Daan's Snippets

Economy

Price gouging: price gouging is wrong, right? Price gouging is driven by greed and, especially in emergencies, is simply morally wrong. Politicians love such laws as they appear to be defending people suffering from a setback and makes for happy voters – tantamount to political theatre. Economically such legislation may not be such a great idea: such restrictions blocks new supply from arriving in order to rectify the imbalance between supply and demand. Your local supermarket might well choose to not to supply hand sanitisers if it can only buy them at high price. Who suffers?

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffreydorfman/2016/09/23/price-gouging-laws-are-good-politics-but-bad-economics/

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Covid-19:

  • the Bank of America forecasts on US unemployment saw a spike up from 3.5% in February to 15.6% with a concomitant 10.4% decline in GDP – almost five times more severe than the post-war average.
  • JPMorgan has forecast a 7% contraction in our GDP this year. BNP Paribas predicts 4%.
  • Both Eskom and SAA must be taking a beating.

So, we have already had the bad news; what happens next?

  • Not much has been said on the subject but it is probable that the host of day-earners in South Africa will necessitate some return to normality after the lockdown.
  • The stock shock is probably over but the tempo and extent of financial recovery is uncertain.
  • With any luck, Mboweni might gain the political space to pursue much-needed structural reforms (his hallelujah-moment may well be short lived). If nothing changes, we will have wasted a decent crisis.
  • The Atlantic suggests that the children born now will be labelled as part of Generation – C

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Most of us are (temporarily) about a quarter poorer than we were a few weeks ago: the managers of our pension schemes urge a stiff upper lip and the wolves earnestly address us with platitudes on these issues (with a pop-up that the answer is contained in his book, which is going for a song).

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SARS collected 5.3% more in the tax year ending in February than it did in the year before: undoubtedly owing to a change in leadership away from our hard-working Mr Moyane.

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Our Reserve Bank launched itself into our bond market to prop up the market; oh yes, this is not QE but the action of a buyer of last resort. When the market refuses to take one’s paper, disaster beckons.

Business

Our unions want a raise: for once I suspect that they will find little sympathy from the public at large and, one hopes, our courts.

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An ongoing issue with construction is the extortion and site hijackings performed by the construction mafia. The SAPS and SA Forum for Engineering have reached an agreement that future perpetrators shall be brought order. One can but hope.

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Stress kills, right? Perhaps not; take a look for yourself: https://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend?

Property

It is true that opportunity in the property market beckons and the enterprising agent should capitalise upon this. It is quite probable that there will be a dramatic rise in mortgage delinquency which, even if ameliorated by a payment holiday, will see a sell-off tsunami of property.

Banks have recently been moving toward 100% loans in the residential sector, which development will probably be halted in its tracks owing to the beating that one expects banks to take, given that many selloffs will be at under projected value.

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Residential leases: may a landlord use the deposit to defray rentals (without terminating the rental contact) if the tenant does not pay? Possibly, but; take a look for yourself: https://propertyprofessional.co.za/2020/04/02/rental-deposits-and-tenants-in-arrears/

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A range of issues from blacklisting through to non-payment of levies  is discussed in the following article (I’m slightly wary of the writer – see my snippets of last week): https://propertyprofessional.co.za/2020/04/02/answers-to-lockdown-rental-questions/

A more practical take on similar issues (including existing sales/purchases) comes from https://www.property360.co.za/news/lockdown-now-what-45699327

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Reits (the darlings of yore) have called for a temporary relaxation of the tax rules that compel them to pay out 75% of their taxable income to investors in order that they be allowed to hold back income to strengthen their balance sheets. Punished for being too bold? Until last year, most of the counters were paying out 100% of their income through dividends. Then, bold in order to attract investment, today, brave.

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An interesting take on squatter cities: a Ted-Talk which suggests that we should see these as part of our society and move on: https://www.ted.com/talks/robert_neuwirth_the_hidden_world_of_shadow_cities?

