Author Archives: Conradie Inc.

Wie is aanspreeklik vir die skade in ‘n motorongeluk?

A3Wat gebeur met my motor nadat ek betrokke was in ‘n ongeluk en wie is verantwoordelik vir die skade?

Bo en behalwe die emosionele en finansiële spanning wat dit vir die persoon en sy familie veroorsaak, is daar ‘n hele paar regsbeginsels wat van toepassing is.

Die mees prominente regsveld wat van toepassing is as mense betrokke is in ‘n motorongeluk is dié van deliktereg. Deliktereg speel ‘n belangrike rol in die bepaling van wie aanspreeklik is vir die skade, indien enige. As die skade veroorsaak is as gevolg van die opsetlike of nalatige handeling of versuim van iemand anders (die derde party), sal daardie persoon gewoonlik aanspreeklik wees vir die skade wat die motoreienaar gely het. Daar is wel sekere verwere tot die beskikking van die derde party, maar dit val buite die bestek van hierdie artikel.

Die versekeringsreg kan ook hierin ‘n groot rol speel indien die motoreienaar versekering het. Die leerstuk van subrogasie sal hier van toepassing wees. Dit is ‘n aanvaarde beginsel in die versekeringsreg dat wanneer ‘n versekeraar ‘n versekerde volledig vrywaar teen verlies wat deur ‘n derde party veroorsaak is, is die versekeraar geregtig om in die naam van die versekerde die skade van die derde party te verhaal. Die beleid onderliggend aan hierdie leerstuk is om te verhoed dat die versekerde dubbele vergoeding ontvang vanaf sowel die versekeraar as die derde party.

Vanuit ‘n prosedurele oogpunt verkry die versekeraar die reg om regstappe in die versekerde se naam teen die derde party in te stel indien die versekerde steeds ‘n onbevredigde eis teen die derde party het. Hierdie beginsel veroorsaak dat die versekeraar dominus litis (meester in die geding) word, maar net in naam en ten behoewe van die versekerde. Die versekeraar word geregtig daarop om die verrigtinge in die naam van die versekerde te voer met die voorbehoud dat die versekeraar die versekerde volledig moes gevrywaar het en hom of haar ook moes gevrywaar het teen die risiko van regskoste wat uit die verrigtinge mag onstaan. Die versekeraar het geen onafhanklike eis teen die derde party nie, maar dwing net die versekerde se eis af vir die versekeraar se eie voordeel.

Om op te som, die motoreienaar sal self die derde party aanspreeklik kan hou mits hy nie versekering het nie. Indien hy wel het, en hy eis die skade van die versekering, sal die versekering die skade van die derde party verhaal in die naam van die versekerde. Die verhouding tussen die versekerde en die versekering is ‘n kontraktuele verhouding en indien enige van die partye versuim om hulle pligte na te kom, kan hulle aanspreeklik gehou word op grond van kontrakbreuk.

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.

Inter-vivos Trusts en Testamentêre Trusts

A2Daar bestaan heelwat onkunde oor die gebruik van trusts tydens erflatings. Hierdie artikel poog om lig op hierdie belangrike kwessie te werp.

‘n Inter-Vivos Trust staan ook bekend as ‘n lewende of familietrust omdat dit gedurende jou leeftyd opgerig word. ‘n Trust is ‘n ideale langtermynstruktuur om bates van geslag tot geslag te beskerm terwyl dit Boedelbelasting bespaar. Boedelbelasting is die heffing wat betaalbaar is op jou totale bates by jou afsterwe.

Wanneer bates in ‘n Trust gekoop of na ‘n Trust oorgedra word, vind kapitaalgroei binne die Trust en dus buite jou boedel plaas. Dit beteken gevolglik dat die bates binne die Trust kan groei en nie hoër Boedelbelasting vir jou boedel tot gevolg sal hê nie.

Dit word aanbeveel om groeibates na ‘n Trust oor te dra deur dit aan die Trust te verkoop of te skenk.

