Q&A – 15 August 2022
Uncle wants his gift back
During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic my uncle, while in hospital and inhaling by aid of machines, gave me a valuable watch as a gift with words “Your gift. Take care of my children. I am dying”. Fortunately, he recovered and now wants his watch back. I have already started showing off the watch to everyone and don’t want to give the watch back. It also suits my wrist better than my uncles. What should I do?
Unfortunately we have bad news for you.
When a gift is made in contemplation of death, such a gift may be resumed by a giver. A person may dispose, by gift made by contemplation of death, of any moveable property which he could dispose of by a Will. A gift is said to be made in contemplation of death where a man who is ill and expects to die shortly of illness, delivers to another the possession of any moveable property to keep as a gift in case the donor dies of that illness. The donation doesn’t take effect if the donor recovers from illness. We advise you to give the watch back to your uncle as he gave it as a gift while contemplating death of COVID-19. Of course, he can still gift it to you but that is his decision!
Land survey on my land
My house is about three hundred metres from a highway and also extends from my house to that highway. A large portion of the land is stony without crops. Last week I received a notice from a government road agency informing me that in a lapse of thirty days the agency will be carrying out a survey for construction of a feeder road and that they will quarry gravels from my land and construct a passage through my land for carrying this activity. Is this not contrary to the laws?
The agency is operating within the ambit of the Road Act, No. 13 of 2007 (the Act). The Act allows the road authority or an authorised officer or surveyor, after consultation with relevant authorities, at all reasonable times and with proper assistants, to enter upon the land owned by any person for the purpose of ascertaining whether it is advisable for the public interest to construct a road on or over such land and for that purpose to run trial lines, make surveys and fix posts, stone, mark or object on such land. However, before entering the owner’s land, the road authority, authorised officer or surveyor should give at least 14 day’s notice in writing of its intention to do so. Thus, in your case, the road agency by giving you a thirty day’s notice has fulfilled the requirement of the law.
As regards to taking gravel from your land and paving a passage through it, the Act under section 19(1) gives powers to the road authority, with necessary vehicles and equipment after consultation with relevant authorities, to enter upon the land owned by any person in any place not less than 50 metres from any dwelling-house, and on, through and over such land construct a passageway for such vehicles, and may collect any stones, sand, earth, gravel or other material which may be required for the purpose of opening, making or repairing of any public road in the vicinity. Provided the quarrying of gravel and construction of a passage are taking place beyond 50 metres from your dwelling-house, the road agency is justified to undertake the activities.
Child employed in supermarket
In my area there is a friend who owns a mini supermarket and has approached me to seek a consent for my child aged fifteen years to work for him in that supermarket. He wants my child to assist him in data entry on the computer and conduct regular stock-taking. While contemplating giving consent, a legal officer working with a certain trade union warned me that it is illegal for a child under eighteen years of age to be employed like this. Please guide.
The law does not absolutely bar employment of a child under the age of 18 years. The employment and labour relations law allows employment of a child of 14 years and above. That leniency, however, goes with conditions. It is stated that a child of 14 years or above may only be employed to do light work, which is not likely to be harmful to the child’s health and development and that kind of work should not prejudice the child’s attendance at school. Allowed also is participation in vocational orientation or training programmes approved by the competent authority or the child’s capacity to benefit from the instruction received. A child who is still attending school is not allowed to work in any establishment in excess of 3 hours per day. The law further states that a child of 14 years and above who is on leave, has completed his studies, or is not in school for any justifiable reason, may be employed to work in an establishment for not more than 6 hours per day, provided it is not during school hours.
Besides the above conditions, a child is not allowed or permitted to work for more than 3 consecutive hours, without at least, an hour rest. Prohibited also is working overtime or between 8PM and 6AM. As in your case the child will be working in a supermarket, there is a restriction also on a load which a child can carry. A child of 14 up to 16 years is not allowed or permitted to carry any load weighing more than 15 kilograms while a child of above 16 years is not allowed or permitted to carry any load weighing more than 20 kilograms.
Based on the provisions of the law above, the advice by the legal officer that a child under the age of 18 is not allowed to be employed is incorrect. We don’t see any harm for your child to work in a supermarket for data entry and regular stock-taking as he/she is above 14 years of age and is not in school. It is for the owner of the supermarket to ensure safety, compensate your child, and permit him/her to work within the parameters allowed by the law.