Your Written Contract Should Cover Everything – No Oral Evidence Allowed!

Your Written Contract Should Cover Everything – No Oral Evidence Allowed!

Here’s another warning from our courts to make sure that all your contracts are properly drawn to reflect both accurately and fully what you have agreed to. The problem with leaving anything out – or agreeing to something that isn’t then fully recorded in your contract – is a principle in our law known as “the rule of parol evidence”. A recent SCA (Supreme Court of Appeal) decision in Mike Ness Agencies CC t/a Promech Boreholes v Lourensford Fruit Company (Pty) Ltd (922/2018) [2019] ZASCA 159 illustrates the rule in action, and the facts will resonate with the many farmers,…
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Beware the Building Deadlines When Buying-to-Build

Beware the Building Deadlines When Buying-to-Build

The case of Walker and Another v Cilantro Residential Estate Homeowners Association (A3067/16) [2016] ZAGPJHC 299 is yet another warning from our courts to take seriously the building deadlines commonly imposed on buyers of plots in residential estates. Failure to comply with them could expose you to heavy fines, recurring penalties and even the risk of losing your plot altogether. A Home Owners Association (HOA) imposed “double levy” penalties totalling R105k on the owners of a plot when they failed to start development of their house before the deadline. Taken to court, the owners challenged the validity of the penalties on…
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Suing an Insolvent Debtor – Can You Recover from his Trust?

Suing an Insolvent Debtor – Can You Recover from his Trust?

Your debtor owes you a fortune, but when his estate is sequestrated there is nothing in his own name. However you find out that he is trustee of a wealthy family trust with lots of assets that you think are really his – can you recover from his trust? The answer is yes, you can, but only in certain circumstances, and only by choosing the right line of attack. A recent Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) case illustrates. A Ponzi scheme, a suicide, and R11m worth of missing cattle A former farmer and cattle dealer committed suicide, leaving debts of…
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Facebook Defamation – The Truth is not Enough!

Facebook Defamation – The Truth is not Enough!

Pretend for a moment that you are engaged in a bitter dispute – perhaps it’s a fight over money, a family feud or a messy divorce, a disaffected employee or a vengeful neighbour. You decide to resort to Social Media “to tell the truth” about your nemesis. You feel totally safe doing so – after all, our Constitution protects our rights to free speech, the Internet is a bastion of Freedom of Information, nothing said online is “real”, and anyway who can object to you telling the truth? Wrong! A recent High Court judgment in Garbade v Jan Van Niekerk…
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It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt

It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt

In a recent decision handed down by the Honorable Judge Kollapen in the Gauteng Division of the High Court of South Africa on 10 September 2015 (BJ Strydom v M W P Strecker and Another), the Court considered the extent of the legal duty on property owners / occupants in ensuring the safety of those visiting their property. The case arose due to a devastating twist of events during a social visit between the plaintiff, his then-wife, their two minor children and the defendants at the defendants’ house. One of plaintiffs’ children, referred to as “B”, had a near-drowning experience…
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