Lombard Kotzé Attorneys

Lombard Kotzé Attorneys is a general legal practice situated in George in the Southern Cape.

Freddie Lombard established Lombard Attorneys and Conveyancers on the 1 April 2003. The company was founded on a strong base by acquiring the core business from a long standing concern which had been in operation in George since 1987. In October 2005 Freddie was joined by Chris Kotze who became a partner in the firm in March 2015. The partners decided to incorporate the firm in August 2015 and cha

06/02/2023

Bure wat hul sleg gedra: Onwettige geboue en slopingsbevele

“The approval of building plans is not a mere formality in town planning and compliance with building standards promote public safety … The courts should not permit landowners to erect illegal structures on their land and then present the authorities with a fait accompli created by their illegal actions” (Uittreksel uit hierdie uitspraak wat hierna bespreek word.)
Wat kan jy doen as jou buurman op die erf langsaan begin bou sonder planne wat die munisipaliteit goedgekeur het? ’n Onlangse hooggeregshofbeslissing bevestig jou reg om aansoek te doen vir ‘n slopingsbevel.

Die pensioenaris wat 'n woonstelblok onwettig gebou het.
• ’n Eienaar het besluit om ’n veelvlakkige blok van agt woonstelle op sy grond te bou. Volgens mediaberigte is hy 'n pensioenaris wat sy R900 000 pensioenuitbetaling aan die projek bestee het. Hy sou dan van die toekomstige huurgeld van sowat R40 000 per maand leef.
• Hy het sy bure ingelig dat hy besig was om ‘n tuinkothuis (“garden cottage”) te bou. Die gebou was vir die volgende vier redes onwettig –
o Geen bouplanne is deur die plaaslike raad goedgekeur nie,
o Die struktuur het die Stadsbeplanningskema se boulynbeperkings oorskry,
o Die struktuur het nie aan die eiendom se sonering voldoen nie,
o Die titelakte het uitdruklik bepaal dat slegs een woning op die eiendom toelaatbaar is; terwyl die eienaar besig was om 'n tweede een op te rig. Hierdie was in geheel in stryd met die Titelakte se beperkende voorwaardes.
• Die eienaar het versuim om te voldoen aan twee vorige bevele van die Raad om die bouwerk te staak. Hierna het hy wel onderneem om die bouwerk te stop, maar in werklikheid het hy die bouwerk versnel.
• Twee van sy bure het op ‘n dringende basis by die hooggeregshof aansoek gedoen vir ‘n bevel om enige verdere bouwerk te verbied. Die hof het die bevel toegestaan en het die eienaar verder beveel om die gebou te sloop
.
• Die eienaar neem hierdie bevel op appèl na 'n "volbank" van die Hooggeregshof. Hy vra dat die slopingsbevel uitgestel word terwyl sy aansoek by die Raad vir die hersonering en opheffing van die beperkende titelvoorwaardes afgehandel word.
• Die Raad het wel die hersonering van die eiendom goedgekeur. Die Raad wou egter nie die gedeeltelike geboude gebou goedkeur nie. Die bouwerk was onwettig omdat geen bouplanne goedgekeur was nie en die gebou het die boulyne oorskry.
• Die hof beslis dat die bure die reg het om aansoek te doen vir 'n slopingsbevel, aangesien daar duidelik op hul regte inbreuk gemaak is.
• Die hof het sy diskresie ten gunste van sloping uitgeoefen. Die hof wys daarop dat die bure dadelik stappe geneem het om hul regte te beskerm, toe dit duidelik geword het dat die eienaar nie 'n kothuis in sy tuin bou nie, maar 'n woonstelblok. Die bure het die onwettige struktuur by die Raad aangemeld. Dit het ook swaar by die hof geweeg dat die eienaar aangegaan het met sy bouwerk, selfs toe hy geweet het dat die struktuur onwettig was.
• Die hof beveel die eienaar om die gebou te sloop
LawDotNews

23/06/2022

Verhuurders: Oortreding van soneringsregulasies kan jou huurkontrak ongeldig maak

“…it is a general rule that a contract impliedly prohibited by statute is void and unenforceable…” (Uit hierdie uitspraak geneem.)

