Attorneys | Notaries | Conveyancers

J Viljoen on 07/26/2020

Employers: What is Your Duty to Accommodate Religious Beliefs?

“The employer has a duty to reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious freedom unless it is impossible to do so without causing itself undue hardship. It is not enough that it may have a legitimate commercial rationale. The duty of reasonable accommodation imposed on the employer is one of modification or...
J Viljoen on 06/14/2020

Your Last Will: The Dire Consequences of Neglecting Formalities

“It is not intended for the Court to make a will for the deceased based on what his intentions may have been” (Quoted in the judgment below) As a general rule our law holds us to our agreements and statements, whether we express them verbally, electronically or in written form....
J Viljoen on 05/24/2020

Property Buyers: Beware Unlawful Occupiers!

“The time of maximum pessimism is the best time to buy, and the time of maximum optimism is the best time to sell” (Sir John Templeton, billionaire investor) You are in good company if you view times of depressed property prices and general uncertainty as a great buying opportunity. Just...
J Viljoen on 03/18/2020

Security Estates: Can You Fine Speedsters?

“When the chose to purchase property within the estate and become members of the Association, they agreed to be bound by its rules” (extract from judgment below) There are many advantages to buying in a security estate or other community scheme, including quality of life and increased potential for...
J Viljoen on 02/17/2020

Equal Pay for Equal Work – Can You Differentiate Without Unfairly Discriminating?

“Prohibition of unfair discrimination: No person may unfairly discriminate, directly or indirectly, against an employee, in any employment policy or practice, on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, family responsibility, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, HIV status, conscience, belief, political...
J Viljoen on 01/15/2020

You Signed a Property Sale Agreement, Can You Still Accept a Better Offer?

You put your property on the market and an acceptable but not-perfect offer comes in. On the “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” principle you want to accept the offer even though it’s not ideal. Perhaps it’s not perfect because it’s subject to a suspensive...
J Viljoen on 04/09/2019

Your Dog, Cat or Cow (Even Your Bees) Could Cost You Millions

“Ignorance is Bliss Dangerous” (Internet meme) Our law will generally hold you liable for damages only if someone else can prove that you caused them loss/damage/injury through your “fault” (intent or negligence). That seems fair and logical – if it’s your fault, you pay. If however the loss was caused by your...
J Viljoen on 02/25/2019

Private Schools and Parents Behaving Badly – the Expulsion Option

“…it can hardly be in the best interests of all concerned for this family to remain at the School” (Extract from judgment below) With the new School Year now well under way, let’s have a look at a recent court decision of interest to all schools, parents and learners. Importantly,...
J Viljoen on 02/18/2019

Property Owners, Buyers and Agents: Check for the Title Deeds Before 25 February!

“Time is of the essence” (legal phrase meaning ‘speed is essential, there’s a deadline, this is an emergency, hurry up, do it now’ – The Phrase Finder) You sell your house/apartment/office/factory/plot of land. You instruct your conveyancer to pass transfer to the buyer, and start dreaming of what you will...
J Viljoen on 02/15/2019

Your Website of the Month: “Ready, Steady, Loadshed!”

Media reports suggest that loadshedding is likely to be with us for some time yet, and whether you happen to be at work or at home when one of the dreaded blackouts strikes, there’s nothing worse than being caught off guard. Avoid unpleasant surprises by knowing exactly when your area...
J Viljoen on 02/12/2019

Property Developers Beware: Deemed Accruals Can Seriously Disrupt Your Cash Flow

“Never take your eyes off the cash flow because it’s the lifeblood of business” (Richard Branson) A recent Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) judgment has confirmed that when a property developer enters into an agreement with a buyer to transfer the property, even if the developer only actually gets paid...
J Viljoen on 02/01/2019

Victims of Corruption Take Heart – “Big Chief” Gets 15 Years Behind Bars

“… it is necessary for an unequivocal message to be sent out that corruption on the part of politicians, especially those holding high office, will not be tolerated and that punishment for those who act as Mr Block has done in this case will be severe” (extract from SCA case...
J Viljoen on 01/25/2019

Beware the Building Deadlines When Buying-to-Build

Here’s yet another warning from our courts to take seriously the building deadlines commonly imposed on buyers of plots in residential estates. Failure to comply with them could expose you to heavy fines, recurring penalties and even the risk of losing your plot altogether. A Home Owners Association (HOA) imposed...
J Viljoen on 01/14/2019

Paternity Leave and Minimum Wages – How Will The New Laws Affect You?

