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The Community Scheme Ombud Service Act 9 of 2011 and its Regulations, (“the Act”),  came into operation on 7 October 2016.

Said Act is applicable to all community schemes, which are defined in the Act as, ”any scheme or arrangement in terms of which there is shared use of a land and responsibility for parts of land and buildings, including but not limited to a sectional titles development scheme, a share block company, a home or property owner’s association, however constituted, established to administer a property development, a housing scheme for retired persons, and a housing cooperative as contemplated in the South African Co-operatives Act, 2005 (Act No. 14 of 2005) and ‘scheme’ has the same meaning”.

Thus, no matter how small the HOA that you belong to, the Act will still be applicable and registration of your HOA in terms of the Act is compulsory.

Upon commencement of the Act, a juristic person, known as the Community Schemes Ombud Service, have been established, whose main purpose is to provide a dispute resolution service, and to promote and regulate good governance of community schemes, including the implementation of organisational systems, controls and measures to enhance the efficient financial and economic management of all schemes.  Some of these measures include the lodging of annual returns at the Chief Ombud, as well as the payment of levies to the Ombud Service, by every unit within a scheme, based on a prescribed rate.

This article’s focus is however mainly directed at the process to be followed in order to register your HOA with the Ombud Service.

The Act is written in clear and concise language, and is quite easy to understand. Chapter 5 of its regulations contains prescribed forms that have to be completed and filed with the Ombud Service in order to register your HOA.

Section 18(3) of the regulations to the Act requires a community scheme, which includes a HOA, to complete and file registration Form CS 1, attached to the Act, within 30 (thirty) days after the regulation came into effect, (thus within 30 days after 7 October 2016), or on the date of incorporation of the community scheme in terms of the applicable Act.

The contents of the form require inter alia the following documentation regarding the scheme to be sent to the Chief Ombud, namely, the completion of the name of the community scheme, contact details of the scheme, names and contact details of the trustees and the authorized representative of the HOA, details of the managing agent if applicable, as well as copies of the audited financial statements of the scheme and details regarding the scheme’s financial year end. It furthermore requires copies of the Constitution and Rules applicable to the scheme, and also list additional supporting documentation that must be provided should it be applicable.  It then provides you with contact numbers and an e-mail address in order to send the completed registration form to the Chief Ombud.

As the list is quite extensive, we would advise that careful consideration is given to provide all the documentation applicable to the scheme upon application of the registration thereof, also to prevent unnecessary to and fro communication between the Ombud and the HOA, and to ensure a speedy registration of the scheme to what appears to be a rather simple procedure.

Once confirmation of registration of your HOA is received from the Ombud Service, the HOA will be liable for the payment of levies and service fees to the Chief Ombud on a quarterly basis, calculated on the prescribed formula as contained in Chapter 3 of the regulations to the Act.

Should you be uncertain how to calculate your HOA’s levies payable to the Chief Ombud, and/or wish to know more about the other obligations imposed on a HOA in terms of the Act, you are welcome to contact our offices for an appointment.

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. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)



Domestic partnerships, also known as cohabitation relationships, are becoming more common in our modern day society, and it therefore becomes ever more important for parties to understand the different legal implications of being married and merely cohabiting. Parties to a domestic partnership do not enjoy the same legal protection as married couples upon termination of the partnership with regards to maintenance claims, property division or succession.

In the South African legal system, there are three forms of fully legally recognised unions, namely marriages, civil unions and customary marriages. However, in our modern society it is becoming more common for couples to live together in domestic partnerships, without ever getting married. It is important for parties to these partnerships to realise that little to no legal protection is provided upon the termination of such a relationship, either by agreement or due to the death of either party.

The general rule for domestic partnerships was laid down in Butters v Mncora: A domestic partnership does not give rise to any special legal consequences, such as that of a marriage or a civil union.

In 2006, the South African Law Reform Commission acknowledged the need for legal protection to be granted and drafted the “Draft Domestic Partnership Bill.” Parliament has however shown no urgency to pass the Draft Bill, and the legal position in South Africa thus remains unchanged.

Maintenance claims

The Maintenance of Surviving Spouses Act entitles a surviving spouse of a marriage, and a surviving civil partner of a civil union, to institute a claim for maintenance against the estate of the deceased. This provides for a claim of any reasonable maintenance needs that they cannot provide for by their own means, until such time that they remarry or pass away.

Parties of a domestic partnership should note that this protection does not extend to domestic partnerships, and thus no such maintenance claim can be made. Should the Domestic Partnership Bill be enacted in the future, section 28 will offer such an opportunity to claim for maintenance. However, at this stage no such protection is afforded.

Property Division

Parties to a marriage have a choice of two matrimonial property regimes.  Simply put this is to be married either in community of property, or out of community of property. Each property system will have different consequences flowing from it either by law or contractually due to an Antenuptial contract. However, no property regimes exist for domestic partnerships, and thus no joint estate can exist as it would in a marriage.

The Supreme Court of Appeal has recently portrayed an increased willingness to extend contract-based legal protection to parties of a domestic partnerships. Contracts can be concluded by parties in domestic partnerships to govern aspects such as division of property upon termination of the partnership. Although these types of contracts are legally enforceable, they may give rise to potential problems. The contract may be concluded solely for the benefit of one of the parties, or circumstances may occur that the parties had not anticipated when the contract was drawn up. In practice however, it seldom happens that parties to a domestic partnership actually enter into a contract.  This may be due to a mutual decision, or due to the fact that parties did not foresee a need for such contract.

Intestate Succession

In terms of the Intestate Succession Act, a spouse of a marriage will inherit if the deceased spouse dies without making a will. This has been extended to include partners of a civil union and customary marriage. Provision for inheritance by a partner of a permanent same-sex partnership has also been made in terms of this Act. This has however not been extended to the termination of heterosexual domestic partnerships, and thus no claim can be made in terms of the Intestate Succession Act on the estate of a deceased partner of a domestic partnership.

Couples living together in cohabitation relationships do not have similar rights to institute claims against the other party upon termination as they would have in a marriage or civil union. This could leave financially dependent parties in unanticipated vulnerable positions.

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. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)


  • Butters v Mncora 2012 (4) SA 1 (SCA).
  • Barratt A “Private contract or automatic court discretion? Current trends in legal regulation of permanent life-partnerships” (2015) 26 Stellenbosch Law Review 110-131.
  • Clark B “Families and domestic partnerships” (2002) 119 South African Law Journal 634-648.
  • Intestate Succession Act 81 of 1987.
  • Maintenance of Surviving Spouse Act 27 of 1990.
  • Skeleton A (ed) Family Law in South Africa (2010), Cape Town: Oxford University Press.
  • The Domestic Partnership bill in GG 30663 of 14-01-2008.


A1_MarIn the past there were definite financial gains attached to certain fringe benefits granted by an employer to employees. There were also quite a few loopholes which were abused by a number of taxpayers. As a result SARS has clamped down on the tax treatment of fringe benefits by changing the Tax Laws and closing the loopholes.SARS started taxing the cash value of fringe benefits. The cash value of a fringe benefit is equal to the cost of the benefit to the employer. If the asset depreciates over time, the cash value will have to be re-considered each year, otherwise the employee will be paying too much tax.

The following fringe benefits granted by an employer to an employee will be taxable in the employee’s hands at the cash value as set out below:

  • Private use of a cellphone or computer equipment, except if the private use of the asset is incidental to the business use thereof and the employee uses the asset more than 50% for the employer’s business.

The onus to prove that the asset is required to be used outside of the workplace by the employee and mainly for business purposes, rests on the employer and the employee.

  • Company car:

The cash value of the company car fringe benefit will be calculated with reference to the original cost of the vehicle to the employer.

There are special tax considerations to be taken into account in the following circumstances:

  1. A vehicle not acquired by the employer in a sales or exchange transaction;
  2. Maintenance plans;
  • Employee contributes towards the cost of the vehicle;
  1. Employee used the vehicle for a period shorter than a month; or
  2. Employee is regularly required to use the motor vehicle for the performance of his/her duties outside their normal working hours.
  • Giving an asset to an employee for free or for less than its actual value:

The cash value of the fringe benefit will be the value of the asset less any consideration paid by the employee.

  • Low interest or interest-free loans:

The fringe benefit will have a cash value of interest calculated at the SARS official tax rate and be reduced by any interest paid by the employee.

  • Subsidies in respect of loans:

The cash value will be equal to the cost of the subsidy to the employer in respect of any interest and/or capital repayments.

  • Employer subsidies to pension funds, provident funds, etc.:

The cash value will be the amount of the subsidy paid by the employer.

  • Employer contributions to insurance policies where the employee or a relative of the employee will be benefitted by the policy:

The cash value will be equal to the amount of the premiums paid by the employer.

  • Medical aid contributions paid on behalf of an employee:

The cash value is equal to the amount paid by the employer.

  • Payment or refund of medical expenses incurred by the employee or his immediate family:

The cash value is equal to the cost to the employer.

  • Debt paid on behalf of an employee or releasing an employee from an obligation to pay a debt:

The cash value is equal to the amount paid by the employer or the amount of the debt of which the employee has been released.

There are a number of exceptions where no value will be placed on the payment or the release of the debt. Please contact your tax practitioner for more information.

  • Free or cheap services:

The cash value will be calculated as the cost of the service to the employer less any amount paid by the employee.

  • Free meals, refreshments or meal vouchers:

The cash value of this benefit will be equal to the cost to the employer less any amount paid by the employee.

