Welcome to Megaplex's monthly newsletter alerting the up-market shopper to the new and interesting in northern Sandton and Bryanston. Please feel free to support our advertisers! To subscribe, see our subscription page.
Late last month we put up a new web page for a shopping centre, The Core. It is a shopping centre in Sunninghill, Sandton, operating largely in the daytime to cater to a large office component. The shops run largely to personal services (hair, nails, skin care, fitness) and food (juice bar and several restaurants including Miguel's Mediterranean Café). There is a conference centre upstairs, the Focus Rooms.
The entrance is in Leeukop Road off the corner of Kikuyu Road, about a block south of The Square. From the N1 Western Bypass, take the Rivonia Road exit. Turn into Witkoppen Road eastbound. Cross the Sandspruit low-level bridge and then left onto Leeuwkop Road. The shopping centre will be on your left. There are plenty of open-air parking bays, all free of charge, and a car-wash.
Visit our new page for The Core here.
Rivonia Oriental City Revisited
The former Rivonia Square has a new and more English-speaking Centre Management. We have updated our web page for the centre, so it is temporarily up to date. Parking is now free for unlimited time in an effort to attract custom from Rivonia Village next door, where parking is free for only half an hour.
The downstairs anchor tenants, Pick 'n Pay and the Rivonia Post Office, are still there. From the point of view of a shopper, Pick 'n Pay is a joy to visit, being clean, well maintained, and well stocked with everything except generic razor blades and other shoppers. How long they can withstand the competition from the new and larger Rivonia Village Checkers is moot.
Upstairs, the Slug and Lettuce (no longer one of our favourites) is now the only Western Restaurant. Truworths is still open despite their lack of interest in helping customers.
One thing that has not changed, is the rapid turnover of mainly Chinese shops, which spring up and then disappear like mushrooms after a thunderstorm. Some of the more interesting and recent ones are listed in New Shops below. They almost uniformly speak little English, do not charge VAT, and probably pay no taxes to SARS.
Unlike western shops that are typically devoted to one type of item, say clothes, food, or cell phones, Chinese shops seem to decide on their stock by asking "what can the folks back home find and send over?". Hence you will find in the same shop: Cell phones and luggage; rice and electronic equipment; games and erotic ladies lingerie; dresses and porcelain, jackets and stovetop kettles.
Understanding South Africa, for Foreigners: Robots
When you ask for directions in South Africa, you may be surprised to
discover that we are a world leader in robotics, so much so that we have several robots at every sizeable urban intersection. However,
when you get there you
will look in vain for a mechanical man directing traffic, selling
newspapers, or washing car windows. What we call "robots", the
rest of the
world calls "traffic lights".
New on the Block Back to top
If you can think of more meanings for the word "normal" than, well, normal, you must be a mathematician.
Restaurant Review by Judith Back to top
Following a request from one of our readers to review our favourite local restaurant, we booked for Mother's Day lunch. We arrived and were welcomed by Maria. Our table was inside, but the cold wind gusted in until the heaters really got going! Boldly, we decided to not have our usual shared pizza, but to choose other things from the menu. First we ordered an Appletiser and the Fishoek Savignon Blanc. After looking at the menu, we chose to share the Bruschetta, followed by Calamari for me and Chicken Schnitzel for my partner.
The Bruschetta were served with roasted vegetables and very tasty and hot. My Calamari were totally perfect and the Chicken Schnitzel declared very good. Service as usual was excellent. A good place to go for friendly service and where you make good friends with everyone.
Shuffled off Their Mortal Coil Back to top
The Julius Effect
The trouble with political jokes is that so many of them get elected.
Green Tip Back to top
Spruit Day 2014 - Cleaning of the Braamfontein Spruit on Saturday 7th June, all day.
Calling on all residents, businesses, cycling & walking clubs and schools from Melville/Emmarentia to Paulshof/Sunninghill! Join the City of Joburg in a cleanup of the Braamfontein Spruit. The day is a combined clean-up effort of concerned citizens who live along and around the Spruit, driven by the local Residents Associations with the support of Spruit interest groups, youth representatives such as the Cubs and Scouts and the City of Johannesburg. We call upon all businesses, individuals, clubs and organisations to sponsor, turn up on the day and help make our environment a beautiful place to live. Educational sessions from specialists on topics such as alien vegetation, erosion and pollution, competitions between suburbs and schools will he held at Delta Park.
Laughter Yoga Class at Rietfontein Nature Reserve:
One-hour open air session (monthly) with Ajit Bhaggatjee on Saturday 21st June - 09:00 for 9:30, R 50 per adult (no children). Contact Friends of Rietfontein email@example.com.
A ConCourt Ruling and the New "Investment Bill" Give Sweeping Powers to Take Property Without Compensation Back to top
A controversial Constitutional Court ruling in 2013 has paved the way for the misleadingly named "Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill" (the "Investment Bill" for short), which now threatens the property rights of individuals and enterprises, both local and foreign, said Martin Brassey SC and Dr Anthea Jeffery of the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) at a media briefing at the Free Market Foundation on 14 May. According to Dr Jeffery, the Bill is in fact a sweeping new expropriation measure by another name.
