April 2017


Editor's Note - April 2017 Editor's Note April 2017

If one were to judge the country by newspaper headlines over the past month it would be for the three Cs – Crime, Corruption and Cowardice. I think that another C can now be added – Conniving. As we were about to go to print news broke of President Zuma's cabinet reshuffle, by 7h00 the rand has dropped 5% in value. Yet again "cry the beloved country".

Read More

Maybe Baby Medical Law April 2017

In May 2008 the Health Professions Council of South Africa published certain guidelines entitled "General Ethical Guidelines for Reproductive Health", booklet 13. The Reproductive Guidelines provide guidance to healthcare practitioners, subject to the supervision and authority of the Health Professions Council of South Africa, in respect of reproductive health services.

Read More

Tax and the art of plucking the goose Tax April 2017

The 17th century French Finance Minister, Jean-Baptiste Colbert said, "The art of taxation consists of plucking the goose so as to obtain the most feathers with the least hissing." Every year Treasury is faced with the prospect of compiling a budget that will raise enough revenue to meet the state's expenditure. Generally, this will require devising new ways to pluck the goose to get more feathers. There is always going to be some hissing from taxpayers, particularly when the state must, as is the case of the 2017 budget, find a further R28 billion to cover a revenue collection shortfall.

Read More

Payments made at employer’s peril Employment Law April 2017

The Labour Relations Act (LRA) contains provisions that aim to protect employees from being unfairly discriminated against as a result of exercising one or more of the rights in the LRA. Prejudicing an employee based on the fact that the employee took part in the activities of a trade union, which were lawful, is one of the prohibitions in the LRA.

Read More

An employment affair Employment Law April 2017

Employers meddling in the private affairs of their employees have been the topic of many a discussion in the past. Typically, this revolves around the employer's right to take action against employees for their after hours conduct on social media or in public. Most workers are now aware that they may face disciplinary action, even dismissal, where their social media conduct causes embarrassment to their employer. However, it appears that some employers take their right to interfere in the private conduct of employees a step too far...

Read More

White mischief Platteland Perspective April 2017

Sometimes real life is so like the movies that you wonder when the credits will begin to roll. And when the subject matter mixes game hunting on an African farm with illicit affairs and jealousy, then movies like "White Mischief" come to mind.

Read More

Creditors’ compromise Company Law April 2017

The creditors of a company in financial distress are often faced with various options. A debtor company can either be liquidated, placed in business rescue or enter into a compromise with its creditors without first being placed in liquidation. Although an offer of compromise, at first glance, may seem attractive to creditors, there are many pitfalls of which creditors must be aware.

Read More

Will you go out guns blazing? Company Law April 2017

Most business alliances start off with optimism for a successful business relationship. But, what happens when two or more partners find themselves in a deadlock position and are no longer willing or capable of continuing the relationship? Conflicts over material decisions can be crippling for the success of a business. It is, therefore, important for prospective partners to consider carefully the challenging task of settling how deadlock positions will be resolved or how the business relationship will be terminated. Various methods may be used to provide partners with a speedy escape from an undesirable business relationship. Due to their potential for achieving fair and efficient outcomes, these "escape clauses" have become "boilerplate" in commercial agreements today.

Read More

The Hate Speech Bill – unconstitutional, undemocratic and unnecessary Human Rights Law April 2017

The long awaited and highly controversial Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill was published for comment in October 2016. The Bill creates two new criminal offences: "Hate Speech" and "Hate Crimes".

Read More

The Hate Crimes Bill – not all doom and gloom Human Rights Law April 2017

The Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill was recently released for comment by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development. While the Hate Crimes Bill has been described as "overbroad", "subjective" and "unconstitutional", one must not lose sight of the potentially positive impact that this legislation may have on various communities in South Africa.

Read More

Woman of the Month: Belinda Mapongwana Accounting April 2017

Belinda is an admitted corporate commercial attorney with over 14 years' experience. Belinda grew up in Gugulethu and Khayelitsha, studied law at UCT and then proceeded to shoot out the lights in every way – winning a scholarship to study further in Amsterdam, working at the UN in Geneva, Investment banks in London, Johannesburg and New York before starting her own firm in Johannesburg, Mapongwana Attorneys. She's passionate about empowering women.

Read More

BitCoin: Prettier in a shiny regulated wrapper? Financial Law April 2017

Sparked by an anonymous user in 2008, released as open software in 2009 and free from any controlling entity or incumbent ideas of value. It is in this post-financial crisis, unstable economic era – where the democratisation of the financial services sector is achieved through the digitisation of services and investment value seeking refuge in assets uncorrelated to the traditional economy – that I and countless others have found an appreciation for BitCoin. I love BitCoin... in theory.

Read More

All roads lead to the Rome Statute? International April 2017

In February 2017 the High Court of South Africa Gauteng Division, Pretoria, in the matter of Democratic Alliance v Minister of International Relations and Cooperation and Others (Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution Intervening) [2017] ZAGPPHC 53, handed down an order declaring South Africa's notice of withdrawal from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (Rome Statute) unconstitutional and invalid.

Read More

Tales from the US of A... - April 2017 International April 2017

Racial comments require review of jury deliberations

The US Supreme Court has ruled that racial comments in jury deliberations can violate a defendant's right to a fair trial and require review. The appeal related to a man's unlawful sexual contact and harassment convictions. He was accused of groping teenage girls at his workplace. He argued he did not touch the girls and it was a case of mistaken identity. He was convicted of one misdemeanour of unlawful sexual contact and two misdemeanour counts of harassment. A juror purportedly stated during deliberations that "Mexican men take whatever they want". This was revealed after the verdict. When this came to the attention of the defence attorneys, they asked the judge to investigate but he refused, citing laws that preclude challenging convictions on the basis of statements made during jury deliberations. The Supreme Court found that preventing bias in jury deliberations is needed for equal treatment under the law which is "central to a functioning democracy" and set aside the verdict. Stephanie Francis Ward March 6

Read More

The World in March - April 2017 International April 2017

On the 29th March Sir Tim Barrow, Britain's most senior diplomat in Brussels hands over to the European Council president, Donald Tusk, the Article 50 letter to confirm that Britain is ending its 44-year relationship with Europe. This will start the two-year process of Brexit. The relationship officially began at midnight as the clocks brought in New Year's Day in 1973.

Read More