It is important to ensure that an employee is taxed on the correct amount for a fringe benefit. Taxing an employee on an amount higher than the cash value of a fringe benefit will result in the employee paying too much tax. Taxing the employee on an amount lower than the cash value, thus deducting too little Employees’ Tax will cause the employer to become liable for fines and penalties from SARS.

As can be seen from the above, an employee will be taxed on his/her cost to the employer and it is fast becoming irrelevant whether an employee’s package is structured in a certain way to reduce income tax.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as 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 attorney for specific and detailed advice. (E&OE)

Reference List:



article4bl-SeptemberDit was ‘n storie wat die wêreld geskok het: ‘n vrou word wreed vermoor op haar wittebrood, en ‘n man op soek na antwoorde in ‘n vreemde land, totdat dit na vore gekom het dat hy die konkelaar was in sy vrou se moord…

Shrien Dewani word daarvan verdink dat hy die moord op sy vrou Anni, 28, beplan het. Sy is geskiet toe die paartjie in November 2010 in ‘n taxi in die buitewyke van Kaapstad gereis het. Tot op hede is drie mans skuldig bevind aan Anni se dood. Verlede jaar is die Suid-Afrikaner Xolile Mngeni skuldig bevind aan moord en tot  lewenslange tronkstraf gevonnis. Hy beweer dat hy as ‘n sluipmoordenaar deur Dewani gehuur was om sy vrou dood te maak, iets wat Dewani konsekwent ontken. Taxibestuurder Zola Tongo is 18 jaar gevangenisstraf opgelê vir sy rol in die moord. Nog ‘n medepligtige, Mziwamadoda Qwabe, het ook skuldig gepleit op die moord en is tot  25 jaar gevangenisstraf gevonnis. Howard Riddle, die Hooflanddros van die Westminster-landdroshof in sentraal-Londen, het in 2011 beslis dat Dewani uitgelewer moet word, maar dit is suksesvol geappelleer en die landdros is beveel om weer te kyk na die saak.

Op Woensdag, 24 Julie 2013, het die Westminster-landdroshof besluit om Dewani aan Suid-Afrika uit te lewer om tereg te staan ​​op die moord van sy vrou, Anni. Dewani se prokureurs beplan egter om hierdie besluit te appelleer, terwyl Dewani in die Verenigde Koninkryk aanbly. Dewani ly na berig word aan post-traumatiese stresversteuring (PTSV) en depressie sedert sy vrou se dood.

Sy prokureurs is beslis dat hy sal terugkeer na Suid-Afrika as sy gesondheid dit  toelaat en wanneer toepaslike beskerming  in plek is vir sy gesondheid en veiligheid.

Waaroor gaan uitlewering?

Uitlewering is die oorgawe van ‘n beweerde oortreder of voortvlugtige aan die staat/land  in wie se gebied die beweerde misdryf gepleeg is. Waarom neem dit dan so lank vir Dewani om weer voet aan wal te sit in Suid-Afrika?

Die Suider-Afrikaanse Ontwikkelingsgemeenskap se protokol oor uitlewering bepaal dat uitleweringsmisdaad oortredings is wat strafbaar is onder die wette van albei staatpartye met gevangenisstraf of ander ontneming van vryheid vir ‘n tydperk van ten minste een jaar, of deur ‘n meer ernstige straf. Indien die versoek om uitlewering verband hou met ‘n persoon wat gesoek word vir die handhawing van ‘n vonnis van gevangenisstraf of ander ontneming van vryheid wat opgelê is vir sodanige oortreding, kan die uitlewering geweier word indien ‘n tydperk van minder as ses maande van die vonnis oorbly.

‘n Misdryf is uitlewerbaar ongeag of die optrede waarop die versoekende staat se versoek berus, plaasgevind het in die gebied waaroor dit regsbevoegdheid het. Sou die wet van die versoekte staat egter nie voorsiening maak vir jurisdiksie oor ‘n misdryf in soortgelyke omstandighede nie, kan die versoekte staat na goeddunke uitlewering op hierdie gronde weier.

Die uitleweringsproses

Wanneer kennis gegee word dat uitlewering toegestaan is sal die staatpartye sonder onbehoorlike vertraging reël vir die oorgawe van die persoon wat gesoek word en moet die versoekte staat die versoekende staat in kennis stel van die tydperk wat die persoon wat gesoek word, aangehou is met die oog op oorgawe. Die persoon moet uit die gebied van die versoekte staat verwyder word binne ‘n redelike tydperk soos deur die versoekte staat bepaal en, indien die persoon nie binne hierdie tydperk verwyder word nie, kan die versoekte staat die persoon vrylaat en weier om daardie persoon vir dieselfde oortreding uit te lewer.

