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The below articles are only basic guidelines.Please contact Scorpion Legal Protection for more information.
New legislation means you could get jail time for lying on your CV. Scorpion Legal Protection discusses the law:
Is your neighbour’s dog’s non-stop barking driving you crazy? Scorpion Legal Protection discusses how you can handle things the right way. Click to read the full article:
What if you have a settlement agreement at the CCMA, but the other party still isn’t complying? What can you do to make sure the agreement is enforced? Click to read the full article and see what Scorpion Legal Protection advises:
What is a Section 189 process, and what does it mean to be dismissed for “operational requirements”? We discuss:
I bought a house cash, but the adult children of the seller are refusing to vacate the house, what can I do about it? We look into the issue:
Can my employer expect me to perform duties that are not in my contract? We look into the issue:
Is suspension without pay fair? Scorpion Legal Protection looks into the issue:
Did you know that learners doing a learnership with a company are legally entitled to prescribed minimum wages? Scorpion Legal Protection looks into learnership allowances and the law:
I lodged a claim with the Road Accident Fund (RAF), when will I get my money? Scorpion Legal Protection looks into the RAF’s processes and what you can expect:
Can you resign with immediate effect even if your employment contract says you must give 8 weeks’ notice? We discuss what the law says:
If your employer has been paying you a bonus for the last 18 years and then all of a sudden wants to stop paying it, is there something you can do?
Jabu’s landlord is full of excuses and reasons why he needs to use her deposit money to pay for repairs – even though at the outgoing inspection Jabu and the landlord agreed that there were no damages. We discuss what she can do.
Can your employer force you to pay for a uniform if your job requires it? We discuss what the law says.
Facing possible retrenchment? Find out what your employer’s notice to consult letter should look like, why it’s important and when you can take legal action.
Nono’s manager promised her she would be first in line for a new job opportunity at their company, but a month later she had given it to another employee. Does she have a case for ‘breach of promise’?
“I’ve been driving taxis for over 20 years, now they are refusing to give me my pension fund and benefits – what can I do?” Scorpion Legal Protection discusses how claiming from your pension fund works and what the law says.
If you’re involved in a car accident and your insurance takes the other driver to court, will you get paid out some of the money if they win the case? We discuss what the law says.
What does a protected strike have to do with absconding from work? Are they the same? Related? We discuss what the law says.
Unlawful arrests happen, here’s what you need to know about them.
Mzwakhe wants to know why he hasn’t received his annual bonus yet – he’s been working for his employer since 2017 and still nothing. Scorpion Legal Protection discusses what the law says on the payment of bonuses.
Johannes was fined by metro police because his bakkie was overloaded. The problem is, his boss is the one who instructed him what he needed to load on the bakkie. Who does the law say is responsible for the fine? Scorpion discusses.
Precious was retrenched, and says her employer owes her backpay as well as provident fund money. She’s scared they will just vanish and never pay her out. Scorpion Legal Protection discusses what the law says about this and what’s due to retrenched employees according to the law.
Blessing paid the sheriff of the court to get his money back, but now the sheriff has vanished and he doesn’t know what to do. Scorpion Legal Protection discusses how sheriffs work in SA, and what Blessing can do.
Martin says he was parked when an elderly man reversed into him and damaged his car. His car is at the panel beater, but he’s a sales rep, and needs to be able to get to clients for his job. Who’s responsible for this mess? Scorpion Legal Protection discusses how insurance works and what the law says.
John’s wife just had a baby, and he wants to be there to help out. How much paternity leave do dads in South Africa get? Scorpion Legal Protection discusses what the law says.
Siviwe found out that his former employer had been making provident fund deductions from his salary every month, but never paid them over to the provident fund. What can he do? Scorpion Legal Protection discusses what the law says, and what action Siviwe can take.
Can your employer force you to take a lie detector test? Scorpion Legal Protection discusses what the law says and how the tests work.
Mqondisi found unlabelled deductions being taken from her salary when she inspected her last payslip. AZIKHIPHI! That’s not on! Scorpion Legal Protection discusses what the law says about this and how salary deductions work.
Donald wants to apply for finance for a car, but before he does this, he wants to know what his credit score is. Scorpion discusses where to find this information.
Ellen’s brother passed, and her family was told they needed a ‘letter of authority’ to deal with his estate. She has no idea what this is, or where to get it. Scorpion Legal Protection discusses how estates work.
Patrick says that he works as a general worker and also as an assistant supervisor, but his boss won’t pay him any more than what he pays the other general workers. This doesn’t seem fair… Scorpion discusses what the law says, and what he can do about his situation.
