SNTC in E370 000 gum tree row
MBABANE – The Swaziland National Trust Commission (SNTC) is embroiled in a court battle over the sale of gum trees worth E370 000.
Timber Product Management has taken SNTC to court seeking an order compelling the latter to submit to arbitration over a dispute regarding an agreement on the sale of gum trees.
The company has claimed that it entered into an agreement of sale with SNTC, of gum trees situated at the Mantenga Natural Reserve on June 1, 2006. The SNTC is opposing the application.
Timber Product Management Director Sandile Sibeko in an affidavit, alleged, they had agreed that SNTC would sell the trees located on 146 hectares for E370 000.
He alleged that they had agreed that his company would commence felling the trees after two months of the signing of the agreement and as soon as it got approval certificates from the Swaziland Environmental Authority (SEA).
He claimed that they had agreed that his company would pay a 50 per cent deposit and thereafter pay instal-ments of E40 000 at four month intervals and not work during wet weather conditions.
He alleged that his company paid a E150 000 deposit, but could not commence work after the two months because the SEA approval came late.
He claimed that they began working in October 2006. "This was an eventuality that neither party had anticipated. Further to this, when the certificates (SEA approval) were issued, the rainy season had resumed, making it difficult to begin operations. The SNTC prevented us from doing so (commencing work) and sought to re-negotiate in terms of the agreement. The applicant refused to re-negotiate," Sibeko said.
Timber Product Management was represented by Sibusiso Zikalala from Musa Sibandze Attorneys in the matter.
Sibeko alleged that the SNTC offered to re-imburse his company the deposit it had paid arguing that the initial agreement had been cancelled.
"The agreement between the parties still subsists and is valid. The applicant has in lieu of this fact sought that the respondent be held to specific performance in terms of the agreement. We have not cancelled the agreement, but demand specific performance," Sibeko said.
He said the dispute, as stipulated in the agreement, was supposed to be sent to arbitration, but the SNTC refused. He also argued that the High Court did not have jurisdiction over the matter. The matter was postponed to July 10, 2012.
... they breached contract - SNTC
MBABANE – The Timber Product Management is alleged to have breached the contract it had signed with the SNTC, the latter has said.
In its responding papers, the SNTC argued that the agreement was cancelled in February 2009 and no new contract was signed.
Titus Dlamini, the SNTC Chief Executive Officer denied that the commission repudiated the agreement and that Timber Product Management was entitled to a specific performance.
"This dispute is suitable to be determined by the High Court and it is not suitable for arbitration, as the contract had lapsed and was subsequently cancelled. The agreement never ousted this court’s jurisdiction over the matter," Dlamini said.
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