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  • Judicature: When is a sectional title scheme rule a conduct rule and what are the requirements for the validity of a conduct rule in a sectional title scheme?

    WANNEER IS 'N REËL VAN 'N DEELTITELSKEMA 'N GEDRAGSREËL EN WAT IS DIE VEREISTES VIR DIE GELDIGHEID VAN 'N GEDRAGSREËL IN 'N DEELTITELSKEMA? Ingevolge reël 9(e) van die Melville-skemareëls was alle deeltitelbewoners verplig om die veiligheidsmaatreëls wat van tyd tot tyd ingestel word na te kom, insluitende operasionele prosedures soos ooreengekom tussen die regspersoon en die sekuriteitsonderneming. Ingevolge hierdie skemareël het die regspersoon 'n sekuriteitsprotokol aangeneem waarvolgens alle diensverskaffers hul aankoms via die interkom aan die wag by die hoofingang van die skema moet aankondig. Die wag moet dan die besteller van die goedere per telefoon inlig dat die bestelling by die hoofingang afgehaal kan word. Indien die bestelling van so 'n aard is dat dit nie redelikerwys by die hoofingang afgehaal kon word nie, is die diensverskaffers slegs toegang tot die deeltitelskema verleen indien hulle vergesel word deur die besteller. Daarom moet die besteller die verskaffer by die hoofingang ontmoet en na sy of haar woonstel en daarna weer terug na die ingang begelei. Die beregter (adjudicator) bevind dat die feit dat die trustees en die lede van die regspersoon op 'n spesiale algemene vergadering die veiligheidsprotokol goedgekeur het, beteken dat hulle slegs veiligheidsmaatreëls volgens skemareël 9(e) goedgekeur het, en dat dit nie die goedkeuring van 'n gedragsreël behels het nie. Die vergadering waarop die beregter se beslissing berus het was nie belê om 'n spesiale besluit of wysigings van die gedragsreëls te oorweeg nie en die lede wat gepoog het om die protokol goed te keur, het nie vyf en sewentig persent van die lede in getal en waarde verteenwoordig nie. Op appèl op 'n regsvraag na die hooggeregshof in Johannesburg beweer die appellant dat die veiligheidsprotokol neerkom op 'n gedragsreël wat die goedkeuring van die hoof ombud ingevolge artikel 10(5)(b) van die Wet op die Bestuur van Deeltitelskemas vereis. Die regspersoon het die vereiste goedkeuring omseil deur die protokol ingevolge reël 9(e) deur 'n gewone meerderheid goed te keur as 'n veiligheidsmaatreël op grond van pogings tot inbrake en die teenwoordigheid van talle verskaffers van dienste gedurende die Covid-19 pandemie. Die hof bevind egter dat die veiligheidsprotokol as gedragsreël nie geldig goedgekeur en in werking gestel is nie. Gevolglik word die regspersoon ingevolge artikel 39(3)(c) van die Wet op die Ombuddiens vir Gemeenskapskemas beveel om 'n nuwe skemagedragsreël te registreer en die ongeldige veiligheidsprotokol te verwyder. Die volgende lesse kan uit hierdie beslissing van die hooggeregshof in Johannesburg geleer word: (1) Die hof grond sy beslissing op die Stenersen-beslissing van dieselfde hof dat die appèl 'n eng appèl is met betrekking tot 'n regsvraag op die feite-bevinding van die beregter. Na my mening verskil die