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I must say that for a very impressive, major overseas company, that their performance in South Africa is shocking.   I cannot tell you how many times I have been told that their Kempton Park branch has something for me, let us say at 11 o’clock in the morning, but as the driver has left for the day for his rounds, they can only courier it to me the next day! It seems strange to me that a courier company can get a parcel from New York to South Africa in 24 hours, and that it takes another 24 hours to get from Kempton Park to Rosebank! Their latest excuse to me, contained in an e-mail is, “Please be advised that the above shipment has not left our facility as yet due to a breakdown with one of our vehicles.” I am not a happy customer! In short, the only solution I found to DHL is once they receive something, is to send one of my drivers there, as they seem to think it is absolutely standard, despite letters of complaints, that a delivery of 25 kilometres should take 24 hours to be made

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 01-Apr-09   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
Party and party

Attorneys will recall that De Rebus advised the JAA had made a submission on party and party tariffs. I am not sure why it was labeled as a JAA report, as it was my mine, but I have no problem sharing the credit with the JAA. The issue was then moved forward by LSNP Councillors in the form of Jan van Rensburg and CP Fourie. The good news is that the Rules Board have approved the increase in the party and party tariffs and, although we had fallen more than 100% behind, over the last couple of years, this will be implemented over two years. As I understand it, within a matter of weeks, a 60% increase will be applied, and from sometime in early next year, a further 40% increase will be applied. Obviously, at the moment it is simply to await the Rules Board attending to the necessary publication in the Gazette and the like and thereafter, the party and party tariffs, which I think it is fair to say are ancient, will slowly come up to reality. One hopes then that the Taxing Masters will also take a more enlightened approach to taxing attorney and client bills, as some of them seem to adopt an approach so conservative, that I am surprised that more attorneys do not bother to bring reviews.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Friday 03-Apr-09   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
Matters on the roll

I recently attended a meeting, called by Judge Mojapelo, with the Road Accident Fund. During this meeting Judge Mojapelo explained that firstly he was going to be increasing the number of matters he was allocating to the roll, from the already higher number that he had begun allocating. Secondly, he had decided that in a week, and it would be possibly a recess week in seven to eight months (my bet is on the first or second week of December) he would allocate 1 000 MVA matters to the roll over a week such that there are approximately 200 a day on the roll. That would be a tremendous increase over the figures from February and March, when there were approximately 25 to 27 MVA matters on the roll each day that would represent a full-fold increase – which is quite a good guide, if you are doing High Court work, to how many cases you are going to have that week! In other words, you are likely to be at the very least, four times busier in that week than in any other week this year.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Saturday 04-Apr-09   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
Name changes

Members of the public must be somewhat kept on their toes with the continued name changes for the courts in our area. We have gone through Supreme Court to High Court and from Witwatersrand to Gauteng and we have now had a new directive from the Judge President, Judge Ngoepe, that the court documents must be labelled in the following style “In the South Gauteng High Court, Johannesburg” and the Pretoria High Court would be described as “In the North Gauteng High Court, Pretoria”. Let’s hope that is the last change for quite some time! 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 07-Apr-09   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
Not the Easter bunny this time

Five years ago on the Easter weekend, my Parkhurst house was cleaned out, despite the security company going back and forth when the alarm went off, and finding nobody at my house.  I was in Kruger Park at the time.  I moved sometime thereafter and I guess I just ignored the hijacking that had taken place outside the property previously as well as the subsequent hijacking, with an AK47, of a guest outside my house in a decent Sandton suburb without too much of a name for crime.  On Easter Sunday, I returned home at about 4 pm and I was tired and perhaps not as observant as I normally am (I am a paranoid guy, who has four video cameras on his gate), not to mention about 24 at my offices which do not always amuse my staff!  I don’t know whether, because I was less observant than usual, I took too long to go in through the gate or whether it was my wife leaving her car parked in a bad position, and making it worse by leaving the car door open blocking my passage, and I don’t know whether it would have made a difference anyway, but after a blur of movement, which I assumed was somebody coming to close the car door for me, I had a man wave a thick, big looking handgun in my face.  For some reason and instead of putting my hands up like you are meant to, I moved them to the left, and I guess that that was about the only second of what was to follow when I thought I was going to be killed.  I was told to get out of the car and he was joined by another man.  I relaxed somewhat thinking I would not be hurt and they were just stealing my car.


When they asked me how many people there were in the house, I had a new level of terror and I spotted a third person by the gate.  I imagined that now, we were in for an hours long ordeal and I had to explain to them that my wife and three small children were in the house.  They insisted on asking again whether there were not extra people in the house and I had to tell them that they knew that I had not been there as they followed me home, and based on the cars, I did not believe there was anybody else. 


My wife says that the first thing that she heard was me speaking in a calm voice, with the muttering of other people around me, asking them not to hurt anybody and that I would co-operate and find them cash in the house.  When we got to the lounge, and my wife was walking away from us (she already knew they were on the way, but I did not know she knew that) I have to say I was terrified that she may react badly and the robbers, who seemed nervous to me, and one of whom had clearly been drinking which to me meant he was nervous about what he was doing, may just suddenly start shooting.  I said to my wife, “Darling, don’t worry, they are not going to hurt us, please will you just show them where some money is?  Thank heavens my wife was extremely calm.  We indicated to them where money was and we were then moved into a bathroom where we were told to lie on our stomachs, but they did not seem to object when, because I had to hold small toddlers on my lap that I had to sit up.  The babies clearly sensed something was wrong and were screaming their heads off like never before, even though on a spoken level all the proceedings were calm, non-violent and there was no anxiety in any voices – they obviously picked up on  something from our demeanour.  They then started along the lines of that they wanted jewellery and that we were lying that we had nothing else to give them and insisted that my wife take off her wedding ring, which she seldom wears, but had chosen to on that day.  At that particular time I told them, and had to tell them quite a few times because the one guy did not seem to be listening, that outside in my car, I had some spare cash in the cubbyhole and that, although we did not realise it as obviously we did not follow them out, was the last we saw of them. 

