Economy

 

News has it that our government is seeking a loan from “multilateral lenders” (whatever that means) to fund the development of “network industries” – read infrastructure. With this comes promises of jobs and so on. I understand that borrowing to pay for infrastructure, which facilitates business and therefore has a multiplier effect of the money invested, is a responsible spend/loan: great idea. A pity that citizens needed to die for this to be promised. A further difficulty with these promises is that similar promises had been made often with not much result – why should this time be different?

The source of such funds is a political issue –oversimplified this amounts to a squaring up between borrowing from outside or borrowing from within. Oversimplified again, the Socialists quail at the first and support the second. Enter MMT (yes, I had to look it up): do take a look https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_Monetary_Theory . This theory boils down to fiat money and is based on the understanding that one cannot default on debt denominated in your own currency and that you can pay for anything without a need to collect money in the form of taxes to fund such finance. For the more conservative, such an action conjures up (Johnson) visions of Zimbabwean hyper inflation, loss of Reserve Bank independence, the Land Bank disaster and so on. Who will prevail? If it is the Socialists, then Mr Johnson might well be right that their influence far outweighs their membership.

 

The dismal contemplation of the above was brightened up by listening to a Ted talk by Kristalina Georgieva, MD of the IMF: do take 40 minutes to listen to her as it will be time well spent. Truly a borsharetannie; heck, comparing our home-grown version NDZ to her is quite distressing. https://www.ted.com/talks/kristalina_georgieva_how_to_rebuild_the_global_economy?

 

Who? Home-grown Æthelred (the unready): our State website says that the Department of Energy is responsible for ensuring development, utilisation and management of South Africa’s energy sources: petroleum products is part of the programme and must be managed. Diesel production has fallen behind and a shortage has resulted. Enter our own unready (drumroll): Minister Gwede Mantashe.

 

Business

 

Our labour minister has said that those employees who have a reasonable belief that being at work will be unsafe should not return there. Those who are over 60 and has comorbidities should not return either. Debatable, but, what is certain, is that the stout, sexagenarian and insalubrious are going to have a very difficult time getting hired in future.

 

Almost new and slightly shopsoiled: the tall locos bought by Transnet from Swifambo Rail Leasing (allegedly a front company for a Spanish outfit) are being sold in the liquidation of that company. One wonders who would buy, unless at a serious discount? One cannot use these locally unless on a sideline; overseas bidders would buy only at a discount, delivered.

 

Who? It is reported that R2bn NSFAS funds had been “wrongly” paid out and cannot be recovered. Who’s responsible for this? If one calls up the website, up pops the face of Dr Blade Nzimande together with a background, stating integrity, respect, reliability, integrity…amen!

 

Everlasting: SWMBO’s old man cast a long shadow (goedkoop koop is duurkoop) and, after marriage proceeded to buy only Tupperware for Steenkamp storage. These, 40 years later, have started to fail – which caused me to peek at the weal of this company. Not great; unsurprising, as it now turns out that most plastics bought in the seventies should be discarded and that it is certainly not the stoutest or bestselling product around. Current Tupperware products are not cheap and I cannot see this brand surviving – they only sell at home parties which has been disallowed worldwide for months!

 

There is a new accounting metric – Ebitda/r/c: the r stands for property rentals; the c for Covid – and includes kitchen sink.

Speaking of the kitchen sink: when your employee works at from home, OHSA defines workplace as any premises or place where such work is performed and their home constitutes a workplace.

 

Zooming is not a piece of cake: such interaction more tiring than one might think (and Mr Zooma is only just recovering from his illness, shame, must be taxing for him). The reasons and solutions are discussed in this video: https://ideas.ted.com/zoom-fatigue-is-real-heres-why-video-calls-are-so-draining/?

 

Property

 

Fair? In 1965 Morris wrote, in The Washing of the Spears, that the distribution of the South African flatlands, essential to native and European pastoralists alike had been inequitable in every territory in southern Africa. Boer and Briton had taken the best of them and, in the course of two centuries of encroachment, backed by force of arms, crowded the natives into marginal areas where primitive agricultural procedures had compounded the ever present threat of drought. This situation is still an issue today and defies solution. A question that may well be asked is whether seizure of anything by force of arms should be redressed later? Alternatively, whether lack of redress will ever produce peace?

 

I am always amused by estate agents informing me that now is the time to either buy or sell! I have touched on this before but a re-hash is probably appropriate: the expected negative residential property price-growth ranges from -6.15% (FNB) to -14% with a midrange of -8.8%. Definitely a buyers market – you might want to wait a bit though.

 

Funding gap: the inevitable delays in the registration of transfers caused by the Lockdown and now the stuttering start-up of Deeds Offices (the PMB office opened only to re-close temporarily, owing to an official testing positive) has placed many an estate agent and seller in the invidious position that he needs to borrow in order to tide him over, pending payment of price or commission. Commercial lenders would make funds available to agents and sellers only when it has become clear that registration is virtually certain. The advantages of such a loan (termed bridging finance) is that the transferring conveyancer would typically handle this free of charge, it is quick (this takes a day?) and the credit standing of the borrower is not an issue. The disadvantage is that such loans are not cheap. Take a look at a write-up on this: https://www.estatelife.co.za/bridging-the-financial-gap-between-sale-and-transfer-of-a-home-during-lockdown/  ( PS, if the transfer is virtually certain and you cannot get a loan, your conveyancer might not be in good standing with the lender).