hof op goeie gronde van die Wes-Kaapse uitspraak in die Shmaryahu-saak waarin beslis is dat die appèl 'n aansoek op hersiening van die beregter se bevel is. (2) Die hof bevind dat die regsvraag waaroor die hof moes beslis, was dat die beregter die betoog van die appellant verwerp het dat die hof wesenlik besig was met die wysiging van 'n gedragsreël wat deur die ombuddiens goedgekeur moes word. (3) Die beregter het bevind dat dit juis was om 'n bevel ingevolge artikel 39(4)(b) en 39(4)c)(i) en (ii) uit te reik wat handel oor prosessuele aangeleenthede, soos die vereiste kworum en meerderheidbesluit. Die appellant het egter aangedring op 'n bevel dat die veiligheidsprotokol ongeldig is wat deur die regspersoon ingevoer is. Die hoë hof beslis dan ook tereg dat die regspersoon ingevolge artikel 39(3)(c) beveel word om 'n nuwe skemareël aan te neem om die protokol te verwyder. (4) Die hof beslis dat hoewel die Melville-skemareëls huisreëls genoem word, die huisreëls slegs gedragsreëls óf bestuursreëls kan wees. (5) Die hof beslis dat die veiligheidsprotokol inderdaad 'n gedragsreël is omdat die protokol die bewoners verplig om hul afgelewerde goedere by die ingang te gaan afhaal of anders die diensverskaffers na hulle woonstelle en terug na die hoofingang persoonlik te begelei. (6) Die hof beslis tereg dat die kernprobleem met skemareël 9(e) is dat die reël die regspersoon magtig om met 'n veiligheidsonderneming ooreen te kom dat alle skemabewoners vaste veiligheidmaatreëls moet gehoorsaam. Die uitkoms van hierdie reël (die protokol) is ongeldig omdat dit poog om die bestuur van die skema deur hierdie ooreenkoms met die veiligheidsonderneming te kontroleer in plaas van 'n gedragsreël wat deur die ombuddiens goedgekeur moet word. (7) Hoewel die hof geldige redes aanvoer waarom die hof nie wou beslis oor die vraag of die protokol onredelik was nie, is dit interessant om te bespiegel of die protokol wél onredelike gevolge vir sommige bewoners ingehou het. In die hoofde van betoog het die appellant aangevoer dat die aflewering by die hoofingang verkeersprobleme op die besige straat voor die skema veroorsaak; dat die afleweringspunt by die hoofingang die bewoners somtyds aan ongure weerstoestande blootstel; dat die afstand na die hoofingang vir sommige bewoners meer as 90 meter was en dat veral die ouer bewoners nie tot die hoofingang kon loop of alleenstaande moeders nie hulle kinders alleen kon laat om hul bestellings daar af te haal nie. (8) Die hof beslis dat die stappe geneem deur die trustees om die protokol goed te keur, naamlik 'n vergadering wat aan die minimum kworumvereiste voldoen en 'n gewone meerderheidsbesluit, nie voldoende was om 'n gedragsreël goed te keur nie omdat die aanvaarding van 'n gedragsreël 'n spesiale besluit en die goedkeuring deur die ombuddiens vereis. (9) Wat die koste-bevel betref, beveel die hof dat die regspersoon party-en-party koste moet betaal, maar omdat al die lede proporsioneel volgens hul deelnemingskwotas tot die koste sal moet bydra, word die appellant verskoon van hierdie verpligting.

