Daan's Snippets

Gentle Reader,

Herewith my first edition following on a revised intent driven by a change in practice: I intend publishing primarily property and related news. This will include related topics such as economics, business, commercial and estate news.

Daan

~

Practice News:

·       much has been made of the DNA evidence backlog – an interesting article is available on Saflii on the evidential weight that may be attached to just DNA evidence: http://www.saflii.org/za/journals/PER/2021/61.html

·       two years ago, the North Gauteng High Court set aside the findings of the arms deal commission. Two judges who formed part of that commission, appealed this judgement. This was the finding: “Even if this Court was inclined to be excessively generous, there is no basis by which there are prospects of success nor is there a point of law upon which the disposition of this case rests and which requires the attention of a higher court.” Eish, this on an application by judges!

·       The gentleman, who set out Parliament on fire, refused to attend his trial. What! This man is a prisoner and is not free to go and stay where he pleases. If his presence is sought by a judge, he should be brought irrespective of his perception of what is proper (in this case a lack of a kettle, TV and so on). I cannot conceive that a court allowed this BS.

Hard news:

·       the Divorce Act [sections 6 (1)(a) and 6 (3)] vests parents with the requisite legal standing to claim maintenance on behalf of dependent adult children after divorce: http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZASCA/2022/113.html

·       matrimonial assets, secreted away in a trust, is often the subject of disputes on divorces as the spouse is technically not the owner of the asset. A case on the issue may be found at: http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZASCA/2022/116.html

·       derivative misconduct in an employment situation may be described as a failure to report the suspicious conduct of a co-worker. May you fire such an employee? Yes: https://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/607/230770.html

·       May you sequestrate your ex for failing to pay maintenance? Yes: https://www.dupwest.co.za/NewsResources/NewsArticle.aspx?ArticleID=4519

·       you cannot have a practitioner struck from the roll unless you obtain a report from the LPC: https://www.iol.co.za/pretoria-news/news/only-regulator-can-ask-legal-practitioner-to-be-removed-from-roll-says-judge-2167c85a-a129-4fa5-88a5-b5e8a94ab69f

Property

General news:

IOL flighted a write-up which you may find interesting in terms of what purchasers want from property when they buy: https://www.iol.co.za/property/buyers-seek-new-developments-or-homes-that-offer-these-features-23c34e6a-9741-4733-aed4-4ecedb47330a

On the same theme – Loos describes the rise in residential building plans, passed and completed in the Western Cape, as meteoric – accounting for more than one third of the total building plans passed nationally. 

IOL published an article on black women’s rights to own land, stating that the previous denial of women’s rights to own land in traditional areas was created by the racist and sexist Apartheid regime. Technically the writer is correct – the Land Tenure Rights Act did prevent such ownership. Whilst I know little of the topic, I would guess that this Act reflected the reigning attitude of traditional leaders and probably the black community at the time, making this, quite probably, a reflection of what was regarded as proper in black communities.

Fortress published results which are encouraging: vacancies in its logistics portfolio is at a record low and its overall vacancies stand at 5.4%.

Customary land ownership prevails particularly in the Transkei – the following map, drawn from the Daily Friend illustrates this:

Our house price growth has grown at the same rate as incomes and rent, keeping affordability stable. In most other countries, affordability has deteriorated – look:

Conveyancing news:

The Deeds Registries Amendment Bill will place the Minister of Agriculture and Land Reform in direct charge of technical decisions in Deeds Office practice and will allow her to prescribe the collection of information regarding race, gender, and citizenship. If passed, undoubtedly conveyancers will have to provide this.

Many “informal” share block schemes exist: the deeming provisions of the Share Block Control Act would make the provisions thereof applicable to dealings with a share which gives one use of a property owned by a company. The latest on the topic is: https://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZAWCHC/2022/141.html

Despite the non-compliance with the contractual arrangements in a lease, that lease can be renewed by the conduct of the owner: http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZAWCHC/2022/157.html

A discussion on conduct amounting to repudiation, an agreement to agree, the requirements for an interdict, the distinction between praedial and personal servitudes and their creation, is discussed in this case in which a servitude was (almost) agreed upon but never registered: http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZAGPJHC/2022/544.html

Title deeds are lost often and replacing a lost title used to be a snip. The problem was (so it was said) that many titles were illegally obtained, and it was decided to make replacement of titles more secure – the current process of requiring the publication of such an intent adds a grand or so and three weeks to the process. I ventured to ask the clerk handling these at our deeds office how many objections had been received against title deed requests being made and the answer was none, during the tenure of the person then at that desk. One wonders whether the imposition of a sanction against the conveyancer signing the documentation would not have been more cost effective. 

