First Rand Ltd t/a Rand Merchant Bank and Another v Diederick Arnoldus Scholtz N.O.

Supreme Court of Appeal -373/05 Hearing date: 24 August 2006
Judgment date: 11 September 2006

Mandement van spolie – statutory water rights – contractual use of pipeline – whether closure of pipeline spoliation

Media Summary of Judgment

1. The SCA today found that certain farmers making use of the Lower Blyde River Pipeline Network were not entitled to have delivery of water to them though the pipeline restored after their contracts with the Blyde River Water Utility Company for the conveyance of water came to an end.

2. The appellants appealed against the order of the Transvaal Provincial Division that they restore the supply of water to the farmers through the pipeline after the pipeline leading to the properties of the farmers was cut-off after midnight on 31 December 2004 when the contracts for the conveyance of water expired. In upholding the appeal the SCA held that the farmers were deprived only of their possession of an expired contractual right and that this dispossession did not entitle them to the immediate restoration of the position they had been in when their supply of water through the pipeline was terminated.