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File picture: Facebook

Prasa welcomes court's breach of services decision

By Chevon Booysen Time of article published Aug 7, 2020

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Cape Town – The Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) has welcomed the Supreme Court of Appeal’s (SCA) decision against Sbahle Fire Services relating to millions of rand for alleged breach of services.

The court upheld the SOE’s appeal that it was not liable to pay Sbahle Fire for services rendered from June 2010 to February 2012.

Sbahle Fire approached the high court in Pretoria to get Prasa to pay for fire and safety consultancy services for its R134million Mabopane Bridge Development Project, over the period June 2010 to August 2013.

In addition to the matter at hand, during October 2013, Prasa paid Sbahle an amount of R2034938 for fire consultancy services between June 2010 and November 2012.

Prasa then instituted a claim in reconvention, wherein it claimed the same amount back from the fire services company.

Prasa spokesperson Makhosini Mgitywa said after being ordered by the high court to pay Sbahle about R9m for “alleged additional services for safety rendered between 2010 and 2012” the rail agency appealed the ruling.

“When litigation was still ongoing, Sbahle submitted an invoice of about R2m for fire services. That invoice was paid by finance without any consultation with the legal team.

“When that payment was brought to our attention, a decision was taken to bring a claim of unjustified enrichment to say that payment was paid in the bona fide belief that it was due,” said Mgitywa.

According to court papers, a witness called by Sbahle, a “Mr Khuzwayo”, said Sbahle was employed to be in the project for 17 months and had to agree to a lump sum of R5.8m.

Acting Justice Nolwazi Mabindla-Boqwanama said: “Notably, the project commenced some seven months later than it was scheduled.

“Mr Khuzwayo confirmed that it was 53% complete when Sbahle left the site. Notwithstanding that, the full contractual amount was paid.

“The unsuccessful attempt to negotiate a further fee in relation to the safety consultancy services is, in my view, indicative of the fact that any amount above the fees agreed to in the contract would have had to be a subject of negotiations.

“It was not covered by the agreement as it stood.”

Attempts to obtain comment from Sbahle Fire Services were unsuccessful.

Cape Times

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