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Delectus personae: an interesting argument came up in a recent SCA case, i.e. that a lease could not be ceded as the rights and obligations contained therein were personal to the tenant. Take a look: http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZASCA/2020/24.pdf

Practice

LexisNexis offers free access to its legal library (legislation and practical guidance) until the end of this month: http://www.ghostdigest.com/articles/free-lexisnexis-library-access/55963

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Wither the RAF? The attorneys who took on the RAF have lost their case – with the judge commenting that the case appeared to be more about the retention of lucrative practices than the general good. It is predicted that the RABS will be abandoned, and it has become clear that our current model cannot be sustained. I asked a shrink her opinion on lawyer-less claims for compensation by laymen. Her opinion was firmly to support assistance by attorneys for various reasons.

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The mora interest rate has been dropped to 9.75%; R397.

Sections 2 (3) and 2 A of the Wills Act provides that wills, which do not comply with the prescribed formalities, may be accepted as the will of a deceased by a court. An article, arguing that a court must be convinced by the applicant of his case and may not act mero motu  is available on the net, in Afrikaans.
https://www.litnet.co.za/vonnisbespreking-artikels-23-en-2a-van-die-wet-op-testamente-7-van-1953-deel-weer-die-kollig/

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Bored? There are several free online courses which you might want to consider:

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Judge Hlope is, again, in the limelight for the wrong reasons: https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-03-31-wc-judge-president-john-hlophe-in-new-storm-over-court-order-issued-in-private-chambers/

Quotables

A bore is a man who, when you ask him how he is, tells you.

Taylor

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Boredom is the legitimate kingdom of the philanthropic. 

Virginia Woolf

Comment

An interesting stat on our state of emergency: today’s Witness reported 7 deaths in South Africa owing to Covid-19… and 8 deaths owing to our police’s handling of the situation. Last night’s news reported on SAP stats showing that the lockdown resulted in 78,000 calls emanating from gender-based violence. Go figure.

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Driven by panic? Our state has suddenly found enough money to house and feed the homeless; remarkable. It would rather have the poor die of hunger than illness.

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It is an ill wind that blows nobody any good… I cannot help but wonder whether institutions that bury people have increased their coffin stock? (Die een se dood is n ander se brood). Lockdown education is burgeoning. China reportedly has a divorce spike – whoopee! Regrettably, I have not seen a run on wills!

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Whilst payment holidays are being discussed and so on, the gesture by Business Partners (Rupert) to provide R1bn in cheap loans has been decried by the EFF as opportunism that leads to dependency-building and will entrap borrowers. Faced with a choice of immediate insolvency or a cheap loan to tide one over, what would you do?

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The French Great Fear of 1789 was premised partly on a famine plot. The forerunner term for our current situation is termed the Great Madness. Consider the reality of Americans buying guns and ammo…really?

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Pandor says that Africa is last in line for ventilators, which will be to the detriment of humanity. Really? If you were a Prime Minister and had a choice between saving the lives of your own taxpaying citizens and saving the lives of others, in a humanitarian gesture, what would your choice be?

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Jugaad is the Indian term for making do: one example which attracted my attention some three years ago was replacing the US $30k device for filtering butt-fat for re- injection into lips and so on with a flour sifter. That bent of making do has come to the fore in the AgVa, an Indian-designed toaster-sized ventilator priced at $2k: you have to take your hat off to these guys, they have an ability to get the essence of things without all the scientific mumbo-jumbo.

Lighten up

Boredom is when you check the fridge over and over hoping that something amazing will appear.

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Boredom is … a vital problem for the moralist, since half the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it. 

Bertrand Russell

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 Did perpetual happiness in the Garden of Eden maybe get so boring that eating the apple was justified?

Palahniuk

Contributed by:
Daan Steenkamp Attorneys
LinkedIn Profile

1 COMMENT

  1. One topic conspicuous by its absence from news broadcasters in SA since the Covid-19 pandemic is the many billions (in fact, I think it is in the trillions) stolen and lost to the State by State Capture, theft, corruption.. it goes on and on….
    Just how useful would all that money be right now to help and feed the poor, provide medical care for everyone, help to purchase much needed medical supplies, and generally aid in keeping the economy afloat? And to date not one single successful prosecution. While I think the government has done a commendable job so far in fighting the pandemic, I would like to hear some contrition for the money lost.

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