The Supreme Court of Appeal today (24 November 2006) held that the phrase ‘Land Bank valuation’ in a will did not require the Land Bank itself to value the property concerned but meant only that the property was to be valued according to the criteria that are used by the Land Bank when valuing property.
The dispute concerned the meaning of a condition in the will of the parents of two brothers. A farm had been bequeathed to one of the brothers on condition that if he wished to sell the farm he was first to offer it for sale to his brother at its ‘Land Bank valuation’. When the Land Bank was requested to value the farm it declined to do so. The brother concerned then applied to the High Court at Pretoria for an order declaring the condition to be invalid on the grounds that it was not capable of fulfillment. The High Court dismissed the application.
On appeal the SCA held that the condition did not require the Land Bank itself to value the farm. It required only that the farm was to be offered for sale at the value that would be attributed to the farm by a valuer applying the valuation criteria that are used by the Land Bank when it values property. The condition was accordingly capable of fulfillment and the High Court was correct in dismissing the application.