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<< October 2009  | November 2009 |  January 2010 >>
Kindle by Amazon available in South Africa

 I finally received my Kindle – I initially bought an overseas version and really didn’t get around to hacking it to work in South Africa.  This time I bought the international version, and it was shipped to me fairly quickly costing as it does $259.  Basically it is a flat little tablet with a fairly small screen, where you get black type up against a grey background, which is extremely easy to read (although it does not light up at night).  The amazing part of it is that more and more books are being released with electronic Kindle versions, particularly given that Kindle is an Amazon product and obviously they dictate online shopping.  In other words, the same book that you could order to be sent to you, or wait for Exclusive Books to take 6 weeks to get it, as has been my experience, can be ordered on Amazon, at the normal price of say $10 (which will beat the R250,00 you will pay in SA in any event).  That book will then be sent to you wirelessly, over the mobile phone networks and will arrive within 60 seconds of you placing your order on Amazon!  The same can happen with international newspapers, for example I subscribe to the New York Times, magazines and the like and basically the New York Times would be delivered to my Kindle at the same time as somebody is still travelling around delivering the copies outside people’s doors in New York!  In short, you could read the news sooner here, or you will certainly receive it sooner, than the vast majority of people getting their hard copy edition in New York.  It is just another example of the electronic world that we live in and how the electronic highway is certainly accelerating our lives, our access to information and the way we all do business.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Sunday 08-Nov-09   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
Robots not working

 The number of robots that are out of order, at this time of the year, and I am assuming that the rain is part of the problem, is quite extraordinary.  People travelling along William Nicol need to leave at least 15 minutes to waste at robots and you would frequently come across at least two, along the same route, that do not work.  What they must cost this country in productivity must be something incredible and it is amazing that at any given stage, so many can be out of order, and perhaps even worse, that it seems to take on average about 2 to 3 weeks before they are repaired.  One only wonders how much time is wasted by an extra 15 minutes per passenger in each car multiplied by the thousands of cars that go through these intersections every day.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 11-Nov-09   |  Permalink   |  7 Comments  Comments
Constitutional challenge

The constitutional challenge, as I’ve always said, is really heading to 2011 (maybe even 2012), and those attorneys who choose to believe that it is going to be sooner, are really only bluffing themselves.  That is the harsh reality, and I always prefer to tell people the reality, rather than what they want to hear.  There are far too many who seem to believe every rumour or a little bit of positive news that might come out from time to time, to mean that we are going to be getting a verdict now. 

At the current time the Road Accident Fund has not even filed their replying papers.

The Law Society has, at the writer understands it, applied to the Judge President for directives as to when the reply of the Road Accident Fund, who apparently only want to reply next year, should be given, and thereafter, it is reported that they are hoping for a August 2010 date.  That is, for the court of first instances, and after that it is still going to go to the Supreme Court of Appeal or more likely, to the Constitutional Court.  In other words, those involved are hoping for a mid-2010 trial date, I will personally be astounded if the matter is heard in the Constitutional Court before July 2011.

I know people want to hear different news, and that is perhaps why, when the media incorrectly reports the application of 7 applicants to join in the action, as being the action being heard itself, attorneys who want to believe, suddenly start calling as if the case itself (as the media mistakenly reported) has in fact been heard.

The reality is, and attorneys need to be logical about this, the other side has not even filed their papers yet, and nobody is even in a position yet to apply for a trial date, let alone the fact that whoever loses this application, is going to go on appeal.  

