AN INSIGHT INTO MY TRIP TO MOROCCO DURING MAY 2014

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One of my greatest loves is travelling and I enjoy going to unusual places.  Everyone asked “why Morocco”? I said “why not”.

To me it conjured up exotic words and images such as babushka’s (shoes), jalabiyas (long dresses worn by both men and women); tagines (ceramic cooking pots) and berbers (nomadic people).

Morocco is steeped in history from the French invasion of 1912 to full independence in 1956.  It is a kingdom ruled by King Mohammed VI.

Morocco consists of the Sahara desert [one of the highlights of my trip was travelling in jeeps over sand dunes to watch the sunset, ride camels and drink a local beer]; the Atlas Mountains, the Ziz valley and it is bordered by both the Atlantic and Mediterranean oceans with Rabat being the capital.

In fez, which is the country’s oldest imperial city, we visited the fascinating dye-pits and tanneries.

Quarzazate was the setting for a number of famous movies including Lawrence of Arabia, Cleopatra and Gladiator.

Marrakesh is comprised of an old fortified city – the medina – and has the largest traditional market (souk) where one can purchase beautiful carpets and unique souvenirs. The Djemaa el Fna Square is in the old quarter, with its palm readers, acrobats, camels and snake charmers.

Morocco’s economy seems to be booming. They are the largest producers of phosphate in the world. Huge donations are being made to them by Saudi Arabia and Dubai. One sees construction sites everywhere as well as vast amounts of partially built houses.  Apparently, the reason for this is that no rates and taxes are payable until they are fully completed.

For those of you who remember the movie “Casablanca” the original Rick’s Café is still operating.

There are numerous trees such as Cork, Oak, Cedar, Olive, Henna, Carob and Eucalyptus.

Camels, goats, sheep and donkeys abound in the rural areas.

Moslems, Christians and Jews live in harmony with free education and health care. Polygamous marriages are allowed provided that wife No. 1 agrees thereto. Some marriages are still arranged.  Abortion is illegal except for health reasons.

My memories of this beautiful and fascinating country will last me a lifetime.

BELINDA SCHOLTZ

A FINGER IN THE PIE – PREVENTION OF ILLEGAL EVICTION FROM UNLAWFUL OCCUPATION OF LAND ACT

A4You have property and have rented it out. The tenant has decided that he can no longer afford the rent, and no letters or threats seem to make any difference to this cause. The tenant not only refuses to pay the rent, but he also fails to vacate the property.

To put icing on the cake, the law provides more protection to the tenant than ever before. It comes as no surprise that landlords feel that the current legislation enables the tenant to avoid paying rent and also offers much more protection to tenants’ interests and rights than to those of the landlord.

Times have changed, and to simply replace the locks of the premises will offer no quick solution. In reality it is very difficult to evict unlawful tenants rightfully from the property, and therefore it is very important for landlords to use the prescribed procedures as contained in the PIE Act.

In short, the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from Unlawful Occupation of Land Act (PIE) is described as legislation that aims to protect both the tenant’s and the landlord’s interests and rights simultaneously. This legislation prohibits not only unlawful eviction, but also allows for legitimate expulsion of unlawful tenants. 

Procedures as prescribed by PIE

Firstly, it is important to cancel the lease due to non-payment, as per the notice period prescribed by the lease agreement, or with one calendar month’s notice in accordance with the common law.

An ex parte application (an application without notice to any party) must be brought at the appropriate court in order to obtain the necessary permission from the court to initiate PIE procedures. This application is brought by way of two notices supported by a sworn affidavit.

The affidavit must allege the following:

  1. Unlawful occupation;
  2. Reasons for the requested eviction; and
  3. Why it is just and equitable to evict the unlawful occupant.

Once the application has been issued, the sheriff of the court serves notices, advising of intention to institute action, on the local municipality, the unlawful occupier and on all those holding title under him. The local municipality as well as the unlawful occupant has to be given 14 days’ notice of this hearing.

On the day of the hearing, the unlawful occupier will be given the opportunity to show good cause as to why an eviction order should not be granted. The court will only grant an eviction order after considering the relevant circumstances as well as what is deemed as just and equitable. The unlawful occupier may rely on special circumstances to avoid immediate eviction.