Ornella wants to take leave, but she is new at her company and is not sure if she will be paid while she is on leave, or if these days will come out of her salary. Scorpion discusses how leave works according to SA’s labour laws.
When it comes to having your car repaired or towed, both you (as the owner of the vehicle) and the service provider are protected by the law.
You have the right to good quality service and to have your car properly looked after while it's in the workshop or towing company's possession. If you feel that they have not performed these duties, or worse yet, stolen goods from your vehicle, you have legal rights and can take action.
But you also have the responsibility to pay for the services they provide, and if you don't or can't, then the service providers have a legal right to keep your car until you pay what you owe them, and if you don't, they can institute legal action against you to be allowed to sell your car to make up the money you owe them.
As always, make sure you read the fine print of any contract you sign so you understand the terms and conditions properly, and don't get a surprise later on.
Date added: July 2019
Beware of emails that look like they come from SARS. Scammers are using emails to fool people into giving out important personal information that they can then steal to use fraudulently. Two of the email addresses identified as scam by SARS are firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. The scammers trick people by saying that they are eligible to receive a tax refund, and these emails have links to false forms and fake websites made to look like the “real thing”, but with the aim of fooling people into entering personal information like their bank account details. #StaySmart
Every year scammers try to take advantage of people doing their taxes. SARS has warned about the latest scam involving an eFiling letter notification (have a look at the image to see what this scam looks like). Members of the public are randomly emailed with false “spoofed” emails made to look as if these emails were sent from SARS, but are in fact fraudulent emails aimed at enticing unsuspecting taxpayers to give out important personal information like their bank account details. Stay sharp! #StaySmart
Dorah applied for work as a cleaner, but when her new employer told her she would only be getting R15 per hour, she was a bit upset. She doesn’t know what exactly the minimum wage is for cleaners, but it has to be more than that! Scorpion Legal Protection explains what the minimum wage for cleaners is by law.
Promise started work as a receptionist for a small company, but after 2 months she still didn’t have an employment contract. Her boss hasn’t said anything, and now she’s not sure if she should ask him or just leave it. Scorpion Legal Protection discusses employment contracts and whose responsibility it is to provide one.
Johannes says that when his boss changed him from a reaction officer to an armed guard, without any discussion or consultation, his working conditions became intolerable. Things were so bad that Johannes felt he had no other choice but to resign. Is this a case of constructive dismissal? Scorpion Legal Protection discusses his options.
Ernest’s boss is a real jerk – he won’t let his employees rest for even 15 minutes of the day because he says he’s paying them to work, not sit around. AZIKHIPHI! That’s not on! The law is on Ernest’s side. Read more to find out what he can do:
Date added: June 2019
What is a fair price to be charged when your car is stored by a towing company or workshop? Well, the answer is not simple. There is no standard fixed storage fee for the industry. The Competitions Act does not allow industry-wide fixing of prices by any industry, which will lead to investigation by the Competition Commission and possible prosecution in the Competition Tribunal, as it is illegal. (Anti competitive.) The South African Towing and Recovery Association (SATRA) advises that prices between R100 and R450 per day are currently being charged. The average is around R200. It will depend on the towing operator who towed your vehicle what is being charged - it could be a guy who stores your vehicle in his backyard or a professional towing company that has a properly secured towing yard with 24-hour manned security.
Tow truck operators can be unscrupulous when they spot a vehicle in an accident, and can hook your car up to tow before you get a chance to refuse, charging you whatever they want for this service later. AZIKHIPHI! That's not on! Look for tow truck operators that are part of the South African Towing and Recovery Association (SATRA) and UTASA (United Towing Association of South Africa). They are bound by an enforceable code of conduct that protects you, the consumer, from being charged above market-related rates. #StaySmart
Did you know that in certain circumstances an employer can use recordings against you at a disciplinary hearing, even if they were obtained without your consent? Scorpion Legal Protection talks about when and why it’s allowed and what the law says about this.
When Steven received a summons for his outstanding e-toll bills, he thought nothing of it, and chucked it in the bin. But he was a little worried, and had some questions. What is a summons and is it legally binding? Scorpion Legal Protection discusses the issue.
When Nkosazana resigned, she questioned her employer about why he hadn’t paid her out for the leave days she didn’t take. He told her he’s sorry but she should’ve taken the leave days when she had the chance. AZIKHIPHI! That’s not on! Scorpion discusses why her former employer could get in trouble with the law.
