Louis Case Reports

CREDIT ACT AND REGISTRAR GRANTING DEFAULT JUDGMENT
Ramakuela v FirstRand Auto [2022] 4304-2019 (LP)

Mr Ramakuela bought a Jeep Grand Cherokee and concluded an instalment sale agreement, but defaulted and the bank issued summons after a notice in terms of s 129 of the National Credit Act. No appearance to defend was entered so the bank applied for default judgment. The registrar, not the court, granted the default judgment. Mr Ramakuela seeks rescission of the judgment, contending that s 130(3) of Act reserves the power to grant default judgment to the court.
Mangena AJ discusses the applicant’s reliance on the Constitutional Court case of Nkata v FirstRand Bank; and the cases in support of the proposition that the registrar is competent to grant default judgment arising out of an agreement subject to the National Credit Act.
The default judgment granted by the registrar is rescinded.

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UNMARRIED PARENTS AND THE FAMILY ADVOCATE
ST v BN and Minister of Justice [2022] 2020-26471 (GJ)

Applicant met a professional rugby player (respondent) in 2007 and they developed a romantic relationship. She followed him to France and they had two children. Their relationship ended in 2015 and she returned to South African with the children. A parenting plan provided for contact with the respondent. Applicant married her current husband in 2020 and they wished to relocate to Australia, which the respondent opposed. At issue was the amendment or setting aside of the parenting plan and the investigation by the Family Advocate.
Bezuidenhout AJ discusses the court’s entitlement to raise a constitutional issue mero motu. The court notes that parties who have never been civilly married require a court order for the Family Advocate to become involved, while a party who is divorcing or divorced can complete an annexure “B” form (Mediation in Certain Divorce Matters Act) to obtain an investigation by the Family Advocate. The arbitrary distinction occasioned by policy and/or the Act appears to be inconsistent with the Constitution and with the Children’s Act 38 of 2005.
The office of the Family Advocate is directed to urgently investigate whether it would be in the best interests of the minor children to relocate with the applicant to Canberra, Australia.
Section 4 of the Mediation in Certain Divorce Matters Act 24 of 1987 is declared to be inconsistent with the Constitution and invalid. A reading in is provided pending decision of the Constitutional Court.

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EVIDENCE AND SANCTION FOR SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Ekurhuleni Municipality v SALGBC [2022] JA17/2021 (LAC)

The complainant went to the licencing centre for her learner’s licence and reported that Mr Mabetoa had sexually harassed her both when she booked and when she came to do the test. At an internal disciplinary hearing, Mr Mabetoa was found to have committed two counts of sexual harassment and was dismissed. At the SALGBC the arbitrator took the view that the sanction of dismissal imposed was too harsh so this was replaced by a final written warning. The Labour Court found that the arbitrator had committed a misdirection in finding that the misconduct had occurred when there was a lack of explicit evidence about what transpired. It was found that the complainant’s evidence should have been rejected, with the only logical conclusion being Mr Mabetoa was not guilty of both charges.
Savage AJA discusses the delay in Mr Mabetoa’s cross-review; whether the rejection of the complainant’s evidence was warranted; the way in which the complainant reported the matter; the nature and seriousness of the misconduct; and the importance of sanction in cases of sexual misconduct.
The appeal is upheld and the arbitrator’s award set aside and replaced with one finding that the dismissal of Mr Mabetoa was substantively fair.
(Davis JA and Kubushi AJA agreed.)

“He made sexual remarks again, saying I look like I am nice in bed. He also looked at my address and said he will keep it in mind and come to my place. When I had to put my fingerprint on the learner’s certificate he rubbed my hand in a very uncomfortable way.”

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ABOUT THE EDITOR

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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