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SOUTH AFRICAN LAW REPORTS
Power cable injuries
The plaintiff suffered burns when he cycled into a low-hanging live power line under Eskom’s control. He instituted a claim for damages against Eskom, relying on delict and product liability under the Consumer Protection Act. But the Act’s purpose was to protect consumers, so there had to be a supplier/consumer relationship for strict liability to ensue. Eskom Holdings Ltd v Halstead-Cleak 2017 (1) SA 333 (SCA)
Admission as attorney
In his application for admission as an attorney, applicant disclosed that in 1994 he had committed a robbery, but that it had been for a political aim, and that he had applied for amnesty for it. Concerned about his explanation, the court had requested the applicant to supplement his papers, and had also asked the Cape Law Society to appear to give its view. The society had filed an affidavit endorsing the application but had not participated further in the proceedings. This had caused the court to request the Eastern Cape Society of Advocates to appear in its stead. Ex parte Mdyogolo 2017 (1) SA 432 (ECG)
Costs in Road Accident Fund matters
In a claim against the Road Accident Fund the court was presented with a draft order settling the merits of the action and postponing the issue of quantum sine die. The agreement provided that the RAF would be liable for costs to date, including the costs of counsel and (unidentified) medico-legal experts ‘who assessed and filed medico-legal reports on behalf of the plaintiff’. The court condemned the practice of asking for costs before evidence on quantum had been heard. Mbatha v Road Accident Fund 2017 (1) SA 442 (GJ)
SOUTH AFRICAN CRIMINAL LAW REPORTS
It is rare that a complainant in a rape case would motivate for a lenient sentence to be imposed on an accused in exchange for financial compensation. The sentence on a rape conviction was suspended on condition that the accused paid the victim R100 000 in instalments. But was restorative justice appropriate in rape cases? S v Seedat 2017 (1) SACR 141 (SCA)
Although the appellant was arrested within a few hours of the rape, the trial only got under way a year later, and then dragged on with numerous prosecutors and defence representatives entering and exiting the case. Some of the postponements were totally unjustified and amounted to an abuse of process. The prosecution was conducted incompetently and amounted to dereliction of duty, leading to the acquittal of the appellant. Numerous aspects were not properly investigated, resulting in many unanswered questions. Those culpable ought to account to their superiors. S v Steward 2017 (1) SACR 156 (NCK)
The appellant was charged with sexual assault in that he had slapped the buttocks of the female complainant and made sexual remarks to her. He was charged in the alternative with common assault. The magistrate convicted him of crimen injuria, holding that this was a competent verdict, as all the essential elements of the offence were included in the original charge against him. But the state had not given the appellant notice of its intention to rely on crimen injuria, by applying to have the charge-sheet amended. S v Van Ieperen 2017 (1) SACR 226 (WCC)
NAMIBIAN LAW REPORTSNo more delict for adultery
The legal convictions of the community no longer found it reasonable to impose delictual liability on adultery. Whilst the changing societal norms were represented by a softening in the attitude towards adultery, the action was incompatible with the constitutional values of equality of men and women in marriage and rights to freedom and security of the person, privacy and freedom of association. JS v LC and Another 2016 (4) NR 939 (SC)
Cross-border arrest unlawful
The appellant was arrested by Namibian agents on the territory of Botswana. That arrest amounted to the exercise of a sovereign act by Namibia in the territory of Botswana, and it mattered not that it was sanctioned by the Botswana authorities. The Namibian authorities unlawfully performed a sovereign act of arrest in violation of international law. S v Munuma and Others 2016 (4) NR 954 (SC)
Mentally fit to stand trial?