Indien omstandighede buite sy beheer verhoed dat enigeen van die staatpartye die persoon wat uitgelewer moet word, oorgee of verwyder, moet dit die ander staatparty in kennis stel. Die twee staatpartye moet dan onderling besluit op ‘n nuwe datum van oorgawe.

Die versoekte staat kan, nadat ‘n besluit oor die versoek om uitlewering geneem is, die oorgawe van ‘n persoon wat gesoek word uitstel ten einde die persoon te vervolg of, indien die persoon reeds skuldig bevind is, ten einde ‘n vonnis toe te pas wat opgelê is vir ‘n misdryf anders as dié waarvoor uitlewering versoek is. In so ‘n geval moet die versoekte staat die versoekende staat ooreenkomstig in kennis stel.

Die versoekte staat mag, in plaas daarvan om oorgawe uit te stel, die persoon wat gesoek word tydelik aan die versoekende staat oorgee in ooreenstemming met voorwaardes waartoe die staatpartye ooreengekom het.


‘n Mens kan die gevolgtrekking maak dat uitlewering ‘n goeie en noodsaaklike remedie is. As jy ‘n misdryf in ‘n spesifieke land pleeg, moet jy aanspreeklik wees vir die oortreding en boet volgens die reëls van die land waar die misdryf gepleeg is. ‘n Mens kan nie net weghardloop van jou sondes nie. Dewani moet aanvaar dat die misdaad wat hy gepleeg het in Suid-Afrika plaasgevind het en dat dit is waar sy verhoor moet voortgaan.

Hoewel sy prokureurs aanvoer dat sy depressie en geestelike gesondheid in Suid-Afrika kan versleg, het ons land ten volle gekwalifiseerde dokters, wat enige siekte wat hy dalk het, kan behandel. Die uitlewering moet voortgaan sonder enige appèlle sodat sy vermoorde vrou se familie vrede kan vind en die versekering kan hê dat geregtigheid in ons land geskied 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.

Kliek hier om die volledige vrywaring te sien



article1bl-SeptemberMHI Prokureurs en C2M Geoktrooieerde Rekenmeester  fokus in September op meer as net Regs- en Ouditdienste. Hierdie twee professionele firmas het betrokke geraak deur woorde in die WAT te borg en sodoende die Afrikaanse taal te bevorder. MHI het besluit om al die woorde van ons splinternuwe slagspreuk te borg: “SOVEEL MEER AS NET ‘N REGSFIRMA.”

“Borg ‘n Woord” is ‘n fondsinsamelingsprojek van die Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal (WAT). Die staatsubsidie van die WAT is drasties ingekort en tans moet die woordeboek jaarliks self R3 miljoen genereer ten einde ‘n produktiewe en dinamiese nie-winsgewende maatskappy te bly.  Deelnemers aan “Borg ‘n Woord” kan enige Afrikaanse woord, of selfs ook jou eie nuutskepping, borg.  Borge kry dan ‘n sertifikaat met hul naam en die woord of woorde wat hulle borg daarop.  Sodoende verseker deelnemers dat die Afrikaanse taal volledig geboekstaaf word in al sy verskyningsvorme: Standaard Afrikaans asook die ander variëteite soos Namakwalands en Kaaps, geselstaal, die rykdom aan uitdrukkings en streekstaal. “Borg ‘n Woord” is die idee van Mnr. Frans Stroebel, ‘n groot vriend van die WAT en jarelange persoonlike assistent van Dr. Anton Rupert.

Gaan na en klik op “Borg ‘n Woord” vir meer inligting.



article4bl-SeptemberIt was a story that shocked the world: a woman brutally murdered on her honeymoon and a lonely husband looking for answers in a foreign country, until it emerged that he had been the main schemer in his wife’s murder…

Shrien Dewani is suspected of ordering the killing of his new wife Anni, 28, who was shot as the couple travelled in a taxi on the outskirts of Cape Town in November 2010. To date three men have been convicted of Anni’s death. Last year, South African Xolile Mngeni was convicted of premeditated murder for shooting her, and sentenced to life imprisonment. Prosecutors claimed he was a hit man Dewani hired to kill his wife, something Dewani has consistently denied. Taxi driver Zola Tongo was jailed for 18 years after he admitted his part in the killing. Another accomplice, Mziwamadoda Qwabe, also pleaded guilty to murder and was handed a 25-year prison sentence. Howard Riddle, the Chief Magistrate for Westminster Magistrate’s Court in London, ruled in 2011 that Dewani should be extradited, but this was successfully appealed against and the magistrate was ordered to look again at the case.

On Wednesday, the 24th of July 2013, the Westminster Magistrate’s Court decided to extradite Shrien Dewani to South Africa, to face trial for the murder of his wife Anni. However, Dewani’s lawyers plan to appeal this decision while Shrien stays in the UK. Dewani has reportedly been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression since his wife’s death. His lawyers are firm that he will return to South Africa once his health will permit a full trial and when appropriate protections are in place for his health and safety.

