Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal (PELJ)]]> vol. 17 num. 6 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Editorial</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Proportionality and the limitation clauses of the South African Bill of Rights</b>]]> "Proportionality" is a contemporary heavy-weight concept which has been described as an element of a globalised international grammar and as a foundational element of global constitutionalism. The article firstly describes the elements of proportionality as they are generally understood in foreign systems, namely whether the limitation pursues a legitimate aim, whether the limitation is capable of achieving this aim, whether the act impairs the right as little as possible and the so-called balancing stage when it must be determined whether the achievement of the aim outweighs the limitation imposed. The German academic Alexy (Theorie der Grundrechte (1986)) developed what he called a mathematical weight formula to deal with the balancing stage. An overview is provided of how the elements of proportionality were dealt with in the text of the South African interim Constitution of 1994, the early jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court, and in the text of the final Constitution of 1996. Contemporary South African academic criticism of the use of the concept is also analysed. The article then endeavours to relate the elements of Alexy's weight formula to both the elements of the South African general limitation clause in section 36 of the Constitution and to the appearance of such elements in the formulation of specific rights in the Bill of Rights. Although the levels of abstraction reached in the debates on the Alexy formula are so daunting that it is most unlikely that South African courts and practitioners will ever use it, certain valuable insights can be gained from it for the purposes of dealing with proportionality within the context of the limitation of rights in South Africa. Despite opposition from certain academics, proportionality is a prominent feature of the application of the limitation clauses in the South African Constitution. The elements of proportionality provides a useful tool for the application, within the context of the limitation of rights, of general and wide concepts such as "fairness", "reasonableness", "rationality", "public interest" and, somewhat surprisingly, also of the general concept "proportionality" as such. South Africa's participation in the global recognition and application of this way of dealing with the limitation of rights is worthwhile. <![CDATA[<b>The regulation of electronic money institutions in the SADC region: some lessons from the EU</b>]]> This article analyses the different approaches adopted for the regulation of payment systems in a variety of legislative instruments by the European Union (EU). It looks in particular at how the institutions that issue new electronic money products are regulated and supervised by the relevant authorities in the EU, in comparison with existing institutions such as banks. It analyses some of the lessons that may be learned by the South African Development Corporation (SADC) from the regulatory approaches for electronic money institutions adopted by the EU. The article asks if the approach adopted by the EU may be useful for the future regulation of electronic money institutions in the SADC. The proliferation of electronic devices that arrived with the invention of the Internet has sparked some regulatory challenges. This development has become global and involves both developed and developing countries, including regions such as the SADC. It is asked if these technological developments should be addressed by means of a concrete regulatory framework while they continue to develop, instead of the regulators waiting to observe and acquaint themselves with the relevant regulatory challenges that underpin the innovations. The EU has attempted to address the anticipated regulatory challenges that came about with the development of electronic money and to align its regulatory approach with other payment systems. This article discusses the regulatory approaches adopted in the EU and provides an overview that the SADC may use in order to adopt an effective regulatory framework for electronic money and the institutions that issue these methods of payment. It analyses both the achievements and the challenges that the EU faced (and continues to face) in developing the regulation of e-money, and recommends some possible approaches derived from the lessons learned. <![CDATA[<b>Disqualification for non-compliance with public tender conditions</b>]]> When government entities procure goods or services, they generally consider and award contracts only to bidders who complied with the specifications and conditions of tender as laid down in the tender invitation. Tenders received must in other words be conforming, compliant or responsive. This enables procuring entities to compare tenders on an equal footing and ensures equal treatment amongst bidders. In South Africa the extent to which bidders must comply with tender specifications and conditions is a thorny issue in practice. In 2008 the Supreme Court of Appeal in Millennium Waste Management (Pty) Ltd v Chairperson, Tender Board: Limpopo Province confirmed the views of the courts in South Africa regarding compliance with tender conditions and the amendment of tenders before award. The recent 2013 decision of the Supreme Court of Appeal in Dr JS Moroka Municipality v The Chairperson of the Tender Evaluation Committee of the Dr JS Moroka Municipality, however, has