In practice, courts have regard for the following:

  1. the rights of elderly persons;
  2. children;
  3. disabled; and
  4. households headed by a woman.

However, the court has wide discretion to grant an appropriate date on which the unlawful occupant has to vacate the property, and a date when the actual eviction order is to be effected.

In general, the PIE procedures are described as lengthy, and depending on the circumstances it often takes a long time before the unlawful occupier actually vacates the property. During this time the property owner does not receive an income from his property whilst still being required to pay the bond.

Landlords… Instead of allowing the unlawful occupier to frustrate you to the point where you want to break someone’s legs, rather take a piece of the PIE, and make it your first priority to evict the tenant from your property.

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.

FACEBOOK`S REVENGE

A3Facebook, Twitter and other social network sites are part of many people’s lives and serve as a useful vehicle for sharing one’s personal views. However, these sites may have unfortunate ramifications.

Let’s be honest, ranting in public about your boss has never been seen as a smart career move. It is one thing to speak your heart out about your boss to a friend over a drink, but for some reason or another, employees tend to lose their inhibitions when there is a computer screen between them and the world out there.

What happens when an employee makes use of a social network to air his/her views or to say nasty things about his/her employer?

Courts have held that it is fair for an employer to dismiss an employee for posting intentionally offensive statements about his/her employer on a social networking website like Facebook.

In Sedick & another vs Krisray (Pty) Ltd [2011] 8 BALR 879 (CCMA), employees were dismissed for bringing the company’s name into disrepute by publishing derogatory comments about the owner of the company on Facebook. The employees claimed that the employer breached their right to privacy by accessing their profiles on Facebook.

What happened?

The employees, De Reuck and Sedick, worked for a fashion accessories company. The company’s Marketing Manager logged onto her Facebook account and navigated to De Reuck’s Facebook page because she wanted to send her a friend request. She was able to see everything on the employee’s Facebook wall without being given access as a friend. She came across numerous posts by Sedick and other employees where they exchanged several snide remarks, which included the following: “Trust me, no one can put up with so much shit when the f*cking kids join the company!”; “From so-called ‘professionalism’ 2 dumb brats running a mickey mouse business”; “… today was hectic with Frankenstein”; “What an idiot”; “A very ugly man with a dark soul”.

The right to privacy?

The Commissioner noted that, in terms of the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-related Information Act 70 of 2002, section 4(1), “Any person … may intercept any communication if he or she is a party to the communication, unless such communication is intercepted by such person for purposes of committing an offence.”

According to the Commissioner, the internet is a public domain and Facebook users have the option to restrict access to their profiles as well as the information that they publish. Because of the employees’ failure to make use of the privacy option, they had abandoned their right to privacy and the protection of the abovementioned act. 

Fair dismissal?

The employees argued that they had not damaged the company’s reputation because they did not directly refer to the company or anyone who managed it. The Marketing Manager and the Arbitrator agreed that the references to the company and its management were obvious, because the people who were reading the comments would probably have known what and whom they were about.

The Commissioner held that, considering what was written, where the comments were posted, to whom they were directed and by whom they were made, the comments brought the employer’s good name into disrepute with persons both inside and outside the organisation.

The Commissioner confirmed that a dismissal under such circumstances could be fair if the employer follows the correct procedures and if the evidence used against the employee has not been illegally obtained in terms of the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-related Information Act.

The moral of the story is: if you had a really rotten day at the office and are about to post some nasty comments about Mr or Mrs Boss, hold on a second. Do not write under the influence of alcohol, anger or frustration, as this sharing might get you fired.

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.

DON’T SPEED THROUGH LIFE

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Jack Louw was used to driving fast cars – he was practically born with one foot on the accelerator. Jack was also born into a very rich family, which meant there was always money to pay for the fines he kept receiving for exceeding the speed limit. However, Jack’s luck would soon change and he might end up with more than a fine.

According to the National Road Traffic Act 93 of 1996 and the Regulations published on 17 March 2000, the general speed limits are: 60 km/h on a public road within an urban area; 100 km/h on a public road outside an urban area which is not a freeway, and 120 km/h on every freeway.

Prosecution or the imposition of a spot fine is automatic if you are caught exceeding the 60km/h and general speed limits. However, if you speed in a 60km/h zone, and it is greater than 100km/h, you will not have the option of paying an admission-of-guilt fine, but will have to appear in court to answer a charge of reckless or dangerous driving and contravention of the Act.

