Economic review


Free trade is good, right? Perhaps not. An MIT study has found that Chinese and European competition imported into the US, left huge swaths of US workforce permanently with jobs. The thinking was that the admission of China to the World Trade Organisation should have been slowed down significantly in order that such workers and industries had time to prepare and adjust for the competitive onslaught.


Business review


It had been reported that Eskom had entered into an arrangement to sell power to Zimbabwe. This week it was reported that a similar agreement had been entered into with Namibia. Selling excess power is better than having this on hand and not using it to capacity.

In fact, given the S&P negative sub-investment-grade rating awarded to Eskom and an own admission that it had alerted our government to discuss a possible triggering of clauses that guaranteed government support in the event that it is able to meet its obligation to buy electricity from renewable-energy independent power producers, Eskom needs all the money it can get.

 A more negative report holds that Eskom has insufficient competent engineers to drive its current projects and thus contracts with multinational engineering companies to assist it.


NGO's have been starved of public funding for some time. The latest to be affected are animal welfare organisations who will no longer receive funding from the Lotteries Commission. After all, why fund animal health when one cannot do this for humans? Pragmatic perhaps but a move that will adulterate the values of our society.


The SABC says that it will be able to pay salaries at the end of this month: indicative of such a statement is that in a financially sound organisation the payment of salaries goes without question. It must be very hard to run a commercial entity in a highly politicised environment. On another tack: very few of those able to afford dish-TV, still watch SABC. Do note how many satellite dishes exist: if one is financially able, migration away from that service would appear to be inevitable.


An interesting aside on access to education, held that, given the number of South Africans obtaining tertiary qualifications growing by some 4% yoy and an economic growth of only 0.3%, we now I have a surplus of qualified persons who cannot be absorbed into the mainstream economy. This makes one reassess the role of tertiary educational institutions: after all, we should not educate locals at our cost, simply to have them emigrate as they cannot be employed here.


A privately-owned residence at the UP opened its doors to Christian, Afrikaans-speaking students in February in reaction to the University of revising its language policies. All manner of unpleasantness resulted. It will be quite interesting to see what becomes of this venture:


Why does the Facebook boss wear essentially the same clothes every day? Decision fatigue: the more decisions one makes, the least mental energy one has to think about other things. The things that don’t matter are therefore routinised.


Fly often? If you do, take a look at the following video:


Property review


There has been a mild improvement in the purchase of secondary homes i.e. holiday homes, homes for use by relatives, and buy-to-let homes, reports FNB. Such purchases had risen to 14.4% of total homes by the first quarter of this year after slumping to a low of some 10.8% in the second quarter of last year. Interestingly, the highest that this figure has risen of late is 14.14% in the fourth quarter of 2014. Of the above percentage, some 9.5% is represented by buy-to-let homes. Secondary properties account for an estimated 16% of the total of individually owned homes.


The Landholdings Bill provides, amongst other things, for a ban on the purchase of agricultural land, in South Africa, by foreigners. Non-residents will only be allowed to take up long leases on such land. If a foreigner wishes to sell such land, he must give the Minister of Rural Development and Land Affairs first option to buy. Seen in perspective, a similar arrangement exists when it comes to farms and land claims, which generally has little effect on the purchase and sale of land other than to dampen prices. Factually, our current system is so ineffective that one tends to go through a process rather than an actual intervening sale. Reportedly, such land will be purchased by the State, and, if no purchase price could be agreed upon, expropriated. More worrying is that the Minister could also impose limits on the size of farms that one/foreigners may own.


The building industry displays weaker activity levels, but confidence in that sector is edging up.


Practice review


“Rogue” lawyers are set to be reigned in. Good. The problem lies in the State’s perception of what a rogue lawyer is: this drive was triggered by a range of claims brought in against the RAF and Provincial Health Departments. Is the State saying that it should not be held responsible for its defaults?


The latest judgement by our Concourt on the social grants debacle caused me to, not for the first time, applaud the efforts of our Chief Justice. When appointed, he was widely held to be part of an attempt to “capture” our judiciary. I believe that the time has come that those who published these misgivings should apologise to this gentleman.