moved public procurement regulation in South Africa to a point where procuring entities have very limited discretionary powers when evaluating compliance with tender specifications and conditions. This paper argues for an approach that allows procuring entities in South Africa more discretion when evaluating compliance with tender specifications and conditions. In doing so, reliance is placed on the treatment of "responsiveness" in international instruments as well as the views of the South African courts since first they were confronted with the issue. <![CDATA[<b>Arbitration of family separation issues - a useful adjunct to mediation and the court process</b>]]> For over half a century now, section 2(a) of the Arbitration Act 42 of 1965 has prohibited arbitration in respect of matrimonial and related matters. In this article it will be illustrated that this prohibition is clearly incompatible with present-day demands. Today there is a strong tendency in public policy towards alternative dispute resolution processes such as arbitration. As any recommendations that arbitration should be applied to family law disputes must be anchored in an analysis of the specific character of the arbitral remedy, the article begins by giving a broad overview of the nature of arbitration. This is followed by a discussion of the present-day demand for family arbitration, which examines the problems experienced with the adversarial system of litigation in resolving family law disputes, party autonomy, the development of alternative dispute resolution processes such as mediation and arbitration, the special synergy between mediation and arbitration, the success of arbitration in other fields of law and possible forerunners for family arbitration in South Africa. Inherent in the demand for family law arbitration are the many advantages of arbitration, which are also touched upon. Thirdly, current trends in England, Australia, the United States of America, Canada and India are analysed so as to identify a suitable family law arbitration model for South Africa. Special attention is paid to the matters that should be referred to arbitration - for example, should it be confined to matrimonial property and financial disputes or extended to all matters incidental to divorce or family breakdown, including children's issues? Other questions examined include whether family arbitration should comply with substantive law only, who should act as arbitrators, whether family arbitration should be voluntary or compulsory, what the court's role in the family arbitration process should be, and whether family law arbitration should be regulated by the existing Arbitration Act or by a separate statute with specialised rules for family matters. Lastly, it is concluded that although family arbitration will not have universal appeal or common application, it should be encouraged and enforceable for those who choose this private alternative dispute settlement technique to resolve their family disputes. <![CDATA[<b>Transparency, trust and security: an evaluation of the insurer's precontractual duties</b>]]> Transparency in insurance law attaches to the rights and duties of the parties, the relationships between insurers, insurance intermediaries such as agents and brokers, insurance supervisory law and insurance dispute resolution procedures. Regarding the rights and duties of the insurer and the prospective policyholder, it requires insurers to disclose precontractual information in a timely manner that is clear, understandable, legible and unambiguous. Transparency as a value is incredibly important in insurance contracts. This contribution focuses exclusively on the insurer's duty of disclosure during precontractual negotiations. Although the insured's duty of disclosure has enjoyed more attention in the past, the duty clearly applies to the insurance proposer as well as the insurer. The purpose of this contribution is to evaluate the nature and extent of the insurer's transparency duties as informed by both common and statutory laws. The insurer's duty is derived primarily from the statutory rights of access to information in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and the Promotion of Access to Information Act. It is furthermore supported by specific insurance consumer protection law found in the detailed provisions on mandatory disclosures in the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act, the Long-term Insurance Act, the Short-term Insurance Act and, finally, the Policyholder Protection Rules issued in accordance with these acts. Strict rules on advertising can be found in the General Code of Conduct issued under the FAIS Act. The Act furthermore specifically targets the activities of insurance intermediaries in precontractual disclosures. The fact that insurance products and services have been exempted from the scope of the Consumer Protection Act from 28 February 2014 should not diminish the insured's right to rely on universal consumer protection principles as envisaged by South African insurance legislation. The insurer's duty to disclose is in the last instance also derived from the common law duty not to make misrepresentations by commission or omission. When negotiating an insurance contract, the insurer's duty to speak is not based on a general requirement of bona fides, but is recognised as an ex lege duty due to the involuntary reliance of the prospective insured on information supplied by insurers in the market. A lack of transparency should lead to the insurer's accountability. A failure to disclose material information or a disclosure of false information that goes to the root of the matter and that induces the prospective policyholder to buy the insurance product is recognised as an actionable misrepresentation. Statutory provisions do not diminish the common-law duty not to make misrepresentations, but provide details of the nature and extent of the information duty to provide clarity and legal certainty in the determination of the standards of transparency required in law. In addition, statutes provide for enforcement actions by regulators, orders that could affect the licence of the insurer and provide for punishable offences and penalties. In terms of common law, a misrepresentation by omission or commission renders the insurance contract wholly or in part voidable. The policyholder may decide to rescind the contract and claim restitution. He may also, in conjunction with rescission, or as an alternative when deciding to maintain the contract, claim delictual damages or even constitutional damages when judged by a court of law as appropriate relief. Statutory remedies include a monetary award by the Insurance Ombud. Even though such an award is capped at R800 000, it is submitted that it is preferred to a civil law damages claim. <![CDATA[<b>The liability of churches for the historical sexual assault of children by priests</b>]]> Could a church be held liable for the sexual assault of children by priests when the victims claim as adults only many years after the event? Complainants can claim damages on the basis that the church is either directly or vicariously liable for the alleged acts. If the victims rely on vicarious liability, they will have to prove that the wrongdoer was an employee of the defendant and will further have to prove that the assaults were committed within the course and scope of the wrongdoer's employment. The requirement that a priest must be an employee has in the past created a hurdle for victims, since courts in different countries have traditionally held that priests are not employees of the church as they are servants of God, subject to ecclesiastic law and not civil law. However, in John Doe v Bennet in Canada and JGE v Diocese of Portsmouth in the UK the courts have recently held that even a relationship akin to employment is sufficient to be a basis for vicarious liability. In Bazley v Curry the Canadian Supreme Court moreover extended the traditional meaning of the "course and scope of employment" by developing the "close connection" test. The court found that the acts of a warden of a children's home were so closely connected with his duties that it was fair that his employer (a charitable organisation) should be held liable for his conduct. The close connection test was followed by the House of Lords in the United Kingdom and by the South African Constitutional Court in K v Minister of Safety and Security, although in another context. Adult complainants in cases such as these will further have to prove that their claim has not expired as a result of prescription. In Canada, the UK and South Africa courts have in different ways acknowledged the fact that victims of child sexual abuse are often not able to process their claims timeously, because of psychological factors. The victims are allowed to bring their claims often decades after commission of the wrongful acts. These developments have undoubtedly broadened the vicarious liability of employers and more specifically the liability of churches. <![CDATA[<b>A non-member spouse's entitlement to the member's pension interest</b>]]> It is important that married couples seek legal advice with regard to the assets falling within their joint estate, more particularly their retirement benefits. This article reflects on the entitlement (if any) of non-member spouses to their spouses' retirement fund benefits. Pension benefits can be due before, during or after divorce, and parties to the marriage should be aware of their rights with regard to the accruing pension benefits of their spouses. While it is settled law that non-member spouses are entitled to receive a portion of their member spouses' pension benefits (known as "pension interest") immediately on divorce, it is not particularly clear whether non-member spouses are also entitled to receive the same before or sometime after divorce. In this article I provide a contextual understanding of the entitlements (if any) which spouses or former spouses of members of pension funds have on such member spouses' retirement benefits. Furthermore, it shown in this article that various divisions of South African High Courts have been inconsistent in how they have approached the issue of the pension interest between divorcing spouses or divorced ex-spouses. <![CDATA[<b>The legal nature of a lien in South African law</b>]]> The South African law acknowledges two types of liens or rights of retention, namely enrichment liens and contractual liens (also known as debtor and creditor liens). Enrichment liens are regarded as limited real rights which are enforceable against the owner of the thing. Contractual liens are not regarded as limited real rights: sometimes they are referred to as personal rights which are enforceable only inter partes. Thus, a lien is classified as a right (subjektiewe reg) (ie a real right or a personal right). This article reflects on the correctness of this classification of liens. The term "right" can have various meanings and the aim of this article is to determine the exact meaning of the term "right" in the context of "right of retention". In my opinion a lien is not a right. I therefore reject the classification of liens into contractual liens and enrichment liens with its concomitant consequences. A lien