“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.

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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

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.

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  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?

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  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.

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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.

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

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.”

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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.

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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

We’ve Got Your Back!

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.

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  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).

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  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:

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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

On the Rise: Women Property Owners in South Africa

It’s hard to believe it wasn’t too long ago that the idea of women having the right to own property or inherit land in South Africa was seen as absurd by the patriarchal society and oppressive Government. Not only is it now a very different story- thankfully-but women property owners in South Africa are on the rise, and single women are now the biggest group of property owners in the country. Forget the sexist “homemakers” label, women are quickly becoming homeowners!

 Yes, sisters are doing it for themselves! Women property owners in South Africa

According a report by research group Lightstone, 72 000 single women bought residential properties in 2018- more than single men and couple and married couples. And, as Gerhard Kotzé, Managing Director of the RealNet estate agency group, points out in a feature for IOL’s Personal Finance, “there is high and growing demand now and in the foreseeable future for rental properties, which makes this a good time for women to become property investors and start acquiring rental homes that will provide them with capital growth along with an independent income stream”.

This is so inspiring…what should I look out for if I want to buy my first property?

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Potential women property owners must acquaint themselves with the hidden costs of buying a house in South Africa.  “Unfortunately, most first-time buyers aren’t aware of the fact that the price listed on the actual property ad doesn’t reflect the full amount that needs to be paid in order to legal own the property,” mentions Adv. Jackie Nagtegaal, Managing Director at LAW FOR ALL.  Some administrative costs to be aware of include the deposit, transfer duty tax, transfer attorney costs, bond attorney costs and bond administration fees.

A deposit

This is an initial down payment for your home that you should save up. Deposits can influence whether or not a financial lending  institution will grant you a better payback rate on your bond. (Note- a deposit isn’t technically a “hidden cost”, but it is best to be aware of it.

Transfer tax duty

This is a Government-imposed tax to cover the transfer of the property from the seller to the new buyer.  This amount is calculated using a table created by The South African Revenue Services. There is no transfer duty on properties under R900 000.

Transfer attorney costs

These fees pay the conveyancers who legally transfer ownership of the new property to you.  Additional costs also include fees for the Deeds Office registration, postage and disbursements charged by the conveyancers.

Bond attorney costs

This fee is paid to the attorneys who register your bond.

Bond initiation and administration fees

The institution or bank will charge certain amounts for the initiation and future administration of the bond.

All together these fees (excluding the deposit) can add an additional 10% to the amount on the property ad.

Ok, I’ve made some notes. What else should I add to my checklist?

In addition to the admin side of things, you should look into any physical structural issues the property might have. Sellers are definitely legally obligated to submit a thorough report on any leak, mould, moisture damage, cracks etc, but it’s best to conduct your own inspection with the help of a professional. It’s also best to get an attorney involved to oversee and sign off on you and the seller agreeing on the structural issues on paper.

Side note: if you are not quite ready to buy a home just yet, here’s a basic guide to renting property in South Africa.

How #LAWFORALL can help!

Smiling law student

As a LAW FOR ALL policyholder, you will receive a significant discount on the transfer fees mentioned above! The amount you will save depends on the policy you take out with us, but it ranges from 35% to 60% off the transfer fee. As always, we are your caring legal friends in the law! This will certainly help future women property owners 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

A Closer Look at Sexual Consent in South Africa

Ntsiki (23) and Thabo (26) have been seeing each other regularly for a few months. They have a lot in common, enjoy each other’s company, but haven’t been intimate just yet.  One night, after getting back from dinner with friends, the couple start kissing and getting sensual. After a few minutes of making out, they start removing their clothes. But as Thabo reaches to remove Ntsiki’s underwear, she mutters that she is uncomfortable.

“We’ve come this far, babe. Did you not enjoy the kissing?” asks Thabo.

“I did…very much,” replies Ntsiki.

“So, what’s the problem? I promise we’ll have a good time.”

