FAQ’s | VDG

Frequently Asked Questions with Answers | Vrae Dikwels Gevra met Antwoorde

This is general information and should not be seen as legal, tax or accounting advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions or any loss or damage resulting from the use of any information contained herein. For further or specific assistance, please contact your legal or financial adviser | Hierdie is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet nie gesien word as regs-, belasting-, of rekeningkundige advies nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of enige skade of verlies wat volg uit die gebruik van enige inligting hierin vervat nie. Indien u enige verdere of spesifieke bystand verlang, kontak asseblief u regs-, of finansiële adviseur

1. Wat is 'n klas-aksie regsgeding? | What is a class action lawsuit?

Wat is ‘n klas-aksie regsgeding? | What is a class action lawsuit?

ʼn Klas-aksie is ʼn prosedurele meganisme wat een of meer eisers toelaat om ʼn regsgeding namens ʼn groter groep, met ʼn gemeenskaplike belang in ʼn saak, in te stel. Die meganisme laat Howe toe om regsgedinge aan te hoor wat andersins onhanteerbaar sou wees, aangesien dit sou behels dat elke lid van die klas (individue wat dieselfde onreg gely het aan die hand van die Verweerder(s)) gevoeg moes word tot die regsgeding in hul persoonlike hoedanigheid as Eisers.

Terwyl die gronde vir die instel van ‘n klas-aksie regsgeding grootliks kan wissel, is daar twee faktore wat amper altyd teenwoordig is:

1. Die kwessies in dispuut is gemeenskaplik vir al die lede in die klas, en
2. Die getalle geaffekteerde persone is so groot dat dit onprakties sal wees om almal voor die hof te bring.

Klas-aksies is moeilik en baie duur om te voer, maar die resultaat kan van groot hulp wees vir diegene wat nie kan bekostig om ‘n regsgeding op hulle eie te voer nie.

A class action is a procedural device that permits one or more plaintiffs to file and prosecute a lawsuit on behalf of a larger group with a common interest in a matter. Put simply, the device allows courts to manage lawsuits that would otherwise be unmanageable if each class member (individuals who have suffered the same wrong at the hands of the defendant) were required to be joined in the lawsuit as a named plaintiff.

While the subject matter of class action lawsuits can vary widely, two factors are almost always present for every class action:

1. the issues in dispute are common to all members of the class, and
2. the persons affected are so numerous as to make it impracticable to bring them all before the court.

Class actions are difficult and expensive to file and follow through, but the results can be of great help to the people who could not afford to carry a suit alone.

2. Hoe om deel te word van die Highveld Syndication Aksie Groep (“HSAG”) | How to join the Highveld Syndication Action Group (“HSAG”)

Stappe om te aan te sluit | Steps to join

Die beleggers / voornemende eisers wat by die HSAG wil aansluit en die klas-aksie steun, moet ‘n registrasievorm voltooi en deposito van R1 500, 00 per sindikasie waarin hy/sy belê het, in die trustrekening van Theron & Vennote Prokureurs deponeer. Die bankbesonderhede is vir sekuriteitsdoeleindes beskikbaar op versoek per e-pos aan hsagregister@gmail.com. Gebruik asseblief u voorletters, van en nommer/s van die Highveld Syndication maatskappy/e waarin u belê het (bv. J Nel HS 15,16,20) as verwysing vir u betaling.

Voltooi ook asseblief hierdie
vorm en stuur dit saam met die bewys van betaling na hsagregister@gmail.com.

Wanneer die bogenoemde dokumentasie vanaf u ontvang word, sal u aansoek om by die HSAG aan te sluit geprosesseer en aangeteken word.

TThe investors / prospective claimants should each complete a registration form and pay the registration cost of R1 500,00 per syndication in which he/she is invested, to the trust account of Theron & Partners Attorneys. The banking details are, for security purposes, available on request via email to hsagregister@gmail.com. Kindly use your initials, surname and the number of the Highveld Syndication/s you invested in as reference for your payment (e.g. J Smith HS 17, 20, 22).

Please also complete this form and send it, together with your proof of payment, to hsagregister@gmail.com.

Once the above documentation with proof of payment has been received, your application to join HSAG can be processed and recorded.

 

3. Is daar ʼn afsnydatum om te registreer by die HSAG? | Is there a cut-off date to register with the HSAG?

Ja, daar is administratiewe afsnydatums wat van tyd tot tyd bepaal word ten einde die registrasie en administrasie van die HSAG te vergemaklik | Yes, there are administrative deadlines that will be determined from time to time in order to facilitate and to simplify the registration and administration of the HSAG

Beleggers wat vroeër registreer sal straks die voordeel kry om ‘n laer eenmalige registrasiekoste te betaal. Laat-registrasies sal noodwendig ʼn effek op die registrasieproses en gepaardgaande koste hê en sal sodanige persone daarom waarskynlik ‘n hoër bedrag betaal. Die registrasiekoste om by die HSAG aan te sluit sal elke 3-6 maande hersien word. Die registrasiekoste beloop vanaf 1 Oktober 2015 R1500 per sindikasie.

Investors who registered earlier will have the benefit to pay a lesser initial registration cost. Late registrations will have an effect on the registration process and costs, and such persons will therefore most likely pay a higher registration cost. The registration cost to join the class action will be reviewed every 3-6 months. The registration cost is R1500 per syndication from 1 October 2015.

4. Wat sal die posisie wees met betrekking tot rentebetalings deur Orthotouch, sou die Reëlingskema tersydesgestel word deur die Hooggeregshof? | What will the position be regarding payment of interest, should the Orthotouch Scheme of Arrangement be set aside by the Court?

Die Highveld Sindikasie Maatskappye sal terugkeer na ‘n staat van Besigheidsredding | the Highveld Syndication companies will return to a state of Business Rescue

Wanneer die Reëlingskema tersydegestel word sal die status quo ante herleef, dit wil sê die Highveld Sindikasie Maatskappye sal terugkeer na ‘n staat van Besigheidsredding. Die Besigheidsreddings-proses is nooit opgehef nie, maar is bloot ondervang deur die Reëlingskema. Dus, met die tersydestelling van die Reëlingskema sal die Besigheidsreddings-praktisyn (weer) ‘n plig hê om nakoming van die Besigheidsreddingsplan af te dwing. Ons is in daardie proses steeds die beleggers se regsverteenwoordigers en sal ons, uit die aard van die saak, seker maak dat ons kliënte se belange beskerm word.

When the Scheme of Arrangement is set aside, the status quo ante will relive, meaning that the Highveld Syndication companies will return to a state of Business Rescue. The Business Rescue process has never been uplifted – it has only been replaced by the Scheme of Arrangement. When the Scheme of Arrangement is set aside, the Business Rescue practitioner will have (once again) a duty to enforce compliance with the business rescue plan. In that process, we are still the legal representatives of the investors and we will make sure that our clients’ rights are protected.

