Monday 5 June 2017

South Africa: shareholders' derivative claims and good faith

The Supreme Court of Appeal gave judgment last week in Lazarus Mbethe v United Manganese of Kalahari (503/2016) [2017] ZASCA 67: see here or here (pdf). This is an important - and now leading - authority on the operation of the derivative action in South Africa under section 165 ("Derivative actions") of the Companies Act 71 of 2008. A short summary of the decision is available here (pdf). At issue was the good faith requirement imposed on the applicant under section 165(5)(b). The court held, amongst other things, that the requirement of good faith did not require the absence of a collateral purpose; however, any collateral purpose was relevant when considering (under section 165(5)(b)) whether the proceedings involved a serious question of material consequence to the company.

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