Economic review


Whatever one says of our economy, non-resident FDI into South Africa increased by 38% last year, according to UNCTAD. A further hike of 10% is expected for this year. This will certainly affect the strength of the Rand.


Our economy is showing signs of green shoots: new-vehicle sales for january have registered the first year-on-year increase for 14 months;  our January PMI has come in marginally positive.


Business review


I recently commented upon the shift in education style brought about by unhappiness on cost. Factually we probably still teach much as we taught many hundreds of years ago, a situation which has become untenable. Technology must needs step in to make education more affordable for all. The times, they are changing.


Capitec has overtaken our established banks as the most popular. It has more clients than both FNB and Nedbank. It is said to be the third largest retail bank in South Africa. Whichever way one looks at this, the growth of this bank has been absolutely remarkable.


One does not know what to believe: Eskom announced that the pumped storage scheme, known as Ingula, is now fully functional. Insiders tell that this is not the case. One of the turbines was apparently installed the wrong way around….


Unthinkable: a Thailand commission is examining Rolls-Royce for its admittedly paying bribes in seven countries. What happened to being simply the best?


A complaint by paint manufacturers holds that the SABS is not testing paint any more. A harbinger of collapse?


Property review


A Nested report on Airbnb holds that, in Durban, guest-house owners can recoup capital costs within 18 months. This makes Durban the prime city in the world to invest in property made available for holiday letting. This, understandably, has ticked off formal providers of accommodation who require licences, public liability, insurance and gradings. Take a look:


Practice review


Privilege: to what extent is one protected if one makes untrue statements in the CCMA? Only to the extent that, on the balance of probabilities, the statements made are relevant to the issue at hand. Furthermore, these should be supported by reasonable grounds. If not, one may be held liable for the defamatory content of one’s statement.

Clover SA versus Sintwa  ECGHC


The Extension of Security of Tenure Amendment Bill: time will tell whether this bill becomes law. Of interest is that the Bill suggests that the government should assist those facing unlawful eviction. It also provides for compulsory mediation prior to any court action. One understands that the very poor are in need of legal representation. The difficulty is that most farmers would be disadvantaged having to litigate against those who are funded by the State. Funding one and not the other simply does not balance out a dispute.


One of our potential Olympic champions has sued SASCOC for damages for failing to enter her into the 2016 Rio games. The result of this will be most interesting as success on the part of the claimant will encourage officials to properly apply their minds to selection in future.




Proxies in H0A meetings


At an AGM of a home owners association one owner held 150 proxies. The board was alarmed and changed the rules regarding the governance of the company limiting proxies to 5. Compared to section 58 of the Companies Act, the latter allows any person to be appointed as a proxy. Where the matter becomes complicated is that the Companies Act (section 15) provides that a company’s MoI must be consistent with Act. Essentially the question is whether section 58 may be varied by an MoI. The court held that the limits imposed were void.

Venter v Silver Lakes

(at §13.2 Tony!)


Duty of a municipality to protect a homeowner from flooding


Our Constitution confers executive authority on municipalities and the right to administer local government matters listed in the schedules to the Constitution. No power to manage or control an estuary and to take measures to protect riparian properties had been assigned to the Overstrand Municipality. That municipality therefore had no power or duty to manage or control and estuary and take measures to protect riparian properties. Resultantly, that municipality is under no obligation to protect a house-owner from flooding by a river.

Abbott v Overstrand Municipality [2016] JOL 35969 (SCA)




A celebrity is a person who works hard all his life to become well-known, and then wears dark glasses to avoid being recognised. Allen




A note by Steinberg struck a chord with me: our prejudice is reinforced by the governance of the day. On one level the execrable leadership we see is attributed to race rather than frailty. Thus, poor black leadership confirms white prejudice. Blacks are judged white by their peers; capitalism carries a colour, all of which is regarded as an insult! The cost is counted in the currency of deep emotion which accumulates to our collective detriment.


Decolonisation: as a student I was taught (and my recollection is probably imperfect and my re-statement of this overly brief) that where competing legal systems exist in a country, the dictates of each are adopted according to commercial and social needs which may have outstripped the weaker of one of the two. Hence Roman commercial law replaced indigenous laws where those could not cater for new developments, English law replaced parts of the Roman-Dutch law in South Africa and so on. Africanisation of Roman-Dutch/English law is inevitable. How does this affect the current move towards traditional law in rural areas? Most Western-trained lawyers would regard this as a retrogressive step. Factually, more informal law is applied worldwide than formal. Furthermore, formal South African law is certainly beyond the financial reach of most of our citizens. I believe that the weakness of our current move towards informal law for the poor (read mainly rural) may be welcomed. What is regrettable is not the system, but the content. It is surely undesirable to have two legal systems functioning side-by-side? Any such division can only reinforce the social divide that we face in this country.


Our president noted that the Treasury frustrates transformation by not providing funds. This is indicative of a fundamental misunderstanding of the Treasury’s role as caretaker of the public purse. It points to political division where there should be none.


There was much ado about Gerrie Nel’s resignation from the NPA – especially rich is Abrahams charging him with bringing the NPA into disrepute. The truth, no doubt, will emerge in time. What does call for an explanation, is Nel's 24-hour resignation. What this to do brought into focus, was private prosecutions. One of the arguments fielded against private prosecutions is that, allowing such prosecutions would be unfair, as only high-profile defenders would be prosecuted or deep-pocketed complainants would be capable of prosecuting. One could respond by saying that, fair or not, any criminal brought to justice is better than none?


An interesting aside, adding to the post-truce debate, is prof Jansen’s remark that we are now living in the age of unreason. Truly the case in politics.


Lighten up


On post-truth: