n Annual Survey of South African Law - Miscellaneous contracts (Agency, carriage, deposit, donation, loan, partnership, service, and suretyship)

Volume 2009, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0376-4605



The question as to whether a principal can be held liable for the acts of an agent may seem strange in view of the well-established general rule that a principal is not liable for the wrongs committed by an independent contractor or its employees. In 2009 (1) SA 265 (SCA), the Supreme Court of Appeal had to intervene to stop the tendency of courts extending principals' liability for the acts of independent contractors. The tendency is based on the application of the principle of non-delegable duty. Consequently, the issue on appeal in this case was whether a principal may be held liable for an agent's acts on the basis of this principle.

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