Depending on the seriousness of the offence, you may or may not be given the alternative of an admission-of-guilt fine as opposed to having to appear in Court. An admission-of-guilt fine is a fine that a person is issued with after admitting guilt. It may seem like an easy exit to all problems. However, once admitting guilt, the person will have a criminal record.

Admission-of-guilt fines for speeding are calculated on the basis of rands per km/h in excess of the speed limit. These fines may be paid at any office of the South African Police Service in the Magisterial district where the offence occurred, by the date stipulated on the notice that will be posted to you within two weeks after you received the ticket. You must produce the ticket when paying the fine.

Should you choose not to pay the admission-of-guilt fine, but rather state your case in court, you should check the fine to ascertain the date on which you must appear in Court and the case number. Queries about the fine must be directed to the clerk of the criminal court of the Magisterial district of issue, and the actual document must accompany your query.

It is important to take notice of the speed you are driving. It may be important for you to get to your destination in time, but is it worth paying a fine, or having a criminal record? It is also important to remember that if you get a fine in a town other than your home town, you will have to travel back to that town to appear in court.

Think before admitting guilt to a speeding offence, or even better, think twice before committing an offence that would put you in that position.

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.

EXTENDING A SECTIONAL TITLE UNIT: WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

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Residents in a Sectional Title Scheme are subject to the rules and regulations of the Body Corporate. These rules and regulations are governed by the Sectional Titles Act.

When you intend to make structural alterations to your unit there is a procedure prescribed by the Act that should be complied with before you start with the alterations. Any alterations that extend the boundaries or floor area of the unit will be seen as an extension.

The legal requirements that must be adhered to are discussed below.

Step One:

The Act stipulates that you should first obtain the consent of the Body Corporate. Usually the trustees will hold a general meeting and the members must pass a special resolution to agree to the alterations. You will require the consent of 75% of the owners who are present at the meeting for the special resolution to be passed. This, however, could be time-consuming as the members have to be notified of the meeting thirty days in advance. Alternatively you can also obtain a special resolution by approaching all the owners individually and obtaining the consent of 75% of all the owners.

Step Two: 

Once the Body Corporate’s consent has been obtained, plans of the extension should be drawn up and approved by the Local Authority.

Step Three:

A Land Surveyor should be appointed to draw up new Sectional Title Plans of the Scheme to incorporate the extension. These plans have to be approved by the Surveyor General.

Step Four: 

Consult with your attorney who will submit the necessary application for the registration of the amended Sectional Title Plan, as well as the noting of the extension of the unit to the Deeds Office.

If the unit is bonded the attorney will have to obtain consent from the mortgagee of the unit.

With the application to the Deeds Office a transfer duty receipt from SARS must be lodged based on the increase in value of the property. It is advisable to obtain two estate agents’ valuations based on the pre- and post-alterations value of the property.

The Surveyor must stipulate on the Sectional Title Plan that there is not a deviation of more than 10 percent in the participation quota of the unit as a result of the alterations. If there is a deviation of more than 10% the attorney must obtain the consent of the mortgagees of each and every unit in the Scheme.

It is very important that Sectional Title owners adhere to the legalities as an omission could cause extensive delays when the property is sold.

References:

Section 24 of the Sectional Titles Act
Sectional Titles, Share Blocks and Time Sharing, Vol 1, Prof CG vd Merwe
Demystifying Sectional Title, M Constas and K Bleijs
Sectional Title on Tap, Vol 1, Tertius Maree
Article by J Paddock
Article by Rob White

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.

SEKERE RIGLYNE VIR BOEDELBEPLANNING

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Die hoofdoel met boedelbeplanning is om toe te sien dat soveel as moontlik van jou geakkumuleerde rykdom vir jou eie voordeel aangewend word en vir die maksimum voordeel van jou afhanklikes by jou dood.

“Boedelbeplanning” word gedefinieer as die proses waarin ‘n program geskep en bestuur word om:

  1. Jou bates tydens jou leeftyd in stand te hou, te vermeerder en te beskerm;
  2. Die mees effektiewe en voordelige verdeling daarvan aan opvolgende generasies te verseker.

