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Wednesday Dec 12, 2012

Music promoters fail to liquidate golf estate

A luxury golfing estate in the Waterberge in Limpopo, that was to host the music festival Bosveld Makiti - featuring a string of Afrikaans singers - faced being provisionally liquidated following an application by the production company that organised the event.

The event never took place at this venue, and Epitaph Productions, trading as Legend Productions, blamed Legend Golf & Safari Resort for this.

They said they had to pay the artists in advance. The estate thus owed them R690 000 for damages suffered because of breach of contract.

But Pretoria High Court Acting Judge Jan Hiemstra turned down the application.

Asking for the liquidation of the golfing estate was too drastic a measure, he said. There was no proof before the court that the estate was in fact at fault, he added.

The judge showed his dismay at the application by awarding a punitive costs order against the production company.

The company told the court it was asked to organise the music festival at the golf estate and enter into a contract with top artists to perform.

The parties entered into an agreement in terms of which the production company would for five years produce an annual weekend golf day and music festival, called the Bosveld Makiti, at the estate.

The production company said it entered into an agreement with various artists to perform over the weekend of September 30 to October 1 last year.

The artists who were to perform, included Liane May, J from Eden, Karlien van Jaarsveld and Zak van Niekerk.

The production company said it had paid several of these artists in advance in terms of the agreements with them. It had also incurred other costs to stage the event.

The golfing estate cancelled the event about two weeks before it was due to take place, the company said.

This, the court was told, left it with financial obligations and wasted expenditure to the tune of R690 000.

The golfing estate vigorously denied it was indebted to the production company. It said no contract had been entered into - so there was no contract to breach.

The estate, in an e-mail to the production company shortly before the event was to take place, said it was still waiting for the applicant to sign the contract.

Only once the contract had been signed could there have been a breach of contract, it argued.

The estate said it did not go ahead with the proposed "makiti" for various reasons.

One was that the production company had cancelled the scheduled media launch at the time and there was no time to schedule another at such short notice.

The estate said "it is a wellknown fact that timeous marketing and preparation are a prerequisite for a successful event".

Judge Hiemstra, in his judgment, said it was clear that the production company paid the artists after the estate had withdrawn from the event. He also noted that the Bosveld Makiti had at the last minute been moved to another venue, where it indeed took place. "Not all, if any, of the alleged expenditure was therefore wasted."

Winding-up proceedings ought not to be resorted to in order to enforce debt, especially when there was a bona fide dispute regarding payment, he said. It was clear that there was no written contract between the parties, as there were still a number of outstanding issues between them before the contract was due to be signed, the judge said.

"I find that this application is entirely misconceived and a clear abuse of the process of court," Judge Hiemstra said before awarding a punitive costs order against the production company.

Pretoria News


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