I have recently started a new job with a company. My ex-employer is threatening to take action against me on the basis of a restraint of trade I signed when I was employed by them. I don’t even remember signing it! Are restraints of trade even valid?

A:

Yes, restraints of trade are valid (at face value). But you can have it declared unenforceable if you’re able to show that it is unreasonable. You would need to determine whether your previous employer had any proprietary interests that needed to be protected. For example, were you privy to: Read More.....

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I signed a restraint of trade when I was employed. Now I want to leave the company. Is my restraint of trade enforceable?” This question is often asked – and usually around the time that the employee has decided to look for another job. Sometimes the question is asked when the employee has taken up a position at another company, often the competitor – and then gets a fright when s/he is faced with legal action based on a restraint s/he had forgotten that s/he had even signed. Read More.....

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My landlord refuses to perform any repairs to the property that I am living in. With the recent rains the roof has now sprung leaks and the house is virtually unliveable. Can I cancel my lease before the termination date?

The short answer to this question is: probably. The landlord has an obligation to provide you with a residence that is reasonably habitable. But there are certain provisos: Read More.....

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Every year between November / December (Christmas season) and January / February (end of the tax year) employers are faced with the same old challenge: employees start demanding “their” bonus or thirteenth cheque. Companies are asking “Must I pay my staff a Christmas bonus? Profit bonus? Performance bonus? Is the payment of a thirteenth cheque a legal requirement in South Africa?” Meanwhile, employees are asking “I didn’t get a bonus this year, what recourse do I have? Am I entitled to an annual bonus?” Read More.....

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My supplier agreed to changing the terms of our agreement. They’re now backing out and saying the changes aren’t legally valid because it was only “agreed to” in an email. Are changes to an agreement made by email valid?

A:

Yes they are. On 21 November 2014, the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that where an agreement contains a non-variation clause providing that changes must be in writing and signed by the parties, this includes variations agreed to in an exchange of emails. Read More.....

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  1. Template or custom-drafted?

When it comes to drafting your Will, the first thing to decide is: where will you get one from? Are you comfortable with using a template, or would you prefer for someone to draft it for you? If your situation is relatively uncomplicated a template can be an easy and cost-effective option. But if you’re hesitant or have more complex requirements then chat to a specialist for some guidance. Read More.....

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A:

No, you’re not. But be careful not to confuse a Letter of Reference with a Letter of Service. When an employee’s employment terminates, you must provide a Letter of Service. The Letter of Service can be used to provide confirmation of the following:

  • The start and end dates of the employee’s employment
  • The employee’s job title and general duties
  • The salary or rate of remuneration that the employee was earning as at termination.

A Letter of Reference is generally a written testimonial in which you praise the employee, or identify the positive attributes the employee brings to their job. There is no obligation to provide an employee with a letter of reference. Read More.....

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This well-publicised case highlights some serious concerns in the way that state-owned entities work (or don’t work, as the case may be). And highlights once again how important and, indeed, indispensable, our courts and the all-important Constitution are in upholding the law and ensuring justice is served in South Africa. In the matter of South African Broadcasting Corporation Soc Ltd and Others v Democratic Alliance and Others (2015) 4 All SA 719 (SCA) the court was asked to consider the powers of the Office of the Public Protector. Read More.....

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There are two ways of dying:

  • with a Will; or
  • without a Will.

Here are some reasons why we would strongly recommend that you die with a Will.

  1. You get to choose your heirs.

Drafting a Will is the best way of ensuring that your possessions get given to the people of your choice. If you die without a Will your possessions are distributed according to the law of intestate succession. People who you don’t particularly like may land up inheriting (like your long-lost drug-addict sister), or the people you do want to inherit may land up getting nothing (like your long-suffering girlfriend). Read More.....

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Who can forget that fateful day of the 2015 State of the Nation Address when the Economic Freedom Fighters were forcibly removed from the National Assembly? In authorising the brutal ejectment of the EFF from the National Assembly, the speaker relied on an Act of Parliament bearing the rather long-winded name of “Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act”. In brief, section 11 of this Act permits the speaker to order a staff member or member of the security forces to arrest and remove any person creating a disturbance during a parliamentary sitting. The significance and sheer breadth of this clause was brought home to the people of South Africa in the circulation of alarming images of the violent, no-holds-barred approach adopted by the security forces during the eviction of the EFF. Read More.....

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