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Most recent Litigation Articles posted

Mkhwebane cannot order constitutional change

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s recommendation to amend the Reserve Bank’s constitutional mandate had nothing to do with her investigation into the apartheid-era Bankorp ‘lifeboat’, and was only aimed at stripping the Bank of its powers to maintain price stability, the bank said yesterday, according to a Business Day report. Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago, applied to the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) to review and set aside sections of Mkhwebane’s report on the lifeline granted to Bankorp, which Absa subsequently acquired.


Embracing technology to promote justice

The judgment handed down by the SCA last week regarding the filming of Henri van Breda’s criminal trial is a significant one, writes Willem de Klerk, an experienced litigation attorney and Johannesburg-based media lawyer, in an analysis on the News24 site. He says it adds to a body of law developed in recent years that promotes the principle of open justice and finally closes the door on the blanket exclusion of cameras in court.


Eskom backed off R2.1bn fine to help Guptas

After driving Optimum Coal into business rescue last year, thereby endangering almost 2 000 jobs at the mine, Eskom suddenly reached a settlement that gave the Gupta family a 75% discount on the R2.1bn fine it had levied on the company at the time it was owned by global commodities trader Glencore. Business Day says in March this year, Eskom agreed to accept a R500m settlement for the non-performance penalties it had levied on Glencore.


Cancer suits could run to millions

The KZN Department of Health faces legal action from state cancer patients running into millions of rands following the recent finding it had violated their rights to care and treatment, says a Sunday Tribune report. ‘We are already seeing a spike in queries following the ruling and are consulting with some clients around this matter. The ruling against the department by the SA Human Rights Commission is precedent-setting even though it is yet to be tested in court,’ lawyer Ahmed Amod said.


Man's battle with bank falls flat

A man’s ambitious KZN High Court (Durban) bid to have Wesbank’s trading licences revoked, has fallen flat on its face, notes a report in The Mercury. Sivapragasen Naidu also wanted the SA Reserve Bank to ‘reprimand and enlighten Wesbank of their failure to comply with the Banking Code of Conduct, government regulatory Acts’ and for the court to order the bank to pay him a R4.6m counterclaim he lodged in 2011, following court action being instituted against him.


25% garnishee salary cap

The government plans to introduce a salary cap on the percentage that can be ‘attached’ by creditors using emolument attachment orders to collect debt, notes a BusinessLIVE report. The Courts of Law Amendment Bill proposes that no more than 25% of a debtor's salary can be attached, no matter how many attachment orders they may have against them.


Van Breda wins live-streaming battle

Murder-accused Henri van Breda has won his battle in the SCA to prohibit Media24 from live-streaming his trial, notes a News24 report. ‘The matter is remitted to the High Court for reconsideration in accordance with the principles set out in the judgment,’ the SCA ruled yesterday, ordering Media24 to pay Van Breda's costs.


Accused Ponzi scheme pastor's houses auctioned

Two posh mansions owned by a Cape Flats pastor accused of running a multi-million rand Ponzi scheme has gone under the hammer. According to a report on the IoL site, the five-bedroom Plattekloof house of Colin Davids, the director of Platinum Forex Group, was sold within 10 minutes at an auction held at the property in Melkhout Street. Bidding started at R2m and the highest bid received was a whopping R4.6m.


The Road Accident Fund

The Road Accident Fund is a state-supported insurance fund that provides cover to all road users in South Africa in the event of a road accident. If someone is injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident because one of the drivers was negligent, they or their loved ones can lodge a claim with the Road Accident Fund (RAF). This means that even if the driver of the car doesn't have insurance, people injured in the accident (or the loved ones of people killed in the accident) can get money from the fund to help pay medical expenses and to compensate for wages they may have lost as a result of the accident.


Disappointment at court decision on grants deductions

The Black Sash Trust says it is disappointed by the court’s decision to refuse its application for leave to appeal an earlier ruling which allowed Net1 to deduct money from the accounts of social grant beneficiaries, notes a report on the IoL site. In May, the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) ruled against the order by the Department of Social Development and Sassa to stop Net1 from allowing deductions from accounts of grant beneficiaries.


