Firearm Owners: What to Do if Your Licence Has Expired

Legal
Possession of an unlicensed firearm is, for good reason, a serious offence carrying heavy penalties, and law abiding citizens will support the police in their efforts to rid our country of illegally-held firearms. It’s a major problem, with media reports suggesting that only 3m out of a total of 5.3m guns are registered and legally owned. That’s 2.3m illegal firearms out there! Caught up in this are the almost half a million South African gun owners who have always held their firearms legally in terms of valid licences but have, for whatever reason, not renewed them on time. Not only private citizens are involved but also security service providers, and it’s a big issue - the Court in this case estimated that up to 60 million rounds of ammunition are…
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Lending to a Friend or Selling Property on Credit – Must You Register as a Credit Provider?

Legal
It seems logical that the very strong consumer protections in the NCA (National Credit Act) are designed for commercial situations in which credit is advanced by “credit provider” businesses to “credit consumers”. But does the NCA also apply to non-commercial, once-off loans? Like a loan to a friend or relative? And what about property sales? Why should you be worried? If you aren’t in the business of providing credit it seems counter-intuitive that you should have to worry about NCA registration when making a single loan or giving credit on a once-off basis. And in fact until now our various High Courts have been split over the question. But that has all changed with a recent Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) decision in the matter of Du Bruyn NO and…
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When is a Debtor “Insolvent”? A Case of Arrear Maintenance Illustrates

Legal
If you are owed maintenance you have a variety of enforcement options open to you and should ask your lawyer for advice on which is the best for your particular claim and circumstances. A recent High Court judgment of V v V (7833/2016) [2018] ZAGPPHC 505 confirms that one of the weapons in your legal armoury is the sequestration application. And as the defaulter’s desperate attempt to avoid sequestration in this particular case illustrates, even just the threat of sequestration can be a powerful motivator to settle up, regardless of whether your claim is based on maintenance arrears or on any other form of debt. The reason is that an insolvent has to surrender control of his/her estate to a Trustee, who collects and sells all the insolvent’s assets and divides the proceeds…
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It’s “13th Cheque” Time Again: Must You Pay Annual Bonuses?

Legal
Once again November is upon us, and no doubt employees around the country are starting to dream of all the good things they can do with that “Christmas” bonus coming their way. If you are one of them perhaps you plan to pay off debt or to re-charge the family’s batteries with a special holiday. Or perhaps you just want to reward yourself and your loved ones with a bit of free-spending on a luxury or two to celebrate a special time of year. That’s all well and good, but the hard reality is that every year a percentage of employers decide that they can’t afford a sudden doubling of their staff costs and will call everyone together to say something like “Sorry guys, times are really tough so no…
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Buying Property this Festive Season? Check the Title Deed First!

Legal
If you plan to buy property this Festive Season – perhaps your new dream house, or a holiday home, or an office for your business, or purely as an investment – check the title deed of the property you have your eye on before you sign anything. Why is that so important? Firstly, what exactly is a title deed and why check it? In a nutshell, a “Title Deed” (also called a “Deed of Transfer” – they’re the same thing) is proof of who owns a particular property. It’s issued by the local Deeds Office after a conveyancing attorney has registered transfer to a new owner. The title deed is a mine of crucial information relating to the property, its history, and conditions attaching to it. So check it thoroughly,…
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Can I Have Pets in a Residential Complex?

Legal
Residential complexes and estates are becoming more and more popular for the many advantages they provide. Remember however that – in everyone’s interests – they also come with restrictions on your freedom to use and enjoy your property, and that you bind yourself to whatever Conduct Rules apply in your community scheme. One of those restrictions is likely to be your right to keep a pet, and that’s a topic that can be a source of much conflict and unhappiness. Residents tend to fall into one of three camps – “I really need to have my little dog/cat/parrot/lizard living with me” “I simply cannot handle any more of that parrot-screeching/lapdog-yapping/midnight-cat-yowling – it has to go!” or “Pets – don’t need them myself but hey, fine so long as they don’t…
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Aging Employees: When Must They Retire?

Legal
Record numbers of Baby Boomers are now reaching their 60s, and if you are an employer in any size of business (from the smallest family-owned enterprise to the largest corporate), make sure now that you have a policy in place to handle the thorny question of compulsory retirement. This is vital – sooner or later you are going to have an employee turning 55 or 60 or 65, and if you think you can just say “Happy Birthday Kim, time for you to retire, see you around” you are in for big trouble. So what’s the legally required retirement age? The problem is that nothing in our law imposes a standard retirement age on employees. So trying to force someone to retire at an age that you unilaterally choose (no matter how…
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What To Do When Someone Dies

Legal
The inevitability of death doesn’t detract from the shock and distress that it brings to the grieving survivors, and much as we don’t like to plan for these things it will help at least a little to know what to do in practice after a death. The formalities There is unfortunately a lot of red tape involved, but your family doctor, undertaker and spiritual advisor (if you have one) will help you with or attend to many of the formalities and practicalities – Firstly, you will need a Notice of Death which sets out the identity of the deceased as well as the date, time and cause of death. If the deceased died at home, call in your family doctor for help. The deceased will be transported to a mortuary or funeral…
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Dagga – Just How Legal is it Now?

Legal
Whether or not you personally have ever had (or intend to have) anything to do with cannabis/marijuana/weed/dagga, and whether or not you agree with the recent Constitutional Court ruling in Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development and Others v Prince (Clarke and Others Intervening); National Director of Public Prosecutions and Others v Rubin; National Director of Public Prosecutions and Others v Acton (CCT108/17) [2018] ZACC 30 that partially decriminalises it, the fact remains that the highest court in our land has spoken. All of us should be aware of the implications. The media has been awash with reports (sometimes conflicting, often vague) of what the recent Constitutional Court ruling actually means in practice. Whether you agree with the ruling or not, and whether or not you personally have ever had (or intend to…
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Selling Your House: Disclosing Defects

Legal
When you sell anything, our law requires that you deliver it to the buyer without any defects. That’s not easily achieved with property and you should always protect yourself with a voetstoots (“as is” or “without any warranty”) clause in your sale agreement. A recent High Court decision in the case of Van Rooyen v Brown and Another (A3104/2015) [2018] ZAGPJHC 453 again confirms that when it comes to selling your house, honesty is indeed the best policy. Specifically, disclose all defects you know of to potential buyers, or risk expensive litigation and damages claims. Defects and Defences The buyers of a house, who had paid R2.3m for it (the seller having reduced her original asking price from R3.6m to get a sale), sued the seller for damages in respect of various defects. These, they…
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