Duets: Section 15B(3) of the Sectional Titles Act requires that a conveyancer must lodge a certificate issued by the sectional scheme body corporate that all levies had been paid in advance, on transferring a section in that scheme from one person to another. Very small schemes often have no functioning body corporate. What to do? I know that in the Eastern Cape and, of late in Richards Bay, the practice of ignoring this requirement and providing essentially a false declaration, is rife. Given the latest requirements of the Deeds Office and those of the Sectional Titles Management Act, it is only time before a conveyancer will be held responsible for providing a false certificate. Estate agents also connive in this respect as they sell such units as if all were regular.


Most conveyancers working in KZN would by now be aware that the Hibiscus Coast municipality has been replaced by the Ray Nkonyeni municipality.

There are several others which are also affected namely:

  • Ingwe Kwasani which has become the DR Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma Local
  • Ntambanana Local -- Mthonjaneni Municipality, uMthlathuze Municipality and uMfolozi Municipality
  • Umzinyathi District Municipality -- Big Five Hlabisa Local Municipality
  • eMnambithi /Ladysmith and iNndaka -- Alfred Duma
  • Umtshezi and Imbabazane -- Inkosi Langalibalele

These are dealt with in Provincial Notices 134, 135, 138, 140, and 141.

Do be careful with sectional matters falling within these areas as your deeds will have to follow the new rates certificate names.


I was recently asked what fees a trustee could charge for being involved in a trust. The seminal case in this is Griessel v Bankorp. If this interests you, ask me for a copy.

Further on trusts: the Chief Master has issued a directive (2/2017) that deals with the appointment of trustees and the like. One of the issues dealt with was the appointment of independent trustees. Essentially, trusts should not be run only by those who have a personal interest in that trust. Take a look:


In this week past a report on the trial of the Patels, who face charges relating to a terror plot, revealed that a Warrant Officer and Lieutenant-Colonel in the SAP had admitted that procedures were regularly flouted by them. One might expect such an admission by a constable but not by those leading others.


Suits. Do you really need to wear one? Take a look:


Cases and such


Developers and levies:


In a recent dispute a developer attempted to argue that it was the owner of the remainder of the land in a development and therefore had to pay levies in respect of one property only. The Homeowners Association argued that the remainder of the development comprised many stands as shown on the plans and that he needed to pay on each of these. The court held that the levies had to be apportioned amongst the stands shown on the plans and gave the developer’s argument short shrift.

Sable Hills Waterfront Estate [2016] JOL 36915 (SCA)


Notarial tie agreements, dominant and servient properties and contiguity


Notarial tie agreements are quite often used by local authorities to ensure that buildings built across erf boundaries or parking requirements are complied with. Sonnekus has published a very rare article on these, in Afrikaans. If this interests you, ask me for a copy.


Do old or new rules apply to sectional schemes?


Our practice has been faced with the question whether the standard previous management and conduct rules still apply to schemes that were in existence before October 2016. Kilbourn opines that the 1986 rules continue to apply and that the new rules only govern sectional schemes registered after that date. If you want a copy of her article, ask me.




The male is a domestic animal which, if treated with firmness, can be trained to do most things.

Jilly Cooper


Lighten up


On our dearly beloved spouses:


Free State Stars’ striker scored a foot-in-the-mouth goal when he thanked his wife and his girlfriend in a post-match interview. Clearly a man blessed with great feet but little foresight.


Ladies, if a man says he'll do something, he'll do it. No need to remind him every six months about it.


Die motor stop voor die modewinkel. Mevrou klim uit en sê vir haar man: 'Skat, ek sal net so vyf minute weg wees. As jy wil, kan jy solank gaan hare sny.'  


Die blondine ry straataf. 'n Paar arbeiders klim juis op daardie oomblik teen die telefoonpale op. 'Helloooo...!' skree sy, 'Ek ry tog nie SO sleg nie?'