is a defence against an owner's rei vindicatio in that it allows a creditor (a lienholder) to retain control of the owner's thing until the debt has been paid. Because the law grants a defence to a creditor in control of a thing, the owner cannot succeed with her rei vindicatio. A distinction should be drawn between an entitlement that flows from a right (it describes the content of the right) and a competency or capacity which emanates directly from the law. A lien is not an entitlement flowing from a lienholder's personal right - based on a contract or an enrichment claim - against the debtor. It is rather a capacity to withhold because the law grants this defence. The term "capacity" is not used in a technical sense but rather in the context of the ability to withhold, which is granted by the law. <![CDATA[<b>An argument for South Africa's accession to the <i>Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights </i>in the light of its importance and implications</b>]]> The universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelatedness of all rights have been universally acclaimed since the drafting in 1948 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, despite the doctrine of indivisibility, civil and political rights (CPRs) have for a long time been treated as being enforceable judicially at the national, regional and international levels, while socio-economic rights (SERs) have not. With the elaboration and adoption of an Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (OP-ICESCR), which mandates the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) to consider individual communications detailing the violations of SERs, the justiciability of SERs was also fully recognised at the international level. This paper undertakes an analysis of the importance and implications of the individual communications procedure under the OP-ICESCR and details some of the reasons why it would be beneficial for South Africa to accede thereto. The argument for accession by South Africa to the OP-ICESCR departs from the premise that South Africa's ratification of the ICESCR is imminent. Having signed the ICESCR on 3 October 1994, the South African Cabinet on 10 October 2012 decided that South Africa should ratify the Covenant. The authors argue that acceding to the OP-ICESCR will complement domestic protection and will confirm South Africa's global leadership in the field of justiciable SERs. Logic dictates that South Africa should confirm at the international level its position as a world leader on the national justiciability and legal enforcement of SERs, as indeed it has done during the drafting process of the OP-ICESCR. Accession to OP-ICESCR, the argument continues, will not detract from the country's sovereignty, especially in the light of the requirement of the exhaustion of domestic remedies, including the condition that applicants must show that they have suffered a "clear disadvantage". In any event, South Africa already has undertaken obligations as to SERs under regional human rights treaties that are equal to and in some respect more arduous than the obligations emanating from the ICESCR. <![CDATA[<b>The interplay between international law and labour law in South Africa: piercing the diplomatic immunity veil</b>]]> This article investigates the interplay between labour law and international law in the context of the diplomatic employment relationship. The overriding effect of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 as supreme law to protect the labour rights of employees is weighed against the effect of various binding international legal instruments aimed at protecting diplomats' right to immunity. In view of the competing rights of employees and diplomatic employers, the question in this regard is to what extent employees in a diplomatic employment relationship can rely on their right to "fair labour practices" in the broad sense and the overall protection afforded to employees whose rights are infringed. In view of the perception that diplomatic employers can hide behind a veil of diplomatic immunity and in the absence of judgments by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and the Labour Court, answers and guidelines were sought from various international courts and legal instruments. However, it is pointed out that the application of labour law and international law to protect the interests of individuals against a state is an exceptionally sensitive and controversial issue. It is suggested that the international relationship between two states be used as a holistic framework, but it is cautioned that international law limits the diplomat employer's liability both in terms of the Bill of Rights and South African labour laws. The author shows that protection is afforded to diplomats/consular agents by international law. Moreover, the Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Act (DIPA) of 2001 is discussed. It is submitted that employees are not prevented from taking legal action against a diplomat/consular employer in South Africa in terms of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) or the DIPA. The author suggests that diplomatic employees and employers should be made aware of their rights and obligations in this regard. In essence what really matters to any labour lawyer is how it can be justified that a group of vulnerable employees (diplomatic employees) is left without a remedy while the employer as the stronger bargaining party is protected in terms of international law. The author submits that employees should have access to compulsory private arbitration in terms of an amendment to the DIPA or