Die waarde van die bate(s) wat aan die Trust verkoop word, sal dan in die vorm van ‘n leningsrekening deur die Trust aan jou (of jou boedel) verskuldig wees. Die waarde van die leningsrekening kan egter jaarliks suksesvol met R100 000 verminder word deur die jaarlikse vrygestelde bedrag van Skenkingsbelasting aan die Trust oor te betaal. Die Trust betaal dan die bedrag van die skenking aan jou terug ter gedeeltelike delging van die leningsrekening wat aan jou verskuldig is.

‘n Ander groot voordeel van ‘n Inter-Vivos Trust is dat dit beskerming bied indien jy gedagvaar sou word, omdat die bates in die Trust uitgesluit sal wees van sodanige eise. Die grootste nadeel van ‘n Trust is waarskynlik die feit dat jy volle beheer oor jou bates verloor. Jy as oorspronklike eienaar word nou ‘n mede-trustee en moontlik een van die begunstigdes van die Trust. Die mede-trustees het dus ook nou ‘n sê oor die bates wat aanvanklik 100% deur jou beheer en bestuur was.

‘n Testamentêre Trust, anders as ‘n Inter-Vivos Trust, word opgerig ingevolge iemand se testament en word eers geaktiveer wanneer die persoon te sterwe kom. Die hoofdoel van ‘n Testamentêre Trust is om die belange van begunstigdes (in baie gevalle minderjariges) te beskerm.

Die Trustees van die Testamentêre Trust verkry beheer oor die bates en bestuur en administreer die bates dan in terme van die bepalings van die Testamentêre Trust tot voordeel en in die beste belang van die begunstigdes.

Dit word aanbeveel dat die persoon(e) wat as Voog(de) van minderjarige kinders benoem word ten minste een van die Trustees van die Testamentêre Trust behoort te wees.

Anders as Inter-Vivos Trusts wat vir onbepaalde tydperke kan voortduur, word Testamentêre Trusts normaalweg beëindig sodra die trustbegunstigde(s) die ouderdom bereik wat in terme van die testament voorgeskryf word. Sou u besluit om ‘n Trust op te rig of in u testament in te sluit, sal dit wys wees om ‘n kenner hieroor te raadpleeg ten einde moontlike slaggate te vermy.

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.

Onderhoud

A4Wat kan gedoen word om ‘n onderhoudsbevel af te dwing teen ‘n persoon wat verantwoordelik is daarvoor om onderhoud te betaal, maar versuim om dit te betaal of te min betaal?

Indien ‘n persoon wat verplig is om onderhoud te betaal, dit nie doen nie, kan die persoon wat geregtig op onderhoud is ‘n klag by die Onderhoudsbeampte van die geskikte landdroshof aanhangig maak. Die Onderhoudsbeampte moet dan die klagte ondersoek en kan dan ‘n ondersoek instel in ‘n onderhoudshof. Die Onderhoudsbeampte, en nie die klaer nie, maak die finale beslissing of ‘n ondersoek  ingestel moet word al dan nie.1 Tydens die ondersoek kan die Onderhoudsbeampte enige verklarings of enige relevante inligting met betrekking tot die betaling van onderhoud versoek. ‘n Ondersoek kragtens die Wet op Onderhoud kan in kort gedefinieer word as ‘n proses wat mense bemagtig om hul regte en dié van hul kind(ers) op die Staat se onkoste af te dwing. Gedurende die onderhoudsondersoek kom die partye gewoonlik tot ‘n ooreenkoms en versoek om die verrigtinge te onttrek of versoek dat die terme van die ooreenkoms ‘n bevel van die hof gemaak word. Hierdie bevel kan nie verontagsaam word deur die partye nie.2 Indien die partye nie tot ‘n ooreenkoms kan kom rakende die bepalings in terme van onderhoud nie, sal die aangeleentheid na die onderhoudshof verwys word.

Indien die hof ‘n onderhoudsbevel toestaan kragtens die Wet, en sodanige persoon versuim om enige betaling ooreenkomstig die bevel te maak, moet die klaer die bevel afdwing deur:

1) eksekusie teen eiendom;

2) ‘n besoldigingsbeslagbevel; of

3) skuldbeslaglegging.

