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The below articles are only basic guidelines.Please contact Scorpion Legal Protection for more information.
Scorpion Legal Protection tells the story of Ms Bhe and her daughters, who would have lost everything – including the roof over their heads – if their father’s estate had been handled according to traditional customary law. They changed the entire law around how customary union estates are handled now.
“Do I have the right to refuse a back to work interview?” Scorpion Legal Protection answers this question from a follower on the Scorpion Facebook page as well as additional questions like ‘what is a back to work interview?’, and ‘what are the consequences of refusing it?’
“I came to work smelling like yesterday's alcohol so they tested me and the results came back positive as obviously I was drinking yesterday. So now my company wants to take me to a hearing and I didn't even get a first warning. Is this right what they are doing? Please help.” Scorpion Legal Protection answers this question from a follower on the Scorpion Facebook page.
“I asked somebody to make me a kitchen unit in 2015. They didn't finish the job. I want them to bring back the money I gave them. Please help.” Scorpion Legal Protection answers this question from a follower on the Scorpion Facebook page.
How to do your taxes right isn’t always easy to figure out, and the last thing anyone wants is to be in trouble with the tax man. Scorpion Legal Protection answers questions like: Can the SARS auto-assessments be wrong? How will SARS know if I’m lying? If I get SARS to help me online or in-branch, I won’t have any problems, right?
Many employees have been working from home for the past year – and longer – due to the Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns. You may be thinking about claiming back home office expenses when you submit your taxes this year to SARS. Scorpion Legal Protection highlights the qualifying criteria.
A follower on the Scorpion Legal Protection Facebook page recently asked Scorpion if it’s fair that his employer does not allow employees to take leave during the year, only during their annual shutdown period in December each year. Scorpion takes a look at what SA’s labour laws say.
A follower on the Scorpion Legal Protection Facebook page recently asked us if a company can pay two employees who are on the same level, with the same job, different pay. Scorpion explains what SA’s labour laws say.
A follower on the Scorpion Legal Protection Facebook page recently asked us if his landlord is legally allowed to charge interest on overdue rent. Scorpion takes a look at what the law says.
A follower on our Scorpion Legal Protection Facebook page recently asked us “If I am fired, what must my employer pay me?” There are certain payouts your employer must give you by law even if you are fired/dismissed, but it also depends on how you were dismissed.
Warnings in the workplace are meant to give you a chance to correct the behaviour that led to the warning and if you do not, further disciplinary action may be taken. Can you get a final written warning without any other warnings before? Scorpion Legal Protection recently got asked this question on Facebook by someone who was given a final written warning for hanging up the phone on her employer when he was cursing at her. Scorpion Legal Protection answers.
During our last live Q&A session on Facebook, Scorpion Legal Protection was asked “If I resign, what must my employer pay me?” There are certain payouts you can expect when you resign, but what you can claim depends on how you left your employer, Scorpion advises.
The CCMA is a dispute resolution body that was established in terms of section 112 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA). It’s aim is to promote fair practices in the workplace, and help resolve disputes between employers and employees. Do you want to take your unfair dismissal to the CCMA? Scorpion Legal Protection describes what types of unfair dismissal situations the CCMA handles.
When it comes to dealing with labour issues, it can be difficult to figure out when you need to go to the CCMA and when you need to go to the Department of Labour (DOL) or the Labour Court. They are separate bodies with different powers over different issues, so you need to make sure you go to the right place to get help. Scorpion Legal Protection explains.
Being blacklisted means you cannot get credit, which can have a big impact on your life. Scorpion Legal Protection explains how you can get your name cleared. The process for getting your name cleared from blacklisting depends on how the blacklisting came to be against your name.
If you’re a tenant, you need to know how to make use of the Rental Housing Tribunal (RHT) because it can issue judgments and get your problem sorted out without you having to go to court. Scorpion Legal Protection takes a look at how it works.
We recently received a question on the Scorpion Legal Protection Facebook page about how charges are dropped in cases of common assault. We take a look at how cases get withdrawn and what the law says.
Having a criminal record can be a big problem when it comes to employment. Expungement means that a person’s name and the crime they committed is removed from the National Criminal Register. Wondering how you can clear your criminal record? Scorpion Legal Protection explains the process.
“My husband’s uncle gave us an RDP house 6 years ago, but his uncle has since passed. How can we go about getting the house in our name?” This is one of the questions that recently came up on our Facebook page. Scorpion Legal Protection explains how transferring ownership of an RDP house works.
“What can I do if I have been suspended for a month without being charged with anything?” This is one of the questions that recently came up on our Facebook page. Scorpion Legal Protection answers by looking at the labour laws around suspension.
How does disciplinary action work with fixed-term contracts and employees? Can the employer ‘carry over’ warnings from the previous contract? These questions came up recently in Scorpion Legal Protection’s Live Q&A. We take a look at what the law says.
How do public holidays work for shift workers? Can you be forced to work? Can your employer deduct annual leave for this day? These questions came up recently in Scorpion Legal Protection’s Live Q&A. We take a look at what the law says.
A question asked during one of Scorpion Legal Protection’s live Q&A’s on their Facebook page was what to do if your employer has been deducting for UIF, but then when you try to claim UIF, you are told that you were never registered.
Scorpion Legal Protection explains the prisoner visitation process under the Disaster Management Act: Measures to address, prevent and combat the spread of Coronavirus Covid-19 in all correctional centres and remand detention facilities.
Domestic workers, and the hours they can be expected to work by law, are covered under Sectoral Determination 7. Scorpion Legal Protection discusses what the law says about working hours, overtime pay and night work.
Can employers deduct money from your pay for damages or loss? We recently received this question on Facebook, and since the legislation for domestic workers is covered under a specific sectoral determination, we decided to discuss the issue in detail. Scorpion Legal Protection looks at the rules for domestic workers in South Africa.
Disciplinary hearings can be intimidating, especially if you don’t know your rights. Scorpion Legal Protection discusses disciplinary process, step by step.
Dismissal must be for a fair reason (substantively fair) as well as in accordance with a fair procedure (procedurally fair), and it can take many forms. What is an unfair dismissal? Scorpion Legal Protection explains the different situations below.
So you've been arrested for violating lockdown regulations, what now? Scorpion Legal Protection explains what happens.
Have you wondered what exactly happens when your case goes to court? Scorpion Legal Protection takes you through the trial procedure in a criminal case, step by step.
Did you know that there are all kinds of costs involved in going to court, not just the cost of getting a lawyer? Even if you win your case, court tariffs mean you can only recover a certain amount of legal costs. Scorpion Legal Protection explains.
Bail is the amount of money you have to pay to be released from jail until your court case – if the magistrate/judge, prosecutor or police officer agrees to grant you bail. But what happens if you can’t afford bail? Scorpion Legal Protection talks about remand detention and what you can expect if you can’t pay bail.
Payday is coming up and by law, all employers must issue employees with payslips when they pay them. You may have some questions about what exactly is on your payslip, what your employer is allowed to deduct and what to do if you don’t get one.
How bail applications work, who qualifies for bail and what happens to the money that’s paid – Scorpion Legal Protection explains how the process works in SA.
You or your lawyer can apply for bail at any stage of the court proceedings – but does this mean you need to go to court to apply for bail? Not necessarily. Did you know there are three different types of bail that the Criminal Procedure Act allows for? Scorpion Legal Protection explains what they are and how they work.
If you are arrested and the police offer you the option of paying an admission of guilt fine, should you do it? Scorpion Legal Protection discusses the consequences of paying an admission of guilt fine and what you need to be aware of.
Scorpion Legal Protection looks at what happens if you are stopped on suspicion of drunk driving. What are your rights? What are the police legally allowed to do?
Scorpion Legal Protection looks at drunk driving laws, how many units of alcohol are in common drinks and the current legal limit.
How do employer-employee loans work? Can your employer charge interest on a loan? What about employers charging ridiculously high interest rates? Scorpion Legal Protection takes a look at what the National Credit Act (NCA) allows.
Can employers change when fixed term contracts end? What are your rights as someone working on fixed term employment? When it comes to fixed term contracts, the contract itself is very important in determining whether or not an employer can end the contract or change it before the contract’s end date. Scorpion Legal Protection discusses the laws that apply and what legal recourse you have.
Fraudulent activity on your bank account like unexplained purchases and transactions, unauthorised debit orders, receiving statements for accounts you never applied for – these are all signs that you could be a victim of identity theft. Scorpion Legal Protection discusses and explains what you should do.
Employers sometimes think they can change employees’ working hours if they want to without discussing it with the employees first. AZIKHIPHI! That’s not on! Scorpion Legal Protection explains why you have to be given notice to change your working hours, why both parties must agree on the changes and which labour laws apply.
Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, recently announced the new lockdown rules for level 1 under the Covid lockdown regarding events like sports, concerts, live events and movie theatres. Scorpion Legal Protection discusses the three things you need to know about the changes.
Domestic workers have not been able to claim for injuries at work, but new changes being introduced to the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Amendment Bill may change this. Scorpion Legal Protection takes a look at what this means for domestic workers who get injured on duty.
Going through arbitration at the CCMA can seem intimidating. Scorpion Legal Protection gives you 3 must-know tips to help you understand how the CCMA process works.
It can feel intimidating to seek help for legal labour issues from the CCMA if you’re not sure how it works. Scorpion Legal Protection explains step-by-step how to refer a matter to the CCMA.