Dis nie ‘n vereiste vir afdwingbaarheid dat die Besigheidsreddingsplan ‘n hofbevel moet wees nie – dit word deur die reg afgedwing en deur wetgewing beheer.

It is not a prerequisite for enforceability for the Business Rescue plan to be an order of court – it is enforced and controlled by law.

IN ‘N NEUTEDOP | IN A NUTSHELL

Indien die Reëlingskema nie tersydegestel word nie sal Orthotouch daaronder verplig wees om aan te hou rente betaal in terme van die bestaande Hofbevel wat die Reëlingskema sanksioneer. In die geval wat die Reëlingskema wel tersydegestel word, sal rentebetalings gereël word deur die Besigheidsreddingsplan.

Should the Scheme of Arrangement not be set aside, Orthotouch will be forced to pay interest according to the Court Order sanctioning the Scheme of Arrangement. If the Scheme of Arrangement does get set aside, the payment of interest will be ruled by the Business Rescue Plan.

5. As Orthotouch gelikwideer word, wat sal van die rentebetalings word? | What will become of the payment of interest, should Orthotouch be liquidated?

Die likwidateur sal verplig wees om, so ver moontlik, die verpliginge van Orthotouch na te kom | The liquidator will be obliged, as far as possible, to fulfil the obligations of Orthotouch

Hiervoor sal hy alle bates van Orthotouch, insluitend waarborge en “sekuriteite” wat deur derde partye gegee is ter nakoming van Orthotouch se verpligtinge, te gelde maak en/of oproep ten einde betalings van rente (en kapitaal) aan beleggers te maak.

In order to do this, all the assets of Orthotouch, including the guarantees and “securities” given by third parties in compliance with the obligations of Orthotouch, will be sold and called up in order to pay the investors’ interest (and capital).

6. Watter voordele het die groep-aksie bo individuele aksies? | What benefits do the group action have over individual actions?

Indien ‘n individu ‘n groot organisasie of meerdere verweerders aanpak hou dit verskeie risiko’s en nadele in | If an defendant is a large organization or there are multiple defendants, an individual approach holds various risks and disadvantages

Indien ‘n individu ‘n groot organisasie of meerdere verweerders aanpak hou dit verskeie risiko’s en nadele in. Een van die grootste struikelblokke is dat sake van dié aard lank en uitgerek kan wees en dat weining individue oor die middele beskik om in sodanige litigasie betrokke te raak omdat die hofsake baie duur kan wees.

Buiten die middele tot beskikking van ‘n groot groep, kan individue wat nou onafhanklik van die groep-aksie optree gekonfronteer word met verdere verwere. In sommige gevalle kan die Verweerders verjaring van die Eiser se eis opper wat, indien suksesvol geargumenteer sou word, ‘n absolute verweer teen die eis wees, selfs al sou daar meriete in die Eiser se saak wees. Daarteenoor stuit die uitreiking van die hofstukke vir ‘n klas-aksie verjaring. Die Verweerders kan die sanksionering van die Orthotouch Reëlingskema deur die Johannesburgse Hooggeregshof opper as ‘n verweer. In sodanige geval sal verlof om te verdedig waarskynlik toegestaan word tot tyd en wyl die sanksioneringsbevel tersyde gestel is.
Omdat daar meerdere voornemende eisers is, is daar ‘n veel groter poel van inligting, bewysstukke en getuienis wat die Eisers se saak kan ondersteun en hoef elke eiser nie in die Hof te getuig nie.

Daar het reeds meer as 6 700 voornemende eisers by die aksiegroep aangesluit met die spesifieke bedoeling om as ‘n klas vir Mnr Nic Georgiou en ander Verweerders aan te vat. Danksy die grootte van die groep het dit ‘n geweldige positiewe impak op die bydrae tot regskostes en uitgawes wat elke voornemende Eiser hoef te betaal. Die groepsgeding maak júís voorsiening dat slegs een saak per sindinkasie uitgereik word, in stede van tienduisend sake wat later gekonsolideer moet word. Indien die sake individueel ingestel word, moet elke saak apart by die hooggeregshof uitgereik en deur die balju beteken word wat die kostes aansienlik sal verhoog. Indien ‘n persoon later sy saak sou wou terugtrek, moet hy as ‘n reël die kostes van die Verweerders betaal.

Weens die grootte van die groep word geen buitengewone kostes geëis nie en is dit nie nodig vir die voornemende eisers om ‘n groot persentasie van hul eis aan regskostes af te staan nie. Sake wat op gebeurlikheidsbasis ooreengekom word duur net so lank soos gewone sake om af te handel (Sien FAQ’s oor gebeurlikheids-eise).

‘n Groot aantal van die lede van die aksiegroep is pensionarisse wat nie kan beskostig om persoonlik honderde duisende rande aan Hooggeregshof litigasie te spandeer nie en is die klas-aksie beslis die goedkoopste proses wat gevolg kan word.

Indien Mnr Nic Georgiou en die Verweerders in die summiere vonnis saak aansoek sou doen tot by die hoogste hof van appèl sal dit tot aansienlike verdere regskostes en vertragings lei.
Dit beteken dus dat dit op hierdie stadium nie ‘n goeie opsie vir die klas-aksie lede sal wees om individueel te eis nie. Indien uiteindelik daar finaliteit met betrekking tot die genoemde saak bereik is, sal die HSAG se regsspan vergader ten einde ‘n besluit te neem welke strategie, in die beste belang van die klas-aksie lede, in werking gestel moet word maar gaan die groep geensins oorhaastig optree nie.

If an defendant is a large organization or there are multiple defendants, an individual approach holds various risks and disadvantages. One of the biggest obstacles is that matters of this nature can be long and drawn out and few individuals have the means to be involved in such litigation, because it can be very expensive and time consuming.

Apart from the resources available to a large group, individuals who act independent of the group action is confronted with further difficulties. In some cases, if the Defendants raise the point of prescription of the Plaintiff’s claim it can be, if successfully argued, an absolute defense against the claim, even if there are merits to the Plaintiff’s case. In contrast, the issue of the court papers for a class action stops prescription. Defendants may also raise the sanctioning of the Scheme of Arrangement by Orthotouch in the Johannesburg High Court as a defense. In such a case, leave to defend will probably be granted until the court order sanctioning the Scheme of Arrangement is set aside.
Because there are so many potential claimants, there is a much larger pool of information, evidence and witnesses to support the Claimants’ case and each claimant does have not to testify in court.

More than 6 700 prospective plaintiffs have already joined the action group with the specific intent to institute legal action as a class against for Mr. Nic Georgiou and other defendants. The large size of the group has a very positive impact on the portion of legal costs and expenses to be paid by each prospective plaintiff. The class action makes provision for only one summons to be issued per syndication, instead of ten thousand separate cases that would have to be consolidated later in any event. If the claimants were to institute separate claims, each individual summons would have to be issued at court and served by the Sheriff, which will significantly increase the costs. If a person later wishes to withdraw his case, he must, as a rule, pay the costs of the Defendant.

