Talking Point August 2020

A succinct discussion of selected topical, legal matters

Dear Friends and Colleagues

We wish you and your family health and strength in these difficult Covid-19 times.

I take great pleasure in submitting the August 2020 edition of  Talking Point to you.

Thank you for your comments and kind words. After receiving your input, we have decided not to retire Talking Point.

This edition is also on our website at https://walkers.co.za/.

The Cave and the Light: Plato Versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization, by Arthur Herman, is a fascinating book.  The book provides a wealth of information and much food for thought.  Countries that lean towards Aristotle (and away from Plato) generally have much more peace and prosperity.  Indeed, perhaps South Africa could at present benefit from more Aristotle and less Plato.

In the August 2017 edition of Talking Point we referred to Plato.  In this edition we refer to his most famous pupil, and fellow primary foundational figure for Western science, philosophy, and mathematics: Aristotle.  

Aristotle was born in Ancient Greece in 384 BCE.  There are only scant surviving records about his childhood, and the details of his life are not well-established.  However, it is certain that from the age of approximately eighteen he was a student at Plato’s Academy in Athens for about fifteen years.  Thereafter, he worked as a tutor, including to the young Alexander the Great.  Around 335 BCE, he returned to Athens and establish his own school known as the Lyceum.  Aristotle conducted courses at the school and wrote many books. 

Aristotle is credited with the earliest study of formal logic, the systematic study of biology, and the recordal of geological observations.  His foundational role regarding physics, mathematics, biology, and other natural sciences, as well as ethics and politics, and more, has been discussed in innumerable academic works over millennia.

Aristotle materially influenced Christian theology, especially the scholastic tradition of the Catholic Church (Thomas Aquinas was an admirer), and Islamic thought during the Middle Ages; and he is still one of the most frequently quoted historical figures: 

“Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.”

“The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.”

“Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime.”

“The virtue of justice consists in moderation, as regulated by wisdom.”

“The law is reason, free from passion.”

“It is not enough to win a war; it is more important to organize the peace.”

“The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousand-fold.”

More quotes from Aristotle

In this issue:

Zoom in the court room

Worldwide, courts are conducting cases via video-telephony.  We discuss a recent case involving traumatic subject matter and in which the technology caused a problem leading to an application for the Judge to recuse herself from the case.

Depression is a prevalent illness in the current environment

In general, an employer can validly dismiss an employee if the dismissal is both substantively and procedurally fair.  However, there is a long list of reasons for a dismissal that makes it an automatically unfair dismissal.  We discuss a recent Labour Appeal Court decision dealing with depression (potentially a cause of disability) and dismissal.

Hello Jamaica

We discuss a recent UK Court of Appeal decision concerning a protection of personal information claim in unusual circumstances.

Another chapter in the African Bank saga

On 4 April 2016, the “new” African Bank Limited opened its doors as a new entity.  However, its legacy, the “old” African Bank, placed under curatorship on 10 August 2014 in terms of the Banks Act, was a financial disaster.  We discuss a recent important Supreme Court of Appeal judgment in respect of the averred liability of the directors and auditor of the “old” African Bank to shareholders of the holding company.  As the judgment is rather lengthy, we break the discussion up into three articles: The facts, The Directors, and The Auditor.

As always, I would greatly appreciate your feedback on Talking Point. Please email me at gunnard@walkers.law.

Regards

Gunnar Dahl

Chairman