July 15, 2019 | Business, Economics, Practice, Property


Moody’s reports that South Africa has the highest private sector debt to GDP ratio in sub Saharan Africa at 148%. The next highest is Kenya at 28%. Its conclusion is that the potential for organic growth by banks in South Africa could only be had by mergers/acquisitions between banks. It is interesting to note that, for the first time in my recollection, my banker has reduced its charges. Clearly sharpening its pencil.


Xpatweb released a Critical Skills Survey, suggesting that the jobs that we, in SA, struggle to fill are the same as those in popular emigration destinations such as the UK, New Zealand and Australia. It is said that some 900,000 South Africans are now living overseas.


A trial by Google to supply 4G cell services via high altitude balloons in Kenya is set to take off shortly, says its spokesman, Loon (no pun intended…). One wonders: these things float around and must be replaced every five months anyway owing to degradation.


So-called prescribed asset investing is back in the news: you will recall that a proposal by the ANC held that financial institutions should hold a certain percentage of their assets in government-approved instruments. At present, few funds produce inflation beating returns; imagine a still lower return? All that would be achieved is a flight into other assets. Perhaps the ANC should put its money where its mouth is and invest all PIC funds so.


May one dismiss an employee for refusing to accept new terms and conditions of employment? Conditionally, yes: take a look: https://www.golegal.co.za/change-terms-conditions-employment/


Nimby: should expropriated land only be given to the formerly disadvantaged who customarily stayed in that area? If yes, you would agree with King Goodwill Zwelithini that Zulu land cannot be expropriated for restitution purposes. The difficulty with this argument is that some tribes would end up with proportionally more land than others. Fair?


The Rode, State of the Property Market report for Q1/19 may be read at http://www.rode.co.za/news/research/StateOfThePropMarket_2019_1.pdf

It says the following:

  • the office rental market is oversupplied and produces below inflation rentals at 4% yoy. Given building-cost inflation at 7%, this is tantamount to a decline in real terms;
  • industrial rentals grew by 6.5% yoy and is doing well;
  • the residential market remains weak with house-price growth slowing to 3.7% by February this year. This implies flat rental growth.

On this topic, South African Reits have been amongst the worst-performing, worldwide.


Hardly a topic to publish under a Property heading but, probably worth a look anyway: should one use a provident fund to buy property and rent it out? Look at the link that follows – my understanding of the issues at hand is that withdrawing pension-type funds for such a purpose incurs tax. On the contrary, the returns on the total package of owning rental property are more substantial of late than the stock market. The imponderable which makes investing in buy-to-let properties awkward, is the vagaries of dealing with tenants.



When may trustees implement a special levy in a sectional complex?



The eThekwini municipality has a standing rates exemption for EUAs, usufructs (and personal servitudes) and leases, which states that no rates clearances are required for the cession of these. This has been extended until 30 June 2020.


A gentleman who services primarily attorneys’ copying and filing needs from the Durban and Pietermaritzburg Masters’ officers tells me that the Durban Master’s office is chronically short staffed, leading to delays in extracting information and so on.


Paul Modise, wearing the cape of the BLA, wrote on the conveyancing examinations in the latest De Rebus: essentially, he opines that the conveyancing examination hurdle is dominated by male Afrikaners who are stuck in the past. Look:


Balderdash: examiners are not appointed by the LSSA or LEAD but by the JP (a black man); furthermore, the KZN (I cannot speak for other Provinces) examiners comprise two black females, three Asian persons, one white female and two white males, none of whom, to my knowledge, are Afrikaans. It is true that a lower percentage of candidates sitting for such exams pass than of yore. My understanding is that the reason why black persons possibly do worse than other racial groups in the examinations (and I emphasise that I have not verified this of late and have no intention to) should be sought in the training and experience that black candidates are exposed to. Therein lies the rub. It is very difficult to pass if one has not actually worked in a conveyancing practice and there are fewer black conveyancing practices than white. Making a direct assumption difficult is the fact that most conveyancing practices dependent upon bank work (which requires minimum BEE compliance) probably employ primarily black candidate attorneys.

Whilst skirting racism, it is interesting to note that one could be dismissed from one’s employment for making unsubstantiated allegations of racism.



Whilst on the topic of training and qualifying of attorneys, my attention was attracted to a note in the latest De Rebus which referred to the need to sharply reduce the number of law students in our system. The full report may be found at http://www.derebus.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/CHE_LLB-National-Report_2018.pdf


The Deeds Registries Act, 1937 defines a person for the purposes of the registration of immovable trust property as inclusive of a trust. In the past, quite correctly, as a trust is not a legal person, a trust was always referred to by the phrase the trustees for the time being of the X trust, to indicate that one is dealing with representative owners. Given the definition above, introduced in 2003, is no longer necessary so to describe a trust as it is, for deeds registration purposes, enough to refer to the trust’s name only. In fact, use of the old-time full phrase, invites the error of either including or omitting the word THE as part of the trust name for record purposes.


This week past, Standard Bank was prevented from setting off debts, due in terms of a credit agreement, against funds held by it on other accounts of the same client. Sections 90 (2) (n) and 124 of the National Credit Act may be worth a look: http://www.saflii.org/za/legis/num_act/nca2005152.pdf

The case may be found as http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZAGPJHC/2019/182.html


Last week I commented upon real and personal rights and how one acquires transfer/session of these. A recent article by Lobola on the Fischer case reiterates this principle: a court order creates a personal right and not the vesting of a real right. The latter requires transfer/session registered in the Deeds Office.



A conservative is a man who believes that nothing should be done for the first time.



The politics of protest: the struggle against apartheid was characterised by a widespread violation of the laws of the time. These breaches carried little stigma and were worn as a badge of honour. However, this has led to an erosion of respect for the law and is difficult to regain. Zille

She says, on a growing narrative, most clearly represented by the EFF, that the majority of South Africans are seen as permanent victims of colonialism whose birth right was stolen by whites. To those who believe this, the constitution represents a Faustian pact that Mandela made with his conquerors.


Deux M is a beer much enjoyed in Mozambique: the name derives from one Marshall Patrice de McMahon who demarcated the Elephant Park in southern Mozambique.

Lighten up

Advice for women who are approached by police: Smile mooi, sit lelik.


Aan het slot van de zitting zegt de rechter: ‘Dat was het. Beklaagde, u krijgt het laatste woord.’ Waarop de man in kwestie zich omdraait naar het purbliek, zijn vrourw zoekt en zegt: ‘Ah, eindelijk! Heb je dat gehoord, Georgette?’


Peter neemt zijn zoontje mee voor een bezoek aan de dierentuin. Wanneer ze bij de wilde dieren komen, stellen ze vast dat er een schaap tussen de tijgers loopt. ‘Maar hoe is dat mogelijk?‘ vraagt Peter. ‘O, dat is niet zo moeilijk,‘ zegt de dierenverzorger, ‘We nemen gewoon elke dag een nieuw schaap.’

Author: Dr Daan Steenkamp – Attorney