Monthly Archives: July 2014

What happens if I die without a will?

A_1BAttorneys often emphasise the fact that you should have a will drawn up and revise it regularly in order to facilitate the bequeathing of your possessions after your death.  Many people still omit to do this. The problem is that, should a person die without leaving a valid will, in other words intestate, his/her estate will be administered and distributed according to the stipulations of the Intestate Succession Act  No 81 of 1987.

Below is a basic example of the effect an intestate death will have on the distribution of an estate. Should the composition of the beneficiaries of the deceased be more complex, the administering of the estate in terms of the Intestate Succession Act will also become more complicated.

Let us assume that person A dies and the value of his estate is R1.8 million. He is survived by his wife (B) and 2 children, of which one is of age and the other is a minor. 

Scenario 1:

A and B is married out of community of property.

B inherits R125 000 or a child’s portion, whichever is the largest.

A child’s portion is calculated by dividing the total value of the estate by the spouse and number of children, in other words R1.8 million/3 = R600 000.

The spouse and children therefore inherits R600 000 each.

The inheritance of the minor will be paid to the Master’s Guardian’s Fund, as there is no will which determines that the minor heir’s inheritance should be placed in e.g. a Testamentary Trust, where the funds will be administrated on behalf of the minor until he/she becomes of age or reaches any other specified age. 

Scenario 2:

A and B is married in community of property.

B inherits 50% of the estate due to the marriage in community of property.

B also inherits R125 000 or a child’s portion, whichever is the largest, with regard to the other half of the estate.

A child’s portion is calculated by dividing half of the total value of the estate by the spouse and number of children, in other words R900 000/3 = R300 000.

The spouse inherits R1.2 million and the children R300 000 each. 

The inheritance of the minor will be paid to the Master’s Guardian’s Fund, as there is no will which determines that the minor heir’s inheritance should be placed in e.g. a Testamentary Trust, where the funds will be administrated on behalf of the minor until he/she becomes of age or reaches any other specified age. It is therefore clear that Intestate inheritance may result in an unpractical and often even impracticable division of assets.

The fact that the inheritance of the minor will be paid to the Master’s Guardian’s Fund may place the spouse in such a dilemma that she has to devise plans to finance the amount payable to the Master’s Guardian’s Fund to the benefit of the minor heir. Alternatively she could register a mortgage against an immovable property in favour of the Master’s Guardian’s Fund.

In case of death without a valid will there will of course be no person or institution appointed to support the surviving spouse in the administering of the estate. This should not usually present a huge obstacle, but the spouse should consider carefully which person or institution she appoints to assist her in this task. She should also negotiate the Executor’s fee with the relevant person or institution before the administering of the estate commences.

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.

 

Wees versigtig wat jy sê of skryf

A_2BDie wet van naamskending poog om balans te vind tussen die eiser se reg op reputasie, en ‘n verweerder se reg op vryheid van uitdrukking – twee regte wat deur beide die gemenereg en in die Grondwet erken word. Die skending van iemand se naam is deesdae ‘n ernstige oorweging tydens interaksie met die skryf van briewe, e-posse en algemene gesprekke. ‘n Eiser moet eerstens bewys dat die kommentaar wat oor hom of haar gemaak is, gepubliseer is (geopenbaar aan iemand anders as die eiser) en tweedens dat die kommentaar prima facie lasterlik tot sy reputasie is. Sodra dit bepaal is, berus die onus (bewyslas) op die verweerder om te bewys dat sy optrede nie onregmatig was nie (m.a.w. sonder opset).

Onregmatigheid is gebaseer op opset in teenstelling met nalatigheid. Selfs waar dit vasstaan dat die verweerder onregmatig opgetree het, mag hy steeds ander verwere hê soos:

  1. Dat die woorde die waarheid is;
  2. Dat die kommentaar in openbare belang is;
  3. Dat die kommentaar slegs ‘n opinie was en nie as ‘n feit weergegee is nie;
  4. Dat die kommentaar billik was onder die omstandighede;
  5. Dat die kommentaar gemaak is onder omstandighede van gekwalifiseerde privilegie, byvoorbeeld waar iemand ‘n plig het en die ontvanger ‘n plig het om daarvan kennis te neem.

