Monthly Archives: February 2013

Property Focus

SAM_1862aHERMANUS/VERMONT

R1 195 000.00

NEW RELEASE: BRAND NEW HOME IN AN ESTABLISHED AREA – NEARING ITS FINAL TOUCHES!

Affordable and neat. Coastal family home comprising of 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, open plan living/kitchen area, extra spacious double garage with laundry facilities. Under cover braai area. Walled on three sides & paved. This one will go!

www.gtproperty.co.za
WEB: 572 612
Contact Marthie: 083 776 6812

Eiendomsfokus

SAM_1862aHERMANUS/VERMONT

R1 195 000.00

NUWE VRYSTELLING: SPLINTERNUWE WOONHUIS BINNE ‘N GEVESTIGDE AREA – WAT NOU FINALE AFRONDING NADER!

Bekostigbaar en nuut. Familie woning bestaande uit 3 slaapkamers, 2 badkamers, oopplan leef-/kombuis area, ekstra groot dubbel motorhuis met waskamer fasiliteite. Onderdak braai geriewe. Aan 3 kante ommuur. Geplavei. Hierdie een sal verhandel.

www.gtproperty.co.za
WEB: 572 612
Skakel Marthie: 083 776 6812

Kan jou prokureur jou verteenwoordig by die KVBA en spesifiek by verhore oor onbillike ontslag?

G&T_ProkureurDie Kommissie vir Versoening, Bemiddelling en Arbitrasie (KVBA) se reëls laat in die algemeen regsverteenwoordiging toe tydens arbitrasies, met een belangrike en algemene uitsondering.Wanneer die dispuut handel oor die billikheid van ‘n ontslag as gevolg van óf wangedrag óf onbevoegdheid van die werknemer, bepaal die reëls dat jy nie op regsverteenwoordiging geregtig is nie. Die voorsittende kommissaris beskik wel oor ‘n diskresie om regsverteenwoordiging toe te laat indien:

  • Die kommissaris en al die partye daartoe toestem, of
  • Die kommissaris bevind dat dit “onredelik” sou wees indien jy verplig sou word om die dispuut op jou eie en sonder regsverteenwoordiging te hanteer.

In ‘n onlangse beslissing van die Hoë Hof, is hierdie verbod op regsverteenwoordiging as ongrondwetlik en arbitrêr bevind.

Die Hof skort hierdie bevel van ongrondwetlikheid vir ‘n periode van 3 jaar op, sodat die relevante reël vervang kan word. Let wel dat die nuwe reëls nie voorsiening hoef te maak vir onbeperkte regsverteenwoordiging nie – die nuwe reël sal daarom waarskynlik steeds beperkings op regsverteenwoordiging daarstel, maar wel ‘n wyer diskresie aan die kommissarisse verleen.

Die geldende posisie

Beteken dit dat jy nou outomaties geregtig is op regsverteenwoordiging tydens hierdie tipe arbitrasie? Die antwoord is steeds nee.

Die Hof het die verklaring van ongeldigheid vir eers opgeskort. Die kommissarisse kan gevolglik voortgaan om die bestaande wetgewing en inperking op regsverteenwoordiging toe te pas. In die lig van hierdie uitspraak sal kommissarisse waarskynlik meer geneë wees om regsverteenwoordiging by die arbitrasie van arbeidsaangeleenthede toe te laat. Buiten dat jy regsverteenwoordiging kan versoek moet daar onthou word dat jy egter oor geen waarborg beskik dat regsverteenwoordiging toegelaat sal word nie.

© DotNews, 2005-2013. Hierdie is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet gevolglik nie as regs- of ander professionele advies benut word nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of enige skade of verlies wat volg uit die gebruik van enige inligting hierin vervat nie. Kontak altyd u regsadviseur vir spesifieke en toegepaste advies.

Unfair dismissal and CCMA hearings – Can your lawyer represent you?

