BankservAfrica reports a decline in our number of economic transactions, in real terms, for October, compared to a year ago. In fact, it says that there has been a decline in such transactions for the past six consecutive months. The prediction is weaker growth for the South African economy in 2017. This prediction accords also with the latest PMI figures as well as a trend which appears to be common to other African countries also, namely a dramatic fall in infrastructure spending (in numbers and value) has reported on by Deloitte.
Despite this somewhat depressing picture, the Institute of Race Relations has a good story to tell regarding economic growth in South Africa since 1994. A few highlights are:
The protests that emerge and which are reported on daily, are ascribed to rising expectations rather than abject government failure.
The Zimbabwean financial crisis has now led to a call being made for financial reporting there to be in Rand.
The UAE is at the risk of being blacklisted unless it assists other countries to track down tax evaders. At present the OECD is waiting on that block to sign a treaty, facilitating the exchange of tax information.
Thyssenkrupp has teamed up with Tata in a joint-venture to produce steel in Europe. This would have been un-imaginable even 15 years ago.
The minimum wage for South African domestic workers will be increased on December 1. Domestic workers, who work more than 27 ordinary hours, will earn the equivalent of R12.42 per hour in metropolitan areas and R11.31 in non—metropolitan areas.
The IDC has given in to pressure to disclose a list of politically connected people to whom it has granted loans. This is going to be interesting.
The “rotation” of oil stocks by Petro SA, supposedly supervised by the Central Energy Fund, is under review by Parliament’s portfolio committee. I suspect we shall hear more of this. If such a little “mistake” happened in the private sector, the boss would take the fall. Minister Joemat-Petterson? Nah! In fairness though, very little has thus far been said of those who benefited from this largesse.
The tyranny of distance: if you are really wealthy and need to get away, New Zealand’s South Island is the place. You are isolated and safe.
In October, the Public Works Department adopted an informal policy of only granting long-term leases to empowered companies and short-term leases to other landlords. This resulted in a number of listed property companies selling their government office portfolios. The president of the South African Institute of Black Property Practitioners commented that the property sector remained untransformed. Not my business, but one wonders whether the PWD can take informal decisions which have such an impact?
The Pretoria High Court has declared section 118 (3) of the Municipal Systems Act constitutionally invalid to the extent that a charge upon property, in favour of a municipality, survives transfer of ownership into the name of a new owner. I am not able to provide you with a copy of this judgement as it is simply too big to send and I do not yet have a hyperlink that will take you to the text. Watch out for it though. This is a very lucid judgement.
Proxi Smart Services has applied to the Pretoria High Court for an order allowing it to attend to conveyancing citing section 83 (8)(a)(i) of the Attorneys Act, section 33 (3) of the Legal Practice Act, sections 15 and 15 A of the Deeds Registries Act and regulations 43, 44 and 40 4A of the regulations under that Act, as authority. If this interests you, ask me for a copy of the application. This will be a potentially life-changing decision, if granted.
SARS has put out a circular on transfer duty and obtaining receipts, which might interest practitioners. Ask me for a copy.
Ethekwini has also put out a circular explaining what needs to be provided when applying for a rates clearance. Ask me for a copy.
Our clerks report that in the recent KZN conveyancing exams, the pass rate was 6/91. Another 10 qualified for an oral, of whom probably one or two might pass. Eina.
The head of the Hawks is reported to believe that he wields the power over the NPA to decide which cases to prosecute and review. So much for (Mr Abrahams’) independence and judgement by essentially a police unit.
In a recent judgement in the Durban High Court, the judge noted that proceedings before a family advocate was simply an enquiry and were not binding on a court. Hence, a party’s right to a fair public hearing could never be violated by not being allowed to have her attorney present. Thus, an attorney cannot demand to be present at such an enquiry.
The minutes of a meeting held at the Pretoria Registrar of Deeds’ office has been made public. This deals with a multitude of matters relevant only to Gauteng conveyancers. Ask me for a copy.
Harmonising our system of restructuring of debt
In restructuring debt that was incurred by a debtor in favour of a bank, a magistrate attempted to fix the interest rate applicable to the debt and also ordered a reduction in repayments, both of which were such that the re-structured payments would not allow the bank to ever recover the capital and interest lent. The problem with such orders is that such orders are widespread and that South African banks could well find themselves in a position where they are unable to comply with statutory requirements as a consequence. Resultantly, the court ordered that a magistrate cannot amend a contractually agreed interest rate, determined in the underlying credit agreement. Furthermore, a re-arranged proposal in terms of section 86 (7)(c.) cannot include a repayment which is less than the monthly interest that accrues on the capital.
Nedbank versus Jones http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZAWCHC/2016/139.html
A lame or bogus defence to a claim for payment of a due debt, can often be addressed by applying for summary judgement. This is trite law for those in the know, but might be worth a read for those who are not sure when this remedy may be invoked.
The rule of law and administrative actions
The rule of law does not serve the purpose only of preserving individual rights. It also prohibits the exercise of power that is not valid. An administrative act, performed in violation of the Constitution, should not be treated as valid until set aside. The order in the recent Kwa Sani & Merafong cases was questioned and those involved in the invalidity of municipal actions, would do well to read this case. Such actions occur often: by way of example, in a case which TMJ is currently engaged in, a national body had transferred land contrary to its powers some 20 years ago. By now that land has been sold to hundreds of third parties. What to do?
Department of transport versus Tasima http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZACC/2016/39.html
“Comrade Pres, we need each other even more as we face a renewed assault on our independence and sovereignty.”
“Zimbabwe has been instrumental towards realising the dream of a prosperous African continent that is self-sufficient and able to assume its rightful place in the global arena.”
Mugabe to Zuma
On a saner tack: “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Overoptimistic? Trite but probably true: prof Sachs, author of The End of Poverty says that education is the most important determinant of future economic growth. Without a bigger skills base, SA will remain forever dependent on commodities. Given the state of our education, not much is going to change in our lifetimes.
It is said that, in the end, Obama was probably more of an inspiration than a politician. For my money, an accolade.
Missing the point? “It is nothing more than conversations between friends having tea, telling her a story. ANCYL on the Madonsela report on State capture.
You had to enjoy the comments on the US presidential election saga:
Recently I was lamenting that Van jokes had all but disappeared:
Quizmaster: Name a bird that does not build its own nest.
Van Der Merwe: The Cuckoo
Quizmaster: Well done! How did you know that?
Van: Jislaaik, everyone knows cuckoos lives in clocks.
Een man komt bij de dokter en zegt: `Dokter, ik denk dat ik verslaafd ben
aan Twitter.´ - `Eh, sorry ... ik volg u niet.'
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