Due to the size of the group, no extraordinary costs are incurred and it is not necessary for the prospective plaintiffs to not devote a large percentage of their claim to legal costs. Matters conducted on a contingency basis take just as long to be finalised as an “ordinary” ordinary case (See FAQs about contingency agreements).

A large number of the members of the action group are pensioners who cannot individually afford to spend the hundreds of thousands of rands it will cost to litigate in the High Court and the class action definitely the cheapest way to institute claims.

If Mr. Nic Georgiou and the other defendants in the summary judgment application appeals to the the highest court of appeal, it will lead to significant further legal costs and delays.

7. Moet ek ʼn persentasie van my eis afstaan indien die Klas-aksie suksesvol is en ek geld ontvang? | Do I have to relinquish a percentage of my claim if the Class Action is successful?

Nee, dit moet spesifiek eers ooreengekom word en is nie op hierdie stadium nodig nie | No, this must specifically be agreed upon in advance and is not necessary at this stage

In Suid-Afrika is daar wetgewing wat bepaal dat ʼn regspraktisyn op ʼn gebeurlikheidsbasis (“suksesfooi”) kan optree en sodoende tot óf dubbeld die regspraktisyn se kostes óf 25% van die Eiser se eis, welke ookal die laagste, as vergoeding kan neem. Indien ‘n kliënt en regspraktisyn op ‘n gebeurlikheidsbasis wil werk, moet ‘n skriftelike gebeurlikheids-ooreenkoms, wat aan sekere wetlike vereistes moet voldoen, tussen die partye gesluit word.

Weens die groot aantal HS Beleggers / voornemende Eisers wat by die HSAG registreer, is dit op hierdie stadium nie nodig om op ʼn gebeurlikheidsbasis namens die Beleggers / voornemende Eisers op te tree nie omdat elke individuele Belegger / voornemende Eiser slegs ʼn fraksie van die regskostes hoef te betaal.
Die gemiddelde grootte eis van die individuele Beleggers / Eisers sal ongeveer R250 000 beloop. Indien daar op ʼn gebeurlikheidsbasis opgetree sou word, sal dit beteken dat ʼn maksimum van R62 500 plus BTW en uitgawes deur die regspraktisyn per individuele Eiser verhaal kan word. Uiteindelik sal dit beteken dat ʼn maksimum bedrag van tussen R70 000 en R80 000 aan regskostes afgestaan moet word. Tans word slegs R1 000 per individuele Belegger / voornemende Eiser vereis en word slegs die regspraktisyns se normale fooie en uitgawes, soos van tyd tot tyd toepaslik, gehef.

In South Africa there is legislation which provides that a lawyer may act on a contingency fee basis and may charge up to double his normal fees or a maximum of 25% of the claim, whichever amount is the lowest. If a client and attorney wish to act on a contingency fee basis, a written contingency fee agreement that complies with certain legal requirements must be concluded between the parties.

Due to the large number of the HS investors / prospective claimants that register as claimants, it is not necessary to act on a contingency fee basis at this stage, since every investor only needs to pay a fraction of the legal costs.

The average size claim of individual Investors / prospective claimants will amount to approximately R250 000. If there is to be acted on a contingency fee basis, it would mean that a maximum of R62 500 plus VAT and expenses may be recovered by the attorney from each individual plaintiff. Ultimately, this means that a maximum of between R70 000 and R80 000 will be expended on legal fees per investor. Currently, only R1 000 per individual investor / claimant is required and fees and expenses are charged at the normal attorney and client rates charged from time to time.

8. Waarom is dit belangrik om by die klas-aksie geregistreer te word? | Why is it important to register with the class action?

Slegs Beleggers / Eisers wat by die HSAG geregistreer is, sal geregtig wees om die voordele van sodanige groep te geniet | Only Investors / Claimants who register with the class action will be entitled to enjoy the benefits of the class action

Registrasiekoste is eenmalig en beleggers / voornemende Eisers wat vroeër registreer, se registrasiekoste sal straks aansienlik laer wees as diegene wat later registreer. Voormelde is die geval omdat die Beleggers / voornemende Eisers wat aanvanklik aansluit by die HSAG die aanvanklike en huidige kostes van die registrasies en hofsake sal dra en dus uit hul vroeë betaling voordeel behoort te trek.

Registration costs are once-off payments and persons who register sooner rather than later will enjoy the benefit of a lower registration cost than those who register at a later date. The reason for this is that the Investors that joined the HSAG at the initial stages contribute to the current legal costs of the action and should therefore receive such benefit.

9. Ek het nog nie my inkomstebelastingsertifikate vir my beleggings in die Highveld Sindikasie maatskappye ontvang nie. Vir wie kan ek kontak om dit aan te vra? | I have not yet received my income tax certificates for my investments in the Highveld Syndication Companies. Who can I contact to obtain this?

Theron & Vennote kan ongelukkig nie van hulp wees met die verkryging van inkomstebelastingstate nie | Unfortunately Theron & Partners cannot be of any assistance in obtaining income tax certificates

Orthotouch is steeds in beheer van die administrasie van die Highveld Sindikasie maatskappye en sal u hul kantore moet nader om die genoemde sertifikasie aan te vra. U kan dit skriftelik versoek vanaf hul webtuiste of telefonies by (011) 262 3833.

The administration of the Highveld Syndication companies is still under the control of Orthotouch and we suggest that investors contact their offices to obtain the said certificates. You can make a request in writing on their website or you can make a telephonic request at (011) 262 3833.

10. Kan ek aan die klas aksie behoort en ook terselfdertyd saam met sekere individue eise instel teen Nic Georgiou & Ander? | Can I join in the class action group, as well as institute a separate action against Mr Nic Georgiou & Others?

Nee. Die redes hiervoor is as volg | No. The reasons are as follows

Voornemende Eisers kan nie meerdere eise instel wat gebasseer is op dieselfde eisoorsaak nie. Daarbenewens kan slegs een prokureur namens ʼn kliënt optree in een saak en sal dit onbehoorlik wees vir ʼn prokureur om namens ʼn kliënt individueel op te tree wat na sy kennis reeds verteenwoordig word bv. in gemelde klas-aksie saak.

In die pers was onlangs berig ten opsigte van sekere persone wie individuele hofsake aanhangig gemaak het (apart en onafhanklik van die voorgenome klas-aksie) en suksesvol was in ʼn Aansoek om Summiere Vonnis. Summiere vonnis is ʼn buitengewone remedie wat tot gevolg het dat vonnis toegestaan word teen ʼn Verweerder sonder die verloop van ʼn gewone verhoor en sonder dat daar enige getuienis gelei word.
Dit is egter belangrik om te onthou dat, ten spyte daarvan dat sekere eisers suksesvol was met gemelde summiere vonnis, dit tot tyd en wyl ‘n finale bevel gegee word, nog nie die einde van daardie sake sal beteken nie. Die Verweerders het reeds aangedui dat hulle van voorneme is om teen die summiere vonnis te appelleer.