in terms of a treaty. This must bind a diplomat/consular employer from South Africa (as the sending state) in a foreign state, and a foreign diplomat/consular employer in South Africa (as the receiving state) to protect employees. It is suggested that such a provision should be included in diplomatic contracts of employment after ratification of a treaty, even before it is enacted into relevant laws in South Africa. In view of the sensitivity and international consequences of labour disputes for states, it is suggested that private arbitration could serve as a useful dispute resolution procedure and an acceptable alternative to the general options available in terms of the CCMA, the labour court and the high court. It is suggested that the full protection of diplomatic employees' labour rights cannot be based on the status of their employers. Finally the author argues that lifting the veil of diplomatic immunity could provide a satisfactory interplay between labour law and international law to support the interests and rights of both parties to the diplomatic employment relationship. <![CDATA[<b>The legal implications of the economic realities of artificially manipulating a decrease/increase of earnings per share - if any</b>]]> Although probably oversimplified, calculating "earnings per share" or the "earnings-per-share ratio" entails the activity of dividing the net profit of a company by the number of its issued shares. The economic reality is that companies may use innovation and creativity to lawfully engineer a better earnings-per-share ratio in order to attract more shareholder investments. Neither the Companies Act of 1973 nor that of 2008 makes any provision for the maximum or minimum amount of capital required to float a company, or the minimum number of shares that should be issued. This depends solely on the promoters' discretion of the number of shares that must equal the capital amount. It is therefore possible that the promoters may excessively exercise their discretion when deciding on the authorised share capital, and later tailor-make or financially engineer the share capital structure of the business to make it attractive to shareholders or future shareholders. After all, the law does not prohibit statutory financial engineering. The purpose of this article is therefore to consider section 75 in the Companies Act of 1973 - or its equivalent (section 36(2)) in the Companies Act of 2008 - and the topic of statutory approval for an artificial decrease or increase in the number of issued shares. Possible methods of preventing or limiting artificial increases in earnings per share are also suggested. <![CDATA[<b>The legislative framework regarding bullying in South African schools</b>]]> Bullying in schools is a global phenomenon that has the potential to impact on children not only physically but also psychologically. In South Africa countless children fall victim to bullying, harassment and abuse at schools. A myriad of constitutional rights are infringed upon when bullying occurs, and the problem is escalating. The Protection from Harassment Act 71 of 2011 was signed and accepted into law on the 27th of April 2013. This new Act may grant relief to victims of bullying inter alia by providing for protection orders, and therefore adds to the legislative framework available to victims. However, in terms of bullying in schools, the parties to these incidents are minors and therefore a critical analysis is necessary with regard to the rights of the victim and the offender. In this context the relationship and interaction between the Protection from Harassment Act 71 of 2011, the Child Justice Act 75 of 2008, the Children's Act 38 of 2005 and the South African Schools Act84 of 1996 call for critical analysis. <![CDATA[<b>Separation of powers in Ghana: the evolution of the political question doctrine</b>]]> In some democracies judiciaries have developed the political question doctrine to jurisprudentially resolve political questions and define their relationship with other branches of government. This doctrine is a function of the principle of the separation of powers and provides that there are certain questions of constitutional law that are constitutionally committed to the elected branches of government for resolution. As a result, such questions are non-justiciable and require the judiciary to abstain from deciding them if doing so would intrude upon the functions of the elected branches of government. This article examines the evolution and current status of the political question doctrine in Ghanaian jurisprudence, which developed from American jurisprudence. It begins by briefly discussing the history of the doctrine and its modern application in America. It then discusses how this doctrine was imported into Ghana and applied by the Ghanaian judiciary. The article argues that while there are differences of opinion around the application of the political question doctrine within Ghana's judiciary, the doctrine is firmly part of Ghanaian constitutional law. The article observes that the difference of opinion among judges is over the proper application of the doctrine rather than on whether it forms part of Ghanaian constitutional law. The article also discusses a related issue of the constitutional status of Directive Principles of State Policy in chapter 6 of the Constitution of Ghana. <![CDATA[<b>Property in insolvent estates - <i>Edkins v Registrar of Deeds, Fourie v Edkins, </i>and<i> Motala v Moller</i></b>]]> The question of the ownership of property which vests (by virtue of sections 20(1) and 21(1) respectively of the Insolvency Act 24 of 1936) in the