The accused was charged with murder and referred for a psychiatric enquiry into his mental state. The state challenged the findings of the state psychiatrist who found the accused was not fit to stand trial due to a neurocognitive disorder. After reviewing further psychiatric reports, the court found that he was capable of understanding the proceedings so as to make a proper defence, and also capable of appreciating the wrongfulness of his acts, and acted in accordance with an appreciation of the wrongfulness of his actions. S v Thomas and Another 2016 (4) NR 1154 (HC)
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SOUTH AFRICAN LAW REPORTS
TABLE OF CASES
ESKOM HOLDINGS LTD v HALSTEAD-CLEAK (SCA)
LEWIS JA, WILLIS JA, SCHOEMAN AJA, FOURIE AJA and MAKGOKA AJA
Consumer protection - Supplier—Strict liability—Unsafe or defective goods—Ambit of liability—Not extending to electricity supplier if plaintiff not consumer vis-à-vis it—Plaintiff injured by low-hanging Eskom power line while cycling—No supplier/consumer relationship—Eskom not liable—Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008, s 61.
Electricity - Supply—Liability of Eskom for injuries sustained as result of supply to person who is not in supplier/consumer relationship with Eskom.
GN v JN (SCA)
MPATI AP, SERITI JA, PETSE JA, SWAIN JA and MAKGOKA AJA
Marriage- Divorce—Proprietary rights—Pension benefits—Non-member spouse’s share—Parties married in community of property—Court decreeing divorce not making order declaring pension interest of member spouse to form part of joint estate—Whether in circumstances non-member spouse entitled to pension interest of member spouse—Pension interest of member by operation of law vesting in joint estate, to which parties entitled as at date of divorce—Divorce Act 70 of 1979, ss 7(7)(a) and (8).
HELEN SUZMAN FOUNDATION v JUDICIAL SERVICE COMMISSION AND OTHERS (SCA)
MAYA DP, MAJIEDT JA, MBHA JA, DAMBUZA JA and FOURIE AJA
Judge - Appointment—Judicial Service Commission—Selection process—Review—Record on review—Extent of record—Claim of confidentiality—Confidentiality considerations warranting non-disclosure of Judicial Service Commission’s private deliberations on judicial appointments—Such deliberations not forming part of record on review—Uniform Rules of Court, rule 53(1)(b).
Review - Procedure—Record on review—Extent of record—Claim of confidentiality—Confidentiality considerations warranting non-disclosure of private deliberations on judicial appointments by Judicial Service Commission—Such deliberations not forming part of record on review—Uniform Rules of Court, rule 53(1)(b).
AFRIFORUM AND ANOTHER v PIENAAR (WCC)
Defamation - Defences—Fair comment—Social media postings that during ‘rape culture’ awareness campaign first applicant’s supporters ‘shouted rape threats’ at campaigners, and that second applicant had ‘use[d]’ rape to intimidate campaigner’—Reasonable reader would understand comments in context, and within such context comments were fair—Politically charged nature of event entitling commentator to some latitude in describing it—Comments constituted exercise of constitutional right to freedom of expression.
Media - Social media—Defamation—Remedies—Interim interdict restraining further social media postings of allegedly defamatory comments pending action for defamation—Requirements for interim interdict not met—Application dismissed.
CHAPELGATE PROPERTIES 1022 CC v UNLAWFUL OCCUPIERS OF ERF 644 KEW AND ANOTHER (GJ)
Land - Unlawful occupation—Eviction—Statutory eviction—Illegal foreigners—Whether eligible for temporary emergency accommodation—Order that provision of accommodation conditional on illegal foreigners regularising status—Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act 19 of 1998, s 4(12); Immigration Act 13 of 2002, s 1.
EX PARTE MDYOGOLO (ECG)
PLASKET J and BESHE J
Attorney - Admission and enrolment—Application for—Criminal conviction—Approach to be taken by Law Society.
MBATHA v ROAD ACCIDENT FUND (GJ)
Motor vehicle accident - Compensation—Claim against Road Accident Fund—Costs—Draft order seeking costs for lawyers and experts after merits settled but trial on quantum postponed—No experts heard and their evidence not before court—Court condemning practice of asking for costs before evidence on quantum heard—Ordering costs to be costs in cause.
