August 5th, 2023 | Business, Economics, Practice

Economy and business



  • Our Rand flattered but deceived: it strengthened but is again weakening on the back of the usual including, surprisingly, a trade deficit.
  • Our S&P PMI is down to its second-lowest level in two years and our manufacturing activity fell to levels last seen during the 2021 July riots.
  • Do you remember the halcyon days when China’s GDP growth rate hovered around 7%? That miracle appears over with the Chinese GDP rate now at around 3%.
  • A fair value model, drawn from Codera, suggests that our Rand is 13% undervalued against the USD. Nice to know, but of little value to those who wish to travel!
  • BUSA/Sanlam says that unless we raise our GDP to 3% and above, our economy will remain static, and are unemployment rate will grow.


News in brief:

  • Our Immigration visa backlog sits at some 60,000 applications – said to result in a skills backlog – naw, use locals!
  • Starlink is not a South African company – objectively, why should it want to fund a local subsidiary, 30% owned by historically disadvantaged people, just to sell its services to us?
  • Stranger than fiction: our competition authorities want Google to sink R330m into local businesses to help them compete against it. Takealot must separate its retail division from its online marketplace to encourage competition against it; the list goes on to include Property24, Autotrader,, Uber Eats, Mr D and
  • On the topic of breaking cartels, is a wonderful tale of such an attempt gone wrong – Ticketpro is a leading purveyor of tickets to sporting events. To spread benefits around the netball World Cup ticket allocation was given to Plankton, an entity better known for selling tickets to Robben Island, Skaap & Skoffel and semi-strip shows; the end result was that Ticketpro had to help out!
  • Economic theory assumes that one buys at the lowest price available. A recent debate, ignited by Dr George (DA), suggests that we could save massively on oil prices by buying lower-priced fuel from the USA rather than in the East.
  • PicknPay is now our least valuable retailer on the JSE, having consistently shed value for a decade.
  • The construction mafia down and out? The gedoente in the Vaal City area suggests differently. So much for Mr Ramaphosa’s intervention.
  • I have never fully understood the pros and cons of protecting local producers by way of import duties – lately exemplified by duties on tyres and bone-in chicken. On the one hand, one understands that it is necessary to nurse local producers for the sake of continuity, keeping money in the country, and so on. On the other hand, is the obvious benefit that may be derived by the public from lower prices against the suspicion that local producers are just not as efficient as elsewhere.
  • Zebedelia, once the largest citrus producer in the Southern Hemisphere, is no more.


Arresting our nosedive into economic atrophy: a trend, noticeable on stepping back, is that our state has gotten around to asking help from business, on the basis that if it does not help, everyone will suffer. Think Necom, NLCC, JICC and so on. The irony is that the state is driven to acknowledge that its style of doing things does not work, but that it will not change that style. Style? Think the trope White Monopoly Capital, talk of war rooms (for fighting potholes for heaven’s sake) and addressing each other as comrades. Business, on the other hand, is driven by the realisation that you can’t run a successful private business in a sea of chaos (St Bank’s CEO).





  • Old news and repercussions: the RAF had, some years back, decided to dump its panel of attorneys and, in the name of saving costs, ‘do it’ itself. The result has proven disastrous, and the RAF is embroiled in a bekgeveg as its CEO pretends that all is well – in fact he says that ‘over the past three years, my performance has been brilliant based on an assessment by the independent board’. This war of words has, of late, degenerated into a personal vendetta in which, quite surprisingly, the BLA has said that for the first time, since the advent of democracy, have lawyers across the (race?) spectrum come together to confront a common problem brought about by ‘the existence of a crisis and catastrophe facing the nation’. Part of the problem is the RAF CEO’s insistence that the legal fraternity is unfairly taking some R10bn in fees annually from the fund. In reality, claimants suffer as the Fund is very slow to pay and if the fund were more efficient in settling claims a great deal of the said this cost could be saved.
  • Discovery and the RAF is still at each other’s throats; the dispute driven by medical schemes having suffered ‘irrecoverable losses’ in medical insurance.
  • Mkhwebane has been found guilty of misconduct and incompetence by the Parliamentary ad hoc committee; yawn.
  • Judge Cameron, a member of the Inspectorate for Correctional Services has reported scathingly about the lack of maintenance and disintegrating infrastructure in our prisons.
  • If one were to believe our news, many crimes are committed by parolees – in fact only some 1% of these violate their parole conditions; apparently, lack of supervision is a significant reason for such relapses. We have the highest number of prison inmates in Africa and the 12th highest number of such in the world – we need parole.
  • A consumer class action against websites, which trick users into signing up for unwanted debt orders, has been approved by the Concourt.
  • Bidvest Bank will now open attorneys’ trust accounts.
  • The LPC has published a survey on candidate attorneys and their remuneration – ask me for a copy.
  • Lawyers misbehaving:
    • Judge Makhubele’s hearing before the Judicial Conduct Tribunal was postponed… as the State Attorney had not paid her legal team…to be expected?
    • Judge Hlope’s misconduct appeal lapsed because he could not afford R600k to print the court record!
    • Whilst not strictly lawyers, a note by Werksmans reported on the DoJ being required by the Information Regulator to institute disciplinary action against employees who failed to renew that department’s antivirus and security software. Interesting, that an outsider has to force the DoJ to do its work!
  • On a lighter note – I have long held that you cannot practice effectively without using kragwoorde.. That this is so, is borne out by a report saying that using swear words can help us build emotional residence… In addition to other benefits such as creative expression, showing that you are relaxed around another et cetera!


Hard news:


Conveyancing News:




There is little to report on the property front:

  • The downswing in residential purchases has resulted in an uptick in residential rentals. DPN says that the Western Cape residential rental vacancy rates stands at 1.5% – the lowest since 2016.
  • In turn, this downturn in purchases of residential units has resulted in a national uptick in investment into residential rental properties, with 10% of home loan applications nationally, and 32% in the Western Cape, driven by buy-to-let
  • Construction has started on the Westown Square shopping mall in KZN – the first development in a R30bn scheme near Shongweni, KZN.
  • Ooba Home Loans figures for Q2, shows that banks still happily lend to homebuyers but that average purchase prices are 0.4% down from those, in the same quarter, a year ago. Deposits are up slightly.
  • Cohabitation arrangements between partners is old news but possibly worth another look:



The EFF, our political enfant terrible, has done it again; despite having little of significance to say, it has captured the headlines by ticking virtually everyone off. The phrase ‘there is no such thing as bad publicity’ is attributed to Barnum, the American showman and circus owner; possibly he was right.


Our Minister of Police is full of bravado and enjoys the limelight on the issue of zama zamas; the fact is that these persons have been mining illegally for many, many years with the full knowledge of all in South Africa. To now prosecute them for a host of charges such as public violence, being in South Africa illegally, and so on is ignoring the fact that action should have been taken against them by the SAP many years ago.


Nummawan going back to jail? I wouldn’t count on it.


Lighten up






Still looking for your dream home, or wanting to sell? Feel free to give one of our developers a call today.


Tom Eastwick – The Gates, Hilton and Garlington, Hilton | 072 297 2699 |
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