Monthly Archives: July 2013

Om te registreer of nie: Die risiko om bankier te speel

article4nl-JulyVoornemende plaaskopers vind dit al moeiliker om die aankoop van plase en ander landbougrond te finansier.  Baie verkopers van sodanige eiendom oorweeg dan ‘n verbandlening aan die voornemende kope vir die aankoop bedrag wat oor ‘n tydperk tesame met rente, terugbetaal word.

Erger nog, sommige aanvaar ‘n skriftelike skulderkenning en toestemming tot vonnis as voldoende beskerming waarna die partye blad skud en die oordragsdokumente onderteken.

Voorheen was die blote registrasie van ‘n verband of ‘n kennisgewing dat die grond verkoop is op ‘n afbetalingsooreenkoms, voldoende.  Tesame met die vereiste skriftelike koopooreenkoms het dit genoegsame beskerming aan die toevallige geldlener verskaf in geval van wanbetaling deur die koper.

Die Nasionale Kredietwet het alles egter verander.  Hierdie wet voorsien onder andere dat enige kredietooreenkoms waarvan die bedrag R 500 000,00 (Vyf honderd duisend Rand) oorskry, sodanige ‘n gelduitlener geregistreer moet wees as ‘n kredietverlener.  Dit sluit ook die toevallige privaat plaasverkoper in.  Selfs as dit ‘n eenmalige ooreenkoms is met geen bedoeling deur die verkoper om ooit weer krediet aan enige ander persoon te verskaf nie.

Versuim om te registreer as ‘n kredietverlener voor die aangaan van ‘n transaksie definieerbaar as ‘n “krediettransaksie”, is ‘n oortreding van die wet.

Sou die kredietverlener nie registreer nie, en die koper versuim om die paaiemente te betaal, is artikel 89(5) van die Nasionale Kredietwet onverbiddelik voorskriftelik aan die howe in hul hantering van sodanige omstandighede.  Die kredietooreenkoms is ongeldig van datum waarop dit aangegaan is.  Die kredietverlener moet onmiddellik alle betalings gemaak in terme van die ooreenkoms terugbetaal sowel as voorgeskrewe rente daarop.  Die belangrikste is egter dat alle veronderstelde regte wat die kredietverlener sou gehad het om enige gelde betaal of goedere gelewer aan die koper, verbeur word insluitend die eiendom self, wat aan die staat verbeur word, tensy ‘n hof bevind dat sodanige verbeuring onregverdige verryking van die koper daarstel.

Menige verkopers, en selfs prokureurs, is óf onbewus van hierdie vereiste gestel óf is blatant in die verontagsaming van die vereiste, want hulle “vertrou” die koper en “weet” dat die volle terugbetaling gemaak sal word, insluitend die rente.

Dit is wanneer die ergste gebeur en die welbekende en vertroude koper wanbetaal dat die probleem kop uitsteek.  Verkopers wie as kredietverleners optree maak staat op die betalings en die rente ten einde ‘n ander plaas te finansier of, erger nog, hulle aftrede.

Die Konstitusionele Hof het onlangs die geldigheid van hierdie artikel van die Nasionale Kredietwet en spesifiek die sub-artikel handelend met die verbeurdverklaring van die eiendom aan die staat opgeweeg aan die Handves van Menseregte, spesifiek wat betref die reg om nie eensydig van eiendom ontneem te word nie en ook die sogenaamde beperkings-klousule.

Van der Westhuizen J het die meerderheidsbeslissing op 10 Desember 2012gelewer en bevind dat die eensydige verbeurdverklaring van eiendom aan die staat soos voorgeskryf in sub-artikel 89(5)(c) van die Nasionale Kredietwet teenstrydig is met artikel 25(1) van die Handves van Menseregte.

Hierdie uitspraak moet egter ‘n dringende oproep wees aan alle ongeregistreerde, kredietverlenende plaasverkopers wees.

Die bedoeling van die Nasionale Kredietwet is om die voorsiening van krediet buite die raamwerk daargestel deur die wetgewing, te ontmoedig.  Die wet bedoel dus om diegene te straf wie nie aan die vereistes daarvan voldoen nie.  En die straf is swaar.

Sou die plaasverkoper nie geregistreer wees as ‘n kredietverlener nie, en die koper versuim om die betalings te maak, loop sodanige verkoper ‘n risiko.  ‘n Baie groot en ernstige risiko.

Tensy ‘n hof beveel dat die omstandighede sodanig is dat dit ‘n onregverdige verryking van ‘n koper daarstel, kan ‘n verkoper nie net alle betalings en rente ontvang verbeur nie, maar sal ook ‘n hofbevel moet verkry wat beveel dat die verkoper geregtig is om die plaas van die wanbetalende koper te mag terugeis.