After a few seconds of uncomfortable silence, Ntsiki quietly states, “ I don’t think I want to carry on. I’m not ready.”

“Of course, babe. Can I make you a cup of tea or something?”

In this case, Ntsiki is one of the lucky few who has a partner who understands the nuances of what it means to consent to engage in a sexual act and respecting boundaries.  Ntsiki may not have explicitly said the word “no”; but she said “no” in different ways. To unpack this further, LAW FOR ALL takes a closer look at sexual consent in South Africa.

Trending topic: how the #MeToo movement reignited a much-needed debate

Thankfully, if Ntsiki wanted to tell her story, she wouldn’t have had to use #MeToo. That hashtag, as many may already know, went viral in October 2017. It gained global traction and attention after thousands and thousands of brave women (and some men) posted their stories on social media of being sexually abused or assaulted. It was dubbed the “Me Too Movement”.

In addition to revealing just how prevalent sexual assault is and how it hasn’t been appropriately dealt with, the trending topic also shed light on consent, and how it isn’t always just a matter of “yes” or “no” when it comes to accepting or rejecting sexual advances. It’s a nuanced issue that needs to be looked at from many angles, and not just once.

As an article on Planned Parenthood points out: “ Consent is never implied by things like your past behaviour, what you wear, or where you go. Sexual consent is always clearly communicated — there should be no question or mystery. Silence is not consent. And it’s not just important the first time you’re with someone. Couples who’ve had sex before or even ones who’ve been together for a long time also need to consent before sex — every time.”

 

Another layer: a closer look at sexual consent in South Africa

While sexual consent is essential in any context, it must also be dealt with and addressed within the framework of a specific country. Long before the #MeToo movement, there was the #EndRapeCulture campaign that was started in South Africa in 2016.

The movement sought to address the high rates of rape and gender-based violence in the country. Sadly, the rate of gender-based violence in South Africa is one of the highest in the world. According to the Crime against Women in South Africa 2018 report, there has been a 53% increase in sexual offences against women in a short period – from 31 665 in 2015/16 to 70 813 in 2016/17.

Exposing what rape culture is and how it contributes to sexual violence has been an eye-opener for many. “It is the acceptance of rape as “inevitable” in a society that says “don’t get raped” as opposed to “do not rape.” A society that teaches rape prevention instead of consent. Rape culture ranges from things that seem “normal” to those that are more blatantly and explicitly violent,” writes Jesse Jade Turner for Parent24.

Ultimately, teaching children about sexual consent and integrating lessons about rape culture in school curricula could have an enormous impact on reducing sexual offences against women in South Africa. “Discussions and conversations about consent need to start at an early age,” maintains Adv. Jackie Nagtegaal, LAW FOR ALL’s Managing Director. “It’s all about starting to change perceptions of entitlement and engraining notions of respecting boundaries in young minds, all of which will have a larger effect on changing the culture that younger generations are raised in”.

For instance, UCT’s Gender Health and Justice Research Unit created a guide to sexual consent in South Africa and included examples of myths surrounding sexual consent.

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What does the law say about the legal age of consent in South Africa?

According to the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act (2007), the age of consent for both boys and girls is 16 years of age. Of course, there are some exceptions; for example, if both partners are between the ages of 12 and 16 they won’t be criminally charged; and it is not criminal for a child under the age of 16 to have sex with a partner who is less than 2 years older than they are. Furthermore, South African law states that no child under the age of 12 can consent to sex, and therefore, sex with a pre-teen is rape or sexual assault.

An important takeaway here, though, is that even if someone is of age to have sex, it doesn’t mean they automatically consent to having sex. They can still say or imply “no”.

What the South African Government and Law are doing about addressing sexual consent and violence in South Africa:

In 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa officially launched the Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) Declaration, which calls for the Government, society and other key players to “find solutions to the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide”. Amongst other things, the declaration “promises adequate resourcing of Thuthuzela Care Centres, sexual offences courts and shelters that respond to the needs of all people including people with disabilities and LGBTQIA+”.

