Economic review


Deutsche Bank: Spiegel reported on how this pillar of German banking lost its way; the article is too long to really summarise but if you are interested:


SAA will reportedly remain loss-making until 2021. There was talk of its and turnaround having been identified as an “apex” priority….same old, new terminology.


BizNews had ran a brief on Prof. Harari, the historian of choice of Obama, Gates and Zuckerberg. Asked what young people should be studying, he plumped for philosophy. Degrees teach skills which robots will soon be doing better and cheaper. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us.


President Mugabe has signed off on the introduction of a new currency this month. One waits with some interest to see whether history will repeat itself or whether that State will have the requisite self-control not to print the money when in dire straits (which is an inevitability).


Jammine says that the disconcerting drop in new vehicle sales is bottoming out and that, all things considered, better times lie ahead. His view accords with a sentiment expressed by Moody’s: we are doing well in a lot of the indices when we strip out growth.


Business review


An icon no more? Stuttaford’s has submitted itself to business rescue.


If you can monitor cars, why not prisoners? We certainly have more prisoners than cars? Cartrack Holdings will be doing just that in future.


A London tribunal has decided that Uber’s 30,000 drivers in London are workers with legal rights to the minimum wages and holiday pay. Uber has been able to avoid all manner of costs by holding that its drivers are independent contractors. Wait for more.


technical and vocational colleges are deeply dysfunctional with only 2% of students completing courses within the minimum time and only 10% completing the 3-year course in 6 years.


Maturity? Amcu has signed a 3-year wage deal with Lonmin.


The following link will take you to a Times article on a revamp of the Tshwane City Hall in which it is reported that repairs costing R100m almost wrecked that landmark and frankly beggars belief:


We all need one! New tights were released in London which are said to relieve stress, anxiety, alleviate PMS, diminish blemishes, alleviate jetlag and reduce cellulite. The tights have ceramic crystals melted into stretchy yarn and stimulate one’s spleen 6 meridian. They are recommended by the Vogue editor… Apparently the use of crystals is escalating and now one even the finds masks with ground diamond, tourmaline and emeralds to brighten the skin. Whatever, it certainly is not going to be cheaper in future!


The effect of the tack taken by our State in limiting mineral exports and forcing beneficiation through cheap local prices appears logical but strained. We are force-feeding an industry which simply cannot compete in its own right at international price parity.


Property review


FNB reports that average house prices in Gauteng had slowed further in the 3rd quarter as the Cape Town market has done also. Nominal price growth in the middle segment of the market has slowed to 3 .2%; this is the lowest level of growth in four years. As is the case usually, the upper end of the market value has suffered most.


The 2.9% yoy growth of the financial and business service industries sector should contribute favourably to office space take-up. JLL’s


The financial strain experienced by home owners is resulting in less housing maintenance and upgrading. ABSA


Practice review


The KZN law society has published a new system of taxation of attorneys’ accounts which will come into effect on 16 January. If you have not received a copy, ask me.


The regulation of the affairs of Traditional Leaders is probably due. The fact is that such leaders are paid from the public purse but their actions in governance is not monitored.




Sale of a going concern and the LRA


When one sells a business as a going concern, the Labour Relations Act provides that the purchaser shall take over the employees of the seller that are employed within the business taken over. In this case the Maluti-A-Phofung municipality handed over its network and capital assets to a contractor to run on its behalf. The court a quo, the Labour Appeal Court, held that an overall assessment had to be made on an examination of the totality of the business handed over and which had to be done seamlessly. The Constitutional Court discussed the tests for such transfers utilised in European jurisprudence. It came to the conclusion that in this case, comparative law should not be drawn into the body of our jurisprudence on the subject and left the principles of our law dealing with the above topic unaltered.

Rural maintenance versus Maluti  ask me for a copy.


Grounds for rescission of a compromise


A compromise, made an order of court, can be rescinded only on the basis of fraud or justus error.

