Daan Steenkamp's Snippets

The Military Ombud this week ruled against a soldier, who had been arguing with the SADF for ten years, over its requirement that a physical training instructor must be capable of swimming 25m, on the basis that this prerequisite was unfair and invalid…as not everyone was able to master this requirement (you must love this guy). Would this be a matter of principle or because he had not been able to learn to swim in ten years? 25m is one length of a pool!

Hard news:

  • Can the residents of a municipality obtain a court order, restraining Eskom from reducing its bulk electricity supply to that municipality, given the catastrophic result to essential services? Yes: the relationship between Eskom and the municipalities it supplies is more than merely a contractual one, regulated by contract, and it must make reasonable efforts to comply with IRFA: http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZASCA/2022/10.html
  • Does a maintenance order prescribe after 3 years? This depends on whether such an order is a civil judgement. Yes, a maintenance order is a court order, and it therefore only prescribes after 30 years: http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZASCA/2022/9.html
  • The following case is quite interesting, as the contractual exclusion of liability prevented a claimant from claiming damages against a contractor whose employee had stolen the goods to be delivered: http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZASCA/2022/7.html

Economy

ReviewTheFuel# is a petition started by the AA for a review (read lowering) of the fuel price structure to take pressure off consumers. Fanciful: our state is virtually broke and just this tax raises R85bn which is solely needed by those who govern for adventures such as BIG and NHI. Even better, our fuel tax is easy to collect and is seen as redistributive; only the rich drive alone and they can/must pay.

Compare this tax to the SABC tax/levy: it is costly to collect, has a low rate (heaven forbid that everyman should not be able to watch TV) and has a high evasion rate.

One of the primary causes of our economic woe is that salaries increased (as they must, right) but productivity not. The result is that South Africans become increasingly uncompetitive pricewise. Look at the following graph:

The authors promised me (hand on father’s will) to have a graph depicting real wage growth, compared to productivity, for South Africa ready by the end of next month.

The paper, referred to in the following somewhat dated link, attempts to answer why we have this problem (see page vii): https://www.unido.org/sites/default/files/2009-04/Productivity_performance_in_DCs_South_Africa_0.pdf

I chanced on the following interesting snippet (son who knows everything) – the authors hold that inheritance taxes do little to mitigate the extreme wealth inequality in a society: https://www.nber.org/papers/w29693

Business

Allied to the topic above, is a report on a Debtbusters report that debt counselling has increased by 18%, compared to a year ago. It says that consumers supplement their earnings with unsecured credit and that the average loan size has increased by 45%. I am not sure how accurate this can be (in fact I’m almost sure that this cannot be correct, nevertheless…), given the nature of the business of the author, but that institution holds that, for those taking home more than R20k per month, the total debt to annual net income ratio, is now 146%, and that some two thirds of take-home pay is required to service their debt requirements.

To supplement income, one needs a side-hustle? Be careful of competing with your employer: https://www.webberwentzel.com/News/Pages/conflict-of-interest-moonlighting-and-the-duty-of-good-faith.aspx

If this does not work, ask for a raise? Be sure to ask personally: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/19485506211063259

Finally, it was reported that UCT has been requested by its insurer to sue SANParks over its failure to deploy helicopters timeously to fight the fire that occurred in April last year (and which caused extensive damage to the University) owing to a lapse of its contract with the choppers! Think Parliament buildings?

Property

Loos (FNB) says that smaller, neighbourhood shopping centres which supply high-frequency essential items spends, such as food and groceries, will continue to outperform regional shopping centres. He expects retail property to achieve a positive capital growth of about 1% for this year – a real decline, when adjusted for inflation.

A R1.3bn residential development, within walking distance of the Sandton Gautrain station, is in planning.

Saying and doing: our Tax Ombud has prepared a draft summary of your rights and entitlements as a taxpayer. Note, not SARS. Item 2 thereof says that we are entitled to timely service from SARS: when last did you attempt to argue with SARS over Transfer Duty? Escalation upon escalation. Http://www.taxombud.gov.za/Documents/Tax%20Compendium%20Draft.pdf

All together now: this week our Deeds Office’s backup generators would not start as the batteries were kaput. You would be pleased to know that all SG’s and DO’s backup generator batteries will now be replaced… Truly, there is nothing like central planning!

Comment

Euthanasia, lately termed the right to self-death, will be pronounced upon by the Constitutional Court this year. The difficulty is that the religious oppose such practice on the basis that life is god-given – which imposes their beliefs on others. Our Health Professions Council will also oppose this on the basis that those who take the Hippocratic oath should not be willing to kill patients. Why should these takes bind an individual? Whatever. Anyone who has seen a family member degenerate into little but a breathing body, cannot have sympathy with these pious/moral reservations. 

Contrast with this our Law Reform Commission calling for comment on its proposals to curb the financial burden of medico-legal claims against the Fiscus. The reason for its concern is that it seeks a way of dealing with medical claims without court involvement, which is time-consuming and expensive.

 Perhaps that Commission should take up and recommend on euthanasia as it would have the opportunity of debating the topic with the public, which a court cannot do. 

The debate on whether South Africa should be regarded as a failed state has started, with opinion seemingly that we are not there yet. The fact is that the reconstruction of society in South Africa had led to infrastructure extended to include but overstretched in the process. The following neglect of our structures of third tier governance has reached the point that the damage caused is virtually irreversible. This has now meaningfully impacted on business decisions and human settlement patterns, which, in turn, affect property and business values which trickle down to the-man-in-the-street.

Son number 2 had obliged a childhood fancy of mine by gifting me a book on Greek mythology. We use words innocent of their origin; all the words following had meaning in classical Greece, with quite elaborate stories attached:

Python, lovers Psyche and Eros, Zepher(us), Europa, Harmony(ia), Asclepius (he of the snake-staff – think doctors) and his children Hygenia and Panacea, Aurora, Hyacinthus, Echo and Pygmalion.

An example, which may be known to many of us, is that of Arachne, a weaver who beat the goddess Athena at weaving, and who, being miffed, turned Arachne into a spider so that she might weave evermore.

https://www.theoi.com/greek-mythology/encyclopedia-p.html

Quotables

“It’s good to be here… but at 98, it’s good to be anywhere.”

Burns

Lighten up…for over sixties:

“What’s safe s*x.”

“When he/she doesn’t know your name and address.” Purloined from The Idler

I asked my 91-year-old father, “Dad, what were your good old days?” His thoughtful reply: “When I wasn’t good, and I wasn’t old.”

A week after John bought a bull, he complained to his friend, “All that bull does is eat grass. Won’t even look at a cow.” “Take him to the vet,” his friend suggested. The next week, John is much happier. “The vet gave him some pills, and the bull serviced all of my cows!” he told his pal. “Then he broke through the fence and bred with all my neighbour’s cows! He’s like a machine!” “What kind of pills were they?” asked the friend. “I don’t know, but they’ve got a peppermint taste.”

Contributed by:
Daan Steenkamp Attorneys
LinkedIn Profile

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

2 − 1 =