Indien onderhoudsgelde in terme van ‘n onderhoudsbevel kragtens die Wet uitstaande bly vir ‘n tydperk van tien dae vanaf die dag waarop die bedrag betaalbaar was of van wanneer die bevel toegestaan is, kan die persoon ten gunste van wie die bevel gemaak is in die onderhoudshof aansoek doen vir die volgende:

1) die uitreiking van ‘n lasbrief vir eksekusie, 2) die uitreiking van ‘n besoldigingsbeslagbevel of 3) ‘n bevel vir skuldbeslaglegging. Die aansoek moet vergesel word van ‘n afskrif van die oorspronklike onderhoudsbevel of ander bevel en ‘n eedverklaring wat vasstel wat die uitstaande onderhoudsbedrag is.3

‘n Persoon wat verplig is om onderhoud te betaal en versuim om dit te doen, kan skuldig bevind word aan ‘n misdryf wat strafbaar is met ‘n boete of gevangenisstraf. Die staatsaanklaer kan die hof nader vir ‘n beslissing dat die agterstallige onderhoud betaal moet word, tesame met of in plaas van die uitvoering van ‘n boete of tronkstraf.4

Met die aansoek van die staatsaanklaer en addisioneel tot of in plaas van die oplegging van ‘n straf, kan die hof ‘n bevel uitreik aan enige persoon wat  skuldig is aan versuim om ‘n betaling te maak ooreenkomstig ‘n onderhoudsbevel, vir die invordering vanaf daardie persoon van die bedrag wat hy of sy versuim het om te betaal, plus enige rente.5

In die geval waar jy in die situasie geplaas word waar jou vorige gade nie die onderhoudsbevel nakom nie, sal jou beste opsie wees om die Onderhoudsbeampte te nader om die uitstaande bedrae te bereken. Daarna, as die persoon steeds versuim om die betaling te maak, kan ‘n prokureur genader word om voort te gaan met die uitvoering van die bevel, indien die persoon voldoende roerende of vaste eiendom besit, of ‘n besoldigingsbevel teen die persoon kry wat op die werkgewer van die persoon beteken word, of die onderhoudshof kan genader word vir ‘n bevel vir die beslaglegging van enige skuld wat, nou of toekomstig, aan die persoon verskuldig is.

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.

____________________________________

1Die Wet op Onderhoud 99 van 1998.

2Young v Young 1985(1) SA 782 (C).

3 Die Wet op Onderhoud 99 van 1998.

4 Ibid.

5 Ibid.

Can somebody take the law into his/her own hands?

A1The mandament van spolie is a summary remedy, usually issued upon urgent application, aimed at restoring control of property to the applicant from whom it was taken through unlawful self-help, without investigating the merits of the parties’ rights to control.

From the definition above it is evident that this remedy is unique, because it is not used to protect rights at all. The mandament van spolie is a unique remedy aimed at undoing the results of the taking of property by means of self-help. The idea is that people should enforce and protect their property rights by legal means and procedure, and not by self-help and force, because self-help eventually results in chaos and anarchy. For this reason it is usually said that this remedy is based upon the principle that nobody is allowed to take the law into his/her own hands. Due to its aim of restoring peace and order and discouraging self-help, the spoliation remedy does not investigate the merits of any of the parties’ interest in the property and neither of the parties is allowed to raise the question of rights. The court is simply concerned with the factual investigation, namely whether there is proof of existing control and proof of unlawful spoliation of that control. If there was in fact existing control and unlawful spoliation the court will order the spoliator to restore the spoliated control to the applicant immediately, regardless of whether that control was in fact unlawful or even legal.

The spoliation remedy is aimed at preserving peace and order in the community. People cannot be permitted to circumvent the remedy by contract. Parties to a contract cannot agree that one of them will be permitted to take property from the other without proper legal procedure. The requirements for this remedy were set out in two classic decisions that are still the most important authorities in this regard, namely Nino Bonino v De Lange 1906(T) and Yeko v Qana 1973(A).

a)      Proof that the applicant was in peaceful and undisturbed control of the property. The first requirement means that the applicant had control over the property in question. For purposes of the spoliation remedy this control must have existed “peacefully and undisturbed” for a period long enough, and in a manner stable enough, to qualify any unlawful disturbance of the peace. The requirement that the control must have been peaceful and undisturbed does not refer to its legal merits, but simply to the fact that it must have been relatively stable and enduring. If not, there can hardly be a question of disturbance of the situation.

b)      Proof that the respondent took or destroyed that control by means of unlawful self-help or spoliation. The second requirement for the spoliation remedy is that the existing peaceful and undisturbed control must have been unlawfully spoliated by the respondent.

