One way or another “the law," meaning the judiciary and the police, has become a major topic of conversation – mostly for all the wrong reasons. A quick look at events in the past few weeks produces a litany of matters, so many that the selection of what to highlight is akin to taking a stab at a darts board.
Applause for John Dugard . . .
I was most pleased to read in your November 2006 issue, that John Dugard has been recognised in your publication for the legal giant he undoubtedly is; this despite our Government's shameful oversights in failing to appoint him to our first Constitutional Court Bench, and then, inexplicably, not supporting his appointment to the International Court of Justice.
The South African Revenue Service has always contended, and now has judicial support for this, (e.g. Metcash Trading Ltd v Commissioner, SARS 2001 (1) SA 1109 (CC). In this case, Court confirmed that the taxpayer must pay the amount owing first to SARS and argue the case later. This is the so-called "pay now argue later"policy that its extensive powers are essential for it to achieve effectively its objective of enforcing the various taxing Acts and collecting taxes efficiently.
We are constantly faced with the reality of a society tilting towards the periphery of unmanageable dishonesty and improper behaviour. Fraud and corruption have forced their way through the brickwork of all types of societies, institutions and corporations and have unfortunately become a customary ingredient in the mix of the South African business environment. This lowers the moral tone of the nation and negatively affects the development and the promotion of human rights. The actions associated with fraud and corruption have mutated into what appears incurable diseases.
South Africa's new Advance Tax Ruling System (ATR System) was introduced with effect from October 1 last year accompanied by a good deal of media hype. The new ATR System authorises the Revenue to issue Binding Private Rulings and Binding General Rulings on application by a taxpayer, subject to certain fees, including a cost recovery fee which will be set on a case-by-case basis. Previously, only non-binding SARS rulings were available.
I've just finished watching Steve Jobs' keynote address launching Apple Inc's new iPhone. (www.apple.com/ iphone/keynote/) As usual, Jobs was inspired as a presenter and the address (all two hours of it) was brilliant. The iPhone too. Frankly, I can't imagine anybody buying anything else once these babies hit the market. The iPhone is just such streets ahead of its closest competitors technically and, well, it's just way cooler, too! But then you have to forgive my enthusiasm: I've been an Apple freak ever since I migrated from a PC to a Powerbook 18 months ago.
Most of us enjoy a few blocks of our favourite slab of chocolate as a mid-afternoon or after-dinner treat. If we're really honest with ourselves, we may even admit (sshhh!) to consuming the entire slab from time to time. But what about chocolate for breakfast? Can one of our favourite treats legitimately form 'part of a nutritious breakfast'?
In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in the worldwide trend towards mediation of commercial disputes. Courts in several countries (including Australia, England, Canada and the US) have even moved to compel parties to undergo mediation as a first step towards dispute resolution. And, though South Africa fell behind other countries during apartheid, we're rapidly following suit with the establishment of the Institute of Directors' Centre for Mediation in 2006.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) regulations have recently been promulgated by the Minister of Communications under s69 read with s94 of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act (No. 25 of 2002), in consultation with the Minister of Trade and Industry. These regulations deal with disputes regarding the registration of domain names of the .co.za register.
From 2008 it will not only be crayfish that costs more in Cape Town than anywhere else in the country – petrol will cost anything from 10 to 50 cents a litre more in that province too.
Municipalities are at the coalface of service delivery. They play a leading role in the delivery of key services and infra-structure development. The objects of local government (municipalities) are set out in s152 of the Constitution and include:
(a) to provided emocratic and accountable governments for local government;
(b) to ensure the provision of services to communitiesin a sustainable manner;
(c) to promote social and economic development;