Once we could contact the security company, and there had been no opportunity to do so previously, they arrived as they normally do in about 90 seconds, and the police followed them shortly thereafter and were magnificent to the point of irritation.  In other words, to be honest, I just wanted them to go away but they wanted to open a case there and then, do affidavits there and then, which they did do and no sooner did they leave and the fingerprint expert turned up and we got an SMS from the police station with our case number.  Unfortunately, fingerprints could not be lifted.  The amazing thing is, the other feelings that you get afterwards such as the fingerprint expert who tells you that you should not have given them anything, because you now encourage them to continue stealing and one wants to ask whether or not we should have had an approach of, “We unfortunately will not be able to negotiate with you, or give you anything, as this will lead to you continuing your crime spree”.  A lot of other people obviously, and with the best intentions in mind, tell you that these guys are going to be back because they got something out of us, and the same theme tune as that we co-operated, another friend told me that he thinks the people will be back with a truck next time to remove a TV or two and computers and my father indicated to me that I must be careful, because the guys will be back to get their salary again next month since I gave them some cash – and not a big amount.  These people all have the best intentions in mind, but it is not really the type of advice you want to hear. 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 14-Apr-09   |  Permalink   |  6 Comments  Comments
Thanks for the support

I must say that the response to my article about the armed robbery was overwhelming, particularly after it was published on a leading financial site, Moneyweb.  There was good response from attorneys on my blog, and it was more noticeably actually, the black colleagues who I litigate against and interestingly enough, one of them included somebody I have previously been interested in hiring and confirmed my beliefs as to the good nature of the person concerned.  The one theme that almost every reply or e-mail or telephone call that I got had was either that the people had a similar incident happened to them and had not gone for counselling and regretted it, or that they had gone for counselling and that it has been useful.  E-mails came in ranging from the CEO of the Law Society of South Africa, Raj Daya, to various prominent Johannesburg attorneys including Billy Gundelfinger.  It is so nice to see that people do go out of their way to try and give you a few words of wisdom and encourage you at times like this.


Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 20-Apr-09   |  Permalink   |  3 Comments  Comments

If you are on Vodacom, I can heartily endorse the voice to text feature that they recently implemented which allows you to get your voice messages as a text message in your Inbox. This is apparently officially known as SVS which stands for Short Voice Service.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Friday 24-Apr-09   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
Groote Schuur issues

One of our more active members recently sent me a query asking whether or not any attorneys are having similar incidences, and I’ll put this on my blog as well so that if you do have any examples, you can comment on it and simply in that way.  He has a birth injury matter being defended on the basis that the notice was not given within the statutory 6 month period as required in terms of Act 40 of 2002.  He  has been advised that Grootte Schuur medical legal department has lost the file and he has been told that over the last year they have received 4 500 requests for patient files and only 16 files have been found to be missing – less than 0,5%.  He wanted to know whether or not there are other colleagues who have been advised that the patients’ medical files have been lost by the Grootte Schuur Hospital over the last year?  Please comment below or mail me at michael@onlinelaw.co.za

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 21-Apr-09   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
BBC article

An interesting article on the BBC website about crime in South Africa and the fact that we have 19 000 murders a year and 126 000 armed robberies - about 300 a day. Read it here.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 22-Apr-09   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments

Elections 2009 are certainly seeing a bumper turn out in the urban areas of Johannesburg.  I have seen queus far longer than 5 or 10 years ago at various times today.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 22-Apr-09   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  Comments
Swine flu

Its hard not to worry when you hear about thw latest possible pandemic.  Ultimately as they say its not a question of if, but when the next pandemic takes control.  The swine flu from Mexico (and possibly Southern California) certainly looks worrying right now.  A public health emergency has been declared in America.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Sunday 26-Apr-09   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
Sheriff's and the Road Accident Fund

Much has been quiet on the Road Accident Fund issue in recent times and a lot of the news has related to smaller aspects around the subject, than has been the case in the past year.  For example, the CEO of the Road Accident Fund has written to Sheriffs advising them that they cannot issue warrants of execution and some Sheriffs have said that they don’t agree with him, and some do, but either way this relies on a Constitutional Court case decision of Nyathi v MEC Department of Health – Gauteng & another, which gave the government one year to change the law with regard to executing against State property and that one year is up on approximately 1 June, so the issue is largely academic in any event at this stage.  However the opinion of our attorneys is that the State Liability Act does not apply to attorneys as Section 1 make it quite clear that the Act applies to claims founded on a contract lawfully entered into with the State or a wrong committed by a servant of the State.  Neither of these scenarios apply to a claim against the Road Accident Fund.  The Nyathi decision related to the failure of personnel (employee’s of the State) and is thus distinguishable from RAF matters.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 27-Apr-09   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
Just a publicity stunt

The Minister of Transport continues to issue press releases detailing huge drops in traffic fatalities.  He does so every year and the mistake they make each year is to compare statistics a day or two after a holiday period with finalized figures for the year before.  This does not take into account police Stations that may be slow to report or people who may die later in hospital.  It essentially turns into a publicity stunt in April and then again in December – and never do they a year later compare the latest figures, to the ones that are announced, with much fanfare, at the end of the season.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 28-Apr-09   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments

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