Tuesday, December 30, 2008

How do I get a firearm license in this country?

I usually only do firearm appeals for client therefore I am not too up to date on the exact process but the police will inform you what to do anyway, I will therefore mostly concentrate on the substance of your application.

Getting a license is not as hard as people would let you believe around a braai. It's just more paperwork then before. There is a court case in 2007 where the court awarded a license to possess a .50 caliber Browning sniper rifle to an applicant.

Where do I begin?

An applicant needs to apply for 2 things: a competency certificate and a license to possess a firearm. Remember there is a difference between owning and possessing. When you take your car for a service the garage is in possession of your car but you are still the owner. Therefore you are allowed to own a firearm but you may not possess it without a license. 

You may therefore buy a firearm before you apply for a license. The firearm stays however in the possession of the gun-shop until you get a license. You have to apply to possess a particular fire-arm therefore first you have to buy the fire-arm. 

Competency certificate.

Now you have to do a competency exam in order to apply for the certificate. Thankfully you may do the exam at accredited shooting ranges. It is very easy and takes about half a day for the seminar and the test. 

When you have successfully finished the test you will receive a Certificate of Proficiency.

License to possess a firearm.

All the application forms will be provided to you by the police (just ask for the firearm department). Fill in the forms and remember not to lie, especially about previous convictions, it is a criminal offence. 

The most important part of your application is your motivation. Your application will be refused if this is inadequate. So don't rush this.

You will always want to shoot at a shooting range so always put in sport-shooting as a motivation. You will have to join a shooting club which costs around R700 but it is worth while. Ask the club manager for a letter confirming that you are a member and partake in sport-shooting. Annex this document to your application. (NB!! put as much annexures as you can.)

If you are going to hunt with the firearm include a letter from a farmer confirming that you may hunt on his farm etc.

The motivations differ from the type of weapon so just mail or comment and I will provide you with some motivations.

Remember to always state that the particular firearm is is the only firearm that is suitable for your particular needs.

If you haven't received an answer from the Registrar within 6 months start threatening them with court action. Remember to take names.


If your application is dismissed you may appeal the decision within 90 days. This appeal is via an affidavit by yourself. The Registrar will provide you with reasons for the dismissal. Just answer to the reasons given. 

You have to receive a reply within 45days after submitting your application.

Remember to phone the Registrar at least once a month for an update.     

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I just received a notice of set down from the CCMA, now what?

First of all don’t panic. The CCMA is not a High Court or something that you need senior council for, it is a commission. An award by a commissioner is still binding however the CCMA is more set on settlement than Arbitration.

Do I need a lawyer?
No. An attorney will put the fear of God into you and then start charging you. First send a letter to the employee and the CCMA informing them that you object to Arbitration proceeding immediately after Conciliation. The CCMA will grant such an objection and the matter will be reset from “Con/Arb” to Conciliation.

During conciliation the Applicant/Employee is not allowed to have an attorney present, neither are you. The aim of conciliation is to settle the case. All that is said during conciliation is without prejudice in other words nothing you say can be used against you. Another commissioner will most likely do the Arbitration so don’t worry. Feel free to speak your mind.

To settle or not to settle, that is the question?
First of all commissioners vary a lot from place to place and person to person, and I have seen some weird ruilings in my time so don’t think this is the norm. Use this advice only during conciliation when you still have time to consult an attorney before Arbitration. 
Second of all the employee is an ungrateful son of a b***h. I know, now get over it.

All awards are based on a employee's basic salary. The CCMA may not award more that 12 months salary. Thus no matter if you beaten the employee or whatever 12 months is the max. In all my cases I have never seen 12 months be awarded. The most is 6 months. The commissioners reserve 12 months for sexual harassment, savage beatings etc.

Settlement is a pure numbers game. How long have the employee been working for you, what was his/her salary and why did he/she leave. You cannot be forced to settle during conciliation so don’t be bullied.

