The question for decision in this appeal is whether a contract between the former Government of South Africa, and the first respondent, Total South Africa (Pty) Ltd (Total), continues to bind the appellant, Transnet Soc Ltd (Transnet), a wholly-owned government company, despite the change in legislative regime that governs the transport and conveyance of fuel in South Africa. Coppin J in the Gauteng Local Division of the High Court (to which I shall refer for convenience as ‘the high court’) was asked and agreed to determine a number of issues arising from pleadings in an action between the parties separately from others in terms of rule 33(4) of the Uniform Rules of Court.
Before setting out the issues that the high court was asked to determine, it is useful to discuss briefly the background to the conclusion of the contract and to the litigation between the parties. For the purpose of determining whether the contract survived the change in regime regulating conveyance of fuels and the charges for it, the parties assumed certain facts alleged in the particulars of claim to be correct. And the evidence confirming these facts by a witness for Total, Mr R Duchateau, was not contested by Transnet.