Daan Steenkamp's Snippets

News:

  • Starting your own practice? Take a look at the following series of articles – references to the first two appear in the last one: https://www.tech4law.co.za/business/law-business-business/going-out-on-your-own-part-three/?
  • The Master, Pietermaritzburg, has asked practitioners not to lodge new estates before the ransom attack on its E-Systems has been resolved.
  • Fairness, good faith and ubuntu: what is the relationship between these, and should attorneys be taking note of this? I hold an article by Barnard-Naude a professor at the UFS on the topic – ask me for a copy. 

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Hard news:

Property

Spar, via its building arm, says that the home improvement boom is tapering off: dad going back to work?

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After a year of lethargy, a pick-up in housing market rentals is predicted. This is attributed to the prioritisation of flexibility and cash flow by customers.

Vacancy rates in this sector stands at some 14% in the Western Cape with rentals escalating negatively. There is, however, a sustained demand for rental homes in the R7-R10k bracket. Average home rentals, per province, are as follows:

  • Eastern Cape R6.1k
  • Free State R6.2k
  • Gauteng R8.2k
  • KZN R8.2k
  • Limpopo RR7k
  • Mpumalanga R7.4k
  • N West R5.2k
  • N Cape R7.9k
  • W Cape R9.1k

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By far more interesting, is the model of land redistribution employed by the Baltic states prior to and post the collectivisation introduced by the Soviets, after the first World War. Interestingly, the dismantling of the collective agriculture of the Soviet period and the creation of a great many small, privately owned farms, was accompanied by a precipitous drop in productivity. Nevertheless, recovery was relatively swift, with household plots producing probably one half of all the crops in Lithuania.

Their system differed from ours in that the holders of title to large land tracts were typically noblemen, rather than our commercial/purchasers of land. These were expropriated but left with an average portion of land.

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Drogon should be fêted for this: https://businesstech.co.za/news/property/522164/a-look-at-cape-towns-new-r900000-micro-apartments-which-are-covered-in-plants/

Whilst on new developments – do take a look at this: https://mybroadband.co.za/news/government/415832-new-south-african-smart-city-planned-in-unexpected-location.html

Economy

The SA inflation rate for August is 4.9% – compare this with Kenya which hit 4.5% in January…and the EU which averaged 0.68% last year. Just this shows why our currency must needs depreciate against the Euro and Dollar.

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The elephant in our fiscal room is how to fund the state income shortfall, created by covid on top of continuing overspend, the latter which our government had promised to halt in its tracks a year ago.

The fact is that reining in government spending is going to be very difficult.

There are institutions in South Africa which simply cannot be fixed unless better led and properly funded. Take SAA, which has just taken to the skies again with a quarter of its previous fleet. It took a year now for this airline to reach the point that it was understood to be not viable in its previous form (the DG of public enterprises had said “Going forward [SAA has] been put in the hands of businesspeople … people [who] have the technical skills,” indicative that it had been led by persons without these skills?). The latest nonsense is the television licence argument. Unable to collect TV licence fees, SA TV proposes that a household levy be raised which, rightly so, has been described as rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic. How, in essence, will collection of a household levy differ from collection of a TV licence fee? The government had this opportunity some years back, but let it slide because its perception was that such fees would be unpopular – remember the TV signal encodement debate some years back? Driving past a squatter camp along the N3 it is clear from the dishes mounted, that most of these households have access to streamed television. The inhabitants certainly do not pay rates, but they vote.

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This happens when you value votes more than an efficiently functioning economy?

Business

The latest BER report on SA retailer confidence, sets the index at 56 points in the third quarter, the highest in 7 years! This simply says that 56, out of a hundred retailers sampled, were positive about retail future.

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The ransomware hack of the Department of Justice computer system and backups (initiated on 6 September) have paralysed our courts and the Master of the High Court – the ransom demand is only 50 bitcoins (which translates to some R33m)! One wonders if it would not have been cheaper just to pay the ransom?

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You might recall the hoo-hah which resulted when KarPowerships were mooted some months back as an Eskom lifeboat: three generation licences for these were granted by Nersa – so much for heeding public opinion.

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How is compensation for unfair dismissal calculated? Take a look (solatium is compensation for distress): https://www.golegal.co.za/compensation-unfair-dismissal/

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Going, going… Riot-weary? Montenegro’s citizenship-by-investment will close at the end of this year. The wonderful thing about this scheme is that no physical residency or language proficiency is required before or after citizenship is obtained.

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The provisions of our Mining Charter, that required mining companies to perpetually remain empowered, has been overturned by our High Court. What remains a mystery is that Mr Mantashe thought that repeated BEE sacrifice was fair, or even achievable.

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ThymeBank intends unseating Capitec as the largest digital bank in South Africa.

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Forget batteries? https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/battery-free-electronics-bfree-ewaste-b1924692.html

Quotables

“A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality, will get a high degree of both.”

Milton Friedman

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“There is just no money” 

ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte.

Comment

The above quote is probably the best news we have had in years, as it shows the flow of backhands to the ruling party drying up.

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Mooi River is an old Voortrekker town that has declined noticeably over the past years, and which has been in the news for some years following on repeated attacks on freight carrying trucks by, presumably, the locals. As a Westerner (of late I do not know what to call myself – would you regard yourself as a Westerner if your family has been in Africa for 320 years?), I found a newspaper report on that town’s mayor, holding that the municipality area is roamed by unsettled spirits and advocating a cleansing ceremony, by several sangomas, disturbing. I understand that beliefs in the supernatural is a widely held view in KZN, but I cannot avoid classifying that gentleman as a person not suitable for holding office.

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Trust. Two recent articles attracted my attention: the first on the Edelman Trust Barometer (https://www.edelman.com/trust/2021-trust-barometer) which reveals that only 27% of our population trusts the government. The second, on a similar theme, calling for the rebuilding of trust in key government institutions. If you list our key institutions, aside from the government as a whole, the fact is that the NPA, SAA, SAPS, SADF and Eskom are hardly deserving of trust. 

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Liberation sell-by-date: I have long wondered how long public gratitude for liberation will last and thus hold the ANC in power despite its very obvious lack of ability. Of late, questions are being asked of the ANC’s until-Jesus-comes perpetual incumbency grip on government control, and such questions must be welcomed. The fact is that we live in a   flawed democracy, and are experiencing a crisis owing to corruption, mismanagement, and stupidity. The unspoken promise of an unfinished revolution (a prolonged transitional phase) which will bring better times, is fading on the back of wasted resources and time. We need principled voters and politicians who are punished for non-performance: sadly, both will probably not be achieved in my lifetime, but there is hope – at least its a beginning.

Lighten up 

When politicians say I’m in politics, it may or may not be possible to trust them, but when they say, I’m in public service, you know you should flee.

Nock

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What’s the difference between a politician and a flying pig?

The letter “F”.

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What do you call a lawyer with an IQ below 70?

A politician.

Contributed by:
Daan Steenkamp Attorneys
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1 COMMENT

  1. Fairness, good faith and ubuntu: what is the relationship between these, and should attorneys be taking note of this? I hold an article by Barnard-Naude a professor at the UFS on the topic – ask me for a copy.

    Please send me a copy.

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