Daan's Snippets

Economy

Zimbabwe: same old; hyperinflation is now such that the price on the shelf may change before you get to the till. I am gobsmacked by the stupidity of its voters – but then, democracy in Africa has become a joke.

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Same old:

  • The WBF, in its Global Competitiveness Report, says that most economies are still locked in a cycle of low productivity growth.
  • The World Bank has lowered its forecast for our 2019 economic growth to 0.8%.
  • We still lag the projected sub- Saharan average growth rate of 2.6% for 2019, down from 2.8%.

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Our SA Nuclear Energy Corporation is broke and requires a bailout: yawn.

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Exxon Mobil is set to sign off on a US $33bn liquefied natural gas project off Mozambique – the biggest ever in Africa.

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It is reported that SARS will change its system of identification to ID numbers to track a citizen throughout his working life. This stands to reason: why should one have different numbers for different tax regimes within the same country.

Business

Sometimes I despair: yes, BEE intends a desirable outcome. The truth is that few would give away a hefty percentage of a business, created by them, to a crowd such as the OBF in Bergville. This organisation demanded a 30% share in the local business, was refused and that business is no more; its assets burnt to the ground. Really destructive and, given the investigative prowess of the SAP, I would be surprised if the guilty were ever found.

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Samancor: it gets worse. Amcu has now roped in activist attorney Spoor to assist in cleaving open, what that union believes is a scheme to deprive workers of their share of profits amounting to R100m. By all accounts, this is going to get ugly and, interestingly, the union is now offering R100k to whistleblowers to come forward. If there is any truth in this allegation, I would take my R100k and run: the result will probably destroy or significantly weaken that company.

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A federal judge upheld Harvard University’s use of race in college admissions. The predictions are that this case will be appealed. The reason for this ruling is the inability of the US government in addressing inequality in education. One wonders whether this inability lies in will or funding as, if the latter, then we in South Africa are lost. Heck, we can’t even fix our toilets for lack of funding, let alone deal with the sophistication of determining who deserves support.

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In April this year our Labour Minister launched a student training programme, allegedly funded to the tune of R79bn. This initiative appears to have failed owing to the non-payment of stipends. See above.

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In 2011 the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative was launched to address poor infrastructure at schools across the country (think water, sanitation, electricity). By 2018, 126 schools had been allocated to this programme. That would be 17 schools annually – hardly burning up the track and, to make matters worse, now the Auditor General has not been provided with financial statements from the department responsible. One despairs – see above.

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The Institute for Timber Construction SA, established 45 years ago, will close down on 1 November. In the past, membership was compulsory, now not. This body had self-regulated standards in that industry.

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The SA Weather Service predicts below normal rainfall in the central and south-eastern part of South Africa during the late spring while above normal rainfall is expected in those areas during early summer to mid summer.

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I verily believe that one should support actions against climate change to the max: one particularly deserving cause is the environmental benefits of breastfeeding, which delivers a zero carbon footprint, zero waste, health and, quite probably, enthusiasm benefits.

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May you tape your employer in a conversation? Maybe; take a look: https://www.golegal.co.za/secret-recording-employment/

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Pang’s pigs: a farm in China is producing 500 kg pigs: at last, pork fillets with substance; and they are not politicians!

Property

Who will guard the guardians? COGTA is the state body to which municipal governance reports: that entity has not lodged its annual report – it is also not produce satisfactory audits in the past two years. And these guys oversee our, understandably, dysfunctional municipal structures…

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Last week I reported on a new initiative by E4, which allows conveyancers to obtain online rates certificates from the Msunduzi municipality. I applied that very day. A week later I was told that one cannot apply for a rates certificate for a sectional unit together with the accompanying EUA, if that EUA is a garage (wtf). Yes, you have to apply twice and pay the levy twice. The reason appears to be that our municipality still runs this part of its administration off a spreadsheet separate from what one presumes is an electronic recordal system for property. At least, under the old regime, the stupidity was not held up for all to see.