What is extradition all about?

Extradition is the surrender of an alleged offender or fugitive to the state/country in whose territory the alleged offence was committed. So why is it taking so long for Shrien Dewani to set foot in South Africa?

The Southern African Development Community Protocol on Extradition states that extraditable offence are offences that are punishable under the laws of both state parties by imprisonment or other deprivation of liberty for a period of at least one year, or by a more severe penalty.Where the request for extradition relates to a person wanted for the enforcement of a sentence of imprisonment or other deprivation of liberty imposed for such an offence, extradition may be refused if a period of less than six months of such sentence remains to be served.

An offence is extraditable whether or not the conduct on which the requesting state bases its request, occurred in the territory over which it has jurisdiction. However, where the law of the requested state does not provide for jurisdiction over an offence in similar circumstances, the requested state may, in its discretion, refuse extradition on this basis.

The extradition process

Upon being informed that extradition has been granted, the state parties shall, without undue delay, arrange for the surrender of the person sought and the requested state shall inform the requesting state of the length of time for which the person sought was detained with a view to surrender.

The person shall be removed from the territory of the requested state within such reasonable period as the requested state specifies and, if the person is not removed within that period, the requested state may release the person and may refuse to extradite that person for the same offence. If circumstances beyond its control prevent either state party from surrendering or removing the person to be extradited, it shall notify the other state party. The two state parties shall mutually decide upon a new date of surrender.

The requested state may, after making a decision on the request for extradition, postpone the surrender of a person sought, in order to proceed against that person, or, if that person has already been convicted, in order to enforce a sentence imposed for an offence other than that for which extradition is sought. In such a case, the requested state shall advise the requesting state accordingly.

The requested state may, instead of postponing surrender, temporarily surrender the person sought to the requesting sate in accordance with conditions to be determined between the state parties.


One can draw the conclusion that extradition is a good and necessary remedy. If you commit an offence in a specific country, you should be liable for that offence and pay the penalty according to the rules of the country where the offence was committed. One can not merely run away from one’s sins. Shrien Dewani should accept that because he committed the crime in South Africa,that is where his trial should continue.

Although Shrien’s lawyers argue that his depression and mental health could deteriorate in South Africa, our country has fully qualified doctors that can treat any illness that he might have. The extradition should continue without any appeals in order for his murdered wife’s family to be able to have peace and know that justice has been served in our country.

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.

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article3bl-SeptemberKan ‘n verbruiker jou, die diensverskaffer, hof toe sleep omdat die verbruiker nie sommige van die terme en voorwaardes van jou getekende kontrak verstaan nie? Pasop, die antwoord is Ja!

Vanaf April 2011 het die Wet op Verbruikersbeskerming in volle werking getree, met die gevolg dat dit nou onwettig is om moeilik-om-te-verstaan ​​taal in enige besigheidsdokument of kontrak te gebruik.

Besigheid gaan gewoonlik gepaard met baie papierwerk, of dit nou ‘n kontrak, ‘n brief, `n ooreenkoms of selfs ‘n instruksieboekie is. Hierdie noodsaaklike dokumente is dikwels geskryf in taal wat ​​vir die gemiddelde verbruiker moeilik is om te verstaan.

Die rede waarom daar spesifieke Eenvoudige Taal-regulasies in die Wet op Verbruikersbeskerming vervat is, is om die verbruikers te beskerm teen die ondertekening van dokumente wat hulle nie verstaan ​​nie.

Beskerming van die verbruiker

Die Wet se uitdruklike doel is om seker te maak dat verbruikers nie onbillik behandel word nie – doelbewus of  nie. Dit beteken dat die gebruik van eenvoudige taal nou belangriker is as ooit. Die gebruik van vae en verwarrende bewoording, veral in bindende kontrakte, word nie meer toegelaat nie. Om dit eenvoudig te stel, dit is onwettig!

Te veel verbruikers het vroeër in groot moeilikheid beland, veral finansiële moeilikheid, omdat hulle nie verstaan ​het ​wat hulle onderteken het nie. Soms is kontrakte geskryf in opgeblase, burokratiese styl net omdat dit is hoe dit nog altyd was, of omdat die mense wat die kontrakte opstel bloot nie geweet het van enige ander manier om dit te doen nie.

Dikwels, egter, het gewetenlose besighede opsetlik ingewikkelde taal gebruik as ‘n manier om verbruikers te mislei om te betaal vir iets wat hulle nie kan bekostig nie, hul regte weg te teken, of om in te stem tot onbillike terme en voorwaardes.