Die Nasionale Kredietwet verklaar sodanige kredietooreenkoms onwettig vanaf datum waarop dit aangegaan is, derhalwe kan so ‘n kredietooreenkoms nie afgedwing word en die party in mora kan nie verplig word om te voldoen aan die ooreenkoms nie.

Ons reg voorsien dat sodanige ooreenkomste afgedwing moet word as ongeregverdigde verryking, en spesifiek met die conditio ob turpem vel iniustam causam.  Die vereistes daarvan is kortliks dat eienaarskap oorgedra moes wees, oordrag moes plaasgevind het op grond van ‘n onwettige ooreenkoms en die eiser moet alles ontvang in terme van die ooreenkoms, terug tender.

Die suksesvolle eiser moet egter ook kan bewys dat hy sonder enige kwaadwilligheid opgetree het en dat sy optrede verdermeer nie oneerbaar was nie.

Aangesien die howe se diskresie ongrondwetlik beperk is in sub-artikel 89(5)(c), mag die bankier-spelende, kredietverlenende plaasverkloper dalk nie die plaaseiendom meer aan die staat verbeur nie.  Maar sodanige verkoper is egter nog lank nie in die posisie waarin hy sou gewees het as hy net ‘n eenvoudige registrasie proses gevolg het om te registreer as ‘n kredietverlener nie.

Burgerlike gehoorsaamheid aan die wetgewing van ‘n land skep ‘n stabiele, veilige, regverdige en gelyke samelewing met ‘n sterk ekonomie wat beleggers aanloklik vind.  Nakoming van die Nasionale Kredietwet se vereistes verseker nie net vertroue in onroerende bates as belegging nie, maar beskerm ook diegene wie graag bankier wil speel.

Lees gerus National Credit Regulator v Fillippus Albertus Opperman and others, saak nommer CCT34/12 [2012] ZACC 29 en die gesag na verwys in beide die meerderheidsbeslissing sowel as die minderheidsbeslissing geskryf deur Cameron J.

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.

Kliek hier om die volledige vrywaring te sien

Sal ek ‘n testament nalaat?

article3nl-July‘n Ma se wens dat haar dogter haar  diamant verloofring erf, sal dalk nie bewaarheid word indien sy nie ‘n geldige, skriftelike Testament nalaat nie, aangesien haar boedel dan in terme van die Wet op Intestate Erfopvolging No 81 van 1987 verdeel sal word.

‘n Testament sal jou die gemoedsrus gee dat jou bates sover moontlik volgens jou wense verdeel word en moet weerspieël presies hoe jou bates na jou dood hanteer moet word.  Dit mag egter nie contra bonos mores (teen die goeie sedes) wees of neerkom op “regering uit die graf” nie.

Daar is ‘n aantal wetlike vereistes waaraan ‘n geldige Testament moet voldoen.  Indien die Testament nie aan al hierdie vereistes voldoen nie, kan daar bevind word dat die Testament ongeldig is en sal jou boedel dan in terme van die Wet op Intestate Erfopvolging van 1987 beredder word.  Dit is daarom van die uiterste belang dat iemand met die nodige gespesialiseerde vaardighede en kennis jou bystaan met die opstel van jou testament.

‘n Testament moet ook gereeld hersien en opgedateer word om aan te pas by jou veranderende lewensomstandighede, byvoorbeeld nadat jy in die huwelik getree het of kinders gebore is.  Artikel 2B van die Wet op Testamente 7 van 1953 (soos gewysig deur die Erfreg Wet 43 van 1992) handel spesifiek met ‘n verandering in huwelikstatus deur middel van ‘n egskeiding en lui soos volg:

“Indien iemand te sterwe kom binne drie maande nadat sy huwelik deur ’n egskeiding of nietigverklaring deur ’n bevoegde hof ontbind is en daardie persoon voor die datum van sodanige ontbinding ’n Testament verly het, word uitvoering aan daardie Testament gegee op dieselfde wyse waarop daaraan uitvoering gegee sou word indien sy voormalige gade voor die datum van die betrokke ontbinding oorlede is, tensy uit die Testament blyk dat die erflater ondanks die ontbinding van sy huwelik bedoel het om sy voormalige gade te bevoordeel.”

Hierdie klousule kan deur middel van die volgende voorbeeld verduidelik word:  A en B se huwelik ontbind deur ‘n egskeiding en B sterf binne 3 maande vanaf die datum van die egskeiding.  B se Testament is voor die egskeiding uitgevoer.  Tensy B se testament spesifiek aandui dat A bevoordeel moet word uit hoofde van B se boedel ten spyte van die egskeiding, sal B se boedel verdeel word asof A gesterf het voordat hulle geskei het.  A sal dus nie van B se boedel erf nie.  Sou B egter sterf nadat meer as 3 maande verloop het na die egskeiding en B se Testament, wat A bevoordeel, is onveranderd, sal dit gesien word asof dit B se bedoeling was om vir A te bevoordeel, ten spyte van die egskeiding.

