No. SC 3/06
Appeal No. 234/05
MILES MASIYIWA v (1) FELIX MUNETSI GAPA (2)
DEPUTY SHERIFF OF HARARE
COURT OF ZIMBABWE
JA, MALABA JA & GWAUNZA JA
JANUARY 10 , 2006
for the appellant
appearance for the respondents
JA: After hearing argument in this matter, we issued the following
appeal be and is allowed with costs.
judgment of the court a
is altered to read as follows:
1. Defendant shall pay plaintiff
damages based on the current market value of the property in issue.
Such value shall be determined
by an estate agent appointed by the
Registrar of this Court.
Defendant shall pay interest on the market value of the property at
the prescribed rate from 4 July 2005, being the date of
evaluation, up to the date of payment in full.
shall pay costs of suit.
indicated that the reasons for this judgment would follow, and these
appellant does not appeal against the substantive part of the
judgment of the court a
which ordered him to pay to the respondent damages in an amount
equivalent to the current market value of the property in dispute.
He is appealing against paragraph 2 of the same judgment, which
ordered that he should also pay interest on those damages, at the
prescribed rate, from the date of the summons to the date of payment.
sole ground of appeal reads as follows:
erred in law by ordering that interest be calculated with effect from
the date of summons up to the date of payment when damages
were to be
based on the current market value of the property assessed three
years later. Interest should be calculated with effect
date of service on the appellant of the assessed value of the
In support of
this argument, the appellant contends correctly as follows in his
heads of argument:
is a well settled principle of our common law that a
debtor is liable for interest while he is in mora.
There can be no doubt that, on a claim for unliquidated damages,
the defendant cannot be in mora
until the quantum of the damages has been fixed by the judgment of
the Court. R.H.
(third edition) Butterworths (1996) pages 565 566.
Wessels, The Law of
in South Africa
(second edition) Butterworths 1951, 3355. See also Victoria
Falls & Transvaal Power Company Limited
Langlagte Mines Limited
1915 AD1, at pages 31 33, Union
Government v Jackson
1956 (2) SA 398 (A) at p 412E, West
Limited v New Zealand Insurance Company Limited
1926 AD 173, at pp 195 196.
appellant submits, accordingly, that he was in mora
with effect from 19 July 2005 when he was served with the Writ of
Execution, and should therefore be ordered to pay interest from
the Court finds there is merit in the appellants contention that
the appellant could not be held to have been in
from the date the summons was issued. The appellant argued that the
correct date from which he should be regarded as having been
was the date he received the warrant of execution against his
property, that is 19 July, 2005. The Court is, however, of a
view. The issuance of a warrant of execution normally
follows the failure by a defendant or respondent to comply with an
of the court requiring him, for instance, to pay a certain
amount of money to the plaintiff or applicant. It is therefore
on the assumption that prior notice, as to the effect of the
court order, would have been received but ignored by, the party
to comply with the order in question. By the same token,
the appellant must be taken to have received notice of the evaluation
of the property in question, on the date of the evaluation report,
that is 4 July 2005. This is the date from which he should
be regarded as having been in
for purposes of the payment of interest.
was persuaded by the appellants further contention that since the
clearly had not applied its mind to the issue of interest, there was
no fear of this Court being deemed to have interfered with the
discretion of the court a
All in all,
the decision of the court a
on the question of interest could not be allowed to stand, hence the
order referred to at the beginning of this judgment.
ZIYAMBI JA: I agree.
appellant's legal practitioners