Additionally, the declaration also coincided with the launch of the Booysens Magistrates’ Court in Oakdene South of Johannesburg.  The Court is fully equipped to help and support survivors of sexual assault, gender-based violence and femicide, and it offers the following services:

  • A fully-fledged Sexual Offences Court
  • Family Law services such as maintenance, domestic violence, harassment and children’s court matters
  • Small claims court services
  • Civil and Criminal Court services – Regional and District

Taking an individual and collective stance to advance the discussion of sexual consent in South Africa

It clear that we, as South Africans need to educate ourselves, our children and our loved ones on what sexual consent is, and it is a broad-brush-stroke issue.  These discussions will hopefully lay the foundations for change: a change in understanding, perception and culture. So many lives depend on this.

We’ve Got Your Back!

Inappropriate and criminal behaviour is also, unfortunately, prevalent in offices around the country. LAW FOR ALL takes a closer look at how to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace.

DISCLAIMER

Women Struggle Icons Who Paved the Way for Democracy in South Africa.

In early 2019, South African mountaineer Saray Khumalo became the first black African woman to reach the top of Mount Everest. It was a monumental and historic feat that inspired many across the nation and world.

“Let’s find other things that we haven’t done and also create a space at the table and let more of us show the world that we can do what we want to do, when we want to do it and how we want to do it. We’re just as capable,” declared Khumalo to the press.

Of course, she is completely right, women are more than capable and there are many “mountains” that women can, have and continue to climb. Whether it’s Bonang Matheba expanding her media empire, former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela continuing the fight for equality or Zanele Muholi whose artwork on black lesbian, gay and trans people have gained global recognition, there are many phenomenal South Africa women breaking boundaries.

And the fact is, South Africa has a long history of women challenging obstacles and oppression. The brave, courageous and ground-breaking females of the past laid the foundations for the rights and freedoms of today, but are often overlooked, since their male counterparts generally get more media recognition.

So, we’ve decided to honour some South African female freedom fighters who challenged the racist apartheid regime and fought for women’s rights in South Africa. These female activists, politicians and other influential figures deserve more praise.

albertina-sisulu Affectionately known as the “Mother of the Nation”, Albertina Sisulu was an astute political activist and one of the first women to occupy a leadership position in an anti-apartheid movement. In the 1950s, Sisulu- who was married to former ANC deputy president Walter Sisulu- became involved in organising The Federation of South African Women’s (FEDSAW) historic and iconic Women’s March to protest amendments to the racist pass laws of the time.

Sisulu’s defiance and activism led to her being jailed and tortured on numerous occasions; in fact, she became the first woman to be detained by police under a new law that allowed authorities to place suspects in prison for 90 days without making any official charges.  In 1989, Albertina Sisulu and other fearless female politicians opened the ANC’s Women’s League first office in Durban. As the country transitioned into a free and democratic nation, Albertina and her husband both became members of Parliament. On 2 June 2011, at the age of 92, Sisulu passed away at her home. She received a State funeral .

lillian-ngoyiWith a powerful dedication to the liberation of black South African women during apartheid, Lillian Ngoyi is widely regarded as a pivotal figure in the struggle for our nation’s freedom. Known for her stirring public speaking skills, Ngoyi quickly rose in the ranks of the ANC, and was elected as the President of the ANC Women’s League. She is best known for leading the 1956 Women’s March to the Union Buildings in Pretoria, and famously knocked on then Prime Minister J.G. Strijdom’s door to personally hand him signed petitions to stop the introduction of pass laws for black women.

That same year, Ngoyi, was arrested and stood trial for treason in the infamous Treason Trial. She was eventually imprisoned for five months in 1960, where she spent a significant portion of her sentence in solitary confinement.

She was ultimately issued banning orders in the 60s, which were renewed throughout the 70s and confined her to Orlando Township in Johannesburg.  She passed away from a heart condition in 1980 at the age of 69.

cheryl-carolus
Cheryl Carolus’ strong sense of fairness and equality began at an early age: in high school, she initiated a campaign to change the way prefects were chosen and successfully introduced a democratic election via a Students’ Representatives Council.

