December 2006


From My Window - Dec 2006 From My Window December 2006

It's a sad, funny, world. Most of us are acutely aware that the thread between life and death is so tenuous that it demands constant monitoring. But for some people, poverty is so dreadful that, short of topping themselves immediately, they are willing to contract a death warrant that will be concluded in a foreseeable and short future.

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The Legal Services Charter – the devil’s in the detail The Law December 2006

The story may well be apocryphal but, nevertheless, it's worth repeating reports that when Standard Bank CE Jacko Maree was asked in 2003 how the banks and financial firms had managed to draw up the financial sector empowerment charter so quickly, he said they'd chucked all of the lawyers out of the room, hauling them in at the last minute only to check the fine print.

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Jali rocks the jailhouse Criminal Law December 2006

Former US attorney general Ramsey Clark, in a keynote address to the American Correctional Association in 1967, once said: "The true test of a society is how well it treats its prisoners and old people"

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Buying sex might lead to jail Criminal Law December 2006

A last-minute addition to the Sexual Offences Bill is causing concern among sex workers and related advocacy groups.

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Those Asset Forfeiture orders Constitutional Law December 2006

In Simon Prophet v The National Director of Public Prosecutions the Constitutional Court (judgement September 29 2006) had to strike a balance between two fundamental Constitutional principles: first, that no-one should be arbitrarily deprived of property and, second, that the State is under an obligation to protect the public from criminal depredations.

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Anton Piller applications under attack Constitutional Law December 2006

On September 13 2006 Van Zyl J handed down judgement in the matter of Rath v Rees1. The matter concerned an Anton Piller application brought by the applicant, Dr Rath, a medical doctor, researcher and director of the Doctor Rath Health Foundation Africa. The respondent was the author of an internet website which commented on the work of Rath and his health foundation.

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Disqualified directors Company Law December 2006

Be warned, there are serious consequences to ignoring the notice by Cipro (Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office) of the establishment of a disqualified directors register.

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Whistleblowers: a small fraud is a big fraud caught early Company Law December 2006

Blowing the whistle on the major corporate scams over the last 15 years came at a high price for the whistle-blowers themselves. After the facts have emerged some may have considered them heroes, but at the time they were shunned, pressured and overlooked.

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Wise not to ignore the King Company Law December 2006

After almost five years in existence, the King Report on Corporate Governance for South Africa – March 2002 (King II), has received momentous judicial acknowledgement from the High Court. Two issues are discussed in this note. First, the observation of sound corporate governance practices by directors and, second, the importance of the “triple-bottom line" approach in corporate management.

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FIFA gets off tax-free Tax December 2006

Finance Minister Trevor Manuel unveiled a 2010-friendly medium-term budget in October, effectively doling out R15,1bn of taxpayers money towards financing the construction of five new stadia and the upgrade of associated infrastructure such as trains, roads and telecoms. All South Africans can rightfully claim to have assisted in driving the World Cup preparations forward.

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Dividend stripping: still worth a look? Tax December 2006

Some years ago the courts were presented with a number of tax cases involving what are colloquially known as “dividend stripping" transactions. These got the Revenue a bit hot under the collar – presumably not because of any salacious connotation to the name, but rather because the protagonists claimed a favourable tax treatment.

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Distinguishing between employees and independent contractors Tax December 2006

For a number of purposes, the law recognises a distinction between “employees" and independent contractors." Essentially, an employee usually works within the employer's business structure and is subject to the employer's instructions, not merely as regards what he is to do but also as to the manner in which he is to do it, such as the hours when the work is to be done, and where it is to be carried out.

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Returns from collective investment schemes and CGT Tax December 2006

Investors in collective investment schemes (CIS) often assume that the income they receive from such an investment constitutes either dividends or interest and that they will realise a capital gain on disinvestment. Is this assumption correct? In particular, does this assumption hold true for an investment into a foreign collective investment scheme (FCIS)?

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CGT and offshore assets – the confusion continues Tax December 2006

The Tax and Exchange Control Amnesty announced in 2003 resulted in thousands of individuals “coming clean" with regard to their offshore assets. Following on from the amnesty, these individuals have been taxed on the annual income and capital gains derived from their offshore assets and the disposal thereof, but there remains much confusion regarding the capital gains tax (CGT) implications of these assets.

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Seeing RED in 2007 Energy Law December 2006

By early 2007 electricity consumers will be seeing red when the lights go out. This is when South Africa's R59bn regional electricity initiative is due to be finalised, with Eskom and several municipalities transferring their electricity distribution business to six regional electricity distributors (REDs), anchored by South Africa's six metropolitan municipalities.

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