Gentle Reader,

Following on family commitments, a week of riding in the Hogsback/Katberg area will preclude my producing BusinessBytes for three weeks. Until then…



Economic review


Selective default? The Metical, Mozambique’s currency, plunged 35% against the Dollar since the beginning of this year. This has caused Mozambique to restructure the repayment of about $700m of debt. In turn this has caused a rating drop to 10 levels below investment grade.


India’s growth rate is predicted to reach 7.5% this year. Great.


An interesting theory – if it may be called that – in countries where there is an appreciable economic equality, capital flows from those with less to those with more. This generates a cascade of transactions along the way. The theory is that policy interventions, aiming to spur economic activity, should work better if they inject money into the system at the lower end, rather than from the top. Tickle up rather than tickle down. Perhaps theorists should look at our social benefits system which does just that?


It is interesting to see the reaction on a possible downgrade of South Africa’s to junk status. Last week I had mentioned that it had been said that this possibility has been priced into our market anyway. The emerging take on a downgrade is that most of the world is battling economically anyway and that this is not the end of the world.


Business review


Teutonic revenge? The Deutsche BÓ§rse has agreed to acquire the London Stock Exchange Group. Britain falls to the Teutons after all – fancy that!


The International Energy Agency says that oil prices have probably passed their lowest point, owing to shrinking supplies outside OPEC.


Capitec bank has been named the top-ranked bank in the world by the Lafferty Bank Quality Ratings, in its inaugural advice.


Two sites have been targeted by Eskom for nuclear sites: next to the existing Koeberg plant and between Oyster Bay and St Francis Bay.


Saica is embroiled in a dispute, triggered by PwC dismissing 11 trainee accountants, after they were allegedly caught up in a cheating scandal. The accusation is that PwC deals more severely with black candidates as compared to white ones. Now, if these were lawyers, we would pass all of them anyway!


Property review


The SAPOA Office Vacancy Survey reports a virtually unchanged vacancy rate of 10.5% nationally in the 4th quarter of last year. Asking rentals in general increased year on year by 6.5% in the 4th quarter, continuing a trend of above-inflation growth. Office rentals are down 15% since the 1st quarter of 2011 having grown at only half the rate of inflation over this period. Despite this, the office sector remains in a recovery mode, unless our economy deteriorates further.


Our economic situation has resulted in a rise in interest rates to the highest level in 6 years. Borrowing costs now exceed the rental income received from especially shopping malls. Large companies, which are able to leverage off extensive property holdings, can probably borrow at about 9.5% whilst rental yields are less than 8%.


Despite this, Lightstone predicts you to that commercial property transaction activity in South Africa is set to rise. The prediction is that purchases will be from non-performing assets for refurbishment. Interestingly, Nedbank dominates the banking sector when it comes to commercial property loans with some 33% market share, followed by Investec at 22.3%.


When it comes to auctions, the prediction is that a tough year lies ahead – especially for high-end properties. The belief is that properties under R1.2m will probably continue to move quickly as there is still strong demand in this sector.


Practice review


Pietermaritzburg judge Daya Pillay has recommended that the Health MEC must consider holding the custodians of a hospital and medical records personally accountable and, if necessary, they should be disciplined, prosecuted, or both for not doing their jobs. This follows on a case in which the state had difficulty in defending itself effectively against a malpractice claim.


Do you know why you have not received your notifications that your vehicle licence is up for renewal? Because the Department of Transport has not paid its Post Office bills.


The Deeds Registries Amendment Bill, in which provision is made for electronic registration, is available at:  The end is nigh.


New credit agreement interest rates will come into effect on 6 May this year. A summary may be found at:


A national wills register? Take a look at the following site:

The article which alerted me to this site is available on request. The concept is not new. The idea was first mooted by a friend of mine some 15 years ago, and we even floated  aCC to deal with this, but his attempt to get this off the ground was unsuccessful.


Is it necessary for a conveyancer to obtain a certificate of compliance for electricity on the premises of a dwelling house? Probably not. I have been provided with an opinion by a serving judge in the Gauteng area which is available on request.




Private law 101: age of majority


A mother sought to sue on behalf of her child who had been a major for a year and a half before the issue of summons. Decided that she had no locus standi.

Madalane SAC 87/15


Negligence & Roads Dept


 In this case a tree of such a height, that it capable of falling across a road, grew in the proximity of a road. The tree eventually fell across the road and the Roads Department attempted to remove it but was not successful. The road was not closed despite this hazard. The court found that the Roads Department was negligent in failing to foresee that a road user might be injured in a collision with the obstacle. It was further negligent in not closing the road when the tree could not be removed.

Botha SCA case 20811/2014


Bonds: structure and link to underlying documentation


Bonds, we are taught, serve a double purpose: they are instruments of hypothecation i.e. of real security and instruments of acknowledgement of debt. In this case the court found that a mortgage is an accessory to a principal obligation. The underlying obligation turned out to be a credit agreement rather than a purchase and sale and was found to be invalid. The result was that the bond was also struck down. Be careful of attempting to hide the nature of contract by labelling it differently.

La Mer Jeffreys, Eastern Cape Local Division, case number 1683/2015 - ask me for a copy




"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." King the arbour they now that is of a sisterly alert Milly sustains of Bruce D Bloom and yet I didn’t believe that you die but really could really blow, agapanthus alert




Gravely disrespectful: a Top Gear programme showing drivers performing doughnuts in a street near the Cenotaph – a stone monument to Britain’s war dead – has been decried. Pun intended.


There is no thing such as bad publicity? The now so-called Sharapova drug sales have rocketed in Russia. The pills are cheap, has a toning effect, improves one’s memory, one’s thinking becomes faster and you become more dextrous. This must be a bargain for the drug company involved.


New cancer treatment,, using nano technology has shown astounding results. Material which is infused with an anti-cancer drug is injected and lodges at the site of a tumour where the material breaks down to produce cancer-killing nano particles.


Bioelectronics/electroceuticals: this is treatment which uses the electrical pulses in our body in order to put use precision therapy. Wait for it.


A new risk following on eye lens transplants has become apparent. Abnormal intro-ocular pressure follows in some 5 5% of lens transplant operations after 10 or 12 years.


Lighten up


Ou dame aan predikant  aan die einde van die diens: 'Jy weet Dominee, elke preek van jou is beter as jou volgende een.' 


Heard on the radio: As confused as a baby in Teasers…


It is said that the Rand is now so weak that women are again marrying for love, like in the old days.


Patient at to his psychiatrist: You call this a cure? I was Napoleon for six months and now I am nothing.


Lastly: Two Brakpan blondes jump off a bridge. Who wins? Society.

Brakpan: Graad 1 vraag - Wat is manlik en vroulik van meel?

Mieliemeel en koekmeel.



For those taking a break: