THE SUPREME COURT OF APPEAL
REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA

MEDIA STATEMENT – CASE HEARING IN SUPREME COURT OF APPEAL
 
Farocean Marine (Pty) Ltd v The Minister of Trade and Industry of the Republic of South Africa

Supreme Court of Appeal -614/2005 Hearing date: 09 November 2006
  Judgment date: 30 November 2006

General Export Incentive Scheme – Recovery of benefits unduly paid – Power of Minister to institute action – Prescription – When claim is due – ‘advance … by the State’ (s 11(b) Prescription Act 68 of 1969) - Knowledge of debt and exercise of reasonable care – Section 12(3) Prescription Act 68 of 1969


Media Summary of Judgment

The SCA today dismissed an appeal against a judgment and order of the Cape High Court disallowing two special pleas of the appellant, Farocean Marine (Pty) Ltd, against the claim of the Minister of Trade and Industry. The Minister had claimed repayment of benefits paid to Farocean Marine under the General Export Incentive Scheme. In dismissing the first special plea the SCA held that the Minister as head of the Department could institute the action even though the power to do so was given to the Director-General. The second special plea of prescription was dismissed the SCA holding that the Department did not and could not reasonably have had knowledge of the debt at the time of payment of the benefits.