In kort, kan ʼn appèlprosedure soos volg verloop:

– Die eerste moontlikheid is dat daar na die volbank van dieselfde Hooggeregshof (Pretoria); geappelleer kan word. Die summiere vonnis was toegestaan deur ʼn enkele Regter van die Hooggeregshof. ʼn Appèl na die volbank behels dat drie nuwe regters van daardie Hooggeregshof weer die saak oorweeg, waarna hulle dan óf die summiere vonnis sal bevestig óf dit van die hand wys.

– Indien die Verweerders steeds na afloop van die appèl na die volbank nie tevrede is met die uitkoms van die saak nie, óf indien die enkele regter wat die aangeleentheid aanvanklik aangehoor het weier om verlof toe te staan dat die saak deur die volbank heroorweeg word, kan die Verweerders hulle wend na die Appèlhof in Bloemfontein waar die saak óf terug verwys kan word na die volbank, soos hierbo bespreek, óf deur 5 nuwe Appèlhof regters oorweeg word.

– Die saak kan hierna ook moontlik na die Konstitusionele Hof (Johannesburg) gaan vir oorweging.

Dit beteken dus dat die sake ten opsigte waarvan summiere vonnis toegestaan is nog lank nie afgehandel is nie en dat dit hoogs onwaarskynlik is dat die betrokke eisers hulle geld in die nabye toekoms gaan sien.
Die Verweerders moet nou by die by die verhoorregter (Pretoria Hooggeregshof) ‘n aansoek bring vir verlof tot appèl teen sy uitspraak. Indien verlof tot appèl toegestaan word, sal slegs die summiere vonnis aansoek (en nie die hele saak nie) op appèl aangehoor word voor die volbank van dieselfde Hooggeregshof.
Indien die aansoek om verlof tot appèl deur die Verhoorregter geweier word, kan die Verweerders aansoek doen by die Appèlhof (Bloemfontein) vir verlof tot appèl. Indien dit toegestaan word sal slegs die summiere vonnis (en nie die hele saak nie) op appèl aangehoor word voor óf die volbank van dieselfde Hooggeregshof óf die Appèlhof soos hierbo verduidelik.

Indien die Verweerders op enige stadium suksesvol sou wees met die Appèl sal die Verweerders verlof tot verdediging toegestaan word en die saak letterlik van voor af loop asof daar nooit enige summiere vonnis was nie. Dit kan, met ander woorde, beteken dat die sake ten opsigte waarvan summiere vonnis toegestaan is oor ʼn jaar of selfs langer van voor af moet begin.

Ons is steeds van mening (welke mening ondersteun word deur twee bekende senior advokate) dat dit meer voordelig sal wees vir beleggers om die klas-aksie roete te volg instede daarvan om individuele sake te bring nie en dat daar geen wesenlike voordeel daarin is om eerder individueel te dagvaar nie. Indien die summiere vonnisse wel uiteindelik deur die laaste hof in die Appèlprosedure bevestig word kan dit steeds as regspresedent tot voordeel van die klas-aksie en die beleggers wat die klas-aksie steun gebruik word. As die laaste hof in die Appèlprosedure egter die summiere vonnis van die hand wys word die klas-aksie nie daardeur beïnvloed nie en sal die beleggers wat die klas-aksie steun nie genoodsaak wees om van vooraf met die prosedure te begin nie of onnodige regskostes te betaal nie.

Normaalweg volg kostes die sukses van ʼn saak en sal ʼn (uiteindelike) onsuksesvolle party die kostes van die suksesvolle party moet betaal, wat addisionele en onvoorsiene kostes vir die onsuksesvolle litigant (hetsy die beleggers, hetsy die verweerders) teweeg kan bring. In ʼn saak soos hierdie sal die kostes beduidend wees en dit is juis hierdie koste risiko wat die beginsel van ʼn klas-aksie waar duisende individue die koste risiko wat inherent is tot enige litigasie tussen hulle almal verdeel instede daarvan om dit alleen te dra.

Prospective Plaintiffs cannot institute multiple claims based on the same cause of action. In addition, only one lawyer can act on behalf of a client in one matter and it would be improper for a lawyer to act on behalf of a client in an individual matter who, to the lawyer’s knowledge, already has legal representation in another matter (e.g. the class action).

The press recently reported about certain persons who instituted individual lawsuits against Mr Nic Georgiou & Others (separately from the proposed class action) and who were successful in an application for Summary Judgment. Summary judgment is an extraordinary remedy that results in judgment being granted against a defendant without a normal trial and without any evidence being led.

It is important to remember that, despite the fact that some claimants were successful in summary judgment, it is still not the end of that matter. The Defendants have already indicated that they intend to appeal the summary judgment.

In short, an appeal procedure can take place as follows:

– The first possibility is that the Defendants can appeal to the full bench of the same Court (Pretoria). The summary judgment was granted by a single judge of the High Court. An appeal to the full bench means that three new judges of that Court will consider the summary judgment again, after which the case can either be confirmed or dismissed.

– If the Defendants are still not satisified with the appeal judgment of the full bench, or if the single judge who heard the matter initially refuses to grant permission for the case to be reconsidered by the full bench, the Defendants can appeal to the Appeal Court in Bloemfontein where the case may be referred back to the full bench, as discussed above, or considered by 5 new judges of the Appeal Court.

– The case can then also possibly go to the Constitutional Court (Johannesburg) for consideration.
This means that the case (in which summary judgment has been granted) has not been finalised and it is highly unlikely that the relevant claimants will see their money in the near future.

The Defendants will now bring an application before the trial judge (Pretoria High Court) for leave to appeal against his ruling. If leave to appeal is granted, only the summary judgment application (and not the whole case) will be heard on appeal before the full bench of the same Court.

If the application for leave to appeal is refused by the trial judge, the defendants can apply to the Appeal Court (Bloemfontein) for leave to appeal. If it is granted, only the summary judgment (and not the whole case) will be heard before either the full bench of the same High Court or the Appeal Court as explained above.

If the defendants are, at any time, successful with the appeal, and the leave to defend is granted, the case will literally start from the beginning, as if summary judgment was never granted. It can, in other words, mean that the case in which summary judgment is granted, will begin (all over again) a year or even longer from the date that summary judgment was granted.

We are still firmly of the opinion (which opinion is backed by two eminent senior counsel) that it will be much more advantageous for investors to join the prospective class action instead of instituting individual actions and that there is no material benefit to sue individually rather than as a group. If the summary judgment is ultimately confirmed by the final court of appeal, it will undoubtedly benefit the class action by serving as a legal precedent to be followed by all other courts. If the final court of appeal, however, dismisses the summary judgment, the class action will not be influenced by the judgment and prospective claimants, supporting the class action, will not have to start their legal proceedings all over again or incur unnecessary legal costs.

Usually, costs will follow the success of a matter and the party who is (finally) unsuccessful has to pay the costs of the successful party, which can bring about additional and unforeseen costs for the unsuccessful litigant (whether it be the investors, or the defendants). In a case like this, the costs can be significant and it is this issue regarding costs that makes the class action such a practical vehicle for litigation because the costs will be borne by a large number of people altogether and not a single individual.

11. Watter invloed het die beslissing ten gunste van 46 individue wat ‘n summiere vonnis teen Mnr Nic Georgiou verkry het op die klas-aksie? | What is the impact of the summary judgment in favour of 46 individuals against Mr Nic Georgiou on the class action?

Die HSAG is baie tevrede met die Hofuitspraak, omdat dit die beginsels van die klas-aksie ondersteun en onderskryf | The HSAG is very satisfied with the verdict, because it supports the principles of the class action

Die HSAG is baie tevrede met die Hofuitspraak, omdat dit die beginsels van die klas-aksie ondersteun en onderskryf, spesifiek met betrekking tot spesifieke nakoming ten gunste van die voornemende klas-aksie eisers in die tersaaklike Highveld Sindikasie maatskappye. Die klas-aksie strek egter veel wyer as die groep van 46 individuele eisers wat slegs Mnr Nic Georgiou, Zephan en een van sy trusts dagvaar, en word ook die Georgiou seuns, voormalige direkteure van die Highveld Maatskappye en ander belanghebbenes as verweerders in die klas-aksie gevoeg. Verdermeer is daar alternatiewe gronde vir die eise van die beleggers, gebaseer op die bedrieglike en/of roekelose wyse waarop daar na bewering met die Highveld Sindikasie maatskappye se bates van miljarde rande gehandel was.

The HSAG is very satisfied with the verdict, because it supports the principles of the class action and, with specific regard to specific performance in favour of the proposed class action plaintiffs in the relevant Highveld Syndication companies. The class-action stretches, however, much wider than the group of 46 individual plaintiffs who only sued Mr Nic Georgiou, Zephan and one of his trusts. The group action also includes the Georgiou sons, former directors of the Highveld Companies and other parties concerned as defendants. Furthermore, there are also alternative grounds for the claims of investors, based on the alleged fraudulent and/or reckless manner in which the defendants managed the Highveld Syndication companies’ assets of billions of rands.

12. Watter implikasies het die uitspraak in die summiere vonnis aansoek op 22 Junie 2015 vir Voornemende Eisers van die groepsgeding? | What are the implications of the judgment granted on 22 June 2015 in the application for summary judgment for the Prospective Plaintiffs in the class action?

Tensy die hoogste hof van appèl in guns van die Eisers beslis, sal dit geen noemenswaardige uitwerking hê nie | Unless the final court of appeal rules in favour of the Plaintiffs, it will not have any significant effect

Die Verweerders het aangedui dat hulle teen die summiere vonnis gaan appelleer en sal dit, totdat ‘n finale hof uitsluitsel oor die aangeleentheid gegee het, geen praktiese waarde vir die groep (of enige ander Eiser) hê nie. Daar is verskillende vlakke van appèl wat wissel van die volbank, daarna die Appèlhof, en uiteindelik, indien dit in belang van geregtigheid is, die Konstitusionele Hof. Sodanige uitsprake sal slegs op die beginsels van summiere vonnis betrekking hê, en tensy die hoogste hof van appèl in guns van die Eisers beslis, sal dit geen noemenswaardige uitwerking hê nie, omdat dit slegs op summiere vonnisse betrekking sal hê. Indien die summiere vonnis tot by die hoogste hof van appèl (Konstitusionele Hof) geneem word, kan dit die verloop van die saak ernstig vertraag.

The Defendants have indicated that they will appeal against the summary judgment. The said judgment will therefore, until a final court of appeal have adjudicated upon the matter, be of no practical value for the group (or any other plaintiff). There are several levels of appeal available to the Defendants, ranging from the full bench of the High Court where the judgment was granted, thereafter the Supreme Court of Appeal, and finally, if it is in the interest of justice, the Constitutional Court. Such appeal judgments will moreover only relate to the legal principles of summary judgment (in the event that leave to defend is granted to the Defendants) and, unless the final court of appeal rules in favour of the Plaintiffs, it will certainly not have any significant effect on the case of the prospective plaintiffs. If the summary judgment is appealed to the highest court of appeal ( Constitutional Court), then it can seriously delay the progress and finalisation of the case.

13. Indien ek reeds my registrasievorm gestuur het, hoekom word ek gevra om dit weer te stuur? | If I have already sent my registration form, why am I being asked to send it again?

Ek het reeds my registrasievorm en bewys van betaling gestuur om deel te wees van die HSAG, maar ek kry boodskappe wat vra dat ek dit weer moet stuur. Hoekom moet ek dit weer stuur? | I have already sent my registration form with proof of payment to be part of the HSAG but I receive messages requesting that I send it again. Why do I have to send it again?

Daar is sekere beleggers en finansiële adviseurs wat die inisiatief geneem het om ons behulpsaam te wees met die verkryging van vorms vanaf beleggers wat dit nog nie gestuur het nie. Hierdie persone stuur massaboodskappe uit in ‘n poging om seker te maak ons alle beleggers wat by die HSAG aansluit, se inligting kry sodat ons hul eise kan registreer. Indien u reeds u vorm gestuur het, hoef u dit nie weer te stuur nie. Wat u wel moet doen is om seker te maak dat u vorm volledig en korrek ingevul is (bv, slegs voorletters gegee en nie volle naam/e; eis is geregistreer met nuwe/getroude van en aandele vestig nog in vorige van; aandele is geërf en nog nie oorgedra op u naam). Indien dit nie is nie, moet u dit weer stuur met ‘n boodskap dat dit ‘n opgedateerde vorm is.

As gevolg van die groot hoeveelheid mense betrokke bevestig ons ontvangs van u vorms en/of bewys van betaling slegs op skriftelike versoek.

There are certain investors and financial advisors who have taken the initiative to assist us in collecting the registration forms of the investors who have not yet sent it to us. These persons send out bulk messages in an attempt to make sure that we receive all the forms of investors who wish to join the HSAG in order for us to be able to register their claims. If you have already sent your registration form, you do not have to send it again. You must, however, check that your form was filled out correctly (e.g. that full names were given and not just your initial/s; claim is registered with new surname and shares are still held under previous surname; shares were inherited and not yet transferred to your name). If it was not filled out correctly you must send it again with a message stating that you are sending an updated form.

Due to the large number of persons involved with the HSAG, we only confirm receipt of your form on written request.

14. Ek het aanvanklik ʼn deposito van R200 per individuele Highveld Sindikasie (“HS”) maatskappy betaal. Sal ek krediet daarvoor ontvang wanneer ek my eis/e as individuele Belegger / voornemende Eiser by die HSAG registreer? | I paid an initial deposit of R200 per individual Highveld Syndication (“HS”) company. Will I receive any credit when I register my claim/s as individual Investor/claimant with the HSAG?

