MAI-KAI REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT TRUST
BERNARD MAHARA MUTANGA
THE REGISTRAR OF DEEDS
HIGH COURT OF ZIMBABWE
HARARE, 1, 2, 18 & 19 September 2014, 9 October 2014,
16 December 2014 &11 February 2015
L Uriri, for the plaintiffs
T H Chitapi, for the defendants
MAFUSIRE J: This judgment was written without the benefit of the defendants’ closing submissions. I could not wait for ever. The trial, the commencement of which was in fits and starts owing to a myriad of excuses, finally concluded on 9 October 2014. The parties opted to make closing submissions in writing. A time table was agreed upon. The plaintiffs would submit their closing address by 13 October 2014. They did not. Counsel gave an excuse and promised to file it on the following day. He did not. On 2 December 2014 the defendants’ counsel complained about the non-filing of the plaintiffs’ address. It was only on 16 December 2014 that the plaintiffs’ closing address was finally filed. I waited for defendants’. It did not come. According to the original time table it was supposed to have been filed on 21 October 2014. On 2 February 2015 I caused the registrar to issue a reminder. There was no immediate reaction. I decided to get on with the judgment.
This case was a double sale situation. At this stage I use the phrase “double sale” in a non-legal sense, simply to denote that the immovable property in question was sold twice by the same person to two different parties. Whether or not there was a double sale in the legal sense is one of the issues I shall have to decide.
The immovable property which was at the centre of the dispute was a subdivision in one of the low density suburbs of Harare (“the property”). The plaintiffs, husband and wife, were the first buyers (“the first sale”). The second buyer was the third defendant (“the second sale”). The seller was the first defendant, a trust (hereafter referred to as “the trust” or “the seller” or “the developer”). The second defendant was both the founder or settlor and a trustee of the trust. The other trustees were not disclosed. The second defendant ran under the title managing director. He said it was wrong for the plaintiffs to have joined him to the action in his personal capacity because all what he had done had been on behalf of the trust. The plaintiffs dismissed that argument. They said at law a trust is not a juristic person. It is not a body corporate. In legal proceedings you sue the trustee or trustees. It was up the second defendant to disclose who his other co-trustees were. I shall come back to this aspect later on.
In substance the plaintiffs sought specific performance. To get it they had to get rid of other legal impediments. They were these. The property had now been registered in the name of the third defendant. She said she had been an innocent buyer. The plaintiffs disputed that. They accused her of having colluded with the second defendant to defraud them of the property. So they sought that the title deed in her name be cancelled. On the other hand, the second defendant said the trust had properly cancelled the first sale and that thereafter it had become free to conclude the second sale. The plaintiffs disputed that. So they sought an order declaring that their agreement, the first sale, be declared to be still subsisting.
By the time of the trial some of the peripheral disputes had fallen away, the parties having streamlined the issues. Those issues were agreed upon as follows:
- Was the first sale validly cancelled? The parties were agreed that, in terms of the first sale agreement, if the sale had validly been cancelled then the plaintiffs would be entitled to half the amount of the purchase price paid by the third defendant in the second sale. That amount was US$48 000-00. So half of it was US$24 000.
- If the first sale was not validly cancelled, the parties agreed that the situation would be a double sale proper. In that event the court would have to determine in whose favour, between the plaintiffs and the third defendant, did the balance of equities lie. The party in whose favour the balance of equities lay would be entitled to the property and the other party to damages against the seller. The quantum of such damages would be the average of the two valuations commissioned by the parties; one in the sum of US$112 000, and the other in the sum of US$88 500. Thus, such average would be US$100 250.
Most of the facts were common cause. In fact the parties filed a statement of agreed facts. Evidence was only led on the disputed areas.
But before I decree who gets what, I must first deal with the technical issue whether the second defendant was properly cited. This inevitably entails pronouncing on the legal status of a trust.
- Was the second defendant properly cited?
The second defendant was properly cited. Despite running under the title “managing director”, he was merely a trustee of the seller, the first defendant. That was common cause. It seems to me that such title was just a management convenience, the trust being the vehicle through which the second defendant was running his property development business.
It is trite that a trust is not a juristic person. It has no corporate personality. It has no existence separate from that of the trustees. A trust is no more than a legal arrangement through which one administers property for another or for some impersonal object: see HONORE The South African Law of Trusts; Greenberg v Greenberg’s Estate; Crundal Brothers v Lazarus; Gold Mining & Minerals Development Trust v Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation.
