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Live from Cape Town this week

I wonder how many fell for this morning's JAA RAF e-mail - all an April Fool's prank!

The value of the new 3G system and cards is obvious when you are in an area that has coverage.  For me right now that's looking out of the President Hotel in Sea Point over the ocean - ahead of an LSNP Council meeting all day tomorrow and the LSSA AGM on Monday and Tuesday.  Its very much a working weekend and while the view is better than the mess my baby Dobermann is probably making of my garden, its not as much fun as it sounds.

More news on all the above to follow!

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Friday 01-Apr-05   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments

Filed live from the meeting, a report on the approach when it comes to member participation and secrecy in minutes.....


The LSSA Council has over the past year had anonymous minutes - anonymous in that they do not record the name of the speaker of any of the views reflected in the minutes.  Your Law Society has objected vehemently to this procedure, saying it is not democratic, nor correct.  At the AGM the secrecy of the speakers name was supported by the Kwazulu Natal Law Society, as represented by Mr Gush, who said that to include names in minutes would lead to volumes of additional paper.  As a first time attendee of the meeting, and never having come across anonymous minutes previously (nor having found the addition of names to minutes to "substantially increase" volumes of paper), it was quite a shock to see colleagues fight to have the right to have their minutes recorded without names of speakers.  The issue was put to the vote and amazingly, by a vote of 9 to 6 (all 4 LSNP Councillors in the minority) the Council voted to continue its anonymous minutes.  Some Councillors said there were "good reasons for this which were known" without letting us know what these reasons were.  No opinion from the floor or members attending was sought and nor are members entitled to vote - the AGM being, quite unusually, effectively an AGM of the Council itself - or more simply explained, a meeting of the LSSA Council with a watching audience.  Your Law Society has also put forward resolutions to change this bizarre situation and allow participation and voting of members in a proposal by Jerry Maritz that stated, "The notion of an Annual General Meeting of the Council is absurd.  It is an established principle of corporate law and custom that Annual general Meetings involve participation by the members of the body which the management represents."  The other constituencies said that they had not had enough time to consider this proposal by the Law Society of the Northern Provinces, faxed 19 days before the meeting to the LSSA, and requested that the Management Committee of the LSAA consider this only after the AGM.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 05-Apr-05   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments

A small amount of time, over the 2 day conference, was allocated to Road Accident Fund matters.  We were advised by Ronald Bobroff that the 7th draft of the latest Road Accident Fund Bill would, as per current reports, be considered by the Portfolio Committee on 12 and 13 April.  It will apparently exclude the common law right to recover excesses from the negligent party (or employer where driving in course and scope of his or her employment), something that will almost certainly be unconstitutional.  We were also addressed on the hit and run issue raised since the unfortunate AD decision in the Thugwana matter which is covered elsewhere.  The LSSA was asked by Ronald Bobroff to Fund an appeal to the Constitutional Court in this regard in the Makwetlane vs RAF matter out of the R640 000 raised in the special RAF levy.  After a number of delegates tried to either minimize funds allocated, or suggest attorneys take the matter on pro bono or refer the matter to Management, LSNP President Henry Msimang made an impassioned plea to the Council to support the issue and not sit like  "lame ducks" as they had on other issues such as the Heath Unit and payments in instalments and to proceed to brief Senior Counsel.  Following various other submissions that would either stall or either require the matter, which is a Benoni case, to be taken forward by unnamed Cape Advocates who may act for free, the LSNP president gave the meeting notice that we would withdraw our funds and Fund the case itself.  While my saying so will no doubt cause controversy, and no doubt many of the speakers had their own genuine concerns, the opinion I formed was that there was a very vocal minority who sought to stall or thwart consensus or the RAF issue.
Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 05-Apr-05   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
Other Highlights

Had a great dinner at sushi restaurant Wakame tonight - well worth checking out on Beach Road, Mouille Point not far from Sea Point where our hotel is.

The 3 days of hard work are over, but not before I head off again to what Time Out's Cape Town guide (glad to see Joburg finally got the honour of having one - get it in your CNA and see the city most of us stay in) calls the Cape's "most prestigious" wine farm, Vergelegen.  It gets a number of the top wines each year in Platter's guide and the fact that Anglo America hang on to to ownership tells you all you need to know!  I am not a wine fundi at all, but a bottle or two of their stuff never fails to impress, taste good - and the farm is beautiful....time for me to have at least 3 or 4 hours of fun!

