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June 2020

Dear Client / Geagte Kliënt


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Why Not A State Of Emergency / Waarom Nie ‘n Noodtoestand?


Het jy al gewonder waarom die regering die land en ekonomie gesluit het kragtens die relatief onbekende Wet op Rampbestuur (DMA) en nie eerder 'n noodtoestand uitgeroep het soos daar in ons Grondwet voorsiening gemaak word nie? 

According to Professor Irma Kroeze, currently teaching legal philosophy at Unisa, commenting on this issue in a number of posts on social media over the past days, the apparent original impetus of the legislator to get the DMA enacted was as a result of flooding that devastated the Cape Flats in June 1994. The DMA was only promulgated in December 2002 and came into effect in April 2004.

In haar opinie is dit redelik duidelik dat die oorspronklike fokus van die DMA was, om verligting te verleen, na die plaasvind van natuurrampe soos vloede, brande en droogtes.

The purpose of the DMA is to provide for an integrated and co-ordinated ... policy that focuses on preventing or reducing the risk of disasters, mitigating the severity of disasters, emergency preparedness, rapid and effective response ... and ... recovery;

Professor Kroese se houding is dat dit belangrik is om in gedagte te hou dat die DMA eintlik daargestel was om die uitroep van 'n ramptoestand heeltemal onnodig te maak! Die hele fokus van die wet was juis om strukture, forums en 'n sentrum asook 'n nasionale raamwerk vir rampbestuur in plek te stel, sodat daar in die geval van sodanige rampe ‘n program van aksie sondermeer in werking gestel kon word deur die geskepte strukture en wys daarop dat alhoewel hierdie strukture vir jare al in plek moes wees, dit egter of nie gebeur het nie of nooit gebruik was nie!

In her cryptic analysis on Twitter the professor states: “In this regard the definition of a "disaster" in section 1 is important. For something to be a disaster it must threaten death and destruction AND be of a magnitude that exceeds the ability of those affected ... to cope ... using only their own resources.

It's important to remember you need to read these two requirements together. Clearly disease is always a problem, but is it something people cannot deal with on their own? And no, hospitals being overwhelmed does not fall into this category.

But that's not the end of the story. We must also look at section 2 which explains what is excluded from the definition. Section 2(1)(b) states that something cannot be a disaster if it is an "occurence" (sic) that can be "dealt with effectively in terms of other legislation".

Op die vraag of daar, deur gebruik van bestaande wette, redelik effektiewe regulering plaasvind met die verkoop van alkohol en sigarette, met handel en nywerheid, asook die vervoer van goedere en ander behoort die antwoord instemmend te wees, maar of ons owerhede ook slegs deur die bestaande wetgewing tot hul beskikking ook die huidige virus uitbraak sou kon hanteer, sal sekerlik altyd onbeantwoord bly.

But also, as she added, “the DMA is intended to put structures in place to prevent a state of disaster. Why didn't it? Have we been paying for structures and frameworks and centres that simply doesn't work when actually needed? 

So onto section 27 which allows the minister to declare a state of disaster if existing legislation and contingency arrangements (i.e. the DMA) do not adequately provide for the national executive to deal effectively with the disaster.”

Die noodwendige afleiding wat volgens haar gemaak kan word, is dat die regering, deur die betrokke aankondiging te gemaak het, inderdaad bevestig dat daar aan die voorbehoud vereiste voldoen was, juis omdat alle strukture, forums en raamwerke wat kragtens die wet daargestel is inderdaad nutteloos was.

Terwyl Artikel 27 (2) 'n lys van aangeleenthede uitspel waaroor die minister regulasies mag uitvaardig wat redelik uitgebreid is, sluit dit af met 'ander stappe soos wat nodig mag wees', wat volgens haar, natuurlik ‘n menigte van sondes sou dek.

She continues: “But it's 27(3) that's very interesting. It states that these regulations may be exercised ONLY insofar as they are NECESSARY for the purpose of:
  • assisting and protecting the public;   
  • providing relief to the public;   
  • protecting property; 
  • preventing or combating disruption: or   
  • dealing with the destructive and other effects of the disaster.
Now, if anyone can explain to me how stopping people from buying panties falls into these categories, I'd be grateful.”

