October 15, 2019 | Business, Economics, Practice, Property


E4 has introduced a web-based rates application system for Pietermaritzburg that promises to reduce the turnaround time for rates clearance certificates to fewer than 20 days. Five departments each have two days to respond – one wonders what happens in the other 10 days? We applied for a clearance using the system on the first day of its operation and wait with bated breath. The current turnaround time is in the order of 2 (if you are lucky) or 3 months.

Capital City Housing ran a social housing programme in Pietermaritzburg. It built a housing complex named Aloe Ridge. Of the 950 units, 261 was then occupied by so-called war vets who insisted that they were entitled to accommodation (one does not go to war to emerge homeless?). An eviction order had been obtained about a year ago but was never executed as it was feared that these worthies would respond with violence (yes, we have so-called rule of law – I think). The company has now been placed under business rescue.

Broll is talking up the retail property sector saying that there are signs of a muted recovery. This statement is based on a Retail Trading Density Index which recorded its best year-on-year growth since 2016.

The following link takes you to a short article which holds that homeowners’ associations are not automatically responsible for the safety of its members.


The Property Practitioners Act of 2019 has also been signed into law.

Two cases were brought to my attention by STBB:

  • Kretzmann, http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZAECPEHC/2019/54.html in which a pre-emptive right was not required to be reduced to writing, as it does not give a right to claim transfer of land – it only gives a right to enter into an agreement of sale; and
  • Uniting Presbyterian Church, http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZASCA/2019/129.html in which the transfer of a property which had already been registered, was declared not valid as there was a material lack of agreement as to the identity of the purchaser.

My note on a dispute involving the Sakabula Golf Estate requires correction: I had conflated the Country Estate and the Golf Club. The unpleasantness I reported upon, involved the Country Estate only. As an aside: I was more interested in the legal principle than in who was involved.


Our PMI is at its lowest in 10 years; the IIF says that our SOE disaster could push our national debt to 95% of GDP. I seem to recall having read that once over 70% our economy will not recover?

Casting around for comments on the topic, reveals that there is no single answer to this question as much depends on the economic prospects of the country involved. The World Bank suggests that if one exceeds 77% for an extended period, it will slow economic growth by 1.7% for every percentage point above this level.


An interesting aside was a report on the (illegal) conversion of bakkies to ambulances: it was said that the DTA has been aware of this practice since 2005 but has let the problem slide. Really not good form…

A Health Care Market Enquiry has found that our private healthcare sector is not as competitive as it should be and that some procedures are overused – there is no surprise in that. What is somewhat disconcerting, is a finding that the state’s regulation of the medical aid sector was partly responsible for driving up costs. The criticism included such as a lack of implementation of medical laws, the granting of provincial hospital licences without establishing whether a need therefore in the area exists, and several others.

Prof Jansen wrote on the suggested grade 9 school exit program, saying that this is a system devised by politicians to remove the embarrassing results emanating from overcrowded classrooms with unpredictable timetables where teachers lack the competence to teach. Essentially, he says that our schooling system has failed the potential dropouts and that relegation to vocational subjects is not the answer. In response to the argument that vocational training is necessary, he argues that abbreviated education cannot prepare one for modern life. I am not convinced that he is right, but still.

Amcu has taken on Samancor, alleging that the company had perpetrated R7.5bn of corrupt and illegal financial practices. If this trade union is half successful, the result is going to be extremely embarrassing.

If you provide free transplantation to ensure the safety of a worker, must that worker pay income tax on the value of the service received? Do read a note by CDH on this: https://www.cliffedekkerhofmeyr.com/en/news/publications/2019/Tax/tax-alert-27-september-The-provision-of-safe-transport-by-employers-to-prevent-gender-based-violence-considering-the-tax-consequences.html

I had commented upon the LLB offered via Varsity College, which attracted the attention of its business manager. He says that we need to will move away from a mindset that assumes that private higher education cannot be the equal of public institutions (think Stellenbosch, UCT and so on). I think that he is right but that it will take many years for the public to buy into this.


Lawyers, step aside: a Lobola Negotiations Agreement for Marriage is a pre-packaged agreement that may be bought from Hortors, ShopRite and Usave at R99.

Pragmatism and interpretation? You might take a look at this article: https://www.sabar.co.za/law-journals/2019/august/2019-august-vol032-no2-pp33-34.pdf

A very interesting dispute is playing out in England: a social scientist had published research on a link between IQ and genes (race). Cambridge sacked him on the basis of racial pseudoscience. Mr Carl has now taken on the University for unfair dismissal; crowd-funded. Mob outrage (not my terminology) is about to be tested in court.

BakerMcKenzie published an article on the reluctance of our trade unions to poll members before a strike. Old news but interesting: https://www.bakermckenzie.com/en/insight/publications/2019/09/labour-unions-reject-right-to-vote

The Electronic Deeds Registration System Act has been signed into law.

May a pledgee use the object which it holds as pledge? Generally, no; however, circumstances may exist in which the creditor should reap the fruits from the object held as pledge in order to benefit the debtor. I hold an article by Bobbink on the subject – ask me for a copy.

Our Chief Justice has noted the existence of a pilot project, allowing electronic filing and record keeping in some Gauteng courts. High time.


“Thank you to the EFF and its Commander in Chief Honourable Julius Malema for consoling us and assisting the family of the late President Mugabe to have his wishes honoured on where he would like his mortal remains to be interred.” Birds of a feather…

A son can bear a with equanimity the loss of his father, but the loss of his inheritance may drive him to despair.



This is not really fun from a legal perspective, except if you play tennis or worry about earth rotation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VPfZ_XzisU

Lighten up

Married for many years, Paul had been ignored by his wife, Liz, for some days, so eventually he confronted her with what he perceived as the problem.

‘Come on Liz, admit it,’ he ranted, ‘You only married me because my granddad left me $6 million, didn’t you?’

‘You really are silly, Paul,’ retorted Liz loudly, ‘I couldn’t care less who left it to you.’

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

#retirement #gatedestate #luxuryliving #midlandsliving

Author: Dr Daan Steenkamp – Attorney