Money Matters: Get More Bang for your Buck with LAW FOR ALL

Believe it or not, the festive season is literally around the corner! Yes, 2019 has certainly gone by in a flash, and it’s that time of year when South Africans dig deep into their pockets to make most of the holiday and have a merry time with their friends and family. But it’s also the time when South Africans need to know what their legal rights are to make sure they don’t go down the dark road of debt or find themselves on the wrong side of the law this holiday season. Let’s face it- everyone could do with tips to save money and affordable legal services.

Staying on top of and in control of your money are essential parts to financial freedom. Unfortunately, as the latest figures from the National Credit Regulator’s (NCR) Consumer Credit Market Report and Credit Bureau Monitor show, South Africans are drowning in debt: “There are now 25.1million credit-active consumers in the country. But more than 40.8% consumers have impaired records: about 23% of them are at least three months or more in arrears, 12.7% have adverse listings against their names, and 5.1% of consumers have judgments and administration orders against them”. So, things aren’t looking too great on the fiscal side of life, but it’s never too late to start making changes to your life and spending habits to help manage your finances a little more carefully.

LAW FOR ALL: Your Friend in the Law

LAW FOR ALL understands that South Africans are struggling to stay afloat financially, as the cost of living continues to sky-rocket. There is no doubt that consumers’ pockets are being hit hard, so we want to be in your corner and let you know that while the pressure feels inescapable, we put together some handy tips to keep you legally savvy and help keep your head up during these financially tough times.

This month, LAW FOR ALL takes a closer look at:

  1. Managing Debit Orders in South Africa

Yes, those debit orders coming off your account every month can feel like a financial slap in the face, but it’s definitely best to find ways to managing them and not try and get around them.  Many consumers seem to employ a strategy of drawing all their cash before the debit orders can be deducted, only to incur heavy penalties, put their insurance cover at risk or possibly being blacklisted. Here are some tips and advice on how to go about navigating debit orders.

  1. Legal Insurance Cover in South Africa

While most financially savvy South Africans know that taking out various insurance policies- whether it’s to cover hijackings, illnesses, accidents or death-is the right thing to do, but many don’t think of legal cover before it is too late. The thing is- you never quite know when you will have a run-in with the law, and it can be a very costly affair. LAW FOR ALL’s affordable polices have got your back! This is one of the top tips to save money!

  1. How to Dispute an Electricity Bill in South Africa

The last thing anyone needs at the end of the month is an inaccurate electricity reading! But challenging a suspicious municipal bill can be a complicated and stressful endeavour. LAW FOR ALL offers some helpful hints to help dispute a incorrect electricity bill in South Africa.

  1. Flexi Clubs and Timeshare Holiday Schemes in South Africa

Of course, as the year draws to the close, South African across the country are looking for ways to kick up their feet and relax in some beautiful destination. For many, that means relying on flexi club or timeshare scheme to make this a reality. However, in some cases, when it comes to “cashing in” those accumulated holiday points, things don’t quite pan out as planned; or people seem to be stuck in lifetime contracts that don’t deliver on what’s promised. Was it a scam to begin with? What are your options?

End the year on a high note with LAW FOR ALL.

Planning for your future as being financially empowered starts now! You have to sit down, consult with some experts and find a way forward. Of course, take note of all these tips to save money.  Sometimes a mountain of debt seems unsurmountable, but with the right guides you can conquer it.

We’ve Got Your Back!

LAW FOR ALL policies are pocket-friendly and provide comprehensive cover for whatever legal challenge life throws your way. For more information on how LAW FOR ALL can become your friend in times of need and help you navigate life have a look at our policies here.

 

DISCLAIMER

The Legal Ins and Outs of Holiday Timeshare Schemes

After months of hard work and dealing with life’s frustrations, you finally decide to take some time out and plan a holiday. While considering your options, you remember that not too long ago, a person in a mall stopped you and asked if you would like to visit a beautiful destination like the one pictured in the brochure he handed you.  After a convincing discussion about membership fees and the accumulation of points, before you know it, you’ve signed up for a flexi-club or holiday timeshare scheme in South Africa.   And so, you decide to follow up with hopes of cashing in on your points and taking a trip to that stunning stretch of beach in that brochure, only to find out that you are unable to make a booking , despite consistently paying your fee. You consider cancelling your membership, but you are told that you signed a lifetime contract- what now?

At the very least, you can take comfort in knowing that you are not the only South African who has struggled with a dodgy contract in the timeshare industry. According to the Consumer Goods and Services Ombud (CGSO), in 2018, the CGSO “had 427 timeshare-related complaints”. LAW FOR ALL takes a closer look at how to handle cancelling these so-called lifetime contracts and how to spot a timeshare scam.

Let’s take a step back- what exactly is a points-based timeshare holiday?

As Getaway Magazine puts it: “With a points-based system you’d join a club […], pay an annual membership fee and buy points to swap for nights at resorts. This model gives you more flexibility over when and where to go, but if you don’t book in advance your first choice may not be available”.

This sounds fairly straightforward- what seems to be the problem with these holiday time share schemes?

While there certainly have been many consumers who have reaped the rewards of their timeshare membership, far too many people seem to be running into various problems when trying to book a holiday or cancel their memberships.  Cape Town-based commercial, corporate and consumer lawyer, Trudie Broekmann highlighted a few of consumers’ biggest concerns:

Members often struggle to make a booking

Over a period of 4 years, Broekmann says only one of her clients managed to successfully book one holiday, despite many attempts and having points worth approximately R150 000. Broekmann believes that this non-delivery of services is likely due to the fact that the providers do not have enough accommodation available and, thus, design their booking systems to discourage members from continually trying to make a booking.

The marketing is often misleading

Remember that image you saw in that brochure? Well visiting that spot might just be an empty promise. Consumers, through marketing activations etc, are told they can book accommodation at any time of the year at any resort, only to find out that is not the case once they have signed the contract and try to actually go through with planning their trip. The “verbal contracts” from sales people are simply a way to sweeten the deal.

Overly complicated contracts

With almost illegible fine print, complicate languages and sections that do not follow on from one another, many timeshare contracts seem to be designed to frustrate potential members and rush them into signing and “binding” them to unreasonable conditions.

“Lifetime” contracts

Many of the timeshare contracts are in “perpetuity”, which means the consumers is bound its terms and conditions until they pass away. Often, these contracts are automatically assigned to a member’s family. What’s more, members are told that it’s not possible to cancel their contracts.

Surely, it’s the consumer’s problem if they have signed and agreed to the terms and conditions of the contract?

