January 26th, 2024 | Business, Economics, Practice



  • The Reserve Bank six-month business cycle indicator has contracted for the first time since May, which points to an economic decline in the months to come. Eina!
  • Our Rand exchange rate weakened on (so say the learned ones) the back of investors seeking safety (think war), the (Chinese) market for our minerals weakening, and our state’s economic failure. Au contraire, Moneyweb published a note saying that fund managers expect the Rand to strengthen to about R17.73 this year.
  • According to WTW, South African employees can expect an average pay increase of 6.1% this year. Comparing this to public service pay, it is clear that our civil servants do not have a shabby deal at all: https://codera.co.za/average-wages-provincial-and-national-government-in-sa/
  • India is now the fourth-largest stock market, worldwide.
  • Remember the Big Mac Index? It’s all about so-called purchasing power – ours is on a downward trend: https://codera.co.za/sa-purchasing-power-over-time/


Scandals/same old:

  • Mr Mantashe made the news for all the wrong reasons – it appears that of the 2500 mining applications received in the last year, not one has been finalised, with the administrative capacity of his department having seemingly collapsed. And, as we all know, minerals are one of our primary exports and sources of tax revenue.
  • Amidst promises of high-speed railways, what logistics network exists, hardly works: Prasa has closed down the Jo’burg to Cape Town leg of its newly announced passenger train service; the recent train accident has highlighted the lack of a modern system to control train lines; the slow Cape Town port has cost fruit exporters millions, and a Transnet bailout by Treasury seems inevitable. I hope that the exporters sue.
  • Ecsponent, now Afristat, is no longer a going concern.
  • NSFAS is an ongoing disaster.



We are committed to energy change, right? So, if this is correct, why do we impose a 25% surcharge on imported electric vehicles (not counting the luxury tax placed on them owing to their battery component), compared to the 18% levy on ordinary cars? To protect which local manufacturers? As it is, our automotive industry receives hefty support from the taxpayer and a debate is now in process to also fund the manufacture of electric vehicles here (oh yes, job creation!). Would you want to buy an electric vehicle if an en route recharge is not guaranteed – and the resale value of that electric vehicle is reportedly dreadful?

Our Minister of Electricity (in charge of a company in free-fall, and producing less electricity than it did 20 years ago) proudly announced that there is an insatiable appetite for investors to pump money into the expansion of our electricity grid and that he will create a dedicated office for such procurement from the private sector. Sure; the private sector is poised in taking over a neglected state responsibility, will fund that and will presumably reap rewards, which will cost consumers more. It saves the government face but costs those consumers, who do pay.


Matric pass rates:

The usual fuss was made over matric results (which keep coming out later than in the past) with a higher than usual pass rate (the pass rate in 2009 was 60.6%!) both proudly paraded and derided.

I believe that the real question one should ask oneself, is how we compare with others in dropout rates between the advent and cessation of schooling. My enquiries this produced a European dropout rate of some 10%, and, closer to home, Nigerian and, very close to home, Namibian dropout rates of some 50%. We are in the ballpark – for Africa.


Corruption is dead – long live corruption!

We are promised a corruption free future governance, yet as we speak (all of this in the last week) there is a NSFAS scandal fingering our Higher Education Minister, our Deputy Pres’ girlfriend being blessed and PetroSA teaming up with Equator Holdings (for gas exploration) which is said to have dubious political connections. Of course, these allegations are treated as just that.


Job loyalty? This

Of yore employees were loyal to employers and the latter returned the compliment by way of job security. Does this still apply? I found the following article on this topic interesting: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/how-loyalty-died-in-the-american-workplace/ar-BB1h40WF



  • BIG: if into high economics, the following article emanating from the Reserve Bank on the impact of social welfare on prices may interest you: chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/https://www.resbank.co.za/content/dam/sarb/publications/working-papers/2024/WP%202401.pdf
  • The proposed SARB use of part of its foreign exchange contingency reserve to bolster state finances has drawn further attention in that Joffe opined that such use would not necessarily be disastrous. A more nuanced argument on the issue may be found at: https://codera.co.za/what-would-an-optimal-sarb-equity-transfer-approach-look-like/




  • Loos opines that with the (small) increase in our economic fortunes, and improving global economic growth, some improvement in our property market may be expected. He says that our commercial property should improve mildly with industrial property performing best, followed by retail with the office market trailing. Don’t get carried away though, as the expected capital growth for commercial property as a whole, would probably not match up with inflation.
  • The residential property market is expected to continue to slow down (per Rode) with house prices having fallen about 4% in the first 11 months of last year. A zero-rate real price growth is expected for this year on the back of affordability issues. On average, the prediction is that residential properties will show no capital growth for the next few years.
  • Turning to rentals, the residential rental vacancy rate declined to its lowest level since 2017, according to TPN. In part this tendency is propped up by the properties being unaffordable for buyers owing to high interest rates. The North West posted the fastest residential rental growth figure of 9.3% in Q3, followed by Mpumalanga, with KZN reporting a dismal showing.
  • A surprise last-minute growth spurt saw the REIT property sector go from a negative return to the best-performing sector in our property market.


