July 7th, 2024 | Business, Economics, Practice



  • Our inflation rate seems to be abating with food prices especially having taken a significant turn for the better.
  • The Reserve Bank governor reiterated an intent to lower our inflation rate (some 5.2% in May) to a midpoint average of 4.5. The expectation is that by mid-year 2025, that rate would stand at 4.5%. Our inflation rate is nevertheless higher than that of most of our trading partners, which means that our currency must needs devalue, which is one factor which may delay an interest rate reduction later this year.
  • Our manufacturing sector contracted further in the first quarter of this year. The contraction is attributed to weak business confidence, slack demand and high operating costs associated with electricity supply constraints. The slowdown of business is said to have led to increased electricity availability – which casts a shadow on the state’s claim of increased electrical production.
  • Our JSE showed a tepid increase of only 3.7% since January but has surged on the back of political certainty and a potential interest rate cut in the US, which is expected to be followed by our Reserve Bank given the pressing need for economic stimulus here.
  • Welcome positive notes are reports on overseas investors piling into our JSE and bond market.
  • Zimbabwe’s economy is predicted to rebound to 6% growth next year, according to the IMF.

News of interest

  • I am halfway through a history of Portugal, which comments repeatedly on government imposing tariffs and other protections for a weak and small economy which had, in the past been propped up by Brazilian money and which could not keep up with the industrialisation and agricultural betterment of its neighbours. Our state seeks to do the same; two (amongst many) local examples of our neighbours outperforming locals are:
  • a City Press report that foreign-owned spaza shops outperform locals leading to the owners’ lives being threatened; and
  • vehicle production which is subsidised to enhance competitiveness with overseas producers and the imposition of tariffs on vehicle imports.

Our lack of competitiveness, and reasons therefor, are debatable as is the desirability of protection. Does one protect fledgling businesses which are not competitive at the cost of the consumer? Probably only if this is to foster and grow local expertise, and which protection should be discontinued in time.

  • The tax season is upon us. If the distinction between evasion and avoidance of taxes is not clear to you, consider reading the following: https://www.sdblaw.co.za/OurInsights/ArticleDetail.aspx?Title=Tax-Evasion-vs-Tax-Avoidance!&utm
  • May a trade union act on behalf of employees, in Labour Court proceedings, if such employees cannot become members of that union? See: https://www.moneyweb.co.za/news/south-africa/welcome-confirmation-about-trade-union-membership-requirements/
  • Most invoices are sent out by way of electronic means: these are generally not tampered with because they represent small beer for fraudsters. A recent spat, between an Attorneys’ firm and an individual, on a payment into a fraudulent account, which ended up in the SCA, was widely commented upon in the press; be careful, check and be aware of payment particulars which change.
  • The SAA saga took an interesting turn, on its announcing that the carrier would increase its aircraft fleet by at least 30% in the next 18 months. This is remarkable, as this plan was said to have been developed in parallel with the Takatso negotiations. The question, that springs to mind, is how SAA is suddenly able to develop/grow when mere months ago such growth was dependent on a takeover.
  • Gas and Gwede: Minister Mantashe has been returned to his past post; CNR has already ditched gas extraction on our S Coast, and it appears that TotalEnergies is also about to do so. One interested party remains, and one sincerely hopes that a way can be found to make our energy reserves are available within South Africa without the usual hurdles imposed by our government. We are in dire need of the resources on our doorstep.
  • Micro-lenders (and a major bank) that obtained garnishee orders/payroll deductions, are again in the firing line, as such a dispute is now before our courts. Wait.
  • The following graph, ex Codera, on industry profitability and ROI is interesting:



  • Complaints on delays within the Masters’ Offices, have been ongoing. A recent report on such an issue, emanating from Pretoria, was that the parties had reached some agreement and I can confirm that this appears to be working: I recently submitted an L&D there and received a response within about three weeks – compared to our Master here – burning up the track!
  • Our Limpopo Chief Justice is under investigation by the JSC for having used insulting language in describing a colleague, nominated in 2021, and subsequently appointed, as deputy president. Noteworthy is that the charge is led by an advocate who was struck from the roll – now on appeal – and the Woman’s Chapter of the ALA (a lawyers’ association); the reason for our colleague having been struck off, is, according to him, that the ALA had laid bare corruption and sexual harassment in the legal profession. Fun.

Hard news (which is also thin, owing to school holidays)



There is little news on property and sales generally. What little there is to be had is:

  • A somewhat sensational article was published by TopAuto to the effect that Cape Town is preparing to become our biggest city owing to semi-gration. Looking at the intended expansion, it is clear that the incomers being provided for, appear to be mainly bottom end-labour rather than middle-class. Interestingly, a search on the size of our cities provided startlingly different results – much depends on how wide one casts the count.
  • Much was made in a recent article on what charges Body Corporates are entitled to recover on auction in execution. Much effort can be saved by simply wording the deed of sale correctly.
  • Green-certified A-grade offices reportedly produced a total net return of 5.8%, 150 points above non-certified office premises of a similar quality. Put differently, the net operating income from green offices is reportedly 30% higher per square metre, compared to non-certified peers.
  • Whilst on green: residential developments, which are energy and water efficient, and which have green spaces, and similar amenities, are trending.
  • I was quite amused to read an article on the income of property brokers, published on the PropertyWheel site – which had been removed owing to inaccurate information!
  • The transformation in the property sales sector, is a continuing issue as may be seen from the following: https://propertywheel.co.za/2024/06/the-nppc-calls-on-the-ppra-to-utilise-the-property-sector-transformation-fund/



Appointing former judge Hlope, to be part of the JSC, generated a heated discussion recently. The assumption appears to be that only moral and knowledgeable members of our Parliament should take part in the selection of presiding officers for our courts. The difficulty with the discussion, is that it assumes that parliamentarians are entirely dispassionate, as opposed to Mr Hlope, whose political and social proclivities, and standard of conduct, are well known and looked down upon. Take the USA as example; the prevailing government appears to appoint top judges on their perceived sympathy to the policies held by that government. Are we that different?

Lighten up

To take an oath, ancient Romans put a hand on their testicles – that’s where the word “testimony” comes from.


“A recent line of research in the field of humour has proposed the existence of two morally based comic styles. One of them, corrective humour (or satire), seeks to ridicule and mock to establish justice. In contrast, benevolent humour attempts to correct deviances using humour in a friendly manner understanding human imperfections.”

See below:




Written by: Daan Steenkamp

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 | tom@devdirect.co.za
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