Master and, upon appointment, in the trustee of the insolvent estate, has been the source of academic debate and conflicting court judgments over a lengthy period. It was thought that the question had been finally settled by the (then) Appellate Division in De Villiers v Delta Cables (Pty) Ltd 1992 1 SA 9 (A), which concerned property belonging to the solvent spouse (as defined in section 21(13)), where it was held that ownership passes to the Master and subsequently the trustee. This was accepted by the Constitutional Court for the purposes of its judgment in Harksen v Lane 1998 1 SA 300 (CC). However, recent judgments, in Edkins v Registrar of Deeds, Johannesburg 2012 6 SA 278 (GSJ) and, on appeal, Fourie v Edkins 2013 6 SA 576 (SCA), have seemingly again opened up the question for debate, particularly in view of the fact that the Supreme Court of Appeal in Fourie v Edkins ignored its own precedent on this issue. These two judgments concerned property registered in the name of the insolvent. In a third recent judgment, in Motala v Moller (GSJ) unreported case number 32654/11 (GSJ) of 11 September 2013 (copy on file with authors) concerning property which had belonged to the solvent spouse at the time of the sequestration of the estate of her husband, the court regarded section 25(4) of the Insolvency Act as countering the precedent established by De Villiers v Delta Cables. In this article, each of these three judgments is analysed and criticised. <![CDATA[<b>Protecting the vulnerable? Assessing the constitutionality of the National Register for Sex Offenders in respect of juvenile sex offenders - <i>S v IJ </i>2013 2 SACR 599 (WCC) and <i>J v National Director of Public Prosecutions </i>2014 ZACC 13</b>]]> This contribution deals with the recent judgments pronouncing on the entering of the particulars of child sex offenders into the register for sex offenders as enunciated in Chapter 6 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act 32 of 2007. The constitutionality of having juvenile sex offenders' names entered into the National Register of Sex Offenders is scrutinised by the High Court as well as ultimately by the Constitutional Court. A critical analysis specifically of section 50(2) of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act is embarked upon with specific reference to the lack of discretion afforded to courts in deciding whether the particular offender's details should be entered or not. The judgment delivered by the Constitutional Court is elucidated, where these provisions were declared unconstitutional in respect of child sex offenders. The decision under discussion is of particular relevance as the court was required to assess the constitutionality of the provisions relating to the Register with specific reference to juvenile sex offenders. The Constitutional Court specifically emphasised the need for an individuated discretion in respect of juvenile sex offenders catering specifically for the needs of juvenile sex offenders. The difference between adult sex offenders and juvenile sex offenders is also emphasised. The approaches followed by both the High Court and the Constitutional Court are provided and discussed, conclusions are reached and recommendations are made. It is suggested that in respect of juvenile sex offenders, a more holistic approach should be adopted with due regard to the Constitution, the objects of the CJA, and the specific circumstances of the offence. Children should be treated in such a way as to promote their dignity as well as their reintegration into society, having regard to the specific circumstances of the offence. In terms of the latter, children should be placed on the Register only if they pose a demonstrable risk and danger to the community. <![CDATA[<b>Fiddling with the <i>ECT Act - </i>electronic signatures</b>]]> Amongst the changes the Department of Trade and Industry is considering is an amendment of the definition of "electronic signature". Although the amendment seems to be in line with the provisions of the UNCITRAL Model Laws on eCommerce and the 2005 UN Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts, the amendment sets additional and more onerous requirements for all electronic signatures. The note illustrates how this amendment undermines the key principles of functional equivalence, media neutrality and party autonomy, and how this innocuous looking amendment may have very harmful practical consequences. It is suggested that amendments to section 13 would be more appropriate to achieve the objectives of the legislature. <![CDATA[<b>Frontiers of change and governance in contractual agreements: the possible role of exploitation - <i>Uniting Reformed Church De Doorns v President of the Republic of South Africa </i>2013 5 SA 205 (WCC)</b>]]> In the South African common law of contract there appears to be support for the open norm of public policy as a general clause to ameliorate the effects of unfair contracts and terms which are contrary to public policy. The courts have on several occasions held that contracts or terms would be regarded as contrary to public policy had they come about where the parties were in an unequal bargaining relationship and this inequality was linked with another factor(s). In this case note it is argued that the element of unequal bargaining position may be contrary to public policy if it is linked with exploitation as the other factor. The element of exploitation was highlighted in the recent court decision of Uniting Reformed Church, De Doorns v President of the Republic of South Africa 2013 5 SA 205 (WCC). In this case the applicant church owned three properties