G&T_ProkureurAlthough the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration’s (CCMA) rules generally allow you to have legal representation in arbitrations, there is one important and common exception.Where the dispute is about the fairness of a dismissal related to either misconduct or incapacity, the default position is that you are not entitled to be represented by a legal practitioner. The commissioner in each matter has a discretion to allow such representation, but only if either:

  • The commissioner and all parties consent, or
  • The commissioner concludes that it is “unreasonable” to expect you to deal with the dispute without legal representation.

In a recent High Court decision this restriction – as currently worded – has been found to be arbitrary and unconstitutional.

Critically, though, the Court suspended the declaration of constitutional invalidity for 3 years to enable the relevant rule to be replaced, and noted that the rules need not provide for an unrestricted right to legal representation – so even the new rule will most likely contain restrictions (and a discretion for commissioners).

The current position

So do you now have an automatic right to legal representation at your arbitration? The answer is unfortunately still “no, you don’t”.

The Court’s suspension of its declaration of invalidity means that individual commissioners are, for now at least, still free in law to apply the existing restrictions. Whilst some commissioners may in practice be more ready now than in the past to allow you legal representation in arbitrations, and whilst you should certainly ask for it, you are by no means guaranteed to get it.

© DotNews, 2005-2013. This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice.

Ondernemingsredding – SARS ook saam in die tou.

G&T_SARSSARS het nog altyd, tydens sekwestrasies en likwidasies voorkeur geniet ten opsigte van hulle aansprake en eise ingevolge die toepaslike insolvensie wetgewing.Dividende word eers aan versekerde skuldeisers (“verbandhouers”) en daarna gedeeltelik aan personeel toegeken. Hierna is die Suid – Afrikaanse Inkomstediens as skuldeiser wat statutêre voorkeur geniet, die volgende in die rangorde van betalings. Dit bring mee dat in gevalle waar SARS ‘n groot eis geniet, dit onwaarskynlik raak dat die gewone skuldeisers ‘n gewone dividend sal ontvang. Hierdie geval kan goed uitgedruk word in die volgende stelreël: “You have about a 5% chance of getting about 5 cents in the Rand”.Jou kanse op ‘n dividend het verbeter, indien…In die geval waar die maatskappy in finansiële nood verkeer en formeel in ondernemingsredding geplaas word, stel dit algemene skuldeisers in ‘n beter posisie. Die Hoë Hof het onlangs beslis dat SARS tydens ondernemingsredding sy voorkeurposisie verloor. SARS word dus as gelyke en gewone skuldeiser hanteer vir doeleindes van dividende sowel as stemreg tydens vergaderings van skuldeisers met betrekking tot ondernemingsredding.

In die praktyk beteken dit dat selfs wanneer ‘n ondernemingsredding onsuksesvol is, behoort die kanse groter te wees dat gewone konkurrente skuldeisers wel ‘n dividend sal ontvang.

SARS se posisie gedurende ondernemingsredding word tans deur die Maatskappywet gereguleer. Dit is dus voorsienbaar dat SARS druk op die wetgewer sal plaas om die Maatskappywet te wysig om dit in lyn te bring met hul voorkeurposisie ingevolge die Insolvensiewet. Totdat dit gebeur, is hierdie ‘n belangrike faktor waarom skuldeisers ondernemingsredding bo likwidasie van ‘n skuldeiser kan verkies.

© DotNews, 2005-2013. Hierdie is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet gevolglik nie as regs- of ander professionele advies benut word nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of enige skade of verlies wat volg uit die gebruik van enige inligting hierin vervat nie. Kontak altyd u regsadviseur vir spesifieke en toegepaste advies.

Business rescue – SARS told to stand in line (for now).

G&T_SARSSARS has always enjoyed a privileged position in liquidation matters because its claims are “preferent”, in other words whatever money may be left in the liquidation pot after secured creditors and staff claims have been settled goes to SARS first.

As a result concurrent creditors, who only get a look in if there’s anything left after SARS has had its fill, will normally have little hope of receiving any dividend at all. As an old rule of thumb puts it: “You have about a 5% chance of getting about 5 cents in the Rand”.

