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July 2020

Dear Client / Geagte Kliënt


Newsletter
 
 

Freedom of Religion


“Governments have a duty to instruct the public on how to stay safe during this crisis and can absolutely do so without dictating to people how they should worship God,” - Roger Severino, US attorney at the Office for Civil Rights.

It is a concern that in South Africa the Constitutional right to Freedom of Religion is not absolute and may therefore be limited by other rights or by a law in pursuit of a legitimate government purpose. All the more reason to exercise caution when giving up essential pre-lockdown freedoms the church enjoyed, as it might become a permanent new normal.

Op 2 Junie 2020 het die Gautengse Afdeling van die Hooggeregshof die sluitingsregulasies wat deur die Minister van Samewerking en Tradisionele Sake uitgevaardig is ingevolge artikel 27 (2) van die Wet op Rampbestuur, ongeldig en ongrondwetlik verklaar. Hierdie ongeldigheidsverklaring is opgeskort totdat die Minister (na oorlegpleging en konsultasies binne 14 dae met die betrokke kabinetsministers)die Regulasies kon hersien, wysig het en dit weer kon publiseer. Vlak 3 Regulasies het egter steeds geldig gebly gedurende die opskortingsperiode. Die Minister het die beslissing geappelleer en die saak sou op 24 Junie 2020 op verhoor gaan. Uitspraak is voorbehou.

Towards the end of May 2020 President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the re-opening of churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and other recognized places of worship from the 1st of June 2020 under strict restrictions to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus. Places of worship can now resume services, but these will be limited to 50 people or less and that social distancing must be observed. The announcement was met with mixed reactions. This has a huge impact on churches with hundreds or thousands of members as only 50 members are allowed to attend each service. Many have in addition resorted to online church services, but what about those church members who don’t have access to the internet? Those who can’t afford to watch online services? Those who are turned away because only 50 people are allowed to attend a service? 

Voordat die heropening aangekondig is, het die president 'n virtuele vergadering gehou met die Suid-Afrikaanse Raad van Kerke (“SARK”), 'n forum wat 30 kerke en organisasies verteenwoordig. Die SARK het riglyne aan die president oorhandig oor hoe kerke onder vlak 3 kon funksioneer en baie toegewings gemaak, ondermeer die ontmoediging van ouer gemeentelede om eredienste by te woon en deur sang nie toe te laat tydens dienste nie.
 
Of die president met enige ander kerke of godsdienstige organisasies anders as die SARK geraadpleeg het (gesien die feit dat daar baie ander kerke is wat miljoene Christene in Suid-Afrika verteenwoordig), is nie bekend nie. Wat vir een kerk belangrik is, is miskien nie belangrik vir 'n ander nie; leerstellinge verskil, asook die tipe  godsdienstige aktiwiteite per kerk en hoe dienste uitgevoer word.
 
Question: Are the guidelines/directives overly prescriptive and is government allowed to control how we worship God? Let’s look at how some important Christian practices are impacted by government’s directives:
  • Laying on of hands: Clause 6 (2) - “any religious ritual that requires personal contact” is prohibited. Some churches practice laying hands on the sick (touching any part of their body) while praying for them. Others believe in the washing of feet, which is also prohibited. Some considered wearing a glove before laying hands on someone (an act of faith) and others consider this to be ridiculous. 
  • Baptising by submerging a person in water – since physical touch is prohibited a Pastor or religious leader may not baptise anyone. 
  • Communion: Clause 8(6) – “no substance or liquid may be shared between persons”. Not all churches have the financial means to order pre-packed disposable communion packs.
  • Worship: Clause 5(1)(d) - worship could take the form either of a “solo performance” or a “pre-recorded performance”. Corporate worship or singing is prohibited. 
Daar is diegene wat kerkbywoning nie as noodsaaklik beskou nie, ander wat die behoud van die lewe tydens hierdie pandemie as belangriker beskou as ander regte, nog ander wat verkies om nie die eredienste persoonlik by te woon nie en diegene wat op hierdie stadium verkies om terug te keer na vlak 5 in die lig van die toename in COVID-19 gevalle. Daar is ook diegene wat 'n beroep doen op die totale beeïndiging van grendeltyd en inperkings.

Of jy nou verkies om aanlyn eredienste in die gerief van jou eie huis te kyk of om saam met ander Christene by die kerk saam te kuier in gemeenskaplike aanbidding; selfs al beoefen jy 'n ander godsdiens, is dit belangrik om te besef dat godsdiensvryheid is iets wat elkeen behoort te beskerm.

