Monthly Archives: March 2014

So wanneer is ek by magte om as trustee op te tree?

A4blDie Wet op Beheer van Trustgoedere 57 van 1988 definieer ‘n trustee as “enige persoon (ingesluit die oprigter) wat optree as trustee uit hoofde van ‘n magtiging in terme van Artikel 6.”

In die saak van Lupacchini teen die Minister van Veiligheid en Sekuriteit (16/2010) [2010], ZASCA 108 (17 September 2010), is die posisie van ‘n trustee wat sonder die nodige magtiging opgetree het, oorweeg, waar die trustee regstappe gemagtig het.

‘n Trust wat tot stand kom deur ‘n trustakte is nie ‘n regspersoon nie – maar ‘n spesiale verhouding beskryf deur die skrywers van Honoré’s South African Law of Trusts as “a legal institution in which a person, the trustee, subject to public supervision, holds or administers property separately from his or her own, for the benefit of another person or persons or for the furtherance of a charitable or other purpose.”

Alhoewel die trust eiendom in elke trustee individueel vestig, moet hulle gesamentlik optree, tensy die trustakte anders bepaal. Hulle individuele belange negeer nie die vereiste dat hulle saam moet optree nie.

Die gevolg van ‘n handeling wat in stryd met ‘n statutêre verbod gepleeg is, is al telkemale oorweeg in ander sake, en dit hang af van die behoorlike konstruksie van die wetgewing en die bedoeling van die wetgewer.

Die doel van die wet is om die Meester in staat te stel om toesig oor trustees te kan hou en hulle administrasie van die trust en Artikel 6(1) is essensieel hiervoor, en om die trustees te belet om op te tree alvorens hulle gemagtig is deur die Meester, verseker die wet dat trustees net kan optree as hulle sodanig voldoen aan die wet.

In Kropman NO teen Nysschen is bevind dat ‘n hof die diskresie het om handelinge van ‘n trustee wat sonder die nodige magtiging opgetree het, terugwerkend goed te keur. Hierdie standpunt is met oortuiging in latere sake verwerp.

“Locus standi in iudicio” daarenteen is iets anders en is nie afhanklik van die magtiging om op te tree nie, maar hang af of die litigant geag word deur die hof om ‘n genoegsame belang in die litigasie te hou.

Alhoewel Artikel 6(1) ‘n trustee se bevoegdheid om in daardie hoedanigheid op te tree opskort, kan hy of sy ‘n genoegsame belang in die administrasie van die trust hou om locus standi te hê.

Die essensie van die verbiedende frase in artikel 6(1) “… shall act in that capacity only if authorised thereto …”, moet geïnterpreteer word om te bedoel dat ‘n trustee nie voor die Meester se magtiging, enige regte mag bekom vir of kontraktueel verpligtinge aangaan namens, die trust nie en is nie bedoel om die kwessie van locus standi in iudicio te reguleer nie.

Litigasie wat ingestel word deur ongemagtigde trustees en kommersiële transaksies wat die trust bind, is ongeldig en nietig.

[1] 5th ed (2002) by Edwin Cameron with Marius de Waal, Basil Wunsh and Peter Solomon para 1.

[2] 1999 (2) SA 567 (T) at 576F.

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.

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Review of Directors’ decisions

A3blIn the previous article regarding “informal” decisions by directors, we considered what acts or decisions may be considered as informal decisions by directors. The precedents established by the courts were discussed, which precedents are considered regarding the enforceability of these “consents” and the validity of informal decisions by directors. Directors of homeowners’ associations have been forewarned to be diligent and carefully choose their words in conversations with other members, especially when these members paint pictures of proposed building projects. And more specifically, directors are to keep their opinion for the debate of the properly tabled application, especially concerning additions and alterations to the property of the member. The rules of the homeowners’ association regarding aesthetics and other such requirements should be paramount in the decision-making process.

But what if the member did comply with the prescribed formal requirements and the board of directors did not approve the request? Where does that leave the directors and the member?

The courts will not interfere with the decision made by a homeowners’ association save on recognised grounds of judicial review as applied to voluntary associations whose members have bound themselves to its rules, which include the conferring of decision–making functions of elected body of directors (Turner vs Jockey Club of South Africa 1974 (3) SA; SA Medical & Dental Council vs McLoughlin 1948 (2) SA 355 (AD) and Marlin vs Durban Turf Club & Others 1942 AD 112).

The grounds of judicial review are restricted to whether the tribunal was competent to make the decision and whether it complied with the requirements of procedural and substantive fairness which effectively is limited to whether the procedure or decision taken was tainted by irregularity or illegality – unfairness per se is not enough (Bel Porto School Governing Body & Others vs Premier, Western Cape & Another 2002 (3) SA).

