Monthly Archives: September 2015

The sequestration process

A3_GTThe sequestration process involves a Court Application. The Applicant in the Application is either yourself for your own sequestration (voluntary surrender) or the Applicant is one of your creditors (either a friendly or aggressive creditor). The applications are similar and although there are some different requirements for each, the result is the same.

Voluntary surrender

Voluntary surrender refers to the process whereby a natural person can make an application to place him/herself under an order for sequestration.

A person is insolvent if his/her liabilities exceed his/her assets. In such a case he/she can apply for voluntary surrender of their estate. Anybody can apply for voluntary surrender at any stage as soon as he/she is insolvent, even if they have been or are under debt counselling, for example.

The person who wants to sequestrate him/herself, will depose to an Affidavit which explains why he/she claims he/she is insolvent. This will be drafted by the Attorneys who will bring the application on behalf of the Applicant. As soon as the Affidavit is signed, the application will be issued at Court and a Court date is assigned. The Applicant does not have to appear in Court as the Advocate appears on his/her behalf.

If the Court grants a provisional order on the first Court date, the matter will be postponed for approximately one month. During that month notice will be given to all creditors, and if on the return date no-one has opposed the application, the order will be finalised and the Applicant’s estate will be sequestrated.

Compulsory sequestration

Applications are also made by way of a Court application; however, in this case the Applicant will be a creditor of the debtor. If it is a creditor with whom the debtor does not have a good relationship, we refer to it as an “aggressive” sequestration (for example the bank).

However, the banks seldom bring sequestration applications against the average debtor as it is much cheaper and easier for them to follow the collection procedures: attach property and sell it and/or attach your salary.

If it is a creditor with whom the debtor has a good relationship, we refer to it as a “friendly” sequestration (for example a family member or a friend to whom you owe money).

Aggressive (“unfriendly”) sequestration

Where an unfriendly creditor brings a sequestration application against a debtor, we refer to it as an aggressive sequestration. It is also a forced sequestration as opposed to voluntary surrender.

The creditor who brings the application must have established a claim against the debtor; in other words, the debtor must indeed owe the creditor money. A second requirement is that there must also be a benefit to creditors. Thirdly, the debtor must have committed an act of insolvency.

If a creditor brings an aggressive application against a debtor, the debtor can oppose such an application if he/she is not insolvent or if there is another reason why the order should not be granted.

Process for “unfriendly” and “friendly” sequestrations

The process for both these applications is the same and it is only the Applicant that differs.

As with voluntary surrender, an Affidavit will be given by the creditor to explain why he avows that the debtor owes him/her money. He will attach proof thereof (contract/statement) and also proof that the debtor has committed an act of insolvency (where the debtor has written a letter to say that he/she cannot pay the debt). In both instances the Applicant must prove that there will be a benefit to creditors to have the debtor sequestrated.

Once the Affidavit has been signed, the necessary documentation will be drafted, issued at Court and a Court date assigned. As soon as this is done, the documents will be served on the debtor, employees of the debtor, Master of the High Court and the South African Revenue Services by the Sheriff. The provisional order should also be given to all creditors above R5 000.00 by way of registered post. If the application is not opposed, a final order will be made for the sequestration of the debtor/Applicant.

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.

Openbare oorlaste: wetlike regte in terme van wetgewing

A2_GTPersone wat ontwrigtende dade van onaanvaarbare gedrag in openbare plekke pleeg, mag gewaarsku en daarna deur die owerhede in hegtenis geneem word. Die oortreder sal aanspreeklik wees vir ‘n boete, gevangenisstraf of beide by skuldigbevinding. Hoe word hierdie toepassing van ons regte behaal deur ‘n gewone burger?

‘n Openbare oorlas is ‘n kriminele misdaad; dit is ‘n daad of versuim wat belemmer, skade berokken, of die regte van die gemeenskap verontrief. Die term openbare oorlas dek ‘n wye verskeidenheid van geringe misdade wat die gesondheid, morele waardes, veiligheid, gerief, gemak of welsyn van ‘n gemeenskap bedreig.

Wetgewing bied verligting in hierdie verband, spesifiek in die verordeninge van die plaaslike munisipaliteite. ‘n Verordening is ‘n wet wat deur die Raad van ‘n munisipaliteit aangeneem word om die sake en die dienste wat dit bied binne sy regsgebied te reguleer. ‘n Munisipaliteit verkry die magte om ‘n verordening goed te keur van die Grondwet van die Republiek van Suid-Afrika.

Met betrekking tot openbare oorlaste sou ‘n mens kyk na Verordening op Strate, Openbare Plekke en die Voorkoming van Stoornisse, 2007. Die grootste deel van hierdie verordening lys sekere handelinge wat as verbode gedrag geag word en daarmee gekriminaliseer word. Verskillende aksies, insluitend bedel, die gebruik van beledigende of dreigende taal, om onder die invloed van dwelms of alkohol te wees en ‘n versteuring te veroorsaak deur te skreeu, gil of enige ander harde en aanhoudende geraas of klank, insluitend versterkte geraas en klank te maak, word daarin gelys.