Linda* wasn’t aware of her company’s policy when it came to streaming music, so when HR dropped a written warning on her desk for streaming music, she was shocked. She doesn’t want to sign the letter, but she’s not sure what will happen if she refuses. Scorpion discusses how warnings work and what Linda’s options are.
Siyabonga’s employer accused him of stealing, and claims he has CCTV footage of the event. Can CCTV footage be used at the CCMA? Scorpion Legal Protection discusses the laws that apply.
What do you do if you’ve bought a brand-new or good quality used vehicle and then realise that the vehicle you bought is defective, damaged or not fit for the purpose for which you bought it for?
Date added: May 2019
The Consumer Protection Act protects both buyers AND sellers of motor vehicles. If, for example, you've bought a car and then later decide that it's too expensive or you don't like it as much as you thought you would, you don't have the same rights, and can't just demand a replacement or refund. The CPA only covers you for defects or quality issues, or if the car is not fit for its intended purpose. If you simply find that you don’t like it and want a refund, that would be subject to the return policy of the particular seller. Make sure you're 100% happy with your purchase before you sign on the dotted line. #StaySmart
Not sure what parts of your car are covered by the manufacturer's warranty? Each manufacturer will have their own specific warranty, so make sure you check your car's documents carefully, but in general, parts that fall under the warranty are things like the engine, gearbox, electrical components, fuel system, audio system and sensors. A motor warranty does not cover you for general wear and tear (like windscreen wipers and tyres) or damage as a result of your own negligence (you failed to take proper care of the car). #StaySmart
A private car sales agreement is legally binding as long as it includes the following:
The item for sale must be specified. While it is not necessary to be 100% precise, the more information listed, the better.
The name of the person selling the vehicle should be listed and notice must be made of their intention to sell the vehicle.
The name of the person buying the vehicle should be listed as well as their intention to purchase the vehicle.
Mbongeni’s* company closes every year for 10 days over the December holiday period, and every year the staff take their annual leave over this same period. This year, Mbongeni wants to take his annual leave over the Easter holidays, but his employer says he can’t. Can his employer do this? What are Mbongeni’s rights?
Ntshadi* knew she was pregnant a week before she went for a job interview. Seven months later at her new job, she tells her employer that she will need to go on maternity leave soon and he freaks out. What if he fires her because she didn’t tell him she was pregnant? Or gets someone else in her place and tells her not to come back? Scorpion discusses why that would be a very bad idea for her boss and how the law protects her.
Andile* was struggling to find a place he could afford. He’d heard about a guy who could get you onto the waiting list for an RDP house and then bumped up on that list too. It sounded like a wish come true! But aren’t RDP houses run by the government for the poor? Scorpion discusses how RDP houses work and why these ‘get a house quick’ schemes are illegal.
Renting or buying property is usually one of the biggest monthly expenses you'll have. Make sure that you have all the information you need, and don’t let anyone pressure you into signing an agreement without reading through it carefully. Here are 4 things to do before signing on the dotted line:
Date added: April 2019
When you leave a rental property, you must insist on an outgoing inspection and demand a statement of the deductions made from your deposit together with the receipts for any repairs taken from your deposit. #StaySmart
When you purchase a property in a sectional title scheme (like a complex), you automatically become a member of the body corporate. Owners are automatically bound by the rules of the body corporate. It's the buyer's responsibility to request a copy of the body corporate rules before purchasing the property. Make sure you know what you're buying into. #StaySmart
Sometimes a landlord might ask you to sign a lease agreement where you promise not to enforce some of your rights. For example, that the landlord doesn't have to give you a written statement for all payments made and received by him/her, like water and lights bills, etc. However, even if you sign a lease like this, the law of contracts and the Rental Housing Act mean that this lease will be invalid and the landlord will not be able to enforce it. #StaySmart
Damion left his previous company on bad terms. To ‘get back’ at him, the company refused to give him a copy of the provident fund withdrawal notification form, which means Damion can’t get hold of his provident fund. AZIKHIPHI! That’s not on! Scorpion Legal Protection discusses what he can do.
Amanda’s debt counsellor has been doing shady things like charging her “collection commission” and not responding to her creditors. As a result, one of her creditors came to repossess her car. Now she has to pay to take the taxi to work every day, and she is already struggling with her money! AZIKHIPHI! That’s not on! Scorpion Legal Protection discusses what she can do.
