South Africa: More Twists and Turns in Business Interruption Judgment


Restaurant owners and hoteliers, hoping for quick financial relief following the precedent-setting Ma-Afrika judgment last week, have had their hopes dashed as the process looks set to follow a tortuous legal appeals route.

That the Santam v Ma-Afrika judgment was historic and precedent-setting became clear on Friday when the Western Cape High Court ruled that Guardrisk was liable to cover the lockdown losses incurred by the Fat Cactus restaurant in Woodstock.

This follows last Wednesday's judgment when the same court ruled in favour of Ma-Afrika Hotels and Stellenbosch Kitchen in its case against short-term insurance company Santam, in what was seen as a victory for all tourism and hospitality businesses with outstanding business interruption claims.

Fat Cactus turned to the courts in September to ask for a declaratory order on the vexed subject of Contingent Business Interruption insurance with infectious disease extensions. Acting Judge Michelle Norton granted the declarator. "I consider it appropriate to grant the declarator based on the ratio of the decision in Ma-Afrika Hotels [unanimous] and in similar terms to the declarator granted in Café Chameleon [versus Guardrisk]."

The judge instructed Guardrisk to settle the claim within 10 days, and pay what is owed to the Fat...

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