You have the right to protest, but with this right comes responsibilities too. Scorpion Legal Protection explains how not to get in trouble with the law if you want to organise a protest:
When it comes to retrenchment, you may not know what exactly the law allows employers to do and what not – especially in light of the financial impact of the lockdowns. Scorpion Legal Protection takes a look at SA labour laws and debunks some common retrenchment myths.
Although we’ve moved to alert level 2, many of the level 3 restrictions are still being kept in place for businesses that serve food and alcohol to the public. Scorpion Legal Protection explains the rules for restaurants, bars and other food services under alert level 2: Click to read the full article:
With all the uncertainty around the job market and the financial troubles companies are facing, you may be wondering what happens if you need to go on maternity leave. Will you be targeted for retrenchment? What happens when you get back, can they tell you they’ve retrenched you and that you no longer have a job? Scorpion Legal Protection answers: Click to read the full article:
What happens if you’re booked off for an injury on duty (IOD) and then you need to go on maternity leave? Which benefit is the one you’re entitled to? Can you get both? What if your employer chooses to give you the smaller benefit? Scorpion Legal Protection looks at how these kinds of benefits work: Click to read the full article:
Tax season is here. Maybe you’re not sure if you should submit your taxes with everything that’s going on, or maybe you received one of the auto-assessment SMSes from SARS and think you’ll just accept it because it’s less effort. Here’s 3 reasons you must do your taxes right this tax season – Scorpion Legal Protection explains: Click to read the full article:
Can your employer demote you as a way to save money? Scorpion Legal Protection discusses the law around demotion. Click to read the full article:
If you don’t go to work, when does it become desertion from the workplace? What does this mean? Scorpion Legal Protection discusses the labour law. Click to read the full article:
What’s happening with relief payments? Scorpion Legal Protection explains what the Employment and Labour Ministry has said, what’s changed, and how to apply. Click to read the full article:
Today we’re discussing the process for referring a case to the CCMA. Many people know about the CCMA, but aren’t sure how exactly to take their issue to the CCMA, what they need and how the process works. Scorpion Legal Protection explains. Click to read the full article:
Since both formal and informal personal care services like barbers and hair salons, nail treatments, tattooing and the like are now allowed to operate under gazetted regulations, you might be wondering what rules and protocols they have to follow. Scorpion Legal Protection discusses. Click to read the full article:
“I’ve been working from home since lockdown started, until recently when I started going in half-day on an arrangement with my employer and getting someone to look after my kids while I’m away. This morning my employer called me to say if I do not return full-time on Monday morning I will not be paid.” Scorpion Legal Protection answers. Click to read the full article:
“I’m 61 years old and I’ve been working for the same company for the last 36 years. They want me to take an early retirement package, but are only offering one week’s pay for every year of employment I have left. What is the minimum pay they can give me?” Scorpion Legal Protection answers. Click to read the full article:
Today we look at what happens if you have debt that you can’t repay and you get sequestrated, which means the courts take legal possession of your assets. What happens if you are sequestrated but you have no assets and no income? Scorpion Legal Protection answers. Click to read the full article:
Under lockdown level 3, if someone travels to Cape Town for work but has to come back to Gauteng for a court case, does he need a permit? And if so, where do I obtain said permit? Scorpion Legal Protection answers. Click to read the full article:
This week, Scorpion Legal Protection takes a look at a case of a man who was dismissed during lockdown but says his employer still owes him wages for 8 days of work. We discuss what he can do. Click to read the full article:
Unable to pay your rent because lockdown left you with no income or not enough to make payment? Scorpion Legal Protection answers the question of whether or not you’re obliged to pay rent for this time, evictions, and what you can do. Click to read the full article:
When this employee left work to go to the clinic to fetch his medication, his employer told him he doesn’t want him coming back to work because he will catch the virus and spread it to everyone else. AZIKHIPHI! That’s not on! Scorpion Legal Protection discusses what the law says. Click to read the full article:
What are the rules when it comes to prayer meetings? Scorpion Legal Protection takes a look at a case of a prayer meeting disturbed by police, and explains what is and what is not allowed under Alert Level 4. Click to read the full article:
Unfairly dismissed from work for not reporting? Scorpion Legal Protection takes a look at a case of a woman who was fired because she refused to come to work at the nail salon, or go to people’s homes like her boss told her to. Click to read the full article:
Police misconduct under national lockdown? Scorpion Legal Protection takes a look at a case of a man who says he was socialising with his friends when the police allegedly assaulted him and his friends and humiliated them by ordering them to jump up and down in front of the neighbours. Click to read the full article:
We look at the case of a domestic worker whose employer is telling her she must report for duty, and whether or not she can refuse because of the risk of being exposed to coronavirus. Scorpion Legal Protection explains what the law says here:
If you have debts, you should check if you have credit insurance that may be able to help you pay your debts during the lockdown and after – you may have it without even knowing about it. Scorpion Legal Protection explains what it is and what the law says here:
Wondering what your employer’s responsibility is with regard to providing workers with personal protective equipment (PPE)? Scorpion Legal Protection breaks down what the law says here:
Does retrenchment work differently during the lockdown? Scorpion Legal Protection answers some of your questions. Read more here:
Not getting paid during lockdown? Scorpion Legal Protection explains what employers need to do to claim from the new Covid-19 Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS). Click to read the full article:
What happens if you get injured in the workplace but you’re a service provider or independent contractor, not an employee? Scorpion Legal Protection explains your rights and what you can do:
South Africa’s minimum wage has increased to R20.76 per hour. This is an increase of 3.8% on the previous R20, which came into effect on 1 January 2019 when a legal minimum wage was introduced in SA for the first time. Certain categories of workers have lower minimum salaries.
