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Recent Web Log Entries By Michael de Broglio
RAF's finances improve

The Road Accident Fund held a press conference recently at its Centurion head offices to celebrate some of the recent improvement in their finances.  There was much emphasis on a surplus, but the greater effect of the surplus was simply to reduce the deficit. 

In other words, the deficit of the Road Accident Fund had been R17 billion and now that is down to R14 billion.  That of course is still very good news and it is a nice improvement, but it is still a deficit.  One has to wait and see what sort of cost savings will come as a result of the Road Accident Fund no longer using attorneys and there can be no doubt that many matters, which should never go to court in the first place, can be settled more cost-effectively by the claims handlers.  At the current time clients still face lengthy waits before they are paid, because the deficit continues and it is only once the deficit is eliminated entirely that the waiting period of the last few years will no longer exist. 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Thursday 10-Jun-21   |  Permalink   |  15 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Drug Use for Grown-ups

Drug Use for Grown-ups” is the title of a book by Dr Carl Hart.  The sub-title for the book is “Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear”.  He is a Professor at Columbia University and one of the world’s best known experts on the effects of recreational drugs on our minds and bodies.  Despite that, and perhaps because of that, he openly admits that he takes heroin and while he was initially against drugs, his research found less harm in their use.  That does not mean he supports drug use, but what he does say though is that we turn a blind eye to some drugs like alcohol and imprison people for the use of other drugs that in some cases do less damage. 

He also points out, and this is true in South Africa and in America, that the vast majority of people that are arrested for drug use or drug dealing are almost always black people, even though the research shows that white people deal drugs and use drugs in pretty much the same numbers as non-white people.  He says many of the arguments against drugs and in favour of bans and tough prison sentences, are bankrupt arguments.  People die because they have to get hold of drugs illegally and those drugs are often contaminated with poisons and impurities.  He says, in a land like America where people have individual liberties, the decision as to whether he takes drugs or not should be each person’s decision and not the Government’s decision.  He writes, “Further, my responsible drug use should not be subjected to punishment by authorities.  These ideas are central to our notions of liberty and personal freedom.  The current punitive approach to dealing with recreational drug users is wholly un-American.” 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 08-Jun-21   |  Permalink   |  19 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Boom Supersonic

Boom Supersonic is a unicorn in the United States.  A unicorn is defined as a company that has a value, while not yet listed on a Stock Exchange, of $1 billion or more.  They are busy designing an aeroplane seating 65 people that will fly at twice the speed of current aeroplanes and be in operation as soon as 2024.  Their investors include Japan Airlines and Richard Branson’s company, Virgin Galactic.

I think news like this is always exciting, but it is particularly exciting for a country like South Africa which has so much to offer to tourists and where one of the biggest problems is how far away from the rest of the world we are.  I don’t think the average person thinks about how much effort it takes to visit South Africa compared for example for somebody living in New York to fly over to London or to Paris.  There is no doubt, as planes get faster in the years ahead, that South Africa will be one of the big winners in terms of tourism, offering as we do, not only our Game Reserves and resorts like Sun City, but the wine farms of the Cape and Cape Town itself.  These planes are carrying a smaller number of passengers cutting the time to travel to SA by more than half, will certainly help with encouraging more high-end tourists to SA.  At the moment, for example somebody flying from Atlanta in America would have to fly for 17 hours before landing in Johannesburg and then there is another 2 hour flight to Cape Town – not to mention the flight getting to Atlanta in the first place.  Cutting that in half would make a dramatic difference.  Some countries like the UK are obviously closer to us and that is probably why we see a lot more tourists from the UK and France.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 01-Jun-21   |  Permalink   |  26 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Amazon grows

Last year, during Covid-19, Amazon hired more than any other company around the world – 500,000 workers.  According to his annual shareholder letter, Jeff Bezos, said that there are now 200 million members of Amazon Prime around the world.  That is up 50 million just over one year and Amazon Prime costs $119 a year. 

Amazon says that approximately 60% of its sales are via small and mid-size businesses that sell products on Amazon and those companies earn between $25 and $39 billion selling products off Amazon last year. 

Bezos explained that Amazon has grown because it saves people time – customers complete 28% of purchases on Amazon in 3 minutes or less and they estimate that the typical trip to a store to go there physically takes about an hour and so Amazon estimates that it saves people about 75 hours a year of travelling back and forth to stores.  Obviously, this is relevant to any online shopping that you do – regardless of whether its Amazon or another site.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 26-May-21   |  Permalink   |  31 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Slow vaccine roll-out

I am really disappointed at the slow vaccine roll-out that we have in South Africa.  I know that the major pharmaceutical drug companies will obviously favour the countries in which they are based, namely the USA and Europe, but I would think we could still have received more vaccines by now than we do.  I say this particularly because, as they always used to remind us in the Game of Thrones, winter is coming. 

Winter is indeed coming and with it we will see an increase in Covid-19 infections, because every other country experienced an increase during their winter.  In America their peak month of infections so far was exactly the middle of winter, being December, and if we project that onto SA we are probably looking at our worst month, for infections and deaths, being July this year.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Friday 14-May-21   |  Permalink   |  40 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
RAF gets 180 days

The recent judgment in the case of the Road Accident Fund v The Legal Practice Council has given the Road Accident Fund some relief.  It allows the Road Accident Fund until September 2021 in any event to pay matters in order and without some attorneys jumping the queue and issuing writs.  You can now only issue a writ after 180 days have elapsed, again until September 2021, and the Road Accident Fund is undertaking to pay the majority of matters on 180 days going forward.  Our firm supported the RAF in this effort to stop some attorneys jumping the queue and we are favourably mentioned in the judgment by the Judges as having supported the RAF in this regard to prevent the implosion of the RAF. 

How long this new situation will last is another question.  Logically, if they did not have enough money to pay everything in the first place, just running out the time to 180 days is not really going to improve the situation much and one would expect that that 180 day timeframe eventually gets longer and longer and people will have to wait maybe 9 to 10 months for payment.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 12-May-21   |  Permalink   |  38 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Ending a relationship well

I was listening to a podcast the other day by Scott Galloway whose book, “The Four” I previously referred to in this blog.  He made a very important point and that is the way you are generally remembered is how you end a relationship.  It does not matter if everything went fantastically for 20 years if in the last 2 weeks it ends acrimoniously and in a nasty way. 

This applies not just to one’s intimate relationships and relationships with family, but he was actually talking about it in the context of a company.  He said it is so important to make sure, in those last few days at a company, that one can build a fantastic reputation or brand name and damage it in a week or two simply by ending a relationship badly.  It is as important as the efforts you put into the beginning of a relationship to put the same effort into the end of the relationship. 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Friday 07-May-21   |  Permalink   |  44 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
AirTag – stop losing things

Apple has really come out with a product that a lot of elderly people need - who seem to lose things all the time - and I am including myself!  It is a little button that at $29 each you connect your keys or your back pack and you will be able to find them on the Find My App.  It will allow you the option of playing a sound on the built-in speaker on the button, so you can follow the sound until you find what is hidden and it will also give you a little arrow on your phone pointing in the direction of where you should head and approximately how far away you are.  You will be able to use Siri to say things like, “Hey Siri, find my keys”.  I currently use my AppleWatch for a similar purpose – pinging my phone all the time to find out where I have lost my phone.  The whole system will not work very well for me if I cannot find my phone in the first place!

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 03-May-21   |  Permalink   |  42 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Apple releases iOS 14.5

Apple has released the latest version of its operating system and this one has some very interesting changes.  It gives support to the new AirTag and implements Apple’s new app tracking transparency requirement. This requirement forces developers to ask for permission to track users for ad targeting.  When this was first announced, Facebook was very unhappy about it, saying that it will hurt small businesses that need to track what sites you visit.  From an individual point of view, it is about time that something like this was developed.   iOS 14.5 also allows one, at long last, to change Siri’s voice.  I wonder what the extent of downloads around the world are each time Apple launches a major upgrade?  

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 28-Apr-21   |  Permalink   |  28 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Will Putin let Alexei Navalny die?

Alexei Navalny is one of the main Russian opposition leaders and a lawyer.  He was the man, who you will all recall was poisoned last year and almost died, allegedly by Russian agents.  Despite that, he decided to return to Russia where he was promptly arrested and imprisoned.  He has now gone on a hunger strike and is apparently within days of his death.

It is astounding that Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, feels so insecure in his leadership that he will allow an opposition leader, who does not have huge support, to die.  As it is, most individuals are disqualified for running for leadership positions if they oppose Putin - and very small percentages of the Russian population actually take part in protests against the lack of democracy in Russia.  With Putin controlling the media, and most independent media crushed, the vast majority of Russians actually support him, however sad that may be.  It seems that Putin suffers from no embarrassment – whether interfering in the American elections to support Donald Trump or jailing and imprisoning, on trumped up charges, anybody who dares oppose him.  He seems intent at every single point of playing the role of a strong man while he and his oligarch friends plunder the natural wealth of Russia, leaving the vast majority of Russians in a somewhat lower middle-class type of lifestyle.  One would hope that he will step back and not allow Alexei Navalny to die.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 21-Apr-21   |  Permalink   |  28 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Microsoft buys Nuance

In one of its biggest purchases ever, especially since they bought LinkedIn, Microsoft has now bought Nuance for $19.7 billion.  They are the makers of voice dictation software like Dragon Naturally Speaking.  I have written about Dragon many times over the years and given up on using it most of the time.  In recent years I had compatibility issues with the software and I just found that it was inconvenient to have to continually correct errors, even though it does get most of the dictation correct when properly trained.  This is compared to having a good typist – if I didn’t I may have persisted.  The training in itself is a mission.  One would imagine that the power of Microsoft behind it, it will take things to a new level and obviously we will see a lot more integration with Microsoft Office.  Microsoft Office is to Microsoft what the iPhone is to Apple – in other words, their main product as the continuous source of revenue over many decades and its going to be fascinating to see, in future, how voice dictation is combined with Word and Outlook for example.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Thursday 15-Apr-21   |  Permalink   |  32 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Worrying

Worrying was something I used to be very good at.  I am still good at worrying about things, small things, the attention to detail – all of which is needed to run a business successfully.  I try not to worry so much about the big things anymore and my main reason for that is one cannot always control them and however horrendous they sometimes seem right now, in 5 to 10 years they just never look so big.  That is probably because in life, in 5 to 10 years’ time you will be faced with a bigger challenge which you may well feel is worse than the current challenge.  It may just be that time heals all wounds and one gets over things, but another part of me never wants to tempt fate and say “things can’t get worse” or have that sort of attitude.  It doesn’t help, it makes things worse and one simply has to deal with what is in front of you and get through it.  

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 06-Apr-21   |  Permalink   |  41 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It

Johannesburg based attorney specializing in personal injury matters including Road Accident Fund claims and medical negligence matters. My interests include golf, reading and the internet and the way it is constantly developing. I have a passion for life and a desire for less stress!
Have you been injured in a motor accident?
Recent Settlements
Lumbar spine compression fractures R2 500 000.00
Severe hip fracture requiring total hip replacements R3 305 000.00
Head injury with disfiguring facial scaring of a young female R4 000 000.00
Whiplash and compression fracture of the spine R4 000 000.00
Broken Femora R1 914 416.00
Broken Femur and Patella R770 881.15
Loss of Support for two minor children R2 649 968.00
Fracture of the right Humerus, fracture of the pubi rami, abdominal injuries, head injury R4 613 352.95
Fracture of the right femur, Fracture of the right tibia-fibula R1 200 000.00
Broken Jaw, Right Shoulder Injury, Mild head injury R1 100 000.00
Degloving injuries to the hips, legs and ankle R877 773.00
Head injury R 2 734 295.12
Fractured pelvis R1 355 881.53
Damaged tendons in left arm R679 688.03
Fractured left hand R692 164.48
Amputated right lower leg with loss of income R3 921 000.00
Fractured left foot R600 000.00
Head injury and multiple facial fractures R5 000 000.00
Head injury, compound fracture right femur, right tib and fib fracture, and injury to the spleen R4 529 672.06
Head injury, multiple facial fractures, collapsed lung and a fracture to the right frontal bone R2 890 592.77
Loss of support R5 144 000.00

 


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