  • PRASA’s open-door commuter trains remain a reliable source of income for legal practitioners: A survey of recent case law

    PRASA SE OOPDEUR PENDELTREINE BLY 'N BETROUBARE INKOMSTEBRON VIR REGSPRAKTISYNS: 'N OORSIG VAN ONLANGSE REGSPRAAK Ofskoon die spoorwegstelsel in Suid-Afrika reeds vroeg ontwikkel het en tydens die vorige eeu 'n hoogtepunt van effektiwiteit én diensbaarheid bereik het, het dit oor die laaste dekades erg verval, in die besonder wat pendeldienste deur voorstedelike treine betref. Hierdie toestand het aanleiding gegee tot die stigting van die Rail Commuters Action Group wat in 2005 in Rail Commuters Action Group v Transnet t/a Metrorail daarin geslaag het om die konstitusionele hof daarvan te oortuig dat die Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) wat vir pendeldienste verantwoordelik is, 'n publiekregtelike verpligting het om pendelaars veilig te vervoer. Dieselfde hof het in 2016 in Mashongwa v Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa beslis dat PRASA se verpligting teenoor pendelaars ook privaatregtelik van aard is en dat verbreking daarvan die grondslag van 'n deliktuele vordering kan vorm. In 2023 is daar verskeie uitsprake in die SAFLII hofverslae gerapporteer, waarvan die volgende vyf gehandel het oor beserings opgedoen deur pendelaars wat tydens hul reis by oop treindeure uitgeval het en ernstig beseer is: Mthethwa v Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), Maphela v Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, Mathekga v Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, Mavhungu v Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa en Davids v The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa. In hierdie bydrae word elk van hierdie uitsprake krities ontleed om te bepaal hoe die howe die geykte beginsels van die deliktereg probeer toepas om die toenemende aantal sake van dié aard te besleg. Slegs een van die uitsprake is as rapporteerbaar aangemerk (die Maphela-saak), wat aanduidend is van die feit dat die regters (met die uitsondering van die voorsittende beampte in die Davids-uitspraak almal waarnemend) nie van oordeel was dat hulle oorspronklike bydraes tot die regspleging gemaak het nie. Ofskoon dit die geval blyk te wees, bied hul uitsprake waardevolle voorbeelde vir die praktyk van hoe veral die onregmatigheids- en nalatigheidselement van die onregmatige daad in dié soort geval benader en toegepas word. Ongelukkig skiet meeste van hierdie uitsprake in 'n mindere of meerdere mate tekort ten aansien van die hantering van die regsteorie, byvoorbeeld wat die uiteensetting en toepassing van die toets vir nalatigheid betref. Dit kom ook voor of daar nie deurgaans duidelikheid heers oor die grense van die onregmatigheids- en nalatigheidselemente nie. Verder blyk dit dat die meerderheid regters tevrede was om die kousaliteitsvraag slegs met verwysing na feitelike kousaliteitsbeginsels te besleg, sonder om juridiese kousaliteit uitdruklik te oorweeg. Dit blyk duidelik dat dringende stappe nodig is om die infrastruktuur van ons pendel-spoorverkeer te verbeter ten einde te verhoed dat die soort ongeval wat in hierdie bydrae onder die loep geneem word, voortduur, of selfs vererger. Tot tyd en wyl dit geskied, sal PRASA se treine met oop deure 'n betroubare inkomstebron vir regpraktisyns verseker.

  • Aantekeninge: Trustaktes en die risiko’s van ’n onnadenkende kopiëring van template

