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July 2020 NEWSLETTER
Electronic Signatures in Property and Other Transactions
Even when the COVID-19 pandemic finally 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 enter into contracts and to complete important documents remotely. 

It’s important for us all to understand how our laws enable that, to know when electronic documents are accepted as being “in writing” and when “electronic signatures” are allowed and in what form (in both property and other transactions), with a special mention of the concept and place of “advanced” electronic signatures. 

We’ll end off with a look at the security and fraud angle, with a case of financial advisors sued for R804k providing an example of the dangers involved. 
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Directors and Business Rescue in the Time of COVID-19
ArticleImage Business failures are unfortunately expected to increase significantly, with our pre-existing economic woes now multiplied many times over by the pandemic and its knock-on effects.

As a company director you will know how vital it is to avoid any suggestion of reckless trading or of trading in insolvent circumstances, and if your business shows signs of financial distress it is imperative that you act quickly - not only to protect your own legal position but also to boost the chances of your company returning to profitability.

What’s the difference between liquidation and business rescue? How does business rescue work in practice? Read on for the answers…
   
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Our Brave New World: Using Zoom for Retrenchment Consultations
ArticleImage 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.
   
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POPIA’s Deadline is 30 June 2021 – Ignore the “Fake Headlines” But Start Planning!
ArticleImage At long last the main provisions of POPIA (the Protection of Personal Information Act) have been gazetted, and they will commence on 1 July 2020. That means that the one year transitional period will expire on 30 June 2021

Don’t panic just yet, and ignore the many “fake headlines” in the media implying that you are at immediate risk of non-compliance, but at the same time don’t leave this to the last minute! Preparing for compliance is going to be a time-consuming affair, almost all South African businesses will need to comply, and the penalties for not doing so will be very severe indeed…
   
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Website of the Month: The Mental Battle of Running a Small Business in Lockdown Level 3
ArticleImage
“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! 
   









Disclaimer

The information provided herein should not be used or relied on as 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 professional adviser for specific and detailed advice.


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