Strange how the supposedly random allocation of cases shapes a judge’s public reputation. I’m thinking here in particular of Judge Mahomed Navsa of the Supreme Court of Appeal, but there are others in a similar position.
After sitting in several high-profile controversial cases and writing the judgment in those cases, Judge Navsa has taken considerable flak over the past few years.
Good bedtime reading for insomniacs, but the rest of us would first have to grab a strong cup of coffee. I’m talking about the Constitutional Court judgment in the Maccsand case that will be remembered for two reasons: for the important question it answered and for the important question it did not answer. The case, decided last week, deals with mining rights and whether a go-ahead from the Minister of Mineral Resources is all that’s required for potential miners to start lawful mining work.
The Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act seemed clear to minister Susan Shabangu: companies wanting to mine needed permission from her department only.
Thirst does strange things to people. In the case of Mandla Bushula, it provoked him to chase a mirage, taking legal action with a case in which his chances of winning were virtually zero.
Bushula, who lives in the Kwa-Ngquba locality, Voyizana administrative area, Sterkspruit, had what sounded like a really bad complaint – the supply of running water to his area was completely cut off by the Ukhahlamba district municipality.
Dorbyl's disgraced former executive director Edwin Vorster has been ordered to repay the company almost R43 million, money that the courts have found he effectively stole, mostly by way of “secret profits”.
Vorster lost his job at Dorbyl some years ago after the company discovered what he’d been up to during a period of unbundling.
Reference in a judgment delivered by Judge Jeremy Pickering this week sent me to the Rhodes law library to read up about what must surely be one of the most sensational stories in South African legal history.
It’s the 1884 case of Williams v Shaw, in which “the Very Rev Frederick Henry Williams, DD, clerk in Holy Orders and the colonial chaplain, rector and dean of St George’s, Grahamstown”, brought a defamation action against William Bunting Shaw, an “enrolled agent of the Grahamstown magistrate’s court”.