In closing: “When the exercise of various freedoms results in a clash of rights, every effort must be made to ensure that all rights are protected as human rights are indivisible, inter-related and interdependent, and without a hierarchy amongst human rights. Therefore one right should not be traded off against another, but balanced on a case-by-case basis grounded on a careful normative and factual analysis.

“…objective and reasonable criteria may be used to treat different individuals or groups differently to achieve fair outcomes for all...” - Ahmed Shaheed, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief.

Groete en Beste Wense / Greetings and Best wishes

Hennie, Eberhard & Cheryl-Anne  
Direkteure |  Directors



 
 
 
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Electronic Documents and Electronic Signatures – A Revisit in Changing Times.
Even when the COVID-19 pandemic eventually starts easing off and social distancing is no longer the norm in our business and private lives, we will continue to benefit hugely from being able to remotely enter into contracts and complete important documents electronically, instead of having to be present when completing and signing documents in “wet ink”.

It is however, important for us all to understand how our laws enable electronic documents to be accepted as being “in writing” and how “electronic signatures” are allowed. and in what form (in both property and other transactions) these “electronic signatures” would be acceptable, if at all. This article also makes special mention of the concept and place of “advanced” electronic signatures, in all of this. 

Ons sluit af en kyk na sekuriteitsoorwegings en die moontlikhede van bedrog. Ons bespreek ’n saak waar finansiële adviseurs vir R804 000 gedagvaar is, wat dien as ’n waarskuwing oor die moontlike gevare waarop ons almal bedag moet wees, inaggenome die onafwendbare voorkoms van inherente slegte eienskappe in die mensdom.

Read More
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Direkteure en Besigheidsredding in die tyd van COVID-19  
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In hierdie tyd waarin bestaande ekonomiese bekommernisse eksponensieel toegeneem het as gevolg van die COVID-19 pandemie en die langtermyn gevolge daarvan, is dit ongelukkig so dat ’n groot aantal besighede na verwagting nie die mas gaan opkom nie.

As die direkteur van ’n maatskappy weet jy hoe belangrik dit is om te verseker dat die maatskappy nie roekeloos of onder insolvente omstandighede sake doen nie. Indien jou besigheid tekens van finansiële nood toon, is dit noodsaaklik om dadelik op te tree. Spoedige aksie is belangrik, nie net om jou eie regsposisie te beskerm nie, maar ook om jou maatskappy se kanse om na winsgewendheid terug te keer, te versterk.
 
Wat is die verskil tussen likwidasie en besigheidsredding? Hoe werk besigheidsredding in die praktyk? Lees gerus verder vir die antwoorde op hierdie vrae...
Read More
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Our Brave New World: Using Zoom for Retrenchment Consultations
Our courts have adapted in many different ways to the “new normal” of the pandemic and its resultant lockdown and health and safety issues, and now from the Labour Court comes an important new development in regard to the use of video conferencing (in this case via Zoom) by an employer contemplating a large-scale retrenchment exercise.

The trade union involved objected to the final consultation meeting being held over Zoom, and when the employer nevertheless issued retrenchment notices after proceeding with the meeting online in the union’s absence, the union cried foul and asked the Court to declare the process procedurally unfair. The Court’s decision to affirm the use of video conferencing is particularly significant now that retrenchments are becoming an increasingly prominent feature of our embattled economy.
Read More
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Website of the Month: The Mental Battle of Running a Small Business in Lockdown Level 3  
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“This Too Shall Pass. It might pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass” (Unknown)

Entrepreneurs and the small businesses they run are bearing much of the brunt of our deepening economic woes. Some SMEs have prospered, others have sunk – most of us have just battled on, preparing for and dreaming of happier times to come.

In “The mental battle of running a small business” on Daily Maverick Nic Haralambous shares his thoughts on how to stay mentally fit in these trying times with these wise words: “Your emotional wellbeing is an imperative part of your success and the survival of your business”.

P.S. There may just be some light at the end of the tunnel here – keep an eye on the New York Times “Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker” here. Hold thumbs! 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Uit die HAT
Uit die HAT: “reënboognasie” die Suid-Afrikaanse bevolking met sy taal- en kulturele verskeidenheid: Ons land se reënboognasie werk saam aan ‘n beter toekoms vir almal

Die term is deur Desmond Tutu bekendgestel en deur Nelson Mandela gebruik na die eerste volle demokratiese verkiesing in Suid Afrika in 1994.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 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);
M VAN DEN HEEVER (LL.B); A BARNARD (B.COM LL.B DIP.FINPLANNING).
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CONSULTANT: J A L VAN ZYL (B.JURIS LL.B); C I’ANSON-SPARKS Solicitor in England and Wales (LL.B(HONS), DIP LEGAL PRACTICE)