When Kabelo’s car was stolen, he expected the police to investigate the case as soon as possible. But two months later, it appears that they still haven’t done anything and now he wants to know if there’s anything he can do about it. Scorpion Legal Protection discusses.
Mama Sihle says she experienced terrible mistreatment 7 years ago at the hands of the hospital where she had her child. The incident has left her traumatised for life, and because of this she wants to know if she can open a case against the hospital. Scorpion Legal Protection discusses.
You might be super excited to finally receive that employment contract and get working, but it's important that you read through it carefully instead of just signing on the dotted line. It's a legally binding commitment you make to the employer, so you need to make sure that you have a clear picture of what you’re getting into.
Here are 6 things to always check before signing an employment contract:
Date added: March 2019
You cannot just decide to not work your notice period when you resign from a job. If you haven't reached an agreement with your employer to waive the notice period required by your employment contract, you will be in breach of contract if you don't report for work, and your employer will not have to pay you for your notice period. #StaySmart
It is illegal for any employer to have employees work in dangerous or unsafe environments. Examples of unsafe environments include things like defective equipment, fire hazards, poor air conditions (like in mines or factories), and dirty and cluttered workplaces where employees could, for example, trip on extension cords that were not put away properly or slip and fall on dirty staircases. #StaySmart
No employer can stipulate in an employment contract that employees are prohibited from joining a trade union. This is considered an 'unlawful clause', which means that even if it's in your employment contract, it's illegal, and you cannot be fired if you go against it. #StaySmart
Sakhumzi* went for circumcision, and was booked off from work for three days after to heal. When he got back to work, his boss said he would not pay him for those three days because it was a “personal problem” and not a medical one – even though he submitted a doctor’s note. Is his employer right?
Malusi* was called in by his employer for poor work performance. His employer decided that since he was not performing well, he would put him on short time. AZIKHIPHI! That’s not on! Short time is not something employers can use as a disciplinary measure!
When Kopano spoke up against the unfair treatment his boss gave his co-workers, his boss started treating him badly to – to the point where Kopano felt all he could do was resign to get away from him. AZIKHIPHI! That’s not on! This is called constructive dismissal, and while it can be difficult to prove, it’s not impossible. How do you know if you have a case of unfair dismissal?
Mohamed missed one meeting and got a written warning from his employer. AZIKHIPHI! That’s not on! Employers can’t just dish out warnings without following procedure. Find out more about warnings in the workplace, when they’re fair and what to do if you don’t agree with a warning.
Constructive dismissal is the ultimate workplace bullying. It's when your employer makes working for him/her intolerable, to the point where you have no other option but to resign. Constructive dismissal can be hard to prove, because the responsibility to prove constructive dismissal is on the employee.
The employee must be able to prove that:
Date added: February 2019
Workshops, mechanics and other motor-related repairmen are not allowed to charge you for any diagnostic work or inspections they need to perform in order to give you a quote, unless they've discussed this with you beforehand and you've agreed. #StaySmart
As a tenant, you can demand to see the landlord’s municipal account to check the charges he/she passes onto you – like water and electricity. #StaySmart
If you have a labour problem, it is very important that you take steps immediately. In the case of an unfair dismissal dispute, you have only 30 days from the date on which the dispute arose to open a case, if the case is an unfair labour practice, you have only 90 days and, with discrimination cases, you have six months. #StaySmart
Ayanda’s employer is deducting things from her salary, but these deductions aren’t on her payslip, and she thinks he might be taking money from her unnecessarily. When she asks him, he tells her to “stop being clever” and the deductions continue to go off every month. Can he do this? Scorpion Legal Protection discusses the law when it comes to salary deductions.
When Mr Mqhamzana* passed away, he left a will detailing how his assets were to be distributed among his children. Nomvula’s* brother is in possession of the will, but refuses to show it to her or provide her with it so that she can claim what her father left to her. What can she do? Scorpion Legal Protection discusses estates and what you can do if you find yourself in a similar situation.
Nkibelo* is a salesperson at a big company. Lately, he hasn’t been feeling too well. He’s been working extra hard to make his targets, and then one day while he was visiting a client, he fainted. They took him to hospital, and he was diagnosed with extremely low blood pressure. The doctor booked him off work for a week to recover, but on day three, Nkibelo’s boss called him to tell him he’s fired.
When Daniel won his case at the CCMA, he was relieved. Finally he would get paid out. The court ordered his employer to pay him out R18 900, but it’s months later and it seems like his former employer is just ignoring the court order! How can he force his employer to pay up? Scorpion Legal Protection answers this question.
