n Annual Survey of South African Law - General principles of the law of contract




2007 (4) SA 315 (C) specifically dealt with the disputed sale of immovable property, but an important aspect of the decision potentially pertains to contracts in general. The applicant (purchaser) made a written offer to purchase the respondent's (seller's) property. However, the seller signed the offer to purchase, and thus accepted the offer, only after its expiry date. It seems that initially both parties believed that a binding agreement had been concluded, but when later called upon to sign the necessary transfer documents the seller failed to respond despite repeated efforts on the part of the attorneys attending to the transfer. Eventually matters came to a head more than a year later when the purchaser launched an application to compel specific performance of the deed of sale. The seller proffered several defences, the main one of which was that the sale was void because the offer was accepted after it had lapsed.


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