The traditional common law grounds of review of a voluntary association tribunal include illegality, procedural unfairness and irrationality. Prior to the constitutional dispensation, the ambit of the voluntary associations had been settled in case law. The Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, Act 3 of 2000 (PAJA) applies to administrative action on the part of an organ of state or a juristic person exercising a public power or performing a public function. Accordingly, directors of homeowners’ associations do not fall within the scope of the PAJA. Section 39(2) of the Constitution on the other hand, requires a court, when developing the common law, to promote the spirit, purport and objectives of the Bill of Rights.

The judgement in the matter of Theron and Andere vs Ring van Wellington van die NG Sending Kerk in Suid-Afrika en Andere 1976 (2) SA 1 (A) has already confirmed that a reasonableness test based on rationality was a competent basis under the common law powers to review decisions of voluntary associations. The court will therefore consider a ground of review that included unreasonableness in the sense that the decision could not reasonably be supported by evidence. There appears to be no difference in principle for present purposes between common law grounds of review in relation to voluntary associations and the grounds of review provided for by PAJA.

Various case laws confirm that a court will only interfere with the decision of the directors of a homeowners’ association where that body has failed to comply with the natural justice requirements of legality, procedural fairness and reasonableness, the latter in the sense of a rational connection existing between the facts presented and the considerations that were applied in reaching the conclusion.

If the Memorandum of Incorporation or rules of the homeowners’ association prescribe a formal procedure to follow for permission or consent to be obtained regarding any alteration or other building projects, any member who did not submit a formal request for the building project, even if it is only the erection of a fence and did not include the detail of the fence to be erected for approval prior to the erection thereof, then the fence is “illegal”.

The board of directors of any homeowners’ association has an obligation to enforce the Memorandum of Association and/or the Memorandum of Incorporation and the rules of the association, and should do so in the interests of the whole of the estate and all its members.

Any building project which has been embarked on or even finished without proper procedures followed by the homeowner, and which does not comply with the aesthetical requirements of the homeowners’ association as is prescribed in the rules, are “illegal” in that the member erected the building without formally complying with the requirements of the homeowners’ association. Directors should carefully consider each and every such building project within the jurisdiction of the association and, in the best interest of all members of the association, invite such members affected for an informal, amicable discussion regarding the removal or further alteration of the building or building project, even if it is only a fence and the time periods to do so. It is important to note that such members should still be obliged to comply with the formal requirements as prescribed by the association. These applications can be tabled in terms of the formal procedures prescribed with consideration to formally consent thereto retrospectively by the board of directors on condition that all prescriptive requirements have been fully met, even if it is merely aesthetically.

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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Moenie deur die lewe jaag nie

A2blJack Louw is gewoond daaraan om vinnige motors te ry – hy is feitlik gebore met een voet op die versneller. Jack kom boonop uit ‘n baie welgestelde familie, wat beteken dat daar altyd geld was om die boetes vir al sy verkeersoortredings te betaal. Jack se geluk kan egter binnekort draai en dan sal daar geen manier wees om net met ‘n boete weg te kom nie.

In terme van die Wet op Nasionale Padverkeer 93 van 1996 en die Regulasies, soos gepubliseer op 17 Maart 2000, is die algemene spoedgrense as volg: 60 km/h op ‘n openbare pad binne ‘n stedelike gebied, 100 km/h op ‘n openbare pad buite ‘n stedelike gebied wat nie ‘n deurpad is nie, en 120 km/h op elke snelweg.

Indien jy die spoedgrens met meer as 60 km/h oorskry, sal jy outomaties vervolg word en nie die geleentheid hê om ‘n afkoopboete te betaal nie. Indien jy meer as 100 km/h in ‘n 60 km/h-sone ry, sal jy waarskynlik nie die opsie hê om ‘n skulderkenningsboete te betaal nie, maar jy sal in die hof moet verskyn op ‘n aanklag van roekelose of gevaarlike bestuur.

Afhangende van die erns van die oortreding, sal jy nie toegelaat word om ‘n skulderkenningsboete te betaal nie. ‘n Skulderkenningsboete is ‘n boete waar ‘n persoon met ‘n eerste oortreding die opsie het om skuld te erken en ‘n boete te betaal sonder om in die hof te verskyn. Dit mag dalk soos ‘n maklike uitweg lyk, maar indien jy skuld erken, het jy ‘n kriminele rekord.