Sal ek krediet daarvoor ontvang wanneer ek my eis/e as individuele Belegger / voornemende Eiser by die HSAG registreer? | Will I be credited with the initial amount paid when I register ad individual investor / prospective claimant with the HSAG?

Ja, beleggers wat ʼn aanvanklike deposito/s betaal het, sal met die registrasie by die HSAG krediet ontvang vir hul aanvanklike deposito-betaling/s. Die aanvanklike deposito’s was onder andere benodig en aangewend ten einde ondersoeke te doen en regsmenings in te win óf ʼn klas-aksie die gepaste regsvoertuig is om die sake te dryf en om die hofsake te begin.

Yes, investors who have paid an initial deposit/s will be credited with the initial amount when they register with the HSAG.The initial deposits were required in order to do research, seek legal advice on whether a class action was the appropriate legal vehicle to drive the action and to commence the litigation process.

15. Wat is die kostes om by die HSAG te registreer? | What are the costs to register with the HSAG?

Die registrasiekoste is R1 500 per HS Maatskappy vanaf 1 Oktober 2015 | The registration cost is R1 500 per HS company from 1 October 2015

Aanvanklik word die registrasie van voornemende Eisers / Beleggers uit die registrasiekoste by die HSAG befonds. Die bedrag van die registrasiekoste per sindikasie is daargestel ten einde billik te wees teenoor alle beleggers / voornemende Eisers wat aansluit by die HSAG en ook die kostes verbonde aan die voer van meer as een hofsaak te dek, sou die klas-aksie/s deur die Hooggeregshof gesertifiseer word. Indien ‘n Belegger egter twee keer in dieselfde sindikasie belê het, sal die registrasiekoste vir daardie sindikasie slegs R1 500 beloop, aangesien dit as een eis beskou word.

Daarbenewens was ʼn buffer regsfonds opgebou uit registrasiekostes vir voorsiene en onvoorsiene kostes. As gevolg van laasgenoemde is ons genoodsaak om opvragings te maak vir regskostes wat aansienlik is en die buffer onvoldoende is.

Vir elke eis wat namens ʼn persoon ingestel staan te word moet ʼn bedrag van R1 500 betaal word. Indien ʼn persoon in meer as een Highveld Syndication (“HS”) Maatskappy belê het, word ʼn registrasiefooi vir elke sodanige maatskappy betaal. Indien meerdere beleggings in slegs een HS maatskappy gemaak is, word slegs een registrasie vereis. (Bv. ʼn Belegger/ Voornemende Eiser sal 2 x bedrag van registrasiekoste betaal indien hy/sy in HS15 en HS21 beleggings gemaak het maar slegs 1 x bedrag van registrasiekoste indien hy/sy drie keer in HS19, dieselfde HS maatskappy, belê het.) Die registrasiekoste is eenmalig en nie-terugbetaalbaar of oordraagbaar nie. Beleggers / voornemende Eisers word daarop gewys dat registrasie by die HSAG algeheel vrywillig is.

Elke voornemende individuele voornemende Eiser / Belegger moet sy/haar eis by die klas-aksie op die voorgeskrewe wyse, soos van tyd tot tyd uiteengesit op hierdie webtuiste, registreer.
Die gemiddelde bedrag van beleggings wat beleggers in die HS Maatskappye gemaak het, is R250 000.00. Die registrasiekoste is dus nominaal in verhouding tot die beleggings wat gemaak is en verteenwoordig in die geval van ʼn R250 000.00 belegging slegs 0.4% daarvan. In geval van ʼn R1miljoen belegging is dit 0.1% en 1% by ʼn R100 000.00 belegging.

Persone wat by meerdere HS Maatskappye belê het, word geag om vir alle maatskappye te registreer, tensy skriftelik vooraf anders aangedui.

Initially, the registration of each individual investor / prospective claimant is funded from the registration costs. The registration cost per syndication is required in order to be fair to all investors and also to cover the costs associated with the conducting the litigation in more than one matter, should the class-action be certified. If an investor invested in the same syndication more than once, the registration fee will however remain R 1500, as the investor only has one claim.

Registration costs was also used contribute to a buffer legal fund of surplus registration costs that was used to cover foreseen and unforeseen costs In light of the abpve, we are now forced to make trust requisitions for substantial legal costs, for which this buffer fund  is insufficient.

For each claim that will be instituted on behalf of an investor, an amount of R1 500 is required. If a person made investments in more than one Highveld Syndication (“HS”) Company a registration fee is required for each HS company. If more than one investment was made in a single HS Company, only one registration of R1 500 is required. (E.g. An investor / prospective plaintiff will pay 2 x amount of registration cost if he/she has made investments in HS15 and HS21 but only 1 x amount of registration cost if he/she invested three times in HS19, the same HS company.) The registration costs are once-off and non-refundable or transferable. Investors must note that registration with the HSAG is voluntary.

Each prospective individual Investor / prospective claimant must register his/her claim with the class action in the manner set out on this website from time to time.
The average amount invested in the HS Companies is R250 000.00. The registration cost is therefore nominal compared to the investments made and represents in the case of a R250 000.00 investment, only 0.4% thereof. In the case of a R1 million investment the registration fee is 0.1% and 1% of a R 100 000.00 investment.

Investors who have invested in more than one HS company are deemed to be registered for all companies, unless otherwise indicated in writing in advance.

 

16. Waar moet ek die registrasiekoste inbetaal? | Where must I deposit the registration costs?

Die registrasiekoste met betrekking tot die HSAG en aanverwante sake moet in die Trustrekening van Theron & Vennote Prokureurs gedeponeer word | All costs with regards to the HSAG and related matters must be paid into the Trust account of Theron & Partners Attorneys

Beleggers kan hul versoek om Trust-bankbesonderhede per e-pos stuur na hsagregister@gmail.com, waarnaas Theron & Vennote die bankbesonderhede aan die voornemende Eiser/s sal voorsien. Indien ‘n Belegger nie toegang het tot e-pos nie, kan hy/sy Theron & Vennote se kantore skakel by (021) 887 7877, sodat dit per faks aan die Belegger gestuur kan word.

Investors who wish to pay the registration costs may request the banking details via e-mail from hsagregister@gmail.com whereafter the details will be sent to the prospective claimant/s. If an investor does not have access to e-mail he or she may phone Theron & Partners Attorneys at (021) 887 7877 whereafter the details shall be furnished to them by fax.

17. Kan ek by die HSAG aansluit selfs al het ek gestem by die Orthotouch vergadering? | May I still join the HSAG even if I voted at the Orthotouch meeting?

Alle HS Beleggers kan by die klas-aksie aansluit en as Eisers registreer | All HS Investors may join the HSAG and register as claimants

Ja, mits die belegger / voornemende Eiser hom/haarself vereenselwig met die doelstellings van die HSAG. Die geldigheid van die stemming en besluite by die Orthotouch vergadering op 12 November 2014 is kontensieus en vorm die reëlingskema die onderwerp van ʼn Aansoek om Tersydestelling / Appèl van die Hofbevel van die Johannesburgse Hooggeregshof wat die reëlingskema sanksioneer. Elke spesifieke geval word op eie meriete beoordeel en sal die aangeleentheid aandag geniet wanneer ‘n sertifikaat vir die klas-aksie deur die Hooggeregshof uitgereik word.