Hier is weer 'n geval waar ons howe dit beklemtoon dat die plaaslike regulasies oor sonering van eiendomme nagekom moet word. Dit geld vir enige eiendom wat jy koop, of jy daarin gaan woon, dit gaan uitverhuur of die eiendom as ‘n kapitaalbelegging wil hanteer.
Een werklike risiko vir jou as verhuurder is om later te vind dat jou huurkontrak ongeldig is. Jy kan dan nie enige afdwingbare eis teen jou huurder instel nie. 'n Onlangse saak in die hooggeregshof illustreer so ‘n geval.

Die koffiewinkel in stryd met die regulasies en die ongeldige huurkontrak
• 'n Verhuurder het 'n perseel aan 'n huurder verhuur om as 'n koffiewinkel, tuisnywerheid en restaurant gebruik te word. Die huurder het ook op die huurperseel gewoon. Geen bykomende huurbedrag is in die huurkontrak vir die residensiële deel van die eiendom gespesifiseer nie.
• Die eiendom was uitsluitlik vir woondoeleindes gesoneer as “Enkelresidensieel 2”. Die gebruik van die huurperseel as 'n koffiewinkel, tuisnywerheid en restaurant was in geheel strydig met die eiendom se soneringsbepalings.
• Die verhuurder was bewus van die soneringsbeperkings, en het aan die huurder gesê dat sy wel haar besigheid van die huurperseel kan bedryf.
• Toe die verhuurder vir die agterstallige huur en betaling van munisipale koste gedagvaar het, was die huurder se verweer dat die huurkontrak ongeldig en onafdwingbaar was.
• Die saak is aanvanklik in die landdroshof beslis. Hierna het die hooggeregshof die saak op appèl aangehoor. Die hooggeregshof het die huurooreenkoms as onwettig, nietig en onafdwingbaar bevind. Die hof vind dat in hierdie geval was dit nie die huurder se plig om voor die aangaan van die huurooreenkoms by die munisipaliteit vas te stel of die perseel vir haar besigheid gebruik kon word nie. Sy het ander restaurante in dieselfde straat gesien en sy het geen rede gehad om die verhuurder se reg te bevraagteken om haar toe te laat om handel te dryf soos sy gedoen het nie.
• Die hof bevestig die algemene reël dat 'n kontrak wat stilswyend deur wetgewing verbied word, nietig en onafdwingbaar is; hoewel dit nie ‘n onbuigsame of onveranderlike reël is nie. Die hof handel in besonderhede met die beginsels en verskillende gevalle wat hier van toepassing mag wees en dit is duidelik dat die feite en gevolglike toepassing van geval tot geval gaan verskil. Die belangrikste wat verhuurders hieruit moet neem is dat jou huurooreenkoms gewoonlik ongeldig sal wees as die voorsiene gebruik van die huurperseel in stryd met die plaaslike regulasies en soneringsvoorskrifte gaan wees.
• In so ‘n geval, gaan jy as verhuurder geen eis teen jou huurder voorspruitend uit die huurooreenkoms hê nie. Die hof maak dit duidelik dat dit nie onregmatige optrede sal ondersteun en veroorloof deur die verhuurder toe te laat om voordeel te trek uit so 'n onwettige kontrak nie.
• In hierdie geval was die uiteindelike bevinding as volg: Die huurder van die koffiewinkel was nie aanspreeklik vir die betaling van die huurgeld nie, ook nie vir die betaling van die munisipale koste wat verband hou met haar okkupasie en gebruik van die perseel nie.

Sonering – wat om te doen wanneer jy eiendom gaan koop of verhuur
Die slotsom is dat jy die plaaslike regulasies en soneringsbeperkings moet verstaan voordat jy ‘n eiendom koop of aan 'n huurder verhuur. As jy as 'n verhuurder bewus is van enige moontlike kwessies hieroor, moet jy professionele advies hieroor verkry. Julle sou dalk die huurooreenkoms so kon bewoord om jou te beskerm teen die verlies van al jou eise teen die huurder sou die ergste gebeur. Die belangrikste feitelike oorweging moet sekerlik volle openbaring van die situasie aan die huurder wees, sodat die huurder dan ingelig kan besluit of hy of sy daardie bykomende risiko wil neem met die sluit van die huurooreenkoms.
LawDotNews

23/06/2022

Die “Groot Bedanking” is met ons – wat sê die reg?