SPAR GROUP LTD v FIRSTRAND BANK LTD AND ANOTHER (GP)
DS FOURIE J
Banking - Duty of bank in respect of deposits attached by third party—Wholesale supplier (third party) operating customer’s businesses subsequent to attaching them in terms of notarial bond—Customer withdrawing funds from bank accounts it operated connected with businesses—Supplier claiming to be entitled to such funds, and that bank should have prevented withdrawals—Whether bank under legal duty to prevent pure economic loss to supplier where bank knew that supplier true owner of funds.
Banking - Relationship between bank and client—Rights of bank in respect of money in client’s account—Wholesale supplier operating customer’s business after attaching it under notarial bond—Customer’s bank setting off business proceeds deposited in relevant account against overdraft indebtedness—Bank entitled to do so, its not being party to agreement with its client accountholder (customer) to warehouse funds deposited into account on behalf of a third party.
SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL ROADS AGENCY LTD v CAPE TOWN CITY (SCA)
NAVSA JA, CACHALIA JA, WALLIS JA, PETSE JA and MOCUMIE JA
2016 AUGUST 16; SEPTEMBER 22
Road - Toll road—Declaration of national road as toll road—Legality—Failure to comply with formalities—No proper resolution by Sanral to apply for ministerial approval of toll road—No foundation for its approval by minister—Declaration of toll road set aside on review despite lateness of application—South African National Roads Agency Limited and National Roads Act 7 of 1998, ss 27(1) and 27(4).
Administrative law - Administrative action—Review—Application—Delay in bringing application—Condonation—Delay unreasonable but interests of justice requiring granting of condonation.
Constitutional law - Constitution—Foundational values—Principle of legality—Applying to both administrative and executive acts.
MINISTER OF WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND ANOTHER v REALLY USEFUL INVESTMENTS 219 (PTY) LTD AND ANOTHER (SCA)
NAVSA JA, WALLIS JA, DAMBUZA JA, MOCUMIE JA and DLODLO AJA
Environmental law - Protection of the environment—Control of activities detrimental to environment—Compensation for loss in terms of s 34 of ECA—Whether available to landowner for loss resulting from steps taken as per directive in terms of s 31A of ECA—Since s 31A was a regulatory provision to prevent environmental harm, statutory compensation claim not available—Environment Conservation Act 73 of 1989, ss 31A and 34.
Environmental law - Protection of the environment—Compensation for loss in terms of s 34 of ECA—Statutory provisions providing for limitation of liability not applicable thereto— Environment Conservation Act 73 of 1989, ss 34 and 37; National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998, s 49.
TRANSNET SOC LTD v TOTAL SOUTH AFRICA (PTY) LTD AND ANOTHER (SCA)
LEWIS JA, THERON JA, ZONDI JA, SCHOEMAN AJA and MAKGOKA AJA
Minerals and petroleum - Petroleum—Tariffs payable for transportation of crude oil—Setting and approval—Contract pertaining to tariff entered into with Transnet under previous legislative regime governing conveyance of crude oil—Contract affording discount to petroleum supplier—Whether still enforceable despite subsequent change in legislative regime, and establishment of new regulatory body tasked with setting and approving tariffs—Relevant legislation entitling Transnet, as licensee, to allow discount—Not amounting to discrimination under Act where differentiation based on sound reasons—Application of principle that new legislation presumed not to interfere with vested rights—Transnet bound by contract—Petroleum Pipelines Act 60 of 2003, ss 21 and 28.
FIRSTRAND BANK LTD v KRUGER AND OTHERS (GJ)
Practice - Applications and motions—Unopposed motions—Affidavits—Requirement that deponent have personal knowledge of facts—Extent to which hearsay could be admitted—Unopposed application by credit grantor to enforce debt based on credit agreement to which National Credit Act 34 of 2005 applying—Persons from whom founding and supplementary affidavits required, and evidence required to be set out—Law of Evidence Amendment Act 45 of 1988, s 3(1)(c).
Evidence - Hearsay—When admissible—In unopposed application by credit grantor to enforce debt based on credit agreement to which National Credit Act 34 of 2005 applying—Persons from whom founding and supplementary affidavits required, and evidence required to be set out—Law of Evidence Amendment Act 45 of 1988, s 3(1)(c).