“The problem with the complicated contracts and misleading marketing lies in the fact that it’s not in compliance with the law, particularly The Property Time-Sharing Control and The Consumer Protection Acts,” clarifies Adv. Jackie Nagtegaal, LAW FOR ALL’s Managing Director.  In terms of South African law, there is also no such thing as a lifetime contract. “ In our country, the maximum period for a fixed-term contract is 24 months. Additionally, before signing a contract, the supplier must inform you of the cancellation policy. Should you want to cancel a contract, you must give a business 20 business days’ notice and be prepared to pay a reasonable cancellation fee,” maintains Nagtegaal.

How do these timeshare companies in South Africa get away with this? Is the law clamping down on the industry?

After receiving numerous complaints, the National Consumer Commission (NCC), the primary regulator of consumer-business interaction in South Africa, launched an inquiry into the timeshare industry in 2018. The idea was to review and amend the regulatory framework in order to protect consumers from dodgy schemes. Unsurprisingly, most the consumer concerns were regarding points-based timeshare or vacation club companies that didn’t deliver on what was promised.   Some of the most disturbing complaints the inquiry panel heard included pensioners being taken advantage of and a woman who took her own life after she was drowning in debt and couldn’t get out of her “lifetime contract”.

One of the most impactful revisions that was recommended was the Purchase of Points and Membership Applications Agreement to defined as “ fixed term contracts, running for a fixed, shorter period, subject to renewal by agreement between the club / developer and the member”.  The NCC also maintained that is was a prime opportunity revise sections of The Property Time-Sharing Act, particularly that certain information must be disclosed- in writing- to the consumer before a contract is signed.

What legal options do consumers stuck in a lifetime timeshare contract have at the moment?

It’s best to approach the Consumer Goods and Services Ombud (CGSO), which is set up to uphold the Consumer Protection Act.  You can have a look at the complaints process, for more information. Of course, it’s always advisable to seek legal assistance as well, whether it’s to check the merits of your case and/or to represent you in court or mediation.

How to spot a timeshare scheme scam in South Africa

 Another big problem that seems to be prevalent in the travel industry is the rise of fraudulent timeshare companies.  As a result, the Vacation Ownership Association of Southern Africa (VOASA) highlighted some red flags that you should take notice of:

  • Unsolicited correspondence (calls and/or emails) gauging your interest in possibly selling your timeshare points or eliminating your membership maintenance fee
  • A deal or offer that sounds way too good to be true
  • An offer to transfer your paid-off timeshare ownership to another company
  • A call from someone claiming to be from VOASA trying to make a sale (VOASA does not offer sale or resale services)

For further information, visit www.voasa.co.za or call 021 975-9607

We’ve Got Your Back!

LAW FOR ALL policies are pocket-friendly and provide comprehensive cover for whatever legal challenge life throws your way. For more information on how LAW FOR ALL can become your friend in times of need and help you navigate life have a look at our policies here.

DISCLAIMER

How to Dispute an Electricity Bill in South Africa

You never quite know when life is going to throw a curve ball your way: just when you think you are on top of things and all your admin is about to be taken care of, you come across a bill that simply doesn’t make sense. Your electricity reading seems to be very different from last month’s. The reason? There is an astronomical amount you allegedly owe. However, it’s an amount that you are 100% certain is inaccurate. Now, you are wondering how to dispute an electricity bill in South Africa?

Is this a regular occurrence? How often do South Africans get inaccurate municipal bill readings?

Sadly, it is quite common for residents and business owners across the country to receive erroneous electricity or water bills. Of course, we are not always just talking about a few odd rands: in 2015, a Gauteng resident was informed that he owes R1.2 million on his electricity bill, after a series of inaccurate and unauthorised installation of a smart meter; and in 2017 residents in Morningside, Johannesburg, were also confronted with a significantly higher-than-usual monthly reading, to name just a few.

What does the law say about the obligation of municipalities regarding the matter?

Since municipalities are responsible for basic service delivery, which includes the effective management of and correct billing and charges for water, electricity and sanitation, they are regulated by The Municipal System Act (no.32 of 2000). Remember, these services are basic human rights and protected by the highest law in the land, our Constitution.

“The same Act, section 102 (2), to be specific, states that citizens have the right to lodge a complaint should they want to dispute an inaccurate reading, irregular amount due and suspicious tariff increases,” explains Adv. Jackie Nagtegaal, LAW FOR ALL’s Managing Director.

Ok, so what’s the best way to dispute an electricity bill in South Africa?

This can be quite the process, but to get the best outcome, it’s advisable to write a formal letter to the manager of your municipality. Follow the these steps:

  1. Describe in as much detail as possible what the discrepancy on your account is, and provide evidence as well (for example, send two or three previous bills that can roughly determine and average amount you usually pay to compare it to the inaccurate bill in question)
  2. Be sure to include that you are aware of the fact that the municipality, by law, cannot shut your electricity off for “arrears” until the dispute has been settled.
  3. You must address the letter to the municipality manager and deliver it in person. Make sure you get a signed proof of receipt.
  4. As a back-up, email versions of the letter to the manager (and send an electronic copy to the municipality’s finance department as well).

From there, the municipality is meant to investigate the matter and provide you with a report of the breakdown of the correct account information.

“It’s worth noting that the municipality is not allowed to disconnect your electricity while the investigation into the disputed amount is under way. That said, be sure to keep up with the payment of your account as usual, because they are legally allowed to take action for any other payments that are in arrears,” advises Nagtegaal.

What are my options if I am not satisfied with the municipality’s findings?

Fear not – you haven’t reached a dead end: you can either seek legal action or approached the National Energy Regulator of SA (NERSA). The Electricity Regulation Act, 2006 (Act No. 4 of 2006) mandates NERSA, among other things, to resolve disputes between suppliers of electricity and their customers, as well as between suppliers themselves.

If you were not happy with the way your supplier handled your complaint, NERSA can help you.

How to prevent inaccurate electricity meter readings in South Africa.

If the event that you become suspicious of being overcharged or irregular charging, here are some tips to follow:

  • Double check that the meter number stipulated on the electricity bill matches the one on the actual meter on your property.
  • Take monthly photos of your meter readings to use as evidence if you need some back when disputing a suspicious amount.
  • Always contact your local municipal office immediately to raise the issue and ensure you receive a reference number for your query.
  • It might also be a good idea to install a prepaid meter so that you can track your electricity usage more closely.

 Do not leave your electricity bill unpaid (even while waiting for a dispute to be resolved)

Should you regularly skip payments and your account is in arrears, the municipality has the right (after giving a 14-day notice period) to disconnect your electricity, and should it persist, hand you over to lawyers and, ultimately, you could receive an adverse credit listing.

Keep the lights on!