“Signs of the "Great Resignation" are rippling across South Africa” (Business Insider, 22 April 2022)

Die pandemie het wêreldwyd aanleiding gegee tot die "Groot Bedanking". In die lig van hierdie tendens moet beide werkgewers en werknemers weer kyk na hoe ons regstelsel werknemers se bedanking hanteer.
'n Onlangse beslissing van die Arbeidshof gee waardevolle leiding -

‘n Werknemer het oor swak gesondheid bedank. Na sy "wonderbaarlike" herstel, het hy probeer om sy werk terug te kry.
• Die Adjunk Finansiële Beampte van 'n munisipaliteit wat onder administrasie geplaas is, het met onmiddellike effek bedank. Hy het sy swak gesondheid as die rede vir sy bedanking aangedui.
• Twee weke later het hy probeer om sy bedanking terug te trek en gesê: " Dit gee my plesier dat my gesondheid wat my bedanking veroorsaak het, wonderbaarlik verbeter het en dat ek normaal is om die temperatuur in die area te verduur ." (Letterlike vertaling van sy skrywe.)
• Die munisipaliteit het hom meegedeel dat hulle nie die terugtrekking van sy bedanking aanvaar nie.
• Hierna het hy by die Arbeidshof aansoek gedoen om 'n bevel om hom met volle salaris en voordele in sy pos te herstel.
• Baie van die feite was in dispuut. Tog bevind die hof dat die werknemer met sy aanvanklike bedanking 'n duidelike en ondubbelsinnige bedoeling getoon het dat hy nie met sy dienskontrak voortgaan nie. Die werknemer het sy posisie goed oorweeg voordat hy bedank het, daarna het hy ook nie meer vir diens aangemeld nie, wat sy subjektiewe bedoeling om te bedank bevestig het. Hy het sy bedanking aan die regte munisipale amptenaar gekommunikeer wat geen beswaar daarteen gemaak het nie en wat dit vermoedelik so aanvaar het. Sy latere versoek om sy bedanking terug te trek, is deur sy werkgewer geweier.
Die hof bevind dat die werknemer se bedanking bly staan. Die hof het 'n verskeidenheid belangrike vrae as volg beantwoord -

Die reg en bedanking: Ons beantwoord sewe belangrike vrae
1. Wat is bedanking en hoe raak dit die dienskontrak? "Bedanking as 'n vrywillige handeling is 'n eensydige handeling wat die diensverhouding beëindig." (Die “vrywillige” deel is hier belangrik. In hierdie geval het die werknemer “...bewustelik gekies om te bedank. Die werknemer moet toegelaat word om op daardie vrylik gekose pad te bly.”)
2. Wanneer tree bedanking in werking? "Bedanking tree in werking sodra dit aan 'n werkgewer gekommunikeer is ..."
3. Aan wie moet bedanking gekommunikeer word? Wanneer dit by 'n korporatiewe werkgewer kom: “Na my mening is enige iemand wat oor iemand anders aangestel is, in staat om so ‘n bedanking te ontvang. Hy of sy verteenwoordig die werkgewer op een of ander manier.” (Sommige dienskontrakte sal duidelik bepaal hoe en aan wie 'n bedanking gekommunikeer moet word.)
4. Moet 'n werkgewer die bedanking aanvaar om dit effektief te maak? Nee, "...daar is geen wetlike vereiste dat die bedanking aanvaar moet word nie."
5. Wat as die werknemer 'n kennistydperk moet uitdien? Dit maak geen verskil nie; die bedanking is van krag sodra dit gekommunikeer is: "...Dit is so, selfs al is 'n werknemer kontraktueel verplig om 'n kennistydperk uit te dien en dit nie doen nie."
6. Kan 'n werknemer 'n bedanking eensydig terugtrek? Nee, "... dit kan nie eensydig teruggetrek word nie, behalwe as die werkgewer daartoe instem."
7. As 'n werkgewer wel 'n terugtrekking van bedanking aanvaar, is dit dan 'n heraanstelling? Nee, “... waar 'n werknemer 'n bedanking terugtrek, beteken dit net dat so 'n werknemer poog om weer in diens geneem te word of heraangestel te word … 'n Dienskontrak kan slegs op dieselfde manier herleef as wat dit aanvanklik tot stand gekom het, deur aanbod en aanvaarding.” (Die les vir werkgewers is om baie duidelik te wees met die verwerping van 'n versoek om 'n bedanking terug te trek. As dit nie duidelik gedoen word nie, kan dit dalk as ‘n herindiensneming vertolk word.)
LawDotNews

04/03/2022

We have a temporary position available for legal secretary. Knowledge of deceased estates will be advantageous. Please send your shortened CV to [email protected]

13/10/2021

Thank you for your support Martie and the Harcourts Property Professionals team!