WINGATE-PEARSE v COMMISSIONER, SOUTH AFRICAN REVENUE SERVICE (SCA)
LEWIS JA, CACHALIA JA, TSHIQI JA, THERON JA and WALLIS JA
Revenue - Income tax—Appeal—Against ‘decision’ of tax court—Interlocutory order not ‘decision’ and therefore not appealable—Tax Administration Act 28 of 2011, ss 129 and 133(1).
SOUTH AFRICAN REVENUE SERVICE v COMMISSION FOR CONCILIATION, MEDIATION AND ARBITRATION AND OTHERS (CC)
MOGOENG CJ, NKABINDE ADCJ, CAMERON J, FRONEMAN J, JAFTA J, KHAMPEPE J, MADLANGA J, MBHA AJ, MHLANTLA J, MUSI AJ and ZONDO J
Labour law - Dismissal—Racist statement—White employee referring to African employee as ‘kaffir’—Whether continued employment relationship intolerable—Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995, s 193(2)(b).
PRIMEDIA (PTY) LTD AND OTHERS v SPEAKER OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY AND OTHERS (SCA)
LEWIS JA, CACHALIA JA, TSHIQI JA, SWAIN JA and ZONDI JA
Constitutional law - Constitution—Foundational values—Rule of law—Open justice—Right to open Parliament—Nature of—Test for reasonableness of its limitation—Unreasonable limitation imposed by Parliament’s rules and policy limiting broadcasting of unparliamentary conduct and grave disorder in Parliament—Constitution, ss 59(1)(b) and 72(1)(b).
Parliament - Proceedings—Broadcasting—Limitations on broadcasting of unparliamentary conduct and grave disorder—Parliament’s rules and policy limiting broadcasting of unparliamentary conduct and grave disorder in Parliament violated public’s right to open Parliament and were therefore unconstitutional and unlawful—Constitution, ss 59(1)(b) and 72(1)(b).
Parliament - Proceedings—Policing—Presiding officer’s permission for security-services members to perform policing function—Lawfulness of disruption by security services, without presiding officer’s permission, of cell-phone signal in Parliament during State of the Nation Address—Unlawful in circumstances of present case, where policing function affecting parliamentary communications—Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act 4 of 2004, s 4(1).
CAPE TOWN CITY AND OTHERS v KOTZÉ (WCC)
Evidence - Medical evidence—Second medical examination—Criteria to assist court in exercising its discretion to order—Uniform Rules of Court, rule 36(5).
MASSTORES (PTY) LTD v PICK N PAY RETAILERS (PTY) LTD (CC)
NKABINDE ADCJ, FRONEMAN J, JAFTA J, KHAMPEPE J, MADLANGA J, MBHA AJ, MHLANTLA J, MUSI AJ and ZONDO J
Delict - Specific forms—Interference with contractual relationship—Deprivation of contractual rights—Wrongfulness—When presumed—Only when there is both deprivation and simultaneous usurpation of right—If only deprivation proved, then wrongfulness to be positively established by plaintiff.
Delict - Specific forms—Interference with contractual relationship—Nature of protected interest—Must be universally enforceable—No legal duty on third parties not to infringe contractually derived exclusive trading rights—Interdict refused where applicant sought to rely on contractual interest to restrict competition—Applicant should have enforced right at origin, ie in contract.
Competition - Unlawful competition—Interference with contractual relationship—Extension of delict—Protection of exclusive trading rights—Third parties in general having no obligation to respect exclusive trading rights conferred by contracts they were not party to—To import obligation would stifle competition—Court refusing to extend delict.
LAWYERS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS v MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY AND OTHERS (CC)
MOGOENG CJ, NKABINDE ADCJ, CAMERON J, FRONEMAN J, JAFTA J, KHAMPEPE J, MADLANGA J, MHLANTLA J, MUSI AJ and ZONDO J
Costs - Constitutional litigation—General costs rule in constitutional litigation—High Court’s discretion to make adverse costs orders against private litigant so as to prevent abuse of process—Where High Court exercising its discretion judicially and on correct principle, no basis for interference therewith on appeal.