One can, therefore, safely say that possession is 90% of the law. The reason for this is that spoliation is not permitted in our law. The person must use the legal processes at his disposal and cannot take the law into his own hands.

References:

A J van der Walt & G J Pienaar: Introduction to property law, 5th edition, pg 218-223.

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

A1Electronic 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.

Is ‘n handelsbeperkingsklousule altyd geldig en afdwingbaar?

A2In die verlede was handelsbeperkingsooreenkomste ongeldig en onafdwingbaar, tensy die werkgewer kon bewys dat die ooreenkoms billik is. Gelukkig vir werkgewers het hierdie situasie verander.

Wat is ‘n handelsbeperking?

‘n Ooreenkoms wat ‘n party se reg om te handel of ‘n besigheid of beroep te bedryf, beperk op sodanige manier of met sodanige partye as wat hy/sy goeddink, is ‘n handelsbeperking.

‘n Werkgewer sal tipies in die dienskontrak of ‘n aparte ooreenkoms ‘n handelsbeperkingsklousule insluit wat gewoonlik van krag word wanneer die kontrak getermineer of die besigheid of praktyk verkoop word.

Hoekom is hierdie tipe klousule omstrede?

Dit is omstrede omdat daar ‘n botsing van fundamentele waardes is: aan die een kant is daar ‘n algemene kontrakteursvryheid wat daarop staatmaak dat partye by hul kontrakte gehou moet word, en aan die ander kant is daar handelsvryheid wat ‘n erkende reg volgens die grondwet is.

Soos ander ooreenkomste is handelsbeperkings prima facie geldig en afdwingbaar. Voorheen het die werkgewer die bewyslas gehad om te bewys dat die implementering van die handelsbeperkingsklousule billik en in openbare belang is. Die situasie is nou omgekeerd en die werknemer het nou die bewyslas om te bewys dat afdwinging van die beperking teen openbare belang sal indruis.

‘n Onredelike beperking sal teen die openbare belang wees en dus onafdwingbaar. Die redelikheid van ‘n handelsbeperkingsklousule word beoordeel op die basis van breë belange van die gemeenskap en die belange van die individu self.

Redelikheid inter partes hang van verskeie faktore af:

  • Het die werkgewer ‘n beskermingswaardige belang?
  • Geografiese omvang en tydperk van die handelsbeperking (moontlikheid van gedeeltelike afdwinging)
  • Toegewing deur die werknemer in die kontrak dat die beperking redelik is, en ongelyke bedingingsvermoë van die verskillende partye (hierdie faktore dra min gewig)

Voorbeelde van beskermingswaardige belange is vertroulike inligting, handelsgeheime, kliëntverhoudings en -lyste, en die welwillendheid van die besigheid. Dit sluit egter nie planne om die kompetisie te elimineer en die belegging van tyd en kapitaal in die opleiding van die werknemer in nie.

Dit is nie genoeg dat vertroulike inligting net as sulks beskou word nie. Vir inligting om as vertroulik beskou te word, moet dit kommersieel nuttig wees, met ander woorde dit moet toegepas kan word in die industrie, ekonomiese waarde hê vir die persoon wat dit wil beskerm, en slegs bekend wees aan ‘n beperkte aantal persone.

Die bewys van handelsverbintenisse sal slegs relevant wees indien die werknemer toegang het tot die werkgewer se kliënte en sodanige verhouding met die werkgewer se kliënte het dat dit hom/haar in staat sou stel om so ‘n invloed oor hulle te hê dat die kliënte hom/haar sal volg indien hy/sy die diens van die werkgewer verlaat. Die volgende faktore is hier van belang:

  • die pligte van die werknemer;
  • die persoonlikheid van die werknemer;
  • die frekwensie en tydsduur van die werknemer se kontak met die kliënte;
  • sy/haar invloed or die kliënte;
  • aard van sy/haar verhouding met die klënte (mate van aanhang, omvang van hul vertroue in hom/haar);
  • vlak van kompetisie tussen die mededingende besighede;
  • die tipe produk wat verkoop word; en
  • bewyse dat kliënte verloor is as gevolg van die werknemer se vertrek.