No one wants to be left in the dark, when it comes to matters relating to basic services, so it is important to brush up on the processes you should follow, and what the law say about what a municipal department is and isn’t legally allowed to do.

We’ve Got Your Back!

LAW FOR ALL can provide legal advice and help write a letter to dispute the reading/charges. LAW FOR All’s mediators can also negotiate on the policyholders behalf. They will email, call, write letters and make follow ups until there is an outcome. If the matter is not resolved, the mediator can assist to refer the matter to NERSA, if need be. For more information on how LAW FOR ALL can become your friend in times of need and help you navigate life have a look at our policies here. 

Why the Law Needs to Clamp Down More on Skin Lightening Products in South Africa

Every day, millions of women around the world stare into the mirror, scrutinising every inch of their bodies. They pull, pinch and prod at their features, wondering what it will take to look like the women they see on television and in magazines. Psychologically, they are equating these pictures and representations with success and acceptance. In most cases, the overwhelmingly consistent image is that of a woman with a lighter skin tone, and so, many women think that “ideal image” is what’s needed to be seem as more attractive and more likely to access a privileged status. From there, this thinking is that more doors will open, such as better jobs and relationship opportunities.  Unsurprisingly, many women (and men) will go through great lengths- think laser treatments, peels, creams, pills etc-  to  reduce the amount of melanin in and pigment of their skin to achieve  this “superior” image.  This is one of the biggest reasons why skin lightening products and skin bleaching procedures have become popular around the globe, including in South Africa.

Recently,  South African actress and media personality Khanyisile Mbau made headlines for her lightened complexion, claiming that “90% of the colour” of her skin “is cosmetic”. She’s an open and outspoken advocate for skin lightening and how it helps her in the entertainment industry, but also maintains that the maintenance is expensive: in fact, Mbau admits that it costs her up to R10 000 a month.  Along with Mbau, other media personalities like Mshoza, Kelly Khumalo and Sorisha Naidoo have all made the news for their lightened skin tones.

And while there are some approved and regulated products on the market, others contain harmful banned chemicals, but are still available in various supermarkets, pharmacies and informal traders, and these are the ones most South Africans can afford. So, the question is: are harsher skin bleaching regulations needed?

 

Is it really a growing trend in our country? How many women use skin lightening products in South Africa?

In 2018, a documentary claimed that 1 in 3 South African buy skin lightening products, but Africa Check maintains there isn’t enough data to draw any definitive conclusions. However, a survey of 292 Indian and 287 African women conducted by Dr Ncoza Dlova, Head of Dermatology at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, in Kwa-Zulu Natal found that 32.3 % of the participants had used some form of skin lightening products; and The World Health Organisation released a statistic of 35% of all South African women had tried skin lightening products.

 

Why is skin lightening so controversial? Identity and the legacy of colonialism.

For decades Western ideals of beauty have permeated the global consciousness and informed the status quo of what’s perceived to be attractive and, often, what a successful woman looks like. Of course, the big problem here is that this “ideal” image perpetuated by cosmetic companies and media outlets is Eurocentric and promotes white standards of beauty. However, as Shingi Mtero, who teaches a course on the politics of skin bleaching at Rhodes University, points out: “ When people say it’s about whiteness, it’s not necessarily to physically be white, it’s about wanting to access things white people have easy access to—privileges, economic and social status”.

With years and years of being told what “real” beauty is and how it influences your chances of being socially accepted and successful in any industry, it’s no surprise that many women place so much value in their appearance and turn to seemingly quick-fix solutions to their “problem” of not being “white enough”.  In a feature for BRIGHT, Wana Udobang writes, “…television images and billboards have always been emblazoned with light-skinned faces and much of the media and popular culture are often complicit in the perpetuation of these ideals. Film and commercials director Tolu Ajayi says that in advertising, light skin is often viewed as an ‘aspirational look’.” Of course, it also inflames debates around colourism, which is defined as “prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group”.

 

Are skin lightening products legal in South Africa?

Skin lightening products come in many forms: creams, tablets and injectables. Of course, as the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CTFA) of South Africa told IOL , government notice R1 227 prohibits the sale of any cosmetic product that claims to be a skin bleacher, skin lightener , skin whitener (“brightener” and “toner” are permitted, however). Specifically, any product that contains steroids, hydroquinone, mercury and lead are banned in South Africa (and many other places in the world). Recently, a couple in England were arrested for importing, making and selling skin lightening products. Of course, these products can be divided into legal, illegal and unregulated categories. The legal creams and treatments can only be prescribed by certified dermatologists, and usually used for treating hyperpigmentation. Most reputable skin lightening treatments are expensive, and so many women might turn to over-the-counter and unregulated products that might contain illegal and extremely harmful ingredients. Because of this, the market is vulnerable to over-the-counter, unregulated and unsupervised use of skin lighteners. Smaller businesses and informal traders continue to sell the products because there is still a demand for it, which experts say is fuelled by celebrities, advertising and social media.

The dangers of skin lightening or bleaching

 Because of the many harmful chemicals that the products contain- such as mercury, phenol, steroids and hydroquinone, there is huge risk involved when using them. Some of the consequences include thinning skin, permanent scarring, live and kidney damage, psychosis and cancer. Due to a lack of education and awareness around the dangers, 90% of skin lightening products users are unaware of these effects, according to a study by medical experts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

How do illegal skin lightening products get into South Africa? What are the regulations?

In a 2015 Medical Brief feature, concern was raised around South Africa being a dumping ground for these illegal products, many of which came from Europe (despite also being banned across the continent).

In the same write-up, the Head of Dermatology at UCT, Prof. Nonhlanhla Khumalo says the, “ biggest problem lies with the port authorities who are supposed to ensure (imported cosmetics) comply with the law. Some products listed illegal ingredients on the label. Someone should have stopped them”.  What’s more, as Nontando Mposo writes in the Cape Argus, “ Due to the notion that skin-lightening products are classified by the CTFA as cosmetics instead of pharmaceuticals, a lesser degree of control is executed therefore allowing the greater availability of products whether it is locally manufactured or imported.”

It’s also becoming increasing difficult for authorities to test products, and sometimes the dangerous mercury component is added to a products that has been tested afterwards. Then there are also various innovations around the products, like glutathione, which is a chemical compound that can be ingested or injected.

And while the CTFA does regulate the labelling, there is a severe lack of enforcement by authorities , so clearly, this show that the law should be clamping down more on these dangerous products entering the country.

More awareness from the Government

It’s understandable that cheap (but illegal!) products will be the go-to for many South Africans, especially since not everyone can afford to see a dermatologist. Therefore, the onus should be on the Government and media to continually highlight the dangers of using these creams, pills and injectables and clamp down on businesses stocking them. “We also need more representation and destigmatisation of darker skin in mainstream media and advertising, coupled with the stronger enforcement of the law to help ensure no one is harmed using this banned products,” states Adv. Jackie Nagtegaal, LAW FOR ALL’s Managing Director.  Until then, however, people need to self-educate and do their own research to ensure they do not harm themselves with skin lightening products.