SOUTH AFRICAN CRIMINAL LAW REPORTS
TABLE OF CASES
S v SEEDAT (SCA)
TSHIQI JA, SERITI JA, SALDULKER JA, MATHOPO JA and FOURIE AJA
Rape - Sentence—Restorative justice in terms of provisions of s 297(1) of Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977—Inappropriate in rape case.
Appeal - By Director of Public Prosecutions—Against sentence imposed by provincial or local division on appeal occasioned by error on question of law—Such appeal competent in terms of provisions of s 311 of Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977.
S v STEWARD (NCK)
KGOMO JP, OLIVIER J and PHATSHOANE J
Prosecution - Conduct of—Rape trial in regional court—Prosecution conducted incompetently and amounting to dereliction of duty, leading to acquittal of appellant—Numerous aspects not properly investigated, resulting in many unanswered questions—Those culpable ought to account to their superiors.
Evidence - Alibi—Proper treatment of by police, prosecutor and presiding officers—Need by all role players to familiarise themselves with proper treatment of alibi.
S v BARENDS (NCK)
KGOMO JP and MATLAPENG AJ
Trial - Record of proceedings—Lost, destroyed or incomplete—Record reconstructed but no copy of judgment available—Court could, in giving directions for reconstruction, ask magistrate to simply give reasons for judgment.
Evidence - Trial-within-a-trial—When necessary—Not required when state witness deviates from written statement—Proper procedure set out.
WICKHAM v MAGISTRATE, STELLENBOSCH AND OTHERS (CC)
MOGOENG CJ, NKABINDE ADCJ, CAMERON J, FRONEMAN J, JAFTA J, KHAMPEPE J, MADLANGA J, MHLANTLA J, MUSI AJ and ZONDO J
Sentence - Victim—Rights of victim—Right to participate in plea-and-sentence agreement—Extent of right not including grant of standing, nor unqualified right to give evidence or hand up papers, nor right to be heard on demand.
S v BYLEVELD (NWM)
Prosecution - Authorisation of by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)—Section 252A(5)(b) of Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977—Prosecution of agent or informer conducting covert operations—Requirement that prosecution be authorised not only applicable to operations authorised by DPP in terms of s 252A(2)(a), but even where agent may have acted outside of mandate—That indictment signed by Deputy DPP not justifying inference that DPP had authorised prosecution.
S v VAN IEPEREN (WCC)
ALLIE J and BINNS-WARD J
Crimen injuria - What constitutes—Whether competent verdict on charge of sexual assault.
S v PARKINS (WCC)
HENNEY J and SMUTS AJ
Jurisdiction - Res judicata—Requirements for—Whether issue estoppel to be accepted in criminal law—Court not deciding, as not appropriate case.
Evidence - Hearsay—Weight to be attached to—Deceased, after having been shot, telling police sergeant (who knew both deceased and accused) that accused had shot him, giving his nickname and first name—Evidence corroborated by ballistic evidence—Hearsay evidence sufficient to convict accused of murder.
THE NAMIBIAN LAW REPORTS 2016 (4)
TABLE OF CASES
SIMANA v AGRIBANK OF NAMIBIA (SC)
SHIVUTE CJ, DAMASEB DCJ and MAINGA JA
Labour law - Arbitration—Non-compliance with rule 5(1)—Respondent raising non-compliance for first time by way of point in limine in Labour Court—Non-compliance with rule 5(1) not resulting in nullity of referral—In light of conclusion that rule 5(1) complied with, misdirection by court a quo—Appeal succeeded—Rules Relating to the Conduct of Conciliation and Arbitration before the Labour Commissioner, rule 5(1).
KAMAHERE AND OTHERS v GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA AND OTHERS (SC)
SHIVUTE CJ, MAINGA JA and SMUTS JA
Criminal procedure - Sentence—Life imprisonment—Parole—Sentences imposed under Prisons Act 8 of 1959—Minimum period of incarceration 20 years—Prisoners entitled to apply for parole after serving 10 years of sentence—Order 18.104.22.168 issued under Prison Regulation 148 promulgated in 1965 as amended—Prisoners retained rights after repeal of 1959 Act and regulations—Interpretation of Laws Proclamation 37 of 1920, s 11(2)(c).
