News

Director's Role Amidst The Covid-19 Pandemic

The director’s role has without a doubt become more onerous amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the Companies Act makes provision for operating in a virtual world, which includes, inter alia:

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Covid -19 – Level 3 Workplace Regulations

All persons who are able to work from home must do so. However, persons will be permitted to travel to and from work and for work purposes under Alert Level 3, subject to-

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South Africa in the 2020s – an extract from a recent article by Clem Sunter

Just over 32 years ago in 1987, Clem Sunter published a book entitled The World and South Africa in the 1990s . For South Africa, he played the ‘High Road’ scenario where proper negotiations between the real leaders of the major parties would produce a political settlement that allowed the country to return to the world stage. However, he made it clear that in the long run a thriving economy in which everyone participated was a precondition for the country to become a winning nation.

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Tito Mboweni in the Spotlight

Over the last few months, Minister Mboweni has made a number of telling tweets that has caused the ruling party to distance themselves from his tweets and haul him over the coals! However it would appear that the minister is being a realist and his tweets are more like an impassioned plea for all to understand the predicament we are in. An extract from a recent speech by Minister Mboweni points out the key reforms that are needed to facilitate the following:

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Repo Rate Reduced on Back of Favourable Data

A good start to the new year when the Reserve bank announced a surprise reduction of 25 basis points to the repo rate. Good news for those with borrowings and the forecast is that we should get another cut in the 4th quarter 2020.

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Budget Speech 26th February 2020

South Africa will be holding its breath at 14h00 Wednesday 26th February 2020 as Minister Mboweni presents his Budget for the 2021 financial year. There literally can only be bad news as the whole country is going to be affected by whatever reforms will be announced, but without these reforms South Africa will undoubtedly fail, so we need to make short to medium term sacrifices. There will be increased taxes, what shape or form is anyone’s guess. But this needs to be accompanied with a reduced Government wage bill and holes plugged in our leaking State-Owned Entities.

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Annual Inflation Continues to Fall

A recent report from STATSA states that annual inflation eased further in November, falling to 3,6% from October’s 3,7%. This is the third successive month of disinflation, which means that the pace of price increases is slowing down.

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Stabilising Public Finances

Large fiscal deficits incurred over the years, although providing short-term support to the economy, have not resulted in commensurate long-term economic growth. This has led to sharp increases in the government’s debt-to-GDP ratio, which currently stands at 60.8 per cent, and is expected to rise to 71.3 per cent in 2022/23. The growing proportion of limited public resources spent on interest payments are crowding out spending on social and economic investment.

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Eskom reforms

In February 2019, the president announced the separation of Eskom into three distinct entities: generation, transmission and distribution. The primary objective being to allow each entity to focus on enhancing efficiency, reducing costs and optimising investment on a specific function, rather than trading off efforts amongst all three. In addition, the capital structure will ultimately be amended to end all reliance of Eskom on government support. Functional separation to wholly owned subsidiaries with independent Boards is scheduled to be complete by March 2020, with legal separation of the distribution and generation functions by December 2021.

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Promoting Investment and Economic Growth

Policy certainty and a conducive business environment are critical to support the confidence of businesses and households. A robust monetary policy framework has provided certainty but needs to be complemented with a range of reforms that are within government’s control and do not require significant funding. These would help to raise long-term growth.

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Medium Term Budget Policy Statement 2019

The 2019 MTBPS has been presented by Minister Tito Mboweni. His opening statement was a reference to the Aloe Ferox plant he brought to Parliament when presenting the February 2019 budget.

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#IMSTAYING

The latest social media phenomenon in South Africa is a Facebook page started just over a month ago which now has 700 000 followers! It’s a collective of positive sentiments about South Africa from people of all walks of life. Now it looks set to play a role in job creation and stimulating the economy. A positive step in any one’s books!

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Delinquent Director

In a very recent public spat, the board of Old Mutual and its CEO have had an acrimonious relationship, with the CEO wanting to declare the entire board of Directors delinquent after having been fired for conflict of interest. Being declared a delinquent director is not a common occurrence and we thought it may well be of interest to list the grounds for Delinquency.

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Economic Policy Paper for Public Comment

The Minister of Finance, Mr Tito Mboweni, is calling on members of the public to make comments on a paper titled: “Economic transformation, inclusive growth, and competitiveness: Towards an Economic Strategy for South Africa”.

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Who Needs to do Estate Planning?

Many may think that they are not old enough or wealthy enough to warrant doing any estate planning. However, if a person is over the age of eighteen, no matter how small their estate is, it is advisable to begin the process. Where an estate planner is “at” in life, will determine your strategic plan for your estate, and which techniques to use in order to implement in the plan. An estate planner may be single, married, divorced, or separated. You may have minor children or adult children. You may be married for a second or third time, with children from previous marriages. You may own assets with a strong growth potential.

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Prescribed Investments for Pension Funds

Much has been publicised about the potential implementation of prescribed investments and resultant impact on investment returns. This policy was previously followed by the Nationalist Party but abolished in the late 1980’s.

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Implementing NHI One Step Closer

The cabinet has finally approved the National Health Insurance (NHI) bill for tabling in parliament, minister in the presidency for planning, monitoring and evaluation Jackson Mthembu announced last Thursday.

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Business Rescue – Directors Responsibility

In the current economic climate, more and more companies are becoming financially distressed. Directors are duty bound to constantly monitor the company’s financial position, to determine whether voluntary business rescue proceedings need to be initiated. Failure to implement business rescue proceedings could result in the director being charged with reckless trading and be exposed to personal liability. It is incumbent upon directors to ensure that they place their companies into either business rescue or liquidation, or to cease trading, when the warning signs become evident. Directors should be aware of the practicalities of business rescue, and the duties and powers of the business rescue practitioner.

N Nolands Team