‘n Persoon wat hertrou, moet verseker dat die nodige veranderinge aan sy / haar testament aangebring word, andersins kan dit ernstige gevolge vir die “nuwe” gade inhou, veral in gevalle waar die testament steeds die eggenoot uit die vorige huwelik bevoordeel.

Wanneer daar minderjarige kinders ter sprake is, is dit raadsaam om voldoende voorsiening te maak vir hul lewenskoste en opvoeding in jou testament.  Dit kan gedoen word deur ‘n testamentêre trust te skep waarvan die minderjarige kinders begunstigdes is.

Om oor ‘n mens se afsterwe te dink en praat, is nie maklik nie.  Deur ‘n geldige, duidelike en ondubbelsinnige testament na te laat, kan egter onaangename familie vetes verhoed.  Dit is beslis die tyd en moeite werd om ‘n geldige testament in plek te kry.

Indien u nog nie ‘n testament in plek het nie of as u huidige testament verouderd is, kontak ons gerus by enige van ons takke ten einde u testament gratis te laat opstel of te laat wysig, so gou doenlik te: Kleinmond (028) 271 – 3031; Hermanus (028) 312 – 3626; Caledon (028) 212 – 1060, Gansbaai (028) 384 – 0100 and Riviersonderend (028) 212 – 1060.

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.

Kliek hier om die volledige vrywaring te sien

`n Vinger in die PIE: Prevention of Illigal Eviction from Unlawful Occupation of Land Act

article2nl-JulyJy het eiendom wat jy uitverhuur. Die huurder het besluit dat hy nie verder die huur kan bekostig nie, en geen beloftes, briewe of dreigemente maak enige verskil nie. Nie net weier die huurder om die huurgeld te betaal nie, maar boonop weier hy om die eiendom te ontruim.

Om die kersie op die koek te sit, bied die reg  aan die huurder baie meer beskerming as ooit tevore. Dit kom as geen verassing, dat verhuurders voel dat die huidige wetgewing gebruik, óf eerder misbruik word, deur die huurder om huurgeld te vermy en verdermeer tot verhuurders se nadeel, beskerming aan huurders se belange en regte te bied.

Tye het verander, en om bloot die slotte van die perseel te vervang bied deesdae geen meer vinnige oplossings aan die verhuurder nie. In die realiteit is dit baie moeilik om onregmatige okkupeerders regmatig uit die eiendom te sit, en dus is dit baie belangrik vir verhuurders om die voorgeskrewe prosedures soos in die PIE wet vervat,  noukeurig te volg.

In kort, kan die “Prevention of Illegal Eviction from Unlawful Occupation of Land Act”, “PIE”, beskryf word as wetgewing wat ten doel het om beide huurders en verhuurders se belange en regte gelyktydig te beskerm. Hierdie wetgewing verbied nie net onregmatige uitsetting nie, maar maak voorsiening vir regmatige uitsetting van onregmatige okkupeerders. Gevolglik, stel die wet streng prosedurele maatreëls daar, vir `n uitsetting om regmatig te geskied. Indien een van die prosedures nie nagekom word nie, kan die uitsetting nie as regmatig beskou word nie.

Prosedures soos voorgeskryf deur PIE

Indien die huurder nie die huurgeld betaal nie, is dit eerstens belangrik, dat die verhuurder die huurkontrak ooreenkomstig die kennistydperk soos bepaal deur die kontrak opsigself of andersins een kalendermaand, soos voorgeskryf deur die gemenereg, te kanselleer.

`n Ex parte –  aansoek (`n aansoek sonder kennisgewing aan enige party) moet gebring word by die geskikte Hof, om sodoende die nodige toestemming van die Hof te verkry om die PIE –  prosedures in te stel. Hierdie aansoek, word gebring by wyse van twee Kennisgewings welke ondersteun word deur `n beëdigde verklaring.

Die verklaring moet `n duidelike uiteensetting bevat van die volgende:

  1. Beweerde onregmatige okkupasie,
  2. Geldige gronde vir die beoogde uitsetting, asook
  3. Redes waarom die beoogde uitsetting as reg en regverdigbaar beskou moet word.

Sodra die aansoek uitgereik word,  word dit deur die Balju van die Hof beteken op die plaaslike Munisipaliteit, die huurders asook enige persoon wat die eiendom in die naam van die onregmatige huurder okkupeer. Die plaaslike Munisipaliteit asook die onregmatige huurder moet ten minste veertien dae voor die aanhoor datum, kennis daarvan ontvang.

Op die dag waarop die aangeleentheid aangehoor word kry die onregmatige okkupeerder die geleentheid om redes voor die hof te plaas, waarom hy/sy nie uit die eiendom gesit moet word nie.

Voor die Hof `n uitsettings bevel sal toestaan sal daar eers na al die relevante omstandighede gekyk word tesame met die oorweging of die uitsetting as reg en regverdigbaar beskou kan word. Die onregmatige okkupeerder mag dus spesiale faktore voor die hof plaas waarom die hof nie die uitsettingsbevel moet toestaan nie.

In die Praktyk gee howe, spesiale ag aan:

a)    die regte van- bejaarde persone,
b)    kinders,
c)    gestremde persone, en
d)    asook huishoudings waar die vrou die hoof van die huis is.

Die hof het egter `n wye diskresie om die huurder `n geskikte datum te gee om die eiendom te ontruim, en `n datum waarop die uitsetting sal plaasvind.

Oor die algemeen kan die PIE – prosedures beskryf word as `n uitgerekte proses, en afhangende van die omstandighede vat dit dikwels baie tyd voor die onregmatige okkupeerder die eiendom moet ontruim. Die verhuurder moet steeds elke maand sy verband op die eiendom betaal terwyl die onregmatige okkupeerder bloot nie sy huurgeld betaal nie.

Verhuurders, in plaas daarvan om toe te laat dat die onregmatige okkupeerder jou frustreer tot die punt waar jy bene wil breek, pak eerder die bul by die horings en kry die huurder uit jou eiendom.

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.

Kliek hier om die volledige vrywaring te sien

Om te trou of nie te trou…

article1nl-JulyWanneer ‘n man die groot vraag vra aan die liefde van sy lewe en sy aanvaar, kan daar gesê word dat hulle ‘n kontrak aangegaan het om te trou in die toekoms.

Wanneer die verlowing egter verbreek word kom dit dikwels voor dat die verontregte party hul eks wil dagvaar vir die verbreking van die belofte om te trou oftewel troubreuk.

Onlangse regspraak ten opsigte van  troubreuk

Alhoewel daar  frustrasie en hartseer na die verbreking van die verlowing ervaar kan word, is die realiteit dat dit nie so maklik is om te slaag met ‘n monetêre eis teen iemand wat nie hul beloftes nakom nie.

Gemene Reg:

Oor die jare het ons gemene reg die beginsel dat die verontregte party ‘n eis het vir troubreuk erken. Tradisioneel bestaan die eis ​​uit twee dele:

  1. Die deliktuele eis wat die verontregte party sou hê onder  actio  injuriarum vir contumelia, met ander woorde, skadevergoeding vir die vernedering wat veroorsaak word as gevolg van die verbreking van die verhouding; en
  2. Die kontraktuele eis vir die werklike finansiële verlies gely deur die verontregte party as gevolg van die verbreking van die verhouding tussen die partye.

Van Jaarsveld v Bridges (2010) SCA:

In die Appèlhof saak Van Jaarsveld vs Bridges (2010) is bevind dat geen eis bestaan in Suid-Afrikaanse reg ​​anders as werklike uitgawes aangegaan in die beplanning en voorbereiding van die huwelik. Ten opsigte van troubreuk het Harms DP die aandag gevestig op ‘n hof se reg, en belangriker, plig om die gemene reg te ontwikkel, met inagneming van die belang van geregtigheid en op dieselfde tyd die gees, strekking en oogmerke van die Handves van Menseregte.

Harms DP huldig die standpunt dat daar nie sondermeer aanvaar kan word dat die partye wanneer hulle beloof om met mekaar te trou op daardie stadium van hul verhouding sou dink dat ‘n beëindiging van hul verlowing finansiële gevolge sou hê asof hulle in werklikheid getroud is nie. Die aanname van die twee partye is dat hulle huweliksbedeling sal bepaal word deur hul daaropvolgende huwelik. Harms DP het tot die gevolgtrekking gekom dat in sy opinie ‘n verlowing meer van ‘n onafdwingbare pactum de contrahendo is wat ‘n spatium deliberandi verskaf- ‘n tyd om mekaar beter te leer ken en om te besluit of partye uiteindelik wil trou met mekaar al dan nie.

ES Cloete v Maritz (2013) WCH:

Die vraag of die eis vir troubreuk ‘n geldige skuldoorsaak in die Suid-Afrikaanse reg is, is  weer vanjaar oorweeg in die Wes-Kaapse Hooggeregshof.

