Daan's Snippets

Gentle Reader
This will be my last newsletter this year – I will resume publication towards the end of January.
May you enjoy the coming festive season and the New Year find you in good cheer.
Our younger son will be tying the knot shortly, to a French/Italian/English bride, nogal; a great step forward for a family of men. We shall be celebrating!
Daan

Practice

News:

·       Golegal published a brief explanation of the accrual regime: https://www.golegal.co.za/marriage-accrual-system/

·       if the term SLAPP is new to you – the term is used for a so-called strategic lawsuit against public participation; intended to silence or intimidate critics by forcing them to run up substantial legal bills, rather than deal with the merit of the issue.

·       A private members’ Bill, intended to deal with marriages solemnised under Sharia law, has been tabled – the intent is to give such marriages equivalent recognition as standard marriages in South Africa.

·       Judge Hlope is in the news again for comments made in an address to the Black Lawyers Association, saying that white colonisers continue to own most of the South African land and that the only way to get it back from the thieves is nationalisation. Attaboy!

·       The dies non in KZN will be from 16 December to 15 January.

·       Fiduciary duties due to a trust; look: https://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZASCA/2022/156.html 

·       A recent article, published in the Weekend Argus, reports that FISA has called on all banks to explain why it takes months to provide basic information to executors administering estates. Yes.

·       The Constitutional Court has heard an application for the confirmation of a court order, which found that the law gives children of married couples more rights than those of unmarried parents.

Hard news:

·       An article in Moneyweb has drawn attention to the way our courts have dealt with repossessions of homes. Worth a read: https://www.moneyweb.co.za/investing/property/when-it-comes-to-home-repossessions-judges-are-all-over-the-place/

·       For tax fundi’s only: I hold a copy of an article on tax avoidance and taxpayer rights, debated by Pidduck; ask me for a copy.

·       The cancellation of a contract is not always simple: http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZASCA/2022/162.html

Property news:

·       This week brought a stand-off between the Master, Cape Town and the Registrar of Deeds Pietermaritzburg: in KZN it is practice to obtain a 42.2 endorsement on sales of all properties from estates, including those emanating from 18.3 estates. The Master in Cape Town does not provide such an endorsement as he holds that this is beyond his powers.

·       Be wary of bringing an application for an order, declaring a via ex necessitate by way of application! http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZASCA/2022/172.html (courtesy of advocate Crots)

·       If your sectional unit has a balcony which you are obliged to maintain: can the body corporate impose levies for the maintenance thereof? (Courtesy of STBB) http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZAWCHC/2022/234.html

Property   

Trends:

·       Ooba reports a 117% y-o-y increase in bond applications for new residential developments: think lock up and go. One of the factors driving such purchases is said to be zero transfer duty. It is true that purchases of such properties from bigger developers does not carry transfer duty, owing to the purchase price being vatable. On the upside this means that the tax is funded from your bond, but the downside is that VAT runs at 15% whilst transfer duty is a fraction of that. A problem with statistics, such as the startling growth above, is an example, drawn from the same source, which says that such bonds, from KZN, increased by 1120% – a dearth in applications in the previous year (think Covid) skews the analysis. 

·       Nationally, residential building construction statistics show a decline but, on a provincial basis, the Western Cape outperformed the other provinces.

·       Residential rentals have grown by 2.9% y-o-y, the strongest performance since Q1 2020. Top of the log is the Northern Cape with a rental growth of 8.1% in Q3. Tenant arrears are improving.

·       The FNB Building Confidence Index slipped from 34 to 33 points – stable at a historically low level.

·       For those interested, the SAPOA research reports are a valuable source of retail, office vacancy, and such information: https://sapoa.org.za/research-reports/

On another tack:

·       Zimbabwe is wavering on the compensation deal concluded with former white farmers two years ago. It twice missed agreed-to payments and is trying to raise the money from outside funders. It now wishes to postpone payment further (and the government will issue US $-denominated Treasury bonds to help fund the payment. One wonders who will buy these?)

·       The Land Claims Court has ruled that removing grazing rights is equivalent to an eviction from land.

Economy

Despite our political roil, there is the usual curate’s egg of good and bad that we are becoming used to:

·       South Africa’s economy is set to be the slowest growing of all major African economies, as our GDP is projected to grow by a mere 1% next year – so says Oxford Economics Africa.

