Visiting South Africa with Kids Just Became Easier – Here’s What You Need to Know

Visiting South Africa with Kids Just Became Easier – Here’s What You Need to Know

“We’re all going on a summer holiday…” (Cliff Richard)

With the Festive Season (and our Summer Holidays!) well and truly upon us, you may be inviting family or friends to visit you from overseas with their children, or perhaps you are a foreigner planning a family trip to South Africa. Either way here’s some good news in the form of a welcome concession from government in regard to the documentation you will need to produce on entry. 

In a nutshell foreign children until now have only been able to enter the country with unabridged birth certificates and consent letters. That requirement was waived – for accompanied children only (check the full details in the table below) – from 8 November 2019. 

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) says it has communicated this very welcome new development to all role players, most importantly to the immigration officials at ports of entry who are tasked with enforcing the rules, but if you do happen to have documentation handy it can’t hurt to bring it along in case of any queries. If you need visas to visit you will anyway have to produce the documents when applying.

South African children (and unaccompanied foreign children) must still provide a list of required supporting documents – see below.

Note that the above is just a summary – it is extremely important that you check the DHA table below for full details, and that you ask your lawyer for help if you think any exemptions may apply, if you have any difficulty in understanding what is required, or if you cannot get the necessary documentation together.

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR CHILDREN TRAVELLING THROUGH A PORT OF ENTRY OF THE REPUBLIC

(Source – Department of Home Affairs)

Your Websites of the Month: Buying or Selling Anything? How to Use Facebook Marketplace

Your Websites of the Month: Buying or Selling Anything? How to Use Facebook Marketplace

By all accounts Facebook Marketplace is giving Gumtree, OLX and other online classifieds a real run for their money in both the personal and business markets. It is now used every month by 800 million people in 70 different countries.

Have a look at Facebook’s “How Marketplace Works” guide here for a step-by-step guide on buying and selling anything, sorting by distance or new listings, notifications, following, safety and trust issues and so on. 

For more ideas, and for 5 ways to use Facebook Marketplace for your business, read “Facebook Marketplace: The Marketer’s Guide” here

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.

© LawDotNews

Can Your Bank Take Your Money Without Permission?

Can Your Bank Take Your Money Without Permission?

“A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don’t need it” (Bob Hope)

A recent High Court decision has settled the knotty question of whether your bank can take money it holds for you in one account to cover your debt to it in another, without your permission and without notice to you.

Firstly, what is “set-off”?

To understand how important this new decision is, we need to go back to our common law (unwritten law) principle of set-off. In simple terms, common law set-off allows one debt to be cancelled out by another. So if for example I owe you R1,000 and you owe me R900, I am both your creditor and your debtor, and vice-versa. If we come to blows, I can then set the one debt off against the other with the net effect that I owe you R100.

Credit-lenders, and in particular banks, used to make extensive use of this to collect debt. If for instance you fell behind in your mortgage bond or credit card payments, your bank could, if it was so inclined, take the arrears out of your current account as soon as your salary was paid into it – without your consent and without notice to you. 

Banks have always argued that this ability has made it easier for them to lend money to us when we ask for it, as it reduces their risk by giving them more security if things go wrong. Giving notice or asking for consent would, they argue, allow a recalcitrant debtor to quickly withdraw the funds and frustrate the debt collection. But the other side of the coin of course is that you could suddenly find yourself without money to live, let alone to service your other debt payments – a situation particularly hard on lower earners and those struggling with mountains of debt.

Enter the NCA (National Credit Act) in 2005…

How the NCA changed things

In broad terms, the NCA (when it applies – see next paragraph) restricts set-off in such a way as to give the consumer the right to choose whether or not to consent to set-off, which accounts it may be applied to, in respect of which amounts, when it is to be applied, and in respect of which debts. 

But does the NCA apply to your particular debt? In most cases, yes. In a nutshell (there are some “ifs” and “buts” here so ask your lawyer for specific advice) the NCA applies to most personal loans, home loans, overdrafts, credit card debt, asset finance agreements, lease agreements and so on. It covers consumers who are individuals and some – not all – “juristic persons” (companies and the like – take advice for details).