In terms of Order 2A r 8 of the Rules of this Court associates may sue or be sued in the name of their association. In terms of r 7, “association” includes a trust. “Associate” in relation to a trust, means a trustee. In my view, it must have been on account of these provisions that the second defendant did not, or could not, protest when the trust was cited as a stand-alone party. As an association he and his co-trustees could be sued in the name of the trust. There was nothing wrong with him being cited separately. In reality, the suit was against him and his co-trustees.
- Was the first sale validly cancelled?
- Plaintiffs’ case
Much of the dispute was on the aspect whether or not the first sale had been validly cancelled. The plaintiffs’ story was told by the first plaintiff and their witness, Mrs Dorothy Kaseke (“Mrs Kaseke”). It was this. He and his wife bought the property in terms of an agreement of sale dated 12 September 2003. The land was vacant. They meant to build a dream home. The purchase price was ZW$75 million. They paid it in full. Soon after payment they took occupation. This was with the consent and blessing of the second defendant. Among other things, he gave them a letter authorising water connection to the property. They built a two bedroomed cottage up to roof level. The building plan had been approved by the City of Harare on 25 October 2004. A copy was produced. Loads of bricks were piled on the edge of the property. They also installed a wooden cabin on the property for their gardener-cum-caretaker who looked after the property. During the rainy seasons they grew maize. These details were thrown in to refute the third’s defendant’s story that when she visited the property for viewing she had seen no sign of human occupation. She said other than the pile of bricks, she had seen no cottage, no cabin or any maize crop.
The first plaintiff said there was no further contact from the first or second defendants after the agreement of sale. The onus had been on them to offer transfer in accordance with clause 3 of the agreement of sale. That clause provided, among other things, that the plaintiffs would execute the transfer documents within fourteen days of being required to do so by the developer. He said no such invitation had been extended. They had waited for over seven years.
The first plaintiff asserted that the seller had not been in a position to pass transfer because it was yet to comply with the numerous conditions of the subdivision permit. These related to, among others, the installation of a water reticulation and sewerage disposal system; provision of culverts, construction of roads; et cetera.
The first plaintiff said they got to know that the property had already been sold and transferred to the third defendant only in May 2010. In June 2010 their gardener-cum-caretaker advised them of visits by several people to the property who were coming for pre-purchase inspections. He said when they investigated they discovered that the third defendant had taken transfer of the property on 12 April 2010 and that she was now herself re-selling it. They discovered that the trust had purported to cancel the first sale.
The first plaintiff said their gardener had given them an unsigned letter which had been dropped at the property. It was dated 22 June 2009. It was from the seller and addressed to his wife, the second plaintiff. The letter was produced in court. It commenced by quoting the clause in the agreement of sale that required the purchaser to pay all the rates and taxes on the property. It then advised that the developer, i.e. the trust, had paid the capital gains tax, the rates, and the endowment fees (hereafter referred to as “the taxes”) on behalf of the plaintiffs, totalling US$4 000, and that this had been done to expedite the transfer. The letter concluded by asking the plaintiffs to refund the money within fourteen days after which the developer would instruct its conveyancers to pass transfer to them. The address on the letter was the plaintiffs’ domicilium citandi et executandi in terms of the agreement of sale.
The first plaintiff said they had never received that letter. Their domicilium address was a property that they had sold to Mrs Kaseke. She had lived there with her family since 2006. They had an arrangement with Mrs Kaseke to pass on their mail to them. Mrs Kaseke had previously testified, and would still come to testify, that at no stage had she received any mail for the plaintiffs ever since she had taken occupation of that address.
Further investigations by the plaintiffs and or their attorneys established that on 7 May 2010, i.e. a month after the second sale and transfer of the property to the third defendant, the seller had obtained a default judgment in the magistrate’s court against the second plaintiff alone, purporting to cancel the first sale. The plaintiffs had proceeded to place a caveat on the property, rescind the default judgment and eventually have the magistrate’s court proceedings dismissed for want of prosecution.
