Bureaucrats and brick walls – fight back!

Bureaucrats and brick walls – fight back!

Legal
“Bureaucracies are inherently antidemocratic. Bureaucrats derive their power from their position in the structure, not from their relations with the people they are supposed to serve” (Alan Keyes, American politician) Fighting red tape is a growing problem worldwide, and we South Africans are certainly not immune.  We should welcome therefore two recent court decisions which threaten inefficient/disinterested/ corrupt bureaucrats with personal liability for legal costs if their misconduct forces us to fight them in court. (more…)
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Struggling to evict a “commercial” occupant?  Don’t stress about PIE

Struggling to evict a “commercial” occupant? Don’t stress about PIE

Legal
A recent Constitutional Court judgment highlights a fundamental difference in the legal protections afforded to two types of unlawful occupant – Residential occupants: Occupants residing on premises are afforded protection in terms of PIE (The Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act) with its many onerous requirements for eviction.  Note that even residents of “commercial” property are covered – it is not the categorisation of property that counts, but whether or not the unlawful occupier resides on it. “Commercial” occupants:  In contrast, “commercial” occupants (“juristic persons and persons that do not use buildings and structures as ‘a form of dwelling or shelter’”) have no such protection, and are accordingly (in principle at any rate) easier to evict. (more…)
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Tax penalties – What must SARS prove?

Tax penalties – What must SARS prove?

Legal
SARS has the power to impose severe penalties on any taxpayer failing to declare or pay taxes in accordance with law. For example, in a case recently before the Tax Court, a corporate taxpayer was audited by SARS and found to have overstated input VAT.  It was assessed (after partial allowance of an objection) for – Some R16m in tax, plus 200% “additional tax” - R32m, plus 10% penalties - R1.6m, plus Late payment interest - R5m. (more…)
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The Wages Of Fraud: 15 Years In Prison

The Wages Of Fraud: 15 Years In Prison

Legal
“White collar criminals who commit offences of a certain magnitude must not be permitted a soft landing” (extract from judgment below) The recent “J Arthur Brown” judgment by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has received a lot of media attention, and victims of serious crime will take heart from the Court’s robust approach. (more…)
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Beware Prescription: The Tale Of The “Watertight Case” That Died A Sad And Sudden Death

Beware Prescription: The Tale Of The “Watertight Case” That Died A Sad And Sudden Death

Legal
“Sad is the day when a party with a watertight case comes to court and he is stopped in his tracks by a sudden death due to a fatal blow from a watertight defence of prescription. The present matter is a classic case of this nature” (extract from judgment below) Here’s another warning from our courts about the dangers of procrastination when it comes to matters of law. (more…)
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