Your recovery odds just got better, if…

If – and only if – a distressed company is in business rescue rather than liquidation, your odds of getting at least something back just got better. The High Court has recently held that in rescue proceedings, SARS loses its preference and joins the queue with the other unsecured creditors – not only does it lose its liquidation preference, but it has no special voting rights when a business rescue plan is under consideration.

What that means in practice is this – even if a rescue attempt fails in its primary objective of restoring the company to viability and paying all creditors in full, there is at least now more chance of a reasonable payment accruing to creditors generally.

Of course SARS’ loss of preference in a business rescue situation stems from the current wording of the Companies Act, which could well now be amended to put SARS back at the head of the queue. But perhaps that won’t happen, and anyway for now at least it seems that concurrent creditors have one more reason to prefer a genuine (and viable) rescue attempt over final liquidation.

© DotNews, 2005-2013. This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice.

‘n Lening van sewe miljoen rand aan ‘n vriend: Die reg en die risiko’s!

G&T_Lening“Be careful about lending a friend money. It may damage her memory” (Anoniem)

Daar is baie potensiële slaggate wanneer jy ‘n lening aan ‘n vriend maak. ‘n Minder bekende slaggat word deur die Nasionale Kredietwet geskep. Indien daar nie aan die vereistes van die Nasionale Kredietwet voldoen word nie, loop jy die risiko van aansienlike verliese.

Dit sluit eerstens in dat jou leningsooreenkoms ongeldig verklaar kan word en tweedens hou dit die gevaar in dat jy al jou regte om uitstaande gelde in te vorder, kan verloor. Hierdie risiko’s is duidelik uitgewys in ‘n onlangse beslissing van die Grondwetlike Hof.

Die feite

  • ‘n Boer in Namibië het vir sy vriend R 7 000 000.00 (Sewe Miljoen Rand) geleen om eiendom in Kaapstad te ontwikkel. Die partye het drie geskrewe leningsooreenkomste aangegaan.
  • Op daardie stadium was die boer nie as ‘n kredietverskaffer geregistreer nie, soos vereis volgens die Nasionale Kredietwet nie.
  • Al het die verskaffing van krediet nie deel uitgemaak van die boer se gewone sakebedrywighede nie, vereis die Nasionale Kredietwet steeds dat hy as ‘n kredietverskaffer geregistreer moes wees. Die boer het geen kennis van hierdie vereiste gehad nie en het ook geen bedoeling gehad om die Nasionale Kredietwet te oortree nie.
  • Die vriend kon die boer nie teen die ooreengekome datum terugbetaal nie. Die boer het hierna by die Hoë Hof aansoek gedoen vir die sekwestrasie van die vriend se boedel.

Die regsposisie

Die Nasionale Kredietwet maak voorsiening vir die volgende:

  1. ‘n Verskeidenheid van situasies word in die Nasionale Kredietwet gelys wat jou sal verplig om as kredietverskaffer te registreer indien jy daaraan voldoen. In die onderhawige geval moes die boer as kredietverskaffer registreer, omdat die leningsbedrag die vasgestelde drempel van R 500 000.00 oorskry het.
  2. Die feit dat die lener ‘n vriend was, speel hier geen rol nie. Dit is van belang dat die lening binne die definisie van “kredietooreenkoms” val en dat die partye ‘n oënskynlike “armlengte leningsooreenkoms” aangegaan het.
  3. As jy versuim om as kredietverskaffer te registreer, verplig die Nasionale Kredietwet die hof om –
    a. die ooreenkoms nietig te verklaar, asook
    b. ‘n bevel te maak dat jy jou reg om vergoeding aan die staat verbeur.

    In die onderhewige geval het hierdie bepaling onder die loep gekom. Die Hoë Hof en die Grondwetlike Hof het dit as ongrondwetlik verklaar aangesien dit indruis teen ons grondwetlike reg teen die verbod op die arbitrêre ontneming van eiendom.

