Economic review


One of the reasons why the Rand seems to have held up better than one would have expected is that we posted a R5.22 billion trade surplus in February.


The price of peace: Our academics repeatedly say that our current redistributive tax system is unsustainable. An oft repeated refrain says that the top 10% of South African earners pay 72% of the income taxes received by our State. Yet, those who pay make use of only 6% of social services. In contrast, the bottom 50% of earners pay just 4% of taxes but receive 59% of social services. Whatever one thinks of this, there fact is that our government cannot possibly back down from the tax course embarked on by it; get used to it.


An interesting aside to the news, that SARS had achieved its revenue target, was a comment that collections had indeed fallen short but was saved for an unprecedented flood of dividend taxes. Collections of these were up by 30%, the current bringing in R5.4bn more that had been expected. The difficulty with this is that the writer (Joffe) attributes this to an extra dividend paid out by companies in anticipation of a higher dividend tax in the following tax year. If correct, then this tax year’s collection will produce a much lower dividend tax than that of last year.


Trump is threatening to cut US aid to levels of 20 or 30 years ago. If one considers the sums spent by Uncle Sam on saving lives elsewhere, it is clear that there are hundreds of thousands of people outside of the USA who owe their very existence to the generosity displayed by that country.


Seen on Facebook: It’s not even a week that weed has been legalised and we have been declared junkies…


Business review


The Samsung S8 is has been launched. Judging by the claims made of it, this promises to take cellphone technology a leap forward. It will be interesting to see the riposte from Apple.


An interesting app which gives options in an emergency is available on


The Department of Health says that it cannot afford to hire its full complement of nurses and doctors telling MPs that it is short of at least R3.2bn for this financial year. The highest number of vacant posts is in Limpopo, with in excess of 10,000 open, followed by the Eastern Cape at 7000.


Property review


The Home Loans and Mortgage Disclosure Amendment Bill aims to empower a Director General to investigate complaints against financial institutions denying home loans. The intent is to stop banks from unfairly rejecting home loan applications. It is speculated that the focus is to facilitate the granting of loans to those whose earnings fall between that which qualifies for state-subsidised housing and too little to qualify for a home loan.


An incidental statistic is that the value of all the white commercial farmland is approximately R100bn; this is less than half the cost overrun on one of Eskom’s power stations.


I hold an opinion on the draft Regulation of Agricultural Landholdings Bill by Pringle. If you wish to receive a copy, ask me. Note that this firm does not necessarily subscribe to the opinions held by the author.


Binedell, a conveyancer, opines that the practice of charging for leave clearance certificates are abused by managing agents (in the sense that they make money from issuing such certificates) and that nothing more is required other than a simple written confirmation that all monies due to the body corporate by the transferor has been paid, or provision has been made therefor. I do not necessarily think he is right, but if you are interested, ask me for a copy of his article.


The Consumer Protection Act does apply to leases:


Practice review


It will be really interesting to see what happens to our Minister of Social Development after she filed, late for the third time, an affidavit at the Concourt explaining why she should not be held personally liable for legal costs in the Sassa debacle.


The Cape Bar has launched an initiative to tackle the lack of transformation in briefing papers. Amongst other things it should attorney firm will have to provide data on the number, nature and value of briefs according to race, gender and seniority.


Our access to Master’s files in Pietermaritzburg, dating between 2000 – 1974, has become problematical – it is said that the Department has not renewed its contract with Docufile. The latter has suspended deliveries of these files to Pietermaritzburg.


Quasi-law rule: this is a term ascribed to measures that carry the force of law but lack the character thereof. These create rights and duties like law but lack essential legal attributes such as promulgation through the prescribed means. Examples of this may be found within, for instance, the DTI banning the sale of alcohol, our purported withdrawal from the ICC by executive fiat and the like.


Sabinet and Juta have announced a collaborative partnership levered edging their respective strengths. Take a look:



A UK note on the Old Bailey’s first non-white circuit Judge reports on her being mistaken and having to wear a gown in order to get into court. For some years my neighbour was a black judge. At one point his son took a short cut and hopped over his fence. This caused a furore as the security company had not realised that the judge was black and had assumed the entrant to be a burglar. A similar situation in took place one Saturday morning when our new black Chief justice arrived at court in his slops and shared a lift with a partner of mine who mistook him as the gardener. Great fun telling about this, later on but in the situation…


Contingency fees

Last week a judgement was handed down by the Gauteng North High Court confirming that contingency fees may be charged only under the provisions of the Contingency Fees Act. In this it confirmed the doing away with the common-law prohibition against attorneys taking matters on risk.

Nash v Mostert


Recording an altercation and RICA

The recent taping of a couple having an altercation in a restaurant and the subsequent dissemination thereof raised the question whether one is entitled to make such a video public. The following article deals with this issue:


Personal cost order: Ethekwini

How did the entire procurement team of Ethekwini, the BEC, the BAC, the compliance officer, SCM practitioners, financial officials and professionals like legal advisers and engineers decide that a quotation is the equivalent of a letter of undertaking? The court in this case punished those involved at a personal cost order.

Westwood insurance brokers v Ethekwini municipality: ask me for a copy.




“We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.” Brooks


All truth is simple... is that not doubly a lie? Friedrich Nietzsche




Accountability: our voting system has been blamed for the acceptability of voting along party lines as opposed to according to one’s conscience. It is said is that our voting system does not provide for the proper accountability. If my memory serves, our system was introduced in order to prevent one party from dominating, merely by its majority in most voting areas. It worked admirably to date but suffers from the disadvantage that one deviates from the party line at one’s peril.

An interesting debate is afoot on this subject. A professor from the Ethics Institute opined that a vote for a party constitutes a breach of one’s oath of office: in the case of a conflict between loyalty to a political party and loyalty to our Constitution, the latter should prevail. Ethics are great in theory, but unless one is quite sure of the outcome, one may well go hungry.


Wiens brood men eet diens word men spreekt:

  • The rating agencies “did us a favour, really”. Edward, Zuma’s son;
  • “It’s actually better, Western investors will pull back and we have an opportunity to bring them back in our own terms..” Our Water and Sanitation (jip, the title speaks for itself) Minister;
  • “I concur cdes. Let the Rand fall and rise and emerge with the masses.” Dudu Myeni
  • “Who really cares? Many South Africans don’t have billions on the stock exchange. Those with money should transfer this economy. Most black people are born in junk status so they aren’t bothered.” Black Business Council president Baloyi.


Maj-Gen Ntlemeza’s removal from office by a court is merely another chapter in the ongoing saga of senior police leaders being inappropriately appointed. When can but speculate why those, who are publicly known to be unsuitable for a job, are nevertheless appointed by the powers that be.


Lighten up


He’s in a bookshop. He approaches the woman behind the counter:

 “Do you keep stationery?”

“No, usually I wriggle a bit.”


The minions: listening to wife is like reading the terms and conditions of a website. You understand nothing, still you agreed.



“In English," he said, “A double negative forms a positive. In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative. However, there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative."

A voice from the back of the room piped up, “Yeah, right."