Mpho didn’t know she had diabetes, and became very ill. She had no more sick leave left, so when she had to take off work for health problems, her employer did not pay her a salary. She wants to claim from UIF, but her boss told her that it’s only for ‘serious’ diseases like cancer or AIDS. AZIKHIPHI! That’s not true. Scorpion Legal Protection discusses how to claim UIF illness benefits.
What can you do if a supplier fails to comply with the Consumer Protection Act?
Date added: January 2019
Companies must deliver goods that match the sample or description of the product. You have the right to examine your purchases before accepting them, and reject them if you’re not happy. #StaySmart
Automatic contract renewals are no longer allowed under the Consumer Protection Act. Companies will have to contact you – in writing – between 40 and 80 business days before your contract expires. They have to give you the option to continue your contract, change its terms or cancel it. #StaySmart
'Voetstoots' is no longer allowed under the CPA – stores and suppliers, even pawn shops, must let you know of all defects with the product you are looking to purchase. The Consumer Protection Act protects your right to good quality products in good working order that are fit for their purpose. #StaySmart
If you purchased faulty or unsafe goods, and returned them to the supplier for repairs only to have the product fail again within three months, the supplier must replace them or refund you, provided you did not cause the damage deliberately or due to gross negligence. #StaySmart
Mary wanted to take family responsibility leave to grieve the passing of a family member, but her employer refused to approve it until he knew which family member it was for. Mary didn’t understand why this was necessary, family is family and this is her family responsibility leave to use or not use. Scorpion Legal Protection discusses family responsibility leave, how it works and why her boss would ask her about it.
Mpitse’s* boss says he has to work on Christmas, but he’s already made plans with his family. AZIKHIPHI! That’s not on! When can employers force you to work, and how does annual leave work when it comes to the holiday season?
Tito was so excited when he bought his family a new home theatre system for the holidays. But just two weeks later, his speakers were no longer working. AZIKHIPHI! That’s not on! He paid good, hard-earned cash for his goods from a reputable store; they must take responsibility and fix it! What legal recourse does Tito have?
When Thulani had a car accident in the company car, his boss fired him on the spot and didn’t pay him his salary. A car accident is serious, but surely an employer can’t just fire an employee? Scorpion Legal Protection answers this question.
Tips for drafting a will:
Date added: December 2018
If you have a pension/provident fund, you have the option to take a part or full lump sum payout when you retire or change jobs (depending on your specific fund). But all lump sum payouts, whether as a result of retirement or not (and from an employer in respect of a severance benefit), are taxed. #StaySmart
*This does not constitute financial advice.
A firearm licence only covers one firearm. For every firearm you own, you need to have a separate firearm licence, or you could get into trouble. #StaySmart
When you draw up a will, you should make sure that you and two witnesses sign your will on each page and next to anything that you may have amended. Witnesses should be people who have no interest in the will, and their signatures merely acknowledge that they saw you sign your will. They do not have to know the content of the document. When you sign your will, it is preferable not to ask family members or anyone else who could be an heir or the spouse of an heir to sign as a witness. #StaySmart
When Prince bought a bakkie, he agreed on a price with the second-hand car dealership. But when he went to fetch his car, the dealers said he needed to pay separately for extras on the car – but they were already part of the car!
When Lungi’s aunt asked her to buy a few things for her on Lungi’s store account, she didn’t think twice – umdeni wakho awukhethi. But her aunt has failed to make payment on the debt, and now the debt collectors are after Lungi! What can she do?
Sentso’s boss called him one day out of the blue to tell him the company was having financial difficulties, and he should not report to work until further notice. AZIKHIPHI! That’s not on!
Pearl loves shopping, but got into trouble when she failed to pay her accounts. She owed R1 500. Debt collectors have been debiting money from her account for this debt since 2005 – which means she has paid back far more than what she owed.
Statistics South Africa's latest report for 2018 showed that unemployment rose to 27.2% – that's 6.08 million South Africans sitting without a job. And retrenchments are happening all the time, which is why it's so important to know and understand how the law protects you against unfair treatment from your employer. According to the Labour Relations Act, employers are not allowed to retrench workers without a valid, lawful reason; without consultation and without following a clearly defined process.
If you suspect you've been unfairly retrenched, you can lodge a claim with the CCMA, but you must do this within 30 days of receiving notice of retrenchment from your employer.
Know your rights as a worker so you can strike back legally!
Date added: November 2018
If you have referred a case of unfair retrenchment to the CCMA and it was found that you were unfairly retrenched and that your employer should reinstate you, you may have to return the severance money paid to you if you have already received payment.