In South Africa, property rights are protected by the Constitution. This protection, however, depends on the courage and determination of the courts in enforcing them. But in dealing with mineral rights, in particular, “the courts have shown a decided lack of backbone”, says Mr Brassey.
This was evident in 2013, in the context of a test case brought by Agri SA against the Government for the loss of an old-order mining right, which had ‘ceased to exist’ under the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) in 2005. The case was lost on appeal to the Constitutional Court, in a landmark ruling with profound implications for property rights.
The Constitutional Court found that the owner of the mining right had suffered a ‘compulsory deprivation’, under the MPRDA, while ‘the custodianship’ of this resource was now ‘vested in the State on behalf of the people of South Africa’. However, the State "had not acquired ownership of the mining right". Instead, it was simply a ‘custodian’ or ‘conduit’ through which ‘broader and equitable access to mineral resources could be realised’.
Since the deprivation of ownership from Sebenza had not been matched by the acquisition of ownership by the State, "no expropriation had occurred", the court ruled. It followed that no compensation was payable.
This means, says Mr Brassey, that if the State takes away private property and holds it as a "custodian" on behalf of others to be distributed at a later date, it is “not expropriation”. The original owner cannot rely on the protection of the Constitution and cannot expect to receive financial compensation!
Mr Brassey calls this “pure logic chopping”. The owner of land previously owned the minerals; now he (or it) does not. “By the stroke of a pen, the power of acquisition and disposal of the minerals (plus water rights etc) have been acquired by the State,” he said.
In its ruling, the ConCourt stressed the need for transformation, and compensation for apartheid’s wrongs. “But why individual owners should be required to shoulder the burden of this was never explained,” says Mr Brassey.
He adds: “The ConCourt endorses a regime in which a private person can be licensed and empowered to enter property against the owner’s will, build access roads and set up a rig, explore for minerals and then, using the water and other materials on the property, win the minerals for his own benefit and account. The owner will not be compensated”. He concluded, “If you believe in the importance of private property as a facet, not just of commercial well-being, but also of liberty, this is a very unhappy result.”
According to Dr Jeffery, a key provision in the "Investment Bill" now echoes this ConCourt ruling in stating that various actions ‘do not amount to acts of expropriation’. Among the actions it lists are ‘measures which result in the deprivation of property, but where the State does not acquire ownership of such property’. One of two provisos must be fulfilled for this result to follow: either there must be ‘no permanent destruction of the economic value of the investment’, or ‘the investor’s ability to…use or control his investment [must not be] unduly impeded’.
If the Investment Bill becomes law, the Government could use its rules to vest all mining land, mining equipment, and other mining assets in the State as the custodian of the nation’s mineral resources, while simultaneously inviting favoured cronies to apply to the Department of Mineral Resources for a licence to use these assets for a specified period.
In these circumstances, mining companies would be deprived of their property, but the State would acquire it as "custodian" rather than as owner – and there would be ‘no permanent destruction of the economic value’ of these assets, which would continue to be used by others. This means there would be no ‘act of expropriation’ under the principles established by the Investment Bill, and no compensation would be payable.
The Investment Bill could also provide a solution, of sorts, to the serious financial problem which the Government faces from new land claims. The recently-passed "Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Act" of 2014 extends the deadline for lodging land claims to June 2019: It could see the lodging of some 379,000 new claims – which could cost taxpayers as much as R179 Billion to meet. But the 2014/15 budget allocates only some R3 Billion for land restitution.
The Investment Bill could provide a politically expedient way out of an enormous financial hole. “Provided the State takes land under claim as ‘custodian’ for land claimants who can use it for agreed periods, there 'will be no expropriation' – and hence no compensation payable”, says Dr Jeffery.
She continues, “On this basis, the Government could gradually assume the 'custodianship' of ever more land, while more and more South Africans find themselves dependent on the State’s permission to occupy the land on which they live and farm. Far from helping black South Africans experience the security of land ownership, from which they were barred in the apartheid era, the Investment Bill could help prevent them from acquiring this vital foundation for economic and political independence.”
What you can do: Lobby all available politicians to oppose the "Investment Bill" and prevent it being passed into law. Make as much fuss as possible about the Constitutional Court's bizarre ruling that expropriation without compensation is acceptable or even legal in a democracy.
Werner Heisenberg is driving Erwin Schrödinger to the lab when they are pulled over by the Autobahnpolizei. The policeman asks Heisenberg for his licence and says, “Herr Heisenberg, do you know how fast you were going?”
Heisenberg says “No, but I know where I am!”
The policeman thinks something funny is going on, and orders the pair out of the car so that he can search it. He looks under the seats, in the glove compartment, in the back, and then walks around the car and opens the boot. He stares into it for a moment, turns to Schrödinger and says “Herr, did you know there’s a dead cat in here?”
Schrödinger rolls his eyes and snorts, “We do now!”
Your name in print! Would you like to contribute a shop- or restaurant review, a better joke than ours, an event, or something else for this Newsletter? Please e-mail us. You will get full credit (unless you want anonymity). Reach 5601 shoppers and shop-owners: Advertise in this newsletter! Editor: Rick Raubenheimer.