Met verwysing tot die bogenoemde moet die volgende vrae gevra word:

a) Is daar ‘n belang van party A wat waardig is om beskerm te word?

b) Word daardie belang benadeel deur party B?

c) Indien wel, weeg die belang van party A kwalitatief en kwantitatief meer teenoor die belang van party B, wat sal inhou dat daardie party ekonomies onaktief en onproduktief sal wees?

d) Is daar enige openbare beleid wat vereis dat die handelsbeperking gehandhaaf of van die hand gewys word?

Al is die handelingsbeperkingsooreenkoms billik inter partes, mag dit nog steeds beslis word dat dit nie in openbare belang afgedwing moet word nie.

Bronnelys:

Basson v Chilwan & Others 1993 (3) SA 742 (A)

Sunshine Records (Pty) Ltd v Flohing & Others 1990 (4) SA 782 (A)

Magna Alloys & Research (SA) (Pty) Ltd v Ellis 1984 (4) SA 874 (A)

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.

Transfer of a property: Is vat or transfer duty payable?

A3A purchaser is responsible for payment of transfer cost when acquiring an immovable property, but it should further be established if the transaction is subject to the payment of VAT or transfer duty to SARS.

When an immovable property is transferred, either VAT or transfer duty is payable.

To determine whether VAT or transfer duty is payable one should look at the status of the seller and the type of transaction.

VAT

If the seller is registered for VAT (Vendor) and he sells the property in the course of his business, VAT will be payable to SARS. A vendor is a person who runs a business and whose total taxable earnings per year exceed R1 000 000. He will then have to be registered for VAT. A further stipulation is that the property that is being sold must be related to his business from which he derives an income.

The Offer to Purchase should stipulate whether the purchase price includes or excludes VAT. If the Offer to Purchase makes no mention of the payment of VAT and the seller is a VAT vendor, it is then deemed that VAT is included and the seller will have to pay 14% of the purchase price to SARS. It is the seller’s responsibility to pay the VAT to SARS, except if the contract stipulates otherwise.

When a seller is not registered for VAT, but the purchaser is a registered VAT vendor, the purchaser will still pay transfer duty but can claim the transfer duty back from SARS after registration of the property.

Transfer duty

When the seller is not a registered VAT vendor it is almost certain that transfer duty will be payable on the transaction. A purchaser is responsible for payment of the transfer duty. Transfer duty is currently payable on the following scale:

1. The first R600 000 of the value is exempted from transfer duty.

2. Thereafter transfer duty is levied at 3% of the value up to R1 000 000.

3. From R1 000 001 to R1 500 000, transfer duty will be R12 000 plus 5% on the value above R1 000 000.

4. On R1 500 001 and above transfer duty is R37 000 plus 8% on the value above R1 500 000.

Transfer duty payable by an individual or a legal entity (trust, company or close corporation) is currently charged at the same rate.

Transfer duty is levied on the reasonable value of the property, which will normally be the purchase price, but should the market value be higher than the purchase price, transfer duty will be payable on the highest amount. Transfer duty is payable within six months from the date that the Offer to Purchase was signed.

In instances where a party obtains a property as an inheritance or as the beneficiary of a divorce settlement, the transaction will be exempted from payment of transfer duty.

Where shares in a company or a member’s interest in a close corporation or rights in a trust are transferred, the transaction will be subject to payment of transfer duty if the legal entity is the owner of a residential property.

Zero-rated transactions

This means that VAT will be payable on the transaction but at a zero rate. If both the seller and the purchaser are registered for VAT and the property is sold as a going concern, VAT will be charged at a zero rate, for instance when a farmer sells his farm as well as the cattle and the implements.

Exemption

Transfer duty, and not VAT, will be payable when a seller who is registered for VAT sells a property that was leased for residential purposes.

It is thus important for a purchaser to establish the status of the seller when buying a property. The seller who is registered for VAT should carefully peruse the purchase price clause in a contract before signing, to establish if VAT is included or excluded.

