Firearm Legislation South Africa

In South Africa, the Firearms Control Act 60 of 2000 regulates the ownership of firearms by civilians. Ownership of a firearm is conditional on a competency test and several other factors, including background checking of the applicant, inspection of an owner's premises, and licensing of the weapon by the police introduced in July 2004. The process is currently undergoing review, as the police are at present, not able to adequately or within reasonable time, process either competency certification, new licenses or renewal of existing licenses. Minimum waiting period used to exceed 2 years from date of application. The Central Firearms Registry implemented a turnaround strategy that has significantly improved the processing period of new licenses. The maximum time allowed to process a license application is now 90 days.

Antenuptial Contracts

by Duncan Warner

Under South African law, if you marry without an Antenuptial or Pre-nuptial Contract, then you are married in community of property. Marriage in community of property means that all your assets are joined together and both of you control it together. This is not altogether bad as both parties have to discuss and agree how their money is to be spent or saved and, one spouse cannot bind their joint estate as surety for a third party without the consent of the other spouse.

More sophisticated couples normally prefer to control their own goods and sign an Antenuptial Contract (before they get married of course) agreeing that they will each look after their own estate and will not be responsible for the debts or outgoings of their loved one. This also means that if one of the parties goes bankrupt, this does not affect the estate of the other party which stays independent.

It was found that, as is usual in most marriages, when the couple are blessed with children, one spouse's career path (historically that of the woman) is interrupted as they take care of the young ones. This means that, if the marriage terminates through divorce (a marriage can only terminate through death or divorce and happily only 30% terminate in divorce), the one spouse has the money and the other has the children with a great need for the money; this often leads to acrimonious fights through the courts. It is also unfair that both parties work equally hard but only one is paid money while the other gets the more valuable relationships.

In 1984 the Matrimonial Property Act provided that, unless it was especially excluded, an accrual system would apply to everyone who concluded an Antenuptial Contract. The accrual system simply means that, at the termination of the marriage (divorce or death), whoever has less assets can claim enough from the other party to make sure they both have the same amount.

At the start of the marriage the parties can agree to exclude some assets or their value from the accrual; this is because that party acquired or built up their estate before they joined together as partners. Normally excluded are also any inheritance, gift from the other party and personal damages that one party suffers. We choose to include all the provisions rather than refer to the Act as we don't know where the parties will be when the marriage terminates and it would be inconvenient to get a South African law expert to explain the law in Outer Mongoli.

Once the Contract is signed before a Notary it is registered by the Registrar of Deeds, microfilmed and the original returned to the parties. The Marriage Officer only needs a letter from the Notary confirming the Contract, not the contract itself, which means it can be signed a few minutes before the “I do” is spoken – although it is best to discuss and sign at least a few days before the wedding.

Wills and Estates

South African inheritance law is covered by three parts: The Administration of Estates Act 1965, which regulates the disposal of deceased estates in South Africa. The Wills Act South Africa 1953. The Intestate Succession Act 1987, which is used in instances where the deceased did not leave a will.

Wills and Estate Planning. They give you the ability to distribute your estate, choose your heirs, appoint guardianship, and give your most precious belongings to your favorite people. But it's important to keep in mind that a last will is a part of an estate plan, not an entire estate plan.

Each page of the Will, including the last page, must be signed by the testator. The Will must also be signed by two competent witnesses. A person will qualify to be a competent witness if s/he is 14 (fourteen) years of age or older.

If the Deceased had no Will – Intestate. If one dies without a will, or if the will is found to be invalid, the estate is to be administered in terms of the Intestate Succession Act, Act 81 of 1987. These rules only apply if the deceased was domiciled in South Africa at the time of death.