Omskrywing van eenvoudige taal

Die Wet op Verbruikersbeskerming definieer eenvoudige taal in Deel D, Artikel 22 soos volg:

“By die toepassing van hierdie Wet, is ’n kennisgewing, dokument of visuele voorstelling in gewone taal, indien dit redelik is om tot die gevolgtrekking te kom dat ’n gewone verbruiker van die klas van persone vir wie die kennisgewing, dokument of visuele voorstelling bedoel is, met gemiddelde geletterdheidsvaardighede en minimale ondervinding as ’n verbruiker van die betrokke goedere of dienste, verwag kan word om die inhoud, betekenis en belang van die kennisgewing, dokument of visuele voorstelling sonder onnodige inspanning te verstaan, met inagneming van:

  • Die samehang, omvattendheid en konsekwentheid van die kennisgewing, dokument of visuele voorstelling;
  • Die organisering, vorm en styl van die kennisgewing, dokument of visuele voorstelling;
  • Die woordeskat, gebruik en sinstruktuur van die kennisgewing, dokument of visuele voorstelling; en
  • Die gebruik van illustrasies, voorbeelde, opskrifte of ander hulpmiddels om te lees en te verstaan.”

Dit beteken dat ‘n mens nie dinge so wyd kan omskryf dat dit op verskeie maniere verstaan of geïnterpreteer kan ​​word nie. Die Wet bepaal dat indien daar enige twyfel oor die betekenis van sekere woorde of terme en voorwaardes is, die voordeel ten gunste van die verbruiker sal wees.

Selfs advertensies en bemarking mag nie meer enige onduidelikheid vir die verbruiker daarstel nie. Advertensies word nie toegelaat om te oordryf nie en moet maklik verstaanbaar, regverdig en eerlik wees. Die Wet bepaal dus dat diensverskaffers alles in duidelike en eenvoudige taal wat verbruikers kan verstaan, moet uitspel. Alternatiewelik het  die verbruikers die reg op blootlegging en inligting in eenvoudige en verstaanbare taal.

Dus, moenie uitstel nie. Indien  jy ‘n besigheidsdokument of kontrak het wat al jare gebruik word moet jy dalk met ander oë daarna kyk en dit wysig of herbewoord ten einde te verseker dat dit voldoen aan die Wet op Verbruikersbeskerming.

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.

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article2bl-SeptemberDie huis was presies waarna jy gesoek het.  Die regte woonbuurt, ‘n gevestigde tuin, pragtige bome wat grasieus wieg in die somerbries met net die regte hoeveelheid skadu langs jou swembad en veranda.  Boonop is die bome in jou buurman se erf, en nie jou probleem wat snoei of die blare betref nie, het die eiendomsagent gesê.  Jy het jou hart verloor en jou gesin is gaande oor die nuwe woning.

Herfs kom en die blare verander van kleur. Jou wen foto‘s het jy sommer vanaf die agterdeur geneem!

Maar as die blare begin val, verstop die swembadpomp in ‘n oogwink en moet kort-kort herstel word.  Jou Saterdag-gholfafspraak word afgestel omdat jy vragte blare moet wegry.  Met die eerste donderstorm van die nuwe seisoen skeur die wind ‘n tak af en ruk daarmee saam sommer ook die elektriese heining van die muur af.

Die akkers maak duike in jou nuwe trots en terwyl jy by die strandhuis was, het die ryp vrugte op jou grasperk gevrot.

Sodra jou bure weggaan vir die naweek gaan jy oor die muur spring en met jou kettingsaag inklim…

Probleme met die buurman se bome is so oud soos woonbuurte self en sedert mense al nader aan mekaar begin woon het.

Om bloot oor die muur te spring en te snoei soos jy dit wil hê, of nog erger, die boom af te saag, is nie net ongemagtigde betreding van jou buurman se eiendom nie, maar ook opsetlike saakbeskadiging.

Menige ongelukkige eienaar het al die howe genader vir hulp met die buurman se boom.  Die howe het aanvanklik eers die gronde waarop die howe genader moet word oorweeg, wat nou algemeen aanvaar word as “ergernis”.

Jy sal aan die hof moet bewys dat die ongemak veroorsaak deur jou buurman se boom nie net is omdat jy onrealisties of elegant is of verfynde leefstylgewoontes het nie. Die ongemak moet wesentlik inbreuk maak op jou gebruiklike fisiese gemak en jou menslike bestaan.

Die maatstaf wat die howe in ag sal neem in die oorweging van hierdie inbreuk op jou gesondheid, welstand en gemak met die besit van jou eiendom, is díe van ‘n normale persoon met vrysinnige smaak en gewoontes.  Die toets van redelikheid sal toegepas word met inagneming van die algemeen aanvaarde waardes van ‘n besondere gemeenskap.  Werklike skade aan jou eiendom is nie ‘n vereiste nie.

Die hof sal egter ook die ergernis oorweeg, selfs al veroorsaak die bome werklike skade, in verhouding met jou verantwoordelikheid om die natuurlike gevolge van die gewone gebruik van grond, te verdra en te verduur.

