Category Archives: News

Written Agreement Agreements Online July wk 4

Written Agreements: Clarity is King

Agreements are important.

Written agreements are more important.

Well-written agreements are most important.

We’ve all come across that contract. You know the one. There’re a gazillion clauses all crammed onto one page in a teeny-weeny font that requires a magnifying glass to read it. Assuming you could understand anything in amongst all the cross-referencing, Latin terms and legal jargon. Never mind that the document has been photocopied a few too many times, which means a few crucial sentences have been cropped off. But everyone is in a hurry to get on with their day. So you dutifully scrawl your signature and scurry off to your next appointment. What could possibly go wrong? The entire contract could be scrapped. That’s what could go wrong.

Surety Agreements Online July wk 3

Suretyships and Business Rescue

No creditor likes having to deal with a defaulting debtor. Matters become even more interesting when the said debtor goes into business rescue. In such instances, the creditor’s avenues of recourse become rather limited by the Companies Act – because a creditor is unable to sue its debtor while their debtor is in business rescue. What’s a hapless creditor to do? Particularly in the uncertain economy in which we currently live, where suppliers are increasingly at risk. One good option is to make use of suretyships. Before releasing goods or rendering services, request your debtor to provide some solid guarantors, eg. ask the shareholders, directors, trustees, members, holding company etc to sign a suretyship guaranteeing the debtor’s obligations.

Employment Contact Agreements Online July wk 1

Mental health clauses and the Employment Contract

With the amount of publicity around mental health recently, it was only a matter of time before an ill-advised employer decided to address the issue head-on. In their employment contract. The clause landed up in the Labour Court, where the judge lambasted it. And rightfully so.

The facts, briefly, related to an employee who was appointed as a sales rep. She signed an Employment Contract that included a rather disturbing clause. The employer decided to include a requirement that the employee must submit to psychiatric testing as and when the employer requests it. It would be alarming enough if this was a standard clause in their contract. But it wasn’t. This delightful little clause was inserted solely for this employee.  Because she was bipolar. Despite the fact that her condition was being well-managed and in no way detracted from her work.

Defect List

The importance of the defects list

After a few years of renting the tenant decides it’s time to move on. On the last day of the lease the tenant supervises the loading of the truck, sweeps the floor on the way out, returns all the keys and remotes, and waves a nostalgic goodbye to the property as the gates close behind them. All that’s left is to wait for the deposit to be returned. As the days pass the tenant becomes more anxious. Has the landlord forgotten? Or waiting to roll-over the deposit from the new tenant? Or, worse, has no intention of paying the deposit at all? After several polite then not-so-polite reminders the tenant receives a one-liner response from the landlord: the deposit is being retained to cover damages to the carpet. The tenant’s eyes widen. Seriously?

Lease Agreement

What’s “fair” in fair wear and tear?

Ask any tenant, “What’s the most stressful part of renting?” and they’ll tell you it’s waiting for their deposit to be repaid. The final box has been loaded, the lost back-door key has thankfully been found, the floor’s been swept, and all keys and remotes have been returned to the owner. All that’s left is for the landlord to refund the deposit. The tenant already emailed their bank details days earlier, in the vain hope that this would expedite the payment. And now we wait. And wait. And wait. The tenant sends friendly reminders, followed by a few not-so-friendly reminders, asking for their deposit to be returned. Eventually the landlord sends a curt response: the deposit is forfeited to cover the cost of replacing the carpeting. Sorry, whaaaat??

Contract form of Agreement

Beware the disguised agreement

If there’s one thing that 2017 taught us, it’s beware of the disguised agreement. False agreements created to lend legitimacy to suspect accounting practices used to evade tax. Dodgy appointment terms signed to disguise the fronting nature of companies trying to obtain BEE certificates. Convoluted consulting agreements signed with politically-connected lead generators who miraculously secure lucrative public-sector contracts in return for disproportionate commission payments. In law, we call this a simulated transaction. Which is polite wording for “dirty rotten criminal activity”. Last year we saw many dirty rotten criminals being knocked from their perches, and 2018 should be no different.

TV Licence

Cancelling your TV licence

Are you paying for an SABC TV licence, but don’t own a TV? You are not alone. There are many people who are technically eligible to cancel their TV licence and yet continue to pay the annual fee year after year. Reasons for this include:

  • exasperation and finally giving up on the tedious cancellation process;
  • fear of prosecution;
  • not knowing how to go about cancelling their licence.

If you reside in South Africa and own a working television set, you are obliged by law to pay an annual licence fee to the SABC. Even if you never use your television. A television set is defined as any device designed or adapted to be capable of receiving a broadcast television signal, regardless whether it’s been relegated to a paperweight, dust-collector or computer monitor. But what if you no longer reside in South Africa, no longer own a television set or your television set no longer works? Well, that is where the challenge comes in. The SABC is quick to accept your licence fees and issue a licence – it is, after all, “the right thing to do”. But they’re not quite as efficient or forthcoming when it comes to cancelling a licence. Indeed, their website is remarkably helpful when it comes to applying and paying for your licence. Conversely, information about cancelling your licence is almost non-existent.

Announcing the launch of our brand-new website!

This month Agreements Online turns 10 years old! It is only fitting that we celebrate our first birthday in the double-digits with a face-lift. And so it is with great excitement that we unveil our new look. After months of hard work, we are proud to present the new-and-improved Agreements Online website! You can still find us at the same address – but our home has undergone some serious renovations! Also, sharing is caring, and we would be most appreciative if you could share this message with friends and family.

Consumer Protection Act: Is the Voetstoots clause still legal?

Common law principle of voetstoots

Under our common law, when a buyer buys goods there is an implied warranty that the seller sells the goods free from any defects. But if the goods are sold voetstoots, it means that the buyer takes delivery of the goods “as is” and without warranty. If goods are sold voetstoots and the buyer later finds out that there is a defect with them, the buyer would have no recourse against the seller.

The Mandela Legacy – Part II

If you missed Part I of our Tribute to Nelson Mandela, you can read it here.

In Part I, we reflected upon Mandela – the Man. Sadly, his time with us has come to pass, and his presence will be sorely missed. But his wisdom, humility and humanity live on, not only in our memories, but in his incomparable legacy. He lived his life passionately pursuing his ideal: attaining equal human rights for all South Africans.