Daar bestaan ‘n algemene wanindruk dat boedelbeplanning net gaan oor die maak van ‘n testament of om jou sake so te reël dat boedelbelasting bespaar word.

Elke persoon se boedel is uniek en dus behoort die struktuur volgens haar/sy eie unieke behoeftes en doelwitte opgestel te word.

Die tekort aan likiditeit by afsterwe kan uiteraard baie druk plaas op die oorblywende familie van ‘n oorledene, omdat die tekort aan kontant kan veroorsaak dat die eksekuteur bates sal moet verkoop om kontant te genereer.

Likiditeit beteken daar moet genoeg kontant beskikbaar wees om:

  1. Boedelbelasting te betaal;
  2. Boedeluitgawes en administrasiekoste te betaal;
  3. Voorsiening te maak vir belastingverpligtinge wat met dood mag ontstaan, soos kapitaal- winsbelasting.

Tegnies word die boedel gevries totdat die Meester van die Hooggeregshof Eksekuteursbriewe uitgereik het.

Afsterwe sonder ‘n geldige testament, beteken dat jou boedel as intestaat hanteer sal word, en die wetgewing oor intestate erfopvolging sal geld. Die wet op Intestate erfopvolging bepaal dat die langslewende eggenoot die grootste gedeelte van R125 000 of ‘n kindsdeel erf. ‘n Kindsdeel word bepaal deur die totale waarde van die boedel deur die hoeveelheid kinders en die oorlewende eggenoot te deel. Waar partye binne gemeenskap van goedere getroud is, gaan een helfte van die boedel na die langslewende eggenoot as gevolg van die huwelik, en die ander helfte vererf volgens die intestate erfopvolging. Indien daar geen oorlewende eggenoot of afhanklikes is nie, word die boedel verdeel tussen die ouers en kinders. Waar daar geen ouers of kinders is nie word dit verdeel tussen die naaste bloedverwante.

‘n Eksekuteur is geregtig op die volgende vergoeding:

  1. ‘n Ooreengekome vergoeding in die Testament; of
  2. 3.5% van die bruto bate waarde; of
  3. 6% op die inkomste wat na dood die boedel toeval.

Eksekuteursvergoeding is onderhewig aan BTW waar die eksekuteur so geregistreer is.

Indien die waarde van die boedel meer as R3.5 miljoen rand beloop, is boedelbelasting  betaalbaar op die balans meer as die R3.5 miljoen, met die uitsondering van eiendom wat aan ‘n langslewende eggenoot bemaak is, aangesien dit vrygestel is van boedelbelasting en/of kapitaalwinsbelasting.

Artikel 3 van die Wet op die Onderverdeling van Landbougrond verhoed die onderverdeling van landbougrond en die registrasie van onverdeelde aandele in meer as een persoon se naam, en dit is onderhewig aan die Minister se goedkeuring.

‘n Minderjarige is ‘n kind jonger as 18 jaar, en enige bemakings aan so ‘n persoon word in die Voogdyfonds gehou, wat onder die administrasie van die Meester van die Hooggeregshof val. Hierdie fondse is nie vrylik beskikbaar nie en word gewoonlik belê teen onder markverwante rentekoerse. Dit is dus aan te bevele dat voorsiening vir minderjarige kinders gemaak moet word deur ‘n trust.

Die Wet op Beslote Korporasies bepaal dat, onderhewig aan ‘n samewerkingsooreenkoms, waar ‘n erfgenaam ‘n ledebelang moet erf (in terme van ‘n testament), die toestemming van die oorblywende lede (indien enige) verkry moet word. Indien toestemming nie gegee word binne 28 dae nadat dit deur die eksekuteur versoek is nie, is die eksekuteur verplig om die ledebelang te verkoop.

Artikel 3(3)(d) van die Boedelbelastingwet bepaal dat waar bates aan ‘n trust oorgedra word gedurende die boedelbeplanner se leeftyd, maar hy/sy as trustee die mag behou wat hom/haar sou toelaat om eensydiglik van trustbates ontslae te raak vir sy eie of sy begunstigdes se voordeel, dan mag dit wees dat sulke bates beskou kan word as sy/haar eie en deel sal vorm van sy/haar boedel vir doeleindes van boedelbelasting.