Met ander woorde, die hof sal die geskil oorweeg en die beslissing sal ‘n balans vind tussen die kompeterende belange van jou en jou buurman.

Die uitspraak van De Vos R in Vogel v Crewe and another 2003 (4) SA 50 (T) het ‘n verdere baie belangrike aspek na vore gebring: die natuurlike omgewing.

In ‘n wêreld waar bome en die natuur ‘n toenemend belangrike rol speel en geag word as belangrik vir ons welstand asook die welstand van die aarde, moet daar des te meer versigtige oorweging geskenk word voordat ‘n eis om die afkap van ‘n boom, toegestaan word.

De Vos R het opgemerk dat bome ‘n noodsaaklike deel van ons menslike omgewing uitmaak en nie net estetiese genot aan ons verskaf nie maar ook funksioneel is wat betref die voorsiening van skadu, kos en suurstof.  En, soos soveel ander lewende organismes, vereis bome, in ruil vir die genot wat hulle verskaf, ‘n sekere mate van moeite, aandag en verdraagsaamheid.

Met ons groeiende bewuswording van die noodsaak om ons omgewing te beskerm, moet ons meer verdraagsaam wees oor die onvermydelike probleme wat veroorsaak word deur die krimpende grootte van eiendomme en die toenemende nabyheid van ons bure en dus ook ons bure se bome.

Voordat jy jou eiendom verkoop en na ‘n ander woonbuurt verhuis, oorweeg ‘n vriendelike gesprek met jou buurman en sy snoeier, aan JOU kant van die muur.

Verduidelik aan jou buurman watter takke van watter bome ‘n probleem is en wys vir hom die oorsaak van jou kommer.  Wees boonop bereid om ‘n middeweg te volg wat die soort boom, die groeiwyse en die balans van die boom in ag sal neem.  Jy kan nie op die verwydering van ‘n groot tak aandring wat die boom se balans gaan versteur en veroorsaak dat dit met die volgende stormwind op jou muur gaan val nie!

Sou al jou pogings, insluitend vriendelike briewe en e-pos korrespondensie op dowe ore val, is jy wel geregtig om die takke van die punt waar dit oor die muur in jou eiendom hang, te snoei.  Jy mag egter nie oor die muur leun om die takke aan die kant van jou buurman te sny nie.  Jy sal ook verantwoordelik wees om die takke van jou eiendom te verwyder nadat jy die boom op hierdie manier gesnoei het.

Kry vir jou ‘n koppie tee en gaan kyk behoorlik en onpartydig na daardie “aanstootlike” boom.  Sien jy die insekte, die voëls wat rondfladder en die akkedissie?  Rustig, is dit nie?

Moet daardie boom regtig afgesny word of sal jy dit kan verdra en verduur nadat dit ‘n bietjie gesnoei is?  As die boom nie daar is nie, het jy dalk ‘n heel ander uitsig op jou buurman se tuin of selfs in sy huis, wat dalk baie minder aangenaam is!

Neem die natuur en jou omgewing in ag.  Verdra die boom.  In die somer gaan jy die skadu waardeer.

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.

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article3bl-SeptemberCan a consumer take you, the service provider, to court because they did not understand some of the terms and conditions of your signed contract?  Beware, the answer is Yes!

From April 2011 the Consumer Protection Act came into full effect with the result that it is now against the law to use difficult-to-understand language in any business document or contract.

Business usually comes with some kind of paperwork, whether it’s a contract, a letter of agreement or even an instruction booklet.

These vital documents are often written in language that is hard to understand for the average consumer, which is why there are specific Plain Language regulations in The Consumer Protection Act to prevent consumers signing documents they do not understand.

Protecting the consumer

The Act’s express purpose is to make sure consumers are not treated unfairly – intentionally or not. This means that using plain language is more crucial than ever. From now on, using obscure and confusing wording, especially in binding contracts, is not allowed. Quite simply, it’s illegal!

Too many consumers have landed in big trouble, especially financial trouble, because they haven’t understood what they’ve signed. Sometimes contracts are written in bloated, bureaucratic jargon just because that’s the way it has always been, or because the people writing the contracts don’t know any other way to do it.

Often, though, unscrupulous businesses have used complicated language on purpose, as a way to trick consumers into paying for something they can’t afford, to sign away their rights, or to agree to unfair terms and conditions.

Defining plain language

The Consumer Protection Act defines plain language in Part D, Section 22 as follows:

“For the purposes of this Act, a notice, document or visual representation is in plain language if it is reasonable to conclude that an ordinary consumer of the class of persons for whom the notice, document or visual representation is intended, with average literacy skills and minimal experience as a consumer of the relevant goods or services, could be expected to understand the content, significance, and import of the document without undue effort, having regard to:

  • The context, comprehensiveness and consistency of the notice, document or visual representation;
  • The organisation, form and style of the notice, document or visual representation;
  • The vocabulary, usage and sentence structure of the notice, document or visual representation; and
  • The use of any illustrations, examples, headings, or other aids to reading and understanding.”