In court, the first plaintiff was referred to another letter from the trust to the second plaintiff at the same domicilium address and dated 27 November 2009. That letter commenced by making reference to the previous one. It then proceeded as follows:
“We write with regret that you are in default of your obligations therefore the agreement entered between us have been cancelled, clauses 10, 11 and 14 of the agreement (sic). By copy of this letter we are advising our Legal Practitioners to take the necessary steps to give effect to cancellation.”
The first plaintiff’s attention was also brought to a tax invoice from a mail delivery agency called, Courier Connect. The invoice had details of several items allegedly delivered to a number of people, one of them “M. Dzokai”. The date was 27 November 2009. The second defendant said that the invoice was the proof of delivery of the letter of 27 November 2009 that had cancelled the first sale agreement. The first plaintiff denied that he or his wife had ever received that letter. He said the first time that they had seen the letter had been at the pre-trial conference.
The plaintiffs’ witness, Mrs Kaseke, testified that ever since 2006 when they had moved into the plaintiff’s previous residence, she and her family had continuously lived there. None of the members of her family had received any mail for the plaintiffs. In the magistrate’s court case, the return of service in respect of the action for cancellation by the trust had said that the summons had been served at that address on one Tapiwa, allegedly a cousin of the second plaintiff. Mrs Kaseke said she knew nobody by that name who had stayed with her at the property during that period, or any other. The first plaintiff said neither he nor his wife had a relative by that name either.
In summary, the plaintiffs’ evidence was that the first sale had never been properly cancelled. The purported cancellation alleged by the second defendant had not complied with the first sale agreement. That agreement had provided that if the purchasers fell in breach and remained in breach thirty days after a written notice sent by registered post, then the seller would be entitled to cancel and re-sell the property to someone else. The first plaintiff’s case was that not only had the seller failed to give the requisite thirty days’ notice to both him and his wife as joint purchasers, but also that the letters that the second defendant had relied upon had not even been sent by pre-paid registered post. Regarding the magistrate’s court proceedings, the first plaintiff’s case was that they were a confirmation that the sellers knew that they had not validly cancelled the first sale, and that all they wanted then was for a court to rubber stamp the fraud that they had already committed against him and his wife.
- Defendants’ case
The defendants’ case was told by the second and third defendants. The second defendant produced evidence that by 5 December 2002, i.e. less than 3 months after obtaining the subdivision permit, the seller had complied with all the conditions of the permit save for minor adjustments that the City of Harare had pointed out. He said the seller had been ready to offer transfer soon after they had complied with the conditions of the subdivision but that the plaintiffs had been in default.
The second defendant said when the plaintiffs’ case had started in this court he had obtained documents from the local authority that showed, among other things, that the plaintiffs had forged signatures to get approval for the building plans for their two-bedroomed cottage. He had never officially given the plaintiffs vacant occupation of the property.
The first sale agreement provided that the purchasers would be entitled to take vacant possession within fourteen days of “… the date of registration of the Agreement.” The second defendant said the common understanding between the parties had been that “… registration of the Agreement” meant registration of transfer. He said this had never been done.
Noting or implying that it was unreasonable for the plaintiffs to have waited for seven long years without as much as engaging him for transfer, the second defendant further pointed out that in terms of the first sale, only after the plaintiffs had fully complied with their monetary obligations would the conveyancers be instructed to offer them transfer. However, in spite of the seller having paid the taxes for them, and in spite of him having written to them seeking reimbursement, the plaintiffs had ignored or failed to comply. He had then taken steps to cancel the first sale. His evidence was that the notice letter and the subsequent cancellation one had properly been delivered at the plaintiffs’ domicilium address. In terms of the first sale, a notice delivered by hand was deemed to have been received within 12 hours of such delivery. Therefore, so the second defendant argued, the plaintiffs must be deemed to have received the letters within the 12 hours of delivery by Courier Connect.
The second defendant said that the cottage that the plaintiffs claimed to have built on the property had not been approved by the local authority. Furthermore, the structure had become derelict. The property itself had become neglected. Among other things, it was overgrown with grass. Other than the pile of bricks, there was no evidence of occupation. Following the cancellation of the first sale he had caused the property to be advertised for re-sale. It was the third defendant who had eventually bought it and got transfer. Even though their own cancellation as sellers had been proper, he had nevertheless gone on to seek confirmation from the magistrate’s courts.