on which were three schools under the control of the State. The church and the State had concluded 20-year notarial leases in respect of each of the properties. A term in the contract provided that after the expiration of the lease period the church would transfer the properties to the State free of charge. After the expiration of the leases the State demanded the transfer of the properties. The church disputed the claim, averring that the term was unenforceable because the parties had been in an unequal bargaining position and that the enforcement of the term constituted expropriation in contravention of the property clause of the Constitution. It is submitted that expropriation without compensation is not only contrary to section 25 of the Constitution but constitutes exploitation. It is suggested that where exploitation results from an unequal bargaining relationship it provides the "further factor" that, together with the inequality in bargaining power, is sufficient to establish that the term or contract is in conflict with public policy. This contributes to giving meaning to the term "public policy". To support this argument, reference is made to the German Civil Code, the Swiss Civil Code, consumer protection legislation and the philosophy of Wertheimer. <![CDATA[<b>Defamation on Facebook: <i>Isparta v Richter </i>2013 6 SA 529 (GP)</b>]]> Litigation involving social media is still very new in South Africa and only a few reported cases can be found. In this case discussion, a brief overview is given of the few cases already reported, but in the main the case of Isparta v Richter 2013 6 SA 4529 (GP) is discussed. In this case a South African court for the first time awarded damages to the plaintiff for defamatory comments made on Facebook. The questions that confronted the judge were whether the alleged defamatory statements did indeed relate to the plaintiff and whether the comments, individually or collectively, could be considered defamatory. The issue whether the "tagging" of another user of Facebook makes that user liable for the defamatory comments of the tagger is also addressed in the case. The case discussion concludes with a reference to other issues that could play a role in litigation involving Facebook, namely the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 25 of 2002 and foreign law. <![CDATA[<b>Reasonable accommodation in the workplace: to be or not to be?</b>]]> Freedom of religion is a fundamental right enshrined in and protected by section 15 of the Constitution. This right allows for the practice of religion without interference from the state and individuals. A question which often arises relates to the extent to which freedom of religion can be exercised in the workplace. Religious practice often extends beyond societal norms, but religious intolerance has proven to be a source of conflict. In the workplace this conflict arises "where the employer's right to the employee's labour and service conflicts with the employee's inability or refusal to render services because of a religious or cultural belief".a The courts have played an important role in balancing the rights of the employer to manage his business operations efficiently with the rights of the employee to practice his religious or cultural beliefs. The critical question is how the employer is expected to balance and maintain an orderly, disciplined and efficient workplace whilst accommodating an employee's right to religious freedom. The case of Department of Correctional Services v Police and Prison Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) 2011 32 IU 2629 (LAC) is one where the employer's application of rules relating to the dress code of employees impacted on the religious beliefs and practices of five staff. In this note, this decision and the decisions in other recent cases are analysed in order to determine how the courts have dealt with the issue of the reasonable accommodation of religious practices in the workplace. The employer in the POPCRU caseb was justified in wanting to improve the discipline and standards within the prison. The findings of the LAC and SCA were indeed correct: while the dress code appeared to be neutral, the actual impact resulted in the disparate treatment of the employees. They were discriminated against as a result of wearing dreadlocks. The employer failed to reasonably accommodate the religious beliefs of the employees, and had it done so dismissal would not have occurred. The employees illustrated that the wearing of dreadlocks was a sincerely held belief, which was a central tenet of their religion. The employer was made aware of this fact, and despite this, they were dismissed. The employer was unable to illustrate that the rule against the wearing of dreadlocks was fair, and neither could the employer illustrate that this rule was an inherent requirement of the job. It is important to note the trend that has emerged: a. For an employee to succeed in a claim for unfair dismissal on the basis of religious discrimination, the employee will have to establish that the belief is sincerely held. Thus, according to Pillay,c employers are required to implement positive measures to reasonably accommodate the religious practices of an employee. b. The employer will have to establish that the religious discrimination is fair or that the rule or practice prohibiting the employee's freedom of religion is in terms of an inherent requirement of the job. In order to justify the dismissal of an employee, the employer has to show that the policy or rule was an inherent requirement of the job. c. Society has evolved. Employers therefore need to reasonably