Her commitment to education and justice continued after she matriculated. After registering for a BA degree at the University of the Western Cape, she became very active in politics in the 70s. She joined the  Black Consciousness group and the South African Students’ Organisation (SASO), and after the apartheid government caught wind of her activism they detained her for 5 months in 1976.

Throughout the 1980s continued to pave the way for democracy: she participated in the 1981 school boycotts and helped for the United Democratic Front (UDF). During the 90s, Carolus’ focus shifted to the ANC, and she was elected to the party’s National Executive Committee in 1991.

In post-apartheid South Africa, she assumed the post as South Africa’s High Commissioner in London, and upon her return in 2001, she became the Chief Executive Officer of South African Tourism, until 2004.

She’s also received an Honorary Doctorate in Law from UCT for her human rights work.

helen-suzmanHelen Suzman’s name is synonymous with anti-apartheid and gender equality activism.

After completing her studies,  Suzman went on to lecture Economic History at the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) from 1944 until 1952. During and after that period, Suzman became known as an outspoken critic of the apartheid government and the National Party’s oppressive policies.  In 1959, she, along with 12 other United Party members left to establish The Progressive Party.  Her political career as an member of parliament spanned 36 years, before retiring in 1989.

In addition to being a global icon for her humanitarian work, Helen Suzman also received two Nobel Peace Prize nominations before her death in 2009. She was 91 years old.

fatima-meer

Durban-born Fatima Meer was an academic, author, human rights activist and political struggle icon.

She first found “her voice” in her family’s business- a newspaper called Indian Views, which, as the name suggests, explored and reported on issues facing the Indian community in what was then called Natal.

After completing her Master’s degree in Sociology at the University of Natal, Meer began her philanthropic work and political activism. However, it wasn’t until 1946 when Fatima, who was just 18 years old, that she gained public recognition, thanks to being recruited by the Indian Passive Resistance Campaign.  A decade later, she also rose to prominence by being the only woman of colour lecturer at an all-white South African University.

As the nation transitioned into a democracy, she was offered a seat in Parliament, but rejected the offer in favour of writing, editing and publishing. She has more than 40 publications to her name.

She passed away in March 2010, at the age of 81.

Feeling Inspired and Continuing the climb!

With these incredible stories of perseverance, dedication and sacrifice, and a brief overview of the history of women’s struggle in mind, it’s difficult not to be motivated to tackle the Everest in our life! Yes, there will be uphill battles, but it’s time for you to pave the way forward for a new generation of women in South Africa.

We’ve got your back!

LAW FOR ALL’s experienced lawyers can provide legal advice and guidance on various matters. LAW FOR ALL is your friend in the law, so if you are unsure about a social media post, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Be sure to have a look at LAW FOR ALL’s comprehensive policies. Sign up today!

DISCLAIMER

Dealing with the Pressures of Planning a Wedding in South Africa

When it comes to milestones in life, getting married, for most, is probably at the top of the list. After all, it’s “your big day”, and since all eyes will be on you, the glowing bride, you want everything to be picture-perfect as you sashay down the aisle. But striving for perfection comes with a tremendous amount of pressure, and that can manifest in various ways. While most brides take it in their stride, some brides (and even grooms, for that matter) become unbearably demanding and morph into the dreaded “bridezilla” while planning a wedding.

Some even go viral for all the wrong reasons and send out ridiculous rules and regulations like this:

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Scary, right?

LAW FOR ALL has decided to play wedding planner and look into various scenarios of brides taking a turn for the worse. It’s all about putting things into perspective and helping you avoid sticky situations and encounters with the law while planning a wedding.

1. Paying for the wedding.

Weddings are costly; in fact, the average cost for all the glitz and glam of the ceremony can be between R150 000 and R650 000, according to W24. And, as we all know, money causes a lot of stress and tension.