Die praktiese gevolge van hierdie uitspraak

Tot tyd en wyl hierdie ongeldige kansellasie/ ontnemingsklousule gewysig word, sal die gemenereg van toepassing wees. Die Hof bevestig dat die ongeldige ooreenkomste ongetwyfeld nietig is, maar bevind dan dat die kredietverskaffer wel in kwalifiserende gevalle die leningsbedrag op grond van ongeregverdigde verryking van die verbruiker sal kan terug eis: “The credit provider would be able to claim successfully from the consumer on the basis of unjustified enrichment, if the requirements of the action are met. This could include the consideration of the circumstances of each case and especially the degree of blameworthiness of the unregistered credit provider, in order to reach a just outcome”.

Indien die wet vereis dat jy as kredietverskaffer moet registreer, is jy verplig om dit te doen. Versuim jy om dit te doen, sal al jou kredietooreenkomste nietig wees. Jy sal dan individueel by die hof moet aansoek doen om jou toe te laat om jou lenings te verhaal, maar dit bly binne die diskresie van die hof. Indien die hof jou nie te hulp gaan kom nie, sal jy geen verdere verhaalsreg hê nie. Daarom is dit belangrik dat jy eerder vanuit die staanspoor behoorlike advies verkry en jou handelinge dienooreenkomstig rig.

Selfs indien jy suksesvol is met die verkryging van ‘n hofbevel, beteken dit nog nie dat jy jou geld gaan terugkry nie. Soos in hierdie geval kan jou vriend bankrot verklaar word en gaan jy dan slegs ‘n gewone eis teen sy insolvente boedel hê, met geen waarborg dat jy uiteindelik enige dividend gaan ontvang nie.

Geen wonder dat Shakespeare as volg waarsku nie: “Neither a borrower nor a lender be; for loan oft loses both itself and friend”.

© DotNews, 2005-2013. Hierdie is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet gevolglik nie as regs- of ander professionele advies benut word nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of enige skade of verlies wat volg uit die gebruik van enige inligting hierin vervat nie. Kontak altyd u regsadviseur vir spesifieke en toegepaste advies.

Lending to a friend: The R7 million, the law and the risks!

G&T_Lening“Be careful about lending a friend money. It may damage her memory.” (Anonymous)

Of the many potential pitfalls inherent in making loans to friends, one of the more dangerous (but lesser-known ones) is that presented by the requirements of the National Credit Act (NCA).

It’s a serious risk – failure to comply with the NCA’s many requirements exposes you to substantial losses, including invalidity of your loan agreement and the possibility of losing all your rights of recovery. A recent Constitutional Court judgment illustrates this point.

The facts

  • A Namibian farmer lent his friend R 7 000 000.00 (Seven Million Rand) for property development in Cape Town per three written loan agreements.
  • The lender wasn’t registered as a credit provider at the time as required by the NCA.
  • He wasn’t in the business of providing credit, was unaware of the requirement to register and had no intention of violating the NCA.
  • When the dates for the repayment of the loans had passed, the borrower was unable to pay, he accordingly advised the lender who then applied to the High Court for sequestration of his friend’s estate.

The law

The NCA provides that:

  1. You are required to register as a “credit provider” in any of a variety of situations set out in the NCA. In this particular case, registration of the lender was required because the amount of the loan exceeded the set threshold (currently R 500 000.00)
  2. It is irrelevant that the borrower is a friend – what counts is whether the loan falls within the definition of “credit agreement” and whether the parties are “dealing at arm’s length”
  3. If you fail to register as a credit provider, the NCA as it stands compels courts (they have no discretion) to both
    a) Declare your agreement void, and
    b) Order that your right to reclaim the loan be cancelled or forfeited to the state.It is this cancellation/forfeiture provision that was under scrutiny in this case. And, as ruled originally by the High Court and now confirmed by the Constitutional Court, it is invalid – unconstitutional for breach of our Constitution’s prohibition against “arbitrary deprivation of property.

