Cloete murray and Another v Firstrand bank ltd t/a Wesbank [2015] ZASCA 39A

  • M Laubscher


The approach to the interpretation of statutes once again received attention in the recent case Cloete Murray and another v FirstRand Bank Ltd which was decided in the Supreme Court of Appeal. The court , in this matter, emphasized the fact that when it comes to the interpretation of statutes, the starting point should always be the specific language of the statute, ordinance or section. This should be used together with the context within which the statute, ordinance or section has been created , as well as the purpose or objective of the statute, ordinance or section , and the background within which the statute, ordinance or section has been created.If the language of the specific statute, ordinance or section reflects an inability to support the specific meaning that is being argued, the latter should not be accepted. Section 39 (2) of the Constitution can also only be used to support and foster the values of the Constitution during interpretation if in the process of interpretation it does not unnecessarily burden the language of the specific statute or section. Based on this approach the court rejected the appellants’ appeal for a wider interpretation of section 133 (1) of the Companies Act 71 of 2008 , and therefore found in favour of the Respondent.

KEYWORDS: language of provision as departure point in interpretation of statutes, together with context and purpose of provision; section 39(2) of Constitution; interpretation of section 133(1) of Companies Act; enforcement action and cancellation of an agreement; legal proceedings during business rescue practice.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-3781