    TRUST DEEDS AND THE RISKS INVOLVED IN INDISCRIMINATELY RELYING ON WELL-USED TEMPLATES The formulations used in many deeds for a trust inter vivos are probably examples of the type of fallacy that accepts that because there are thousands if not millions of trust deeds for a trust inter vivos that have an identical preamble, they must be legally valid. In many of these trust deeds the preamble and first clause in essence reads: 'TRUST DEED XYZ TRUST ENTERED INTO BETWEEN XYZ Identity Number 801023 4567 089 (hereinafter referred to as FOUNDER) and XYZ Identity Number 801023 4567 089 And ABC ID nr And DEF ID nr (hereinafter referred to as TRUSTEES) ON BEHALF OF: THE INCOME AND CAPITAL BENEFICIARIES AS DEFINED IN PARAGRAPH 1.2.1 OF THIS TRUST DEED WHEREAS the founder is desirous of creating the trust herein referred to for and on behalf of the aforementioned beneficiaries subject to the terms and conditions as hereinafter set forth in more detail. AND WHEREAS the trustees declared themselves willing to accept the donation and to hold and utilise it on behalf of the beneficiaries subject to the conditions as set forth by the founder and as it is recorded in this deed of trust; The founder hereby donates to the trustees the amount of R100 (One Hundred Rand) which immediately vests in the trustees in their official capacity to be held in trust and administered according to the terms of this deed. The current trustees are as scheduled in the preamble to this deed ...' (emphasis added). In the example the agreement is seemingly concluded with itself by XYZ acting simultaneously as the founder and as primary trustee. However, it is an established legal and logical principle that a legal subject, with the possible exception of a recognised agency construction with an existing principal, cannot enter into an agreement with himself and that any attempt to establish such a construction is necessarily doomed to complete nullity. In the initial editions of LAWSA, this principle was repeated without qualification with regard to a representative construction: 'a contract is a juristic act for which expressions of common intention by at least two persons are required'. The later qualification in the case law applies only to the said existing principal and agency arrangements. The envisaged future trust inter vivos can be established, however, at the earliest after all the parties involved have signed the document to express their agreement to the terms incorporated in the agreement. Until then, there is still no trust, and no one can 'in an official capacity', in the sense that Honoré argues that trusteeship is an 'office', represent the non-existent trust. Where a person seeks to conclude an alleged agreement with himself, the law attaches as little value to it as to an arbitrary New Year's resolution – no legal consequences flow from it. Such an 'agreement' is ab initio void and without any legal consequences. Void agreements cannot later be rectified. This is not to be confused with an incorrectly recorded agreement where any of the parties to the existing agreement is entitled to rely on their real consensus and to have the document formally corrected to express their true common intention. Apparently, the trust deed in the example of the XYZ Trust above is void from the outset regardless of whether or not the master of the high court officially registered it later. The administrative act of registration by the master cannot amend the legal position and breathe legal life into a void document. It is submitted that there is an easy way out of the self-caused 'practice crisis' where the naïve use of the trusted template of the trust deeds unintentionally jeopardises the validity of these trusts because of the unnecessary cloning of the founder as primary trustee. The trusted template should be amended so that the founder does not allegedly contract with himself as trustee but merely enters into the agreement with the other two persons identified as the original trustees of the XYZ Trust. In order to give effect where applicable to the interest of the founder to retain as a trustee (albeit effectively as one of the controlling trustees) say in the execution of 'his' trust, a simple additional conditional clause may provide for a resolutive condition that applies if the other two trustees with whom he as founder initially signed the trust deed do not enter into an agreement with him within the prescribed period in order to add him as an additional trustee on his acceptance of all the controlling powers provided for in the deed. The template often provides for the later appointment of additional trustees: 'The current trustees are as scheduled in the preamble to this deed ... but the trustees are entitled to appoint additional trustees of their own choice ... .'

  • The many shades of intolerability in the workplace

    The notion of intolerability traverses several workplace decisions. However, its meaning in the law is far from linear, and its significance varies, particularly when considering three primary dismissal-related scenarios: the meaning of dismissal; the general threshold for dismissal (also in the case of first offences); and the barriers to reinstatement in the case of unfair dismissal. This article restates established principles concerning labour dispute resolution, particularly those relating to onus and review standards and the role of breach of trust in employment relations. Drawing on recent jurisprudence, the article revisits the assumed role of intolerability and explores its nuanced impact on decision-making processes. In particular, the article demonstrates how the burden of proof and applicable review standards in the case of each of these dismissal-related scenarios can transform an ostensibly neutral term into a kaleidoscope of shades and meaning, with far-reaching implications in the workplace.

  • Common-law avoidance

    This article discusses an important trend in recent judgments of our appellate courts, which I call 'common-law avoidance'. Rather than applying established sets of common-law principles, the courts have chosen to substitute them with other sets of norms of their own invention, usually sourced in the Constitution. This marks a departure from the status quo ante, in which it was accepted that the impact of the Constitution on private-law disputes was to be felt through the common law, rather than by displacing it. I discuss three cases that evidence this new pattern, spanning the three branches of the law of obligations: AB v Pridwin Preparatory School, which implicated the law of contract; Esorfranki Pipelines (Pty) Ltd v Mopani District Municipality, involving delict; and Greater Tzaneen Municipality v Bravospan 252 CC, which raised an issue in the law of unjustified enrichment. I critically assess the trend exhibited in these cases, arguing that it is the result of (among other factors) the courts' preference for the Constitution's more familiar and discretionary standards, and of their increasing difficulties in meeting the demands of the common-law method.