We’ve Got Your Back!

LAW FOR ALL policies are pocket-friendly and provide comprehensive cover for whatever legal challenge life throws your way. For more information on how LAW FOR ALL can become your friend in times of need and help you navigate life have a look at our policies here. 

DISCLAIMER

“Revenge Porn” is Officially Illegal in South Africa

There are new revenge porn laws in South Africa, as the country officially follows the likes of Israel, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Japan by criminalising the distribution of sexually explicit images or videos without someone’s consent.

This comes after President Ramaphosa signed amendments to the Films and Publications Bill into law, which will further clamp down on hate speech, the dissemination of child pornography and “revenge porn”.

For those not in the know, “revenge porn” refers to the sharing or distribution of any nude or sexually explicit material of someone without their permission or consent with the express purpose of humiliating or “getting back” at them. Victims may now lay criminal charges against anyone who distributes or shares this material on social media, in text messages, via any electronic communication or on pornographic websites.

Anyone who breaks the revenge porn laws in South Africa and is found guilty of sharing or distributing revenge porn will face time behind bars or will be fined. If the victim can’t be identified in the content, the perpetrator could face two years in jail and/or pay a fine of up to R150 000. However, if the victim can be identified in any way, the perpetrator could spend four years in prison and/or pay up to R300 000.

Over the last few years, South Africa has undoubtedly become stricter about what is acceptable and legal to post online. For example, if the Cyber Crimes and Cyber Security Bill, and Prevention of Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill) are signed into law, it will become a criminal offence to spread harmful or bigoted messages online.

To stay on the right side of the law, check out 4 Things You Should Never Post on Social Media in South Africa.

We’ve Got Your Back!

LAW FOR ALL policies are pocket-friendly and provide comprehensive cover for whatever legal challenge life throws your way. For more information on how LAW FOR ALL can become your friend in times of need and help you navigate life have a look at our policies here.

DISCLAIMER

Why LAW FOR ALL is Embracing Technology in Legal Services Industry

No one knows what exactly the future holds, but one thing is certain: technology is going to infiltrate and impact our everyday lives more and more. As a forward-thinking and caring legal services provider, LAW FOR ALL is all about embracing technology in the legal services industry in South Africa. We are constantly on the lookout for new ways in which to help make the law affordable and accessible. We are aware that the vast majority of South Africans simply cannot afford to seek legal assistance; therefore, we are in the process of innovating a new tech system through which South Africans will be able to access the law with less financial implications.

The customer relationship system is called Lawyerly, and will make use of ground-breaking artificial intelligence to increase accessibility of the law and justice for all our policyholders by 2020. In a nutshell, it will allow our lawyers and partner firms to remove the mundane task of legal services, and focus on what really matters: giving people undivided attention and expert legal advice. Embracing technology in the legal services industry is certainly the way forward.

The pros and cons of technology: how it affects our lives and jobs.

Naturally, as with most technological developments, people are often equally excited and nervous about what lies ahead. In many industries, technology has facilitated an increase in efficiency, and thanks to many processes undergoing automation, lots of time-consuming and labour-intensive tasks are taken care of. Some of the benefits include increased production and, in turn, an increase in return on investment. For the everyday person, technology has meant added convenience and access to information- think the Internet and the rise of smartphones etc. Of course, there is a flip side to the tech coin: studies have shown that being constantly “plugged in” can lead to social isolation, anxiety and depression. Not to mention, with so many processes moving online, criminals take advantage of people who aren’t too clued-up and defraud them.

This month, LAW FOR ALL takes a closer look at:

  1. Mental Health Leave in South Africa

As mentioned above, there are many setbacks to being on the proverbial grid all the time, and often it is completely inescapable as many people’s jobs require them to be online. What’s more, many people develop anxiety and depression over possible being replaced by automation or a “robot”. This can have a major impact on an employee’s mental health, so in this write-up we take a closer look at what the law says about employers granting mental health leave to employees.

mental-health-leave-south-africa

  1. Online Phishing Scams in South Africa

Because South Africa is a developing country, many cybercriminals try to take advantage of the fact that citizens might not be as tech savvy. So, it comes as no surprise that phishing scams are on the rise. And with cybercriminals becoming smarter, here’s what you should look out for to avoid falling victim.

  1. Terms and Conditions on Apps and Social Media

“Ts and Cs apply” is something you read or hear almost every day, but have you ever taken the time to actually look at what they are, and what information you are potentially giving the app and/or third party permission to use as they please?

terms-and-conditions-south-africa

  1. Cancelling a Cellphone Contract in South Africa

While signing up for a cellphone contract is fairly straight-forward, the same cannot be said about cancelling one. In fact, it’s a frustration shared by many across the country. Let’s take a look at what you need to know and, more importantly, what the law says about cancelling your cellphone contract.

cancelling-cellphone-contract-south-africa

5. Skin Bleaching in South Africa

Of course, the skincare and beauty industries are also constantly evolving thanks to evolving formulas and chemicals that ultimately set new trends.  Once such trend is skin bleaching, which is a divisive topic in South Africa.  And while the identity politics of the issue cannot be ignored, we also need to look at if any harmful formulas are flagged and regulated?

Facing the Future Together

If you are nervous about what the future holds, we can completely understand. Things change so rapidly that you feel out of touch and a little lost. But we assure you: you can always rely on LAW FOR ALL to be a constant source of guidance and peace. We’ll send your worried and fears packing no matter how the world changes.

We’ve Got Your Back!

LAW FOR ALL policies are pocket-friendly and provide comprehensive cover for whatever legal challenge life throws your way. For more information on how LAW FOR ALL can become your friend in times of need and help you navigate life have a look at our policies here.

 

DISCLAIMER

Why You Should Read the Terms and Conditions for Mobile Apps

Hands up if you have ever read the terms and conditions that pop up on your newly downloaded mobile app. If you are still sitting with your arms folded, just know that you are not alone: a 2017 survey by Deloitte found that 90% of people simply click “I Agree” on apps’ terms and conditions without reading them. Of course, it’s not the most enticing content- it’s a pop-up frame with lots and lots of words, and it’s so much easier to just scroll down, click accept and start using whichever app you downloaded. But the truth is, the Ts&Cs often push legal and ethical boundaries, and you may be completely unaware of just exactly what you agreed to. This is why you should always read the terms and condition on mobile apps.

Man interacting with phone

What’s the purpose of terms and conditions for apps?

