Category Archives: Common Law


B4By law, owners of businesses or property are required to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of the general public. At minimum, owners or managers are required to warn the public of any potential dangers they have caused, are aware of or believe could occur.

So if a shopping centre has not met these requirements and you’re injured on their property as a result, you may have a valid claim. These are a few examples of the requirements shopping centres should have in place:

  1. demarcate dangerous areas;
  2. remove obstructions from walkways;
  3. light an area adequately;
  4. repair holes and cracks in the pavement; and
  5. put up railings or barriers.

Would my claim be valid?

The law does not require individuals to watch their every step. It is reasonable to assume that people look around them as they browse grocery shelves at the shops. A successful slip and fall claim is mainly dependent on proving that the injured person was less negligent than the owner of the premises where they were injured.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Would a reasonable person, such as a property owner, foresee the reasonable possibility that his management or administration may injure another person, causing them to slip and fall?
  2. Could the property owner have done something to prevent the accident that resulted in the claim. For instance, could the occurrence of a slippery floor have been prevented and could it have been mopped up before someone climbed the stairs?
  3. Did the owner take steps to prevent the accident?

Details to collect if you want to make a claim

  1. The details (name, contact number and address) of the person in charge of the premises.
  2. Take photographs of the area where you were injured.
  3. You must contact the legal representatives of the business.
  4. You must get the relevant medical documents as well as the invoices detailing the procedures.


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 specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)


A3_bThis article looks at the New South African Immigration Regulations that came into effect on 26 May 2014 and how it affects a spouse attempting to renew or obtain a spousal visa.

A Newlands family was torn apart after South Africa’s new regulations barred Louise Johnson from returning to South Africa after going on a family holiday in Namibia. Section 27 of the new regulations declared Louise Johnson, a Danish-born spouse of a South African, as an undesirable person. People who are travelling on an expired visa will be declared as undesirable people. This is very controversial because many foreigners, such as Louise, have applied well within the time limit, which is 60 days before the expiry thereof, and have still not received their renewed visa.

In order to apply for a spousal and life partner visa one must prove that the relationship has existed for two years before an application for this visa is made. One must also prove that the relationship still exists after two years. Further, if you are married to or in a life partnership with a South African citizen or a permanent resident holder, you have to be married for a continuous period of five years before an application for permanent residency can be launched.

Visa renewals often take months to process and in the past a receipt issued by the Department of Home Affairs, indicating that an application was pending would suffice. The new regulations bring this to an end. Foreigners who remain in South Africa for anywhere between one to thirty days after the expiry date of their valid visa will be deemed to be undesirable for a period of twelve months. A second transgression within a period of twenty-four months will render them “undesirable” for a period of two years and should they overstay for more than thirty days they will be classified as “undesirable” for five years.

For example Olivia Lock, a British National, who is married to a South African, was prohibited from returning to South Africa for 12 months in May, due to leaving South Africa on an expired visa whilst awaiting the outcome of a renewal of her visa. United States citizen, Shaima Herman, married to a South African, was also declared an “undesirable person”, after a two-year wait for the approval of her spousal visa. Her husband indicated that she had visited the Department of Home Affairs on 14 separate occasions and yet her visa remains delayed.

Haniff Hoosen from the Democratic Alliance stated that: “Media reports and public outcry suggest that in less than a month the new regulations have already ripped apart families, dissuaded investors, and led to the suspension and even cancellation of multimillion-rand film and tourism ventures”. He called for the regulations to be reviewed and debated by Parliament’s Home Affairs Portfolio Committee.

The Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, asserted that the new immigration regulations proposing to be in the best interests of South Africa’s security, is an insufficient excuse for inefficient policy. He further states that: “Omissions and lack of definitions and criteria raised serious concerns about the new regulations, which would be subject to “misappropriation and abuse” by the Department of Home Affairs and its officials.”

It is very likely that one can expect to see court cases challenging these regulations very soon but in the meantime one should not travel out of South Africa without a valid visa, or you will be declared an “undesirable person”.

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 specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)


A1_bOns weet almal van sjebeens, tog is dit ‘n digbewaarde geheim omdat dit as ‘n onwettige besigheid beskou word. Ons bespreek sjebeens en wat dit behels hieronder.

Sjebeens was township kroeë en kantiens wat hul ontstaan tydens Apartheid gehad het toe die Drankwet van 1927 Swartmense en Indiërs verbied het om alkohol te verkoop of gelisensieerde persele te betree. Ten einde ‘n inkomste te verdien, het baie Swart vroue hul gewend tot hul vroeëre vaardighede as bierbrouers. Die vroue, wat bekend geword het as “sjebeen queens”, het bier gebrou en aan trekarbeiders verkoop wat nie die westerse bier kon bekostig nie, of wat steeds die tradisionele bantoebier1 verkies het.