However, this is subject to what both parties may agree on, so these matters should be taken on a case by case basis. In some matters, the employee is reinstated and it may be agreed between the parties that the employee can keep the severance pay. This depends on what kind of compensation the employee is seeking from the unfair retrenchment. In some cases, the employee may not be entitled to compensation due to having received and kept the severance pay. #StaySmart.
Your employer cannot refuse to pay out all your leave as part of your severance package should you be retrenched. The Labour Relations Act has clear rules for retrenchment procedures and says that you should get all accumulated leave paid out to you in the case of retrenchment. That means that any leave days that you didn't take should be paid out to you as part of your severance package. #StaySmart
Depending on your employment contract, should you be retrenched, you may also have the right to have the following paid out to you along with your severance package: pro rata payment of bonus, pension and provident fund. It is important to ensure that you get what you are due in the event of retrenchment. #StaySmart
If you think your retrenchment was unfair, you can apply to the CCMA for help within 30 days of being retrenched. The CCMA can force the employer to comply with the retrenchment procedure, prevent them from retrenching workers, and order them to award compensation to a worker. #StaySmart
You cannot be retrenched if the company wants to replace you with someone else. If your position is an important part of the operations of the company, they cannot retrench you. The law states that your employer is not allowed to retrench you without reason, without consultation and without following a clearly defined process. If you are retrenched and find out that your job was given to someone else, it qualifies as an unfair dismissal and you can report the case to the CCMA. #StaySmart
Ayanda* was worried when she was involved in a car accident recently. Luckily no one got hurt, but her car was damaged. The accident wasn’t her fault – the other driver didn’t brake in time and rode into the back of her car. He admitted the accident was his fault, and said he would pay to have Ayanda’s car fixed.
Employers are not allowed to change material terms of your employment contract without talking to you, the employee, about it first. By carrying out unilateral (one-sided) changes, it’s as if your employer has replaced your existing contract with a new one without your knowledge – and that is not allowed. #StaySmart
Section 34 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act says that deductions for damage or loss caused by a worker may only be made if:
According to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), the minimum amount of leave an employer must give workers is 15 working days for every year, or 1.25 days for every month you have worked. #StaySmart
Be careful - even if you’re not talking on the phone or messaging while driving, you could still be fined. The National Road Traffic Act expressly prohibits the use of a cellphone and further states that it is illegal to even hold one while driving. #StaySmart
Voetstoots doesn't mean dishonest sellers can just get away with selling defective goods – the Consumer Protection Act is there to protect buyers. The law allows for buyers to cancel the contract or sue the seller for a lower selling price if:
SARS won't give your tax number to anyone other than you, the registered taxpayer, unless the person is your tax practitioner or has Power of Attorney (POA) to conduct your tax affairs. This is to ensure your personal information is kept safe. #StaySmart
Insist that your employer provides you with your IRP5 so you can compare this to the one submitted to SARS. Your IRP5 describes your employment income and deductions as well as the PAYE tax already paid. Employers have 2 months from May to submit these to SARS and should begin giving them to employees at the beginning of June. If you don’t have it by July, you have a right to demand it. #StaySmart
Property is a big expense, whether you're buying or renting. Never trust pictures alone, or what someone else says – you should always go and inspect the property thoroughly yourself.
Here's a short checklist of what to look for before signing any contracts:
Date added: October 2018
Builders sometimes approach people who own council houses and persuade them to make alterations by adding extra bedrooms or a garage for a spaza shop. Finance can be obtained by having a mortgage bond registered over the whole property, which is worth more than the alterations. The builders do not tell the owners that if they are unable to repay their bond, they will not only have to pay for the alterations, but can lose their whole house if it's sold by the bank. #StaySmart
This is not financial advice.
When you rent property, as the tenant, you have the right to privacy, and the landlord may only exercise his/her right of inspection in a reasonable manner after reasonable notice to you. He/she must also have a valid reason for this – to inspect the property, carry out maintenance or repairs, or to show the property to a potential tenant or buyer. In other words, your landlord is not allowed to enter your home unless an arrangement has been made with you, the tenant – a landlord who enters the tenant’s dwelling without permission may be guilty of criminal trespassing. #StaySmart
When a tenant pays the landlord a deposit, this money must be invested by the landlord or agent in an interest-bearing account. The landlord can use the deposit (plus the interest) to pay for any amounts the tenant is liable for under the lease, for example missed rent, or damage to the property caused by the tenant.
