Rule 32 – Summary Judgment as amended

The Rule 32 of the Uniform Rules of Court has been amended with effect from 01 July 2019.

The changes are not very drastic, and therefore one may still be able to apply the old rules to a certain extent.

The amended Rule 32 is applicable to a Plaintiff requesting summary judgment in the High Court only after the defendant has delivered a plea to the liquid documents, liquid amount and/or the delivery of specified movable property or the ejectment by the Plaintiff. This is very similar to the application of the old rule whereas it was applicable in the ancillary aspect- in terms of Rule 46/Rule46A.

It is very important to note that this procedure may only commence 15 days after the Defendant has delivered it’s a plea and not 15 days after the Notice of Intention to Defend has been delivered, which was the norm previously.
In the case, Firstrand Bank Limited v Shabangu and others and a related matte

r (2019 ) JOL 45493 (GJ) it was held that the Rule 32 was amended specifically to require that summary judgment may only be applied for once the defendant’s plea has been delivered.

Therefore, the above amendment may be one of the most important reasons for the previous rule to be amended.

Further to the above, it is also important to note that the Plaintiff may attach an affidavit as well as annexures to the summary judgment application. The annexures may only contain the liquid document in question. No further evidence may be adduced apart from the contents in affidavit.

Whereas previously, the affidavit merely allowed one to verify the cause of action, the amount claimed as well as making reference to the bona fide notice of intention to defend delivered.

The Plaintiff, however, does not have to indicate what exactly its cause of action is or what facts it relies on or why the defendant does not have a defence. Instead, the plaintiff is merely required and permitted to file a brief affidavit “verifying the cause of action”.

The affidavit should be made by the plaintiff himself or by any other person who can swear positively to the facts in question.

One must note that to say that the amendment is prospective would only be to accept that the legislature was content that the potentials for injustice may continue after the date on which the new rule came into operation. If the legislature had intended that the rule apply retrospectively, it would have been expressly mentioned.