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 05-Apr-05   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
Flight home - a few thoughts
Squeezing in lunch is sometimes a poor idea.  I tried it today and almost missed my flight.  On the plus side, arriving late got me bumped up into Business Class allowing more space to type my blog and work on other articles.  I had lunch at Vergelegen - an excellent lamb rump, blissfully unaware it was all over the cover of the Cape Argus after a pilot crashed and died there yesterday.  While this is not an ad for this farm, I never realized its recent history: holding the first meeting of the ANC caucus after its unbanning, hosting Queen Elizabeth the II, Nelson Mandela on numerous occasions and a State Welcoming dinner for Bill Clinton.  Now, not too many farms who can boast that - so make a stop there when next in Cape Town.  Some councillors had yet another meeting today, the Attorneys Fidelity Fund, but that not within my field of expertise and after 3 days out of 4 spent in meetings it was a pleasure to have some time to myself at last!  Ronald Bobroff is staying in Cape Town for the expected hearings next week on the latest RAF bill, and meetings all this week, but with no PA's and some colleagues happy to receive my newsletter and headhunt my staff I guess I will have to be more selective in future about who receives it and who doesn't (members will note I have always reserved the right to exclude from the mailing list any person). 

Unfortunately too many colleagues do realize how much making an input into your profession takes out of you, and don't.  Those that do or don't should try and support those colleagues that do - don't treat them as a source of free information or a place to find support staff - have some professional courtesy to those who represent you while you earn money and we don't.  On the other hand, to the attorney firm who hired one of my staff, who left without working notice, thank you.  One disciplinary enquiry, many warning letters and a complete inability to do any work of substance, competently or at all - its all yours.

P.S.  I have one more you might want to employ, if you like the last - so give me a call personally this time

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 06-Apr-05   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
Fable - not a song by Robert Miles

Once upon a time, the wolves sent an embassy to the sheep, desiring that there might be peace between them for the time to come.
"Why," said they, "should we be for ever waging this deadly strife?  Those wicked dogs are the cause of all; they are incessantly barking at us, and provoking us.  Send them away, and there will be no longer any obstacle to our eternal friendship and peace."

The silly sheep listened, the dogs were dismissed, and the flock, thus deprived of their best protectors, became an easy prey to their treacherous enemy.

The Wolves and the Sheep

An interesting tale, some 27 centuries old, and very profound when you think of the public, attorneys who represent them - and, well, all manner of organizations - just add your favourite on the dotted line ..........................

And the dogs must always remember that losing touch with the sheep and with their fellow dogs is precisely what gives the wolves the gap they need.
Posted by Michael de Broglio on Saturday 09-Apr-05   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
Thanks Ronald

Don't think. If you think, don't speak. If you speak, don't write. If you think and if you speak, don't write. If you think and speak and write, don't sign your name. If you think and speak and write and sign your name, don't be surprised.

Apparently an inside Vatican joke.  It could apply to any organization or society - but some of us like to express our minds and I prefer to believe the world is a better place for it.  Attorneys sometimes forget how indebted they are to some individuals - who work on the behalf UNPAID to protect the rights of the man in the street and the work you do.  One of those is a former Chairperson of the JAA, Ronald Bobroff.  Lets all hope he maintains the enthusiasm and passion for causes - and the RAF is not the only one he has - for many years longer.  So many of you owe so much to your colleagues - without ever fully realizing it and without us always being able to tell the full story - and Ronald is one of those.  So for the get rich quick brigade, who never do anything - at least say thanks from time to time.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 20-Apr-05   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
Mad, Mad April

I don't think South Africa has too many public holidays.  I think too many are at this time of the year!  Its impossible to get anything done, and waht makes it worse is that so many legal organizations hold all sorts of events in this month.  There are not enough days in the first place and you end up spending all your time out of the office.

Last week I was at the Law Society the whole of Friday (after a JAA meeting on Wednesday and the Racing Association on Monday) and tomorrow its the same story again.  Round about July when the Courts are quiet, it all makes sense of course - but so few meetings are scheduled in school holidays.  So, we pack April to death and stress all month....

If only workers Day could arrive in mid July or some more convenient time - coming at the end of April - I mean, hell, what else can workers celebrate apart from a monthy where they had one long weekend after another?

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Thursday 28-Apr-05   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments

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