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.

Onderhoud: Nie net vir minderjariges nie

A4Wanneer die woord “onderhoud” genoem word, dink baie mense aan vroue wat onderhoud vir minderjarige kinders eis of alternatiewelik, vroue wat vir onderhoud van hul gewese mans eis. In hierdie artikel sal ons egter ‘n ouer se onderhoudseis teen hul volwasse kinders bespreek.

Mike Larry het ‘n dagvaarding van die Onderhoudshof ontvang om drie weke later vir ‘n onderhoudsaak te verskyn, maar Mike het geen vrou of kinders nie en het verward gewonder of die Hof dalk ‘n fout gemaak het. Mike het die Onderhoudshof bygewoon om uit te vind of daar dalk ‘n fout in die dokumentasie was. Wat hy uitgevind het, het sy moed laat sak en kort daarna sy bankrekening ook.

Mike se vader, Jermaine, het ‘n aansoek voor die Onderhoudshof gebring vir onderhoud vanaf Mike, aangesien hy geen werk gehad het nie en dus geen inkomste nie. Mike het sy prokureur gevra of dit moontlik is, en die antwoord was bevestigend.

Volgens die Wet op Onderhoud 99 van 1998 het ouers en kinders ‘n wedersydse onderhoudsplig. ’n Kind het ‘n plig om sy ouers en grootouers te onderhou, maar dit is altyd onderworpe aan die reël dat ondersteuning eerste van die naaste familielid geëis moet word. Die basis van ‘n kind se plig om sy ouers te onderhou is gegrond in die gevoel van pligtigheid of filiale jammerte (met betrekking tot of vanaf ‘n seun of dogter). In sekere omstandighede kan selfs ‘n minderjarige kind ‘n plig hê om sy ouers te onderhou. ‘n Ouer wat onderhoud van ‘n kind eis, moet sy of haar behoefte bewys, asook die kind se vermoëns om hom/haar te ondersteun. ‘n Strenger maatstaf van nood is op ouers as kinders toegepas; hulpbehoewendheid van ‘n ouer is hiervoor ‘n vereiste.

Die owerhede het nie heeltemal duidelikheid oor bogenoemde nie. In Oosthuizen v Stanley het die Hof van die “kwaliteit en toestand van die persone wat ondersteun moet word” gepraat. In dieselfde saak is daarop gedui dat waar ‘n ouer ondersteun moet word, dit nie net die ouer se eie behoeftes is nie, maar ook dié van die ouer se afhanklikes wat in ag geneem moet word. In van Vuuren v Sam Rabie het die regter na dieselfde maatstaf verwys, maar het beklemtoon dat die ondersteuning van ouers tot die basiese behoeftes beperk moet word, naamlik kos, klere, skuiling, medisyne en sorg in tye van siekte. Ter ondersteuning hiervan het die Regter verwys na Surdus v Surdus en gesê dat, in die beoordeling van die kwaliteit en toestand van die persoon wat ondersteun moet word se lewe, dit hoofsaaklik sy huidige en nie sy vorige situasie is nie wat oorweeg moet word, maar dat die Regter sy eie diskresie moet uitoefen in die bepaling hiervan. Byvoorbeeld, ‘n ouer wat voorheen ryk was en nou deur moeilike tye gegaan het, moenie verplig wees om arm-manskos te eet nie. Daar is aangevoer dat die maatstaf van behoefte nie so streng vertolk moet word dat dit die hele konsep van ‘n wedersydse verpligting vernietig nie.

Die volgende kan ook oorweeg word wanneer ‘n ouer aansoek doen om onderhoud vanaf sy/haar kind:

1. Broers en susters;
2. Ekstra inkomste; en
3. Lewenskwaliteit.

In terme van die gemenereg het ‘n buite-egtelike kind ‘n plig om sy/haar ma te onderhou, maar of die pa ondersteun moet word, moet nog beslis word. Daar kan egter aangevoer word dat ‘n buite-egtelike kind aanspreeklik kan wees om sy/haar pa te onderhou in terme van Artikel 16 van die Kinderwet 38 van 2005.