Yes, providing that the investor / prospective claimant associates himself/herself with the purpose of the HSAG. The validity of the voting and the decisions taken at the Orthotouch meeting on 12 November 2014 is contentious and the scheme of arrangement currently forms the subject of an Application to Set Aside / Appeal against the Court Order of the Johannesburg High Court sanctioning the said scheme. Each individual case has to be judged on own merit. Once a certificate for the class action has been issued by the High Court, this aspect will be further investigated.

18. Is die beleggers gebonde aan die Reëlingskema van Orthotouch wat deur ʼn Hofbevel bekragtig is?

Die regspan is van mening dat die artikel 155 reëlingskema nie die voornemende klas-aksie beïnvloed nie, maar wil vir doeleindes van duidelikheid en uitklaring wél die Hofbevel wat die reëlingskema sanksioneer, ter syde stel

ʼn Aparte hofaansoek hieroor is in die Johannesburg Hooggeregshof uitgereik.
Ter agtergrond: Orthotouch beweer dat ‘n skikking bereik was tussen hulle en hul krediteure deur middel van die “reëlingskema” ingevolge Artikel 155 van die Maatskappyewet (2008). Dit is waaroor die vergadering op 12 November 2014 in Centurion gegaan het (en die uitbring van stemme vir een van drie alternatiewe, soos vervat in die 108 bladsye reëlingskema dokument).
Gemelde Artikel 155 maak voorsiening vir ‘n “skikking” (reëlingskema) tussen ‘ n maatskappy en sy krediteure. Die krediteure aanvaar daarmee gewoonlik betaling van slegs ‘n gedeelte van die maatskappy se skuld aan hulle, aangesien dit gereken word meer voordelig vir hulle te wees as, byvoorbeeld, die likwidasie van die maatskappy.
Artikel 155(7) maak egter ook voorsiening dat, indien 75% van die uitgebragte stemme van krediteure ten gunste van die skikking was, die maatskappy die hof kan nader om die skikking te sanksioneer (deur middel van ʼn hofbevel). As die hof die skikking sanksioneer, is die skikking ook bindend op daardie krediteure wat NIE ten gunste van die skikking gestem het nie.
Hierdie reëlingskema gaan egter – teenstrydig met Artikel 155 – baie verder as om bloot die verhouding tussen Orthotouch en sy krediteure te reël/skik. Dit poog ook om verskeie ander verhoudings te skik, naamlik alle eise wat beleggers mag hê teen Mnr. Nic Georgiou persoonlik en teen alle direkteure wat betrokke was by die Highveld / Pickvest beleggings-skema. Dus poog dit om die voornemende klas-aksie ook te skik op die basis dat die eise nie meer bestaan nie. Daarbenewens is die beleggers in die Highveld maatskappye nie eers krediteure van Orthotouch nie, en kan Artikel 155 dus nie van toepassing wees op individuele beleggers nie. Artikel 155 (7), oftewel die hofbevel, kan dus nie beleggers bind nie, of ten minste nie diegene wat nie ten gunste van die skikking gestem het nie.
Dus, alhoewel die reëlingskema in verskeie opsigte gebrekkig is en die hofbevel ook nooit toegestaan moes word nie, is dit so dat die reëlingskema op die oog af voorgee om die klas-aksie in die wiele te ry. Dit is dus veiliger om die Hof te nader vir die tersydestelling van die Hof se sanksionering daarvan insoverre dit geïnterpreteer kan word om bindend te wees op individuele beleggers. Ons regspan wil nie die kans waag deur eers later te argumenteer dat die hofbevel nie beleggers bind nie. Ons wil nou alle onduidelikheid uit die weg ruim en die Hof nader vir tersydestelling.
Terloops, Orthotouch het in hierdie geval die Hof genader sonder om enige kennis aan enige belanghebbende, insluitend die HSAG se prokureurs, Theron & Vennote, te gee. Hulle het ook ʼn heel ander Hof (in Johannesburg) genader as die Hof (in Pretoria) wat in die reëlingskema dokument geïdentifiseer word.

19. Wat is die verloop van die saak? | What is the progress of the matter?

Op die oomblik word by die Hooggeregshof aansoek gedoen vir sertifikate ten einde klas-aksies namens die HS Beleggers / voornemende Eisers te kan instel | Currently our legal team is applying to the High Court for certificates to institute class-actions on behalf of the investors / prospective claimants against certain individuals and entities involved in the Highveld Syndication companies

In die sertifikate-aansoek namens die beleggers in HS 19-22, is die hofstukke reeds gedurende Oktober 2014 uitgereik en op ons webtuiste beskikbaar onder “Documents”. Hof- en/of ander stukke sal van tyd tot tyd, soos toepaslik of nodig op die webtuiste geplaas word. Die stukke is op alle partye tot die aansoek beteken en word daar nou geleentheid gegee aan die Respondente om daarop te antwoord.

Die regspan was aanvanklik van plan om die hofstukke in die sertifikate-aansoek namens die beleggers in HS 15-18 deur die loop van 2015 uit te reik, maar op advies van ons senior advokate besluit om eers die Art 155 Reëlingskema tersyde te stel en nie onnodige regskostes aan te gaan nie.

’n Aansoek is ook geloods in die Johannesburg Hooggeregshof om die Reëlingskema, wat daar ’n bevel van die Hof gemaak is, tersyde te stel en dus die baan verder oopmaak vir die Sertifikaat aansoeke.

‘n Meer gedetailleerde uiteensetting van die vordering van hierdie sake verskyn in die vorm van ‘n tydlyn op die Tuisblad.

Between eight and nine Class Actions (for each Highveld Syndication Company – “HSC”) (depending on the High Court’s directive) are envisaged. In light of the similarities between the merits of the cases relating to the respective HS companies, and being mindful of the costs involved, only two court applications are launched, namely on behalf of the Investors / Shareholders of HS15 to 18 and HS19 to 22. In the application for Class Action certificates on behalf of the investors in HS 19-22, the court documents were issued during October 2014 and are available on our website under “Documents”.

Court and / or other documents will from time to time, as appropriate or necessary, be placed on the website. The pleadings were served on all parties to the application and they are now given the opportunity to answer thereupon.

The legal team plans to issue the Application for the Class Action certificates on behalf of the investors in HS 15-18 during the course of 2015.

An application has also been launched in the Johannesburg High Court to have the Scheme of Arrangement, which was made an order of the Court, set aside and thus opening the path further for the Certificate applications.

A more detailed explanation of the progress of these cases appear in the form of a timeline on the Homepage.

20. Wat is die redes vir die tersydestelling van die Hofbevel in terme van A.155? | What are the reasons for the rescission of the Court Order in terms of S.155?

