Louis Podbielski Case Law Reports

MM v TM [2021] ZALMPPHC 84

The husband sought a divorce; division of the joint estate and a 50 % share of the wife’s pension interest in the Government Employees Pension Fund. The wife counterclaimed, seeking an order that the husband partially forfeit his share, specifically the pension benefit, due to his substantial misconduct and the circumstances that gave rise to the breakdown of the marriage. The High Court found against her, so she appealed to the full bench.

Kganyago J discusses the husband’s affair with one of their employees; the allegations around the business and the use of money; that the wife had given the husband permission to continue having extra marital affairs until he got tired of it; and that by condoning the husband’s actions for nine years, she had waived her right to rely on it. The court notes also at [46] that the wife contributed to the demise of the close corporation that was the husband’s source of income.
The appeal is dismissed. (Muller J and Naude AJ concurred.)

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Stewarts and Lloyds v Solid Steel Construction [2021] A3070-2021 (GJ)

Stewarts secured default judgment against Solid Steel for R146,032 that was outstanding for goods sold and delivered. The magistrate granted judgment for the capital sum as costs, but granted interest at his own discretion at 8,75% from date of demand. The interest sought by Stewarts was the contractually agreed rate of 2% per month (24% per annum) a tempore morae, being the date the debt became overdue for payment.

Maier-Frawley J discusses the principle of pacta sunt servanda; the clause in the agreement as to interest on overdue amounts; from when Solid Steel was regarded to be in mora; whether a demand was necessary to place the debtor in mora; the National Credit Act and the Prescribed Rate of Interest Act; the idea that the 2% per month interest constituted a penalty; and the costs of the appeal.

The appeal is upheld with costs on the scale as between attorney and client.
The order of the court below in respect of interest is set aside and replaced with the following order:
“Interest at the rate of 2% per month on the reducing capital balance a tempore morae as from 1 September 2019 to date of final payment, both days inclusive.”
(Sutherland DJP concurred.)

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Independent Newspapers v Mangena [2021] A297-2019 (GP)

The newspapers published an article about a metro councillor and his inappropriate relationship with a schoolgirl. Unfortunately, the photo that accompanied the article was not of the councillor, but of Mr Mangena. The photo was a cropped version taken off a Community Facebook page that incorrectly identified Mr Mangena as being the councillor. Mr Mangena was successful in his claim for defamation at the High Court and was awarded R120,000. The newspapers appealed to the full bench.

Van der Westhuizen J discusses that Mr Mangena is of a high moral standing in his community and that the community would not have believed the article; that people close to him knew that the picture was obviously a mistake; that the photo was removed and a correction and apology published; the circumstances of the online search for a photo of the councillor; the steps taken to verify that the photo was correct; that the content of the article was correct; and the defence of lack of animus iniuriandi.
The appeal is upheld and the order of the court a quo replaced with one dismissing the action.
(Tolmay J and Basson J concurred.)

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Louis Podbielski spent ten years at Juta working on various law reports and has read many thousands of judgments for case selection. He has considerable experience in writing flynotes and headnotes, compiling case annotations, and in refining subject indexes.​ During his four years at LexisNexis he was involved with legal data, analytics and in developing various legal tech solutions. He now runs his own case law service Louis Case Law

You can read his full CV and more about Louis on his LinkedIn profile where he shares interesting and recent cases.


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