Home insurance is there to protect one of the most important assets you own. And when done properly, it will allow you to insure both the structure of your home and the life that is lived within its four walls.

Home insurance can be divided into three sections: Building Insurance, Home Contents Insurance, and Personal Valuables Insurance. The purpose of Building Insurance is to cover only the structure of your property, and Home Contents Insurance covers items such as appliances and furniture that stay within the home, while Personal Valuables Insurance covers the household items that travel with you out of your home, such as cell phones and laptops.

To ensure that your home insurance policy covers you as best as possible, you should understand your cover fully and assess its accuracy over time as your property changes.

Check your liability limit

It’s important that you should be covered realistically, which is why comprehensive coverage is always advisable. When you consider the costs of rebuilding your property or replacing its contents, the numbers can quickly add up, and you need to be sure that you are covered adequately should you need it.

Cover for natural occurrences

While damage caused by natural disasters, such as hurricanes and tornadoes, is usually covered by insurance policies, other natural occurrences may be excluded. When you live near areas that are prone to natural influences, such as a riverbank or known fault line, you need to find insurance that will cover you should damages arise due to these natural causes.

Update it as you go

Your policy is based on the contents of your home, and should this change, your policy should also be updated accordingly to reflect its latest status. The presence of a piano or original piece of art in your home, for instance, can increase your instalment substantially. So, if you decide to sell an item of substantial financial worth, make sure to update your policy to avoid paying for cover of an item you no longer own. When you add something, on the other hand, updating your policy is just as important, as major items (especially high-value ones) will not be covered if they are not explicitly included in your policy.

Specify your structures

Knowing which structures are covered by your policy can save you a lot of hassle and financial turmoil. Many insurance policies cover only the main dwelling structure, the home itself, and do not cover any damages to, for instance, garages, swimming pools, or lapas. Keeping your policy simple may save on instalments and may be prudent when the other structures on your property are not of high value. But when the additional structures on your property are of high value, it is usually advisable to include them in your policy.

While most home insurance policies are rather comprehensive in their cover scope, there are a few items that are most often not covered by insurers. Coverage is often limited/not granted in the following instances:

  • Most damages caused by pets.
  • Appliances used in B&B-use rooms are not covered by household insurance.
  • Theft due to the homeowner’s negligence, such as leaving a door unlocked.
  • Where damage is the result of poor maintenance.
  • Damage caused by natural occurrences that could be avoided, such as roots and weeds.
  • Any damages of theft occurring when a property has been left unoccupied for a significantly long period of time.

Home insurance may not be something you look forward to utilising, but the old proverb is highly applicable here: it’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. If you’re looking for new home insurance or want to update yours to be more comprehensive, make sure to contact us for the advice you need.


‘The best interests of a child’ is a concept deeply entrenched in our legal system – especially since the new constitutional dispensation. Section 28(2) of the Constitution provides that “A child’s best interests are of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child”. The best interest of a child is similarly of paramount importance in the adoption procedure.

Adoption is the process whereby someone, over the age of 18, applies to court to be deemed as a child’s parent. The importance of recognizing the child’s best interests in the adoption procedure is acknowledged in the Children’s Act 38 of 2005 (“the Act”). The Children’s Act enunciates the purpose of adoption as to protect and nurture children by providing a safe, healthy environment with positive support, and to promote the goals of permanency planning by connecting children to safe and nurturing family relationships.

If you are considering adopting, your first port of call should be to approach an adoption agency. The agency will screen you and ascertain whether there are any children available for adoption. If the agency is satisfied with the screening results, they will put you on a Register of Adoptable Children and Adoptive Parents. The agency will then call you to come into their offices if there are any children up for adoption.

A social worker must conduct an interview with the purpose of compiling a report containing information on whether the child can be adopted, the eligibility of the prospective parents, medical information in relation to the child and whether the adoption is in the child’s best interest. The sheriff of the court must then serve a notice on the person(s) required to give consent to the adoption.

The following person(s) must give consent to the adoption:

  • Each parent of the child and/or every legal guardian must give their consent.
  • If the child is older than ten years, they must also give consent.
  • If the child is younger than 10 years of age, their consent will only be required if they have the maturity and understanding to consent to the adoption.
  • Consent must be reduced to writing, signed by the person giving the consent and verified by the Children’s Court.

A person who gave consent to an adoption, however, has up to sixty days to withdraw their consent after they have given it. There are certain circumstances when consent is not required.

