Daan's Snippets

News:

·       Mkhwebane suffered 37 court losses in her reign to date. Her preliminary expenditure on court cases was R146m, R14m of which was spent on resisting impeachment. Her total is some five times more than her precursor, Madonsela, spent.

·       You will recall the dismal results for admission examinations to the profession and related specialist fields: this has given rise to much beating of breasts, with suggestions being made that institutions of higher learning be drawn into the issue, engagements with examiners must be had and so on. The LPC spent R70m on legal education and feels that it cannot see results for this. Do read the report – these were issues addressed by the LPC precursor, and methinks that candidates today are better prepared than of yore in terms of being given formal time to study, forced to attend training courses and the like. Possibly one of the reasons is that tertiary education in South Africa just is not what it used to be. https://www.derebus.org.za/poor-board-examination-results-a-matter-of-concern-for-the-lpc-and-its-stakeholders/

·       I confess to prejudice when it comes to reform undertakings by our public institutions. The former incumbent CEO for the Commission for Gender Equality was suspended. When shortlisting her successor, one of the shortlisted candidates turned out to be an attorney who is facing a professional disciplinary hearing; clearly those doing the shortlisting is either not doing their work or ignoring any information that might disadvantage a preferred candidate.

·       A brief note on breach of contract may be found at https://www.golegal.co.za/remedies-breach-contract/

·       If you are an RAF practitioner, the following draft judgement, suspending warrants and writs against the RAF, less than 180 days old will interest you: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1gq7B-jwMRcs0-4vY7xaGguNkPMjDLN3n/view

·       We have all seen political decisions reviewed by our High Courts: is this desirable and should it be done? De Vos is a well-known constitutional law teacher who recently expressed reservations in this respect: the fact is that voters, not judges decide who govern, courts cannot fix a fundamentally broken political system by developing ever more invasive forms of judicial review to curb abuses of power by politicians:  https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2022-09-14-was-the-high-court-guilty-of-judicial-overreach-when-overturning-ramaphosas-suspension-of-public-protector/?

·       BlindSA managed to obtain a court order that the Copyright Act is invalid and unconstitutional because it limits people with visual disabilities from accessing works under copyright in formats that they can read and does not include provisions designed to enable access to works under copyright as envisaged by the Marrakesh Treaty

·       The Constitutional Court upheld a judgement that the Executive Ethics Code was unconstitutional. This code regulates the conduct of those who govern us and the finding was that the code fell short of the standards of transparency and openness that is required.

·       Courts and cross examination are rough spaces to be in. I was intrigued by a report that the LPC had received a complaint from a woman, who represented herself, and who was allegedly verbally attacked, insulted, and ridiculed in the presence of the court officer and her child. If this complaint is successful, then surely the officer in charge would have explaining to do also?

·       I had reason to enquire from the Master in Pietermaritzburg whether the Master’s Fund will abide by a provision that a monetary inheritance due to a minor child would be suspended past the majority of that child: the answer is yes.

·       The following website reports on outstanding judgements in our courts – the oldest dates back to December 2012:
https://www.moneyweb.co.za/news/south-africa/over-150-judgments-outstanding-for-more-than-six-months-report/

Hard news:

Property

News:

·       The Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority has found that it’s CEO was guilty of fraud and corruption.

·       It is said that our construction industry is showing signs of recovery.

·       Interesting statistics, dealing with regional shopping centres, is that turnover is up despite retail sales declining.

·       Is a landlord obliged to provide a generator for tenants? No: https://www.iol.co.za/property/landlords-are-you-obliged-to-buy-your-tenants-a-generator-8c0adaba-f298-4eea-a8b6-91bd1fdb7555

·       Sapoa reports that in Q3 2022 our overall office vacancy rate has improved.

·       Au contraire, FNB says that commercial property is heading for tougher times.

You and your life partner jointly buy a property – do you need a contract and what should be contained therein? Look: https://jjmm.co.za/2022/07/12/the-ups-and-downs-of-property-co-ownership/

Allen  West drew my attention to the following case: may a Body Corporate in a sectional scheme disconnect a non-payer from water/electricity services? Yes, provided that management or conduct rules provide for this and you have pleaded this: http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZAGPJHC/2022/713.html

Be wary of compulsory building clauses in the deeds of sale – typically imposed by municipalities and bodies corporate: these are enforceable even though in practice municipalities quite often do not enforce these: http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZAGPJHC/2022/682.html (courtesy of STBB)

Economy

Very recently our expected GDP growth was downgraded to 1.9% – an interesting comparison with where we stand with those who might be seen as competitors is shown in the following IMF economic projection:

There has been a minor rumpus about our shrinking income tax basis. Businesstech posted a write-up to that effect. The difficulty in what is said is that we misunderstand the issue: what was said is that our tax basis has not grown proportionately to our population growth. Why this hurts is that the so-called Personal Income Taxpayers (PIT) makes a meaningful contribution to South Africa’s tax income. According to SARS, in 2010 there were 5.5 million taxpayers assessed whilst in 2090 only 4.9 million taxpayers were so assessed. The SARS boss, Kieswetter believes that these fears are overblown.

In 2001 Eskom was awarded voted the best power utility in the world. Owing to the failure of the government at the time – think Thabo Mbeki – to heed the warnings issued by Eskom, and the by now expected contributions of incompetency, corruption and so on, the effect of this failure is becoming ever more palpable. Take the following graph, showing work time lost owing to load shedding, for example:

The effect of this is that businesses are reportedly considering reductions in staff, shorter hours and the like. The effect of this on productivity and GDP growth speaks for itself.

Business

A somewhat lurid article, stating that group administrators of WhatsApp groups may be held responsible for the contents of posts within that group, highlighted an interesting new feature of that system: group administrators can now delete posts by others for up to a few days after posting.

A Gallup US survey found the following on employee engagement, post Covid:

·       some 32% of employees are actively engaged in the business of the company; 

·       18% are actively disengaged (i.e. on the lookout for another position); and

·       50% are regarded as quiet quitters (i.e. those who do the necessary but are psychologically detached from their work).

We all drive cars. Our government, in its attempts to shield our tyre industry, has imposed a 70% tax on imported tyres. Imagine that an industry needs that level of protection. This will be taken on the review shortly – see my comments on judicial overreach above.

The much-vaunted SAA bailout of R3bn will probably only be finalised in March. It now appears that a challenge to the sale of 51% of the shareholding of that entity will be mounted by Toto Investments. Fun.

Comment

Corruption is alive and well: this week past, a chap brings me a set of house plans obtained from our local authority. I ask him how much it costs and he says R1.4k but actually only R100. How so? “I said that I could not afford R1.4k and slipped hundred bucks under the table and that was it, no invoice, nothing.” We cannot stop this scourge if we tolerate this – from both the receiver and the giver’s perspective

This week also we had a situation where a police station was shot at by a passer-by – guess who eventually arrested the suspect? A private threat response unit. This is where our police is at –privatised!

Elon Musk has made his Starlink Internet communications system available to the Ukraine and Iran – to bypass access restrictions. Mozambique is set to receive this but not South Africa. One wonders why? Would Musk accept a BEE partner for such a venture?

Lighten up

I parked my car outside parliament. “Sir, you can’t park here,” said a cop. “This is where our politicians work.”

“Don’t worry, I’ve locked it.”

Zapiro must be our best loved cartoon satirist – the following (somewhat dated cartoon) is brilliant:

Contributed by:
Daan Steenkamp Attorneys
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