Daan's Snippets

Practice

Broke? RAF attorneys were reportedly asked to hand back their un-finalised files by Thursday last week in what appears to be a cost-cutting exercise by the RAF. Insourcing is a theoretical exercise as the expertise to handle this simply does not exist within the RAF and I have little doubt that chaos will ensue. I do confess to some schadenfreude

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The Cape Bar has brought an application against Justice Minister Lamola saying that a black male advocate was elected for the Provincial LPC over a black female advocate who received far more votes. https://www.lssa.org.za/press-releases/judgement-reserved-in-cape-bar-vs-minister-of-justice-and-correctional-services-and-others/

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ADR is a catch-all description for sorting out problems outside of a courtroom. Ubuntu has had bad press but does emphasise sorting out one’s problems amicably and the recent decision, dealt with in this layman’s note on mediation, is probably the way to go.  https://www.golegal.co.za/divorcing-parties-mediation/

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LexisNexis has come up with a new product which merits investigation: they provide a cloud-based gateway on which your documents are stored per transaction. Your client, other parties such as estate agents and the like, has permanent compartmentalised access to the documentation stored there via a password that the client chooses. In other words, the client retains a permanent record of litigation, conveyancing or commercial contracts on a page branded to your company. This enables you to send a link to a client allowing him to download information, rather than attach contracts and the like to an email.

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Do take a look at this new site that offers automated legal contracts to small businesses, where the user completes question fields to create an agreement fitted to their needs. By way of example, a shareholders agreement for R500.00…https://shop.hellocontract.co.za/

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Ethics are rules imposed by an external source, in our case by our professional governing body. Morals are mostly internal rules of what is right and wrong. Examples of this difference in the legal field are many: our ethics prohibit us from sharing fees; we may not tout. Despite these prohibitions, fee sharing and backhands is rife: many practices deliver non-core legal services via fully owned companies and trusts which allow them to share fees with/pay off financial advisers, estate agents and the like without transgressing legal ethics. What harm does this hold for the public? The participants give themselves out as attorneys but are not held to the same standards as attorneys are held to. Recommendations are made for legal service providers without the recipient understanding that the recommendation is paid for and not made for merit. Practitioners who do this are therefore not guilty of transgressing legal ethics but expose the public to questionable conduct. Is this morally wrong? I think so.

I hold a recent article on the role of the Bar in maintaining ethical standards, entitled When Lawyers lie, Cheat and Steal by two Unisa professors; ask me for a copy.

Property

A Tower Property Fund report made for interesting reading: about 1/3 by value of its property holdings is situated in Croatia. There you have stable municipalities, your returns are in euros and you are not exposed to risk, devaluation and the like. Why would one invest here, other than overseeing one’s own fortunes?

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Fin24 reported on two acts signed into law i.e. the Property Practitioners Act and the Electronic Deeds Registration Systems Act. The former may well impact positively on property transactions as greater protection is extended to the public. The latter I confess to having some doubts about: I expect to retire in 10 years or so without that system having been implemented in South Africa (the implementation of such a system will require more from a bunch who cannot organise a p!ss-up in a beer factory).

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Many moons ago, under the apartheid regime, Wits students wore a T-shirt which read: They must think I’m a mushroom because they feed me BS and keep me in the dark. Mushrooms thrive in a substrate of straw manure, gypsum and water. This stinks. If your neighbour’s stink offends you, take a look at this case: http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZAWCHC/2020/14.html

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Need to cancel your timeshare. Here’s how: https://select.timeslive.co.za/ideas/2020-02-24-desperate-to-escape-your-timeshare-nightmare-heres-how/?

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Can one appeal a CSOS ruling? https://www.estatelife.co.za/csos-appeal-procedure-evolving/

Business

Workmen’s Compensation Fund payments have ground to a halt as the new computer system and website, implemented in October last year, malfunctioned. A crisis committee will address the “challenge”: same old…

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Construction cranes over SA? The Development Bank of Southern Africa has promised to finance megaprojects of at least R200bn over three years with R700bn to be invested over ten years. There is speak of mobilisation of skills, alignment with infrastructure priorities, PPP and such. One can but hope; TIA and politicians make promises. http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/cranes-construction-equipment-to-become-everyday-sight-across-south-africa-2020-02-26/rep_id:4136

Similarly, cities are promised grant funding through integrated city development grants… Again, this sounds good, but experience has taught us that fine sounding intentions do not equate to results. Our local municipality (the capital of KZN nogal) has, by way of example, had grants for development reclaimed by the State as it simply did not spend these. A rider to such grants is that metros would only be eligible if they have not had an adverse audit opinion for the past two years! So, who would qualify?

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If you are into technical stuff: a new method of making graphene from, amongst other things, garbage, has been discovered. https://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/design/a30681151/garbage-into-graphene/

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I feel discriminated against; beer drinkers pay sin tax; traditional African beer drinkers clearly do not sin. But then, show me a politician who drinks African beer (champagne is so much more suited to sin and leadership); a recoupment of sorts.

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Sowetans have reportedly proposed that each household would pay Eskom a flat rate of R150 for apparently unlimited electrical usage, Eskom, of course, is not a profit-making business but an institution to provide services to the masses. Yes, they are entitled to electricity.

Economics

Zim inflation is estimated at 500% with half of its population reportedly starving. Yet the populace still votes for the liberation party; it takes many years for the aura of a liberator to tarnish.

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Exchange control of funds transferred out of South Africa is set to become more flexible. Good news.

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Rhineland Capitalism is a German economic model in which workers, shareholders and banks work together, where workers sit on boards and chief executives almost always come out from the ranks and has produced extraordinary results of commercial profitability and social cohesion (McWilliams). Predictions are that German social development has reached its apex.

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Mboweni suggested that if one uses pensions to bail out Eskom, private pensions should not be exempted. This is not the point: we would all be happy to contribute if we knew that Eskom would be well managed and would make a profit. If you were a betting man, what would be the odds on that? Just another tax.

Quotables

“Your worth consists in what you are and not in what you have” (said when poor)

Thomas Edison

Comment

Books or food? The abolition by NSFAS of book vouchers in favour of cash grants, has resulted in a book-store income drop of R500m annually. Apparently, students are forsaking books for e-publications: understandable but this poses the question of whether book allowances are still necessary if a cheaper alternative exists?

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A crime against humanity? Giliomee, a respected writer on South African history, has weighed in on the topic that generated much heat a week or two ago. Worth a read: https://www.politicsweb.co.za/opinion/the-apartheid-as-a-crime-against-humanity-question?

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Does democracy work? It is said that dissatisfaction with democracy is at its highest levels since record of this statistic has been kept. Reasons for this dissatisfaction are said to be related to pessimistic views of a country’s economic situation and its impact upon individuals, free speech and an effective court system. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/02/global-dissatisfaction-democracy-record-high

Lighten up

How do you get a lawyer out of a tree? Cut the rope.

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A man was sent to hell for his sins. As he was being led into the pits for an eternity of torment, he saw a lawyer passionately kissing a beautiful woman. “What a joke!” he said. “I have to roast in flames for all eternity and that lawyer gets to spend it with that beautiful woman.” Satan jabbed the man with his pitchfork and snarled, “Who are you to question that woman’s punishment?”

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Arguing with a lawyer is like wrestling a pig in mud… Sooner or later you realize that they like it.

Contributed by:
Daan Steenkamp Attorneys
LinkedIn Profile

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