Volgens Kroese is die belangrikste wat uit die toepassing van artikel 27 (3) blyk, die volgende:   
  • Die DMA was veronderstel om grootskaalse ontwrigting te voorkom. Dit het nie daarin geslaag nie.   
  • Dit is hoogs twyfelagtig of 'n virus uitbraak binne die doelstelling van die wet val, gegewe die definisie in artikel 1.   
  • Dit is verder te betwyfel of daar aan die kriteria soos vereis in artikel 2 voldoen was.   
  • Alhoewel artikel 27 aan die minister wye magte verleen om regulasies uit te vaardig, is hierdie bevoegdhede  glad nie grensloos nie.
 The professor concludes “But the most important fact is that nowhere in the DMA does it give ANYONE the power to order a "lockdown". Yes, there are things that can be done. But shutting down an entire country? Nope. Sorry, but the act does not provide for that.”

Indien dit belangrik was vir die regering dat die land gesluit (lockdown) moet word, sou dit die regte prosedure gewees het om eerder 'n noodtoestand uit te roep, soos in die Grondwet voorgeskryf word. Maar dit sou vereis het dat dit deur die parlement goedgekeur moes word en indien goedgekeur, sou dit deurentyd onderhewig wees aan die bepalings van die Grondwet. 

The question remains, why was the constitutional route not taken? However, the answer to that will not be found in the legal system, but a number of political theories abound!

Ten slotte wil mens vertrou dat daar mense, of instansies in ons land is wat braaf genoeg sal wees om hierdie aspek deur ons howe te laat toets, want Suid-Afrika kan nie bekostig dat die DMA weer in die toekoms misbruik word nie, virusse of nie!

Groete en Beste wense / Regards and best wishes.

Hennie, Eberhard & Cheryl-Anne  |  Directors

 
 
 
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Directors: Reckless Trading and Personal Liability in the Time of Coronavirus
Some businesses are flying with the many new opportunities presented to them by the lockdown crisis, but many others now face serious cash flow and liquidity problems.

Now more than ever directors need to be keenly aware of their ongoing obligations in terms of the Companies Act. Failure to live up to the Act’s high standards of care risks personal liability as well as criminal prosecution.

This then is a timely reminder to all “directors” (we explain how widely defined that term is in this context) of the dangers of reckless trading. What is reckless trading? Does the recent CIPC Notice absolve you from liability? How can you minimise your risk? Read on for some thoughts…
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Eks-gades en testamente  
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Dit gebeur dikwels dat ‘n persoon skielik te sterwe kom kort na ‘n egskeiding en dan die vraag tereg of die eks-gade van die oorledene aanspraak kan maak om te erf? Hieroor was daar al bitter gevegte in die verlede. As daar verder ‘n nuwe persoon in die lewe van die oorledene was, kompliseer dit alles natuurlik te meer.

Artikel 2B van die Wet op Testamente bepaal dat ....
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Unemployed, Can’t Pay Bond and Credit Instalments? “Credit Life Insurance” May Save You
In these hard times many of us will be finding it hard to keep up with bond and other credit agreement instalments.

Both employees and their employers should be aware of a possible lifeline here in the form of “credit life insurance” which, despite its name, is not just “life” cover. Employees may well find that they are also covered for inability to pay instalments following loss of employment or reduction/loss of earnings. It’s an alternative to a bank-offered “payment holiday” – which is of course much better than nothing, but still no free lunch.

Many employees won’t even be aware that they have this insurance. Are you covered, and if so what for?  Read on for more…
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 Our Directors
             
       
    Hennie van Zyl
DIRECTOR
021 180 4551 / 083 250 9501
hvanzyl@vzk.co.za
      Eberhard Kruger
DIRECTOR
021 180 4552 / 082 789 1706
ekruger@vzk.co.za
      Cheryl-Anne Ehrenreich
DIRECTOR
021 180 4564 / 082 783 7242
cheryl@vzk.co.za
   
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DIRECTORS: H L VAN ZYL (B.PROC); E S KRUGER (B.COMM LL.B MPRE); C A EHRENREICH (BA.LL.B LL.M)
ASSOCIATES: S JANSE VAN RENSBURG (B.COM LL.B); LI CHANTLER(B COMM LLB); D VAN ZYL (LL.B LL.M);
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