The practical effect of that ruling, and a warning

In practice, until the invalid cancellation / forfeiture provision is amended, the common law will apply. What that means is, as the Court summarised it, that unlawful agreements are still void, but “The credit provider would be able to claim successfully from the consumer on the basis of unjustified enrichment, if the requirements of the action are met. This could include the consideration of the circumstances of each case and especially the degree of blameworthiness of the unregistered credit provider, in order to reach a just outcome.”

The critical issue is that – if you are obliged to register as a “credit provider” in terms of the NCA – you should do so. If you don’t, your agreement is void. And, although now you can at least ask a court to exercise its discretion to allow you to recover your loan, the court may well decline to do so – in which event you will lose everything. There are grey areas here so take advice in doubt.

A further practical issue is that even if you succeed in court, you could still lose everything anyway. As happened in this case, if your friend is bankrupt you are left with a (probably worthless) concurrent claim against his/ her insolvent estate.

Perhaps avoid all that by heeding Shakespeare’s warning: “Neither a borrower nor a lender be; for loan oft loses both itself and friend”.

© DotNews, 2005-2013. This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice.

Is jou deeltitelheffings geldig?

G&T_DeeltitelIn ‘n onlangse saak van die Hoë Hof, was die regsliggaam van ‘n deeltitelskema onsuksesvol in hul pogings om die eienaar van ‘n deeltitel-eenheid se bestorwe boedel te sekwestreer.Hierdie geval illustreer ook waarom dit so belangrik is om aan die tegniese voorskrifte van die Wet op Deeltitels te voldoen wanneer heffings vasgestel word. Wat op die oog af slegs na ‘n tegniese oorsig mag lyk, kan fataal wees vir die toekomstige verhaling van agterstallige heffings.

Regspersoon en besturende agente neem kennis

Indien die voorgeskrewe vereistes nie nagekom word nie, sal dit ernstige gevolge vir die skema inhou. In hierdie geval bevind die Hof dat die regsliggaam nie kon bewys dat hulle ‘n geldige eis vir uitstaande heffings gehad het nie.

Let daarop dat deeltitelheffings slegs opeisbaar en betaalbaar raak na die behoorlike vasstelling en aanvaarding van sodanige heffings by wyse van ‘n besluit van die regsliggaam se trustees. Die regsliggaam kan dus nie net die heffings by ‘n algemene vergadering laat goedkeur nie, aangesien lede van die regsliggaam die begroting en gepaardgaande heffings by die algemene jaarvergadering moet goedkeur. Die Hof bevind ook dat dit geen verskil maak dat die betrokke eienaar op ‘n latere stadium aanspreeklikheid vir die betaling van agterstallige heffings aanvaar het nie.

Ter opsomming – sonder ‘n formele besluit van die trustees is die vasstelling van heffings ongeldig en kan dit regtens nie verhaal word nie.

© DotNews, 2005-2013. Hierdie is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet gevolglik nie as regs- of ander professionele advies benut word nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of enige skade of verlies wat volg uit die gebruik van enige inligting hierin vervat nie. Kontak altyd u regsadviseur vir spesifieke en toegepaste advies.

Your sectional title levies – Are they valid?

G&T_DeeltitelA recent High Court case, in which a body corporate failed in its attempt to sequestrate the deceased estate of a section title owner, shows once again the necessity of complying with all the requirements of sectional title legislation – what may appear at first sight to be a “technicality” could easily turn out to be a critical requirement.

 

Body corporates and managing agents beware

Failure to comply can have serious consequences – the Court in this case held that the body corporate had failed to prove that it had any valid claim for outstanding levies. Critically, sectional title levies only become due and payable on the passing of a resolution by the trustees determining them.

Thus, it can never be enough for the body corporate to approve levies at a general meeting (normally members approve a levy budget at the Annual General Meeting (AGM)). Nor, as pertinently illustrated in this case, does it make any difference if the owner subsequently admits liability for the levies. The bottom line – without a formal trustees’ resolution, the levies have been invalidly raised and cannot be recovered.

© DotNews, 2005-2013. This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice.