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Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones has finally come to an end and while not everybody watches the program, but what cannot be denied is that it has been the biggest program on television worldwide for many years.  Game of Thrones in some weeks had as many as 7 or 8 times more viewers than the next most popular program and in a day and age where not everyone watches TV live anymore that is simply massive.

I want to know what you thought, if you have watched Game of Thrones, of the final season, and in particular the final episode and what positions people ended up in, etc?

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 29-May-19   |  Permalink   |  32 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Driving with windows open

I had a friend of mine in the car recently with me who kept asking me to wind down the windows in the car.  He prefers to do that for the flow of air and I told him that firstly the noise from outside tends to irritate me and I prefer more of the silence inside the car, but I also don’t think it is that safe to drive with the windows open.  

I have done Road Accident Fund claims for clients before who have been injured by things that have bounced off trucks and through windscreens as well as open windows, including one particular young lady whose lower jaw was basically separated from her upper jaw by something, which I can no longer recall, that bounced off the road from a truck in front of her.  I have not done many cases like that recently, but I have done more than my fair share cases that involve objects that bounce off the road or are thrown towards one’s vehicle by another vehicles tyres and I genuinely believe that it is far safer to have all of your windows closed and the air conditioning turned on if you have air conditioning than to drive with open windows.  It is naturally safer to be inside a motorcar when you get hit by another car than it is to be riding a motorbike at that time.  The glass does give you an extra layer of protection against stones and all sorts of things that can quite easily injure you including cases of people being blinded if you don’t have your windows closed.  By the same token, my old coach at Country Club Johannesburg, who eventually gave up golf and became a commentator on Tellytrack, the horseracing channel, had a client seriously injured on the golf range.  Hitting down on the ground, a tee that was embedded in the ground, flew into his eye and blinded him and I find that it is a lot safer when I am playing golf to play with sunglasses on because the dirt does often spray straight up towards your eyes and it may not just be sand that hits you in the eye.  

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Friday 24-May-19   |  Permalink   |  17 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Eyes and getting older

I’ve had glasses for a few years and I was told then that you needed to upgrade the strength of the glasses every one or two years.  I did not until recently.  I was getting to a point where I was struggling to see, even with my current pair of glasses.  Changing the lenses, which cost a fortune, has really changed things rather dramatically for me.  It is amazing how parts of your body start failing you at what you consider as a relatively young age, and how we all just have to accept those types of things.  The funny thing is you can fairly easily choose yourself some cheap glasses at the airport and they will work just perfectly, but once you put yourself in the hands of optometrists that need to run tests on you and everything else they can do, and by the time they are finished you end up with pretty much the same glasses, but at literally 30 times the cost of just buying a pair of cheapies off the shelf.  

I do also end up having to buy those cheapies off the shelf, because I have arrived more than once at the airport without my glasses and I have reached that stage where if I don’t have my glasses certain documents are completely illegible to me, especially later in the afternoon or early evening.  In the morning, when my eyes are fresh I can see them, but later I cannot.  

I must say, I don’t know if there is such a thing as growing old “gracefully” but I will say I am growing old on the “I don’t care” basis.  In other words, if wearing glasses is what it takes to see something I honestly am going to wear glasses and could not care what it looks like.  I guess I am only a few years away from getting that open top sports car which seems to be what most middle-aged men try and pretend that they are not in fact aging while slowly driving up and down the streets of Parkhurst.  So many of them would look so much better if they spend some of that money perhaps on a hair transplant and did just a touch more work in the gym because nothing is going to get past the extra 30 kgs they are carrying on their stomach and the Ferrari or fancy Porsche might work for some people, but putting a bit of effort into the body might do even more!

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 21-May-19   |  Permalink   |  39 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Collecting tax

I was interested to read the tax statistics for 2018 put out by the National Treasury and the South African Revenue Service.  Tax revenue is made up largely of personal income tax, being 38,1% of all tax collected in a year, then Value Added Tax collects 24,5% of the tax and corporate income tax produces 18,1%. That is probably because a lot of companies have moved their head office off-shore to countries like Mauritius where they claim that their intellectual property lies and as a result they pay less tax.  Other interesting statistics include that 40,1% of all taxpayers were registered in Gauteng and the majority of those live in Johannesburg.  Of those taxpayers 54,7% are male and 45,3% were female. 

Some studies suggest that South Africa loses about R7 billion a year due to multi-national corporations shifting their profits to other countries and that 98% of that loss comes from the biggest 10% of multi-national corporations.  Apparently, half of all profits shifted out of South Africa are moved to Switzerland, which has a corporate income tax rate of 8,5% compared to South Africa’s 28%.   

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Thursday 16-May-19   |  Permalink   |  29 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
SARS needs to be fixed

It is amazing how much damage was done to SARS during the time of Tom Moyane.  He was suspended by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 19 March 2018 and we now hear that SARS missed its most recent revenue collection target by R14,6 billion.  In other words, the estimate as to how much tax they would collect and on which the budget is based was missed by R14,6 billion!  VAT refunds have a massive backlog and apparently, and nobody seems to be sure of this, this has been going on for a while, try and make it look more like SARS had actually reached its various targets.  There are a lot of people in the country, especially in some of the upmarket golf estates, who seem to pay little or no tax at all and cheat in every way they can and SARS and the government will need to tackle that and start getting those people paying the right amount of tax.  The bottom line is that SARS had some disastrous years during which it has been completely mismanaged and there will not be any quick fix for it, but I do think they need a lot more sophisticated computer systems. If people buy a property there should be paperwork relating to what their income is, if people buy fancy motorcars they should have to complete documentation because there are way too many people in South Africa who just are not paying their fair share of tax at the moment.   

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 13-May-19   |  Permalink   |  37 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Uber goes public

Uber is about to list on the Stock Exchange, at a value of approximately $100 billion.  I find it hard to see the value in a company that is not really making money and that is having issues, in terms of obtaining permission, to work in numerous cities around the world, but I was wrong on Facebook and I am probably wrong on this one as well. 

To me, it is all the signs of a Stock Market that is really becoming overheated, with companies like Lyft, and now Uber, coming to the market at sky-high valuations.  If you invested in Uber a long time ago on the private market, then of course this is going to be your time to celebrate, your big payback time, but I just don’t see what real profits a new shareholder in Uber is going to make.  It is not a guaranteed winner like Amazon or Google is in my opinion.  If I was to consider buying shares in a company like Uber then I would look at a company that owns Uber shares, but is trading below its full value, such as Softbank.  The founder of Softbank bet on Bill Gates and Microsoft early, he bet on Steve Jobs before the iPhone came out, and he has a reputation for really picking out tomorrow’s winners and Softbank is currently trading at a lower value than the sum of its parts and that would be something I would consider, long ahead of Uber.  What are your thoughts on Uber as a share – not Uber as a service or Uber as an investment for a driver of yours to drive a car for you?

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 07-May-19   |  Permalink   |  41 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Election time and predictions

I have written in my blog before about the difference between municipal elections and national elections.  A lot of people, in particular DA supporters, always see positive signs in the provincial and local elections and then forecast that they will lead to bigger improvements for the DA in the national elections. 

That unfortunately misses the point and that is that a lot of traditional ANC supporters simply don’t bother to vote in smaller elections, but every 5 years when it is time for national elections, they do come out to vote.  A well known attorney in Pretoria wrote to me only 2 years ago saying that the Road Accident Benefit Scheme Bill would never become law because the DA would win the 2019 elections.  I wrote to him then saying that he was basically nuts if he ever thought that was going to happen and I have not heard from him on the subject recently.  I think polls in South Africa are wildly inaccurate, but I don’t see the DA making any gains and I would expect the EFF to make more gains than the DA. That does not mean that they will become the second biggest party in South Africa, but I just think that whatever percentage points they increase their support by will be bigger than the DA increase (or decrease).

I believe that this election is going to be the one that will make a lot of people, who otherwise have thought over the years that maybe in 10 or 15 years’ time the DA could lead, realise that the DA will never lead South Africa.  If their support does not increase in this election or worse, it goes backwards, it is back to the drawing board for the DA and back to the drawing board for opposition parties which may need to consider a new alliance or a new party. I don’t believe that the Democratic Alliance is ever going to gain power in South Africa and I think that this election will be the one that is going to show that the gap between the ANC and the Democratic Alliance is not reducing, but it might even in fact be increasing.  The bottom line is the DA simply has not been able to get much support past its base of largely white voters and it simply cannot ever win in South Africa until it can get past that base.  It also, like a lot of parties around the world, has an incredibly broad base ranging from progressive liberals who fought against apartheid in South Africa to National Party apartheid supporters and it is very hard for a political party to embrace all of those people within the same party and then have a black leader.  I don’t know the internal politics of the DA and I don’t know what problems the leader must face, but I do know that a lot of the people who supported apartheid, that supported the old South Africa are exactly the people that are currently involved in the DA.  The DA for example once stood for opposing capital punishment, but when it became more politically expedient to announce that they should have a referendum on capital punishment, then they did so.  That is not what they stood for when the DA was led by people who had been law professors at Wits University and quite honestly, I think the DA would be better off without the support of all the old die-hard apartheid supporters who should go and vote for their own party – another version of the Conservative Party or the National Party – and have their own 2% or 3% of the seats in Parliament rather than being a part of the DA. 

In any event, I don’t think DA supporters will like what I have written, but I am putting my thoughts down before the election and let’s see what happens – I say their days of increasing percentages are over.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 06-May-19   |  Permalink   |  38 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It

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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!
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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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