Essentially, Ts&Cs are in place to create an agreement between the app and the user. They are meant to stipulate the rules of the app that users should adhere to and the responsibilities of both parties. Terms and conditions aren’t a legal requirements for app developers, and app stores don’t deem it necessary either.  Of course, from a legal perspective, it’s always a good idea to have them, as they do create some kind of contract between the user and provider. So, it’s very important to read and familiarise yourself with exactly what you are signing up for and, possible, what you are giving an app permission to do with details or content.

What exactly am I giving apps permission to do by agreeing to the terms and conditions?

Every app will have their own set of Ts&Cs, so no two instances are the same. However, there are some common and rather disturbing authorisations you may be given apps.

  • Permission to use your personal information

A culprit here is WhatsApp, one of the most widely used apps around the world.  The messaging platform is the go-to texting app for millions ( if not billions), but did you know that agreeing to its Ts&Cs means giving the Facebook-owned company permission to use your personal information. More specifically, it gives the company the right to share some of your details with other entities within the Facebook group, which they then use for targeted advertising.

  • Permission to use the content you post on the platform

Social media is a great way to showcase and document your creative work, but certain apps can redistribute your content without your permission. For instance, in its terms and conditions, Facebook states “…when you share, post, or upload content that is covered by intellectual property rights on or in connection with our Products, you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, and worldwide license to host, use, distribute, modify, run, copy, publicly perform or display, translate, and create derivative works of your content…”. Do note, this is still applicable even if you delete your account.

  • You may be using an app for illegal purposes without knowing it

One of the primary reasons why apps have terms and conditions is to stipulate what their product can legally be used for. Usually, these state that using the app to impersonate someone, promote violence and/or spreading hate speech is against the law. So, it’s always best to read through what the purposes of the app are before accepting the terms and conditions because should you violate any of the “intended uses” you cannot claim that you didn’t know you couldn’t use the app for certain things.

In addition to reading the Ts&Cs, always check what you’ve given an app permission to do/ access

As Wired recommends, “ Every once in a while though, it’s worth running an audit on these apps to make sure they’re not overreaching and going beyond their remit—collecting more data about you and controlling more of your devices than you’d like”. Essentially, this means checking the app permissions that you have allowed. Some apps allow you to deactivate certain permissions, such as accessing your camera or contact list. Of course, an app might need to do some of those things to function properly, but if that is not the case then by all means make some changes. Here’s How To See Everything Your Apps Are Allowed to Do.

Laws South African mobile app developers need to adhere to

So, while some apps can take advantage of what’s contained in the terms and conditions, it’s also in place to protect the user. Over and above that, there are also privacy and data regulations laws that protect consumers, for example:

  • The Consumer Protection Act (CPA)

In terms of selling or advertising goods and services via an app, the CPA requires the wording to be clear and not misleading. What’s more, any pricing must be displayed properly.  Should an app be the “middle man” between the consumer and a retailer, it must be transparent about which shop it represents.

  • The Electronic Communications and Transactions Act (ECTA)

This is specifically aimed at e-commerce apps, and it allows consumers to review an electronic transaction, make any changes and/or withdraw from following through. It also states that the consumer has a “cooling off” period, in which they are allowed to cancel any order made via the app within seven days.

  • The Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act

 This Act, which was recently signed into law, protects people’s private information. Basically, it states that if an app requires someone’s private details, they can only use that information for the specific purpose that someone signed up for. The consumer must be asked about using their personal info for other purposes, told how long their details will be retained for and informed of how their personal information will be protected.

posting pictures on Facebook can get you in trouble

Have a read before clicking ‘I Agree’

It’s really as simple as taking the time to read through what exactly you are signing up for (and signing away!). Yes, legalese can be boring and terms and conditions are lengthy, but it’s worth absorbing all that is contained in them. And, if there is something you may not understand, reach out to a lawyer who can assist you.

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LAW FOR ALL policies are pocket-friendly and provide comprehensive cover for whatever legal challenge life throws your way. For more information on how LAW FOR ALL can become your friend in times of need and help you navigate life have a look at our policies here.

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Mental Health Leave from Work: What the Law Says

The world changing at a rapid pace can be a source of major stress and anxiety for many people around the world. Locally, modern-day living (with all the technology advancements and the uncertainty that comes with that) is proving to have devastating effects on the mental health of South Africans, too. In fact, “as many as one in six South Africans suffer from anxiety, depression or substance-use problems according to statistics released by the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG). Of course, this impacts people in their place of employment as well, but are employers aware of and sensitive to mental health leave from work, and what does the law say?

What is the state of employees’ mental health at work in South Africa?

It’s been reported that nearly 10% of South Africans suffer from some form of depression, which means that it’s very likely that some of your colleagues are struggling with their mental health.  And while there can be many contributing factors, the ones specifically linked to the workplace include rising job insecurity, artificial intelligence and high job demands. But the issue is worsened by the fact that there is still a big stigma attached to depression, and it the workplace, SADAG revealed that just one in six employees is likely to discloses their mental health issues to their manager.  Because of this, workers do not approach their employers to ask about possibly taking time off to try and deal with or manage their depression or anxiety. However, some employers might not even consider depression a viable reason to take leave since it’s not a very talked-about subject.

And as Dr Sebolelo Seape, chairperson of the Psychiatry Management Group points out in an article for Business Tech: “Depression causes problems with memory, and leads to procrastination, extreme fatigue, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, fear and panic which will add to work-related stresses, crippling the output from the employee.”

mental-health-leave-south-africa

What does the law say about mental health leave in the workplace?

South African law certainly protects the rights of workers with mental health issues. An employee’s right to equality, dignity and fair labour practice is protected in the Constitution.

What’s more, the Employment Equity Act (EEA) protects employees from unfair discrimination based on illness or disability and the Labour Relations Act prohibits employers from dismissing employees because they are disabled or ill.

Legal tip: Here’s some Legal Advice on Dealing with Unfair Dismissal.

Can an employee take leave from work for depression and anxiety in South Africa?

If an employee seeks the help of a medical professional for depression and anxiety, and they are told it’s best to be booked off for some time, then they do qualify to take sick leave, which every South African employee is entitled to take. Essentially, sick leave works in a three-year cycle, giving a worker the same number of paid leave days as they would normally work in a six-week period. Basically, if they work five days a week for six weeks, that’s 30 days of paid sick leave that is owed to them over a period of three years. The doctor or medical professional is also not obligated to state what the reasons for booking a patient off, and “medical condition” is sufficient for the sick note.  If an employee is unable to get professional help, then they need to approach their employer and have an open and honest discussion about what’s affecting them and, in turn, their work.   Possible solutions can include some sick leave days, periods of flexi-time or reduced workload, for example.

