An apparently wealthy property owner, politically well-connected and a major player in Zimbabwe's guest accommodation industry, is in trouble with the Harare high court. That's because he has been doing all he can to make sure his 6 year old daughter does not get the maintenance the mother says she needs. The man - unnamed to protect the child's identity - 'divested himself of assets' to defeat the mother's claim for a maintenance increase. He formed a trust to which he donated all his income-generating properties. Though the child was listed as a beneficiary, the 'trustees' resolved at a board meeting that she would not receive maintenance 'to the disadvantage of other beneficiaries'. The trustees also decided that during the current year 'no beneficiary was to ... benefit from the trust, including the minor child'. According to the judges, the 'inescapable conclusion' from the facts was that the father formed the trust to ensure the child did not get maintenance. The problem of men who go to extraordinary lengths, including legal stratagems to avoid their financial responsibilities to wives and children, is not uncommon but rarely surfaces in court.
It is a common principle within South African company law that a company is managed by its board of directors (“Board”). The Board bears the responsibility for the functioning and management of the company and is ultimately accountable for the performance thereof. However, the Board’s collective responsibility does not exclude the individual responsibility and liability of each of the directors. Where the company performs poorly due to the dishonesty, recklessness or gross negligence of the Board, the individual directors may be held jointly and severally liable for breaching their fiduciary duties as contemplated in the Companies Act, 2008 (“Companies Act”), and for those individuals who are directors of State Owned Entities (“SOEs”), the Public Finance Management Act, 1999 (“PFMA”).
One of the most recognisable of Africa's Chief Justices - partly because of his height - Bart Katureebe, has retired on reaching 70, the mandatory age for judges to quit in Uganda. The former Chief Justice had a wide-ranging career before becoming a member of Uganda's Supreme Court, and his legacy includes introducing an electronic case management system for the country.
A full bench of Namibia’s high court has found certain of the country’s Covid-19 regulations unconstitutional and invalid. These include regulations aimed at preventing employers from dismissing staff or from forcing them to take leave during the pandemic. The decision made clear to the Namibian authorities that, even during an emergency situation like the present, the constitution must be respected. It also stressed that in a case such as this, the President is expected to sign an affidavit on his reasons for regulations: ‘reverence’ for his office cannot be an excuse not to do so.
Time limits on filing appeals and reviews can bring litigation to an abrupt end when they are not observed. But what is a court to do if it is not clear when the time limits actually start. The apex courts of two African jurisdictions have found themselves dealing with exactly this question – when do the days of a time limit begin to run? And the question was made even more complicated because the high courts in both countries had produced two contradictory positions from which the apex courts had to choose.