In die saak voor Regter Robert Henney het Mej. Cloete beweer dat Mnr Maritz die groot vraag gevra het in Namibië op die 9 Februarie 1999 met ‘n verloofring en sy het aanvaar. Die verhouding was onstuimig en ‘n dekade later het Maritz die verlowing verbreek en die daaropvolgende troue gekanselleer en haar vertel dat daar ‘n nuwe persoon in sy lewe is.

Cloete het Maritz gedagvaar en beweer dat Maritz se weiering om met haar te trou, neerkom op `n repudiasie van die ooreenkoms wat hulle 10 jaar vroeër gemaak het.

Haar eis:

Daar was drie aspekte tot Cloete se eis:

  1. Sy wou terugbetaling hê van R 26 000,00 wat sy aan hom gegee het in 1994 en 1996 vir ‘n besigheid waarin hy betrokke was.
  2. Sy wou R 6,5 miljoen hê om op te maak vir die finansiële voordele wat sy sou geniet het indien hulle voortgegaan het met die huwelik, insluitende bedrae vir die gebruik en genot van die huis in ooreenstemming met die lewenstyl wat  gehandhaaf is deur die partye tydens hul verhouding. Sy het ook onderhoud geëis van R 8500,00 per maand vir 25 jaar.
  3. Ten slotte wou sy R 250 000,00 hê as skadevergoeding vir die verbreking van sy belofte om te trou met haar; vernedering aan haar persoonlike waardigheid en haar reputasie.

Sy eis:

Maritz het die aantygings ontken en geargumenteer dat Cloete die een was wat die troue gekanselleer het en hy het dit bloot aanvaar.

Maritz het ‘n spesiale pleit geopper dat die “breach of promise to marry” nie ‘n geldige skuldoorsaak is in ons reg is nie gebaseer op die Appèlhof se uitspraak in Van Jaarsveld v Bridges 2010 (4) SA 558 (SCA), ‘n uitspraak wat hierdie hof verplig is om te volg.

Uitspraak:

In sy uitspraak het Regter R Henney gesê: ” Clearly, to hold a party accountable on a rigid contractual footing; where such a party fails to abide by a promise to marry does not reflect the changed mores, morals or public interest of today.”

Regter R Henney het verder gesê: “Dit is my mening dat oorwegings van openbare beleid en ons eie gemeenskap se veranderde gewoontes nie kan toelaat dat ‘n party gedwing word om toekomstige skadevergoeding te betaal op ‘n suiwer kontraktuele grondslag waar so ‘n party wil uittree uit ‘n persoonlike verhouding nie en geag word om troubreuk te pleeg nie. So ‘n situasie is na my mening heeltemal onhoudbaar en kan nie toegelaat word nie. “

Regter het verder gegaan: “As pointed out by Sinclair, The Law of Marriage Vol 1 (1996), to hold a party liable for contractual damages for breach of promise may in fact lead parties to enter into marriages they do not in good conscience want to enter into, purely due to the fear of being faced with such a claim.  This is an untenable situation.”

Slot:
Morele waardes en tye het verander. Egskeiding, was vroeër slegs beskikbaar in die geval van egbreuk of verlating, maar is nou beskikbaar in die geval van onherstelbare verbrokkeling van die huwelik. Daar is geen rede waarom die beëindiging van ‘n verlowing nie  die gebrek aan begeerte om met die betrokke persoon te trou as `n regverdige oorsaak vir die beëindiging van `n verlowing daar kan stel nie. Onwilligheid om te trou stel `n duidelike bewys van die onherstelbare verbrokkeling van die verlowing daar. Dit is onlogies om meer ernstige gevolge te heg aan ‘n verlowing as ‘n huwelik.

Maritz se spesiale pleit is gehandhaaf en daar is bevind dat die eis vir die verbreking van die belofte nie ‘n geldige skuldoorsaak in Suid – Afrikaanse reg daarstel nie. Soos blyk uit die bogenoemde,  bestaan daar slegs `n eis vir die werklike uitgawes aangegaan in die voorbereiding van die huwelik.

Bron:
Ronnilie Theron
Honey Attorneys

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.

Kliek hier om die volledige vrywaring te sien

To register or not: The risk of playing banker

article4nl-JulyPurchasers have increasing difficulty to obtain financing of the purchase of farms and other agricultural land.  Many sellers of these properties consider granting the purchaser a bond for the purchase amount to be paid off over a period of time.

Worse, some accept an acknowledgement of indebtedness and consent to judgment prior to shaking hands and signing off on the transfer agreements.

Previously, the mere registration of the bond or the notice confirming the instalment sale of a property registered at the deed’s office was sufficient.  Together with the required written agreement it constituted protection to the incidental money lender in the event of a defaulting purchaser.

