Economic review


The cost of shuffling a cabinet: Our foreign debt stands at some R2.2 trillion which equates to 50% of our GDP – the highest burden in our country’s modern history. The drop in the Rand/Dollar rate will cost us dearly.


Capitec’s growth continues unabated. It concentrates on what it terms “primary banking clients”. Riding on the back of its spectacular growth, it now intends to draw wealthier clients from the big four by opening branches in higher end shopping malls.


Business review


I had recently asked who would watch SABC TV willingly: this scepticism is now borne out by statistics on the SABC’s latest audience figures. The SABC’s television audience share dropped to 45%, more down from 53% some 3 years back. Given that 85% of the SABC’s income is attributed to advertising revenue, this is not good news for that entity.


Short notes

  • This note came up about a week ago and is being repeated: El Niño is predicted to be making a comeback some months hence.
  • Fracking: the government has given the go-ahead for shale gas development in the Karroo region.
  • The mining industry has shed some 50,000 jobs from 2012 to 2015. This trend is attributed to unsustainable wage rises. I was surprised to read that the average salary in the PGM sector is in excess of R17k pm.
  • The BankservAfrica Disposable Salary index shows that in February, salaries improved by 5.7% on a year-on-year basis. This is still 0.8% less than inflation.
  • The new British pound coin contains “pixie dust” and sports a hologram of the Queen.
  • SAL losses climb


A blood test that not only detects cancer but identifies where in the body it is located, has been developed by scientists at the university of California.


Engineering capture? The South African Institution of Civil Engineering has gone to court arguing that the government control of ECSA will result in the dilution of our local engineering qualifications.” The capture of the council; is it really to fast-track transformation with a view to pass on more engineering projects to black professionals?”


Some 200,000 students have not received the financial aid promised by NSFAS. This delay has seen the you if this Qua Qua campus shut down indefinitely this week and the suspension by the University of venda of all services. The cause of the delay is said to be owing to a technical problem…


TMJ provides services relating to municipal entities and the legality of their actions. For the latest article on PAJA by a director of ours, ask me and I shall forward this.


Property review


Price realism in the residential property market: Loos reports that there is a decline in the average time homes for sale remained on the market before being sold. Concerns surrounding residential stock for sale as a constraint to sales is rising amongst agents.


Our Minister of Rural Development & Land Reform has backed off from his expropriation-without-compensation stand: he now refers to this as an aspiration of the ANC.


Shopping: Mall-based retailers have underperformed against the larger retail market last year as the performance of super regional malls deteriorate. The statistics provided speaks for itself: the sales growth of mall-based retailers grew by 4.9% year-on-year compared to an average of 8.4% for the whole sector.


Drivel: we repeatedly hear calls by those who govern, for an audit of foreigners owning land in South Africa. Pragmatically speaking, there is no reliable way of identifying an individual as a foreigner from our database of owners.


The Department of Human Settlement has published the Property Practitioners Bill, 2016. The intent with this is to replace the current legislation controlling the affairs of estate agents. It will introduce an ombud, provide for mandatory disclosures together with the usual content of such an act. Ask me for a copy.


Many landowners have problems with the State not repairing the roads that lead to their properties. The courts have provided for a remedy that one may effect these repairs oneself and bill the State. Very important is that certain guidelines have to be followed before tackling this yourself. Ask me for those. (Below in the case section will follow a reference to this case.).


Practice review


The CIPC has, for the first time, succeeded in obtaining an order declaring a director delinquent under the Companies Act.


A landmark Western Cape High Court order allows the use of dagga in the privacy of your home and should act as a kick-start of the political process needed for change in our legislation. I have not read the judgement, but reports indicate that sections of the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act and sections of the Medicines and Related Substances Control Act have been declared unconstitutional.


A slow leakage: for some time reports that the RAF is in financial difficulties have circulated. The latest is a statement by Numsa saying that the RAF is in dire financial distress. It promises to shut down the East London, Durban and Pretoria branches on the back of wage parity demands.


More drivel: our Minister of Health has promised to investigate the actions of lawyers who sue Provincial Departments of Health for medical malpractice. Clearly the source of our difficulties must be other than would be rendered understandable by self-examination. One wonders how the Minister will investigate such firms?


It is standard practice for insurers to insist that homeowners alarm their properties when the property is unoccupied. This week past, a Hollard policy was challenged where that insurer refused to pay out as the policy did not recognise a domestic worker as an occupier. This was termed “inherently racist and sexist” and the Ombud confirmed that the relevant clause was contrary to public policy. Hollard eventually paid the claimant on an ex-gratia basis. One wonders who the insurer’s legal adviser was!


“We are training so many lawyers. They are all English speaking, but the majority of (the) people speak indigenous languages. It is our view that going forward, no one will be able to get a law degree unless they have passed [an examination in an] indigenous language,” Min Angie Motshekga.


Have you ever considered that the US might well be beset by problems similar to our legal issues? It is reported that the Drugs Enforcement Administration has seized billions of dollars in assets but have not brought charges to bear.


There are two institutions which voluntarily regulate mediation i.e. SAAM and KAFAM. My impression is that attorneys readily resort to arbitration but not always to mediation. A recent practitioner in this field – limited to divorce actions – is a lady who may be contacted via her website, being


Cases and such


Self-help with road repairs


Agri EC has won a structural interdict from the Grahamstown High Court which provides that a farmer would be entitled to a refund of the costs of road repairs, provided that prescribed procedures are followed. This order contains the format of a structural interdict which is foreign to most non-specialist practitioners. Worth a look.

Agri EC v MEC Department of Roads and Public Works case number 3928/15 – ask me for a copy.


Bodies corporate and the recovery of levies


In the judgement below, a body corporate attempted to sequestrate an owner who would not pay levies. The problem was that a bank held a bond over the property with in the scheme and that despite a judgement against the defaulters, the property could not be sold in execution as the bondholder was not prepared to accept the selling price. The body corporate then attempted to sequestrate the owners. It attempted to persuade the court that it did not need to show a pecuniary benefit to creditors on sequestration. It argued that it was not a normal concurrent creditor and could therefore apply for such an order. The court would not come to its aid, stating that it could not usurp the functions of the legislature and draw a distinction between such bodies corporate and other creditors.

Body corporate of Empire Gardens v Sithole


I hold an article on the ombud for Community Schemes. Ask me for a copy.




“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” Helen Keller


Winnie Madikizela Mandela: “all what we fought for is not what is going on right now. It is a tragedy that he (Kathrada) lived and saw what was happening; we cannot pretend like South Africa is not in crisis, our country is in crisis and anyone who cannot see that is just bluffing themselves.”




An inability to read from someone destined to be a leader? The Ethekwini ANCYL spokesman had said that there should be no concern about the value of the Rand on Gordhan’s “recall”  “because there is no evidence that the Rand would fall because of that”.


A simmering unpleasantness involving our top cop will simply not go away. No civil servant can possibly pay contractors in cash where the sums exceed 1 million Rand in total. Yet his spokesman will not dignify questions in this regard with a reply, outside the boundaries of a court. One hopes that his opportunity will come hastily.


The SACP has, for the umpteenth time, criticised our president publicly. One wonders when it will ever have the gumption to do its own thing, politically speaking….


Lighten up


Security Guard: Madam swimming is prohibited in this lake.

Lady: Then why didn't you tell me when I was taking off my clothes?

Guard: Well! that's not prohibited.


Judge (to young witness): Do you know what would happen to you if you told a lie?

Witness: Yes. I would go to hell.

Judge: Is that all?

Witness: Isn’t that enough?