November 19, 2019 | Business, Economics, Practice, Property


Tito Mboweni says that SAA is a vanity that we cannot afford: I cannot help but hope that the mother of all strikes moves management to choose between the horns of the dilemma of either declaring insolvency or fire staff. The fact is that SAA is seriously overweight in staff and that to strike for a wage in excess of the inflation rate and also against staff retrenchments, is not going to solve the problem.

In the same vein is an Engineering News article stating that our public-service union has called for talks with the government on its plans to reduce the State’s wage bill. Our 1.3 million public servants take home 35% of our national spend which sum has grown faster than any other category (barring payments for financial assets) over the past 20 years. One wonders whether the ANC tripartite alliance, of which Cosatu is one, has the stomach for this?


The Prez sent out a note (which may be found on Politicsweb) entitled The tide has turned on poor business confidence. Whilst encouraging, his statements on investments and the creation of economic opportunities so that no man, woman and child goes hungry, fly in the face of statistics and the extrapolation thereof. Interesting times.


Moneyweb has published a note, centred on the German central bank warning of an a shrinking economy, extrapolating this to asking whether a global recession might be on the horizon. One hopes not.


On Thursday Stats SA released its latest inequality report – you can find it here:


Our cement producers are calling for tariff protection of about 45%: cement is an essential material but, for others to be able to import this into South Africa for that much less, raises the question whether one should have everyone pay less or lose a lot of jobs. Standard economics (all other arguments aside) holds that one should, in such a case, import.


A girls best friend? De Beers now allows sightholders to return some gems bought at sight (sighting is a quaint practice whereby representatives of diamond houses are each given a box of diamonds of mixed quality and expected to buy this without a word). Sales are down and prices are dropping.


Joining with a few others to purchase, fix and sell? Consider reading the following article on page 37:


Estate agents probably know this, but, for the uninitiated, a property in the affordable housing space (R250-500K) stays on the market for about six weeks before it is sold. A conventional property would remain on the market for about 16 weeks. 95% of properties at the top end sell below asking price at about 10% discount, whilst only 5% of properties in the affordable housing sector sell below the asking price. FNB


In January a new performance measure, called the SA Reit Funds from Operations per share, will be introduced, which measure will replace distributable earnings per share as the primary supplemental performance measure of South African Reits. The intent is to enhance transparency and comparability of our Reits.


At the beginning of this year, thousands of estate agents were not able to claim commission because the EAAB had (again) failed to issue their Fidelity Fund certificates timeously. Rebosa has launched a query platform which works, as opposed to an email addressed to the complaints department of the EAAB, which does not:


Strong language: the BBC recently ran a series of videos on swearing. My personal view is that one cannot practice properly if one does not swear: the exigencies of practice are such that when things go wrong with things that matter a kragwoord expresses what would otherwise take a paragraph to say and Oh dear simply does not cut it!–is-swearing-actually-good-for-us/p05m710d?playlist=the-wonderful-world-of-words


Justice delayed? The Sunday Times reported on the trial of the student activist in the Fees Must Fall saga which has, again, been postponed, this time in order to allow the gentleman to write his exams. This case derives from public violence at Wits in 2016: three years ago! This for a case in which the happenings were in plain public view.

A South African problem is that one does not know whether the reason for the police inaction is deliberate or due to incompetence. Recent video footage showed the hijacking of vehicles in the presence of the SAPS with no consequences. This has been taken up by the Mpumalanga judge president, Frans Legodi, and I believe that we should take up the cudgels when faced with such a situation:


Should you join marriage partners in an application for the sequestration of one of them where a complete identity of interests of each has not been established? Take a look (in Afrikaans):


If your employee is absent from work and returns bearing a medical certificate from a Traditional Healer: are you obliged to accept this? Is non-acceptance thereof not discrimination? Take a look:


On Thursday, staff at the Pietermaritzburg Master of the High Court embarked on a strike – expect delays.

Whilst on estates: a two-page guide on what to keep available to assist your executor, is available from me on request; the author is Patrick Barker.


People are so judgemental. I can tell by just looking at them.

Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey.


To die for a religion is easier than to live it absolutely.

Jorge Borges


Iconoclasm is the social belief in the destruction of icons, images or monuments, most frequently for religious or political reasons.

Christians do this: Destroy completely all the places on the high mountains, on the hills and under every spreading tree, where the nations you are dispossessing worship their gods. Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and burn their Asherah poles in the fire; cut down the idols of their gods and wipe out their names from those places (Deuternomy 12:13). Muslims do this; recently militants destroyed the St Ahoadamah Church in Tikrit; we all do this: take a look: . The Rhodes must fall movement is but a local example of this. On a more sinister note, we seek to destroy not just monuments but thoughts: our political scene is rife with extremists calling for some history, belief and sentiment to be expunged. Social media is not exempt, there it is referred to as a cancel culture, defined as a form of boycott in which someone who shared (on social media) an unpopular opinion, is cancelled/boycotted.

Whilst on the topic, take a look at the following article in which the writer proposes decolonisation of the mind – he argues that the English language is an agent of epistemic violence in South Africa (no, I have not fully read this as I have a mental block…):


The idea of merit is a galvanising idea for those from working-class backgrounds and holds that the deserving can arise above nepotism, politics, race and the like to the benefit of all. There are many difficulties that go with this, one of these is that race has become a proxy for disadvantage. Gwen Ngwenya delivered a speech on this topic to the Economic Association of Namibia which may be accessed at

Lighten up

Sometimes I lie awake at night and I ask: Where have I gone wrong? Then a voice says to me: This is going to take more than one night.

Charlie Shultz

Still looking for your dream home. Feel free to give one of our developers a call today.

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Author: Dr Daan Steenkamp – Attorney