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FNB reports that the property market activity in South Africa has, of late, been dominated by the transfer of flats and townhouses – apparently owing to emmigration-driven sales as well as an increased rate of municipal approvals for such developments. The former is concerning, the report holds that about 15% of all homes coming onto the statistically significant market, emanates from emmigration driven sales: this is double the figure of 3/4 years ago. The estimate is that some 3000 people (bearing in mind that these are probably skilled taxpayers) are leaving South Africa every month. The reasons for such emigration is said to be government corruption, crime, soaring prices and uncertainty.

The House Price index edged up to 3.7% – still lower than our inflation rate.

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Practice

Twelve years ago Judge Motala was involved in a drunk-drive scandal. Twelve years later our JSC finds him guilty of misconduct. To take twelve years to deal with such an issue is a travesty. 

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This week past I was privileged to sit in on a mid-thesis report by a doctorandus. The topic is access to justice – formal court justice. I laud the topic; but despair of the result. Addressing cost, delay and, ultimately system change, is a very difficult thing to do. We may be equal before the law but opponents certainly are not equal. On the positive side, we have made great strides with outside-of-formal-structures such as the PP, Csos, various Ombuds and so on. I have little doubt that access to justice lies in this sphere rather than in tampering with our formal court structures.

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“Homosexuality is not natural to Ugandans, but there has been a massive recruitment by gay people in schools, and especially among the youth, where they are promoting the falsehood that people are born like that.” Ugandan Ethics and Integrity Minister promoting a so-called Kill the Gays bill. I listen to such ugly BS with dismay; in truth we Saffers are little better: witness the wishy-washy flip-flop take on this topic by our Dutch Reformed Church. No wonder this bunch of bigots supported Apartheid.

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Our Constitutional Court has held that school assets may not be attached for debts due by that school. One understands the underlying reasons for this, but such a ruling deprives the winner of a case, against a school, of being compensated for his costs.

http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZACC/2019/37.html

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Schindler’s produced an article on the Protected Disclosures Act which legislation requires that every employee and employer shall disclose criminal conduct in the workplace. My experience is that it takes a very brave employee to blow the whistle on irregular conduct. Irrespective of legislative protection, that employee is usually victimised.
https://www.golegal.co.za/protected-disclosures-whistleblower/

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We are often asked to draw/advise on overseas wills. Tempting; these are typically high net worth clients. Don’t, unless you really know what you’re doing.

https://www.moneyweb.co.za/in-depth/maitland/the-tangled-web-of-drafting-offshore-wills/

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Ubuntu: at some point “our” common law must be indigenised (this is not a threat but a good thing; it is a reality that law changes to suit the society in which it operates over time): take a look at the case that follows – the principles of ubuntu and fairness were sought to applied (see at 25): the court was not particularly impressed (at 29 – 31). http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZASCA/2019/142.html

Quotables

Most of us don’t listen with the intent to understand. We listen with the intent to reply.

Covey

Comment

This Friday past, the face of corruption in South Africa, Mr Zuma was denied a permanent stay of his prosecution by the NPA. The former deputy speaker, KZN, Meshak Hadebe, decried the ruling on the basis that SA judges have adopted a hostile attitude towards those supporting radical economic policies and that Mr Zuma was being punished for siding with the poor. Remarkable; that this idiot represented this province as speaker, is indicative of the state of our politics.

Lighten up

The classic on ugly is Mr Churchill on an accusation of being drunk: “My dear, you are ugly, and what’s more, you are disgustingly ugly. But tomorrow I shall be sober and you will still be disgustingly ugly.”

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Never pick a fight with an ugly person, they have nothing to lose.

Robin Williams

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When I was born I was so ugly the doctor slapped my mother.

Rodney Dangerfield

Contributed by:
Daan Steenkamp Attorneys
LinkedIn Profile

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