Skulderkenningsboetes vir spoedoortredings word bereken op die basis van die een rand per km/h wat die spoedgrens oorskry is. Hierdie boetes kan by enige kantoor van die Suid-Afrikaanse Polisiediens in die Landdrosdistrik waar die oortreding plaasgevind het, betaal word. Die boete moet getoon word op die dag van die betaling van die boete.

Indien jy kies om nie die skulderkenningsboete te betaal nie, maar eerder die saak in die hof te beveg, moet jy op die boete kyk om vas te stel op watter datum jy in die hof moet verskyn, en wat die saaknommer is. Navrae oor die boete moet gerig word aan die klerk van die kriminele hof van die Landdrosdistrik van uitreiking, en jy moet die boete saamstuur.

Dit is belangrik om kennis te neem van die spoed wat jy ry. Dit kan vir jou belangrik wees om betyds by jou bestemming uit te kom, maar is dit die moeite werd om ‘n boete te betaal, of met ‘n kriminele rekord te sit? Dit is veral belangrik om te onthou dat indien jy die boete in ‘n ander dorp as jou tuisdorp kry, jy terug na daardie dorp moet gaan om in die hof te verskyn. Dit is jou plig om in die hof te verskyn, ongeag of jy in die gebied woon of nie.

Dink voor jy skuld erken op ‘n spoed oortreding, of selfs beter, dink twee keer voor jy die spoedgrens oortree en jouself in daardie posisie plaas.

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.

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The interplay between the Consumer Protection Act and the National Credit Act

A1blMr Black buys a BMW car in terms of a hire purchase agreement and the financing is done through BMW Finance. After a few months Mr Black inherits a huge sum of money and decides that he wants to settle the outstanding amount. Mr Black’s concern is whether the credit provider is entitled to charge a penalty fee for early settlement of the outstanding finance amount.

The first step in answering the abovementioned question will be to determine which laws regulate the situation. The legislation that applies here will be the National Credit Act 34 of 2005 and the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008.

In the above scenario a distinction should be drawn between the scope of each of these Acts, as the one pertains to the credit agreement itself and the other to the goods, being the BMW car. Section 5 of the Consumer Protection Act lists the situations in which this Act will apply. Section 5(2)(d) is of particular interest to Mr Black as it excludes credit agreements which are regulated by the National Credit Act. However, the goods or services provided in terms of the credit agreement are included and will be regulated by the Consumer Protection Act, whereas credit agreements as contemplated in the National Credit Act, specifically section 8(4)(c), includes hire purchase agreements (instalment agreements) in the ambit of the National Credit Act.

Mr Black’s situation illustrates the position as stated in Article 5(2)(d) of the Consumer Protection Act. The implication of this section is that all credit agreements that are subject to the National Credit Act will be governed by the National Credit Act, but the goods and services in terms of the agreement will fall within the scope of the Consumer Protection Act. It is here that the above acts overlap with each other. The overlap actually lies in that both acts can apply to one agreement. The credit agreement must comply with the National Credit Act, but the goods and services must comply with the Consumer Protection Act. If there is a defect in the quality of the goods or the service the Consumer Protection Act will provide the appropriate remedy, but if it is about the credit agreement itself, then the National Credit Act will apply.

Section 2(9) of the Consumer Protection Act deals with the interpretation of the Act and more specifically on how the law has to be interpreted in cases where there are discrepancies between the Consumer Protection Act and any other law. The Consumer Protection Act should be read in harmony with other legislation as far as possible, but if it is not possible, then the law that offers the most protection to the consumer shall apply.

The two sections in the National Credit Act which deals with the early settlement of credit agreements are sections 122 and 125 of the Act. According to section 122 of the National Credit Act, a consumer may terminate the credit agreement at any time. The consumer can do this by paying the settlement amount as calculated in accordance with section 125 of the National Credit Act.

Section 125 states that a consumer is entitled to cancel a credit agreement at any time with or without prior notice to the credit provider. The settlement amount will be the sum of the following amounts:
• The outstanding balance of the principal debt / capital amount.
• All rates and charges up to and including the settlement date. For example, if the outstanding amount can be settled after 3 months, then 3 months’ interest would be charged. The interest will be calculated on the principal amount borrowed.

In the case of a large credit agreement (R250 000.00 or more) the outstanding amount will be calculated as above, but with additional interest, known as an early settlement fee. The fee may not exceed an amount equal to three months’ interest on the capital amount.

Conclusion:
Therefore, if the BMW that Mr Black bought was worth more than R250 000.00 the credit provider will be entitled to charge a penalty fee of not more than 3 months’ interest on the capital amount. In the event that the purchased item’s worth is less than R250 000.00 the credit provider will not be entitled to charge a penalty fee.

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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