🤝👏 THANKFUL AND PROUD 👏🤝

Every day we are THANKFUL and PROUD to say that we work with Lombard Kotzé Attorneys , to have them on our side and for them to support our agents in every way possible.

We are extremely grateful for you. You guys never disappoint us. You always deliver good work .

Thank you Chris and Freddie for the beautiful framing of our awarded certificates . It looks absolutely stunning.

28/07/2021

Violence and Looting – Can You Sue SAPS?

“When a crime is imminent and foreseen it is expected of the law enforcement agency to take appropriate action. The duty of the police to provide assistance arises from their mandate to carry out law and order” (extract from judgment below)
Can you sue the police if they fail to protect you during unrest and violence? It’s an important question not just for employers dealing with strike violence. In the aftermath of the massive damage caused by the recent public unrest and looting, the case we now discuss will no doubt find application far beyond the labour relations field.
Strike violence - damages for a vandalised farm and an assaulted employee
• A large fruit farm was subjected to a month-long strike “characterised by violence through various acts of intimidation, assaults, malicious damage to property, vandalism, theft, road blockades and various acts of looting.”
• Ahead of the strike, SAPS (the South African Police Services) had been informed of the looming strike and of suspicions that “there is a great likelihood that the strike is likely to be violent.”
• What followed was a litany of violent action by a large crowd of strikers - stonings, petrol-bombings, arson, assaults, intimidation, brandishing of knobkerries, threats of murder, looting, and destruction of property. 251 strikers were dismissed after disciplinary hearings, an event which itself led to more violence.
• The farm and a non-striking worker stabbed by strikers sued SAPS in the High Court for damages. Although many of the facts were disputed in evidence, the Court found that the employer had made numerous pleas to SAPS, based some 15 km away, for assistance. During one police response, said the employer, it was informed that the police had no capacity to assist, whilst on many other occasions the police failed to respond at all.
• A Labour Court interdict and contempt of court order were allegedly not enforced, and whilst various criminal charges were laid during the course of the strike, few arrests took place (four of them only when police themselves were stoned).
• On the basis of the evidence before it and its analysis of the duty of the police to provide assistance when a crime is imminent, the Court ordered the Minister of Police and the National and Provincial Commissioners of Police to pay “proven or agreed damages” arising from the strike “as a result of their wrongful and negligent conduct.”
• Critical to the outcome was the Court’s findings that “The police had a legal duty to act positively to prevent harm to the Plaintiffs. The legal convictions of the community required of the police to act more swiftly to prevent harm to the Plaintiffs. The legal convictions of the community incorporate constitutional values and norms and in our constitutional democracy it cannot be acceptable of the police to sit idle when they should have reasonably foreseen that the strike will turn violent. When a crime is imminent and foreseen it is expected of the law enforcement agency to take appropriate action. The duty of the police to provide assistance arises from their mandate to carry out law and order.”
• Factually, the Court found that “The police had the capacity to patrol the area and conduct continuous monitoring which they failed to do. Their failure to respond to various pleas for assistance was not only negligent but wrongful” and “the conduct of the police viewed against the legal and public policy considerations, constitutional norms and values was unacceptable and accordingly unlawful.”
Will these principles apply to unrest and looting claims generally?
Of course the recent public unrest, destruction of property and looting were on a totally different scale and took place in a very different context to the facts before the Court in the case above.
At time of writing, media reports suggest that a general failure by security services to foresee and forestall the violence may have rendered them largely incapable of reacting effectively to whatever pleas for help they may have received. In contrast, in the case above the Court seems to have accepted that the police had the resources to react effectively but failed to do so. So although the general principles laid out above will no doubt assist in any attempt to hold the police liable for looting and other losses, time alone will tell whether victims will actually be able to prove any degree of police liability, either generally or in specific instances.
LawDotNews

28/07/2021

Employee Looting and Strike Violence: When Is Dismissal Fair?