Employers and employees need to know about four new Acts which will usher in important changes to our labour laws. The summary below is a short one of only those changes likely to affect a significant number of people and businesses, so take advice on your specific circumstances. In a...
J Viljoen on 12/22/2018

Firearm Owners: What to Do if Your Licence Has Expired

“… this is a matter of national security and… something of the order of 450,000 gun owners with their expired licences form part of this equation… in a country riddled with crime…” (Extracts from judgment below) Possession of an unlicensed firearm is, for good reason, a serious offence carrying heavy...
J Viljoen on 12/20/2018

Reporting Crime and the Defamation Danger: Lessons from the Workplace

Believing someone to be guilty of a crime you call the police and have the suspect arrested, only to have the charges dropped. Can you be sued for defamation? A recent High Court case provides some answers. A fraudulent iPad order, an arrest and a R1.6m claim A government employee...
J Viljoen on 12/19/2018

Lending to a Friend or Selling Property on Credit – Must You Register as a Credit Provider?

“Neither a borrower nor a lender be For loan oft loses both itself and friend” (Shakespeare) It seems logical that the very strong consumer protections in the NCA (National Credit Act) are designed for commercial situations in which credit is advanced by “credit provider” businesses to “credit consumers”. But does...
J Viljoen on 12/18/2018

Buying Property this Festive Season? Check the Title Deed First!

“Don’t wait to buy land, buy land and wait” (Will Rogers) If you plan to buy property this Festive Season – perhaps your new dream house, or a holiday home, or an office for your business, or purely as an investment – check the title deed of the property you...
J Viljoen on 11/15/2018

Can I have pets in a residential complex?

“I never married because there was no need. I have three pets at home which answer the same purpose as a husband. I have a dog which growls every morning, a parrot which swears all afternoon, and a cat that comes home late at night” (Marie Corelli, English novelist) Residential...
J Viljoen on 11/09/2018

What To Do When Someone Dies

The inevitability of death doesn’t detract from the shock and distress that it brings to the grieving survivors, and much as we don’t like to plan for these things it will help at least a little to know what to do in practice after a death. The formalities There is...
J Viljoen on 11/02/2018

Aging Employees: When Must They Retire?

“Retirement at sixty-five is ridiculous. When I was sixty-five I still had pimples” (Comedian George Burns) Record numbers of Baby Boomers are now reaching their 60s, and if you are an employer in any size of business (from the smallest family-owned enterprise to the largest corporate), make sure now that you have...
J Viljoen on 10/26/2018

The Importance of Directors’ Meeting Minutes – “Who, What, Where, When and Why?”

“A company must keep minutes of the meetings of the board, and any of its committees…” (Extract from the Companies Act) Steinhoff and other high profile corporate scandals both here and overseas highlight the need for directors to ensure that their board and committee meetings (and the decisions taken at...
J Viljoen on 10/19/2018

Dagga – Just How Legal is it Now?

The media has been awash with reports (sometimes conflicting, often vague) of what the recent Constitutional Court ruling actually means in practice. Whether you agree with the ruling or not, and whether or not you personally have ever had (or intend to have) anything to do with cannabis/marijuana/weed/dagga, we all...
J Viljoen on 10/15/2018

Selling Your House: Disclosing Defects

“Honesty is the best policy” (Benjamin Franklin) A recent High Court decision again confirms that when it comes to selling your house, honesty is indeed the best policy. Specifically, disclose all defects you know of to potential buyers, or risk expensive litigation and damages claims. Defects and Defences The buyers...
J Viljoen on 10/10/2018

Your Website of the Month: How To Sleep Like a Boss

Insomnia is serious, impairing your logical reasoning, executive function, attention, and mood, with a risk in serious cases of depression, anxiety, and symptoms of paranoia. In the long run, sleep deprivation is a main contributor to the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Chronic insomnia has even been linked to...
J Viljoen on 09/28/2018

“You’re Fired for Misconduct” v “No, I Resign” – Who Wins?

