SIGNING THE SALE AS EXECUTOR: WATCH OUT
Bluegrass Trading 1112 CC t/a Rawson Properties v Ramsern and Another (39592/2019)  ZAGPJHC 753 (30 November 2021)
Married persons often appoint their spouses as executors in their deceased estates. When acting in that capacity, the executor must be careful to note this capacity when signing agreements relating to the spouse’s assets. Here, one of the reasons for the failure of the agent’s claim for commission related to the fact that the sellers (the surviving spouse and her husband’s deceased estate) were not properly identified in the agreement. The surviving spouse had appended her name and signature in duplicate in some places, but did not indicate that this meant that she was acting both as executor and in her personal capacity. The agreement was rendered void and the agent’s redress against the purchasers who had cancelled the sale, as provided for in the purported agreement, fell away. This is an important reminder to clearly note the capacity in which a person signs an agreement.
FIRE DAMAGE LIABILITY: FARM OWNERS HAVE MANY RESPONSIBILITIES
Nel v Government of South Africa and Another (3861/2016)  ZAECGHC 105 (16 November 2021)
Because of the severity of damages that runaway fires may cause, our legislature imposes very specific preventative duties on farm owners. They range from obliging them to store certain fire extinguishing apparel, to train staff, to maintain firebreaks and to belong to a fire prevention association in the area. Failing compliance with some of these triggers a presumption of negligence on the side of the non-compliant farmer. Apart from this onus, being held liable for subsequent damages will also constitute a financial calamity. The judgment is a reminder to farm owners to make sure their fire prevention plans are being implemented and maintained.