The application for the adoption of a child can be made in the Children’s Court and must be accompanied by the social worker’s report, a letter from the provincial head of Social Development, and the applicable consent forms. The presiding officer of the Children’s Court must take certain factors into account before considering whether to allow the adoption. Importantly, the presiding officer must consider whether adoption is in the best interests of the child.

Section 242 of the Act states the following legal consequences of adoption:

  • Full parental responsibilities and rights in respect of the adopted child are conferred upon the adoptive parent;
  • The adoptive parent’s surname is conferred upon adopted child, except when otherwise provided in the adoption order;
  • Any marriage and/or sexual intercourse between the adopted child and any other person which would have been prohibited had the child been the adoptive parent’s biological child, is not permitted.
  • Any rights to property that the adopted child acquired before the adoption is not affected.
  • The parental responsibilities and rights of the parent of the adopted child is not automatically terminated when an adoption order is granted in favour of the spouse or permanent domestic life partner of that parent.

An adopted child must for all purposes be regarded as the child of the adoptive parent and an adoptive parent must for all purposes be regarded as the parent of the adopted child. The legal consequences would therefore be the same as that between a biological parent and child.


Employees often consider to immediately terminate their employment relationship due to a new opportunity arising or to avoid responsibility when faced with disciplinary procedures. Employment relationships are governed by an employment agreement or legal statutes, and in most cases both. If an employer and employee do not expressly agree on the notice period needed for either of them to terminate their relationship, section 37 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 75 of 1997 (the Act)  provides for minimum notice periods. But what happens when the employee does not follow the notice period in the employment agreement and resigns with immediate effect?

The Labour Appeal Court address this matter in Standard Bank of South Africa Limited v Nombulelo Cynthia Chiloane (2021) 4 BLLR 400 (LAC). In this matter, the employee was said to have cashed a cheque without following proper procedures. It later transpired that the cashed cheque was fraudulent, which caused the employer a loss of just under R30 000. The employee was given notice to attend a disciplinary hearing. On the day that the employee received the notice to attend the disciplinary hearing, she handed her superior her letter of resignation, stating that she was tendering her “resignation with immediate effect”.

Standard Bank proceeded with the employee’s disciplinary hearing during her contractual notice period, but the employee argued that her resignation immediately terminated the employment relationship, and that Standard Bank was therefore not entitled to proceed with her disciplinary hearing. The chairperson of the disciplinary hearing rejected this argument and proceeded with the hearing. The employee and her attorney then left the disciplinary hearing, which proceeded in her absence.

The employee was ultimately found guilty of the misconduct and dismissed. After becoming aware of the dismissal, the employee launched an urgent application in the Labour Court to challenge the validity of the dismissal.

The Labour Court held that a resignation with immediate effect terminates the employment relationship immediately and Standard Bank was not permitted to hold the employee to her notice period. Accordingly, the Labour Court declared that the employee’s dismissal was null and void. Standard Bank, however, appealed the decision to the Labour Appeal Court.

The Labour Appeal Court held that if the contract provides for a notice period, the party that seeks to terminate the contract must give or serve the prescribed notice. A party’s failure to abide by their notice period thus amounts to a repudiation of the employment agreement. The Labour Appeal Court found that the employee’s reliance on her resignation being with immediate effect was not valid. Standard Bank was therefore within its rights to hold the employee to her notice period as prescribed in her employment agreement, and to proceed with her disciplinary hearing during that period.

What is important to note from this judgement is the fact that unless the employer releases the employee from his/her obligation in terms of the employment agreement, the employee will commit a breach of agreement. Accordingly, the employee can also be held liable for damages suffered by the employer.

Employees will also expose themselves to a poor reference for future opportunities.

Should the employer, however, decide to accept the short notice, even when it contradicts the prescribed notice period, there will be no obligation on the employer to pay the employee beyond the last day on which they worked.

Accordingly, it will be best for employees to revisit their employment agreements prior to tendering their resignation or committing to any other opportunity. However, should the need arise for short notice, employees will have to engage with their employers to see if a mutual agreement can be reached to accept the notice.

Reference List:

  • Standard Bank of South Africa Limited v Nombulelo Cynthia Chiloane (2021) 4 BLLR 400 (LAC)2021) 4 BLLR 400 (LAC).
  • Steenkamp & others v Edcon Ltd (National Union of Metalworkers of SA intervening (2016) 37 ILJ 564 (CC).
  • Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 75 of 1997.