Economic review


Old Mutual Corporate has gone out on a limb and predicted a turnaround in our economic future. Mohr says that prices of minerals are firming, load shedding is down, inflation is under control and the potential for a ratings agency downgrade has already been priced into the market.


The Zimbabwean Minister of Finance has come to the conclusion that, given a dearth of external funding, the informal sector will have to fill the gaps in government funding. This is going to be interesting as one doubts whether most of the would-be funders are registered for tax purposes.


Just sommer do it, Swoosh:  It now turns out that the King Shaka International Airport, which costR6.7bn to build, was launched without a feasibility study. What brought this to the surface is that this investment has failed to attract significant traffic, given the size of the investment.


Our FNB/BER civil confidence index has gained 11 points to 52 in the 3rd quarter. This means that just more than half of respondents are satisfied with the prevailing business conditions.


Business review



  • Richards Bay airport is hemmed in and a move is planned. Linked with this development will be a convention centre and a development zone;
  • The NCR has cleared Capitec of reckless lending;
  • Ecsponent, a financial services company, announced a 166% increase in operating profits. I confess to having initially thought that this was some Ponzi scheme.
  • France has passed a law that bans all plastic plates, cups and utensils from 2020;
  • Columbia has become a byword for violence, given its half century Civil War. This country has now signed a peace deal.
  • Deutsche Bank is in crisis as the German government has elected not to come to its rescue. This bank is the subject of a US probe of residential mortgage-backed securities;
  • Our unlawful sale of 10 million barrels of crude yielded R3.9bn only. Whatever one’s position on this one must applaud those who capitalised on this. Imagine approaching Absa to borrow R4bn in a deal which might be somewhat shaky.



An interesting development is that SA Express has failed to convince the auditor-general that it can continue to operate as a going concern and it requires another R1.1bn to keep going. Insolvent but never goes down; same old…


Uber alles: Uber shook up the personal transport industry by adopting a very logical model, premised on assumptions hereto un-used in the industry. After all, its network of vehicles is available and one could as well take food to the customer as one could take customers to the food. It has now flighted UberEats in Gauteng and will move to Cape Town next year. I have little doubt that its presence will be welcomed by those who produce fast foods. Possibly this might even be a business opportunity for those restaurants to get in on the act …..


Blowing smoke fairly? VW has been lambasted for being less than entirely frank on the emissions from its vehicles. It now turns out that VW diesel vehicles have the cleanest exhaust fumes of any car maker in Europe. One wonders if an apology will be extended or the fine rescinded or others visited by the same penalty?


Property review


Andrew Golding says that 90% of prospective buyers now begin their real estate journeys on the web but, as the search progresses, estate agents are drawn in and become a part of the process. He does not believe that agents have become non-essential.


Some R60bn has been pumped into land reform since the 1990s. This spend has not stimulated economic development in rural areas, says the Financial and Fiscal Commission. (I cannot see why this was expected as in essence such action simply replaces one owner by others) The oft-repeated statistic is that beneficiaries of the scheme earn little and that income crop production in such areas has decreased by 79%. The difficulty is well-known: lack of access to credit and inadequate post-settlement support. The new system of a five-year lease in favour of the would-be beneficiaries appears to be a better solution.


Gauteng is preparing to sell all of its residential properties including the premiere’s  official residence. Its entire portfolio comprises some 29,000 properties. State employees have been found to be paying below market related rental and these represent a loss-making enterprise for successive Gauteng governments.


Cases and such


Roads in a development and expropriation


If one is granted consent to subdivide and the authority granting such consent requires roads beyond the normal need therefor, that is equivalent to the arbitrary deprivation of property or expropriation without compensation.



Dealing with the real property owner


IOL Property ran an article this week warning of the consequences of not dealing with the real property owner. The thinking is that such a seller could take your deposit and abscond. If you were to deal with a reputable estate agent and conveyancer this could never happen as payment is habitually made only on transfer.


Cancellation of a contract by way of email


A rental agreement was cancelled by way of emails. Is this valid? Yes. The Electronic Communications Act provides for this and one can but wonder why the parties had gone to court in the first place.

Spring Forest Trading SCA


Heterosexual life partners


Same-sex unmarried couples enjoy protection under the Civil Union Act but, as our law now stands, heterosexual life-partners do not enjoy the same rights. In this case a heterosexual life-partner claimed maintenance against the estate of her deceased partner (who was still married in community of property to his estranged wife). The problem was that the Maintenance of Surviving Spouses Act provides for maintenance of only the surviving spouse to a marriage. A co-habiter is excluded. I have little doubt that the Constitutional Court would extend similar rights to such partners if approached.

The Domestic Partnership Bill, proposed in 2008, has not yet been passed by Parliament.




Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily this is not difficult.

Charlotte Whitton 




The Islamic Hamas movement called for a “day of rage” in the West Bank and Jerusalem: ”We call on our outraged people to ignite confrontations in the face of the cowards soldiers of the occupation.”  Whatever your view on this ongoing confrontation, I have little doubt that the Israelis will deal severely with those who heed the call.


A chink in armour? This term, especially used in conjunction with defence, is to Westerners a proper use of metaphor, yes? Not when referring to the Chinese, who attributed this use to a derogatory use of a term applied to persons of Eastern extraction….


Modesty down under? Playboy featured an American Muslim hijab-wearing journalist. I rushed to take a look: regrettably she also wears the rest of her clothes…


The storm engendered by the re-appointment of Hlaudi is wonderful: terms bandied about are:

  • petty narcissist;
  • costly flop;
  • absolute impunity;
  • bootlicker;

wonderfully evocative language.


Going going gone: Britain is now offering “tailored packages” to illegal immigrants that include free flights, money to start businesses and help with finding schools for the children. This is tantamount to bribery for people who have already committed a criminal act. Donald Trump for Prez!


I confess that I sometimes find our system of financing weird: the Development Bank of South Africa is funded to a large extent by South Africa. That institution in turn lends to the South African metros. Why does the state not simply fund metros?


Lighten up


Why do women love shoes as much? Because, whatever they eat, the shoes always fit.


'You think so much of golf that you don't even remember when we were married.'

'Of course I do, my dear, it was the day I sank that forty-foot putt.'


Q:  How do you know when it's time to get a new dishwasher?

A:  When the old one expects you to "do your share".


How does a man show he's planning for the future?

He buys two cases of beer instead of one.


Why is psychoanalysis a lot quicker for men than for women?

When it's time to go back to his childhood, he's already there.