Daan Steenkamp's Snippets

News:

  • The US Law Clinic plans to institute a class action on behalf of consumers defrauded on dodgy loan websites. I suspect that they could do better by having those affected, vaccinated, as it might well change their RDNA for the better?
  • I am, what is colloquially termed a Rockspider in the Last Outpost: I had sent my children, to their temporary detriment, to an English-medium high school. The intent was to give them fluency in a world language. From time to time I see articles such as this, published in the De Jure, advocating the use of indigenous languages at university. This may be PC, but hardly enables the student to travel, work, publish and be read, and study overseas. Judge for yourself: http://www.dejure.up.ac.za/images/files/vol54-2021/Chapter%202021%20Phooko.pdf
  • Whilst on PC – the following article deals with gender bias in the legal profession. To my mind, the issue has been resolved in the sense that BEE has compelled most practices to employ women, whether they like it or not. My experience is that whilst gender prejudice certainly existed in the past, most practitioners are alive to the fact that the greater one’s representation within a practice, the greater the scope of clients you will draw.  But then, a law degree does not guarantee thought. http://www.ahrlj.up.ac.za/images/ahrlj/2021/volume_1/AHRLJ%201_2021%20Lasseko-Phooko.pdf
  • A request to the Chief Master that he/it considers manual estate appointments, in the light of the IT ransomware attack, which has not yet been resolved, elicited the following response (sic!): “It will be too risks to revert to manual appointments.” Eish!

Hard news:

Nonsense:

  • The Nkandla architect is also (think Shabir; Nummawan) too ill to stand trial: the bad news is that you should never go to Nkandla, you might pick something up; the good news is that you are unlikely to die from it.
  • The latest term for the chronic legal condition, symbolised by Lady Justice with her foot on a tortoise, is litigation fatigue. Like the above, you shouldn’t go into litigation but, fortunately, you will recover from it.

Economy

The following article, ex the Daily Friend, deals with EWC; however, it is worth reading simply for the economic history of South Africa. For those who long for the good old days pre-ANC – do read this: things financially were not as great in the early nineties as you might recall. Https://dailyfriend.co.za/2021/09/26/ewc-not-an-isolated-aberration-frans-cronje/?

Hubris: “Markets shouldn’t be concerned or very worried about people leaving,” “On a permanent basis, one can’t say that the capacity of the Treasury has dwindled to the point where they have to be concerned.”  Director-General of our Treasury, Dondo Mogajane. Investors do not necessarily agree, following on an exodus of senior Treasury staff. 

Bloomberg

Economic snippets:

  • The Rand is doing swimmingly: will that continue? The fact is that our Rand is bolstered by a great-looking balance of trade which sits at some R42bn. The difficulty is that the surplus is driven by mines over-performing on the back of high commodity prices, and locals not importing hard goods. The former will not last, and the latter is indicative of a drop in investment by local companies – a precursor to a lowering of local output.
  • The US Federal Reserve Bank is expected to start tapering its purchase of state assets and monetary stimulus towards the end of this year. So, I ask son-who-knows-everything whether I should start buying $s? It appears that he does not or will not say – De Klerk predicts that the US$ is about to peak and should lose more than 15% by the end of next year. Heaven knows.
  • A report in Engineering News, on the SA Reserve Bank’s recent Quarterly Bulletin, holds that South Africa has recorded our first quarterly primary budget surplus since 2018, in the second quarter of this year; a sign that government spending is being brought into line with revenue. Even better, the government appears to be on track to achieve a primary surplus of revenue over expenditure by the middle of this decade. Give whoever is responsible, a case of Johnny Black!
  • On local investments; the driver of job creation: a BusinessDay article reported that the general SA government investment in infrastructure, contracted by 1.4% yearly, on average, over the ten years from 2010. 
  • The IDC has as mission statement, the growth of sustainable industries and boasts that it has ploughed R7.4bn into our economy of late. The difficulty with this posit is that its profit of R3.3 billion this year is virtually eclipsed by a R3.1bn loss last year. Competency? Perhaps the Prez could spare someone from running a municipality somewhere?
  • Our PIC, Africa’s biggest fund manager, has been without a mandate to invest from its largest client, the GEPF, since March: inside talk is of an existential crisis.

But fear not! Our new finance minister, Enoch Godonwana will come to the rescue, pledging the bolstering of our economic growth by, amongst other things, addressing major structural economic issues. The fact is that South Africa is not an easy place within which to do business – one hopes fervently that our Minister keeps his promises.

Business

South Africa loses some R22bn to healthcare fraud annually, says GEMS. It notes that most of its claims came from patients in Soweto and Johannesburg’s East Rand. Also, some 17,000 people employed by our government, have submitted applications for the R350 monthly SDR grants. These are all civil servants – and we expect them to not take backhands?

Stats SA says that tourist spend declined by R 164,000,000,000 (just to show the noughts). But don’t worry, government has come to the rescue: in KZN it has set up a R20m Tourism Relief Fund…

According to the Quacquarelli Symonds Graduate Employability Rankings, the graduates produced by UCT is amongst the world’s most employable: reason to be proud.

Nevertheless, the fact is that there is a substantial skills mismatch between the needs of business and the graduates on offer from our universities. In fact, the South African labour workforce, in a comparison of 30 countries, showed the lowest productivity rate.

With this as a point of departure, the announcement by Minister Nzimande, that he would increase the focus of tertiary education and training, on apprenticeships and the refashioning of technical and vocational education, appears to be welcome. What is conveniently forgotten is that we had such a system in place, until it was revamped to merge technical colleges with universities. Are we now going back to the past?

POPI has been in our faces for some time now. Please remember to register your information officer – oops, but you can’t; take a look – this portal has been non-functional for a long time: https://www.justice.gov.za/inforeg/portal.html Oh yes, I did try sending the registration authority my application manually, but, regrettably, no response was received. Who cares: if that authority can’t run a website, it is clearly not going to enforce this legislation.

Property

General news: will our property market maintain its momentum? My understanding is that the market will tick over but that the boom is probably over. The drop in CV19 restrictions will benefit holiday rentals, and bookings are apparently booming; prices, however, remain flat.

How does one impart skills to a would-be estate agent? There are, apparently, issues with the standard of training imparted to estate agency interns. Look: https://propertyprofessional.co.za/2021/09/23/estate-agent-education-needs-urgent-renewal/

Does CSOS have the power to adjudicate on delictual claims for damages (in this case a unit burning down, resulting in a claim against the insurer)? No. https://www.golegal.co.za/adjudicator-sectional-title/

A note on KZN water planning records that around 77% of rural households are indigent or entitled to free basic water, hence the following (think election) statement by Zikalala:

“As a caring, pro-poor government, we will continue to offer water, free of charge, to qualifying indigent households.”

At the same time, he records that capital restraints and poor maintenance made it difficult for municipalities to provide these services. He blames this on the legacy of the terrible colonial past – which is a bit rich. The capital restraints emanate from poor leadership and the provision of water and services to the platteland is the result of the expansion of municipal boundaries (and taxation) to everyone – except, of course (the use of the phrase “of course” is firmly tongue-in-cheek), residents within the erstwhile tribal trust lands. As regards maintenance; you cannot blame 25 years of poor maintenance on the colonial past.

Looking the other way: outside the immediate boundary of the Pietermaritzburg municipal area there are substantial land grabs which are simply not dealt with by our municipality as it is politically sensitive. Many of those are substantial two-story buildings, which would grace any upmarket suburb. Those buildings are entitled to water and electricity and are charged for the use thereof despite their not having supplied building plans and the owners not owning the land. Officials prattle on about regularisation, a pipedream.

Quotables

“When I look at our people today, throughout South Africa, and I see the depth of poverty and hunger that plagues us, it really breaks my heart. How did we become a dependent people, wholly reliant on government handouts? Why do our people think that government is able to supply all their needs, or even that government is willing?”

Buthelezi

“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge. ‘”

Asimov

Comment

Fairness trumps competency: “The city of Tshwane will recruit 5095 expanded public works programme workers starting in November, using an electronic lottery system – or electronic random draw.”

You must love this: if this is how competency is assessed, heaven help us!

A group, claiming to be members of MKVA, this week protested in Durban against mandatory CV 19 vaccinations, claiming that these, and the use of masks, was a government method of killing people. “The truth is that the government is working with a new world order to kill us, and we must not allow them.”

These guys need to be sterilised, not vaccinated!

Lighten up

What’s the difference between a vacuum cleaner and a lawyer riding a motorcycle? The vacuum cleaner has the dirt bag on the inside.

Contributed by:
Daan Steenkamp Attorneys
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