The National Credit Act has changed everything.  The act provides, inter alia, that any credit agreement where the credit amount exceeds R 500 000,00 (Five hundred thousand Rand), such person or entity is to be registered as a credit provider. This includes the occasional private farm seller.  Even if it is a once-off arrangement with no intention by the seller to ever provide credit to any other person ever again. Failure to register as a credit provider prior to such a transaction that can be defined as a “credit transaction”, is a transgression of the Act.

Should the credit provider not be registered, and the purchaser defaults on the payment agreement, section 89(5) of the National Credit Act is unequivocally prescriptive on how the courts are to deal with such circumstances.  The credit agreement is void as from the date it was entered into.  The credit provider must refund all payments made in terms of the agreement together with stipulated interest.  Most importantly, all purported rights of the credit provider to recover any money paid or the goods delivered to the consumer, are cancelled or the property forfeited to the state, unless a court finds that such forfeiture shall unjustly enrich the purchaser.

Many sellers, and even attorneys, are either unaware of this provision or blatantly flaunt the requirement as they “trust” the purchaser and “know” that the full repayment will be made, including the interest. The problem only manifests when the worst case scenario does occur and the well-known and trusted purchaser defaults on the payments.  Many of the sellers whom acted as credit providers relied on such repayments and interest either to fund another farm purchase or worse, their retirement.

The Constitutional Court recently considered the validity this section of the National Credit Act and specifically of the forfeiture of the property to the state clause in consideration with the Bill of Rights regarding the right not to be arbitrarily deprived of property and the so-called limitation clause.

Van der Westhuizen J delivered a majority judgment on 10 December 2012 which declared the arbitrary forfeiture of property to the state prescribed in section 89(5)(c) of the National Credit Act to be inconsistent with section 25(1) of the constitution and thus invalid.

The judgement should however be an urgent alarm to any and all unregistered credit providing farm sellers.

The intention of the National Credit Act is to discourage the provision of credit outside the framework set by the legislature.  The act thus has to punish those that do not comply with the requirements thereof.  And the punishment is severe.

Should the farm seller therefore not have registered as a credit provider, and the purchaser defaults on his payments, such seller is at risk.  A very real and serious risk.

Unless a court orders that the circumstances will unjustly enrich the purchaser, such seller may not only forfeit all payments and interest, but will have to obtain a court order that the seller is entitled to recover the farm from the defaulting purchaser.

If the credit agreement is unlawful as from inception in terms of the National Credit Act, the agreement cannot be enforced and the defaulting party cannot be compelled to perform. In our law, pursuance of such agreement must then be made in terms of unjustified enrichment, and specifically the condition ob turpem vel iniustam causam.  In short, the requirements are that the ownership must have passed with transfer, transfer must have taken place in terms of an unlawful agreement, and the claimant must tender everything received back.

However, to be successful the claimant must be able to proof that he acted free of turpitude and show that the actions were not dishonourably.

The banker-playing, credit providing farm seller might not forfeit the farm as the court’s discretion has been unconstitutionally been curtailed in section 89(5)(c), but is still far from the position he could have been had he done a simple registration as a credit provider.

Civil obedience with the legislation of the country creates a stable, safe, just and equitable society with a strong economy and an affinity with investors.  Compliance with the National Credit Act not only ensures confidence in immovable property as an investment, but will protect those who want to play banker.

For further reading see National Credit Regulator v Fillippus Albertus Opperman and others, case number CCT34/12 [2012] ZACC 29 and case law quoted by both the majority judgment and descending judgment written by Cameron J.

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.

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Will I leave a will?

article3nl-JulyA mother who has always wanted her daughter to inherit her diamond engagement ring may never get her wish if she dies without leaving a valid written will. The mother’s estate would then be distributed in terms of the Intestate Succession Act No. 81 of 1987. 

Taking the time to draft a will can leave you with the peace of mind that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes, as far as possible.  Your will should reflect exactly how you want your assets to be dealt with after your death and should not be contra bonos mores (against good morals).  It should also not amount to “ruling from the grave”.

There are a number of legal requirements that have to be complied with for a will to be valid.  If it does not comply with all of these requirements it could be found to be invalid.  Your estate would then also be dealt with in terms of the Intestate Succession Act of 1987.   It is therefore of the utmost importance that you obtain the assistance of someone with the necessary specialised skill and knowledge to assist you with the drafting of your will.

A will should also regularly be revised and updated to adapt to your changing life conditions, for example after getting married and when there is a child on the way. Section 2B of the Wills Act No. 7 of 1953 (as amended by the Law of Succession Act No. 43 of 1992) specifically deals with a change in marital status by way of divorce and reads as follows:

If any person dies within three months after his marriage was dissolved by a divorce or annulment by a competent court and that person executed a will before the date of such dissolution, that will shall be implemented in the same manner as it would have been implemented if his previous spouse had died before the date of the dissolution concerned, unless it appears from the will that the testator intended to benefit his previous spouse notwithstanding the dissolution of his marriage.”

