African National Congress v Ezulweni Investments (PTY) Limited (A5035/2021) [2022] ZAGPJHC 419

30th June 2022

African National Congress v Ezulweni Investments (PTY) Limited (A5035/2021) [2022] ZAGPJHC 419

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[1]             Ezulweni Investments (Pty) Ltd (Ezulweni), the respondent in this appeal, brought an application in the Gauteng Division of the High Court, Johannesburg, (the high court), in which it sought judgment against the African National Congress (ANC), the appellant, for payment of the sums of R100 050 000 and R2 415 000, together with interest on these amounts and costs of suit. These amounts were claimed by Ezulweni allegedly for services rendered and material supplied at the special instance and request of the ANC during 2019. Bhoola AJ granted the order sought and refused a subsequent application for leave to appeal, which leave to appeal to this court was ultimately granted by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) on 22 April 2021.

[2]             In issue in this appeal is whether the high court was correct in rejecting the ANC's defence to the claims based on the fact that, according to the ANC, the contract for the rendering of the services and the supply of material was invalid because of non-compliance with the requirements of the internal supply chain policy of the ANC. Put another way, the issue which requires adjudication in this appeal is simply whether there was in place a valid oral agreement between the ANC and Ezulweni in terms of and pursuant to which the ANC, during the period in the run-up to and during the 2019 national election, purchased from Ezulweni, which agreed to sell and supply to the ANC PVC banners, to be installed and later removed by them.

[3]             The ANC pleaded that no contract came into existence. It claimed its internal requirements for the conclusion of the contract in question were flouted. The internal requirements, so the ANC averred, are laid down in its Supply Chain Policy, which required that the provision of services in relation to the election was conditional on (1) approval by the elections committee, (2) approval by its Treasurer-General (TG), and (3) the issue of a purchase order. There was no compliance with these prescriptive requirements, which means, so the ANC argues, that a valid contract did not come into existence. In any event, so the ANC further argues, its contracting officials (Messrs Mabaso and Nkholise) had no authority to bind it.