November 21st, 2022 | Business, Economics, Practice

Economy

 

Not quite in time: South Africa (we rank 12th in the world as polluter) will be given R10.8bn by France and Germany to promote our green transition, which transition will probably come too late to assuage the latest Eskom report on the future of load-shedding. BusinessDay reported that Eskom’s energy supply could worsen by 40% over the following five years. The deleterious effect thereof on business (read GDP) and our society needs no explanation.

 

The demise of the American FTX crypto platform this shook investors and those investing in Bitcoin et cetera. Commentators piled in with one extreme lamenting FTX’s red flags missed and others (think Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group) calling for crypto regulation et cetera. The point is, however, that investors value the anonymity and transferability of such assets. Regulation may well protect individuals but will also rob them of one of the prime reasons of such investments.

 

The SAA deal has dragged on for some time, with the suspicion that there is more to the transaction than meets the eye, intensifying. The recent resignation of a respected director of that entity, citing obfuscation of information (of course SAA put another spin on this) bodes ill for the final resuscitation of our national airline. In fact, the vacuum created by the SAA/Mango grouping and the unreasonable delay in getting them going fully again, has resulted in a serious erosion of potential market for those entities, with others piling into that space.

 

A note on South African’s global economic freedom ranking, published by Codera, stating that S Africa has fallen in ranking from the 52nd in 2000 to 99th position in 2020, is disturbing. In essence it says that we rank badly in our freedom to trade internationally as well as the restrictions placed on us by local business regulation.

 

Business

 

Short business news, that will affect us all, is as follows:

 

  • A BusinessTech report predicts a drop in second-hand car prices in a year.
  • One man’s poison… The Ukraine war has increased the European demand for wood chips as sources, other than Russia, are needed.
  • Popi compliance is still regularly revisited – the following is an interesting link: https://www.naveg.co.za/popi-principles/
  • Regular readers will recall that I have poured scorn upon the SAPS undertaking to protect business from predation by so-called Business Fora: a week past the Ulundi Business Forum closed down the Transnet coal export line, demanding    business opportunities in the salvage operation of 87 derailed wagons. Transnet declared force majeure…so much for SAPS intervention.
  • The Department of Health has asked the High Court to scrap its rejection of plans to require doctors to have a certificate of need in order to open a practice in a specific area. Think central governance…
  • You cannot just buy, a franchise to sell fuel if you are not a previously disadvantaged individual, as the franchisors had undertaken to transform. The problem is that you need a R5-R10m cushion to undertake such an enterprise this and    qualified takers are hard to come by. What interested me, against this background, was a statement in Moneyweb that owners, outside of the franchise networks, comprise 70% of non-disadvantaged persons.
  • Cost of a cuppa? MyBroadband calculated that it costs R0,39 to boil a kettle and R1.29 day to run a fridge, ?

 

Practice

 

General news

Hard news

Conveyancing

  • Conveyancers work with redistribution agreements in many estate transfers. An academic takes a swing at the Chief Registrar of Deeds directive that the Master should accept such an agreement prior to this being used for conveyancing purposes: https://perjournal.co.za/article/view/8994/18074
  • The Pietermaritzburg Registrar of Deeds has ruled that the Deeds Office in Pietermaritzburg will close at 10 on 23 December. A double execution will be held on the 21st.

Property

 

Chas Everett International would have it that a rise in the number of sales in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg (its own sales have almost quadrupled, and it says that a significant number of high-end buyers from the Western Cape has bought there) is an indication that the Cape semi-gration is reversing. It says that this trend is driven by immigrants as a result of the African Continent Free Trade Agreement, an increase in the cost of a travel, and immigration of persons wanting to escape the effects of the Ukraine war. It must be noted that this is not an opinion shared by others.

 

Fewer 100% home loans are being granted and the average deposit requirement is 10% of the purchase price. Not unexpectedly, first-time buyers make up the majority of bond applicants – 72%! Interestingly, house price inflation for the year to date is reflected as follows:

Gauteng S&E      7.3%

Eastern Cape      5.7%

KZN                        1.4%

Western Cape   -2.1% (this appears to support the comment on semi-gration above.

 

The Daily Friend interprets a submission by the IRR on the Land Court Bill which held that the Bill is part of our government’s malicious agenda to water down constitutionally entrenched property rights as affecting infant mortality, life expectancy, equality and so on. The latter conclusion is drawn from statistics showing that countries, in which property rights are respected, experience better levels of these as well as happiness! The IRR objections centre around two issues – that lay assessors could override a judge on questions of fact and the watering down of the rules of evidence.

 

The following case gives an example of a landlord evicting a non-rental-paying tenant who sought to rely on Covid to excuse it from its rental obligations: http://www.saflii.org.za/za/cases/ZASCA/2022/152.html

 

A body corporate cannot wait for an owner, who contravenes a body corporate rule, to sell a unit and then use the refusal to issue a levy clearance certificate to enforce compliance: Tapush v The S H Body Corporate. This case was not available on Saflii but will be provided on request (courtesy of Alan West).

 

You cannot simply install a gate across an access servitude without a sound reason therefor and giving the owner/servitude holder effective access: http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZASCA/2022/137.html (courtesy of STBB)

 

Comment                                              

 

Prominent news this week was a SA Institution of Civil Engineering report on the bleak state of the roads, rail water and infrastructure in our country. News, probably fairly, interpreted this as a slow collapse of our state. Virtually at this time came a report on the erosion of our engineering capacity, stating what has become obvious to most of us, i.e., that very few municipalities employ engineers owing to the displacement of older engineers. The result of this is services being supervised by narrower-skilled technicians.

This is but one result of over-hasty but politically necessary change.

On this topic – our government loves punting buying local for the hoi polloi – after all, we should support our own. Unless, of course, when one needs to return a political favour: vide the SANRAL contracts awarded to Chinese JVs despite much greater costs – such work of course being the lifeblood of local engineers; but then, politics trumps all.

 

I had written on my travails with the State and the Department of Home Affairs. This week past I had, without result, sought the illegal services of a gentleman regarding the issuance of a certified birth certificate which takes six months to a year via the “correct” channels. This caused me to wonder why corruption flourishes – I had always thought that when a service becomes difficult to obtain, corruption would seek to provide an alternative answer. On looking this up, it turned out to be a much wider topic, including, for instance services that could not be obtained legally at all and so on. A family member recently had cause to visit Mozambique. He tells of border post/police corruption, two sets of prices, one for locals and one for visitors and so on. He mentioned a boom in informal property construction with disastrous city planning, sustainability and other unfortunate implications, stating that a town like Jozini could not be favourably compared to Kampala.

In practice I increasingly come across corruption at all levels. Our deeds office is not free of this and, judging by the number of errors in the system, not that accurate anymore either.

Some of this is funny, given our government’s stance against corruption: I recently read a newspaper report on the escalation in bribes!

 

So, given the above, would you lend money to a corrupt state for development purposes? Clearly, with some difficulty: the Prez was quoted in the newspapers saying, overseas financial support “is out of reach of the majority of the world’s population due to lending policies that are risk-overs and Kerry owner’s costs as well as conditionalities”.

 

Lighten up

 

A man was sent to hell for his sins. As he was being led into the pits for an eternity of torment, he saw a lawyer passionately kissing a beautiful woman. “What a joke!” he said. “I have to roast in flames for all eternity and that lawyer gets to spend it with that beautiful woman.” Satan jabbed the man with his pitchfork and snarled, “Who are you to question that woman’s punishment?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Dr 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
Janet Channing – Waterford Residential Estate, Howick | 082 570 5834 | janet@devdirect.co.za

 

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