Economy

 

Spending more: South Africa is burning up money it does not have at the rate of R2.1bn per day and has extended social assistance payments. The Fiscal Cliff Study Group has said that our public sector remuneration, social assistance payments and debt service costs have effectively absorbed all of government revenue: what to do? This group says that only very rapid economic growth can turn this position around. Interestingly, in the week at hand, our government wants, at the SA Investment Conference, to nail down R644bn in investment pledges (hoping for more) which forms a part of the R1.2tr that our president had set as goal in 2018.

 

Enter new taxes: one of these is a proposed Netflix tax to prop up SABC’s inability to keep itself afloat: this is going to be interesting.

 

On a much less broad front, the SA Post Office is reportedly behind on the payment of workers’ medical aid, pension, benefits and, amazingly, SARS payments. So, if your employer deducts your tax contributions but does not pay them over, is that not a form of fraud?

 

Yet there does seem to be hope of sorts – the Absa PMI is at its highest level in 13 years – 60.9 points – indicative of an upward trend over the past 5 months.

 

Capitec announced that it will now be granting home loans and, for this purpose, has gotten cosy with SA Home Loans. The latter institution basis its interest rate on the JIBAR – which those in the know, say is a much better measure of lending costs than the prime rate (which has but a tenuous link to real cost of money). Progress? Possibly, but most South Africans have very little appreciation of JIBAR rates.

 

Oops: the EU has blacklisted Mauritius (as well as, amongst others, Panama, Jamaica, and Botswana) for not being sufficiently vigilant against money-laundering. This will stymie prospects of tax refugees moving there.

 

Whilst on tax: this you have until Monday 16th November to file your tax return via the online platforms

 

Business

 

Comparisons:

  • Taxis: Uber v Bolt: Bolt is substantially cheaper than Uber;
  • Bakkies: D/Max v Ranger v Hilux: the Ranger is cheapest to maintain; Hilux occupies the middle spot and the most expensive to maintain is Isuzu’s D/Max;
  • Medical aids: in terms of overall and perceived value satisfaction, Bestmed trumps both Medihelp and Discovery;
  • Banks: the worst is Discovery, Capitec is the leader followed closely by Nedbank and Standard Bank;
  • Airlines: Kulula v FlySafair v Lift: comparing prices on the Jhb-Ct route, Lift is cheapest and FlySafair is the most expensive.

Whilst on the topic of airlines: SAL is unable to operate with any profit margin despite being heavily funded by our government; yet Lift, operating within South Africa, was able to start up (a costly exercise) and clearly sees the opportunity for profit.

 

Property

 

In general, top-end properties are losing value whilst bottom-end properties are gaining; yet there is progress; from a national average of 0.7% price-growth in May, the October figure is 2.6% – marginally less than our inflation rate. Yawn.

More interesting was an advertorial style article on micro apartments (think 14 – 32 m²) in larger cities which cost just over R1m for the little ones. Which cost, in George, is the same cost as an average house.

 

Notable for those in the property business, is an interesting statistic: this year there were 10,000 more residential property transactions than in October last year. Conveyancers are working bedo**erd! My perception, however, is that sales are slowing.

 

Part of the unexpected boom is a shortage of building materials – think cement/steel/bricks and timber.

 

Competing with Big Brother:

 

Of more interest is a new Sectional Titles Amendment Bill before Parliament: https://www.parliament.gov.za/bill/2293655 See also a write-up on the topic: https://businesstech.co.za/news/property/445682/planned-changes-for-south-africas-complexes-and-other-sectional-titles

 

SARS – the feeding apparatus for our hungry ‘pottamus – is now using AI to track undeclared rentals on 2nd and 3rd properties: be careful!

 

Practice

 

Jolling has resulted in a build-up of interesting but parochial material; briefly thus:

 

Much more fun is watching our learned colleagues’ squabble: the Cape Bar will, on Tuesday, respond to race/discrimination/housing policy allegations laid by an SC who resigned from that institution. Without debating the reasons for maintaining Bar housing/chamber rules, the fact is that these rules emanate from a very different society to ours.

 

GoLegal has published a salary survey on South African legal practices. Depressing stuff if you come from a small town (I thought I was doing quite handsomely but, if the stats are anywhere nearly correct, clearly not!). The median income for an equity partner in South Africa is R5m – see the graph below

 

 

If you wish to read more: https://www.golegal.co.za/salary-survey-law-firms-2020/

 

My daily struggles, with the authorities that be, over nothing, appear positively humble: we have one examiner who insists on prescribed but dated punctuation when quoting figures in deeds. CRC 18/1973 rules that figures be written as follows: R 2 560 000,00 i.e. grouped with a comma only between the Rands and Cents. If you get this wrong, your deed will be rejected! Yet, financial practice holds that one writes separating millions and thousands with a comma and the following decimal fractions with a full stop – alternatively, try entering commas in an Excel spreadsheet.

 

Whilst on farce: the S68.1 procedure for replacing title deeds has become a joke. By way of example: my understanding is that, over the past 6 months we have had two objections against replacement titles being issued in Pietermaritzburg. I suspect that our Deeds Office takes in probably at least 10 such adverts per day. At a suggested cost of R2 500 per application, plus the advertisement costs of about R800, this totals R3 200 (and more) per application X 10 (per day) X 22 (days in a month) X 6 (months) the result is a  cost of R4 224 000 (all in the interest of the public – not to mention a minimum delay of some three weeks brought about by all this b*ggering around). The question one must answer is whether the direct cost and waste of time really will reduce such fraud? Using existing legislation, one merely must hold a conveyancer responsible if a fraudulent title is issued. But then, those that enforce professional conduct has become limp-wristed.

 

Another minor, but irritating change, is the withdrawal of RCR 3/2015 which allowed a conveyancer, acting under the power of attorney to transfer which typically accompanies such applications, to apply for the replacement of a title deed under R68.1 if the facts stated was within the personal knowledge of that conveyancer/agent. My understanding is that this also applies to S4.1.b applications. Sourced from Allen West.

 

Quotables

 

There was simply no way that a carnival barker who had never spent an hour in public service and whose tacky, unapologetic hedonism flew directly in the face of conservative values could ever become president of a vast, complex and deeply religious democracy such as the US.

Tom Eaton on Trump initially becoming president

 

The real threat to South Africa’s economic, social and political wellbeing is internal: the continuing rise of the trade-off between the future of the ruling party that has become inward-looking, versus boldly putting forth policies that will enable economic recovery and income growth that could potentially lead to greater opportunities for many.

Mamokgethi Molopyane

 

Comment

 

Anyone who has watched Ms Kwinana’s testimony at the Zondo Commission must marvel how she became a CA and how she managed to hold positions on the board of SAA. Imagine having to serve on a high-profile board with one such as she: mind boggling!

 

Lighten up

 

Banana peeling lawyers:

  • Trial Lawyer: The worst of the worst kind of lawyer. No one knows why.
  • Pro Bono Lawyer: A free-trial lawyer. The best of the worst kind of lawyer.
  • Disbarred Lawyers: The only persons a lawyer can look down upon.
  • Law Professor: A lawyer who loves the law but hates lawyering.

 

And obviously ..  Q: Where do vampires learn to suck blood? A: Law school.

 

 

 

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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