Indien enigiemand se gedrag binne hierdie definisie val en hy enige of verskeie verbode handelinge van openbare oorlas uitvoer, moet die owerhede onmiddellik in kennis gestel word. Die owerhede het die mag om die oortreder te gelas om die gewraakte gedrag onmiddellik te staak, by versuim waarvan hy aan ‘n misdryf skuldig sal wees. 

Artikel 23 bepaal dat enige persoon wat oortree of versuim om te voldoen aan ‘n bepaling van hierdie verordening of versuim om enige instruksie deur die owerhede wat hierdie verordening afdwing, te gehoorsaam, aan ‘n misdryf skuldig sal wees. Die oortreder sal aanspreeklik wees vir ‘n boete of gevangenisstraf vir ‘n tydperk van hoogstens ses maande, of vir beide ‘n boete en sodanige gevangenisstraf.

Dit is dus voor die hand liggend dat deur die identifisering van sekere handelinge van onaanvaarbare, aggressiewe, dreigende, beledigende of obstruktiewe gedrag van persone in die openbaar, die oortreder gelas kan word om onmiddellik sodanige gewraakte optrede te staak of in hegtenis geneem te word vir die nie-nakoming van enige opdrag om die optrede te staak.

Verwysingslys:

  1. http://openbylaws.org.za/za/by-law/cape-town/2007/streets-public-places-noise-nuisances/
  2. http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Public+Nuisance
  3. http://openbylaws.org.za/
  4. https://www.capetown.gov.za/en/bylaws/Pages/Home.aspx

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.

The Living Will

A1_GTMost  people are familiar with a will or testament and understand the importance of having this legal declaration drafted, by which the testator nominates an executor to manage his or her estate and provide for the distribution of his or her property to beneficiaries when he or she dies.

But how many people have considered drafting a living will?

A living will does not deal with assets, heirs and beneficiaries, but with the philosophy of death and dying, and should be considered carefully and drafted by a professional.

A living will is a legal document expressing a person’s wishes regarding life-prolonging medical treatment when that person can no longer voice his or her wishes.  It is also referred to as an advance medical directive.

A typical clause in a living will would read as follows:

If the time comes when I can no longer take part in decisions for my own future, let this declaration stand as my directive.

If I suffer from physical illness or impairment expected to cause me severe distress, rendering  me incapable of rational existence, from which there is no reasonable prospect of recovery,  I withhold my consent to be kept alive by artificial means and do not give my consent to any form of tube-feeding when I am dying; and I request that I receive whatever quantity of drugs and intravenous fluids as may be required to keep me comfortable and  free from pain  even if the moment of death is hastened. I withhold my consent to any attempt at resuscitation, should my heart and breathing stop and my prognosis is hopeless.

The living will tells the doctor and family that the patient does not consent to being kept alive artificially. It speaks for the patient at a time when the patient may be unable to communicate.

South African law and most religions accepts the validity of the living will, but none of the main religions accept euthanasia.

Euthanasia is against the law. Sean Davison, the respected UWC professor who helped his 85-year-old terminally ill mother, Patricia Ferguson, die in New Zealand by preparing a lethal dose of morphine, was arrested in New Zealand in September 2010 on an attempted murder charge.

It is important to have a properly drafted, legal living will to avoid far reaching and traumatic consequences for the loved ones that stay behind.

Many lawyers who practice in the area of estate planning include a living will and a health care power of attorney in their package of estate planning documents.

The advantages of a living will

  1. The directives respect the patient’s human rights, and in particular his or her right to reject medical treatment.
  2. It encourages full discussion about end-of-life decisions.
  3. It also means that the medical staff and caregivers are aware of the patient’s wishes, and knowing what the patient wants means that doctors are more likely to give appropriate treatment.
  4. It will avoid the situation where the patient’s family and friends have to take the difficult decisions.

Disadvantages of  a living will

  1.  Drafting this document  can  be very depressing.
  2. The person may still be healthy and not in a position to actually imagine that he or she could ever be in the position where they would voluntarily give up living.
  3. When the time comes to act on the living will the patient might have changed his or her mind and it is then often difficult to amend the document.

Important points to consider

  1. The living will should not be incorporated or attached to the last will and testament, which is only acted upon after death.
  2. A living will does not become effective unless the patient becomes incapacitated; until then the patient will be able to choose appropriate treatment.
  3. A certificate by the patient’s doctor and another independent doctor certifying that the patient is either suffering from a terminal illness or permanently unconscious, is required before the living will becomes effective. In the case of a heart attack, the living will does not take effect. A living will is only executed when ultimate recovery is hopeless.
  4. You have to notify  your doctor and family of your living will and preferably have copies of the document available for the doctor, hospital  and  family.

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.