accommodate the sincerely held religious beliefs of employees. "When entering the workplace, employees do not leave behind their personalities, their likes and dislikes, their convictions or their faiths and beliefs, morals, sentiments and, of course, religious beliefs."d A concerted effort is therefore required of employers to accommodate diversity and promote religious freedom in the workplace. <![CDATA[<b><i>Afriforum v Malema</i>: The limits of law and complexity</b>]]> The Afriforum v Malema 2011 6 SA 240 (EqC) case drew considerable attention in the media and in the public discourse. The purpose of this note is to reflect upon the judgment from a theoretical vantage point. More specifically, by reading the judgment through an autopoietic systems theory lens, some points of criticism on the judgment in particular and the law in general become apparent. It is contended that the judgment illustrates how law necessarily excludes the factual complexity of a case, first by deciding which are the only facts legally relevant, and then second by reducing their meaning to a simple judgment of legal or illegal. Since law recognises only legal communication, this function means that the communication and identity are removed from legal subjects and given legal meanings. An attempt is made to open law to considerations external to what it traditionally considers to be relevant to its operation. The problem that law excludes facts it deems irrelevant is addressed through the introduction of a third value whereby to measure the legal and illegal, namely justice. Through asking if its judgments of legal or illegal are just, law becomes capable of reflexive self-observation. In this manner the very complex historical and narrative trappings of the case at hand do not need to be excluded as they are in the judgment. Rather than absolute, binary judgments, a slower, reflective engagement that makes modest claims is supported. <![CDATA[<b>A critical analysis of the majority judgment in <i>F v Minister of Safety and Security </i>2012 1 SA 536 (CC)</b>]]> The majority judgment of Mogoeng CJ in F v Minister of Safety and Security 2012 1 SA 536 (CC) purports to be a straightforward application of the reasoning of the Constitutional Court in K v Minister of Safety and Security 2005 6 SA 419 (CC), in which the court updated and constitutionalised the "standard test" for vicarious liability in deviation cases originally set out in Minister of Police v Rabie 1986 1 SA 117 (A) by holding that constitutional and other policy norms now play an important role in deciding questions of vicarious liability. However, it is respectfully submitted that a close reading of the majority judgment in F reveals that the judge misconstrues several key concepts related to the doctrine of vicarious liability. In particular, the judge seems to suggest that there are separate and different tests for vicarious liability in instances where an employee has plainly committed a delict in the course and scope of his employment, and where he has to some extent deviated from his employment duties. In fact, there is a single overarching test for vicarious liability - the course and scope rule - but various subsidiary tests are used by the courts to address difficult or borderline cases. It is also questionable whether F truly is a "typical deviation case", as the judge asserts. The judge then applies the constitutionalised test for vicarious liability originally set out in K in a manner which is subtly, but significantly, different from how it was deployed in that case. In particular, Mogoeng CJ's implication that it is not necessary for a court to consider the second leg of the Rabie test in circumstances where the employee wrongdoer has clearly subjectively intended to further the interests of his employer is undesirable and should not be supported. Furthermore, the judge identifies the question of whether or not there is an "intimate link" between the conduct of the employee wrongdoer and the business of his employer as one of the normative issues to be canvassed in order to determine the outcome of the second leg of the Rabie test. In fact, the "intimate link" question is the overall one to be decided in terms of the second leg of the Rabie test, which, in terms of the approach set out by O'Regan J in K, is to be answered by considering a range of factual and normative considerations in conjunction with one another. Moreover, the judge appears to construe the "intimate link" question in primarily factual terms. The discrepancies between the approaches of the courts in K and F are significant because they lead Mogoeng CJ to place a far heavier reliance on factual considerations in deciding whether the conduct of the employee wrongdoer was sufficiently closely related to the employer's business than would have been the case if he had more faithfully applied the test for vicarious liability set out in K. Although the judge devotes a considerable portion of the judgment to the normative issues which point to the need for the court to make a finding of vicarious liability, these do not seem to have been the immediate driver of his ultimate decision to impose vicarious liability in this instance. The reasoning of the majority in F becomes all the more problematic when one considers that the factual considerations linking the employee wrongdoer's conduct to the business of the SAPS are far more tenuous in this case than in K. A more compelling justification for imposing vicarious liability in F would have lain in the normative constitutional considerations that point towards the need to impose vicarious liability in this instance.