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 09-Nov-09   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  Comments
National Anthem - Nkosi Sikeleli - France

 

 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Saturday 14-Nov-09   |  Permalink   |  5 Comments  Comments
RAF court challenge

 Ronald Bobroff advised the Annual General Meeting of the Law Society on 6 November 2009 that in his opinion, and that is obviously subject to the usual disclaimers that attorneys should study the law for themselves, you could not settle the vast majority of cases that one takes on after 1 August 2008 in terms of the new law, until the Constitutional Court case is heard.  He motivated this belief by saying that they feel particularly strong about the fact that they will be successful in knocking out the AMA guidelines and that once they do so, general damages will be back in play once again.  If one goes ahead, prior to the constitutional case being resolved, and settles a case without general damages, one opens oneself up to being sued by the client, although one assumes one could put together a powerful disclaimer, setting out all the details of the court case, the constitutional challenge, the prospects of success, and then have the client elect whether or not to hold the matter back, until the case is heard, or settled.  He advised members that what they certainly should not do is to just sit back on cases, and wait for a judgment but that they should ensure, when they are in a position to do  so after the dies have elapsed, that they issue a summons and close pleadings before holding the matter in abeyance.  In short, get the Road Accident Fund’s attorneys to plead in the matter. Clients would need to be cautioned that you may well be waiting until as late as 2012 for a final decision. 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 17-Nov-09   |  Permalink   |  7 Comments  Comments
Approach to Road Accident Fund matters

I get a number of e-mails from colleagues who sometimes say that the Law Society does not update them often enough on the Road Accident Fund case and that they are left in the dark.  I must be honest, that I don’t think that that is fair criticism, because apart from order news, which goes out at least 4 times a year, in other words, every 12 weeks, there are also fast faxes from time to time and one could say that in writing the Law Society is sending out at least 6 updates a year, on this particular issue written by myself or Ronald Bobroff and in addition to that, Ronald for example has spoken at various AGM’s.  That is apart from my own private efforts, including the interviews with Jacqui Sohn on my blog and the various newsletters I put out, which certainly go to the majority of the major RAF firms.  Of course, one of the problems is that it appears that almost every single firm in the country does RAF work in one way or another – even on the various councils where I and Ronald sit, neither of us have ever been referred work by other councillors, and when you enquire you will always discover that everybody, whether they claim to be a criminal law expert, litigation expert or a labour expert, still do RAF claims that are referred to them.  It is often these practitioners who are not so up to date with developments and that is perhaps, because they missed all the work that they are doing, they don’t really read as much or keep abreast of things. I hear from many colleagues that they have heard other people discussing my newsletter and they always say that I take a very conservative and negative approach and they believe that the court case will be within a few months or things like that.  That of course is the other side of the problem – attorneys really only want to hear good news.  If one person is telling them that it is going to take forever, then they really just wait until they hear from somebody else, that perhaps things may be sped up, or there may be a quicker resolution.  

It is quite logical as well to know that whoever loses the battle is going to appeal it to the Constitutional Court and one will have to wait for a date there, a hearing and thereafter no doubt a number of months until one receives a judgment in any event.  You were only going to get there, once you’ve already had the first case, and judgment!  

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 16-Nov-09   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
Houghton Golf Club

I went to have a look at the development at Houghton Golf Club, which was much written about in Noseweek, amongst other magazines, and I was quite surprised to see that the golf course is fairly close to the opening. Apparently, when they closed, they were down to about 160 members and 80% of those have signed up to join the new club.

What was particularly interesting was the look of the very impressive new clubhouse itself which has an amazing, massive rooftop entertainment area and looks like it is really going to be the place for many of the new elite. Quite a few clubs in these areas seem to be suffering somewhat, such as Killarney, as their members retire or move away from these particular suburbs and it would be interesting to see if the team can make it work. One thing is for certain that a lot of money has been spent right in the middle of Houghton. One thinks sometimes how lucky the Country Club of Johannesburg (CCJ) were in having their land in Auckland Park expropriated by the then National Party government, for RAU University to be formed. They were forced to go and hunt for more land and bought in the then outskirts of Woodmead, where they now have two golf courses and incredibly valuable land, some of which they have sold off over the years. If their land had not been expropriated, one wonders if the club would barely exist today in its original Auckland Park surroundings.
Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 30-Nov-09   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments

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