SA HC | ‘Plascon-Evans Rule’ could not resolve the disputed facts; application referred to trial

South Africa High Court, Free State Division, Bloemfontein: V.M. Morobane, AJ. referred the application to trial as the facts were not capable of being resolved.

The facts stated by both the parties on affidavits were in dispute. The respondent stated that he is the owner of the vehicles and the operating licenses. The applicant sought an order to compel the respondent to transfer documents to his name. The respondent against the relief sought, filed an affidavit six days late for which he applied for condonation of delay.

Counsel for the applicant, N.W. Phalatsi contended that a receiver was appointed to divide the estate between the applicant and his former wife after divorce. The vehicles in question were not disclosed to the receiver. It was submitted that the applicant is a police officer with the South African Police Service and has a running taxi business since 2002. The applicant being a police officer should not have engaged in any business. Therefore, he entered into a verbal agreement with the respondent and made him the full member of the taxi business without making him the owner of the vehicles.

The respondent contended that he is the registered owner of the vehicles and had entered into an agreement for partnership into the business.

The Court observed that both the parties have their own version of the agreement entered into. According to the Plascon-Evans rule, in motion proceedings, if disputed facts arise on the affidavits, a final order can be granted only if the facts admitted of the applicant and statement submitted by the respondent, justify such order. Applying the rule and common-sense approach as laid down in Soffiantini v. Mould, 1956 (4) SA 150 (EDLD) at 154G, the dispute could not be resolved. The Court ordered that the application be referred to trial.[Phelabadane Gert Ledidi v. Joseph Mzonjani Lididi, Case no. 5503 of 2018, decided on 07-03-2019]

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