Economy

South African’s trade surplus has grown, primarily owing to a decline in imports.

China’s Yuan is on a losing streak.

Fundamentally speaking, South Africa cannot compete with in the global growth as our economy has underperformed the rest of the world; our economy is growing at an average of 1.5% whilst the long-term world average is 2.6%.

There has been much talk about wealth tax to be levied to fund BIG plans and, of late, a relief package to ease the cost of living. A very interesting insight I came across was the following: we will need some R280bn to R600bn annually to fund just the BIG scheme. If we raised VAT from 15% to 17% this would raise only 50bn a year. The fact of the matter is that we simply don’t have the income that is required to fund such a scheme. The fact is that only 18% of our working age population pays personal income tax – one of the lowest ratios worldwide – the wealthy simply does not have that kind of money to redistribute/uplift the balance of our society.

Whilst on pipe dreams:

·       Mantashe plans to create a new state power company that will take over three power plants, that are set to be decommissioned, and to turn these into gas-fired plants. 

·       Our Treasury has allocated 30% more to build infrastructure.

These may well be great plans, but one wonders where the money to pay for these will come from when the current allocations are insufficient.

Business

Addressing gender imbalance is the rage of late: a report by BusinessDay sought to explain the inequalities amongst listed company CEOs (women still occupy just 19% of top finance posts in South African companies and 8% of CEO posts. Of the latter 78% were white and 14% black. A report by PwC suggests that the disparity is partly to blame on skills shortages amongst women.

South Africans have long been stymied by delivery problems when dealing with Amazon orders. Amazon is coming to South Africa. Amen.

The CSIR and our Special Investigating Unit will be collaborating on the use of technology to curb fraud corruption and cyber-related crimes in South Africa.

South African wages have, for many years, outstripped inflation. Judging by the following graph, this year remuneration increases and inflation have coincided:

EE changes came into operation this week: https://businesstech.co.za/news/business/621407/strict-new-workplace-transformation-rules-coming-for-south-africa-what-you-need-to-know/

Whilst on such – small and medium-sized enterprises will be allowed to work together to negotiate collective purchasing deals with larger suppliers and to collaborate on pricing and production agreements in terms of exemptions from the current anti-collusion provisions of our competition legislation. Wait for it.

Dirigisme: Minister Patel is seeking to protect local tyre manufacturers against cheaper imports; our tyre manufacturers obviously cannot compete against cheaper tyres manufactured elsewhere and transported here (we are not allowed to ask why). Part of the problem with the protection sought is that he is considering is that the manufacturing cartel, which he seeks to protect, apparently also imports about 80% of the tyres that they sell and apparently want those tyres excluded from the tariffs that will be imposed.

Finally, the failings of our national airline is well known and has been a source of much learned writing, speculation, and a sinkhole for much state money. Despite government promises to resuscitate this national dodo, our minister has now embarked on a path that will further weaken local airlines by allowing Emirates to access popular regional destinations across South Africa via a codeshare agreement. Amazing.

Comment

Our newspapers ran a whole series on VBS recovering debt from Nummawan and his inability to pay this (you would note that our most famous litigator ever, has now, despite his impecuniosity and illness, laid charges against Downer, which the NPA has rejected as an abuse of process) leading to the attachment of his “kraal”. You might recall that, when questioned on the cost of this development some years back, he said that he had bonded the property to VBS for the debt incurred by him. For those in the know, it was then clear that this was BS, as the property could not be registered in his name, it being situate within land owned on behalf of the tribal authorities. One wonders who would have the b@lls to buy that property.

Inequality can be eradicated? Marginal Revolution ran an article on this, stating that Mao had virtually succeeding in homogenising the Chinese society, destroying the elite’s capital some 70 years ago. Strangely enough the Chinese elite is back. Human capital such as knowledge, skills and values are transmitted within families and that social capital survived the revolution. I loved the heading: Cream rises to the top. Perhaps committed socialists need to take heed.

Doing business with the State? Rebosis, our first black majority-owned and managed property fund listed on the JSE, has entered into business rescue. One of the reasons for its financial distress is reportedly the prolonged delays in rental payments from government tenants. Our state would promote black businessmen as part of its upliftment intent, but its own inbuilt failings condemn those it would assist to uncertainty. This is not a new theme as many black businessmen have walked this path.

Lighten up

Contributed by:
Daan Steenkamp Attorneys
LinkedIn Profile

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

nineteen + 10 =