Workplace bullying can take a heavy toll on employees, threatening their mental and physical health, and may even result in them losing their jobs. But is there actually anything you can do about it legally? Scorpion Legal Protection takes a look at what the law says:
You rely on your medical aid to pay out when you need it to, but what happens if they refuse to pay for essential medical care or reject a life-saving procedure? Is there anything you can do about it? Find out here:
In an angry moment, you decide to quit your job, but after cooling off, you realise it was a mistake. Can you take back your resignation? Scorpion Legal Protection chats about this:
Can you do anything if your employer pays your salary late? Scorpion Legal Protection discusses:
New legislation means you could get jail time for lying on your CV. Scorpion Legal Protection discusses the law:
Not sure who to complain to or why? Read more to find out.
What role does the ombud play in society? If you complain to an organisation and they don't sort things out, the ombud is the person/people at the top of the complaints ladder that you can turn to for help when all else has failed.
Date added: February 2019
We discuss what responsibilities your landlord and you have to maintain after reporting.
Date added: February 2020
Did you know you can challenge the credit bureaus? Click to read more.
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:
We tell you what the law says about debt repayment.
Date added: January 2020
Employers sometimes try to get away with giving workers less than what the law says.
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:
With so much of what we do being online these days or through apps on our phones, cyber criminals are getting smarter and smarter at targeting their victims.
Date added: December 2019
According to the Financial Intelligence Centre, it’s one of the biggest scams South Africans fall victim to.
Another ‘investment’ scam doing the rounds – here’s what you need to look out for.
Here’s how you can check – it’s not a foolproof way to avoid getting scammed, but it's a good first step.
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.
There are two kinds of roadblocks in South Africa that perform different functions. Read more to find out when they can search you and when not.
Date added: November 2019
Can the police force you to pay traffic fines on the spot? Read more to get the answer.
The answer – yes and no, it depends. Click here to read what the law says.
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.
Drunk driving is never a good idea. Here’s what happens if you get caught.
You will be arrested for being over the limit: If you are suspected of drinking and driving, you will be breathalysed. If the breathalyser tests positive (and you are found to be over the legal limit), the police are entitled, under Section 40(1) of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 (the CPA) to arrest and charge you.
Date added: October 2019
If you get caught driving without a licence, what are the police or metro police legally allowed to do?
They’re one of the most sought-after items for thieves, here’s what you need to do if yours gets stolen.
Motorists are often unsure about this question. Here’s what the law says:
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.
What are your rights when you're faced with an intruder on your property who could potentially do you and your family harm?
Can you use lethal force to protect your property, and if so, when? What are your rights when you're faced with an intruder on your property who could potentially do you and your family harm? The basic rule on the right to use force to defend yourself or your property is that the use of force must be proportional to the harm: your defensive act may not be more harmful than necessary to ward off the attack from the intruder.
Date added: September 2019
If your dogs attack or injure someone, you could be held liable for the damages – even if it was an unlawful trespasser who got injured.
The new minimum wage according to the introduction of the National Minimum Wage Act and the amendment of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA).
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.
Gender inequality is still an issue in the South African workplace. What is your take on things?
Our history is full of brave women who fought for our rights, and we owe it to them to make full use of what we've achieved. Empowerment lies in knowing your rights, and helping others to know theirs. As far as gender equality goes, South Africa still has a long way to go. The African Gender Development Index (AGDI) study found that more...
Date added: August 2019
Feel like you’re being discriminated against unfairly because you’re a woman in the workplace? Here’s how to handle it.
Women often feel intimidated by the men at car repair workshops, because even if they felt they were getting charged more than a man would, they couldn't really argue against it because they didn't know enough about cars. Here’s what the law says.
What if the police are trying to pull you over, but you don't feel safe stopping your vehicle? Here’s what you should do.
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.
Here are some tips from SARS to avoid getting caught in a scam.
Not sure what’s legitimate and what’s a scam? Here are some tips from SARS to avoid getting caught in a scam.
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 email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. 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:
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: 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:
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