The third defendant’s evidence was that at no stage prior to buying the property had she been aware of the first sale. She had seen an advert in the press and had driven to the site for viewing. Other than the pile of bricks that the estate agent had expressly told her about, she had seen nothing else to suggest that the property was occupied. In particular, she never saw the cottage or the wooden cabin. The place was overgrown with tall grass. There was no maize crop. There was nobody around on the day of her visit. She had just driven around the property and had been satisfied. She had not come out of her vehicle.
The third defendant further testified that after her inspection of the property she had contacted her husband. They firmed up on the decision to buy. For the purchase price, she obtained a loan from her employer, a bank. The second sale was on 7 April 2010. On 12 April 2010, i.e. five days later, transfer had been registered in her name.
In a nutshell, that was the evidence before me on which I had to decide whether or not the first sale had validly been cancelled.
The crucial question, in my view, is whether or not the alleged notice and cancellation letters dated 22 June 2009 and 27 November 2009 complied with the agreement of sale. All other issues are diversionary side shows. For example, it is curious that the plaintiffs would wait for seven years without as much as demanding transfer. Furthermore, the first plaintiff did not refute the second defendant’s allegations that he had forged signatures on the application for approval of the building plan for their two-bedroomed cottage.
Equally, given that by 2 December 2002 it had complied with virtually all the conditions of the subdivision permit, and technically, would have been in a position to pass transfer to any of the buyers of the subdivisions, including the plaintiffs, the seller had waited for a number of years before seeking reimbursement of those taxes that they had paid on behalf of the plaintiffs.
It is also equally curious that the third defendant, who had driven all the way to view the property, would simply make a cursory inspection from the comfort of her car and go back to expend US$48 0000 in buying it. It does not sound right. Conveniently, she did not see the two-bedroomed cottage or the cabin, let alone anyone who could have been staying at the property. Furthermore, the third defendant took transfer in a record time. Within a space of about five days she had concluded the second sale agreement and taken transfer of the property in her name.
But all the above are enquiries that lead to nowhere. Admittedly, they raise eye-brows. But they do not help decide whether or not the first sale was validly cancelled. They may be relevant on the question of the credibility of the witnesses. However, I do not see the matter as being one dependant on the credibility of witnesses on the crucial question whether or not the letters of notice and cancellation aforesaid complied with the agreement of sale. I am satisfied that the facts that are common cause on the point are sufficient to decide the issue.
In my view, there was no valid cancellation of the first sale. In my view, the sellers’ two letters in question failed to comply with the agreement of sale. There are a number of reasons. In terms of the first sale agreement the seller, as developer, could properly pay the taxes on behalf of the purchasers and properly seek to be refunded. And until the purchasers had fully complied with their monetary obligations, including, by parity of reasoning, the refund of those taxes, the seller would have had no obligation to tender transfer. So the seller having paid the taxes on behalf of the plaintiffs, naturally had to notify them and formally seek to be refunded. Clause 16 (b) of the agreement of sale read:
“Any notice to be given by either party in terms of this Agreement shall be in writing and addressed to the other party at its domicilium citandi et executandi chosen in paragraph (a) hereof or such alternative address in Zimbabwe as that party may from time to time specify in writing for such purpose. Any such notice shall be hand-delivered or sent by prepaid registered post to the address of the other party. A notice left by hand shall be deemed to have been received within 12 hours after it has been delivered and any notice sent by prepaid registered post shall be deemed to have been received 72 hours from time of posting provided that such period shall exclude Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays.”
At the hearing, none of the parties spent any time on the nature or proof of delivery of the first letter. I presume this was so because there simply was no evidence as to how and when that letter had been delivered. The invoice from Courier Connect dated 27 November 2009 was said to relate to the second letter which bore the same date as the invoice. Therefore, there was no proof of delivery of the first letter. It was the second defendant that alleged that he had sent or caused the letter to be delivered. The law says he who alleges must prove. The first plaintiff vehemently denied they had received the letter. He said the first time he and his wife had got wind of it was in May 2010 when their gardener-cum-caretaker had given them an unsigned copy. That evidence was consistent with the second plaintiff’s averments in her founding affidavit in January 2011 when she had sought rescission of judgment in the magistrate’s court. It seems to me that whoever had eventually decided to send a copy of that letter to the property must have been convinced that the plaintiffs had never received the original that allegedly had been sent to their domicilium address.
