The appeal at hand flows from an initial application by the respondent for an interdict restraining the second appellant, from directing storm water on to the property of the respondent who cited that the construction of a water drainage system by the second appellant would threaten his properties as they stood lower than the water drainage scheme. He alluded that he foresaw damage to his buildings if the storm water were to come over his properties. A temporary interdict had been granted.
The court in this appeal were tasked with deciding whether the previous court had the jurisdiction to hear the matter and that the interdict be set aside as the second appellant was discharging their statutory obligation as per the Roads Act.
The court found that the Magistrate’s Court’s jurisdiction was confined to claims where the value of the subject matter in dispute did not exceed R2000.00. The court held that in order to give life to the interdict, the second appellant would have to design or construct a new drainage system which would in the courts opinion exceed R2000.00 and therefore the magistrate’s court had no jurisdiction.
Further, the respondent’s averment that a drainage system was necessary for safely leading storm water to its nearest natural drainage point was not opposed by the applicant who merely spoke of his property. The court held that such works were a necessity and the respondents ought to have been allowed to work.
The order was set aside.
IN THE HIGH COURT
OF LESOTHO In the appeal by
ATTORNEY GENERAL 1st Appellant
DEPARTMENT 2nd Appellant
C. SEIPOBI Respondent
Delivered by the Hon. Acting Mr. Justice D Levy on the
29th day of May, 1986
This is an appeal from a Judgment of the Senior Resident
Magistrate of Maseru and which appeal I upheld with costs and set
judgment of the Court a quo with costs My reasons
An ex part application was brought in the Magistrate's
Court, Maseru seeking an interdict restraining the Second Respondent
Appellant) which is the Works Department (Roads) from
directing storm water on to sites 75A and 154, the property of the
The supporting affidavit of the Applicant contains the
allegation that the Works Department (Roads) is busy constructing a
drainage system which threatens his properties as they stand
lower than the water drainage scheme The Applicant further stated
he apprehended grave damages to his buildings if the storm water
to come over his properties.
On this application the magistrate granted a temporary
interdict in terms of paragraph 1 of the notice of application.
/I take ...
I take this opportunity of expressing my grave concern
at the readiness with which Courts are prepared to grant interdicts
temporary interdicts on ex parte applications There
appears to be not the slightest hint of urgency in the matter. No
damage would normally be anticipated from faulty
road storm water
drainage works before the rains come in October or November of this
year, and, certainly, there is no allegation
in the application of
any ground of urgency which would justify an ex parte
application. At the very least the magistrate should have insisted
that notice be given to the Respondents of the application and
there were any grounds of urgency that notice could be short enough
to meet the exigency of the situation.
In opposing confirmation of the rule that was issued by
the magistrate Respondents filed the affidavit of the Acting Chief
that the value of the matter in dispute is wellbeyond
the limits of jurisdiction of themagistrates Court,
that the construction of the road in question
anddrainage works is being carried out in dischargeof the
statutory obligations imposed on the roadauthority by the
provisions of Section 13(1) of theRoads Act 1969.
In civil matters, jurisdiction in respect of causes
of action is confined to claims where the value of the
subject matter in dispute does not exceed R2,000 (See
Proclamation 5 of 1964 amending Proclamation 58 of 1938)
The subject matter of this interdict is the right of the
Respondent to discharge storm water from a drainage
system already constructed. To interdict the discharge
of water from that drainage system would render the drainage system
and worthless. In order to comply with the interdict the
Respondent would have to design and construct a new system or design
bring about a modification of the existing system Either way the
value of such modifying works and/or of the present drainage system
which will be rendered useless must exceed R2,000 Even if the onus
was on the Respondent to show that the value of the subject matter of
the dispute exceeded R2.000, as to which I respectfully share
doubts expressed by Van Wyk J, in Gallman v Dombrovsky 1973
S.A.(2) 261 at 263(C), I am satisfied that on the balance of
probabilities the Respondent has shown that the matter in dispute
beyond the jurisdiction of the Magistrate's Court and the rule should
have been discharged.
2. The Applicant did not state the grounds for his
apprehension that his property was liable to be damaged
save to say that it was below the level of the road. In particular
not say that the natural flow of water has been altered by
the drainage system.
The Respondent has said that the construction of the
drainage system has been carried out in discharge of its duties under
13(1) of the Road Act. This amounts to an averment that the
drainage system is necessary, and that its construction is such that
it safely leads storm water to its nearest natural drainage point.
The Applicant does not say that that the drainage is not
necessary. Indeed, in reply he says only that he does not approve
of the drain, nor does he say that there has been any
alteration of the natural flow of water.
/For this ...
For this reason also, I would allow the appeal
notwithstanding Counsel's apparent agreement at the hearing
before the magistrate
to stand or fall on the question of
The appeal is upheld with costs. The magistrate's order
is set aside with costs and the rule is discharged.
29th May, 1986
For the Appellant MR K.R.K. TAMPI For the Respondent
MR. W. C. MAQUTU
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