Daan Steenkamp's Snippets

News:

  • Tech4Law published a much more believable article on attorneys’ earnings – look: https://www.tech4law.co.za/business/the-lawyer/so-how-much-do-attorneys-earn/
  • BusinessTech reports that a new marriage act is set to be published and which would introduce an omnibus/single marriage policy encompassing equitable treatment in respect of customary, foreign, Muslim, and civil marriages. High time.
  • Oracle launched its global Legal Practice Management System and invites you to join it on a journey into the future…fancy some PMS?
  • The RAF has reportedly lodged a claim with the LPC regarding overpayment by itself to some 102 legal practices…
  • AYO Technologies is set to have a legal go at FNB for its decision to shut down that company’s accounts. Such a strategy is debatable – one cannot really force a bank to keep one’s accounts, can one? It is one thing to rant on about unfairness in public but if one asks for a court order, and a public response follows, the result might not be flattering. After all, one assumes that any bank would want desperately to retain large company custom, from which it would only shy away if sorely pressed.?

Hard news:

Economy

Aside from the mining sector, high on a commodity-driven boom, our agricultural sector emerged from the pandemic relatively unscathed: the latest Stats SA figures showed a production expansion of 13.1%.

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Our Reserve Bank losing its bite? 

Switch Auctions are proving once again to be the ideal opportunity for NT (National Treasury) to shoot themselves in the foot. Unfortunately, this is having increasing fallout in terms of credibility with perplexed bond holders and asset managers becoming increasingly exasperated at the issue.

Intellidex

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Somewhat distressing is a report by Business Insider to the effect that some 8,500,000 L of fuel were stolen from Transnet pipelines last year. Amazing.

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A shortage of semiconductor chips could impinge severely on motor vehicle manufacture. It appears that when the motor vehicle industry slashed production, and therefore its take-off of chips, those manufacturers sold elsewhere. Now that production is picking up, motor vehicle manufacturers cannot source chips quickly enough.

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The South African Government News Agency reports that the Durban Port will reclaim its place as the best performing port in Africa – because of it being part of the state Reconstruction and Recovery Plan. Talk is of a “multi-party” work team. What the blurb neglects to say is that cost of the R100bn project, which is part of the much-vaunted infrastructural spending plan, is to be shared by Transnet and container operators (Read, the private sector). It is apparently too early to say who will pay for what!

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Our financial landscape has changed dramatically in ways that we do not yet fully appreciate. An old friend is selling up and I looked for outside verification of what he had said: the available statistics show that Johannesburg traffic is some 28% less than a year ago; consider what a one third drop in fuel sales would do to the owners of petrol stations? A drop in fuel sales is symptomatic of fewer people going to work, fewer sales of a whole range of consumables and, generally, a financial malaise which I do not think is fully appreciated.

Business

The Daily Friend published a list of CV19 inoculation rates of countries: Bhutan tops the list at 63% of its population having been vaccinated, with Namibia, South Sudan, and Zambia tailing at 0.1%. South Africa comes in at 0.5%, on equal terms with Uganda and Nigeria. We are led by Guinea, Gambia, Lesotho, Angola, Kenya, Malawi, Botswana, and believe it or not Zimbabwe, and so forth. Much has been written on the topic, but what seems to be unsaid, is that medical aids will fund the cost of a large part of our inoculation scheme. A tax by any other name.

The Business Times reports that the first 1,1m doses of the J&J coronavirus vaccine, manufactured by Aspen in Gsomething (That unpronounceable newly named city), was to be released this weekend.

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PwC is again in the news on its failure to pick up material non-compliances with legislation in the SAA accounting saga. The thrust of the report, however, was that the Regulatory Board for Auditors is coy about audit missteps investigated by it, needed prodding to investigate, and lastly, that its sanctions of those, found guilty, amounted to a mere slap on the wrist. https://www.moneyweb.co.za/news/companies-and-deals/saa-pwc-and-irba-a-case-of-regulatory-capture

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Mango (the airline) will probably be closing its doors at the end of this month.

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An interesting development is that Singapore-based Flexxon has developed a solid-state drive, which can detect cyber-security threats: the thrust and counterthrust of cybersecurity.

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Somewhat unsettling times await us in that the Public Service unions will go ahead with strikes in the coming weeks. It appears that they want CPI plus 4%, whilst the government offers a 0% wage increase. The unions prate of good faith and transparency but refuse to see that the cupboard of plenty is bare. Most of society took a haircut in the past year but heaven forbid that civil servants share the fate of those who pay their civil service salaries. This is not the time and place to call for increased police violence, but I confess that I sometimes yearn for a borshare policeman to beat the living daylights out of some of the entitled, prancing in the streets.

 Quotables

On the appointment of a new CEO for SAA: “(His) position is only interim…but he comes with an impressive list of qualifications, sadly none of which reveal any experience of running an airline during one of the most challenging periods for that industry ever. It is unfair on the man, the remaining alleged employees of the utterly moribund enterprise and the shareholders.” Greener. Nothing new….

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The intent. Part of the ANC transformation agenda, 1997: “Transformation of the state entails, first and foremost, extending the power of the National Liberation Movement over all levers of power: the army, the police, the bureaucracy, intelligence structures, the judiciary, parastatals, and agencies, such as regulatory bodies, the public broadcaster, the central bank and so on.”

The result. “Not only must cadre deployment be recognised as a direct contributor to the dreadful pathologies that the last decade has spawned, but cadre deployment suborned institutions to destabilise the political environment and skewed the functioning of the state. It undermined the constitutional requirement that the public service should be professional, development-orientated and that ‘no employee of the public service may be favoured or prejudiced only because that person supports a particular political party or cause.’”

Corrigan

Comment

I have almost finished a now dated, Pulitzer-prize winner: Guns Germs & Steel. The Bantu peoples originated in mid-west Africa and migrated east and south, displacing, amongst others, the Khoi and San. A battle between agriculturalists and hunter-gatherers in fertile areas, had but one winner. This grouping is unstoppably in the process of engulfing all others in Southern Africa. There has been widespread assimilation of the once-dominant white groupings’ way of life in South Africa but not its political system. A white’s knee-jerk reaction would be to mourn the loss of Western-style democracy. However, one has but to look at the governance mess in the USA (which embraced a system limited to two parties) and the opposing mess in Italy (with its multitude of parties, none of which has been able to gain sufficient support to govern alone) to understand that the level of sophistication of governance, in a modern society, escapes most of its voters, if not that of its governors. I have little doubt that full democracy (one man one vote) for an unsophisticated electorate, is not the way to go. 

Lighten up

I have no doubt, that you would have noted, that I am no fan of our government; primarily because I think that we are led by a self-serving bunch and, that the trajectory they have embarked upon, will inevitably weaken, and impoverish South Africa. No, this is not an African phenomenon. Judge for yourself following English terms and their origin:

Kakistocracy: government by the worst people. Interestingly, this word is not Afrikaans…but is derived from Middle English in 1644.

Pornocracy: government by harlots (1906).

Empleomania: a mania for holding public office (1854).

Throttlebottom: an innocuously inept person in public office, first used in 1931.

Highbinder: A 19th-century term for a person who engages in fraudulent activities and, more specifically, a corrupt and scheming politician.

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Contributed by:
Daan Steenkamp Attorneys
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