This can be explained by way of the following example: A and B gets divorced and B dies within 3 months from the date of the divorce.  B’s will was executed before they got divorced.  Unless B’s will specifically indicated that A must benefit from B’s estate despite the divorce, B’s estate will then be distributed as if A died before they got divorced.  A will therefore not inherit from B’s estate in this scenario. However, should B die more than 3 months after the divorce and B’s will, which benefits A, was not changed then it will be seen as if B intended for A to inherit, despite the divorce.

A person who was previously married and who remarries, should ensure that the necessary changes are made to his/her will.  If not, this could have profound consequences for the “new” spouse especially if the will still benefit the spouse from the previous marriage.

When there are minor children in the picture, it is advisable to make adequate provision for their living costs and education in your will.  This can be done by creating a testamentary trust, whereof the minor children can be beneficiaries.

Thinking and talking about one’s passing is not a pleasant subject.  Having a valid, clear and unambiguous will can prevent unpleasant family feuds caused by them having to make decisions about the distribution of your estate.  It is certainly worth the time and effort to have a valid written will in place.

If you do not have a will in place or should yours be outdated kindly contact one of our branches in order to get your will drafted or amended as soon as possible, free of charge: Kleinmond (028) 271 – 3031; Hermanus (028) 312 – 3626; Caledon (028) 212 – 1060, Gansbaai (028) 384 – 0100 and Riviersonderend (028) 212 – 1060.

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.

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The life of PIE: Prevention of Illegal Eviction from Unlawful Occupation of Land Act

article2nl-JulyYou have property and have rented it out. The tenant has decided that they can no longer afford the rent, and no letters or threats seem to make any difference to this cause. The tenant not only refuses to pay the rent, but he also fails to vacate the property. 

To put icing on the cake, the law provides much more protection to the tenant than ever before. It comes as no surprise that landlords feel that the current legislation enables the tenant to avoid rent and furthermore, offers much more protection to tenants’ interests and rights than to the landlord.

Times have changed, and to simply replace the locks of the premises will offer no quick solution. In reality it is very difficult to evict unlawful tenants rightfully from the property, and therefore it is very important for landlords to use the prescribed procedures as contained in the PIE Act.

In short, the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from Unlawful Occupation of Land Act, “PIE” is described as legislation that aims to protect both the tenant’s and the landlord’s interests and rights simultaneously. This legislation prohibits not only unlawful eviction, but also allows for legitimate expulsion of unlawful tenants.

Procedures as prescribed by PIE

Firstly, it is important to cancel the lease due to non-payment as per the notice period prescribed by the lease agreement, or one calendar month notice in accordance with the common law.

An ex parte application (an application without notice to any party) must be brought at the appropriate Court in order to obtain the necessary permission from the Court to initiate Pie procedures. This application is brought by way of two Notices supported by a sworn affidavit.

The affidavit must allege the following:

  1. Unlawful occupation;
  2. Reasons for the requested eviction; and
  3. Why it is just and equitable to evict the unlawful occupant.

Once the application has been issued, the Sheriff of the Court serves notices, advising of intention to institute action, on the local Municipality, the unlawful occupier and to all those holding title under him. The local Municipality as well as the unlawful occupant has to be given 14 days’ notice of this hearing.

On the day of the hearing, the unlawful occupier will be given the opportunity to show good cause as to why an eviction order should not be granted. The Court will only grant an eviction order after considering the relevant circumstances together with a consideration of what is deemed as just and equitable. The unlawful occupier may rely on special circumstances to avoid immediate eviction.

In practice courts give regard to the following:

a) The rights of elderly persons;
b) Children;
c) Disabled; and
d) Households headed by woman.

However, the court has a broad discretion to grant an appropriate date on which the unlawful occupant has to vacate the property, and a date when the actual eviction order is to be affected.

In general, the PIE procedures are described as lengthy, and depending on the circumstances it often takes a lot of time before the unlawful occupier actually vacates the property. During this time the property owner does not receive an income from his property whilst still being required to pay the bond.

Landlords: Instead of allowing that the unlawful occupier frustrates you to the point where you want to break someone’s legs, rather take a piece of the PIE, and make it your first priority to evict the tenant from your property.

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.

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To marry or not to marry…

article1nl-JulyWhen a man proposes marriage to the love of his life and she accepts the proposal and they become engaged they are said to have concluded a contract to marry in the future.

When an engagement is called off one often get the situation where the aggrieved party wants to sue their ex for breach of promise.

Recent case law regarding the breach of promise to marry

Although there is frustration and heartbreak that may be experienced at the end of an engagement, the unfortunate reality of the matter is that it is not that easy to succeed in a monetary claim against somebody who is not intent on fulfilling their promises.