The other problem with the first letter was that it could hardly be construed as the notice of cancellation in terms of clause 9 of the sale agreement as the second defendant implied or insinuated. That clause provided that if the purchaser failed to comply with any of the terms and conditions of the agreement, and remained in default for thirty days after the dispatch of a written “registered” notice “… requiring such default to be remedied …” then the developer would be entitled to re-sell the property and refund the purchaser 50% of the purchase price, with the developer retaining the balance as rouwkoop, and regain vacant possession of the property. Despite the imprecision of words used, I have no doubt that by “… written registered notice …” the parties meant pre-paid registered post in terms of clause 16(b).
The seller’s first letter aforesaid was plainly a notice of the list and quantum of the taxes that it had paid on behalf of the plaintiffs, and a request for a refund. Plainly, it was not a notice of cancellation of the agreement. Thus, the letter did not place the plaintiffs in mora regarding breach or cancellation. Furthermore, the letter gave the plaintiffs only fourteen days within which to pay. The agreement provided for thirty days’ notice.
The second letter of 27 November 2009 was purportedly the cancellation letter. It relied on the first letter. But since there was no evidence that the first letter had been delivered in accordance with the agreement of sale, or at all, and since the letter was in any event not the notice of breach required by the agreement, the second letter, or rather its purpose, was invalid. It stood on nothing. You cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stay there. It will collapse. As such, there is no need for me to decide whether the second letter was properly delivered in accordance with the agreement of sale.
It is on account of my findings above that I hold that the first sale was never validly cancelled.
- Since the first sale was never validly cancelled, and it now being a double sale situation, in whose favour does the balance of equities lie?
“The basic rule in double sales where transfer has not been passed to either party is that the first purchaser should succeed. The first in time is the stronger in law. The second purchaser is left with a claim for damages against the seller, which is usually small comfort. But that rule applies only ‘in the absence of special circumstances affecting the balance of equities’. See McKerron (1935) 4 SA Law Times 178, Burchell (1974) 91 SALJ 40. ……………… And in BP Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd v Desden Properties (Pvt) Ltd 1964 RLR 7 (G), Macdonald J (as he then was) said:
‘In my view, the policy of the law will best be served in the ordinary run of cases by giving effect to the first contract and leaving the second purchaser to pursue his claim for damages for breach of contract. I do not suggest that this should be the invariable rule, but I agree with the view expressed by Professor McKerron that save in “exceptional circumstances” the first purchaser is to be preferred.’
“…………….The broad principle as set out above was acknowledged to be our law in Barros & Anor v Chimphonda 1999 (1) ZLR 58 (S) ………… Similarly in Charuma Blasting & Earthmoving Services (Pvt) Ltd v Njainjai & Ors 2000 (1) ZLR 85 (S).”
Where transfer has passed, for example to the second buyer, as in this case, then the second buyer acquires an indefeasible right if he had no knowledge, either at the time of the sale, or at the time of transfer, of the prior sale to the first buyer. The first buyer’s remedy is an action for damages against the seller. If however, the second buyer had had knowledge of the prior sale, either at the time of the second sale, or at transfer, then, in the absence of special circumstances affecting the balance of equities, the first buyer can recover the property from the second buyer. In that event the second buyer’s remedy is an action for damages against the seller: see Barros & Anor v Chimponda and Crundall Bros (Pvt) Ltd v Lazarus NO & Anor.
“Balance of equities” refers to a balance of fairness. “Equitable” means fair and reasonable; treating everyone in an equal way. In this case, the balance of equities between the plaintiffs and the third defendant, in relation to the property were, in my view, equal. Their circumstances may have been different, but on balance, the positives and negatives of the one cancelled out the negatives and positives of the other. I give a few examples:
(1) The plaintiffs, for seven years, manifestly slept on their rights. They had paid the purchase price in full. The next thing would have been transfer and payment of the costs associated with it. Yet the evidence established that they made no appreciable effort to take transfer. The law helps the vigilant and not the sluggard. On the other hand, the third defendant undoubtedly “snatched” the transfer. I refer to the record time within which she saw the advert; viewed the property; concluded the second sale and then took transfer. But whilst such speed raises eye-brows, I refrain from imputing to her knowledge of the first sale. She denied that she had been aware of it. Furthermore, the first sale had, at any rate, been purportedly cancelled. Still further, it transpired that the defendants’ legal practitioners of record, T. H. Chitapi and Associates, were the ones involved to the hilt in virtually all the transactions and legal disputes that flowed from them. It is them that knew what was going on.