Judgment ends 20-year limit on sex offences

Allegations of sexual assault can be pursued at any time and are no longer restricted to 20 years‚ the Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg) ruled yesterday, according to a TimesLIVE report. Eight alleged victims of the late philanthropist Sidney Frankel‚ who accused him of assaulting them when they were children‚ have won their case to change the law that limited sexual offences other than rape to a prescription period of 20 years.


Johannesburg battles to re-home illegal tenants

The City of Johannesburg will not be able to meet the Constitutional Court’s requirement to provide alternative accommodation to people evicted from illegally occupied buildings, because it simply does not have enough space. According to a Mail & Guardian Online report, Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba said: ‘At the moment, we don’t have the capacity to accommodate people who would still be evicted.’


Appeal against farmers fixing roads allowed

The Eastern Cape High Court (Grahamstown) has granted the Eastern Cape Roads and Public Works Department leave to appeal a far-reaching judgment allowing farmers to fix their own damaged dirt roads and then bill the government, says a Daily Dispatch report. In March the court ordered the department to immediately begin implementing plans to repair and maintain its extensive and largely dysfunctional rural road network.


Court throws out bid to sue Catholic Church

Racist guesthouse owner Andre Slade’s attempt to sue the Roman Catholic Church – accusing them of blasphemy‚ perjury‚ plagiarism‚ murder and crimes against humanity – was swiftly jettisoned from the court roll yesterday, notes a TimesLIVE report. Judge Mokgere Masipa dismissed Slade’s legal challenge on the basis that the KZN High Court (Durban) does not have jurisdiction over the Vatican‚ and that the form of Slade’s affidavit was incorrect.


JSC studying SCA's Hlophe bias judgment

The JSC says it is studying the SCA judgment – first reported in Legalbrief Today last week – which linked the Western Cape High Court Judge President John Hlophe to a ‘reasonable apprehension’ of bias when ruling in favour of his personal lawyer in a multi-million lawsuit.


Highway billboard battle in High Court

The eThekwini Municipality says a massive billboard overlooking the N2 highway is a road safety hazard and it has taken its fight to the courts to have it torn down, notes a report in The Mercury. ‘The distracting effects of advertising create a hazard,’ the municipality’s chief legal adviser, Clement Xulu, said in papers filed in the KZN High Court (Durban).


ConCourt ruling on evictions welcomed by LRC

The Legal Resources Centre has welcomed a Constitutional Court judgment which has implications for the conduct of courts in future evictions of occupiers, says a TimesLIVE report. The centre represented the Poor Flat Dwellers Association‚ a non-profit organisation formed in 2009 to resist the exploitation of flat dwellers‚ as a friend of the court in the case in which the Constitutional Court held that courts have an obligation to consider all relevant considerations before ordering an eviction‚ in cases where an unlawful occupier has apparently consented to his removal.


Ads on cars scheme flop costs man his house

Albert Venter, the brains behind the ‘new car for only R699 per month’ scheme, is losing his Pretoria house after Standard Bank obtained judgment of R7.8m against him. According to a report in Rapport the property is up for sale. The scheme left thousands of motorists with problems when advertising revenue for advertisements placed on the cars was not forthcoming.


Bank's reliance on 'accelerator' clause dismissed

The Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) has refused to enforce an ‘accelerator’ clause in a home loan agreement based on a 2016 Constitutional Court judgment making it much more difficult for banks to take back the homes of defaulters, a Beeld report notes.


Bias claims raised against Hlophe

Controversial Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe is back in the spotlight following his contested handling of a High Court matter involving allegations of a multi-mi llion rand fraud. One side in the dispute claimed they had a ‘reasonable apprehension’ that the judge was biased against them. And the SCA has now set aside Hlophe’s disputed orders and findings, agreeing that, given his behaviour, this ‘apprehension’ was justified, notes leading legal writer Carmel Rickard in a report on the Legalbrief Today site.





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