Slabbert v MEC for Health


Sale and eviction of former owner


You buy property and it is transferred to you. After the transaction, the seller refuses to vacate. What now? The question to be answered was whether the PIE Act can apply in such circumstances? It was previously decided that the Act applies to persons who had been in lawful possession but whose position subsequently became unlawful. One of the factors weighing on the court was whether the unlawful occupiers had occupied the land for more than 6 months as section 4 of the PIE act deals with such occupations. To be taken from this is that, if your seller does not move out on transfer, you need to act quickly.

Highpoint hotels v May


Binding rulings and government


Our government cannot simply ignore an apparently binding ruling or decision by alleging that the prior ruling is invalid. Such a decision remains binding until set aside by a court. In this case the Merafong Municipality cut off water supplies to AngloGold after it had disagreed with a ruling by the Minister. In such a case the local authority has the responsibility to obtain judicial clarity rather than to resort to self-help.

Merafong v AngloGold CCT 106/15; ask me for a copy




Every man dies, but not every man truly lives. William Wallace




This has to be chalked up as one of the most infamous quotes of this year: “I am not politically captured. I’m not captured by anyone. As far as competency is concerned, my career speaks for itself.” Abrahams

Just looking at the Sunday Times headline today one must needs come to the conclusion that state capture in South Africa has progressed far. The moment one opens one’s mouth, one becomes a victim. Imagine, even the ANC’s secretary general Gwede Mantashe is now being investigated. Did he not say in the past week that the ANC needs to talk about state capture in order to be saved from itself? Alternatively, one supposes, the Hawks have turned over a new leaf and is prosecuting everyone who appears to be in the know about corruption except….


You have to have some sympathy for Zuma: he has become the fall guy for a system which he had certainly not initiated but probably allowed to become ingrained in the running of our State. What certainly will not happen is that corruption will dissipate on his exiting the stage. One wonders though whether the “recalibration of the ANC’s moral compass” will achieve what those, who are calling for it, hopes. Self-interest is hardy.


In South Africa we seem obsessed by growth as it appears necessary in order to accommodate all the new entrants into our market. Developed nations seek to maintain an existing system by feeding in new entrants; take Germany, for instance. At some point lower fertility rates should balance things out but, the difficult part of this, is that such balancing is only occurring in the developed nations. If our fertility rates were to drop, our problem would, on the face of it, be solved. If developed countries were to live within their means, negative population growth would presumably also present no problem. China controlled its population growth for many years but now seems to have abandoned this as it, too, needs the stimulus of new entrants into its market.


Masutha’s silence: Madonsela’s successor in title has seemingly avoided dipping into the State capture squabble spawned by her precursor. On the one hand this may well be a sensible approach. On the other, one wonders whether she would, in the future, be prepared to engage the State in politically tainted matters.


Taylorism and meritocracy: a century ago a fellow name Frederick Taylor initiated a theory which has transformed the modern workplace in that employees are assessed and continually required to up their performance. Most of those of us who are ticked off by bean counters would agree that the statistical models that measure performance may have gone too far. They do not take into account harder to quantify qualities other than those which are easily measured (read, which have a direct link to the bottom line). One of the problems of the system is that the higher one goes up the chain the more personal an assessment becomes. If you are at the bottom of the pile, only your measurable performance actually counts.


Lighten up


Twee mannen raken met elkaar aan de praat in het café. ` Wat doe jij voor

de kost?´ vraagt de ene.  `Ik stempel brieven in het postkantoor.´   `Dat moet

saai zijn.`  `Helemaal niet, integendeel! We zetten er elke dag een andere datum op.´ 


Wat is de rustigste plaats op aarde ? De klachtendienst bij een parachutistenclub. 


A penguin walks into a bar and asks the barman: “have you seen my brother?” The Barman responds: “I don’t know; what does he look like?”


Q: Why did Pres Obama get two terms?

A: Because black men get longer sentences.



On politics that will govern this week’s news: