When Company Directors and Shareholders Come to Blows

When Company Directors and Shareholders Come to Blows

In companies both large and small, relationships between shareholders and directors can and do run into difficulty occasionally. When that happens, you have several remedies to choose from in the Companies Act. One of them, “relief from oppressive or prejudicial conduct” is particularly versatile, with courts empowered to order a wide range of remedial action ranging from share transfers to removal of directors, liquidation or business rescue of the company, and much more. Indeed, a court may make any order “it deems fit” – but before you get there, you must first prove one of three specified categories of oppressive/prejudicial…
Read More
Can an Employee Who Refuses Vaccination be Fired?

Can an Employee Who Refuses Vaccination be Fired?

Most of us will celebrate the day we are offered a COVID-19 vaccination, but here in South Africa as overseas it seems inevitable that a significant number of people will refuse to be vaccinated. The reasons given for this stance have been many and varied, some mainstream and reasonable, others less so. Perhaps some of those refusing will reconsider if and when they find they are denied opportunities available to those vaccinated - travel restrictions spring to mind but another example could be establishments like hotels and restaurants getting sticky on the issue if customer demand for safety grows. A…
Read More
Who Gets the House on Divorce?

Who Gets the House on Divorce?

Historically 44% of South African marriages have ended in divorce, and there has reportedly been a 20% surge in new divorce applications since lockdown. For those unfortunate couples whose marriages do eventually fall apart, often the most important asset in play from both a financial and an emotional perspective is the family home. So it is crucial for any couple contemplating marriage, or currently married but considering a split, to understand what our law says about who gets what on divorce. Your divorce order as issued by the divorce court will be the “final word” here. If you have been…
Read More
Landlords: Can You Cut Electricity to Collect Arrears or Evict?

Landlords: Can You Cut Electricity to Collect Arrears or Evict?

Landlords can be sorely tempted to force defaulting tenants to settle their arrears (or to vacate the premises altogether) with a bit of instant “self-help” by cutting electricity or water supplies, or perhaps by changing locks or disabling access codes. From the High Court comes another timely warning that you cannot resort to self-help without risking an immediate and costly “spoliation order”. What exactly is a spoliation order? In a nutshell, it is an order rapping you over the knuckles for taking the law into your own hands and forcing you to return to the previous status quo whilst you…
Read More
Can Employees Resign to Dodge Disciplinary Hearings?

Can Employees Resign to Dodge Disciplinary Hearings?

It’s an age-old workplace dodge - threatened with a disciplinary hearing and fearing a guilty verdict, an employee resigns with immediate effect and walks out the door with a defiant “Well that’s it, you just lost your right to discipline me. See you around, loser”. No longer! Our courts have dealt with this issue often in the past in various guises and with conflicting outcomes. Fortunately, a new Labour Appeal Court (LAC) decision in The Standard of Bank of South Africa Ltd v Chiloane, Johannesburg Labour Appeal Court Case no. JA 85/18 has finally settled the matter. The bank employee…
Read More
Buying and Selling Property: Nine Important Questions

Buying and Selling Property: Nine Important Questions

When you buy or sell your “Home Sweet Home”, particularly for the first time, the process can seem complicated, the terminology confusing, and the risks of making a costly mistake intimidating. You are after all dealing with quite possibly your most important asset! To help you navigate the process, as either seller or buyer, here are some common questions, with answers. Where can I get a simple guide to the process? When you come down to the details it certainly is important to get everything right, but a simple, broad overview to start with will go a long way to…
Read More
Suing a Debtor – Make Sure Your Victory Isn’t a Hollow One

Suing a Debtor – Make Sure Your Victory Isn’t a Hollow One

With our economic woes unlikely to abate any time soon, expect an increasing number of your debtors to find themselves in financial difficulty. If you end up litigating against any of them the last thing you will want to do is to throw good money after bad. And whilst fighting a court case and winning against a recalcitrant debtor is all very well, it’s a hollow victory if by the time you come to enforce your judgment the debtor has no assets left to execute against. You may have won the battle, but you’ll have lost the war. You’ll be…
Read More
Be Prepared for The Cost of Dying

Be Prepared for The Cost of Dying

No one wants to contemplate their own passing, but the reality is that sooner or later it is inevitable, and particularly in these dangerous times we need always to be prepared. The loss of a loved one is always distressing. It can however be compounded by the challenge of dealing with their assets. Few people appreciate all the costs involved in settling an estate. Understanding these expenses and planning for how to deal with them can make a big difference to those left behind. Executor's fees and costs Every estate must be wound up by an executor. Ensure that in…
Read More
Buying a Property: Check the Seller’s Marital Status!

Buying a Property: Check the Seller’s Marital Status!

If you are taking advantage of our current low interest rates and reduced selling prices to buy a property, make sure that you establish the seller’s marital status with something more than what the seller tells you. Your risk comes in if the seller is married in community of property. That’s because, whilst our law generally allows spouses in such a marriage to “perform any juristic act with regard to the joint estate without the consent of the other spouse”, there are exceptions. And one exception relates to immovable property. A spouse needs the written consent of the other to…
Read More
Arrest and a Criminal Record for Not Wearing a Mask

Arrest and a Criminal Record for Not Wearing a Mask

We all know that wearing a face mask is the right and the safe thing to do, but it is also a legal requirement – and it’s one that you really don’t want to breach. Firstly, can you be arrested for not wearing a mask? The short answer is yes, the amended Disaster Management Act Regulations providing that – Everyone (except children under six) must always wear a face mask (covering nose as well as mouth!) when in a public place. It is a criminal offence not to comply with a verbal instruction to wear a face mask by an…
Read More