Directors at War and the Liquidation Option – A Tale of Sibling Rivalry

Legal
A company’s directors have both the power and the duty to manage the company’s affairs for its benefit. When two or more directors are in place, it’s perhaps natural for the occasional disagreement to arise between them. Indeed, regular expression of a variety of different viewpoints and ideas can make for a strong, dynamic board and business. Provided, that is, that the directors are in the end result still able to agree on the decisions vital to their company’s continued operations. What happens though when disagreements and disputes escalate and make it impossible to continue running the business? Typically, communications break down to the extent that decision-making is paralysed. First prize will of course always be an amicable settlement – through formal mediation perhaps, or negotiation to buy out a…
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You Signed a Property Sale Agreement, Can You Still Accept a Better Offer?

Legal
Imagine a situation where you put your property on the market and an acceptable, but not-perfect, offer is received. You think of the old saying “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” and you decide that you are going to accept the offer – even though it’s not ideal. Perhaps it’s not perfect because it’s subject to a suspensive condition – common ones give the buyer time to sell his/her current house or to obtain a bond. In each scenario your sale will fall through if the buyer is unsuccessful within the stated time, and if that happens you are back to square one after a long and fruitless delay. Bear in mind that that delay could be a protracted one depending on what your sale…
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Equal Pay for Equal Work – Can You Differentiate Without Unfairly Discriminating?

Legal
Our employment laws and labour courts come down heavily on any unfair discrimination in the workplace, but it’s not always easy to decide whether “differentiation” between employees is or is not “unfair discrimination”. Take for instance a recent Labour Court case where a black female employee complained to the CCMA (Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration) about the higher salary paid to her white male colleague. They were both employed as “surveillance auditors” in a casino with the same job descriptions, doing the same work on a daily basis, graded at the same level, and reporting to the same surveillance shift manager. Nevertheless her remuneration package was nearly half of her colleague’s – unfair discrimination, she said, on the grounds of race and gender. The CCMA agreed with her and…
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Business Rescue: Are Your Suretyships Enforceable? A R5.5m Lesson for Directors and Creditors

Legal
When a company goes into business rescue, creditors are often in for a beating. So as a creditor, if you had the foresight to cover your position upfront with personal suretyships from individuals with assets (normally the directors of the debtor company), you will no doubt be keen to recoup your losses by calling in those suretyships asap. What happens though if you assent to a business rescue plan whereby the debtor company’s debt to you is extinguished? Does that also extinguish the surety’s personal liability to you? Let’s have a look at the lessons for both creditors and directors in a recent case where two sureties tried to dodge a R5.5m claim in the High Court with that very argument … Imagine a situation where you are owed a…
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