Waar partye binne gemeenskap van goedere getroud is, het die oorlewende eggenoot ‘n eis vir 50% van die gekombineerde boedel, wat die werklike waarde van die boedel met 50% verminder. Die boedel word verdeel nadat al die skuld in die oorlye boedel betaal is (uitgesluit begrafniskoste en boedelbelasting, omdat hierdie verpligtinge van die bestorwe boedel is en nie die gesamentlike boedel nie). Slegs die helfte van die bates in so ‘n boedel kan dus bemaak word.

Die opbrengs van lewensversekeringspolisse kan gebruik word om:

  1. Inkomste te genereer om na afhanklikes om te sien terwyl met die boedel gehandel word;
  2. Boedeluitgawes te betaal, vir begrafniskoste, inkomstebelasting, boedel-administrasie en boedelbelasting.

Die opbrengs van alle Suid Afrikaanse “huishoudelike” polisse uitgeneem op die beplanner se lewe, en waar daar geen begunstigde genomineer is nie, sal binne die bestorwe boedel val.

Waar ‘n begunstigde wel genomineer is op die polis, sal die opbrengs as bates in die boedel geag word vir boedelbelasting doeleindes, afgesien daarvan dat die opbrengs direk betaal word aan die begunstigde (onderhewig aan die gedeeltelike uitsluitings gebaseer op die polis- premies).

Polisse wat uitgesluit is van insluiting vir doeleindes van boedelbelasting,  is koop en verkoop, sleutelman polisse, en daardie polisse gesedeer aan ‘n eggenoot of kind in terme van ‘n huwelikskontrak.

Sekere bates in ‘n bestorwe boedel is uitgesluit van kapitaalwinsbelasting:

  1. Bates vir persoonlike gebruik (met sekere uitsonderings);
  2. Bates bemaak aan die langslewende eggenoot;
  3. Bates bemaak aan ‘n openbare voordeelorganisasie;
  4. Die opbrengs van lewensversekeringspolisse, belange in voorsorg- of annuïteitfondse, belange in pensioenfondse;
  5. Die eerste R2 miljoen ten opsigte van die primêre woning;
  6. Die eerste R750 000 ten opsigte van klein sakebates;
  7. Geldeenhede, uitgesluit goud en platinummunte. 

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.

WHAT ARE YOUR LEGAL OPTIONS WHEN YOU GET MARRIED?

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“Men marry women with the hope they will never change. Women marry men with the hope they will change. Invariably they are both disappointed.” –  Albert Einstein

So you are getting married and you are both filled with excitement to take the big step. Between planning the dress, venue, catering and guest list it is still important to know the legal implications involved when saying “I do”.  Knowing what the legal implications are at the beginning means that there will be less fighting and complications involved should the marriage come to an end. It is realistic to bear this in mind because choosing a specific marital regime can have immense implications on your personal assets, your estate, business or even your career.

In South African law three marital status regimes are known. This article serves as a brief discussion on each one of these regimes.

Getting married in community of property

This entails that the parties’ separate estates are joined at marriage and now the estate is known as the ‘joint estate’. Each party has the right to dispose of the assets in the joint estate, however the consent of the other party needs to be obtained to alienate or encumber the estate assets.

This system lends itself to financial equality but this can also be to the detriment of the other party, especially in the case of insolvency. Certain assets may be excluded from the joint estate by ways of a will, but this category is limited.

It is important to bear in mind that should the parties not enter into an antenuptial contract before tying the knot; their marriage will automatically be deemed to be in community of property.

Upon divorce or dissolution of the marriage the joint estate gets split 50/50 between the parties.

Getting married out of community of property with the accrual system excluded

This marital regime is done by way of an antenuptial contract. Your attorney will draw up the contract and it must be signed in front of a notary. The accrual system must expressly be excluded in the antenuptial contract, otherwise it will apply to the couple’s marriage.

According to this system what is yours is yours and what is mine is mine. Each party maintains their separate estates and each has full right of disposal over his/her own assets without having to get any consent from the other spouse. At the dissolution of the marriage each party should walk away with what they have built up within their own estates.

This marital system is recommended where the parties already have substantial estates or income or if the one party does not want to be held liable for the debts of the other spouse. Being married out of community of property without the accrual system is popular to use to protect assets from creditors.