 In 2015 bestaan sjebeens nog steeds; die sensasie daarom het egter heelwat afgeneem sedert Apartheid in 1994 tot ‘n einde gekom het en almal toegelaat is om gelisensieerde persele te betree. Dit is ook minder in die kollig noudat dit nie meer onwettig is om ‘n sjebeen te besit of daar te werk nie, solank die eienaar om ‘n lisensie aansoek doen en slegs alkohol verkoop wat wettiglik vervaardig en aan die publiek voorsien mag word.

Die Drankwet van 1989 stipuleer dat geen persoon enige konkoksie wat vervaardig is deur die fermentasie van melasse, suiker of ander bestanddele bekend as isityimiyana, hopana, qediviki, skokiaan, uhali of barberton, enige konkoksie soortgelyk daaraan of enige drankie wat van een van hierdie konkoksies gedistilleer word, mag vervaardig, besit, verbruik, verkoop, voorsien of gee aan ‘n ander persoon nie.

Dit is onwettig om alkohol te verkoop tensy u ‘n dranklisensie het wat deur die Drankraad toegestaan is. Daar is twee soorte lisensies:

  • ‘n “Binneverbruik” lisensie wat die verkoop en verbruik van alkohol op gelisensieerde persele toestaan. Hierdie soort lisensie word normaalweg aan hotelle, klubs, teaters en restaurante toegestaan. Tydelike lisensies mag ook uitgereik word om die verkoop en verbruik van alkohol by byvoorbeeld sportbyeenkomste of kermisse toe te laat. ‘n Geleentheidslisensie stel ‘n lisensiehouer in staat om alkohol na besigheidsure te verkoop.
  • ‘n “Buiteverbruik” lisensie laat die verkoop van alkohol toe wat weg van die perseel verbruik sal word. Voorbeelde van sulke persele is winkels, alkoholprodusente en drankwinkels.

Oor die algemeen sal ‘n lisensie nie toegestaan word aan enigiemand wat in die 10 jaar voor die aansoek om ‘n lisensie tronkstraf ontvang het sonder die keuse van ‘n boete nie. Oortredings van die Drankwet mag ‘n persoon ook diskwalifiseer van die verkryging van ‘n lisensie. In beide gevalle mag ‘n lisensie egter toegestaan word indien die betrokke gesagsliggaam reken dat die oortredings die aansoeker nie ongeskik maak om ‘n lisensie te besit nie.

Die Drankwet 59 van 2003 herroep die Wet van 1989 slegs in daardie provinsies wat provinsiale drankwetgewing gepromulgeer het (huidiglik Oos-Kaap en Gauteng).

Hierdie is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet gevolglik nie as regs- of ander professionele advies benut word nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of enige skade of verlies wat volg uit die gebruik van enige inligting hierin vervat nie. Kontak altyd u regsadviseur vir spesifieke en toegepaste advies. (E&OE)


A4_BIn South African law there is no such thing as a common law marriage. People simply believe that living together with another person for a continuous period of time establishes legal rights and duties between them. This is a common misunderstanding especially with young adults.

The only way to be protected in our law is to enter into a universal partnership agreement. Such an agreement clarifies the rights and duties of the partners. The agreement will determine what would happen to property and assets of the couple if they should decide to separate. The agreement is, however, not enforceable in so far as third parties are concerned. Only a valid marriage is enforceable against third parties. It is important to note that partners can sometimes be jointly and severally liable if they acted within the scope of the partnership. An agreement such as this will be legally binding as long as it contains no provisions that are immoral or illegal. If there is no agreement on the dissolution of a universal partnership agreement, a party would only be entitled to retain those assets which he or she has purchased and owns and further would be entitled to share in the assets proportionately in terms of the contribution which they have made to the partnership.

To prove the existence of such a partnership it must be shown that:

  • The aim of the partnership was to make profit.
  • Both parties must have contributed to the enterprise.
  • The partnership must operate to benefit both parties.
  • The contract between the parties must be legitimate.
  • There must be valid consent.
  • There is an intention to create a legally binding agreement.

Where there is no express agreement, a tacit agreement may be proved if it is found that it is more probable than not that such an agreement had been reached between the parties at the time of cohabitation.

Because the existence of a universal partnership is somewhat difficult to prove, and it may not be a claim that you wish to have to make or defend, it is advisable to consider entering into a contract that spells out how property should be dealt with on termination of the relationship by death or otherwise. Such a contract would provide some certainty for cohabitees regarding the division of assets and settlements of liability on termination of the relationship.

Some of the consequences of the absence of a legal ground between parties in such relationships are:

  • No exemption from donations tax in respect of donations between them.
  • Cohabitees do not benefit from the laws relating to the exemption from estate duty of bequests to spouses.
  • There is no reciprocal obligation of maintenance.
  • Cohabitee is not a recognised claimant if his/her partner dies intestate.
  • There is no right to property or assets that belong to cohabitee.
  • There is no reciprocal duty to contribute to household necessities.

The Domestic Partnerships Bill of 2008 is still in its formulation stage and it remains to be seen how it is to be implemented. In the current constitutional dispensation it is unlikely that a partner will be left in despair, taking into account the Domestic Partnerships Bill.

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 specific and detailed advice.Errors and omissions excepted. (E&OE).