A consumer has the right to choose

A consumer has the right to choose

Have you ever saved up every dime to buy that brand new gadget, just for it to stop working after a few months of use? “Not a problem, we’ll assess the defect and repair it for you”, many suppliers may say and while this may feel like great customer service, did you know that you are being tricked out of your right to choose a remedy. The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) provides consumers with, among other noteworthy protections, the right to choose whether you would like a defective good repaired, replaced or refunded within 6 months of purchase. Yes, you…
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January is “Divorce Month”: Beware the Dangers of DIY

January is “Divorce Month”: Beware the Dangers of DIY

The festivities are over, the bills are coming in and everyone is returning to reality. Couples who for most of the year only have to live with each other after work hours, have suddenly spent a whole lot more 24/7 time in each other’s close company. Little irritations have magnified, habits have got on each other’s nerves, in-laws visiting for the annual family bun fight have heightened tensions… Whatever the reasons, and whether only one party was at fault or both, January’s worldwide reputation as “divorce month” applies equally here in South Africa. This means that the legal and personal…
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Your Written Contract Should Cover Everything – No Oral Evidence Allowed!

Your Written Contract Should Cover Everything – No Oral Evidence Allowed!

Here’s another warning from our courts to make sure that all your contracts are properly drawn to reflect both accurately and fully what you have agreed to. The problem with leaving anything out – or agreeing to something that isn’t then fully recorded in your contract – is a principle in our law known as “the rule of parol evidence”. A recent SCA (Supreme Court of Appeal) decision in Mike Ness Agencies CC t/a Promech Boreholes v Lourensford Fruit Company (Pty) Ltd (922/2018) [2019] ZASCA 159 illustrates the rule in action, and the facts will resonate with the many farmers,…
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Must You Pay Tax on Your Rental Income?

Must You Pay Tax on Your Rental Income?

Letting out property can give you an excellent “annuity” income, and if that concept appeals to you and a buy-to-let property comes your way at the right price put an offer in right now; before the current ‘buyer’s market’ runs its course. In your financial planning however remember the tax implications, because as a landlord you must add your rental income to your salary and other taxable income in your tax return every year. Not to do so is tax evasion, and that carries heavy financial penalties as well as the very real threat of criminal prosecution. Having to pay…
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Property Owners, Buyers and Agents: Lost Title Deeds and Bonds

Property Owners, Buyers and Agents: Lost Title Deeds and Bonds

In January 2019 new amendments to Regulations for the replacement of lost title deeds (and similar documents like mortgage bonds and notarial bonds – see below) were published. They were very onerous and slated to come into effect at short notice, but after criticism they were suspended – until now. Revised amendments have been published, to come into effect on 1 January 2020. Firstly, what is a “Title Deed”? A title deed (deed of transfer) is legal proof of ownership of a property. It also contains a lot of other important information relating to the property, such as a full…
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Visiting South Africa with Kids Just Became Easier

Visiting South Africa with Kids Just Became Easier

With the Festive Season (and our Summer Holidays!) well and truly upon us, you may be inviting family or friends to visit you from overseas with their children, or perhaps you are a foreigner planning a family trip to South Africa. Either way here’s some good news in the form of a welcome concession from government in regard to the documentation you will need to produce on entry. In a nutshell foreign children until now have only been able to enter the country with unabridged birth certificates and consent letters. That requirement was waived – for accompanied children only (check…
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Property Sales and Trusts: Demand Proof of Trustee Authority

Property Sales and Trusts: Demand Proof of Trustee Authority

Selling property to a trust comes with a particular risk, and it’s one that - although easily avoidable - still seems to catch sellers unawares on a regular basis. Not checking that the trustee/s signing the offer to purchase/deed of sale are fully authorised to do so could leave you with no sale at all! Let's start from the beginning - you are overjoyed at receiving a good offer for your property – not easily achieved in these hard times and of course you certainly don’t want to do anything to jeopardise the sale. But perhaps do that little bit…
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It Pays to Report Crime! First Offender’s 20 Years in Prison Confirmed for R4.9m Fraud

It Pays to Report Crime! First Offender’s 20 Years in Prison Confirmed for R4.9m Fraud

It is tempting sometimes to think that the high levels of criminal activity plaguing us at every level of our society are here to stay and that it is pointless reporting crime when you fall victim to it. But if we don’t all report crime when it happens, and if we don’t keep following up to ensure proper investigation and prosecution, we hamstring our courts. And that is self-defeating, because give our courts a chance to crack down hard on criminals and that is exactly what they do. A recent Supreme Court of Appeal decision is only one of many…
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Employees on Probation: Can You Dismiss for Poor Performance?

Employees on Probation: Can You Dismiss for Poor Performance?

Our laws allow employers to hire new employees on a probationary basis, and doing so can give both parties time to assess how good the “fit” actually is and whether the employee should become a permanent one. Employers must however avoid falling into the trap of thinking that they can dismiss a probationary employee at will; on the contrary they must ensure both “substantive” and “procedural” fairness at all stages of the process. But how do you ensure fairness? The Labour Relations Act’s “Code of Good Practice: Dismissal” provides important guidelines in this regard (note that what is set out…
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“Seller’s Remorse” and “Subject to Sale of the Buyer’s Property” – Can They Sink the Sale?

“Seller’s Remorse” and “Subject to Sale of the Buyer’s Property” – Can They Sink the Sale?

The upcoming festive season, with its mass migrations of happy holiday-makers to their dream destinations, has always been a busy time for both sellers and buyers. In these hard times however, an increasing number of sellers are feeling pressured to accept offers well under their expectations, so cases of “seller’s remorse” are much more likely now than they have been for many years. The question is, just how easy or difficult is it for a seller to escape a sale agreement signed in haste? Equally common no doubt are sales “subject to the sale of the buyer’s property” - for…
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