Getting married out of community of property with the accrual system included

The accrual system creates a form of sharing of the assets that are built up during the marriage. Neither the debts nor the assets are jointly owned.

When the marriage dissolves, either by divorce or death, the accrual or growth to each party’s estate is calculated. The growth is calculated by taking the net value of the estate at the dissolution less the net value at the commencement of the marriage. The commencement value of each estate is stated in the antenuptial contract. If one of the estates has grown more than the other during the marriage, the party with the smaller growth has a claim against the party with the greater growth, for half of the difference between the two estates.

So, now you are married and you want to change your marital system…how is this done?

The parties are required to make a joint application to the High Court to change their matrimonial property system. This is a costly and complicated application to bring. The application to court does however not guarantee a positive outcome.

Written by: Annerine du Plessis

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.

ACCEPTANCE OF ELECTRONIC FUNDS TRANSFER PAYMENT SPECIFICALLY IN SALE OF VEHICLES AND TRANSFER OF REGISTRATION ON ENATIS

A2_BElectronic Funds Transfers, better known as EFTs, have become a popular payment method in South Africa, accepted by many in lieu of cash or cheque payments.

Many accept the printed electronic funds transfer document as “proof” of a cash payment into the bank account, especially in the selling and purchasing of motor vehicles. They insist on the transfer to be made immediately there and then upon which the vehicle is transferred and registered to the buyer on the same day.

The abuse of Electronic Funds Transfers made to the seller’s bank account, especially between different financial entities, is yet another devious manner in which the original Natis documentation or registration of ownership of a motor vehicle can be obtained with no intention to honour the actual payment.

EFTs are governed inter alia by agreements between the various financial entities. Depending on the agreement, such an EFT transaction can take up to two days to actually reflect as a deposit on the statement of the seller. The risk of accepting proof of an EFT as “proof” of actual payment as if it was a cash deposit, puts the seller at a real risk of being defrauded.

Most ordinary citizens do not know that an electronic transfer can be reversed within a few hours after it has been made, depending on the individual financial institute at which the account is held.

Devious fraudsters who are au fait with the mechanics of the law and the financial systems in South Africa, use this knowledge to the detriment of others.

In the sale of any motor vehicle, or any other object of which ownership is registered on the eNatis system, the Natis registration document is a very useful instrument to secure and verify payment prior to the transfer of registered ownership.

The easiest safeguard against any such risk of loss because of non-payment, is the current, valid and original Natis document, reflecting the registered owner and titleholder of such a vehicle.

For as long as the seller of the vehicle retains the possession of the original Natis document reflecting the seller as the registered owner, no fraudster or any other person can obtain registered ownership of the vehicle, unless the seller physically enables them to do so. Once payment actually reflects on the bank statement the necessary documentation should be handed over to effect transfer of registration to the purchaser or his nominee.

Should a seller hand the original Natis registration documents over prior to actual confirmation of payment, the vehicle can be traded and registered to any innocent third party, whilst the seller himself still awaits payment.

As no party to an agreement can transfer more rights than he is legally entitled to at that time, the seller will be able to claim the motor vehicle from any person who has such motor vehicle in his or her possession, even if the possessor at that stage has “purchased and paid” the vehicle.  As long as the motor vehicle has not been transferred and registered to a purchaser who has not paid for same, the seller can safeguard himself in such a fraudulent transaction.

In the event of the payment then not forthcoming, your rights as seller can be enforced by means of a very simple but highly effective application to any court, which can be done ex parte with an interim relief order to return the vehicle by sheriff to the registered owner of the motor vehicle at a date on which service is to be effected on the purchaser, whereafter the normal motion procedure is followed.

It is also recommended to issue summons for the cancellation of the agreement, return of the vehicle, cost and interest simultaneously.

For as long as the seller retains and holds on to the original Natis documents on which he/she is reflected as the registered owner of the motor vehicle, the seller will have a prima facie right to and be the entitled possessor of such motor vehicle.

A seller who has already caused registration of the vehicle to be transferred to the purchaser prior to have payment secured, is left in a precarious position. The seller has very little hope of success against such a purchaser with the intention to defraud. The litigation can be prolonged and costly with no guarantee of recovery of the loss.

For further reading, see Unitrans Automotive (Pty) Ltd vs Trustees of the Rally Motors Trust 2011 (4) SA 35, just one of the transactions during a shopping spree of fraudulent transactions using EFTs by a fraudulent purchaser, and other matters referred to in the judgement.