This means that one won’t be permitted to word things so widely that they can be understood in several ways.  The Act states that if there is any doubt about the meaning of certain words or terms and conditions, the benefit will go to the consumer.

Even advertising and marketing may no longer contain any ambiguity. Advertisements won’t be allowed to exaggerate and they will have to be easy to understand, fair and honest. The Act states that service providers will have to spell out everything in words that consumers can understand, alternatively the consumers have the right to full disclosure and information in plain and understandable language.

So, don’t delay. If you have a business document or contract that has been used for generations you might have to take a second look at it to edit or reword it so that it complies with the Consumer Protection Act.

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.

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article2bl-SeptemberThe house was just perfect – the right neighbourhood, well established garden, beautiful trees waving graciously in the summer breeze with just the right amount of shade next to your swimming pool and veranda.  And as the trees are those of your neighbour, no problem with pruning or the leaves, said the estate agent.  You fell in love and your family loves the new home.

Autumn arrives. The leaves have changed colour and you have actually taken the competition-winning photographs right from your doorstep!

When the leaves start falling, the swimming pool pump has required repairs twice due to blockage and your Saturday golf has been replaced with hauling loads of leaves to the garden refuse.  During the first thunder storm of the new season the wind rips a branch off and whipped the branch through your electric fence, taking all off the wall.

The acorns made dents into your brand new pride and joy whilst the ripe fruit falling down on your lawn has started to rot whilst you were at the beach house.

You can’t wait for them to leave this weekend to jump over the fence with your chainsaw…

Problems with trees from adjacent gardens are as old as townships itself and since man moved into closer proximity to each other.

To merely jump over the fence and prune, or worse, cut down the tree to your satisfaction will not only constitute trespassing but also malicious damage to property.

Many disgruntled neighbour has approached the courts demanding relief.  The courts have carefully considered the basis on which you can approach the court, now generally considered as “nuisance”.

You will have to prove to the court that the inconvenience caused to you by your neighbour’s tree is more than you just being fanciful, elegant or having dainty modes and habits of living.  The inconvenience caused must materially interfere with your ordinary comfort, physically and your human existence.

The standard that the court will consider this infringing of your health, well-being or comfort in occupation of your property, will be that of a normal person of sound and liberal tastes and habits.  The test of reasonableness shall be applied taking into account general norms acceptable to a particular society. Actual damage to your property is not a requirement.

The court will however also consider the nuisance, even if the tree(s) are actually causing damage, balancing this with your responsibility to tolerate the natural consequence of the ordinary use of the land.

In other words, the court will consider the dispute and the decision will involve balancing the competing interests of you and your neighbour.

The judgment of De Vos J in Vogel v Crewe and another 2003 (4) SA 50 (T) raised a further very important aspect.  The environment.

In a world where trees and nature are considered all the more important for our well-being and that of the earth, all the more careful consideration should be taken before a demand for the cutting down of a tree is granted.

De Vos J noted that trees form an essential part of our human environment, not only giving us aesthetic pleasure but also being functional in providing shade, food and oxygen.  And, like many other living things, trees require, in return for the pleasure provided, a certain amount of effort and tolerance.

With our increasing awareness of the importance of protecting our environment, we need to become more tolerant of the inevitable problems caused by the shrinking size of properties and the greater proximity of neighbours and consequently the neighbours’ trees.

Before you sell your property and move to another neighbourhood all together, consider a friendly discussion with your neighbour and his pruning company of choice, from YOUR side of the fence.

Explain to your neighbour which branches of which trees are problematic or show him the cause for your concern.  And be willing to reach an agreement somewhere in the middle, taking the type of tree, its form of growth and the balance of the tree into consideration.  It will not suffice to demand the removal of a large branch unbalancing the tree which will then fall over during the next storm taking down your wall!

If all your efforts, including friendly letters and e-mailed correspondence fall on deaf ears, you are allowed to prune all branches as from the point that it protrude over the wall into your property.  You are not allowed to lean over the wall to cut those branches at the neighbours’ side of the wall.  You will also be responsible for removing the branches from your property after you have pruned the tree in this manner.

So take your cup of tea, and have a good, impartial look at that “offending” tree.  See the insects, the birds fluttering around and the odd lizard.  Tranquil, is it not?

Must that tree go, or can you tolerate its existence, maybe with a little pruning?  Cutting it down, you might just open a view into your neighbours’ garden (or house) which is even less pleasing!

Consider the environment. Tolerate that tree. In the summer you will relish the shade.

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.

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