Monthly Archives: October 2014

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.