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Recent Industry Articles

Shoprite Checker (Pty) Ltd v Mafate – a lesson on prescription (or the lack thereof)

Shoprite Checker (Pty) Ltd v Mafate – a lesson on prescription (or the lack thereof)

Shoprite Checkers has lost a case at the Supreme Court of Appeal (‘the SCA’) over whether a claim filed by a curator ad litem, on behalf of a temporary worker who was left permanently mentally incapacitated at work, had prescribed. The worker, who, on 15 October 2014, suffered a freak accident at work which left her brain damaged, had a curator appointed to look after her affairs in February 2017. Due to her permanent mental incapacity, she could not institute proceedings in her name and the curator unfortunately only filed her claim in October 2018 – some 4 years after…
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A “Running Down” Damages Claim – Elite Athlete v Happy Snapper

A “Running Down” Damages Claim – Elite Athlete v Happy Snapper

An elite runner competing in a race along Sea Point’s iconic Promenade collides with a pedestrian out for a Sunday walk with a friend. The pedestrian’s good deed – agreeing to take a group photo for some “Fun Walk” participants – lands her in hospital awaiting a hip replacement operation. She sues both the runner and the race organiser for R718,000 in damages, claiming they were negligent. There is denial of liability, conflicting evidence and counter claims of contributory negligence. It’s the sort of accident that can happen to anyone and at any time. In the blink of an eye…
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Your Employee Reaches Retirement Age and Wants to Keep Working – What Should You Do?

Your Employee Reaches Retirement Age and Wants to Keep Working – What Should You Do?

As even the youngest Boomers (the generation born between 1946 and 1964) approach the “Big Sixty”, an increasing number of employees will be thinking about whether or not they want to retire. And an increasing number of employers will be wondering whether to ask them to stay on or to retire them (and if so, when). Bear in mind that our law does not recognise any concept of a general “normal/standard retirement age” and that you need to tread carefully here because a dismissal is automatically unfair if the reason for the dismissal is that the employer unfairly discriminates against…
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It’s Wedding Season – Three Questions to Ask Before You Marry

It’s Wedding Season – Three Questions to Ask Before You Marry

Wedding Season is well and truly upon us, and if you (or anyone near and dear to you) is busy planning for marriage (note that we are talking “civil marriage” here, “customary marriages” and “civil unions” are beyond the scope of this article), you will have a long “To Do” List to work through. Venue, invites, catering, flowers, service, this, that, the other. The list goes on, and on… But no matter how long or complicated your Wedding Plan may get, make sure that “Get All the Boring Legal Bits Sorted” is high on your priority list. Yes, this is…
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Bond Clauses: Beware the Deadlines!

Bond Clauses: Beware the Deadlines!

Here’s yet another reminder from our courts in Thokan v Kriegler and Another (40781/2018) [2022] ZAGPJHC 680 on the danger of not complying strictly with every provision in a property sale agreement. Don’t be like Douglas Adams and listen to the deadlines go whooshing by – missing a property sale deadline is a mistake, probably an expensive one. The deadline set by every bond clause is no exception… Sale’s a dead duck. Who gets the R600,000 deposit? A property sale agreement contained a standard “suspensive condition” in the form of a bond clause making the sale conditional upon the buyer…
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Creditors: How to Secure Your Claim with a Notarial Bond

Creditors: How to Secure Your Claim with a Notarial Bond

You should always take as much security for your claims as you possibly can before advancing credit or lending money to a debtor. That’s because if your debtor fails and is “liquidated” (if a corporate) or “sequestrated” (if an individual), without security you will have only a concurrent claim in the estate. And with a concurrent claim, you will be lucky to get back more than a few cents in the Rand, because you will rank right at the bottom of the ladder after both secured creditors and preferent creditors (employees, SARS etc). So, first prize is always to hold…
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Dismissed for Criticising a Mine’s “No High Heels in the Workplace” Rule

Dismissed for Criticising a Mine’s “No High Heels in the Workplace” Rule

Employers have a general duty to ensure health and safety in the workplace. But as a recent Labour Court case illustrates, policies dealing with these issues must be correctly drawn, implemented and enforced. A mine’s “no high heels” policy challenged A mining operation introduced a health and safety policy, applicable to all employees, requiring that: “Appropriate shoes must be worn at all times. Slippers, high heels and open shoes are not allowed”. A later clarification provided that “Only flat shoes may be worn at work…”. After a risk assessment around the issue of wearing high heels two years later, a…
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Why You Should Sign a Power of Attorney Before You Emigrate or Travel

Why You Should Sign a Power of Attorney Before You Emigrate or Travel

If you are emigrating, or perhaps just going overseas for an extended holiday or work contract, you may well leave behind some form of “unfinished business”. Perhaps you own a property, other assets or bank accounts needing attention, or have outstanding tax/business/financial affairs, or contracts to be signed, cars to be licenced, or something else unresolved that requires your future agreement or signature. Even if you can’t think of anything specific, consider executing (before you leave of course) an appropriate power of attorney in favour of someone you trust to act for you. What is a power of attorney? A…
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Building in Security Estates: The ‘Persuasive Sting’ of Penalty Levies

Building in Security Estates: The ‘Persuasive Sting’ of Penalty Levies

Buying “plot and plan” in a residential complex allows you the freedom to build your own dream house in a secure environment, quite apart from providing what is likely to be sound long-term investment. Just make sure that you will actually be ready to build within the time frame required by the HOA (homeowners’ association). If you don’t, you risk having to transfer the plot back to the developer (a costly exercise), or you could be lumbered with penalty levies many times higher than normal levies. You can ask a court to reduce the penalty, but… Our law gives us…
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Fired for Off-Duty CBD Oil Use and Cannabis Smoking

Fired for Off-Duty CBD Oil Use and Cannabis Smoking

The Constitutional Court’s limited legalisation of personal cannabis use in private seems to have lulled some employees into a false sense of security when it comes to their employer’s right to restrict their cannabis use. A recent Labour Court decision of Enever v Barloworld Equipment, a division of Barloworld South Africa (PTY) Ltd (JS 633/20;JS926/20) [2022] ZALCJHB 161  illustrates. Not stoned on duty, but tested positive An employee was, in her off-duty hours, a regular user of CBD oil and a smoker of cannabis. After repeatedly testing positive for the drug, she was dismissed. She approached the Labour Court claiming…
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