August 2011


From My Window - August 2011 From My Window August 2011

My heart sinks when I survey the way in which government goes out of its way to shoot the country in both feet. The latest of many episodes that cause me to despair is the Wal-Mart-Massmart farrago which dragged on for months, far longer than was ever necessary – and is now continuing. First, it was the unions who protested. They made a good fist of it, seizing on Wal-Mart's admittedly poor media perception and the fact that, as with many really big companies, it is easy to make it look like the neighbourhood bully. Then it was the turn of the Competition Commission. One minute it approved the deal without reservation, the next it reversed itself and imposed terms and conditions. Now we have three government departments which have together lodged an action against the Competition Tribunal on the grounds, apparently, that they are dissatisfied with the manner in which the Tribunal conducted the hearings.

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Editor's Note - August 2011 Editor's Note August 2011

July cannot be said to have been a quiet month – the headlines have evoked pictures of aggression, destruction and suffering and for many July 2011 will not hold happy memories. One event that could not have occurred at a worse time from the perspective of SA media is the News of the World phone hacking scandal which brought to an end the 168-year history of Britain's largest selling Sunday paper. Deliberation on the South African Protection of Information Bill resumed on July 25. Widely considered a muzzle to prevent media from exposing corruption in both the public and private sector, the hacking scandal is a wonderful bit of ammunition to have come government's way.

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Ham-fisted leadership and out-dated revolutionary rhetoric Labour Law August 2011

The story is all too familiar. The protagonist trade union reiterates outlandish wage demands, with the histrionics drowned by cacophonic ululations delivered by a crowd dressed in obligatory red t-shirts (which may or may not have been made in China).

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At sixes and sevens while the lights go out Energy Law August 2011

On July 4 2011, government represented by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) represented by the Directorate of Global Energy Dialogue signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoU). The IEA is an autonomous agency of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The primary purpose of the MoU is for the parties to review South Africa's energy resources and to ensure their availability in the future.

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Good legislation, lousy policing Anti-Corruption Law August 2011

South Africa is experiencing increasing foreign and domestic pressure to ensure the effective application and policing of its anti-corruption legislation.

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Foreign property purchases still an attractive option Property Law August 2011

The relaxation of exchange controls last year together with the strengthening of the rand has resulted in many South African property investors looking overseas to diversify their property portfolios.

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Constructing a conveyancer’s undertaking to pay Property Law August 2011

The appeal court has handed down a much anticipated judgement in Kruger v Property Lawyer Services (420/2010) [2011] ZASCA 80 concerning the practice of bridging finance and the liability of legal practitioners in terms of letters of undertaking furnished by them These undertakings are not usually unconditional and depend on receipt of the sale proceeds.

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Senwes: a marginal case of margin squeeze? Competition Law August 2011

Senwes is a silo-owner that is vertically integrated into grain trading. It is dominant in the storage of grain (mostly white maize) for farmers close to its silos, located mainly in the Free State.

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Blanket prohibitions on restraints Competition Law August 2011

Parties to legitimate commercial agreements which include a restraint should not view competition law as an impediment to their commercial transaction. It will depend partly on whether it is a “naked" or “ancillary" restraint. However, they should be aware that abuse of the Competition Act, 1998 for the purposes of escaping legitimate obligations imposed by their commercial agreements will not be permitted.

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Are genetically modified crops the answer to food shortage? Food Law August 2011

For a long time, many researchers have concentrated on developing methods and technologies for cures and treatments of diseases. As a result other fields of research have been neglected. One problem that may be as devastating as disease is food shortage.

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The consumer's right to know Food Law August 2011

The Genetically Modified Organisms Act (15, of 1997 (the GMO Act) governs the responsible development, production, use and application of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and strives to ensure that all activities involving their use (including importation, production, release and distribution) shall be carried out in such a way as to limit possible harmful consequences to the environment.

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Words, words . . . beware the words Intellectual Property August 2011

As a member of the World Health Organisation (WHO), South Africa has committed itself to implementing the WHO's Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health (the Strategy).1 The Strategy generally seeks to improve global health by, among others, enabling consumers to make informed, healthy choices regarding their diets.2 Given that most consumers obtain nutritional information directly from product labels themselves, one crucial way of facilitating this is to provide accurate, standardised and comprehensible information on food labels.3

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The age of dot.anything Intellectual Property August 2011

The Age of dot.anything has dawned and brand owners will simply have to deal with it. ICANN, the organisation tasked with co-ordinating and regulating the domain name system, has announced that it will soon be accepting applications for new generic top-level domains or “gTLDs."

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Pref shares get a makeover Tax August 2011

The recent Draft Taxation Laws Amendment Bill released at the beginning of June advances several far reaching consequences regarding the financing landscape as we currently know it, not least of which is the impact on preference share transactions.

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