Removing the stigma and having open communication in the workplace

 Going forward, employers need to take the time to educate themselves about mental health in the workplace in South Africa, and how they will manage employees who live with depression and anxiety. What’s more, they should also look at how their working environment could possibly be contributing to or exacerbating the issue. Remember, take care of your employees, and they will take care of the work.

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LAW FOR ALL policies are pocket-friendly and provide comprehensive cover for whatever legal challenge life throws your way. For more information on how LAW FOR ALL can become your friend in times of need and help you navigate life have a look at our policies here.

DISCLAIMER

LAW FOR ALL: Commitment to Transformation and Diversity in South Africa

It’s not very often that we take the time to truly celebrate our unique country; with its incredible diversity and rich cultural history, South Africa is, undoubtedly, one of a kind. We should also not underestimate the importance of being surrounded by people who come from different backgrounds, as it gives us all an opportunity to open our minds and embrace any differences.

And this is particularly vital during September, when South African celebrates Heritage Month, which ultimately culminates in Heritage Day on 24 September. As former President Nelson Mandela said in a 1996 speech: “When our first democratically-elected government decided to make Heritage Day one of our national days, we did so because we knew that our rich and varied cultural heritage has a profound power to help build our new nation.”

Reflecting on the past is a very important exercise: not only doesn’t it place the rights and liberties we enjoy today into perspective, but it should also inspire us to better in the present in order to empower others in the future.

LAW FOR ALL: Diverse and Dedicated

Since 1993, LAW FOR ALL has worked tirelessly to break down the barriers to justice, making the law more affordable and accessible, empowering South Africans to enforce their rights.  We are proud of the fact that our employees come from different backgrounds and cultures. Because we strive to be a true friend in the law, it’s vital for our experts to be relatable, empathetic and able to assist clients in a language they are most comfortable with. Our diversity is our strength, and a big part of our success.

This month, LAW FOR ALL takes a closer look at:

  1. The History of the South African Flag

In 2019, the Nation mourned the loss of Mr Frederick Brownell, the designer of the South African flag.  So, in honour of his legacy and #HeritageMonth, we’re taking a closer look at the history of the South African flag, what the colours symbolise and what you’re legally allowed and not allowed to do with it.  It’s always great to brush up on your knowledge of this incredible symbol of freedom and equality.

  1. Customary Marriages in South Africa

South Africa’s diversity challenges the law to evolve and protect the rights of all citizens from all cultural backgrounds. The Customary Marriages Act 120 of 1998 is an example of how traditions are recognised and respected.  But, no matter how we celebrate love, heritage and commitment in all its diversity, getting married is always a legal affair.

  1. Having a Braai in a Sectional Title in South Africa

Now we also cannot ignore the fact that Heritage Day is also synonymous with Braai Day in South Africa. Firing up the coals and grilling meat is pretty much a social ritual in our country. Of course, not everyone has a sprawling backyard to host a braai, and those in apartment complexes also want to participate in this proudly South Africa. But before you set up your braai and get the fire going, you should read up on what the law says about braai-ing is a sectional title scheme.

  1. Language Policies and Discrimination in the Workplace in South Africa

Despite only being the 6th most common language in South Africa, English is still mostly spoken in places of employment and is considered the preferable language for business. But with 11 official languages, surely it’s not a requirement for employees to only speak English in the office? We unpack language policies in the workplace and what constitutes discrimination.

language-policies-south-africa

Looking back but not thinking backwards

As mentioned, looking back to appreciate how far we’ve come as a country is incredibly important and insightful, but our thoughts and efforts must also firmly be set on the future.

We’ve Got Your Back!

LAW FOR ALL policies are pocket-friendly and provide comprehensive cover for whatever legal challenge life throws your way. For more information on how LAW FOR ALL can become your friend in times of need and help you navigate life have a look at our policies here.

DISCLAIMER

 

The South African Flag: A Brief History and Fun Facts

The sense of pride and patriotism that comes with seeing the South African flying high anywhere is undeniable- whether it’s blowing graciously at a sporting event or firmly secured on a car as a sticker. After all, it’s a symbol of democracy, freedom and equality; a perfect summation of our country. But just how much do you know about the history and meaning of the South African flag?

Since it is #HeritageMonth in South Africa, we think it is the perfect time to look back at the story of how the South Africa flag came to be, what the composition and colours mean and what the law says about displaying the flag.

 A brief history of the South African flag

In 1993, the Negotiating Council, which was in the process of setting up an interim Constitution for the newly democratic South Africa, set up a Commission on National Symbols. It’s primary task was to present four potential flags to represent South Africa from 1994 onwards.  In just 5 weeks, the Commission had to present flags- with the help of public participation- that met the following criteria:

  • It must be a unique design
  • it should promote and symbolise national unity
  • the design must be simple to the point where a child can recognise and draw it
  • primary colours are preferred
  • designs to be submitted in full colour
  • a brief motivation and explanation of the design may also be included.

After approximately 7000 entries were whittled down to just 6, the Commission presented their findings; however, neither the South African public or the Council were impressed, and the search continued. This time, agencies and design studios were called on to submit proposals, but none were successful. Eventually, a sub-committee was instated, which ultimately created a Technical Working Committee. The convener on that committee was the late Mr. Fred Brownell, who designed the flag we know and love now just a month before South Africa’s democratic elections, and it was first used on 27 April 1994.

The colours and meaning on the South African flag

Black, gold (or yellow) and green feature quite prominently as those colours represent political parties, like the ANC and PAC, who were instrumental in the liberation movement in South Africa. On a somewhat more figurative level, the green almost stands for fertility and the yellow for mineral wealth.

The bright red at the top of the flag simultaneously symbolises the bloodshed of the past and the strength required for moving forward, and the vibrant blue at the bottom of the flag represents the ocean and the sky, as well as truth, loyalty and perseverance.

In terms of composition, the horizontal ‘Y’ shape represents a once-divided Nation converging and working in harmony.

history-south-african-flag

What South Africans aren’t allowed to do with the flag

While there are very specific protocols for the official use of the flag, as per the The Southern African Vexillological Association (SAVA), everyday citizens also have to abide by certain rules when it comes to displaying the South African flag.

5 things you shouldn’t do with the South African flag

  1. Your proudly South African Speedo or undies? Well, they are technically forbidden by SAVA. You are not allowed to wear the flag on trousers or underwear.
  2. If you are thinking of hosting a Heritage Day braai, by all means fly the flag with pride, but do not use it as a tablecloth. The flag cannot be eaten over or used as a floor mat ( in case you are thinking of bringing a little patriotism into your bathroom décor). It’s considered demeaning.
  3. Don’t flip it or reverse it! Usually, a nation’s flag that is upside down means the country has surrendered to an enemy. So, remember, keep the red part at the top!
  4. The rules call for the flag to be taken down before sunset (for state and personal use), unless it is very well lit and displaying clearly.
  5. Any monument or historically significant statue or plaque may not be wrapped in or covered by the South African flag.