Which brings us to the High Court…

Nevertheless at least one bank (which is unlikely to be alone in this practice) has continued until now to apply common law set-off without consent, in other words they would take money from a customer’s account to cover the customer’s debt on a separate credit agreement. The bank argued that the NCA’s set-off restrictions did not apply on its interpretation of the NCA, in its circumstances and to its credit agreements. Importantly, its agreements omitted any mention of set-off (where an agreement does mention set-off, there is no argument – the NCA restrictions definitely apply). 

Having received complaints from consumers to this effect, the National Credit Regulator asked the High Court to interpret the NCA’s provisions and to rule on the legality of the bank’s practice.

The High Court’s decision 

Common law set-off without your consent as above cannot happen if the NCA applies to your credit agreement. 

In a nutshell – you have the choice! Banks and other credit-lenders must ask you before taking money from one account to cover your debts in another.  

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.

© LawDotNews

Tax Freedom Day 2019 Has Arrived!

Tax Freedom Day 2019 Has Arrived!

“Untold Wealth: That which does not appear on income tax returns” (Anonymous)

“Tax Freedom Day” is the first day of the year that we South Africans (as a whole) have earned enough to pay off the Tax Man and to finally start working for ourselves.

It arrived this year on 18 May. That’s five days later than in 2018, and a whole 37 days later than in 1994 when we first started measuring this – not a happy trend, nor unfortunately one likely to be reversed in future.

But it could be worse. Taxpayers in a lot of other countries are still working for government – Norwegians for example only celebrate on 29 July!

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.

© LawDotNews

Accidentally Paid the Wrong Person? Lessons From a R862k Banking App Error

Accidentally Paid the Wrong Person? Lessons From a R862k Banking App Error

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch” (Economist Milton Friedman)

In these days of online banking and electronic payment, it’s not uncommon to find out to your horror that you have made a payment to someone in error, either to the wrong recipient or in an incorrect amount. If that happens to you and the recipient refuses to pay you back, what can you do about it?

The other side of the coin of course is whether the recipient of an unexplained and unexpected bank account credit can safely go ahead and spend the windfall (the answer in a nutshell is very strong “no” – if there are indeed any free lunches in the world, this is unlikely to be one of them!).

A recent High Court judgment sets out the requirements for a claim based on “unjustified enrichment”.

A banking app duplicates payments of R861,940
  • A couple were the happy beneficiaries of a malfunction in their bank’s “remote banking” app.
  • In effect they received duplicate transfers into their two accounts totalling R861,940 
  • The bank duly sued them for return of the money on the basis that they had been “unjustifiably enriched” at its expense.
  • Initially the couple denied that any duplication had taken place, but at trial they dropped their denial, claiming instead to have repaid the bank in cash.
  • The husband’s story was that he had paid a bank employee, since deceased, who had put the cash into a safe “in case a claim was made”. He was unable to say how much money had been handed over, he could not give dates, and no receipts were requested or given. Nevertheless his evidence was accepted by the trial court and the bank’s claim failed.
  • However on appeal to a “full bench” (a “full court” of three High Court judges, sometimes more), the husband’s version was rejected as “inherently improbable”, and the couple was ordered to repay the bank together with interest and legal costs.  
What must you prove?

The requirements for an unjustified enrichment claim are –

  1. The recipient has in fact been enriched by receiving the money (it needn’t be money, it could for example be an asset of some sort)
  2. You have been “impoverished” by the transfer
  3. The recipient’s enrichment was at your expense
  4. The enrichment was legally unjustified.

Once the couple admitted receiving the money without a legal basis, held the Court, the onus shifted to them to prove that there was no enrichment. So their failure to prove repayment was the end of their case. 

Don’t despair if the facts of your case don’t tie in fully with the above requirements – our law may have other remedies for you. Ask your lawyer for help.

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.

© LawDotNews

Your Website and Video of the Month: Before You Enter an Uber…

Your Website and Video of the Month: Before You Enter an Uber…

Ridesharing services like Uber are convenient and popular, but you will have read of the “fake Uber” attacks and other safety concerns so on the principle of “safety first” always take a few common sense precautions when using them.

Before you get into your next Uber have a good read of their “Driving safety forward” page here. Pay particular attention to the 3 steps you should always follow before you enter the vehicle in the “Check your ride, every time you ride” section half way down the page. Also be aware of the safety features available to you in the app itself – they are listed in the “Designing a safer ride” section.

Then watch Uber’s “Safety Never Stops” video on YouTube.

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.

© LawDotNews

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