 If the employee absconded in other words never returned to work, he/she was never dismissed. If you can prove this don’t offer anything. The case will most likely be dismissed because the employee has to prove that he/she was dismissed. To prove that he/she absconded produce letters you sent to his/her home informing him/her to return to work etc. Just be able to show the commissioner you made an effort to make him/her understand that he/she is not dismissed. You can even tell the commissioner his still welcome to return. You can always dismiss him/her for absconding later. If you aren’t so sure and you get a hostile vibe from the commissioner make an offer as guided by below.

 If he/she was dismissed you have to prove the dismissal was fair. Anything can happen so in this case make an offer. If he/she worked for less than a year first make an offer of 2 weeks than 1 month.
If he/she has been working for more than a year make an offer of 1 month plus 1 week pay for each year worked. That is most likely what he/she is entitled to disregarding aggravating circumstances (like the snot klap you gave him/her). The commissioner will respect this and will be very irritated if the employee does not accept this.

Keep in mind that settling the case will save you at least R1500 (my minimum) in attorney’s fees. If you don’t settle during conciliation you may still request to revert to conciliation during the Arbitration when you have your attorney present. He will be in a much better position to give advice regarding settlement.

Remember commissioners want cases to be settled so throw them a bone.

If the case aren’t settled it is advisable to make use of an attorney depending on the salary of the employee. Anything above R1000 is advisable (you stand to lose plus or minus R6000) anything above R5000 is a must (you stand to lose plus or minus R30 000).  

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What is a Registered Credit Provider?

A Registered Credit Provider is a business or a person who has more than a hundred credit agreements or credit agreements where the loan amount exceeds R500 000.00. A person or business that fits the above has to register as a credit provider. 

What happens if I don't register?

The National Credit Act states that if a person enters into a credit agreement and he/she did not register when they where obliged to the said credit agreement is unlawful and will therefore be declared void. The credit provider will have to repay the consumer all amounts paid to him/her by the consumer. The credit provider will lose all his/her rights in terms of the credit agreement as well as the item (merx) sold.


Say you want to sell your house to your friend for R600 000.00. The house is paid in full and is being rented. You agree with your friend that he may pay you in installments of R50 000 pm. You will charge interest in the amount of 10% per year. This agreement is a credit agreement in terms of the act. Even if you work for a salary as a teacher you have to register as a credit provider.

If your friend decides to stop paying you after 3 instalments he can approach the court to declare the agreement void. The court will grant the application because you where in clear breach of the act. You will have to repay the R150 000.00 to your friend and the house will be forfeited to the state. That is the nature of the beast. 

Monday, December 8, 2008

How can the new National Credit Act help me?

The National Credit Act has been the subject of lots of discussions. This act has very strong implications for all South Africans. Most of us have standing credit agreements and all credit agreements are subject to this act except big companies. 
The NCA created a new debt relief procedure call "Debt Review". 
What is Debt Review?
Debt Review is a process where a consumer who is unable to satisfy all his/her debt responsibilities in a timely manner is protected form harassment by credit providers until he/she is in a position to satisfy all his/her debt responsibilities. 
How does it work?
A consumer having trouble paying all his/her debts approaches a Debt Counsellor and applies to be placed under Debt Review. A comprehensive list of Debt Counsellors can be found on the NCR (National Credit Regulator) website.
The consumer is than placed under debt review. A notification is sent to all his/her credit providers that he/she is under debt review. The credit providers are than barred by the NCA to proceed with legal action against the consumer until the consumers status has been analysed by the debt counsellor. (Important: If you received a summons it is to late, a consumer than has to apply to a court to be placed under debt review.)
If the consumer qualifies for debt review his debt will be rearranged according to his/her ability to repay the outstanding debts. That is made a order of court and the consumer is untouchable as long as he/she plays by the rules.
No more debts! When under debt review you may not enter into any more credit agreements unless it is an emergency like funeral etc.