  • A superfluous concept? The inherent jurisdiction of the South African superior courts as upper guardians of children

    This article examines the relationship between the role of the superior courts as upper guardians of minors and the constitutionally enshrined right of South African children to have their best interests considered paramount in any matter concerning them. The powerful procedural role of the superior courts in this regard is not subject to review or appeal, enabling the courts to intervene of their own accord on behalf of and to protect all children in their jurisdiction. The article examines whether this upper guardianship role has become superfluous and outdated in light of the constitutional requirement that courts consider the paramountcy of the child's best interests as an independent right. The High Court's upper guardianship role provides a more flexible legal basis for judicial intervention, as the case law reviewed in this article indicates. It is also supported by s 173 of the Constitution, which refers to the inherent powers of courts to protect and regulate their own process and to develop the common law, and by s 45(4) of the Children's Act. Furthermore, the superior courts, as courts of record, enable the development of a system of precedent-based child law, providing judicial reasons for all decisions and justifying the retention of the common-law inherent jurisdiction of the High Court as the upper guardian of children. We conclude that there is a residual role for the continued existence of the powers of the superior courts to act as upper guardians of the children within their jurisdiction, the constitutional best-interests standard notwithstanding.

  • Procedural justice as a feature of transformative substantive equality: Critical notes on Social Justice Coalition v Minister of Police (CC)

    The case of Social Justice Coalition v Minister of Police 2022 (10) BCLR 1267 (CC) is concerning. The litigants and the Constitutional Court sidestepped the innovative and transformative role that is envisaged for access to courts and judicial proceedings and that is required by a substantive conception of equality underlying impoverished peoples' equality rights. This article argues that procedural justice was overlooked as a feature of transformative substantive equality to be applied in a claim relating to poverty-based discrimination. Procedural justice is vital, as impoverished people encounter pervasive economic, social, political and procedural barriers to accessing justice in various democratic forums, including courts. To introduce procedural justice as an indispensable feature of transformative substantive equality, I use the work of the global justice theorist, Nancy Fraser. Fraser's work provides formidable insights into developing the existing constitutional framework to overcome the bracketing of the pervasive material and social inequalities that are characteristic of liberal rights claims. By focusing on courts and the procedurally innovative demands of equality proceedings, I argue that the judgment is a worrying illustration of the deepening of impoverished people's democratic erasure. The judgment is procedurally formalistic, effectively absolving courts from their accountability function for redressing poverty and inequality.

  • The shareholder’s appraisal remedy under the Companies Act: How should the courts gauge ‘fair value’?

    The appraisal remedy is the right of minority shareholders to demand that the company buy out their shares in cash, at a price reflecting their 'fair value', when they are aggrieved by certain triggering transactions that the majority shareholders have approved. The appraisal right is an American concept that was introduced into South African law when the Companies Act 71 of 2008 came into force. The most formidable challenge concerning the appraisal right is the meaning and interpretation of the key phrase 'fair value' and, coupled with this, the appropriate valuation methodology that the court ought to adopt when valuing the shares of dissenting minority shareholders. Two recent judgments of the High Court have considered these thorny issues for the first time. This article critically analyses the findings of the High Court in BNS Nominees (RF) (Pty) Ltd v Zeder Investments Ltd and BNS Nominees (RF) (Pty) Ltd v Arrowhead Properties Ltd, with a particular focus on the divergent approaches that the two cases adopt in gauging the 'fair value' of the dissenters' shares and the judicial discretion to appoint an appraiser to value the shares. This is followed by a detailed discussion of the proper interpretation of the pivotal phrase 'fair value' in appraisal proceedings and of appraisal valuation methodology. This is done with reference to the legal position in comparable foreign jurisdictions such as the United States of America and Canada. Guidelines are also suggested for the South African courts to follow when gauging the 'fair value' of shares in appraisal cases.

