html
- In one year, the Pietermaritzburg Deeds Registry entertained 5209 applications for the replacement of title deeds.
- When does a debt that a member owes to an unincorporated homeowners association prescribe? See: https://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZAECMKHC/2023/71.html (courtesy STBB)
Little interesting news is available on our economic front. The following graph gives our expected GDP growth by the IMF:
Other than the dismal news above, is the introduction of a new economic index by, of all entities, Bloomberg. So much for the big Mac index; enter the Shisa Nyama index which shows the average price of a backyard barbecue in the likes of Soweto, an indication of the impact of inflation on our most vulnerable consumers.
Whilst on the topic; a comparison of our currency’s purchase power parity with the official exchange rate would have the Rand hovering around R14/$ whilst the actual rate is some 40% higher.
Our Reserve Bank will modify the model on which it bases its interest rate decisions – such change can only be good?
The production and distribution of energy in South Africa, against the background of loadshedding, is much in the news of late. Two developments in this respect are worth noting – the first being an Eskom unbundling; spinning off control of our grid system to an SOE to improve performance. I confess to being sceptical; this will simply add another level of billing rather than necessarily an improvement. The second is the launch of a fund for the construction of a green hydrogen pipeline, the source of funds emanating from primarily CFM, Invest international, Sanlam and the IDC – just a “little” help from our friends as our state cannot afford to do this itself.
Our government has not covered itself in glory in its running of SOEs; yet a new entity will be created to support small businesses accompanied by the establishment of a small business ombudsman. Amongst other things the intent is to declare certain practices, in relation to small enterprises, as unfair trading practices. The acronym for this entity will be SEDFA (Small Enterprise Development Finance Agency); it would be interesting to see whether this SOE do better than the entities it replaces in the name of a rationalisation, i.e., the Small Enterprise Financing Agency, the Co-operative Banks Development Agency and the Small Enterprise Development Agency.
After all the fuss made about the potential loss of export revenue involving the USA, reassurance has come from RMB that such a loss would not be as significant as politicians would have us believe. It appears that AGOA accounts for only some 1.95% of our total exports last year.
As far as business is concerned, there is little new news, save for the following:
- Our Minister of Health has resuscitated his attempts to introduce a certificate of need which doctors should acquire before opening a practice at a venue of their choice.
- Cybercrime, in the guise of tampering with internet invoices, is old hat to attorneys dealing with substantial sums of money. Such crime affects businesses also as is evidenced by a recent SCA case involving two vehicle dealers – this affliction can be avoided by manually confirming bank details before payment.
- A home fibre package beats a DSL connection.
- The SCA has struck down the legislation, which provided that South African citizenship would be lost, when acquiring citizenship elsewhere.
- Bloomberg reports that women now hold 1/3 of directorships on the S&P500 boards compared with 16% in 2011.
Bond rates are high, which discourages everyman from borrowing to buy. The effect of dwindling buyers has resulted in a flat property price growth; which is to the advantage of those who do have access to funds.
Mafias have bled developments, on the back of threats of disruption for some time; you will recall that our government had undertaken to stamp these out? That these efforts have not been successful, may be seen from a recent report on infrastructure development in Cape Town.
Municipal dysfunction is most visible in the growth of the total debt owed by municipalities – which has risen to R300bn. One response by citizens is to withdraw from power supplied by municipalities by going solar. Ooba has entered this market under the brand Oobasolar; take a look .
I chanced across an interesting debate, in which an agent bemoaned the effect of CPA rule 14 (which allows a consumer to cancel a fixed term contract) and its effect on mandates given to an agent. Comments?
Lastly, the fraudulent non-disclosure of latent defects in a home, may lead to a claim for damages. Interestingly, the claimant, in the case which brought this to my attention, relied on fraudulent misrepresentation rather than the implied warranty of the seller that the item sold is free of latent defects: http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZASCA/2023/102.html
Regular readers will recall that I had welcomed the assistance by the private sector in governance, following on the growing realisation amongst politicos, that our government is unable to produce the results that it seeks. This intervention by the private sector in government affairs has increasingly become the subject of criticism, on the basis that state and private sector interests are not necessarily synchronous. Interesting.
A Rubicon affair? Caesar’s troops crossed the Rubicon, driven by profit and personal loyalty to their general. Putin’s army-for-hire, this past week, stood up (albeit briefly) against the state that hired it. Employing mercenaries, whose loyalty is bought, is a dangerous business.
The New Zealand Herald published a report that race, and not medical necessity, must be taken into account by Auckland surgeons in prioritising operations: politicos gone crazy.
What’s the difference between a general practitioner and a specialist?
One treats what you have, the other thinks you have what he treats.
A doctor accidentally prescribes his patient a laxative instead of cough syrup. Three days later the patient comes for a check-up and the doctor asks, “Well? Are you still coughing?” The patient replies, “No, I’m afraid to.”