Study the case on Syce and Another v Minister of Police (1119/2022) [2024] ZASCA 30 and answer the questions below. Your answer must be presented in an essay format. It will be marked according to the rubric annexed with this question paper. You must attach the rubric immediately after your answer, and not at the end of the exam.

a) Discuss the law that applies to unlawful detention in terms of section 59 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977, as amended. Provide relevant authority to enlighten your discussion. (15 marks)
b) Explain fully with the aid of authority, the principles (as highlighted in this case) that the court must follow to determine general damages in respect of unlawful detention. (10 marks)

[25 marks]

The ‘once and for all rule’ is a manifestly popular principle that guides our courts in assessing damages that arise from the breach of contract, delict and other causes of action. Despite heavy criticism from other scholars for its application, there are valid reasons for its support.

a) With the aid of valid legal sources, explain the importance of this principle in assessing damages in the South African legal system. (10 marks)


b) Explain the view that punitive damages are not part of South African law of damages. Provide authority to support your answer. (8 marks)


c) Briefly explain the concept satisfaction as part of the South African law of damages. Provide authority to support your answer. (7 marks)

[25 marks]

3.1 Read the facts below and answer the questions that follow.

Solarum, a manufacturer of solar panels, sold solar panels to Fikile Construction. Fikile Construction was hired to install solar panels in newly developed townhouses. Fikile Construction contended that the solar panels that were sold to them were defective. They further contended that by the time they had realised that the solar panels were defective; they had already installed the defective solar panels on the roofs of fifteen (15) townhouses. They then had to remove the solar panels from the roofs of these fifteen (15) townhouses and reinstall new solar panels supplied by another manufacturer, Esolar, which cost R1 350 000. They paid transport costs of R18 000. The removal of the defective solar panels and the reinstallation of the new solar panels on the roofs of the fifteen (15) townhouses took them four (4) weeks to complete and cost them R400 000 in labour. Fikile Construction argued that the replacement of the solar panels that were bought from Esolar manufacturers were more expensive than the ones that they had agreed on in their contract with Solarum.

(a) If Solarum were to argue that Fikile Construction had a duty to “mitigate their loss”, explain in detail what this argument would be. (5 marks)

(b) With reference to the fundamental principle of damages for the breach of contract, explain in detail, how Fikile Construction’s damages would be determined in this case. (5 marks)

(c) Using the “contemplation rule”, provide your own assessment of Fikile

Construction’s total claim of damages. (5 marks)
3.2 Read the facts below and answer the questions that follow.

Witbank Coalfield was contracted to deliver coal on 22 January 2024 to Bloemfontein Coal Distributers. Bloemfontein Coal Distributers was contracted to Exxaro and had to dispatch the coal to Exxaro in Johannesburg. Witbank Coalfield was aware of the contract between Bloemfontein Coal Distributers and Exxaro. However, Witbank Coalfield failed to deliver the coal on 22 January 2024. Bloemfontein Coal Distributers had to purchase coal at a higher price from another company in Johannesburg to fulfill the terms of their contract with Exxaro. Bloemfontein Coal Distributers further claim that they were inconvenienced by Witbank Coalfield’s actions in this regard.

(a) Discuss in detail, how the “market price rule” would be used to determine Bloemfontein Coal Distributers’ claim for damages against Witbank Coalfield. (5 marks)

(b) Can Bloemfontein Coal Distributers claim general damages of inconvenience?

Refer to relevant case law in support of your answer. (5 marks)

[25 marks]

Read the facts below and answer the questions that follow.

Centurion was subjected to heavy rainfall resulting in numerous potholes. Municipal workers of the City of Tshwane were instructed to repair all potholes on walkways in the area to prevent further damage which could be detrimental to pedestrians. The Municipal workers were busy repairing one of the walkways that were damaged by the heavy storms. During their lunchbreak, the workers walked to a nearby cafe to buy food. They left the big cavity in the walkway unattended and did not cordon it off or put up any signs warning the pedestrians of the hazard.

Dr Mary Motsepe, who works at a nearby hospital embarked on her customary lunch hour jog along the walkway. Mary is nearsighted but leaves her spectacles in her office because she perspires profusely during her jog. While sprinting the final stretch of her jog, Mary notices the cavity in the walkway too late. She slips and falls into the cavity. She breaks her arm, fractures two ribs and sustains a severe concussion. Mary was admitted to hospital where she was treated for a period of 2 months due to the severity of her injuries. Mary is traumatized by the incident and is
now reluctant to jog outdoors.

a) Draft the particulars of claim that Dr Motsepe must lodge in the High Court, where she claims both general and special damages. In your answer, provide very clear heads of damage and describe them fully, in terms of the applicable Uniform Rules of Court that govern pleadings of this nature.

You are reminded to number your paragraphs logically and consecutively, with sub paragraphs where applicable. [25

Answers to Above Questions on Law of Damages

Answer 1: Section 59 of the criminal procedure act 51 of 1977 is related with the issue of unlawful detention whereby it offers the power of arrest without a warrant. It provides police officers with the authority to arrest an individual without a warrant. Subsection one and two provides specific grounds for such arrest and section 59 includes the requirement for reasonable grounds for arrest. In relation to the case of Syce and Another v Minister of Police (1119/2022) [2024] ZASCA 30, the main focus area of court to look after is on evaluating whether the arrest of the plaintiff met the requirements of section 59.


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