In yet another high-profile personal costs order, the Land Claims Court has ruled that former minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane did not comply with a court order to provide a proper plan to redevelop Cape Town's District Six.
It found that she did not adhere to a November court ruling which ordered her to come up with a restitution plan.
District Six land claimants took Nkoana-Mashabane and her department to court after they missed their February deadline.
John Maytham gets comment from Chris Todd, head of the dispute resolution department at law firm, Bowmans.
The court is dealing with a situation where what was not complied with wasn't just an ordinary obligation that a minister or a public official has, it was an obligation imposed by a court order.— Chris Todd, Head of dispute resolution department - Bowmans
However, Todd does warn against slapping potentially ruinous personal cost orders on public officials who are acting in good faith as opposed to those deliberately abusing their office.
In those circumstances it would be considered quite harsh to impose the cost on them of effectively doing what they believe to be the best job possible for the government or in the public interest.— Chris Todd, Head of dispute resolution department - Bowmans
What I think courts are particularly reacting against, and perhaps they are reflecting public sentiment along these lines, is public officials who are quite happy to litigate over and over again... because someone else is always paying for it.— Chris Todd, Head of dispute resolution department - Bowmans
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