To a large extent it represents an embodiment of the

Info iconThis preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: otor vehicle (compare SA Eagle Insurance Co Ltd v Pretorius 1998 (2) 656 (SCA), 659I-660D). To a large extent it represents … an embodiment of the common law actions relating to damages for bodily injury and loss of support caused by or arising from the negligent driving of a motor vehicle (Evins v Shield Insurance Co Ltd [1980 (2) SA 814 (A)], 841E).’ [13] He held that a duty of care could be owed to a foetus and that there was no substance in the argument raised on behalf of the present appellant that a finding on this point in favour of the respondent would, to use the familiar cliché, ‘open the flood gates of litigation’. 9 [14] Earlier in his judgment the learned judge dealt with a submission advanced by counsel for the appellant, who took as his starting point what was called the ‘ordinary grammatical meaning’ of the word ‘person’, viz ‘a human being’ as distinguished, amongst other things, from a stillborn child, an unborn child or a foetus. For this submission counsel had relied on the decision of this court in Van Heerden and Another v Joubert NO and Others 1994 (4) SA 793 (A) in which it was held that the meaning of the word ‘person’ as used in the Inquests Act 58 of 1959 does not include a stillborn baby, with the result that an inquest into the death of a stillborn baby cannot be held under the provisions of the Act. [15] Froneman J rejected this submission, saying that the ‘indeterminacy of meaning is increasingly recognized in our law (compare, for example, the remarks of Kentridge AJ in S v Zuma and Others 1995 (2) SA 642 (CC), paras 17-18), and was also implicitly recognized by FH Grosskopf JA in Van Heerden’s case, above. In that case he starts his whole discussion of the proper meaning of the word “person” by saying that the jurisdictional issue in dispute in Van Heerden “depends on the meaning of the word ‘person’ in the context (my emphasis) of the Act [the Inquests Act 58 of 1959]”. Context is thus all (Jaga v Donges NO and Another 1950 (4) SA 653 (A), 662; Aetna Insurance Co v Minister of Justice 1960 (3) SA 273 (A), 284). 10 It logically precedes, or, perhaps more accurately, determines, the question whether the meaning of a word is unambiguous or not.’ SUBMISSIONS ON BEHALF OF THE APPELLANT [16] Before us counsel for the appellant submitted that, in dismissing the special plea, the court a quo erred in interpreting the Act in its context, in the process paying insufficient regard to what counsel called the ‘ordinary grammatical meaning’ of the word ‘person’ as well as accepted interpretations of the word ‘person’ in the context of other statutes. In this regard counsel referred to Van Heerden’s case, supra, at 796-798, Christian Lawyers Association of South Africa v The Minister of Health and Others 1998 (4) SA 1113 (T) at 1117F-1118F, Christian League of Southern Africa v Rall 1981 (2) SA 821 (O) at 929 et seq and Friedman v Glicksman 1996 (1) SA 1134 (W) at 1140G. [17] It was further contended that in extending the common law, as counsel submitted the court a...
View Full Document

This document was uploaded on 02/12/2014.

Ask a homework question - tutors are online