Economic review


FNB expects a slowing in our real economic growth to 0.5% this year. It expects the prime rate peak at 11.25% from its current 10.25%.


New car sales is an important predictor of our economic performance. Econometrix has predicted a year-on-year decline of 5 to 10% in such sales for this year.


The latest Barclays/BER PMI index has fallen to 37.2 points. This is the lowest since the 3rd quarter of 2009. The equilibrium point for this index is 50; we have had 6 consecutive months of negative business activity.


Pipe dreams: For South Africa to hit its NDP targets that have been set we need to grow at 7.2% per year from 2018.


The EU has cut its prediction for the economic expansion in that region to 1.7%.


Our recent rates hike was generally welcomed by economists. Interestingly Moody’s differs: it says that this adversely affects the ability of borrowers to afford debt, making it negative for banks.


Business review


Dark pool trading: Barclays has agreed to pay a $70 million fine following on it misrepresentations to clients on how it monitored its dark pools for high-frequency trading.


The University of Limpopo has founded a new medical school – the first new medical school in South Africa in 40 years.


A storm has erupted over the proposed scrap metal export rules which will, amongst others align this sector with BEE policy and provide for export through a single port i.e. port Elizabeth. This has incensed current exporters as it would add transport costs and so on.


Faith is everything? A Durban cleric who had been selling holy water to combat AIDS at R15 per bottle, is in trouble with the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural Religious and Linguistic Communities. The difficulty seems to be that the gentleman concerned has not had time to round up all the proof of appointments, qualifications and so on necessary to defend himself against a charge of ripping off the public.


Hyundai is experiencing a cash-flow crisis on the back of a first-time sales drop of 13% worldwide. One truly hopes that it will pull through.


A disturbing report by Consulting Engineers SA is that the “functionality and quality” of infrastructure purchases are being ignored by our State in favour of price. That body estimates that our infrastructural investment backlog has risen to R 850bn.


Unthinkable. BlackBerry has released its first smartphone running on android. This development for the Priv smartphone is remarkable as it is BlackBerry’s flagship device.


The minimum wage for farmworkers and forestry workers has been raised from March 1. The hourly rate will henceforth be R14 .25, the weekly rate R 641.32 and the monthly rate R 2778.83.


It is becoming harder to invest overseas: it is now been reported that some asset managers are turning away money destined for Rand-dominated offshore funds as it would place them in breach of the allowed foreign retail asset allocations cap. As has been said before: what is the point of holding such a hedge if one is forced to reduce this every time the Rand falls like a stone?


Property review


It has been said that our house price growth for this year will be such that, compared to inflation, the real effect would be negative. Interestingly the FNB reported that house prices increased year on year by 6.8% in January.


If one wishes to invest the listed property market probably still represents good value in that one is probably better print erected against market fluctuations than in stocks only. This sector has also performed very well over the last years. This is not investment advice!



Practice review


It has been reported that the “Custodian Department” for communications platforms in South Africa is convinced that the medium of online comment needs to be controlled. Whether this will float, remains to be seen but the prospect does represent possible future censorship by the State.


SAA was punished by the Competition Tribunal in 2010  for abuse of its dominant position in the marketplace. Nationwide has now acted on this and claimed damages. One wonders when prescription starts running against such a claim?


Technofraud: a term applied to those who cheat in cycle races using prohibited technology. In this case a cyclist had a concealed electric motor within her cycle frame was caught – and she claimed that she knew nothing of this. I cycle; the weight difference between a high-end bike and one loaded with an engine and batteries is simply such that her claim must be nonsense.


At last, a novel way of recovering debt: an attorney who has not been paid by Legal Aid SA has gone on hunger strike. What he may not have factored into his calculations is the fact that many may be happy to take out the deckchair and watch the suffering, given lawyers’ somewhat tarnished reputation!


Within the profession we have had much news of scandals what with advocates spying on each other, fighting and so on. The latest is news of Hofmeyr, one of our senior prosecutor’s, having gone to war against his NPA boss, the newly appointed advocate Abrahams. The accusation is that Abrahams has embarked on a systematic pattern of improperly protecting the under siege advocate Jiba. Very disturbing if true, but hardly a career enhancing move?


On March 18 arguments will be heard whether a special master should be appointed to assist with labour tenants’ claims for ownership of the land that they occupied in terms of the Land Reform Act. The hearing of these claims has been pending 15 years.


From 1 March, 2016 all Matatiele properties will be registered at the Umthatha Deeds Registry


Cases & such


Taxation of an attorney’s account already paid


Is a client entitled to demand that fees and disbursements,  that had already been paid by it to its attorney, be subjected to taxation? No

Is there justification to proceed with liquidation proceedings by an attorney against a client who withholds payments because of a dispute in respect of fees? I.e. is such a procedure and abuse of the legal process? In this case court found that it had a discretion to order winding up which should be exercised on judicial grounds.

Werksmans v Praxley [2016] JOL 34039 (GJ)




Spoliation is the tool for restoring to a person anything that has been removed from that person by way of self-help. It is a remedy aimed at the restoration of rights rather than an adjudication of the issues involved. The latest case is related to the closure of a gate giving access to property across an intervening piece of land. At issue was not the existence of a servitude of right-of-way but the fact that a person had deprived another of a right which it had previously enjoyed without court authority.

Tyjaderlin [2016] ZAFSHC 5


Restraint of trade and illegality


Generally speaking, our law holds that the party who alleges that a contract is illegal, bears the burden of proof that it is so. Where parties to an employment contract enter into a restraint of trade agreement which is illegal, should the party seeking to enforce that restraint of trade agreement be compelled to prove that the contract is legal?

Du Plessis Illegal contracts and the burden of proof. Ask me for a copy


Lessor’s hypothec and third-parties


Our Constitution provides that one may not be arbitrarily deprived of property. Applied to the situation where a third party has movable property on premises for which the rentals are in arrears, the lessor may attach such property despite that property not belonging to the tenant. It appears that this pragmatic solution to a problem is justified by imputed consent or a form of estoppel. If theory interests you rather than just the pragmatic application of our law, ask me for a copy of this article.

V/d Walt, Extending the List Order’s Tacit Hypothec to Third Parties’ Property




History is always written wrong, and so always needs to be rewritten. ...What is interesting is brought forward as if it had been central and efficacious in the march of events, and harmonies are turned into causes. Kings and generals are endowed with motives appropriate to what the historian values in their actions; plans are imputed to them prophetic of their actual achievements, while the thoughts that really preoccupied them remain buried in absolute oblivion.”


- George Santayana, The Life of Reason: Reason in Science, 1918


Lighten up


Health warnings:

  • on a packet of Fishermans Friend sweets: not intended as substitute for human company.
  • on a packet of Lifesavers: not intended as a flotation device.


A blonde was selling her pet python on eBay.

The bloke rang up and asked if it was big. She said, “It’s massive.”

He said, ”How many feet?”

She said, “None, it’s a frigging snake!”


Things not to tell your wife:

“Am I in my golden years?”

“Not at all, but you are yellowing fast”