·       Nedbank reports a R4,3bn trade account deficit for October, the first in two years of monthly surpluses, driven by a contraction in exports of some 17% as well as a weakening in the price of export commodities.

·       New vehicle sales in SA, an indicator of growth, rose by 18.2%, its 11th consecutive month of y-o-y growth. This growth was assisted by the price of new vehicles rising more slowly than our headline inflation – as may be seen from the following graph:

·       Old Mutual predicts a strengthening of our Rand to R15.20/$US by the end of next year.

·       Tourist traffic to South Africa is picking up.

Kissing Ass (verb, not noun): Cyril has called for the reinvigoration of trade with England. I could not help but wonder whether this was an act of desperation, being polite, or the return of focus to our old trading partners.

Tax: 

·       SARS has announced that it will auto-register taxpayers, based on information drawn from third-party providers. This is going to be interesting.

·       If you knowingly rid yourself or others of assets in order to frustrate the collection of tax, you will be held personally liable under the Tax Administration Act: https://www.moneyweb.co.za/mymoney/moneyweb-tax/important-clarity-on-sarss-powers-to-collect-tax/

Business     

The Eskom diesel shortage was widely published with dire predictions for a dark festive season. What is interesting from this is that Eskom would typically burn 50m litres of diesel in two weeks, an indicator of the dire state of our affairs. Some years back I looked down upon African countries where major cities were kept in power by a multitude of generators running from parking sites: we are there. 

Incipient demise? Spar has been much in the news of late with very negative reports on its business model, the ethics of its management and so on. One wonders whether franchisees will want to board this ship in future.

The luridly-reported-on travel pass ended up being much less of an imposition than one would have thought: https://www.sars.gov.za/wp-content/uploads/Ops/Forms/TC01-Traveller-Card-External-Form.pdf

A rout? Judging from a parliamentary question, the response highlighted skills lost to Eskom and Portnet; a great number of artisans engineers and technicians were lost by them over the past three years.
In the same vein – cash-strapped provincial health departments have so scaled back on community service pharmacy posts, that there are not enough positions to meet the demand therefor by pharmacists. The fact is that money and not need determines where we will be going in the future and those with skills will need to seek employment elsewhere. This can already be seen with the attempts to force doctors to provider services where they would not want to practise.

Perhaps not that newsworthy? Sanlam and Absa announced the creation of a black-owned investment manager with more than R1trn in assets under management – courtesy of BEE. This was first announced in October last year but has seemingly not attracted much attention.

Our state pays its domestic servants R14299 per month.

Comment

I quite enjoyed the following extract from an article on a comparison between Keynesian and Hayekian economics written by McLeod:

Business bulletins are less original than rugby captains in post-match interviews. Business is lobbying for more government spending to “create jobs”. Analysts are begging for less government spending to limit inflation. Every minister wants more of the pie, and more of some pie they want someone else to start baking. Every individual wants more for themselves. Pundits all assume that government has the panache to perform this exercise in central planning, even if they disagree on implementation.  

The intensity of our contemporary race laws is far less economically deleterious than what came before, but it is destructive in its own right. Insisting that businesses must consider extraneous racial factors when procuring goods and services, appointing staff and selecting board members, impinges upon the primary purpose of business. (Drawn from v Staden)

My old man was a teacher/missionary. He had a dislike of politicians which I never quite understood, but which understanding is growing by the day. Consider the following:

Take the Walus parole affair. I have little doubt that his delayed release on parole was politically inspired. Yet, today, daily, we have South African politicians killed by their political counterparts/competitors. Are such slayings less noteworthy because they were not ANC leaders?

Minister Gordhan is quoted as saying that the destruction/theft of state infrastructure should be regarded as treason. One tends to agree – yet how does this differ from the theft of money by politicians intended for the betterment of state infrastructure?

In each of the above, one’s measure of the severity of the crime, is coloured by one’s take on politics.

Lighten up                         

Nathaniel on politicians – Dis die goed wat ons grootmaak wat ons opvreet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAEgyVm-P_0  Please listen from minute 3.19 through to 5.22.

IN SA parties are run by greedy people—Alec Hogg Oct 2018

Contributed by:
Daan Steenkamp Attorneys
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