A recent judgment in Eco Trades (Pty) Ltd v Trustees of the Pauw and Pavonia Trusts provides some insight when considering jurisdiction in bringing matters before the court. The matter was an application for vindicatory relief by way of motion proceedings.



The subject of the relief sought (‘the solar system “) was affixed to property on a farm in the North West Province. Eco Trades sold a solar system to the respondents but did not receive payment. The respondents were awaiting payment from a European company. It appeared that this company did not honour their promise to provide financial support for the sale of the solar panels. There were disputes of fact about the terms of the contract. The respondents averred that the court did not have jurisdiction as the dispute did not arise there.

Eco Trades was based in Bloemfontein and the solar system was affixed to the respondents’ farm in North West Province. Acting Judge Boonzaaier (“the Judge”) noted in the judgment that it was not disputed that the agreed purchase price had not been paid by the respondents. The agreement of sale between the parties was partially written and partially verbal. This led to a material dispute of facts, raised by the respondents, as to the terms of the sale.


Issues at stake:

The issues at stake were the following:

  • The question of jurisdiction of this court.
  • The applicant had to make out a case for the final relief sought, based on the rei vindicatio.
  • The Applicant approached the court on motion proceedings with the knowledge of a foreseeable factual dispute and thus the application stands to be dismissed with costs.


The respondents argued that the agreement arose in the North West Province and the farm and solar panels are in that province. They disputed the terms of both the written and verbal agreements. the Judge observed that ‘it is settled in our law that where the contract was concluded and/or where the breach occurred…will be enough to warrant the basis for jurisdiction’. Even from Eco Trades’ own account, it was not clear what transpired between the parties. The Judge also observed that the papers did not indicate exactly what transpired in the written and verbal contracts.



The judge found that the court did not have jurisdiction in the matter. The applicant should have proceeded by action or to trial. It was not possible to make any determination on the papers as to the vindicatory relief sought by Eco Trades, which application was dismissed with costs. Litigants must always be mindful of the jurisdiction before bringing matters before the court.

Contact an expert at SchoemanLaw for assistance.