Whatever is left of the deposit money must be refunded to the tenant no later than 14 days after he/she has vacated the property. If the tenant does not owe anything, the landlord must return all the deposit money, plus its interest, to the tenant within 7 days of the lease expiring. #StaySmart
There are a number of labour laws and legal bodies that protect your rights as a worker. If you are dealing with labour-related legal matters.
Date added: 18 October 2018
Beware of scams and phishing. There is a steady increase in email scams and phishing attacks using the SARS brand. Members of the public are randomly emailed with false “spoofed” emails made to look as if these emails were sent from SARS but are in fact fraudulent emails aimed at luring unsuspecting taxpayers to disclose information such as bank account details.
A scam can be defined as an illegal plan for making money, especially one that involves tricking people.
In some instances car scams occur when the scam artists portray themselves to be a legitimate company but are actually fraudsters. They trick you into making payment to them in return for the delivery of a vehicle. The vehicle is never delivered and they cannot be contacted on their phone numbers.
When Ruth bought a flat, she expected the place to look the way it did when she first went to view it. But when she got there to move in, someone had broken the door handle off and removed things, leaving the flat in a terrible condition. Legally the house belongs to her now and is her responsibility, but shouldn’t the agents have kept the property safe? Scorpion explains what the law says on situations like these and what you can do.
Doing your taxes doesn’t have to be hard, even if it's your first time. This is a summary of the basics:
When Mpondo’s father passed on, his father’s second wife threatened to evict them from his RDP house if they didn’t move out. She said it belonged to her, and they needed to get out or else… Can she do this? Scorpion explains what you can do in this kind of situation.
Even though his criminal record was cleared, Jayden’s boss fired him when he found out that he had a criminal record. Can he do this? Scorpion explains the law on clearing your criminal record and what you can do if you find yourself in this kind of situation.
Xolani* was involved in an accident, and had to have his car repaired. Fortunately, he had insurance, so he wasn’t worried. His insurer asked him to send copies of his vehicle documents, which he did. A few days later, they sent someone out to collect the vehicle for an assessment. They kept the vehicle for a week. When Xolani got his car back, he noticed that things were very wrong...
TK* and his friend Oarebile* recently got a CCMA award in their favour for a case they lodged against their employer. They had been working at the company on a three-year contract when the company decided to terminate their contracts. They were not given notice of termination. The CCMA found the company guilty and an award was given in their favour, but the company refuses to pay them. What now?!
Masego* and her husband desperately needed cash to get through the month, and decided to loan money from a pawn shop. They borrowed R20 000, which they had to pay back with R6 000 interest. The interest was to be paid in full by 14 August 2018. If they could not pay back the money by the agreed time, the pawn shop could sell their car.
Tshepo* has been looking for a house for her family, so when she found out about an auction and that there would be houses for sale for a very good price, she decided to buy. But when she arrived with all her stuff, ready to move in, she found another family already living there. What now?!
Theola has been working as a receptionist for a small company for a couple of years. When she fell pregnant recently, she thought her boss and colleagues would be happy for her. But when she told her boss the news, he got mad and said he couldn’t have a big, fat pregnant woman receiving their customers.
Phil and Eunice had been renting a small flat for a couple of years. Usually they had no problems paying the rent, and made sure things were always handled on time. But last month, Phil was retrenched unexpectedly, and the couple had financial problems – without Phil’s salary they could barely afford food for the month, they knew they couldn’t afford to pay the rent.
*Nokubonga’s father passed away in 2015, leaving behind his two wives and their children (one child from his first wife, and Nokubonga and her brother from his second wife). When they tried to sort out their father’s estate, Nokubonga’s father’s first wife said she would handle matters on her own, she didn’t want them involved. They never saw a cent of their father’s estate.
It is your socio-economic right to have shelter and your landlord can't just kick you out, even if you haven't paid your rent. He will have to follow a process of eviction first. This is the process of eviction he must follow:
Date added: 19 July 2018
Applying for a social grant is free, don't ever be scammed into paying for it! SASSA will give you a receipt when you apply. You must keep this receipt as proof of the date you applied for the grant, especially for grants where the payments are backdated. #StaySmart
A social grant is financial help from the government. This is for people with low or no income, who can’t work due to injury or disability, or with children. #StaySmart know what kind of grants South Africa offers:
Akira had an interview with a potential employer. They discussed many things, including the salary she would get. Her new employer called to tell her she had gotten the job, and asked her to start the following Monday – they would give her an employment contract to sign then.