(2) Despite claims that they intended to build a dream home and live on the property, and despite have taken possession of the property immediately after the agreement, the plaintiffs, for more than seven years, had only put up an unfinished two bedroomed cottage that evidently was neglected over time. The property was in a suburb of Harare called Philadelphia, a part of Borrowdale. It is a posh area. The evidence established that the plaintiffs had another property in Chisipite, another posh area of Harare. It was there that they were staying all along. On the other hand, the third defendant claimed that her intention with her husband in acquiring the property had been to build their own house. However, I took this with a pinch of salt. The evidence established that soon after acquiring it they quickly changed their minds. They decided against the inevitably tedious and arduous process of building. They simply bought a cluster home elsewhere in Harare. About three months after taking transfer they put up the property for sale. The point is, none of the parties could be said to have been desperate for shelter. All they now wanted was compensation. But money can do that adequately.
(3) The plaintiffs claimed that they had a longer attachment to the property and that they had already invested heavily on it by building the cottage. They said that on the other hand, given that the third defendant was already selling the property, it meant that she had bought it for speculative purposes. She never developed any form of attachment to it. But that argument is neatly cancelled out by the fact that the third defendant now had title. She was now the registered owner, enjoying all the attendant rights of ownership.
In the circumstances, I consider that none of the contending parties has any greater or lesser claim to the property than the other. The loss of the property by either would be nothing that money could not ameliorate. But the third defendant is undoubtedly in the stronger position in that she has title. Therefore, there are no strong grounds to upset the status quo as far as title in the property is concerned.
Since the parties had already agreed on the formula for the compensation due to the party that loses the property, all that remains now is to declare the final outcome.
As regards the costs of suit, I consider that the plaintiffs and the third defendant have achieved substantial success. But other than the last paragraph in the closing submissions by plaintiffs’ counsel, in which costs were claimed for the first time (against no one in particular), and on a legal practitioner and client scale for that matter, nowhere else did the plaintiffs claim costs. On the other hand, the third defendant, in her plea, prayed for the dismissal of the plaintiffs’ claims with costs. Obviously, she looked to the plaintiffs for her costs. But the plaintiffs have not lost. Neither has she. With this state of affairs, it seems to me appropriate that there be no order as to costs.
It is hereby declared and ordered as follows:
- The agreement of sale dated 12 September 2003 between the plaintiffs and the first defendant in respect of the property that was then a subdivision of the Remaining Extent of Sherwood known as Stand 273, measuring 4 026m2, but which is now registered as Stand 273 Philadelphia Township of Sherwood A (“the property”) was never validly cancelled.
- In spite of paragraph 1 above, the plaintiffs’ claim that the sale of the property to the third defendant by the first and second defendants; that the subsequent registration of title of the property in favour of the third defendant under deed of transfer no. 1448/2010 be declared null and void; and that the property be transferred to them, is hereby dismissed.
- As compensation for the loss of the property, the first and second defendants, jointly and severally, shall pay the plaintiffs the sum of one hundred thousand two hundred and fifty United States dollars (US$100 250-00).
- There shall be no order as to costs
11 February 2015
Donsa-Nkomo & Mutangi, plaintiffs’ legal practitioners
TH Chitapi & Associates, defendants’ legal practitioners
 5th ed. p 419
 1955 (3) SA (AD)
 1990 (1) ZLR 290 (SC)
 2006 (1) ZLR 174 (H)
 Per LORD DENNING MR in Macfoy v United Africa Co. Ltd  3 ALL ER 1169
 2000 (2) ZLR 458 (SC)
 At p 459
 1999 (1) ZLR 58 (S) @ p 63A - B
 1991 (2) ZLR 125 (S); 1992 (2) SA 423 (S)
 Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary
 Ndebele v Ncube 1992 (1) ZLR 288, 290; Masama v Borehole Drilling (Private) Limited 1993 (1) ZLR 288 (SC); Mubvimbi v Maringa & Anor 1993 (2) ZLR 24 (HC); Maravanyika v Hove 1997 (2) ZLR 88 (HC); Beitbridge Rural District Council v Russel Construction Co (Private) Limited 1998 (2) ZLR 190 (SC) and Kodzwa v Secretary for Health & Anor 1999 (1) ZLR 313 (SC);