Mbabane: The court battle involving the late football administrator and businessman Victor Gamedze’s estate has finally settled after Judge Titus Mlangeni set aside the Master of the High Court’s decision to reject the businessman’s wife, Princess Lungile’s liquidation and distribution account (L&D).
The court also declared that a tacit universal partnership did exist between the applicant (Princess Lungile) and her deceased’s husband Gamedze in his lifetime. The Judge Mlangeni ordered that the Master’s decision be substituted with an order upholding the objection. Further, the court ordered that each party is to bear its own costs in the application as agreed between the parties.
Consequently, the High Court has ordered that the Princess should get half of the joint estate in addition to the child’s share.
The late Gamedze’s estate is worth about E86 million.
Princess Lungile was represented by South African based Advocate Gilbert Marcus who was instructed by lawyer Mlungisi Khumalo of Khumalo Attorneys law firm.
In his 24-page judgment, Judge Mlangeni made reference to some errors of law that the deponent to the answering affidavit (Nosipho Gamedze) made. The court observed that Nosipho described a tacit universal partnership as an express or tacit agreement which were the exact words used by the Master in her response to the objection of the L&D account by the applicant. Judge Mlangeni stated that further Nosipho stated that universal partnership would only be called upon where the parties have been co-habiting and are not married.
The Judge said the deponent made the incomprehensive averments that the application before court is not for the distribution of the estate on the basis of the existence of a universal tacit partnership but is a review yet this is one of the pillars upon which the application has been brought and in my view properly so.
The court observed that in her affidavit Princess Lungile stated that the seventh and eighth respondents (Nosipho and Wandile Gamedze) have no personal knowledge of her relationship with the deceased and the role she played in the creation of the wealth.
Judge Mlangeni noted that this probably explains why their challenge to the applicant conspicuously lacks specificity and further noted that it was stated that Princess Lungile was not aware of the existence of the two respondents (Nosipho and Wandile) in her deceased husband’s lifetime until after his death.
The court stated that in terms of Section 51 bis (8) the court, upon setting aside the decision of the Master, it may make such an order or orders as it deems fit, which includes remitting the matter back to the Master for reconsideration, However, Justice Mlangeni stated that he would not do that because the court is in a good position to substitute its own decision for that of the Master and in the interest of time it would not be a good idea to do so.
Judge Mlangeni stated that on the conspectus of the matter he would make the following orders; the Master’s decision rejecting the applicant’s objection to the L&D account is hereby set aside; it is hereby ordered that a tacit universal partnership existed between the applicant and the deceased during the latter’s lifetime.
The court then further ordered that the Master’s decision be substituted with an order upholding the objection and directing the executor to amend the L&D account in accordance with the objection.