Ten slotte, as jy voel dat jy onregverdig vir ‘n onderhoudseis geteiken word, raadpleeg beslis jou prokureurs sodat hulle jou kan inlig oor jou regte en verantwoordelikhede.

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.

To marry or not to marry…

A1When a man proposes marriage to the love of his life and she accepts the proposal and they become engaged, they are said to have concluded a contract to marry in the future. When an engagement is called off one often gets the situation where the aggrieved party wants to sue his/her ex for breach of promise.

Recent case law regarding the breach of promise to marry

Although there is frustration and heartbreak that may be experienced at the end of an engagement, the unfortunate reality of the matter is that it is not that easy to succeed in a monetary claim against somebody who is not intent on fulfilling his/her promises. 

Our common law has, over the years, recognised the principle that the aggrieved party has a claim for breach of promise. Traditionally this claim comprises two parts, namely:

  1. The delictual claim which the aggrieved party would have under the action injuriarum for contumelia, in other words, damages for the humiliation caused as a result of the break-up of the relationship; and
  2. The contractual claim for the actual financial loss suffered by the aggrieved party as a result of the break-up of the relationship of the parties. 

Van Jaarsveld vs Bridges (2010) SCA

In the Supreme Court of Appeal case Van Jaarsveld vs Bridges (2010), it was found that no claim in South African law exists other than actual expenses incurred in the planning and preparation of the marriage.

In the judgement DP Harms, in respect of breach of promise, draws attention to a court’s right and more importantly, duty to develop the common law, taking into account the interests of justice and at the same time to promote the spirit, purport and objects of the Bill of Rights.

DP Harms said that he is unable to accept that parties, when promising to marry each other, at that stage of their relationship would contemplate that a breach of their engagement would have financial consequences as if they had in fact married. The assumption of the two parties is that their marital regime will be determined by their subsequent marriage. DP Harms then concluded that in his view an engagement is more of an unenforceable pactum de contrahendo, providing a spatium deliberandi: “a time to get to know each other better and in which they would decide whether or not to finally get married.”

ES Cloete vs A Maritz (2013) WCH

The question whether or not the claim for breach of promise is a valid cause of action in South African law was once again considered in the Western Cape High Court. In this Court, Judge Robert Henney was the presiding Judge in the matter of ES Cloete vs A Maritz.

Miss Cloete claimed that Mr Maritz proposed formally to her in Namibia on the 9th February 1999 with an engagement ring, and she accepted.

The relationship was turbulent and a decade later Maritz called off the engagement and the intended wedding, telling her that he no longer wanted to marry her or even see her, and that he had someone new in his life.

Cloete instituted action against Maritz and alleged that Maritz’s refusal to marry her amounted to a repudiation of the agreement which they had reached 10 years earlier.

Her claim

There were three aspects to Cloete’s claim:

1. She wanted repayment of R26 000.00 that she had given him in 1994 and 1996 for a business he was involved in.

2. She wanted R6.5 million to make up for the financial benefits she would have enjoyed had they concluded the marriage, including amounts for the use and enjoyment of the house commensurate with the lifestyle enjoyed and maintained by the parties at the time of their cohabitation. She also wanted maintenance of R8 500.00 a month for 25 years.

3. Finally she wanted R250 000.00 in damages for breach of promise, impairment to her personal dignity and her reputation.

His claim

Maritz denied the allegations that Cloete has made and stated in replying papers that Cloete was in fact the one who had called off their wedding and he had merely accepted it. Maritz raised a special plea that “breach of promise” did not constitute a valid cause of action based on the Supreme Court of Appeal’s judgement in Van Jaarsveld vs Bridges 2010 (4) SA 558 (SCA), a judgement which this court is obliged to follow.

Judgement

In his judgment Judge R Henney said: “Clearly, to hold a party accountable on a rigid contractual footing, where such a party fails to abide by a promise to marry does not reflect the changed mores, morals or public interest of today.”

Judge R Henney went on to say in his judgement: “It is my view that considerations of public policy and our own society’s changed mores cannot permit a party to be made to pay prospective damages on a purely contractual footing, where such a party wants to resign from a personal relationship and thus commits a breach of a promise to marry. Such a situation is in my view entirely untenable and cannot be allowed.”