You want to charge one of your employees with serious misconduct so you institute disciplinary proceedings. To avoid a possible dismissal the employee resigns “with immediate effect”. Can you go ahead with disciplining the employee? Until recently the answer was no, the Labour Court having decided in such a matter...
J Viljoen on 09/25/2018

Drunk Driving Arrest: Damages for Sexual Assault in Cell

Here’s one more reason to never ever allow yourself or anyone else to drive when over the legal limit (for non-professional drivers, a breath alcohol content of 0.24mg per 1,000ml or a blood alcohol limit of 0.05g per 100ml). If you are caught by the police (statistically, a regular offender will be...
J Viljoen on 09/11/2018

Buying Your First House – An Action Plan

“Buy land – they’ve stopped making it” (Mark Twain) So you’ve decided to buy your first house – exciting! There’s nothing like owning and living in your very own dream house, and if you choose wisely your home could well be one of your most important investments ever. Get started...
J Viljoen on 09/04/2018

Do You Need a Will?

“A man who dies without a will has lawyers for his heirs” (Anon)   It’s natural not to want to make plans for our own mortality, but we owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to do exactly that, and to do it without delay. Why? Sooner or later...
J Viljoen on 08/24/2018

Are you a provisional tax payer? Are you struggling to register on eFiling?

Find the answers to all these questions and more on SARS’ “Tax Season 2018 For Individuals” page here, but with this word of warning – even if you aren’t technically required to lodge a return, make sure you aren’t losing out on something by not doing so, like a tax...
J Viljoen on 08/22/2018

Lending Money Repayable “On Demand”: Beware Prescription!

“…prescription started its deadly trudge on the day the loan at issue in these proceedings was advanced” (extract from judgment below) You will know that most debts prescribe (become unclaimable) after 3 years, so as a creditor you need to know exactly when it starts running. From that moment on, the clock is...
J Viljoen on 08/15/2018

Property Scams – Beware (Cyber) Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing!

“Beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing” (Aesop’s Fables) Cybercrime levels are surging, and it didn’t take the scammers long to figure out that when you buy and sell property you become a prime target because of course – Property transactions provide rich pickings, often very rich pickings. Electronic communication between...
J Viljoen on 08/09/2018

Happy Women’s Day!

As famously sung, ‘wathint’ abafazi, wathint’ imbokodo,’ you strike a woman, you strike a rock! Here at Bluett Maasdorp, we are a powerhouse of 5 women! To all the independent women out there, we want to wish you an incredible Women’s Day!...
J Viljoen on 08/08/2018

Suing Your Security Company: The Case of a Burgled Butchery

“Somewhat ironically, given the fact that the phrase “not a sausage” is originally derived from the Cockney rhyming slang “sausages and mash” meaning “cash”, they got away with not a sausage from the butchery but a great deal of cash” (extract from judgment below) When you employ a security company...
J Viljoen on 08/03/2018

Your Body Corporate and Arrear Levies: To Sequestrate or Not To Sequestrate?

“…aye, there’s the rub” (Shakespeare) Levies are the lifeblood of a sectional title scheme, and the Body Corporate has a duty to recover arrears from defaulting owners. It has the power, in addition to following standard debt collection procedures and perhaps approaching the Community Schemes Ombud for assistance, to apply...
bluett on 04/24/2017

When you do divorce, act like an adult

The well-being of children in a divorce or separation is the most essential aspect of any divorce. Although most couples believe children’s well-being is one of the most important factors to consider in a divorce, a great percentage of parents that divorce or separate see conflict as an unavoidable part...
bluett on 04/13/2017

National Wills Week

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...
bluett on 04/13/2017

Property Law: Selling property this Festive Season?

The Festive Season can be a great time to sell property, and to buy it.  Warm weather, sunny gardens and bright rooms, lots of holidaying visitors, and more time on your hands generally all help to stimulate the property market....
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