This year we shall probably see a hike in taxes. Individual taxpayers now pay some 35% of all of our tax income, 10% more than a year ago. Set against the djinn of politically motivated resistance, the perception of rampant corruption, declining middle class income and little value for one’s money, this has given rise to mutterings about taxpayers becoming “gatvol”. We see this already; think non-payment of use charges, traffic fines, and so on. Tax theory holds that where dissatisfaction reaches an inflection point, raising taxes return less income. We shall see.
How times have changed from the heady days of South African economic growth of 5% and more. Our economic growth for this year is predicted at less than 2%: we herald this as a recovery and rejoice!
Shaking it up! Trump has appointed businessmen, and wealthy ones at that, to his cabinet. It will be most interesting to see whether this produces a greater benefit for America than would having career politicians lead that country (Dare one say: leaders professing commercial rather than visionary intent).
Grant Thornton has publicised an international indirect tax guide; tax nerds and evaders only: http://www.grantthornton.global/globalassets/1.-member-firms/global/insights/article-pdfs/2016/19611-gti-iit-guide-2016-l.pdf
The following almost unreported upon events might change our world:
Trending news to watch in the New Year:
What not to follow: the crescendo of politically inspired blather feeding off past prejudice, leading up to the ANC policy conference and election of its new leaders.
The customary song and dance/wringing of hands accompanied the release of our Matric results: Much is said about our maths weakness: statistically the generation of attorneys, 15 years older than I, were admitted to university with an average D maths mark. Standards may differ but that was hardly great?
For those of you who do not imbibe: KWV’s 20 year old potstill, Oude Meester’s 18 Sovereign and Van Rhyn’s Fine Cask Reserve have been awarded gold medals in New York. Believe it or not but Three Ships obtained golds for three of its whiskeys!
The predictions are that slower sales, stalling house prices, rising consumer debt and affordability will impact on the residential property market. Having said that, the expected modest economic growth is expected to keep the market stable.
Property counters last year differed in their return by about 100%. The best performer was Hospitality Property Fund B at 45.9% followed by Equities Property Fund at 33.3%. The worst returns came from Capital & Regional at -39.8% and Atlantic Leaf Properties at -32.5%. Those counters which invested primarily in South Africa, out-performed the foreign-focused funds, primarily owing to Rand strength.
The following link will take you to-
The Department of Public Works will be publishing new built environment regulations by the end of February.
Trends driving the market are:
A multi-million Rand logistics and retail Park between the King Shaka airport and the Cornubia development will be built by M&F Giuricich.
Legal developments that bear watching this year are:
The High Court, found the Department of Mineral Resources to have been irrational and incompetent, leading to the obstruction of mining investments that it was meant to facilitate. Such cases are not new but the repetition is worrying.
Contingency fee agreements
The above are old hat for experienced practitioners. For a summary of what such agreements should contain and on overreaching, the case below makes for interesting reading.
Mfingwana v RAF case number 1753/2015, Eastern Cape Division
Section 126B (1) (b)(ii) NCA
This section came into operation on 13 March, 2015. This section provides that no person may sell debt that has been extinguished by prescription. The subsection says that no person may continue to collect debt under a credit agreement where the consumer raises the defence of prescription or would reasonably have raised the defence had the consumer had been aware of the defence. The consumer in question pleaded prescription whilst the respondent bank contended that the consumer, by concluding an acknowledgement of debt, had renounced his right to rely on prescription. These actions happened before the above section came into effect. The Constitutional Court held that this subsection does not apply to pre-existing agreements.
Kaknis v Absa, case number CCT 08/16
Prescription of arbitration award
Does an arbitration award issued in terms of the Labour Relations Act prescribe within 3 years? The Labour Appeal Court had concluded that such a date is not a judgement debt but a simple debt that prescribes on the expiry of 3 years. It also concluded that the institution of a review application does not interrupt the running of prescription. The Constitutional Court pointed out that section 16 of the Prescription Act states that chapter 3 shall not apply to matters regulated by an act of Parliament that is inconsistent with The Prescription Act. Furthermore, section 210 of the LRA declares that the LRA takes precedence over legislation with which it is in conflict. Resultantly the court found that the Prescription Act does not apply to such an award.
Myathaza v Johannesburg Metropolitan Bus Services, case number CCT 232/15
Lost trial record in a criminal case
Trial records are lost from time to time and this case deals with the adequacy of the reconstruction of such a record in which the accused was not involved. For specialists.
Schoombie v S CCT 154/16
Prejudices are rarely overcome by argument: not being founded in the reason, they cannot be destroyed by logic. Edwards
Leadership beyond reproach? The 4th economic revolution is upon us and leadership in the following years will determine what a country makes of this. The ANC speaks of “organisational renewal” but what it really means is how it will deal with leadership in the future. South Africa has made it on to a new Time magazine list of the ten biggest risks that the planet faces in 2017. The infighting over succession must needs taint the discussion that the ANC is facing and quite probably prejudice us all.
One can think whatever one wants about Mr Zuma’s preferred successor, Ms Dlamini Zuma: yet Mr Zuma must have managed his divorce from her better than most!
On the matter of marriage:
Great replies from Hollywood Squares -- from a long time ago:
A Rose Marie: Unfortunately, Peter, I'm always safe in the bedroom.
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