From the Author
It is not always the same thing to be a good man and a good citizen.
Aristotle (Nicomachean Ethics, 325 BC)
In 2013 I was working on a dispute involving the naming rights for FNB Stadium – then also referred to as Soccer City. Fanie du Plessis SC, one of South Africa’s preeminent and highly respected senior counsel, had asked for my assistance in the matter due to its intellectual property issues. At some stage during some consultation, someone commented about tickets being touted on the black market. I cannot remember the context, and it did not matter to our case. It was just something which came up.
Now, I did not know that it was a criminal offence to resell tickets, or even use resold tickets. I have myself bought such tickets – I recall, clearly, doing so at the gates to Ellis Park for a concert by the band Counting Crows in August 1999.
There and then, in our consultation, it occurred to me that if I – as a practising lawyer for over 30 years – did not know this then the chances are other people also do not know. I mean, whilst my career has been dedicated to a specialist field, I still interface with ‘the law’ in general, through discussion with colleagues, being in court, reading journals, reading the monthly law reports and the regular circulars from the Johannesburg Bar Library, and so on. Yet I did not know something so ‘every day’ as this.
I certainly knew that the intellectual property statutes embody criminal provisions, and time and again I have seen it in cases that experienced businessmen did not know about them. So it occurred to me that there must be a number of other statutes which have penal provisions, yet of which the public is blissfully ignorant.
A ‘statute’ is a law that is enacted by Parliament – in other words, it is an ‘Act’ of Parliament. Parliament is representative of all the people of South Africa, and each statute is intended to govern a specific area of society, or commerce, or industry. Accordingly, amongst their varied provisions and directions as to how the particular area of society, commerce, or industry is going to work, statutes embody rules for conduct – they stipulate what our country expects of its citizens in their daily lives.
We have a crime rate in the Republic of which there is nothing to be proud. Of course, there are several diverse reasons for this unfortunate state of affairs. My wish is that this book will inform and enrich everyone. Hopefully, in that way, it will contribute to the well-being of our vibrant, extraordinary and special people. If this results in a small improvement to our society, well, so much the better then.
You are welcome to send comment and feedback to me at email@example.com. I will endeavour to respond as soon as possible.
Law Made Simple: Compliance for Business, Citizens, and for our Government was conceived, created, and written by me. However, it would not have happened without the super-efficient assistance of my PA at the time of the first edition, Maria Alegria.
I also had the benefit of research assistance from six colleagues, at the time all advocates practising at the Johannesburg Bar and members of Maisels Group in Sandton. The sections I mention are because they had a particular interest in the fields, and worked on those sections in the book:
- Michele Gioia: Tax and Financial sector
- Adriaan Reyneke: Environment and Family
- Aimee-Louise van Dyk: Professions and Property
- Prince Verveen: Labour and Government
- Sue van Niekerk: Credit laws
- Manilla Freed: Intellectual Property and Mining.
There are also some special people I would like to thank and recognise for their support, in differing ways, on this project. First and foremost, my long-suffering wife Isabeau who has encouraged me from the opposite side of more closed study doors than she cares to remember. Then, my good friends Ray Eskinazi, Jeremy Harcourt-Baldwin, Don MacRobert, Dave and Antoinette Sawyer, and – last, but not least – the late Dr Paul Salmon, who was a perfect elder brother.
Owen Salmon SC