Old hat but worth mentioning:



  • What is a biophilic building? Amongst other things, posting an exterior vertical garden – think green-looking.
  • Promises: despite the Prez’s rant on smart cities, none of those on the cards have yet broken ground, with the Lanseria development having made no progress since January 2023.
  • Two interesting developments affecting the widespread municipal dysfunction are:
    • Some two thirds of our municipalities fail to provide clean drinking water. A Bill is in the offing that will provide a mechanism to force councils to do so.
    • A recent (mid-December, Mangaung) High Court case, reinforced ratepayers’ right to step in to take (in this case garbage removal) municipal services into their own hands. Good; one can only expect more of this.
  • An interesting note came up on dealing with how Clarence has rid itself of its loadshedding – possibly worth considering – look on Moneyweb.


Legal news:





  • Many of us, especially those subjected to a tight budget, moonlight; is this okay? https://www.werksmans.com/legal-updates-and-opinions/the-downside-to-a-side-hustle-moonlighting-conflicts-of-interest-and-the-law/
  • How is an interim business rescue practitioner replaced? https://www.werksmans.com/legal-updates-and-opinions/the-downside-to-a-side-hustle-moonlighting-conflicts-of-interest-and-the-law/
  • An interesting development, which may well spill over into other jurisdictions, is a case in the USA, in which parents, who neglected to prevent a child who clearly had psychological problems, from gaining access to a weapon, may be held accountable for their son’s rampage.
  • The JCC dismissed a complaint against judges Seriti and Musi on the basis that, if this is done, such action may deter judges from taking on commission work. Yes, the issue is more complex than the one-liner above suggests, but, the JCC has hardly covered itself in glory of late and one may rightly question the rationale.
  • More on the JSC: it is blamed by suspended judge Makhubele for taking its time in proceeding against her (nothing new on either side of this argument here).
  • Whilst on ducking and diving – the State Attorney has reportedly sued Nummawan for R28m for the costs of his unsuccessful attacks against his prosecution. Stalingrad to be revisited?
  • Stalingrad capitulation? The NPA has “settled” with the Gupta-linked Templer Capital and Liberty Coal for a sum of R500k over the purchase of the Optimum Coal Mine/Terminal. Given the parlous state of the NPA, probably a bargain.
  • The change of archiving from Metro File to Veritas by the Master has led to huge delays in the retrieval of records in KZN. I have the Master’s October notice available should you wish to see this.
  • A revised Practice Manual for the KZN High Court was made available by the LPC midmonth. Ask me for a copy.
  • Our recently removed PP announced that she was going after a R10m gratuity from Parliament. I asked a labour lawyer whether she was entitled thereto, and the answer was no, unless this was an agreed term of her employment.


Hard news:

Another article on prescription of a claim for defects to a purchased house, may be found at





  • A summation of the common law requirements for the transfer of ownership in property and the abstract theory: http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZAGPJHC/2024/42.html Ex West
  • I hold, a yet to be published on SAFLII, SCA judgement which deals with a judgement emanating from a Magistrate’s Court and res judicata in the Land Claims Court. Ask me for a summary. Ex Legal Notes
  • Does death interrupt the running of prescription? I hold a Gauteng judgement on the matter – ask me for summary. Ex Legal Notes



A survey by infoQuest revealed that the average South African expects the following to become worse: corruption, safety, services such as electricity and water supply, job security, and generally, our country’s economy. These predictions are echoed by a governance expert saying that our South African state is becoming increasingly fragile as it loses social cohesion which may lead to violence, unrest and dissatisfaction.

Yes, this is bad news, but I believe that all of these issues seemingly coming to a head, will hopefully result in the governing party losing its absolute grip on power. A liberation party losing its pre-eminence is an inflection point as it will probably lead to choices being made by voters on the basis of promises of future performance rather than historical gratitude.


The latest brouhaha about contaminated diesel, affects many of us, as those who would typically sell diesel at a discount are apparently more likely to have watered down their diesel. To argue that such violations are tax offences and that those involved cannot be named and shamed, is disingenuous.


Lighten up


Much of South African humour is on the grim side; one erstwhile pervasive series of, often juvenile, jokes on Van der Merwe (the archetypal Afrikaner) are virtually absent of late:


            An old one:

Van der Merwe was watching the British Lions test match at Loftus in Pretoria. The stadium was packed – of course – and there was only one available seat, next to – you guessed it: Van der Merwe.

“Is that seat taken?” asks the neighbour.

“Yes, it is for my wife”, replies Van der Merwe.

“Why isn’t she here?” he asked.

“She died”, said Van der Merwe.

“So, you didn’t give the ticket to one of your friends?” asks the neighbour.

“They’ve all gone to the funeral”, said Van der Merwe.


How do you know there’s an Irishman at a cock fight?

“He’s the person that enters the duck”.

How do you know Van’s there?

“He puts all his money on the duck.”

How do you know the Mafia’s there?

“The duck wins.”


















Written by: Daan Steenkamp

Daan Steenkamp Attorneys



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