n Tydskrif vir die Suid-Afrikaanse Reg - Wrongfulness and legal causation as separate elements of a delict : confusion reigns : regspraak

Volume 2014, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0257-7747
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2207



A delict is a complex juristic fact which is traditionally divided into a number of different elements: the act, wrongfulness, fault, causation and damage (see Neethling and Potgieter (2010) 4; SA 2006 1 SA 461 (SCA) 468; 2003 1 SA 389 (SCA) 395; 2006 4 SA 168 (SCA) 174; 2008 1 SA 313 (W) 318; 2006 5 SA 319 (SCA) 320-321; 2007 3 SA 171 (C) 183; 2012 6 SA 551 (GNP) 556 559; 2012 2 SA 346 (ECG) 363). These elements should be clearly distinguished as far as is realistic and possible, since their classification is based on considerations of fairness, efficacy and logic, which should not be disregarded lightly. If, for example, a component of wrongfulness is dragged into legal causation without due consideration, one could be caught up in a confusing net of ideas (see Potgieter and Van Rensburg "Die toerekening van gevolge aan 'n delikspleger" 1977 379 382). This danger applies particularly to wrongfulness and legal causation and has been brought to the fore in the two cases under discussion.

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