Criminal procedure - Sentence—Life imprisonment—Parole—Sentences imposed under Prisons Act 17 of 1998—Act repealed 1959 Act and regulations published thereunder—No provision for minimum incarceration period in 1998 Act—1998 Act repealed by Correctional Services Act 9 of 2012 with minimum incarceration period of 25 years—Provisions of Act 9 of 2012 applicable to prisoners whose life sentences were imposed under Prisons Act 17 of 1998.
JS v LC AND ANOTHER (SC)
SHIVUTE CJ, MAINGA JA and SMUTS JA
Appeal - New ground on appeal—Mero motu raising of by court—Issue identified on appeal for first time—Duty of courts to develop common law—Providing guidance and certainty on legal issues incumbent on court.
Marriage - Adultery—Marital privilege—Wife’s evidence against husband competent—Privilege could not be invoked against calling of witness—Wife could not be compelled to testify against husband—Constitution, art 12(1)(f).
Marriage - Adultery—Common law delictual action for adultery—Action fundamentally inconsistent with constitutional values of equality in marriage, human dignity and privacy—Action has lost its social and moral substratum and was not sustainable—Action abolished.
S v MUNUMA AND OTHERS (SC)
SHIVUTE CJ, DAMASEB DCJ, SMUTS JA, CHOMBA AJA and MOKGORO AJA
Court - Jurisdiction—High Court—Seventh appellant arrested in Botswana by Namibian Police—Unlawful sovereign act of arrest in violation of international law—Special plea in terms of s 106(1)(f) of Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 upheld.
Court - Jurisdiction—High Court—Appellants brought back from Botswana—Seven appellants handed over by Botswana officials to Namibian officials on Namibian border post—Accused deported from Botswana for violating refugee status conditions—Presence of accused accordingly not procured unlawfully—Appeal of seven remaining appellants dismissed.
Criminal procedure - Evidence—Hearsay—Admissibility—Rule not offended if statement of non-witness repeated in court as proof of fact that it was made—Evidence admissible—Assertions explained conduct of Namibian officials and negated assertions of improper conduct in receiving appellants.
S v KAPITANGO AND OTHERS (NLD)
Maintenance - Order—Appeal against—Citation of parties in appeal—State not party to proceedings—State, including presiding magistrate should not be cited as respondents in appeals—Mothers or guardians of minors should be cited as respondents, being persons against whom appeals were noted—Failure to cite mother or guardian of minors depriving them of right to be heard, rendering proceedings nullity—Maintenance Act 9 of 2003, s 47(1)–(3).
S v GASES (HC)
SIBOLEKA J and USIKU J
Criminal procedure - Plea—Guilty—Defence disclosed during sentencing procedure—Plea of not guilty should have been entered in terms of s 113 of Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977—Failure to enter plea of not guilty serious misdirection—Conviction and sentence set aside.
NOWASES AND OTHERS v EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH IN THE REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA (ELCRN) AND OTHERS (HC)
NAMIBIA TRAINING AUTHORITY v NANGOLO-RUKORO AND ANOTHER (LC)
S v VAN ZYL AND OTHERS (HC)
JHOFF J and SHIVUTE J
School and school board - Corporal punishment—Infliction of corporal punishment in private schools—Corporal punishment prohibited by s 56(1) of Education Act 16 of 2001—Prohibition applicable to all schools—Legislature intended altering common-law position in respect of corporal punishment administered by teachers in any school—Bodily infringements normally unlawful—Consent to bodily injury contra bonos mores—Education Act 16 of 2001, s 82.
Statute - Interpretation—Education Act 16 of 2001, ss 56(1), (2) and 82—Words should be given ordinary grammatical meaning—Section 56(2) enacted to cover conduct of teachers employed by private schools—Wording of s 82 clear and unambiguous—Act applicable to all schools—Different interpretation leading to absurdity that learners enrolled at state schools protected against invasive punishment and those enrolled at private schools not.
