Economic review


The rather surprising rise of the comb-over Muslim-bashing Trump, is partly ascribed to mankind’s propensity to exalt the past, and in this case he has his take on the past spot on. In America the median net worth of citizens in constant dollars has plunged from $102,500 in 1998 $81,200 in 2013. The median net worth of working-class families in the lower quintiles have been particularly hard-hit: the median net worth of these groups plunged 53% over this period to a current $22400.


Negative interest rates: in Denmark companies (not yet individuals) are paying lenders for the privilege of keeping funds on deposit. In some cases, homeowners are actually making money on their mortgages.


Last week I had mentioned that the top 40 companies in South Africa earned most of their earnings abroad. This view is reinforced by Reserve Bank figures showing that South African companies did more outward investing abroad than foreign companies did inward investment into South Africa in the 1st quarter. Go figure.


Why is the cheap Rand not boosting South African exports? Briefly, political uncertainty. So says an IMF academic study. I would not hold my breath on this: as has been said above, almost everyone seems to be hedging their bets with overseas investments.


The Sake24 consensus for SA indicates the following:

  • an expected real GDP growth for the full year at 0.4%;
  • the R/€ exchange rate at 17.2; and
  • the CPI at 6.7%.


Business review


It’s a loan! The much-publicised foot-in-mouth “subsidy” by SAA of Mango has now been clarified and is said to be a loan on a “full cost recovery basis”. Reassuring; I confess to having wondered which is worse: a subsidy to a sister state entity in contravention of all sorts of rules or a loan to that entity, which will, in all probability, never be repaid. Or is it the same thing?


This is an old gripe of mine: the cost of investments in South Africa: a typical unit trust-based retirement annuity fund runs at between 3 and 4%. Yet it is possible to buy passive exchange traded RA funds which run as low as 1% per year ( Financial advisors are said to prefer lisp platforms as these load commissions where there is no ongoing commission that can be loaded with a listed EFT. Possibly one should investigate. You could also take a look at the following:


Microsoft has bought LinkedIn. Expect this platform to burgeon.


The lemon index: this survey reflects the cost of keeping a vehicle for the 1st 10 years of its life. A BMW costs in the order of 3 times what it will cost you to keep a Toyota. The car that is least likely not to start, believe it or not, is a Kia. Have a look at the site:


Property review


Ooba reports that its house price purchase price statistics for May show a marked slowdown in our house price growth, down by 0, 5% year on year. It says that this is the first year-on-year reduction in house price growth, that company has seen since December 2012. The Reserve Bank reports that the value of new mortgage loans granted has fallen by R -14.57% year-on-year for the first quarter of this year. The weakening of prices is ascribed to a weak economy, inflationary pressures and increasingly expensive credit.

Interestingly, a reduction in deposits for houses bought is reported at a time when banks are tightening their requirements for lending. It appears that the anomaly is ascribed to a greater demand for smaller and medium-sized properties.


Scotland has launched its second try at an eco-conveyancing platform, named Altis.


Since 1994 7.8 million hectares of South African agricultural land was bought for redistribution or restitution. The state plans to acquire another 2,000,000 ha by 2020. The NDP calls for 16.4 million hectares, in total, to be transferred by 2030.


Practice review


Attorneys are, from time to time, faced with the commitment of patients on mental health grounds with applications for the appointment of curators bonus as a result. It is reported that none of the 4 mental health review boards in KZN have been legally constituted. The result is that the admission of patients into mental health care institutions by such boards is illegal.


The Draeger breathalyser is back: this device will be piloted in the Western Cape where, it is said, laboratory tests would no longer be needed for drink – driving prosecutions.


The NPA will not be prosecuting the Nkandla architect. Clearly he’s either innocent or the washing that will be hung out could prove to be unacceptably harmful to those in power.


I have a lovely article written by an academic on contingency costs. It deals with Bitter v Bobroff (yawn), but what is nice about the article is the well chosen title: Bitter & twisted!


Cases and such


Technicality and costs


An executor participated in maintenance court proceedings. Thereafter he challenged the jurisdiction of the maintenance court and sought a review. He was ordered to pay costs de bonis propriis as punishment.

Du Toit SCA case 635/15


Building contracts and performance guarantees


A performance guarantee, given on behalf of a builder, would typically constitute an undertaking to pay a certain sum if the builder neglects to the job contracted for. What is the nature of such a guarantee? In this case, the question was whether the guarantee was conditional and akin to a suretyship or unconditional. The answer to this would determine whether the guarantee stood by itself and was autonomous or linked to the underlying contract. In this case the court found it to be conditional, thus having the nature of a surety.

M&F v Aqua SCA 208/2105


Labour matters


Derivative misconduct – this is a really interesting


A judgement of Judge Gush in DUNLOP MIXING and NUMSA, CCMA AND ANOTHER (D354/14), deals with employees’ duty to disclose to their employer, information regarding the perpetrators of violence, intimidation and harassment.  It deals with what inference can be drawn where employees simply refuse or fail to give any explanation to their employers and when an inference can be drawn when an employee was present even when not individually identified.  A judgement anyone dealing with the ubiquitous violent strikes should be familiar with.  More to follow




If you have lived through any war, the following will make sense to you: “The enemy is anybody who is going to get you killed, no matter which side he’s on.” Heller




Plus ça change: Forty years ago I was a prosecutor at the Alexandra magistrate’s court; the 1976 riots started there. The cause of the riots at the time was ascribed to a lack of money for Bantu education. By way of example: there was 150,000 black children eligible to be in standard 6, with only enough space in the system for 38,000. So, one might reasonably ask, what has changed?


Our political landscape has changed as has our language describing it. The following attracted my attention:

  • reform germinated in the heat of discord;
  • democratic disconnect;
  • eruption of discontent;
  • debris of social dislocation; and
  • insurgent movements (think EFF).


South Africa has, over the past 17 years, logged in the order of 67,000 protests – about 13 a day. Such protests are directed at primarily labour issues followed by those directed at community issues.


Lighten up


An actuary, a lawyer and an accountant are discussing the merits of having a mistress or a wife. The lawyer reckons it is better having a mistress, because the wife can take everything if you should come to a divorce. The accountant reckons it is definitely better having a wife, from a taxation perspective. The actuary reckons it is better having both, because when you are not with the wife, she thinks you are with the mistress, and when you are not with the mistress, the mistress thinks you are with the wife, and that way, you can spend more time at the office.


Maybe it’s true that life begins at 50. But everything else starts to wear out, fall out, or spread out. Diller


At my age "getting lucky" means walking into a room and remembering what I came in there for.