Die feit dat die kommentaar die waarheid is, beteken nie dat dit nie skending is nie. Die toets om die skendingswaarde te bepaal, is of die redelike persoon van gewone intelligensie dit as neerhalend sou verstaan het. Die verweerder kan slaag met sy verweer dat sy kommentaar billik en in openbare belang was, mits daar geen element van opsetlikheid in is nie. Die eiser hoef maar slegs te bewys dat die verklaring prima facie op ‘n skending van sy reputasie neerkom en dat dit gepubliseer is.

Publikasie kan teenoor ‘n spesifieke persoon of binne hoorafstand van die algemene publiek plaasvind, en dit word as materieel beskou as dit hoorbaar is aan ander of onder die publiek versprei word soos in ‘n boek, plasings op webtuistes, of bulletinborde op die Internet.

Die onus rus op die verweerder om sy  verdediging op ‘n balans van waarskynlikhede te bewys. Wat dit beteken, is dat die twee weergawes oorweeg moet word en die hof besluit dan op die mees waarskynlike weergawe onder die omstandighede. Wanneer die hof egter nie kan besluit watter weergawe die waarheid is nie en waar dit as verdediging geopper is, sal die verweerder nie met sy verdediging slaag nie.

In ‘n demokrasie is kritiek, ondeurdagte beskuldigings en insinuasies – soms onbillik en ongegrond – deel van die politieke speelveld, en regdenkendes in ‘n gemeenskap dink gewoonlik nie minder van politici wat die onderwerp van sulke kommentaar deur opposisiepartye of politieke kommentators is nie. Die konteks veroorsaak dalk dat wat andersins lasterlik sou wees, niks meer as misbruik is nie. Die howe laat baie grasie toe vir politieke debat en politici behoort nie oorhaastig te reageer nie. Nietemin is dit belangrik dat howe toegewings maak, maar nie immuniteit gee nie en dat daar beperkings is: enige toegewing behoort vir politieke inligting, aktiwiteite of sake wat verband hou met die land se politiek te wees, maar nie meer as dit nie, en onderskeid moet ook getref word tussen ongevraagde aanvalle op die integriteit en reputasie van politici en ‘n aanval op iemand se politieke sienings, beleid en optrede. Die howe moet die waardes van openheid, deursigtigheid en rekenskap toepas, en tog steeds integriteit en privaatheid beskerm. Dit blyk dat die grense oorskry word waar bymotiewe of eeneerbare gedrag ter sprake is.

Verwysings:

Law of South Africa, Volume 8(1) – Second Edition Volume
Delta Motor Corporation (Pty) Ltd, vs Van der Merwe, 2004 (6) SA 185 (SCA)
Constitution of the Republic of SA, 1996 ss 10 and 16
National Media Ltd vs Bogoshi, 1998 4 All SA 347 (SCA)

Hierdie artikel is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet nie gebruik of staatgemaak word op as professionele advies nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of vir enige verlies of skade wat voortspruit uit vertroue op enige inligting hierin nie. Kontak atyd jou regsadviseur vir spesifieke en gedetailleerde advies.

Disputes with body corporate: Homeowners’ remedies

A_3BOur office recently dealt with a matter where the trustees of the body corporate of a certain sectional title scheme clamped the wheel of the car of one of its homeowners because he did not park on his allocated parking bay.

Even though the homeowner did not park on his allocated parking bay, he could not understand why his vehicle got clamped for parking outside of his own front porch, when he was in and out of the house during the day. It seemed highly unfair and unreasonable to the homeowner.

It is a truism that every homeowner cannot do as he pleases as this would lead to total disorder in the sectional title scheme, and it is the duty of the trustees of the body corporate to enforce rules on owners and tenants alike. When one buys a property in a sectional title scheme one will more often than not find a provision in the agreement which states that homeowners, inter alia, will abide by the rules of the body corporate.

This begs the question whether or not the homeowner’s hands are tied if the rules were amended by a special decision taken at a general meeting by the trustees of the body corporate.

Remedies available to homeowners and tenants

If there is reason to believe that the trustees of the body corporate of a sectional title scheme have acted ultra vires (outside their powers), homeowners have a choice of two remedies –  either arbitration or an interdict.

1.         Arbitration step-by-step

The discontented homeowner could apply for arbitration, the duration of which should not exceed a maximum of 52 days.

In terms of Section 71 of Annexure 8 of theSectional Title Act 95 of 1986, the purpose of arbitration is not, as some believe, to achieve compliance. The prescribed process requires the discontented homeowner to submit his dispute in writing to the trustees of the body corporate of the sectional title scheme within 14 days of the problem arising, whereafter the trustees will review and attempt to settle the matter. Should the problem still not be resolved, either the homeowner or the trustees of the body corporate can request that the matter be referred for arbitration. 

The arbitrator has wide discretion in making a costs award. He may order payment by one party, by more than one jointly, or in specific proportions, depending on the outcome of the arbitration. The arbitrator’s decision may be made an order of the High Court upon application by either party, or a party affected by the arbitration. 

2.         Alternative remedy

There is a further remedy available to the homeowner, namely an interdict or any form of urgent or other relief by a court with jurisdiction.

But this line of action has elicited the following warning:

Furthermore, the interdependence of the owners and occupants of units and the unavoidable requisite of harmonious co-existence render an interdict inadequate and indeed improper in the sectional title context. A successful application for an interdict can permanently ruin the harmony of a scheme (LAWSA aw para 238). 

In essence, if the rules of your body corporate allow the trustees to clamp your wheel should you disobey the rules, and you have reason to believe that your Body Corporate is acting outside of its powers and/or the rules are unreasonable, you may follow the steps as set out above.

NOTE TO ATTORNEYS: See Section 71 of Annexure 8 of the Sectional Titles Act 95 of 1986. 

REFERENCED WORK:
See the article “Managing the Unmanageable” by Tertius Maree, published in De Rebus, August 1999.
Also see the article “Arbitration in Sectional Title Disputes” by Tertius Maree, published in De Rebus, August 1998. 

Ronnilie Theron
Honey Attorneys

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.

Verkeersbeampte lê beslag op jou selfoon: Wat moet jy weet?

A_4BDie Stad van Kaapstad: Verkeers Ordonnansie, 2011 (hierna “die Ordonnansie”) verbied eerstens die bestuur van ‘n motorvoertuig op ‘n openbare pad terwyl jy ‘n sellulêre of mobiele telefoon of enige ander kommunikasietoestel met enige deel van jou liggaam vashou en tweedens, die gebruik van ‘n sellulêre of mobiele telefoon of enige ander kommunikasietoestel terwyl jy bestuur, tensy dit aan die voertuig vasgemaak is (soos ‘n handvrye stelsel).[1]

Volgens die Ordonnansie mag ‘n gemagtigde beampte in die belang van publieke veiligheid ‘n kommunikasietoestel konfiskeer, mits hy die eienaar inlig oor die redes daarvoor. Hy moet ‘n kwitansie aan die eienaar uitreik wat die plek waar sy eiendom teruggeëis kan word, aandui, en hy moet alle prosedures wat in enige beleid van die stad oor konfiskering en beslaglegging vervat is, volg.[2] Die beleid van toepassing in die Stad Kaapstad is bekend as die Standaard Werkproses op die Beslaglegging van Goedere en Diere, 2012.

