Unprecedented regulations have been passed by Minister Patel in order to exempt certain categories of agreements and practices in the banking, healthcare and retail sector in order to enable competitors in key South African industries to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Regulations to deter unfair and excessive pricing of critical consumer goods and services have also been put into place.
The Coronavirus is having a significant impact on the global economy as it increasingly disrupts production, supply chains and travel. With that in mind, organisations should consider any potential legal risks and how to protect themselves against them.
On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organisation ("WHO") characterised COVID-19 as a pandemic pursuant to an assessment by the WHO. As the global community grapples with COVID- 19 and its ramifications, parties to commercial agreements have not been spared from panic in respect of the adverse effects on those agreements.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the coronavirus is a "family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases". The novel strain of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is a unique strain to the coronavirus family. While it is still unclear how COVID-19 originated, or how it was transmitted, what scientists know for sure is that the virus is resistant to antibiotics.
South Africa is in the grip of the Covid-19 virus but, thanks to an overwhelming amount of coverage in the news and social media, the public at large are aware of developments, projected infection rates and precautionary measures.
On 17 February, the Competition Commission published Draft Guidelines for the Automotive Aftermarket Industry which comprises the market for motor vehicle spare parts, tools and components after the vehicles are sold to consumers. This market also includes maintenance and repair services sold by dealerships to consumers. Key role players in the market include companies involved in the manufacturing, distribution, retail, service and repairs of motor vehicles as well as Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).
An unfortunate reality of our economy is that parties often find themselves in dire financial straits and, as a result, struggle to maintain their contractual obligations. Frequently, a settlement agreement offers a new way forward.
Two recent cases in the High Court of South Africa concern disputes regarding diesel refund claims that were declined by the Commissioner for the South African Revenue Service (SARS or the Commissioner). The cases have implications for mining companies that contract to companies to carry out primary production of mining activities on their land, on a dry contract basis, and the interpretation of the concept of mining activities in terms of Schedule 6 to the Customs and Excise Act, 91 of 1964. The initial purpose of this diesel rebate, when it was introduced in the 2001 National Budget Speech by the Minister of Finance, was to encourage international competitiveness of mining on land as a primary production sector. The refunds are governed by the Act but are paid by means of the Value Added Tax (VAT) refund system.
The South African and world economies and societies are currently dominated by COVID-19 concerns. We have to hope that the government's bold response to the outbreak will yield the desired results so that, by the second half of 2020, those involved in the transport industry can return to managing their businesses and responding to recent developments by identifying opportunities and challenges, particularly in the shipping and marine insurance space. Of course, the effects of COVID-19 will continue to be felt for some time, but we have to assume that life and business will eventually return to normal.
There are two ways to transport your household or personal goods to another country: air freight or sea freight. The latter is the most common and cost-efficient way to transport your goods to another country.
The Water Tribunal was established in terms of s146 of the National Water Act. Members appointed to the Tribunal are required to have knowledge in law, engineering, water resource management or related fields. After considering the subject matter of the specific appeal before it, the chairperson must nominate those members who meet the legal and technical requirements for the hearing of that specific matter to sit and adjudicate thereon. Although perhaps not well drafted, the irresistible inference is that the members of the Tribunal should have diverse qualifications and technical skills so that the chairperson is able to draw on these varied skills to ensure that members appointed to hear a specific matter are vested with both the technical and legal expertise required to adjudicate it properly. This begs the question: how is the Tribunal any different from a court?
The South African Constitutional Court has ruled that the term "property" in s25 of the Constitution covers not only land but also all forms of property including intellectual property (i.e. patents, designs, copyright trade marks etc.)