December 5, 2020 | Business, Economics, Practice

Gentle Reader

This will be the last of snippets this year – I will resume towards the end of January.

We wish you a great festive season and trust that you will return to work in January, refreshed and reinvigorated.





I was intrigued this week: Airlink bookings that I had were seamlessly swapped between it and SAA, yet these two entities took each other on in the High Court over ticket sales by SAA not paid over to Airlink.


Cultured product: the term for chicken grown in a petri dish. My enjoyment of this will have to wait until toothless.


13 new subjects for SA schools have been announced – they are:

agricultural studies                            ancillary healthcare                         art and design

civil technology                                    consumer studies                              digital technology

early childhood development     Electrical technology                       hairdressing, beauty and nail technology

hospitality studies                             maintenance and upholstery       mechanical technology     wholesale and retail


Brexit will result in no English-speaking country being part of the EU. Yet English is the most widely spoken language across the EU and is seen as the most useful foreign language.


Drivers licenses have been extended for a year – explain this to a Russian when trying to rent a car on your expired SA drivers’ licence.


The difference between 5G and Wi-Fi 6 is, in essence, that the latter router can communicate with different devices simultaneously. Huawei is producing these – and download speeds are such that you can download a high-definition movie in 10 seconds.


Show some backbone Minister: MK is darkly muttering coup d’état should Zuma be arrested for leaving the Zondo commission without consent. Even more, it warns that its protests might be hijacked by the desperate, opportunist and anarchists – anarchy? Are we to fear them, them? Assh*l*s.




The original sin, in economics, is having to borrow in a currency other than your own; especially if your currency may weaken.  And we are there despite the fighting talk: politicians tell us that we will (read must) borrow money from the IMF, on our terms. Really?


“Although the PIC has been found wanting in several areas of corporate governance and ethics, it continued to deliver on key aspects of its core client mandates.”

PIC CEO Abel Sithole

Being able, as the keyholder of civil servant pensions, to say such a thing, and walk away with your head held high, is indicative of a supine civil service, and state capture?


The reason why the first tranche of our Covex contribution has not been paid, is allegedly that the government is waiting for Treasury confirmation. I think Treasury is broke yet we give R10bn to SAA, but we skimp on a payment, 1/20th of that, which would assure South Africans of quick access to a CV19 vaccine – immediately after we have spent a king’s ransom combating that disease.


Show some backbone Minister: the Journal of Development Perspectives published a graph which shows that, over the past 11 years, real public wages in South Africa have substantially outstripped real private wages. For our Finance Minister having to resort to what appears to be a contrived argument, that the state/public service multi-year wage agreement is invalid, as it was reached without the necessary compliances and cabinet approval, is ridiculous. The fact is that civil servants, especially the top echelon, are overpaid and that South Africa cannot afford the increases sought. There is no stronger argument than impossibility.




The return of our economy to positive growth next year, is predicted not to be followed by property prices and Loos predicts a value correction of some -9% next year. His expectations cover retail, office, and industrial property.


The Property Professional reports that the CEO of Rebosa has called for a revamp and simplification of the estate agency qualification framework to accelerate transformation in the industry. Whatever. My experience with estate agents is that there is quite a large group who are underqualified and who certainly cannot justify the fees that they charge for the service that they render.


House ownership is the foundation of/staircase to one’s participation in the economy, as one can leverage off that investment, right? Perhaps not: it appears that RDP housing does not necessarily have this result. Take a look


Four years of CSOS: how is it performing? An article in EstateLife says that a typical CSOS application takes 9 – 16 months to be resolved. This is blamed on the lack of professionalism and poor communication. Same old – great idea, dreadful execution.


I am repeatedly confronted by estate agents saying, in especially duplex styled sectional schemes sold, that there is no body corporate. BS. Such schemes are typically self-run and one can wiggle past the levy clearance by having everyone sign the levy clearance. The difficulty with such schemes, amongst other things, is that typically no reserve funds, required by legislation, is held. If banks were to refuse to finance such schemes, this practice would be eradicated. The fact is that, if maintenance needs to be done and there is no reserve fund, the owner will have to fork out for such maintenance, for which the compulsory reserve fund is a guarantee.


