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An analysis of the consequences of a business rescue moratorium on legal proceedings on property owners.

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It has been over a decade since the Companies Act 71 of 2008 introduced business rescue proceedings which provided for the rescue of financially distressed companies. This procedure replaced the then statutory procedure of judicial management under Companies Act 61 of 1973. The business rescue proceedings begin with the general moratorium or stay on legal proceedings against the company or its property. This has a consequence that any claims against the company may only be enforced with the consent of the business rescue practitioner or the leave of the court. However, the courts continue to grapple with the interpretation, effect, and application of the key elements of business rescue provisions while always striving to accord respect to the legislative intention of business rescue as set out in section 7(k) of the Companies Act 71 of 2008. After a decade since its introduction, it is an opportune time to ascertain whether the business rescue proceedings is an effective corporate rescue procedure suitable to the modern-day demands of the South African economy. The research analyses the effect and the consequences of the moratorium on the rights of property owners. The moratorium has the effect that companies are given temporary immunity to actions brought by creditors which would have been due and enforceable. In this regard, the property leased by the property owner remains occupied by the company during business rescue proceedings as the property owner is barred by the moratorium to institute legal proceedings against the company. Further, when the repossession of the property is not possible and the rental due or installment is not payable by the company, the business rescue proceedings encroaches on the right of the property owners. The purpose of the research is to highlight the effect of the moratorium on the lease agreement between the company and property owners and the possible protection of the property owners’ rights. The study includes a critical analysis of judicial decisions on the moratorium, together with a discussion of the legal position in comparable foreign jurisdictions. In my conclusion, based on the findings, the business rescue is not free from imperfection. Therefore, I recommended that the legislature amend some parts of Chapter 6 of the Companies Act 71 of 2008.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.