Criminal law - Assault—Mens rea—Knowledge of unlawfulness—Onus on state of proving teachers knew law forbade corporal punishment and knew such punishment constituted crime—Where accused unaware of unlawfulness of his or her conduct such unawareness excluded required intention.
TM-S v NAMIBIA ESTATE AGENTS BOARD AND ANOTHER (SC)
SHIVUTE CJ, DAMASEB DCJ and CHOMBA AJA
MINISTER OF FINANCE v MERLUS SEAFOOD PROCESSORS (PTY) LTD (SC)
MARITZ JA, MAINGA JA and MTAMBANENGWE AJA
WYSS AND ANOTHER NO v HUNGAMO AND OTHERS (HC)
Constitutional law - Legislation—Constitutionality of—Close Corporations Act 26 of 1988, s 35—No violation of deceased’s rights under art 16 of Constitution during his lifetime proved—Deceased estate not legal person and neither it nor executor had constitutional rights under art 16—Section 35 not unconstitutional.
Administration of estates - Executor—Estate assets—Vesting of ownership of assets in executor—Sole purpose of vesting—Winding up and distributing estate assets to beneficiaries—Executor’s right in respect of estate’s property merely possessory and temporary and not exclusive as envisaged in art 16 of Constitution—Executor had no obligation or legal right of transferring specific property to ab intestatio heir—Executor had duty of realising estate and of distributing residue to heirs—Intestate heir not vested with dominium of member’s interest in close corporation—Intestate heir acquired a personal right against executor for transfer of right or equivalent value thereof.
CHINA HARBOUR ENGINEERING CO LTD v ERONGO QUARRY AND CIVIL WORKS (PTY) LTD AND ANOTHER (HC)
Spoliation - Mandament van spolie—When available—Applicant must prove peaceful and undisturbed de facto possession at time of deprivation of possession—Applicant had right of access and use of quarry site and equipment—Applicant was physically present at quarry and had physical control over equipment on site—Respondent abruptly deprived applicant of such rights—Respondent not at liberty to take law into own hands—Order granted.
ANHUI FOREIGN ECONOMIC CONSTRUCTION (GROUP) CORP LTD v MINISTER OF WORKS AND TRANSPORT AND OTHERS (HC)
Administrative law - Decisions of functionary—Legality of—Minister of Works and Transport exercising power in terms of s 9(1)(b) of Airports Company Act 25 of 1998—Jurisdictional facts prescribed by s 9(1) and (5) necessary prerequisite for exercising such power—Jurisdictional facts absent—Exercise of power in terms of s 9(1)(b) invalid.
Administrative law - Decisions of functionary—Legality of—Minister of Works and Transport vested with discretionary power of giving directions in terms of s 9 of Airports Company Act 25 of 1998—Minister acting on instructions of President—President usurping power of minister—Failure of minister of acting according to law constituting contravention of principle of legality—Minister’s decision set aside.
S v KAMBINDU (HC)
SIBOLEKA J and USIKU J
Criminal law - Theft—Sentence—Minimum sentence—Motor Vehicle Theft Act 12 of 1999 as amended—First offender convicted of motor vehicle theft where commission of offence involved violence or threat of violence using firearm—Prescribed minimum imprisonment for period not less than 30 years without option of fine—Four years’ imprisonment sentence substituted with 30 years’ imprisonment without option of fine.
HAILULU v DIRECTOR, ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION AND OTHERS (SC)
MAINGA JA, O’REGAN AJA and MOKGORO AJA
Statute - Interpretation—Anti-Corruption Act 8 of 2003, ss 18(1)(b) and 18(2) —Commission ‘must’ do as stipulated by peremptory provisions of s 18(1) and ‘may’ do as stipulated in permissive provisions of s 18(2)—Decision in terms of s 18(1)(b) taken before investigation commenced—Subsection 18(2) not obliging commission to consider all factors listed in section in every case—Test remained whether ‘an investigation in relation to the allegation is warranted on reasonable grounds’—Reasonable grounds existed—Appeal dismissed.