Show some backbone Minister: the dichotomy presented by adherence to traditional land ownership and the need to empower especially women, is yet to play out fully. The issue at hand is how communal land tenure should be treated in South Africa. Our Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (an oxymoron if ever) needs to table legislation dealing with the constitutional invalidity of some 1600 claims which are currently in limbo. To my mind there is no dichotomy, the fact is that traditional land ownership and the retention of control thereof by traditional leaders, is out of step with modern life – the dichotomy is present only in the mind of politicians needing the vote of leaders whose time has passed.





  • a report by the Sunday Times held that MPs are so concerned about the declining performance of the Department of Justice that they want the public service commission to assist that department to get its house in order. Pigs might fly.
  • Justice Minister Lamola has announced that regional magistrate courts will adjudicate on civil disputes as from this month. Making justice more available is a great idea; heaven knows where the civil magistrates will come from; they are a long time in the making.
  • I love this heading on the Legal Lens website (they advertise to the public that they will help reduce legal bills): We’ve left our seats as lawyers to help our clients save money on legal fees. Someone who could not cut it as lawyer – at 17.5% of what they save? The LPC is quoted as describing this as an innovative solution with the potential to protect the interests of the public. Yes, rooting for the profession!
  • There is a half-hearted suggestion that Mr Zuma’s representatives should be held to account for his misbehaviour at the Zondo commission. Again, pigs might fly.
  • I quite enjoyed this extract from GoLegal – these guys clearly have a wish list of skills, held only by some very senior practitioners, when they describe the suite of talents that they think should be had by attorneys, in addition to legal knowledge:

So, to summarise – lawyers who stand out from the crowd will be able to read balance sheets, understand profit and loss statements, be able to work easily with technology, possess at least a working knowledge of finance, have good relationships with finance teams, possess team building and leadership skills, and collaborate well with leaders of other functions such as finance, human resources, information technology, research and development, marketing, and sales. Coupled with critical thinking, business development, sales, and marketing, influencing skills, business acumen, emotional intelligence, project management, leadership, negotiation, teamwork, and problem-solving capabilities. Ultimately it seems that having a suite of business knowledge and skills will be key to success for the future lawyer.



  • a surety’s right of recourse arises only on his payment to the creditor. Section 154(4) of the Companies Act, 2008 does not alter this common law position (courtesy of advocate Crots).
  • sectional 34 of the Insolvency Act requires advertisements in an Afrikaans and English newspaper, circulating in the district in which the trader does business. What Afrikaans newspapers still circulates in rural KZN? I recently had to run such an ad and the four advertisements cost R12k. Not cricket!
  • I have seen the annual RCRs and there is little earth-shaking therein.
  • A judgement by the Concourt struck down the incitement to violence clause of the Riotous Assemblies Act and substituted it with another which says that incitement or instigation of others to commit a serious offence, shall be guilty of an offence and liable to the punishment of which the person, who actually commits that offence, would be liable.





“The best lightning rod for your protection is your own spine.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson




Show some backbone Minister: electrocutions of especially children, from illegal electrical connections are common: have you heard of anyone being prosecuted for manslaughter following on such a death? Why not – clearly such a prosecution would be a cinch and would send a message to others who steal electricity, that such conduct is not okay. Politics.


I loved this newspaper report: our KZN Premier agreed with representatives from the trucking industry that burning trucks was not okay and those worthies up gave a firm commitment to no longer burn trucks. Bargaining with scoundrels? Show some backbone Minister.


And lastly; shooting the messengers? A bunch of academics had taken on the intellectual validity of post-modern philosophy and had published hoax articles in various acclaimed journals. This included articles on dogs engaging in r@pe culture as well as Hitler’s Mein Kampf rewritten in feminist language (yes!). (Pseudo-) Academics loved this initially but hated being exposed and those exposing the mumbo-jumbo were flagellated. Fun which turned serious.



Lighten up




Author: Dr Daan Steenkamp



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