LETTER: Reporting on Ingonyama Trust case was wrong

We wish to set the record straight with regard to your article since we were not given an opportunity to comment before it was published (“Ingonyama Trust’s appeal court bid over rent is thrown out,” August 24).

The Pietermaritzburg High Court did indeed rule on the matter between the Ingonyama Trust and the Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution and granted judgment in favour of the council and the Rural Women’s Movement in June 2021. In its ruling the court ordered Ingonyama Trust and the trust board to cancel all residential leases it had concluded, and ordered that all monies collected in respect of these leases be refunded to the lessees.

The following month an application for leave to appeal against the judgment was submitted to the Pietermaritzburg High Court. Parallel to this application there was an application for justices Madondo and the late Mnguni to recuse themselves from the matter as they were conflicted. The court granted the trust’s application for leave to appeal on the main matter pertaining to the leases, and dismissed the application for the recusal of the judges.

On June 30 2022 a two-fold application was filed with the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), the first relating to the main judgment, which was granted on the issue of leases, and the second to the recusal of the two justices from adjudicating on the matter. The matter was adjudicated by the SCA judges on paper and no oral evidence was delivered by the interested parties. The SCA dismissed the application for recusal of the justices on August 17. It did not dismiss the leases matter as has been widely reported.

It is unprecedented that the Ingonyama Trust only heard about this decision of the SCA through the media, and no formal communiqué was sent by the registrar of the SCA. The main appeal in this matter is going ahead as the pleading process is ongoing and papers are being presented by both parties to the SCA at present.

Simpiwe Mxakaza
Ingonyama Trust

This article first appeared in Business Day on 29 August 2022.

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