  • When is discrimination unfair? A relational reconstruction of the Constitutional Court’s dignity-based approach

    In this article, I examine the dignity-based test for unfair discrimination developed by the Constitutional Court of South Africa. First, I argue that the point of anti-discrimination rights is to protect equality. They seek to prevent a comparative wrong — wrongful disparities in treatment. Violating dignity appears, however, to be a non-comparative wrong — one that is independent of the treatment extended to others. Tying unfair discrimination to dignity violations therefore seems to miss the comparative concerns that underlie anti-discrimination rights. Adding that everyone is 'equally' entitled to be treated with dignity does not solve the problem. I respond to this apparent difficulty with the court's approach by suggesting that the court is best understood as concerned with a distinctive kind of dignity — status dignity. I also argue that there is an attractive conception of equality — relational equality — that explains why violations of status dignity are violations of equality. This interpretation provides the requisite egalitarian foundation for the court's approach. Secondly, I address the criticism that a dignity-based understanding of substantive equality is too limited to address systemic inequalities. I suggest that an understanding based in status dignity is suitably robust and requires far-reaching reforms and restructuring of social practices.

  • Judicature: The trade and production of income requirements for the deductibility of interest

    DIE BEOEFENING VAN 'N BEDRYF EN IN DIE VOORTBRENGING VAN INKOMSTEVEREISTES VIR DIE AFTREKKING VAN RENTE Ten einde 'n rente uitgawe wat voortspruit uit 'n skuldinstrument te kan aftrek, moet 'n belastingbetaler aan beide die vereistes van 'in beoefening van 'n bedryf' en 'die voortbrenging van inkomste' voldoen. Die beoefening van 'n bedryf-vereiste behels dat die belastingbetaler moet aantoon dat hulle 'n positiewe stap geneem het, nie bloot 'n passiewe rol vertolk nie. Ten einde aan die voortbrenging van inkomste-vereiste te voldoen, moet die belastingbetaler aantoon dat die uitgawe nou verwant is aan die voortbrenging van inkomste soveel so dat dit as deel daarvan geag kan word. Alhoewel die algemene aftrekkingsformule vereis dat die belastingbetaler 'n bedryf moet uitoefen en die uitgawe vir doeleindes daarvan aangegaan moes wees, vereis die spesiale reëls betreffende die aangaan en toevalling van rente, sowel as die insluiting en aftrekbaarheid van rente, soos vervat in artikel 24J van die Inkomstebelastingwet 58 van 1962, nie so 'n skakel nie. Die belastingbetaler in Unitrans Holdings Ltd v CSARS ((A3094/2022) 2024 ZAGPJHC 3 (9 Jan 2024)) het probeer om meer as wat nodig was aan te toon om 'n aftrekking te eis, naamlik dat dit 'n bedryf as 'n geldskieter beoefen het, terwyl dit voldoende sou wees om aan te dui dat dit 'n bedryf, enige bedryf, beoefen het. Hierdeur het die belastingbetaler 'n risiko geloop om die geskil op die vraag van die beoefening van 'n bedryf te verloor, maar het eintlik die saak verloor omdat daar nie bewys is dat die rente-uitgawes aangegaan was in die voortbrenging van inkomste nie. Alhoewel die bedoeling om 'n wins te maak nie 'n vereiste vir die beoefening van 'n bedryf is nie, ontken die gebrek daaraan die doel van die voortbrenging van inkomste. 'n Direkte skakel tussen die uitgawe en die voortbrenging van inkomste word steeds vereis. Indien daardie skakel nie bestaan nie, of gebreek is, is die uitgawe nie aftrekbaar nie. Dit is ook die geval waar die uitgawe, soos in casu, bedoel is om belastingvrye inkomste voort te bring. Die Suid Afrikaanse Inkomste Diens se voorneme om die praktyk te staak om rente-aftrekkings toe te laat op geleende geld wat teen 'n hoër of laer rentekoers herleen word, beklemtoon die belang van artikel 24J van die wet en die nakoming van die reëls daarvan.

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