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September 03, 2004

Court ruling a victory for abused women

In what is seen as a victory for abused women, KwaZulu-Natal’s Judge President has deemed the Domestic Violence Act to be constitutional, dismissing a Durban man’s claim that it infringed on his right to freedom. A report in The Mercury says businessman Ahmed Raffick Omar took on the government, the Minister of Justice and his now ex-wife Halima Joosab in a case before Judge Vuka Tshabalala in the Pietermaritzburg High Court earlier this year. His attack on the Act – described by the judge as ‘one of the most important statutes dealing with the scourge of domestic violence’ – came after his wife obtained a domestic violence order against him. He challenged the mandatory issue of a warrant of arrest at the time of the granting of protection orders. In his judgment, Tshabalala commented that the application had arisen out of an abusive relationship. He said the effect of the disputed provisions of the Act had to be assessed in the light of the state’s constitutional duty to protect vulnerable members of society and to deal effectively with the scourge of domestic violence.

This article is provided courtesy of Legalbrief Today. To participate in a free month’s subscription to Legalbrief’s daily legal news service Click here.

September 02, 2004

Interest rates to fall

The SARS said yesterday that interest rates charged on outstanding taxes, duties and levies, including interest rates paid by the SARS on refunds, are set to decrease by one percentage point with effect from November 1

September 01, 2004

Companies fear ruling opens door to lifelong disability claims

SA companies are fearful that a recent decision by an independent tribunal might lead to a rush of claims for lifelong compensation for disability against pension funds. In a landmark decision, the Pension Funds Adjudicator recently ruled that an employee injured at work was entitled to compensation for the rest of his life from the Unilever SA Pension Fund. A Business Day report interprets the decision to mean that in future people who are suffering from severe ill-health could have a claim against their pension fund, despite being offered alternative employment by their employer.

Article supplied courtesy of Legalbrief Today. To participate in a free month’s subscription to Legalbrief’s daily legal news service Click here.

August 31, 2004

Child’s ties with non-custodial parent must be considered before relocation

Acting Judge SE Weiner found in the Johannesburg High Court that the best interests of the child or children, and not the parent who has custody, have to be considered before relocation.

A Beeld report says that in this case, a mother wanted to move to England with her eight-year-old daughter. Her ex-husband had refused to authorise the move, and the woman went to the High Court. Weiner said that even if the girl's mother made ‘sufficient, fair and satisfactory’ arrangements for the move to England, which would imply the girl would get a proper education, standard of living and way of life, it was not necessarily in the child's best interest.

The court also had to take into account any negative consequences of such a move. In this case (and in all similar cases), one of the most important aspects of a relocation of which the courts should take cognisance is the effect of such a move on the child's ‘close psychological and emotional’ ties with the parent who did not have custody. Read more

Protect your employees from creditors

One of our areas of speciality is debt consolidation. We are often consulted by individuals who are up to their eyebrows in substantial debt, having borrowed money from loan sharks and being maxed out on all their credit cards.

In many instances, creditors have applied to court and have obtained an emoluments attachment order, obliging an employer to deduct a specific amount from the employees salary and to pay it over to the creditor. Such orders are either obtained through an Application to Court or via a consent signed by the debtor (which is usually incorporated in the application for credit that is made at the time the employee seeks a loan).

In some cases, our clients’ take home pay is entirely minimal as a result of several emoluments attachment orders that have been granted.

You can well imagine that the situation will cause your employee to become unproductive and to be in a state of constant depression. If you find that you are deducting more money from your employee’s salary than paying over to him or her, you should seriously consider advising your employee to take legal advice so that an attorney may either approach the various creditors and through a process of negotiation get them to agree to reduce the amounts of the monthly deductions or, that failing, your employee may either apply to court for a cumulative reduction of each order or, alternatively, consider placing himself/herself under administration. This step will definitely result in your employee becoming more focused on his/her work and, accordingly, a more productive member of staff.

nathaniel and the non-aggressive

nathaniel stern helped out with setting up this blog. Thanks to him!