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The below articles are only basic guidelines.Please contact Scorpion Legal Protection for more information.
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 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:
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