Traditionally, it’s understood that the bride’s side of the family pays for the wedding, but that’s based on archaic “rules”, and they are not legally obligated to do so. As Mona-Lisa Snyman, a family law expert at LAW FOR ALL, points out, there is no legal obligation on the parents of a bride to pay for the wedding expenses. “Essentially it remains the responsibility of whoever enters into the agreements with the suppliers – whether it’s the venue, flowers or other expenses – to pay for the services”.

Ultimately, while planning a wedding, you want to avoid any unnecessary conflict with your family or soon-to-be in-laws.  And you certainly don’t want to take a page out of a book from a UK bride who went through great lengths to know how much money her future mother-in-law was earning because she wanted to ensure she contributed enough to the wedding.

There is no need for extensive detective work: be sure to have open and honest conversations about the wedding expenses and who will be contributing what.

“It’s also advisable to create a legally binding document that sets out who is responsible for paying for what. Remember, if you are going this route, it’s good to enlist the help of a lawyer,” adds Snyman.

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2. Being overly demanding of invited wedding guests or the bridal party

In 2018, an Australian “bridezilla” was called out by her own family on social media for her absurd wedding requirements and demands while planning a wedding. Not only did her guests have to pay for their flights and accommodation, but also their food, alcohol and cake. Not to mention, they were strongly encouraged to help fund the couple’s honeymoon!

But, guests RSVPing to your wedding does not necessarily mean they accept the terms of a legally binding contract that holds them liable to any demands.

“Traditionally, guests aren’t expected to fund someone’s wedding or honeymoon.  From a legal perspective, there must be a serious intention to create a legal obligation. For a contract to exist, the bride and groom have to make a clear offer and establish clear terms that must be accepted, unequivocally, by guests. Only then could guests potentially be held liable. But, it is a big “could” because an invitation in and of itself isn’t considered a legal document, and if it gets to the point where the matter goes to court, it could be thrown out.

 

In another viral post, the sister of a bride-to-be shared her sibling’s outrageous requirements for friends who want to be in her bridal party. To secure a spot in her bridal party, contenders needed to complete tasks, purchase gifts and… wait for it… sign a contract that holds people “legally responsible” for meeting all the requirements.

Needless to say, do not do this and turn your wedding into a bizarre competition!

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3. Unrealistic expectations from vendors

In the hustle and bustle of getting everything sorted for the wedding and reception, you may have forgotten about what you agreed to with certain vendors. “It’s highly recommended that you are discerning about which vendors you choose and get any agreements in writing,” says Snyman. In South Africa, the Consumer Protection Act protects brides and grooms’ rights to receiving quality goods that are free of defects and fair terms and conditions.  “The couple has the right to examine goods, receive a detailed quote and breakdown of the financial obligations with the supplier. The terms of an agreement to supply good or services may not be unfair or unreasonable. If the goods are defective it can be returned and ask for replacement, repair or a refund,” maintains Snyman.

Not to mention, if services are of poor quality or not completed in time, the bride can ask that the supplier correct their mistake or provide a refund depending on the extent of the error. If the supplier doesn’t budge, the couple can go to an Ombudsman, or lodge a civil claim.

“However, but if the goods or services are offered in a certain condition and the bride accepted that, she cannot claim that it was defective and withhold payment or she could face legal action,” clarifies Snyman.

On the other side of the aisle, the bride’s consumer rights are also protected. If any of the vendors don’t fulfil their side of the contract, you could take legal action against them. In early 2010, a Cape Town couple took a caterer to the Small Claims Court for “ruining” their wedding with awful food.

Don’t lose perspective… remember what the day is really about

It’s perfectly fine to want a fairy tale wedding, but you shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that it is mostly about showing your love and commitment to your significant other and sharing that moment with friends and family.

We’ve Got Your Back!

LAW FOR ALL’s experienced lawyers can provide legal advice on marrying in or out of community of property and offer guidance on ante-nuptial agreements.

DISCLAIMER