Elton works as a cashier at the local butchery. He’s never had any warnings or gotten into trouble at work. One morning, his boss stormed in yelling that someone had stolen some of the store’s meat. The next day, Elton was told that he had been fired.
If a child does not receive the necessary care and protection from their parents or guardians such as basic nutrition, care, shelter, or healthcare, it is considered neglect.
Customary law in South Africa has been taken into account when it comes to the application of the law to ensure that our cultural diversity is celebrated instead of oppressed. For this purpose, the law recognises the following customary practices:
Date added: 4 July 2018
The Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act (SASREA) states that the safety and wellbeing of people attending an event lies with the event organisers. Here are some of the responsibilities of the event organisers:
The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) protects the consumer and the store when it comes to returns. You have the right to return broken goods to the store if the store's policy allows it. Here are other options for dealing with an unwanted gift if you cannot return or exchange it:
The Recognition of Customary Marriages Act (RCMA) 120 of 1998 legally recognises customary marriages as valid and legal.
Be informed about the law surrounding courts in South Africa. South Africa has a variety of courts that hear different cases:
If you get married under customary law, the marriage is considered valid and legal in terms of the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act (RCMA).
According to the Constitution, we must look at when customary law should be used to make sure that the application thereof is not discriminatory.
It is important to get legal advice when you get any legal documents, or if you need to submit any legal documents. Legal documents include:
Insurance is necessary to protect you, your loved ones and the things you've worked hard to own. But in order to get a payout, you need to make sure you follow the rules, and provide the insurer with everything they need.
If you are wrongfully arrested for peeing in public, you may have a civil claim against the Minister of Police.
Section 29 of the Criminal Procedure Act, 51 of 1977, states that you can only be searched by an officer who is of the same gender as you.
If you are caught drunk in, on, or near any road, street, lane, thoroughfare, square, park or market or any other public place.
If you want to return an unwanted gift to the store, you need to ensure that your return is in line with the Consumer Protection Act (CPA).
Receiving gifts from clients or suppliers is part of working with other people. To cover their employees and themselves, companies must adopt a policy on gifts.
Before you return an unwanted gift, you need to find out what the store policy is. Check if they want the product in its original packaging, if they require proof of purchase and if they accept money-back returns or only exchanges.
If you are accused of a crime, whether you are guilty or not, you have the right to a fair trial. That's the law.
You can present your case in any of the 11 official South African languages at the Small Claims Court. #StaySmart know your rights!
If you have a civil matter, such as a dispute over a municipality bill, your case will be heard in the Magistrate's Court.
A warrant of execution against immovable property is usually the last resort. It is a long and complicated process.
You have the right to defend yourself if you get a summons. If you have a good reason or defence, you should get legal advice so that you can protect your rights.
Make sure that when you get cellphone insurance, you know and understand the policy, you're aware of what they don't cover and what documents they will need if you need to claim. #StaySmart
If you are ever in a car accident, the following tips can help you figure out what to do. #StaySmart
There are a number of reasons why your life insurance provider can reject a claim.
You can't buy a brand-new RDP house or get 'bumped up' the waiting list by paying a fee. They are given to people who qualify for them as part of a government initiative.
After working hard to become senior management in her company, Dikeledi found out that a male colleague (her junior) was earning the same salary as her - for less work and experience. Dikeledi has a Master’s degree and has been working in the industry for more than 10 years. Her colleague only has a Bachelor’s degree and has been in the industry for less than 2 years.
Zenobi moved in to a flat she was renting, and shortly after discovered that the roof was leaking every time it rained. She called her landlord and told him about the problem, as she was worried the leaking water might damage her furniture eventually. The landlord promised to come fix it, but he never did. Zenobi tried calling him and scheduling meetings at his office, but he was avoiding her.
Thato works for a construction company. He is a hard worker – never late for work, always doing more than what is expected of him. So when he applied for leave to go to his mother’s funeral, he didn’t think it would be a problem. His 5 days of leave were approved and he thought everything was fine.
Mr Botsime* took his Golf 6 GTi in for repairs at a reputable workshop. The manager
told him he would have to pay R14 000 for labour, as well as pay for the parts needed
to fix the car. Eish. What could he do, he needed to have his car fixed.
Ntombi’s* father passed away in 1996. She lived in her father’s house with her father, her stepmother and the stepmother’s child. When her father died without a will, her stepmother kicked her out of the house. Later, when her stepmother fell ill, one of her grandchildren asked Ntombi to move back into the house and help look after her.