 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.

THE INTERPLAY BETWEEN THE CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT AND THE NATIONAL CREDIT ACT, AND THE POSSIBILITY OF PENALTIES WITH EARLY SETTLEMENT OF CREDIT AGREEMENTS

A4_BMr 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.

UITBREIDING VAN ‘N DEELTITEL EENHEID: WAT U MOET WEET

A5_BInwoners van ‘n Deeltitel Skema moet hul onderwerp aan die reëls en regulasies van die Beheerliggaam. Hierdie reëls en regulasies word onderskryf deur die Deeltitelwet.

Wanneer jy van voorneme is om sekere strukturele veranderings aan jou eenheid aan te bring, moet jy daarvan bewus wees dat die Deeltitelwet ‘n proses voorskryf wat gevolg moet word voordat jy met die veranderings kan begin. Veranderings aan jou eenheid wat die grense of vloerspasie vergroot, word as ‘n uitbreiding gesien en moet aan die vereistes van die Deeltitelwet voldoen.

Die proses en vereistes waaraan voldoen moet word volgens die Deeltitelwet word hieronder bespreek.

Stap Een: 

Die Wet bepaal dat daar toestemming van die Beheerliggaam verkry moet word. Dit behels dat die Trustees ‘n algemene vergadering sal belê waartydens ‘n spesiale resolusie aanvaar moet word om die uitbreiding goed te keur. ‘n Spesiale resolusie kan slegs aanvaar word indien 75% van die eienaars teenwoordig by die vergadering toestemming daartoe verleen. Hierdie prosedure kan egter baie tydrowend wees, aangesien die lede 30 dae voor so ‘n vergadering daarvan in kennis gestel moet word. Alternatiewelik kan ‘n spesiale resolusie ook verkry word deur die eienaars individueel te nader en dan toestemming van 75% van al die eienaars te verkry.

Stap Twee: 

Sodra toestemming van die Beheerliggaam verkry is, kan die bouplanne opgetrek word, wat dan deur die Plaaslike Owerheid goedgekeur moet word. 

Stap Drie: 

Hierna moet Deeltitelplanne wat die uitbreiding van die eenheid aandui deur ‘n Landmeter opgestel word. Hierdie Deeltitelplanne moet deur die Landmeter-Generaal goedgekeur word.

Stap Vier: 

Nadat die Deeltitelplanne deur die Landmeter-Generaal goedgekeur is, is dit raadsaam om jou Prokureur te raadpleeg, wat sal toesien dat die registrasie van die gewysigde Deeltitelplanne, asook die notering teen die Titelakte van die verandering in die grootte van die eenheid, aan die Aktekantoor voorgelê word.

Indien daar ‘n verband op die eiendom geregistreer is, moet die Prokureur ook toestemming van die Bank verkry voordat die proses in die Aktekantoor kan plaasvind.

‘n Hereregtekwitansie wat vanaf SAID verkry word, moet ook saam met die dokumente by die Aktekantoor ingedien word. Die hereregtekwitansie moet verkry word. aangesien daar ‘n verhoging in waarde van die eindom is as gevolg van die uitbreiding. Vir hierdie doel moet twee waardasies van eiendomsagente verkry word wat die waarde van die eiendom voor en na verbeterings aandui.

Die Landmeter moet op die Deeltitelplanne stipuleer of die deelnemingskwota van die eenheid nie met meer as 10% vergroot as gevolg van die uitbreiding nie. Indien die deelnemingskwota met meer as 10% vergroot, moet die Prokureur ook die toestemming van elke verbandhouer van ‘n eenheid in die Skema bekom.

Dit is raadsaam dat Deeltiteleienaars voldoen aan hierdie regsvereistes, aangesien ‘n versuim om dit na te kom aansienlike vertragings veroorsaak wanneer die eiendom verkoop word.

Verwysings:

Section 24 of the Sectional Titles Act
Sectional Titles, Share Blocks and Time Sharing, Vol 1, Prof CG vd Merwe
Demystifying Sectional Title, M Constas and K Bleijs
Sectional Title on Tap, Vol 1, Tertius Maree
Article by J Paddock
Article by Rob White

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.