Employee looting and/or violence can take place during strike action or it can occur during non-workplace incidents such as the recent looting and public disorder sprees. In both cases employers need to take action, but with care.
Addressing firstly the “strike” scenario, employees have strongly entrenched rights when it comes to taking industrial action. But strikers who indulge in, or associate themselves with, any form of violence or intimidation can expect little sympathy from our courts.
Two Labour Appeal Court decisions illustrate -
Dismissed for associating with a crowd assault
“Within a labour law context the requisite intention exists where it is proved that an employee intended that misconduct would result or must have foreseen the possibility that it would occur and yet, despite this, actively associated himself or herself reckless as to whether such misconduct would ensue” (extract from the judgment below)
First up is the case of 148 workers dismissed for misconduct during a strike.
• When the employer’s Human Resources Manager left his office to engage with the strikers they surrounded and seriously assaulted him. He was pushed out of a glass window, had rocks thrown at him and was punched and kicked while he lay on the ground. He feared for his life and was left with injuries to his face, arm, and body. Video footage showed striking employees celebrating and chanting after the assault was over.
• At a disciplinary hearing 12 employees were found to have participated directly in the assault, and the others were found to have participated by association and thus to have acted with “common purpose”. All were summarily dismissed.
• The Labour Court confirmed all 148 dismissals. 41 of the employees appealed to the Labour Appeal Court on the grounds that common purpose in the assault had not been proved because there was no evidence that they had been on the scene of the assault, nor that they had been aware of the assault, had intended to make common cause with it, or that they had performed an act of association with it.
• Quoting from the Constitutional Court that “it was unnecessary to place each employee on the scene to prove common purpose which can be established by inferential reasoning having regard to the conduct of the workers before, during and after the incident of violence” and commenting that “…the inference drawn that all employees were involved in or associated themselves with the assault became the most probable and plausible”, the Court held that the 41 had been present at the scene and had associated themselves with the actions of the group before, during or after the misconduct. The Court accordingly confirmed the dismissals.
Dismissed for carrying sticks, piping, and a sjambok in a picket line
“The constitutionally protected right to strike does not encompass a right to carry dangerous weapons on a picket line which, by their nature, not only expose others to the very real risk of injury, but also serve to threaten and intimidate” (extract from the judgment below)
The second case saw a group of employees dismissed after taking part in a national strike which turned violent.
• Three of the employees each carried a stick while picketing with a group of other strikers, another carried a length of PVC pipe and the fifth carried both a stick and a sjambok. Others in the crowd carried a golf club and an axe respectively. At least two people sustained severe injuries during the course of the strike.
• The employees were charged with “brandishing or wielding of dangerous weapons during [the] strike” and following disciplinary hearings they were dismissed.
• When the matter eventually came before the Labour Appeal Court, it upheld the dismissals, finding that the strikers were aware of a workplace picketing rule barring weapons of any kind being “carried or wielded” by picketers and that they “knew or could reasonably have been expected to have known that disciplinary action could result if the picketing rules were breached.”
• The end result is yet another warning to employees that whilst their right to strike is strongly protected by constitutional principles, strikes and picketing become unlawful if they are not peaceful, non-violent, and free of dangerous weapons.
What about off-duty employees who took part in the recent public looting?
Published images and videos of the recent o**y of public looting and destruction show criminal behaviour so blatant and shameless that many of the perpetrators will no doubt be readily identifiable by their employers.
You may feel justified in proceeding immediately against any of your employees so implicated, even though they happened to be off-duty and nowhere near your workplace at the time. After all, who wants a looter or arsonist working for them?
But whilst our laws may well entitle you to take action against some or all of such employees, that will generally be so only when their provable criminality is in some way linked to, and relevant to, their employment. The law in this regard is unfortunately too complex, and too full of grey areas, for any advice beyond the general observation that you should certainly consider immediate disciplinary action, with the strong caution that specific professional advice is essential beforehand.
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134 Merriman Street
George
6529

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