 

Conveyancers often deal with residences, bought by starcrossed lovers who subsequently see the light. If the relationship works out, such a purchase is a great idea; if the relationship sours, you will regret not having a formal arrangement with your jilted lover now angry owner-partner. Consider a contract a form of antenuptial insurance: https://www.mondaq.com/southafrica/wills-intestacy-estate-planning/940824/complexities-of-co-ownership?

 

Practice

 

Mini Me: Ms Dudu Myeni has had a remarkable financial recovery: from being unable to afford a plane ticket to attend the court case that resulted in her being declared a delinquent director (her funding gap), funds have become available to appeal to the SCA! I applaud her fortitude and trust that she will fund this herself so that, whether she wins or loses, her funding gap will stretch. Justice is not cheap.

 

Conveyancers in KZN would know that our deeds office was closed owing to an official having tested positive for CV19. This has resulted in a temporary closure while the by-now-customary sanitisation procedures will be/have been undertaken. I know that our Registrar is bound to the protocols imposed from above but, given the number of people that work within the Deeds Office and the number of persons passing through on a daily basis, it must become apparent that one cannot go through a full sanitising procedure every time one of their number tests positive for CV19. A bos-sum will show that if one closes down just two days for every such incident, and assuming an eventual 50% infection rate, our deeds office will hardly be open in the next year.

 

The law is an ass? No, Dickens, not I. A report on judges not wanting (or having such or being able to use such?) to use own computers for virtual hearings, does our profession no favours. Any official at that level of competence, responsibility and income should have this sorted. Heck, I expect this of my secretary!

 

A note on the Zooma prosecution suggested that a litany of missteps by the NPA precedes a request for the amendment of the charge sheet. Who… is responsible?

 

Many of our colleagues will be retrenched and shufflings to accommodate friction and economy must needs follow the CV 19 induced rash. One such, who confided in me, was clearly not properly dealt with: does one fight or move on? The problem with fighting is that if you win you end of staying with a losing outfit and, given the close nature of most practices, you will find yourself cheek by jowl with someone whom you do not respect and who dislikes you. Move on, get a life.

Many out of work RAF practitioners have and would want, logically, to move to personal injury law. Count the cost: PI law is not for everyone and you need deep pockets. A recent article on the cost/profitability of such practices may be found at https://www.golegal.co.za/contingent-litigation-personal-injury/

 

Many attorneys run personal liability companies for tax and succession reasons. Most of us are slapgat about resolutions: the requirements for these are set out in https://www.golegal.co.za/drafting-written-resolutions/

Similarly, such companies that hold trust assets in excess of R5m, must have their business accounts audited also: https://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/511/204393.html

 

Quotables

 

“Those saying people die of hunger are misleading us, there are no graves of hunger, there are graves of people killed by apartheid, there are graves of people killed by diseases..” Julius Malema

 

(Senior ministers) don’t trade on skills or governance, efficiency or endeavour, but on politics and patronage.” (Unnamed) assistant editor.

 

Comment

 

O mo*r, a yard sale: survivors whose life flashed by oncoming off anything must have had pretty uneventful lives. My mo*ring off things have never resulted in a re-run of that delightful redhead having thrown herself at me (moth to the flame!). I wake up/jump up and nada! Aside 1: victims who jump up and look to see who saw them fall, have reputational and not ass-issues – the guys who don’t care, need evac. Aside 2: (favourite bête noire) BMW riders who, unlike commoners who mo*r off/down have discrete side-stand incidents mo*r!, get a life; buy a bike that doesn’t need to have its temperature taken to fix. So, my front tyre parts company with the rim on a downhill this morning and I am reduced to anti-inflammatories and an age-old anti-anxiety remedy: an intoxicating grape-pip extract concocted off vines by someone subjected to tradewinds blowing over the Benguela current. Oh yes – the progression goes as follows: mo*r af, farm sale, yard sale. The latter extreme form of the progression, is defined as waking up and having your nose touch both feet. Mo*r aan!

 

My perception of sin persuaded me to part with the rooikop (are things one did not do [sic] and regret always sinful?). At least we have learnt that the lesser sin of smoking and drinking is drinking. Fortunately I have been able to narrow down my perception of sin. Contrast the sclerotic hon. NDZ (SACP supported, inventor of facts, and knower of sin, and the betterment of others) whose prejudices (and wooden delivery) are such that they have substantially eroded our trust in government. Clearly no enlightenment from her side can be expected – from ours; extreme gratitude that she was pipped to the pol(l)(e).

 

Lighten up  

 

What do you call a priest who becomes a lawyer? A father-in-law!

 

My memory has gotten so bad it has actually caused me to lose my job. I’m still employed. I just can’t remember where.

 

Some people say the glass is half full. Some people say the glass is half empty. Engineers say the glass is twice as big as necessary.

 

I always tell new hires, don’t think of me as your boss, think of me as a friend who can fire you.

 

Author: Dr Daan Steenkamp

 


 

Still looking for your dream home. 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
Janet Channing – Waterford Residential Estate, Howick | 082 570 5834 | janet@devdirect.co.za

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