The judge also said: “As pointed out by Sinclair, The Law of Marriage Vol 1 (1996), to hold a party liable for contractual damages for breach of promise may in fact lead parties to enter into marriages they do not in good conscience want to enter into, purely due to the fear of being faced with such a claim. This is an untenable situation.” 

Conclusion

The world has moved on and morals have changed. Divorce, which in earlier days was only available in the event of adultery or desertion, is now available in the event of an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. There is no reason why a just cause for ending an engagement should not likewise include the lack of desire to marry the particular person, irrespective of the ‘guilt’ of the latter. Unwillingness to marry is clear evidence of the irretrievable breakdown of the engagement. It appears illogical to attach more serious consequences to an engagement than to a marriage.

Maritz`s special plea was upheld and it was found that the claim for breach of promise is not a valid cause of action in South African law. As appears from the above decision, no claim in law exist other than actual expenses incurred in the preparing of the marriage. This effectively excluded any damages for breach of the promise to marry.

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.

Vinniger en goedkoper dispuutbeslegting? Mediasie is die antwoord.

A2Tot onlangs toe was litigasie, met ander woorde die instel van ‘n aksie of ‘n aansoek in ‘n gepaste hof, die enigste opsie wat oorweeg is wanneer twee partye in ‘n dispuut betrokke raak. Hierdie proses is ‘n langdradige proses wat relatief duur is en ‘n mens moet dikwels, veral in die Hooggeregshof, vir jare wag vir ‘n datum sodat die saak deur ‘n Regter aangehoor kan word.

Mediasie is ‘n merkbaar vinniger en goedkoper alternatief vir litigasie. Die partye en hulle regsverteenwoordigers verskyn voor ‘n onafhanklike mediator wat die partye lei om, deur sinvolle kommunikasie met mekaar tot ‘n werkbare oplossing vir hulle dispuut te kom – een wat vir beide partye aanvaarbaar is. Hierdie proses stel die partye in staat om beheer te neem van die situasie, in vergelyking met ‘n situasie waar ’n Landdros of ‘n Regter in ‘n hof ‘n beslissing maak waaroor die partye geen beheer het nie.

Die koste hieraan verbonde is baie minder as litigasie, aangesien die koste beperk is tot die paar uur wat dit duur om tot ‘n vergelyk te kom. Dit is ook baie vinniger – die mediasie vind plaas op ‘n plek en tyd wat beide partye en die mediator pas.

Ons hoogste hof van appèl, die Appèlhof in Bloemfontein, het in die saak van die Staat versus Mnr en Mev J beslis dat in daardie aangeleentheid, waar dit gegaan het oor die primêre verblyfplek van ‘n kind, die hoë koste en uitgerektheid van litigasie finansieel en emosioneel skade sou berokken aan die partye, en dat die partye in enige dispuut eers moet poog om die dispuut te besleg deur middel van mediasie voordat ‘n hof genader word.

Voormelde beslissing dien nou as ‘n riglyn vir die laer howe wat ook geneig sal wees om te beveel dat sake eers vir mediasie verwys moet word voordat ‘n hof genader word om ‘n beslissing te maak.

Die Wetgewer het hierdie beginsel nou in Wetgewing beliggaam en die reëls van die Landdroshof sal in Desember 2014 gewysig word wanneer daar voorsiening gemaak word daarvoor dat partye eers vir mediasie kan gaan voordat aksie of aansoek in die hof ingestel word. Die Wysigingswet maak ook daarvoor voorsiening dat ‘n Landdros, tydens aanhoor van ‘n saak in sy of haar hof, kan beslis dat die saak eers vir mediasie verwys moet word alvorens hy of sy ‘n beslissing maak.

Mediasie is derhalwe inderdaad die toekoms en by Conradie Prokureurs stel ons voor dat hierdie opsie as ‘n geskilbeslegtingsmetode eers oorweeg word:  dit is baie goedkoper, dit is baie vinniger en u as party bly in beheer van die hele proses.

Tana du Toit by ons kantoor is ‘n gekwalifiseerde Mediator. Kontak haar gerus vir enige advies of navrae wat u in hierdie verband het.

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.