‘n Gemagtigde amptenaar wat in terme van enige Ordonnansie van die Stad optree, moet ‘n kwitansie aan die oortreder gee vir enige eiendom wat verwyder en op beslag gelê is. Hierdie kwitansie moet die volgende aandui:

  • ‘n Lys van die eiendom wat verwyder is;
  • die toestand van die eiendom (want die eiendom moet teruggegee word in dieselfde toestand as waarin dit was toe dit verwyder is);
  • die adres waar die eiendom geberg gaan word;
  • die ure waartydens die goedere afgehaal mag word;
  • die maksimum tydperk vir die berging van die eiendom voordat daarmee weggedoen kan word;
  • die voorwaardes vir die vrystelling van die eiendom waarop beslag gelê is;
  • die naam en kantoornommer van ‘n raadsamptenaar aan wie enige betoog oor die beslaglegging gerig kan word;
  • die afsnydatum en -tyd vir die rig van die betoog;
  • die terme en voorwaardes van die verkoop van eiendom wat nie teruggeëis is nie, per openbare veiling.[3]

Die Stad mag enige nie-teruggeëisde sellulêre stelsel negentig dae na die beslaglegging per openbare veiling verkoop wat in die plaaslike koerante geadverteer is. Munisipale amptenare en raadslede, hul gades, familie en kennisse mag nie hierdie eiendom koop nie. Fooie mag gehef word vir die berging van die sellulêre toestel, asook enige ander koste wat deur die raad aangegaan is in die tydperk van beslaglegging. Hierdie fooie word deur die raad bepaal en mag van tyd tot tyd aangepas word. Fooie en boetes moet by die Raad se kontantkantoor tussen 08:00 en 16:00 op Maandag tot Vrydag betaal word.[4]

Eiendom mag aan die eienaar of sy/haar verteenwoordiger teruggegee word op voorlegging van bewys van betaling van alle fooie wat met die beslaglegging verband hou en enige boetes wat tydens beslaglegging opgelê is. Eienaars of hulle verteenwoordigers kan hul eiendom afhaal tydens die tye en op die plek aangedui in die skutkennisgewing wat op die oortreder bedien is.[5]

Beamptes van die Stad moet redelike stappe neem om enige skade aan eiendom waarop beslag gelê is, te voorkom, maar hulle sal nie verantwoordelik wees vir enige skade wat aan die eiendom gerig is waar ‘n redelike sorgsplig uitgeoefen is nie. Digitale foto’s moet van alle goedere waarop beslag gelê is, geneem word.[6]

‘n Persoon wat ‘n bepaling van hierdie Ordonnansie oortree, pleeg ‘n misdryf en ‘n persoon wat so ‘n misdryf pleeg, is by skuldigbevinding aanspreeklik vir ‘n boete of gevangenisstraf van nie meer nie as 3 jaar, of beide.[7] 

Verwysingslys

  • Die Stad van Kaapstad: Verkeers Ordonnansie, 2011.
  • Standaard Werkproses op die Beslaglegging van Goedere en Diere, 2012.

[1] A 38(1) van die Stad van Kaapstad: Verkeers Ordonnansie.
[2]A 38(4) van die Stad van Kaapstad: Verkeers Ordonnansie.
[3] A8, A9 van die Standaard Werkproses op die Beslaglegging van Goedere en Diere, 2012.
[4] A10, A11 van die Standaard Werkproses op die Beslaglegging van Goedere en Diere.
[5] A12 van die Standaard Werkproses op die Beslaglegging van Goedere en Diere.
[6] A16 van die Standaard Werkproses op die Beslaglegging van Goedere en Diere.
[7] A39 van die Stad van Kaapstad: Verkeers Ordonnansie.

Hierdie artikel is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet nie gebruik of staatgemaak word op as professionele advies nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of vir enige verlies of skade wat voortspruit uit vertroue op enige inligting hierin nie. Kontak atyd jou regsadviseur vir spesifieke en gedetailleerde advies.