Common Law:

Our common law has, over the years, recognised the principle that the aggrieved party has a claim for breach of promise. Traditionally this claim comprises of two parts as follows:

  1. The delictual claim which the aggrieved party would have under the action injuriarum for contumelia, in other words,  damages for the humiliation caused as a result of the break-up of the relationship; and
  2. The contractual claim for the actual financial loss suffered by the aggrieved party as a result of the break-up of the relationship of the parties.

Van Jaarsveld v Bridges (2010) SCA:

In the Supreme Court of Appeal case of Van Jaarsveld vs Bridges (2010) it was found that no claim in South African law exists other than actual expenses incurred in the planning and preparation of the marriage.

In the Judgment Harms DP in respect of breach of promise, draws attention to a court’s right, and more importantly, duty to develop the common law, taking into account the interests of justice and at the same time to promote the spirit, purport and objects of the Bill of Rights.

Harms DP said that he is unable to accept that parties when promising to marry each other at that stage of their relationship would contemplate that a breach of their engagement would have financial consequences as if they had in fact married. The assumption of the two parties is that their marital regime will be determined by their subsequent marriage. Harms DP then concluded that in his view an engagement is more of an unenforceable pactum de contrahendo providing a spatium deliberandi:  – “a time to get to know each other better and in which they would decide whether or not to finally get married.”

ES Cloete v A Maritz (2013) WCH:

The question whether or not the claim for breach of promise is a valid cause of action in South African law was once again considered in the Western Cape High Court.

In the Western Cape High Court, Judge Robert Henney was the presiding Judge in the matter of ES Cloete versus A Maritz.

Miss Cloete claimed that Mr Maritz proposed formally to her in Namibia on the 9th February 1999 with an engagement ring and she accepted. The relationship was turbulent and a decade later Maritz called off the engagement and the subsequent wedding telling her that he no longer wanted to marry her or even see her; and that he had someone new in his life.  Cloete instituted action against Maritz and alleged that Maritz’s refusal to marry her amounted to a repudiation of the agreement that they had reached 10 years earlier.

Her Claim:

There were three aspects to Cloete’s claim:

  1. She wanted repayment of R 26 000.00 that she had given him in 1994 and 1996 for a business he was involved in.
  2. She wanted R 6.5 million to make up for the financial benefits she would have enjoyed had they concluded the marriage,  including amounts for the use and enjoyment of the house commensurate with the lifestyle enjoyed and maintained by the parties at the time of their cohabitation. She also wanted maintenance of R 8 500.00 a month for 25 years.
  3. Finally, she wanted R 250 000.00 in damages for breach of promise, impairment to her personal dignity and her reputation.

His Claim:

Maritz denied the allegations that Cloete has made and stated in replying papers that Cloete was in fact the one who had called off their wedding and he had merely accepted it.

Maritz raised a special plea that “breach of promise” did not constitute a valid cause of action based on the Supreme Court of Appeal’s Judgment in Van Jaarsveld v Bridges 2010 (4) SA 558 (SCA), a judgment which this court is obliged to follow.

Judgement:

In his judgment Judge R Henney said: “Clearly, to hold a party accountable on a rigid contractual footing; where such a party fails to abide by a promise to marry does not reflect the changed mores, morals or public interest of today.”

Judge R Henney went on to say in his judgement: “It is my view that considerations of public policy and our own society’s changed mores cannot permit a party to be made to pay prospective damages on a purely contractual footing; where such a party wants to resign from a personal relationship and thus commits a breach of a promise to marry. Such a situation is in my view entirely untenable and cannot be allowed.”

Judge further went on to say:As pointed out by Sinclair, The Law of Marriage Vol 1 (1996), to hold a party liable for contractual damages for breach of promise may in fact lead parties to enter into marriages they do not in good conscience want to enter into, purely due to the fear of being faced with such a claim.  This is an untenable situation.”

Conclusion:

The world has moved on and morals have changed. Divorce, which in earlier days was only available in the event of adultery or desertion, is now available in the event of an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. There is no reason why a just cause for ending an engagement should not likewise include the lack of desire to marry the particular person, irrespective of the ‘guilt’ of the latter. Unwillingness to marry is clear evidence of the irretrievable breakdown of the engagement. It appears illogical to attach more serious consequences to an engagement than to a marriage

Maritz`s special plea was upheld and it was found that the claim for breach of promise is not a valid cause of action in South African law. As appears from the above decision, no claim in law exist other than actual expenses incurred in the preparing of the marriage. This effectively excluded any damages for breach of the promise to marry.

Source Reference:
Ronnilie Theron
Honey Attorneys

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.

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