Daan Steenkamp's Snippets

Gentle Reader,

So, how did your off-road bike trip to the Kaokoveld go, some ask me.

Yes: playing with the Big Boys is a preoccupation that should be reserved for young men only. Suffice it to say that I returned reasonably whole, save that my sphincter is permanently lined with f/year-rings and bearing a wooden tortoise memento, bestowed upon me by my co-riders… A rough, hot, dirty consumer of purpose-made motorbikes and riders. Eccentric, hard people.

On my return home, I went out on a mountain bike ride, with, in a manner of speaking, the girls. This fun-event cost me a stay in hospital, a couple of days’ memory, my boyish good looks and a ruined ass.

Overall, the past three weeks is permanently etched in my top and bottom ends.

However, I assure you that beer lubricates memory and is a great enhancer of experience; buy me some and ask. 

Daan

Practice News:

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Hard news:

Economy

The sums involved in dodgy and dishonest deals brokered by our political incumbents in government are staggering: just those in Eskom are said to amount to R178bn; easily enough to vaccinate everyone in South Africa against CV 19. Then there is the R500bn lost by the state during the Zuma reign, R49bn channelled to the Gupta family and R115bn worth of malpractice across state bodies. Remarkably, those under whose watch this happened, still govern. 

A Zim scenario here? Nah: Eunomix Business & Economics predict state failure only by 2030: https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/opinion/columnists/2021-05-31-busi-mavuso-sliding-down-the-global-league-rankings/ 

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The talk of the day centres around Covid deaths and the cost thereof. Statnews tells of a suspected 6,9m people, worldwide, having died of this disease – twice the officially reported number. There is talk of Covid deaths rivalling the Spanish flu at global level. Voxeu gives the cost thereof – do look: https://voxeu.org/article/social-and-economic-costs-covid-19

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There is talk of a gas find in central South Africa and a significant gas find in the Outeniqua Basin, 175km off our South coast.

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News24 reported on our Reserve Bank investigating the launch of a digital Rand which should be completed next year. The idea is that your flow of money will be tracked by blockchain technology, reducing fraud and making it easy to trace transactions.

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Whilst on our currency: Counterpoint estimates the fair value of our R/US $ exchange rate to be R13.50, with a potential overshoot level of R11! 

Business

Vaccinated yet? Tourist vaccination has arrived: if you go to the Maldives, Alaska, the US (New York and Los Angeles) and Thailand you can be vaccinated at the airport where you land. Thinking about it, the cost of vaccination is marginally more than the cost of the taxi to your hotel.

If you do not hold a passport, you might not get one soon: Home Affairs is reportedly in a disarray with a months-long backlog.

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The once empowered, always empowered mining dispute is finally before our courts in that the Minerals Council SA took on the state on the thresholds of black ownership in mining right applications. Wait for it.

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In the old days, institutions such as the Ways were legally protected against competition. Our Post-Office seeks to protect itself from courier companies by preventing such companies from delivering parcels under 1 kg in terms of existing legislation in the Postal Services Act. Interestingly, the SAPO controlled rapid delivery Docex system, is probably also under threat – deliveries via this system to our offices have waned in preference to courier deliveries, which are simply faster.

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Two new South African universities are set to be built: the first, focusing on science on the East Rand and the second, in Hammanskraal, focusing on crime detection!

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Much more germane to most of us, is news that Apple will shortly be fielding a broader range of laptops/desktops with faster processors, new designs and approved connectivity to replace Intel chips and leapfrog rivals. Wonderful machines, but restrictive.

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It is well-known that few South Africans have adequate provision for retirement. A bill, allowing pension-fund-holders to secure loans against pension funds is on the cards. Whatever the (de-) merits thereof, old-timers will recall that our state of yore ran house-purchase schemes secured by one’s pension.

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Redefine Properties reports that workers are returning to offices based on anecdotal evidence of traffic increases. Key industries, amongst which I gather the Reserve Bank and Eskom find themselves, are reportedly considering full office deployment, once staff have been vaccinated. 

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GoLegal has reported on a proposed changes to small merger notification which is set to come into effect today: https://www.golegal.co.za/commission-small-merger-notification/

Property

Reawakening:

  • Absa’s Homeowner Sentiment Index was published on Thursday and showed a fourth quarter of consecutive improvement, ending at 82%, the highest since the introduction of this measure of consumer sentiment. Sentiment towards buying rather than renting has increased on the back of lower prices, interest rate affordability and semigration to the outer suburbs.
  • A MoneyWeb interview suggests that platteland house prices are picking up, owing to the perception that one can work from a home which is cheaper and safer than in the big city suburbs. For this reason also, security villages are doing well.

Reserve prices in execution sales: a De Rebus article on these is available at http://www.derebus.org.za/unlocking-the-door-to-reserve-prices-in-sales-of-execution/

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What happens when a property is sold twice – who has the stronger right? In principle, assuming that both sales are valid, the right of the purchaser who purchased first, prevails. Look at http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZAGPPHC/2021/196.html

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What happens when a person, married in community of property, sells his/their property without the consent of his spouse? http://www.derebus.org.za/selling-property-without-spousal-consent-what-are-the-consequences/

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So, if everyone is working from home, what tax deductions can you claim and what are the downsides? Take a look: https://www.cliffedekkerhofmeyr.com/en/news/publications/2021/Tax/Tax-Alert-20-May-2021-Potential-tax-deductions-available-for-employees-making-use-of-home-offices-during-the-pandemic.html

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The EAAB is not covering itself in glory as may be seen from criticism on the latest exam chaos:  https://propertyprofessional.co.za/2021/05/27/exam-chaos-highlights-eaab-ineffectiveness/

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Lastly: one can rightly, in the light of our municipal service delivery chaos, ask whether a different form of local governance is not called for. An article by BusinessTech deals peripherally with this issue: https://businesstech.co.za/news/government/494897/court-case-takes-aim-at-broken-municipalities-in-south-africa-wants-independent-control-of-rates-and-fees/

Comment

Merit: on Thursday our Public Service and Administration Minister delivered a speech in which he called for accountability, transparency and, crucially, improved performance within our developmental state. The problem with this is that many government departments are headed by political appointees and our tech and education is increasingly dealt with, not by the most able, but by those who met with “transformation” objectives. The PC take on things has permeated much of our political and social discourse, and one should question whether we need those approved of or the best, to head up development. An example, quoted to me recently, dealt with the uptake of students into top universities: those who were PC and admitted to study on that basis could prove but a fraction of the ability fielded up by (shall we simply say this) top white male candidates. Bloomberg published a write-up on this recently, but this is, regrettably, not available for non-subscribers. The fact is that meritocracy is dead.

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Increasingly, the delivery of services by municipalities is challenged. The take-up of those, to whom services in towns are provided, has increased manyfold over the past 20 years. Yet, there has been no equivalent increase in ratepayers. Whilst the necessity of this is understood, the defaults on service delivery by third tier government has reached an all-time high owing to funding issues and incompetence: the result is a value destruction that will, unless arrested, fundamentally weaken businesses active within those areas. These issues must be addressed and failure to do so can well lead to what is discreetly referred to as the Zim option.

Quotables

‘Learn to ride a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live.’

Mark Twain

Lighten up

A guy sees his mother-in-law riding a bicycle. “Where are you going?” he asks.

“To the cemetery” she replies.

“And who is going to return the bike?”

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An engineering student rides up to his fellow engineering student on a bicycle.

His buddy asks him “Where did you get the bicycle?”

“Crazy story! A beautiful blonde rode up to me in this bike, got off, stripped off all her clothes, and told me “take what you want!””

“Good choice, the clothes probably wouldn’t have fit anyways…”

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I used to pray every night for a bicycle.

Then I realized the Lord doesn’t work like that. So, I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.

Contributed by:
Daan Steenkamp Attorneys
LinkedIn Profile

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