Take a moment to appreciate the South African flag

Of course, with all that’s happening in our country, it is easy to be disheartened and feel deflated. But it’s also important to keep the hope for a better South Africa alive and kicking. So, next time you see the South African flag blowing elegantly in the wind, take a moment to absorb all that it stands for, especially during Heritage Month.

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DISCLAIMER

Braaing in a Sectional Title Scheme in South Africa

There’s no denying that braaing in South Africa is a favourite pastime for all citizens, and with the warmer seasons approaching, people across the country will be gathering to fire up the coals, grill some meat and have a merry time.  Of course, not everyone has a sprawling backyard that can accommodate a large group of friends and open fire; many South Africans live in apartment complexes that have their own rules and regulations.  Because of this, we decided to give some legal insight on braaing in a sectional title scheme in South Africa. Along with keeping pets in a sectional title scheme, this remains one of the most contentious issues.

What exactly is a sectional title scheme?

A “sectional title” describes separate ownership of units or sections within a complex or property development. A person who buys property in a sectional title complex purchases a section as well as an undivided share of the common property.

Braaing and smoking rules in sectional title schemes

Because people live in very close proximity to each other, there are rules and regulations in place to ensure that no one is unnecessarily inconvenienced or put in harm’s way. Of course, the rules are also implemented to minimise the chances of any kind of damage to the tenants’ property.  Smoke from a balcony, whether the tenants are puffing on cigarettes or having a braai, can cause serious problems and violate regulations.

 braai-sectional-title-scheme-south-africa

Basically, as The Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act, Rule 30(e), under the part  that deals with the terms and condition of using the sections or common property states: anything causing a “material negative effect” on the value or utility of any other section or exclusive use area is prohibited.  This means that rising smoke can permeate corridors or enter through open windows and cause various issues for neighbours- from smoke damage to their apartment to aggravating or triggering respiratory issues, for example.

“This is why sectional title schemes often ban smoking or braaiing on balconies, not to be unreasonable, but to consider all the occupants within the scheme,” says Michael Bauer, general manager of property management company IHFM, in a Private Property article.

So, can’t I host a braai at my apartment at all?

It’s all about checking up on the actual rules of the complex. Some blocks might allow using a Weber to braai on the balcony or have communal areas, which often have braai areas. In the case of the latter, you will then just have to be mindful of the noise rules and ensure that you do not disturb or inconvenience the other owners or renters.

Lodging a complaint about tenants smoking or braaing on the balcony

Tenants who feels as though their neighbours are smoking excessively or braaing continuously must first approach the trustees or body corporate to resolve the issue.  “Bear in mind,  in assessing a complaint, the trustees will have to consider several factors and weigh in on the “reasonableness” of the situation,” explains Adv. Jackie Nagtegaal, LAW FOR ALL’s Managing Director.  Punishment could range from a warning and a fine to.

If the issue isn’t dealt with to the satisfaction of the complainant, they can then approach the Community Schemes Ombud, who will assess the complaint, investigate if justified and take further action if necessary.  Ideally, you would want the problem to be resolved amicably, but if it gets to the Adjudication stage,  an Adjudicator will consider all the evidence presented and will hand down a determination which is binding on all parties to the dispute. Orders are enforceable in the Magistrate Court or High Court depending on the quantum or nature of the relief granted in the determination.

We’ve got your back!

LAW FOR ALL’s experienced lawyers can provide legal advice and guidance on matters relating to disputes in sectional titles. Be sure to have a look at LAW FOR ALL’s comprehensive policies. Sign up today!

DISCLAIMER

Language Policies and Workplace Discrimination in South Africa

There is no denying that an inclusive workplace is becoming more and more vital. Employees need to feel comfortable, acknowledged and protected in their place of work. Not to mention, it is also good for business, but that shouldn’t be the primary reason for embracing diversity in the office.  Of course, a key expression of cultural heritage and individuality is language. But with English being the language that most business is conducted in South Africa, does this mean speaking the language can be enforced for non-business use? Let’s unpack language policies and workplace discrimination in South Africa.

How the law protects employees and cultural heritage and expression in the workplace in South Africa

Because South Africa is one of the most diverse – culturally, racially and economically- countries in the world, specific laws had to be drawn up, in order to ensure that everyone enjoys equal opportunity and fair treatment in the workplace.  This, of course, can be found in the Employment Equity Act, No 55 of 1998.

“Essentially, this Act protects employees from any form of discrimination from an employer, based on race, gender, religion, disability, and language – amongst many others,” says Adv. Jackie Nagtegaal, LAW FOR ALL’s Managing Director.

In short: you cannot be fired for speaking in your native language, as it would constitute discrimination.

Legal tip: If you feel as though you’ve been unjustly fired, here’s Basic Legal Advice for Dealing with Unfair Dismissal.

A breakdown: most spoken languages in South Africa

Not only is it discriminatory to try and enforce an English-only rule in the office, it’s also completely unrealistic. English is only the 6th most-spoken language in South Africa (it’s 8,1% of the population’s home language), whereas isiZulu and isiXhosa are the most spoken languages, according to StatsSA’s 2019 General Household Survey.

language-breakdown-south-africa

Image courtesy: Times Live

LAW FOR ALL- assisting policyholders in their home languages

One of LAW FOR ALL’s biggest strengths is its diverse workforce. It makes for a wonderfully inclusive office environment and allows us to assist our policyholders in a language they are most comfortable with.  “ It’s important for our company to accurately reflect the country we live in, and it adds to our mission to make the law accessible for all South Africans,” maintains Nagtegaal.

South African companies need to continuously review their workplace policies

It’s always advisable for employers to update and revise their company policies to ensure they are in line with the law and do not discriminate against any employees. It’s vital to comply with all labour laws and protect employees.

Failure to do so could result in expensive lawsuit and irreparable damage to the company’s reputation.

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LAW FOR ALL’s experienced lawyers can provide legal advice on dealing with unfair dismissal. Have a look at our affordable policies for more information.

DISCLAIMER

You Can Now Face Jail Time if You Lie about a Degree on Your CV or Social Media

According to the newly enforced  National Qualifications Framework Amendment Act, anyone who lies about holding a tertiary education on their CV or social media platforms could face up to five years in jail

More specifically, the Act seeks to make provision to punish anyone who “falsely or fraudulently claims to be holding a qualification or part-qualification registered on the National Qualifications Framework or awarded by an education institution, skills development provider, QC or obtained from a lawfully recognised foreign institution.”

