Over the years employers have often attempted to control the very existence and/or the duration of the employment relationship by peculiar contractual arrangements. Recent times have seen a repetition thereof, particularly as a result of the employee-friendly nature of the new Labour Relations Act (LRA) 66 of 1995. Two broad categories which illustrate the point can be identified: in one an attempt is made to replace the employment contract with a contract with an independent contractor, even though the true nature of the relationship between the parties essentially remains that of employer and employee. In the other the duration of the employment contract is formally limited to a specified period, or reliance is placed on the automatic expiry of the contract.
Foreigners have, since early 1995, been entitled to make investments in South Africa and repatriate the proceeds from the disposal of their South African assets without reference to the South African Reserve Bank (SARB). The SARB distinguishes between foreigners, on the one hand, and non-residents of South Africa who were formerly residents of South Africa, on the other. The assets of such former residents before they became non-residents of South Africa are designated 'blocked assets' under the control of an authorised dealer on behalf of the SARB.
Inasmuch as some attorneys are instrumental in assisting a growing number of South Africans to 'avoid' tax by means of perfectly legitimate tax-planning measures and, on some very exceptional occasions, in assisting a smaller number of South Africans in making off with their spoils to offshore destinations surreptitiously, I thought that the raging debate on the relaxation or total extirpation of exchange-control regulations - particularly in light of the Minister of Finance's recent budget speech in this regard - might be of more than passing interest to attorneys.