MAKANDO v DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE FOR LEGAL PRACTITIONERS AND OTHERS (SC)
CHOMBA AJA, O’REGAN AJA and MOKGORO AJA
Constitutional law - Constitution—Purpose of art 18—Providing protection to public—Aggrieved person has recourse to court—Statutory functions performed in public interest—Disciplinary Committee established by s 34 of Legal Practitioners Act 15 of 1995—Administrative body within meaning of art 18—Ensuring fair and transparent process for investigating and determining complaints against legal practitioners—Committee’s functions disciplinary and attracting duty of acting fairly, reasonably and lawfully.
Legal practitioner - Misconduct—Disciplinary procedure—Institutional bias—Section 35 procedure enhancing public confidence in profession by providing fair procedure for handling of complaints against legal practitioners—Procedure taking care of protecting interests of both public and legal practitioner—Informed observer would not entertain reasonable apprehension of bias in relation to proceedings of Disciplinary Committee—Legal Practitioners Act 15 of 1995, s 35.
Legal practitioner - Misconduct—Disciplinary procedure—Court’s jurisdiction—High Court and Supreme Court have inherent jurisdiction of supervising legal profession in public interest—Court’s authority for making appropriate order in terms of its inherent jurisdiction not dependent on standing of applicant in court a quo.
S v THOMAS AND ANOTHER (HC)
Criminal procedure - Mental state of accused—Enquiry in terms of s 77(1) and s 78(2) of Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977—Section 79(1)(b) invoked—No prescribed procedure in Act for manner or duration of enquiry—Manner and duration of enquiry within discretion of psychiatrist—Psychiatrist opinion based on own observations assisted by psychologist report and that of supporting staff—Objection to admissibility of psychologist report dismissed—Report relevant to psychiatrist’s evidence.
Criminal procedure - Mental state of accused—Criminal capacity—Law presumed accused of sound mental health—Onus on accused of showing otherwise—Accused failing to adduce evidence or invoking provisions of s 79(1)(b)(iii) of Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977—Accused fit to stand trial, capable of appreciating wrongfulness of his actions and of acting in accordance with appreciation of wrongfulness thereof.
MEGA POWER CENTRE CC t/a TALISMAN PLANT AND TOOL HIRE v TALISMAN FRANCHISE OPERATIONS (PTY) LTD AND OTHERS (HC)
Intellectual property - Passing-off—What constitutes—Reputation associated with name ‘Talisman’—Applicant had onus of proving ‘Talisman’ distinctive of applicant’s goods and services, that descriptive word ‘Talisman’ was associated by public with applicant’s business only and that respondent’s use of ‘Talisman’ was calculated to deceive public—Words ‘Talisman’ and ‘Hire’ not fancy or inventive—Words commonly used in English language—Applicant failing to adduce evidence to discharge onus—Application dismissed.
WESTCOAST FISHING PROPERTIES v GENDEV FISH PROCESSORS LTD AND ANOTHER (SC)
DAMASEB DCJ, HOFF AJA and O’REGAN AJA
Arbitration - Arbitration agreement—Private arbitration—Misrepresentation by person representing appellant—Person not admitted legal practitioner—Fundamental distinction between court and private arbitration proceedings—Private arbitration consensual private process—Appellant represented by duly admitted advocates in arbitration—Proceedings fair—Appellant not prejudiced by charlatan’s conduct—Arbitration agreement, proceedings and award not null and void—Appeal dismissed.
KJ v CJ (HC)
VAN WYK AJ
Marriage - Divorce—Foreign divorce order—Order determining status of parties—Foreign divorce order not required to be made order of court in Namibia—Order would serve no purpose.
Marriage - Divorce—Proprietary rights—Foreign divorce order obtained in America inclusive of award of specific matrimonial assets situated in America—Division of matrimonial estate linked to dissolution of marriage—Selection of property claimed on dissolution—Proprietary claims res judicata—Party could not subsequently claim division of joint estate—Exceptions upheld.
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