What’s more- it doesn’t just require a potential employer to point out the fraudulent statement and report the person on question: anyone who thinks a claim about a qualification is untrue or misleading on someone’s CV or social media platform can raise the issue with The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), who will have to investigate the allegation.

“Of course, not every person who claims to have a fake qualification is liable for prosecution,” clarifies Adv. Jackie Nagtegaal, LAW FOR ALL’s Managing Director. “ Many people are conned by fake education institutions and, in turn, receive fraudulent qualifications. In this case, the institution’s owners will be investigated and possibly face up to 5 years behind bars.”

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DISCLAIMER

Ask Your Employer about SmartFunder to Help Pay for Your Child’s Education

Education, or, more specifically, free education remains a contentious issue in South Africa. With the well-being and economic empowerment of current and future generations directly linked to the accessibility and affordability of quality education- something the #FeesMustFall movement powerfully shone a spotlight on- it’s high time that the Government and the Nation take action and implement various initiatives to help the cause.  After all, education is a Constitutional right.

Thankfully, the SmartFunder Education Bursary Fund is a great step forward in making sure young South Africans have access to education.

What is the SmartFunder Education Bursary Fund in South Africa?

SmartFunder is a company that administers Educational Bursary Schemes on behalf of various employers in South Africa.  Essentially, this is where the private sector can step in and help employers pay for their children’s education.

If an employee earns less than R600 000 a year (total remuneration) and pays for their child(ren) or relative’s school or university fees, the company will qualify for this benefit. This simply means that the employer will move the employee’s education expenses from a post-tax to a pre-tax expense, by way of a new company benefit.

What is the maximum amount an employee can receive through SmartFunder Education Bursary Fund?

For school-goers (Grade R to Grade 12), an employee qualifies for a maximum R20 000 bursary, and for students (college or university, NQF level 5 -10), an employee qualifies for a maximum R60 000 bursary.

Expenses covered by the SmartFunder Education Bursary Fund include:

  • Registration fees
  • School fees
  • Books
  • Transport
  • Accommodation
  • Stationery and equipment
  • Uniforms
  • Meals

These are all paid directly to the school, college or university.

What does it cost to benefit from the SmartFunder Education Bursary Fund?

There is no cost for a company, since SmartFunder will process the tax-deductible education bursary benefit on their behalf.  However, for employees, there is a monthly administration fee that is deducted from their savings.  The administration fee is approximately 10% of the savings an employee receives from SARS and is calculated according to the employee’s income.

The future of South Africa #EducationForAll

We cannot deny that an educated society plays a major role in ensuring a bright and sustainable future for a country, and this is particularly relevant in South Africa.  So, employees, ask your employer about the SmartFunder Education Bursary to help you empower your loved ones.

DISCLAIMER

Paving the Way Forward for Women in South Africa

Women are often regarded as cornerstones of families and greater communities, and in many ways, have laid down solid foundations of nurturing and support for future generations for years and years. But what’s often lost in conversations about women in South Africa is the fact that they are also activists, innovators and role models for thousands across the country.

But those incredible strengths and abilities are undoubtedly inspired by the courageous and influential women of South Africa’s history. Case in point: the more than 20 000 brave women who walked to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest amendments to the Urban Areas Act. It was a giant leap forward for women’s right and equality in South Africa.

But the fight continues!

For all the progress that has been made, there are many obstacles for women- from increased gender-based violence to pay gap disparities.

LAW FOR ALL:  Challenging the Male-dominated Legal Industry

It’s important for LAW FOR ALL to not just talk the talk, but walk the walk, too. Our company has two highly accomplished women at the helm: Chief Legal Executive Delia McArthur and Managing Director Adv. Jackie Nagtegaal.

“At LAW FOR ALL, women’s rights and empowerment take centre stage, as two of our core values. Women have been overlooked in the legal industry and society in general for far too long,” maintains McArthur.

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Additionally, Nagtegaal says LAW FOR ALL is committed to being a beacon of hope for women in the legal fraternity.

“Transformation is at the forefront of every decision we make as a legal service provider. It’s crucial for us to create the world we wish to see. Being in the legal industry, I believe there rests a greater onus on us to boost transformation, as it is the legal fraternity that shapes how we do things in the future. Representation and equal opportunity are essential elements for a truly democratic South Africa,” adds Nagtegaal.

Looking back to make giant leaps forward

We’re reflecting on the powerful and influential women who broke barriers in the past, unpacking the multiple struggles women still face in contemporary South Africa and celebrating the fearless females who are doing it for themselves. The goal? To inspire and empower the mothers, sisters, daughters of our nation.

This month, LAW FOR ALL takes a closer look at:

  1. South African Women Struggle Icons and Activists

While the likes of Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Steve Biko are household names (and rightfully so), women struggle icons who challenged the racist apartheid regime and fought for women’s rights are often overlooked.  This month, we’re highlighting female activists, politicians and other influential figures who deserve more praise.

women-activists-south-africa

  1. Sexual Consent in South Africa

After going viral in 2017, the #MeToo social media movement reignited conversations about what constitutes sexual consent. It revealed, amongst other things, that someone doesn’t have to explicitly say “no” to indicate that they do not want to proceed with a sexual activity/encounter.  We take a closer look at what it means to give consent and the legal consequences of not taking “no” for an answer (spoiler: it’s sexual assault).

consent-south-africa

  1. Challenges Facing Women Lawyers in South Africa

On the topic of sexual harassment and assault, it’s been reported that almost half of women legal professionals have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. This is just one of the major issues holding women back in the legal industry. In this write-up, we explore gender inequality in law firms and why “representation” is more than just a buzzword.

women-in-law

  1. Women Buying Property in South Africa

Thankfully, it’s not all doom and gloom. And women are becoming more and more economically empowered.  In 2019, it was reported that single women in South Africa are the biggest demographic of property buyers.  LAW FOR ALL understands the power of having property as an investment, and thus all policyholders qualify for discounted transfer fees, ranging from 35% to 60% off, depending on the policy. We also give some helpful hints on what to consider before your purchase property here:

women-property-owners

Let’s Get into Formation

A truly equal and transformed country for all is only possible if we all stand together.  It takes personal perceptions, societal expectations and legal structures to shift and evolve, in order to lay a new foundation for women (and our country) to thrive.

We’ve Got Your Back!

LAW FOR ALL policies are pocket-friendly and provide comprehensive cover for whatever legal challenge life throws your way. For more information on how LAW FOR ALL can become your friend in times of need and help you navigate life have a look at our policies here.

DISCLAIMER