REDE VIR TERSYDESTELLINGS-AANSOEK | REASONS FOR APPLICATION FOR RESCISSION

Beleggers in die Highveld Sindikasie maatskappye het op Dinsdag, 3 Maart 2015, ‘n aansoek in die Johannesburg Hooggeregshof uitgereik vir die tersydestelling van, alternatiewelik Appèl teen, die sanksionering van die sogenaamde Orthotouch Artikel 155 Reëlingskema deur die Hooggeregshof op 26 November 2014.

Die Highveld Sindikasie beleggers bring die aansoek op verskeie gronde, onder andere:

• Dat hulle nie krediteure van Orthotouch is, soos beoog in Artikel 155 van die Maatskappyewet 71 van 2008 (die “Wet”), nie;

• Dat Artikel 155 nie voorsiening maak vir die skikking van eise teen Direkteure van ‘n maatskappy nie (die HS Beleggers spreek die direkteure persoonlik aan in die voornemende klas-aksie);

• Dat die aansoek om sanksionering in die verkeerde afdeling van die Hooggeregshof gebring was (naamlik in Johannesburg, terwyl die Reëlingskema dokument spesifiek verwys na die Hooggeregshof in Pretoria);

• Dat ʼn groot aantal beleggers nie kennis van die vergadering op 12 November 2014 ontvang het nie; en

• Dat Orthotouch onder ʼn verpligting gestaan het om sekere wesenlike inligting (bv. die aansoek vir die sertifisering van die Highveld Sindikasie klas-aksie), wat die Hof se uiteindelike besluit aansienlik kon beïnvloed, onder die aandag van sy Edele Regter Moshidi te bring, maar dit nie gedoen het nie.

Die Hofbevel was verdermeer deur Orthotouch verkry, sonder die medewete van enige HS Aksie Groep belegger of hul regsverteenwoordigers, Theron & Vennote. Orthotouch het die Hooggeregshof in Johannesburg genader om die reëlingskema deur die Hof te laat sanksioneer, welke bevel verreikende gevolge kan hê op belanghebbende partye.

Orthotouch beweer in hul hofstukke vir die verkryging van die bevel dat daar ‘n skikking bereik is tussen hulle, hul handelskrediteure én die Highveld Sindikasie beleggers deur middel van ʼn “reëlingskema”, soos beoog in Artikel 155 van die Maatskappyewet (71/2008). Daar word ook beweer dat die Reëlingskema tydens die vergadering op 12 November 2014 in Centurion deur die beleggers goedgekeur is deur middel van die uitbring van stemme ten gunste van een van drie alternatiewe, soos vervat in die 108 bladsye reëlingskema dokument.

Volgens beleggers wie teenwoordig was op die vergadering het hulle beswaar gemaak teen die vergadering en versoek dat dit uitgestel word, onder andere weens ʼn gebrek aan behoorlike kennisgewing aan die beleggers, wat deur die Voorsitter, Mnr. Derek Cohen, geïgnoreer was.

Artikel 155 van die Wet maak voorsiening vir ‘n “skikking” (reëlingskema) tussen ‘n maatskappy en sy krediteure. Die krediteure aanvaar daarmee gewoonlik betaling van slegs ‘n gedeelte van die maatskappy se skuld aan hulle, aangesien dit gereken word om voordeliger vir hulle te wees as, byvoorbeeld, die likwidasie van die maatskappy.

Artikel 155(7) maak ook voorsiening dat, indien 75% van die uitgebragte stemme van krediteure ten gunste van die skikking was, die maatskappy die hof kan nader om die skikking te sanksioneer (deur middel van ʼn hofbevel). As die hof die skikking sanksioneer, is die skikking ook bindend op daardie krediteure wat NIE ten gunste van die skikking gestem het nie.

Die Reëlingskema wat Orthotouch laat sanksioneer het gaan egter – teenstrydig met Artikel 155 van die Wet – baie verder as om bloot die verhouding tussen Orthotouch en sý krediteure te reël/skik. Dit poog ook om verskeie ander verhoudings te skik, naamlik alle eise wat beleggers mag hê teen die Highveld Sindikasie direkteure (wat betrokke was by die Highveld / Pickvest beleggings-skema) persoonlik en Mnr. Nic Georgiou, asook sy seuns en familietrust, wat die onderwerp vorm van die beoogde klas-aksies. Dus poog Orthotouch (waarvan Mnr. Nic Georgiou die Besturende Direkteur is) om ook met die Reëlingskema die voornemende klas-aksies te skik op die basis dat die eise “nie meer bestaan nie”.

Dit is die Applikante se saak dat die beleggers in die Highveld maatskappye nie krediteure van Orthotouch is nie, en kan Artikel 155 dus nie van toepassing wees op individuele beleggers nie. Artikel 155(7), oftewel die hofbevel, kan dus ook nie beleggers bind nie, of ten minste nie diegene wat nie ten gunste van die skikking gestem het nie.

Nieteenstaande die saak dat die Reëlingskema in verskeie opsigte gebrekkig is en die hofbevel nooit toegestaan moes word nie, is dit so dat die Reëlingskema op die oog af voorgee om die klas-aksie in die wiele te ry. Dit is dus raadsaam om die hof te nader vir die tersydestelling van die hof se sanksionering daarvan insoverre dit geïnterpreteer kan word om bindend te wees op individuele beleggers. Beleggers wil nie die risiko loop dat daar later deur hul regspan geargumenteer moet word dat die hofbevel nie beleggers bind nie. Hulle wil nou reeds alle onduidelikheid uit die weg ruim en die hof nader vir tersydestelling.

On Tuesday, 3 March 2015 the investors in the Highveld Syndication companies issued an application for the rescission, alternatively appeal against, the sanctioning of the so-called Section 155 Orthotouch Scheme of Arrangement by the Johannesburg High Court on 26 November 2014.

Highveld Syndication investors issued the application on several grounds, including:

• That they are not creditors of Orthotouch, as contemplated in Section 155 of the Companies Act 71 of 2008 (the “Act”);

• That Section 155 does not provide for the settlement of claims against directors of a company (the HS Investors hold directors personally accountable in the prospective class action);

• That the application was brought in the incorrect Division of the High Court (i.e. in Johannesburg, while the Scheme of Arrangement document refers specifically to the High Court in Pretoria);

• A large number of investors did not receive notice of the meeting on 12 November 2014; and

• That Orthotouch was under an obligation to bring certain material information that can influence the Court’s ultimate decision significantly (e.g. the application for the certification of the Highveld Syndication class action), under the attention of the Honourable Justice Moshidi, but neglected to do so.

Furthermore, the court order was obtained by Orthotouch without the knowledge of any of the HS Action Group investors or their legal representatives, Theron & Partners. Orthotouch approached the High Court in Johannesburg to have the scheme of arrangement sanctioned by the Court, which order could have far-reaching consequences for interested / affected parties.

In its court documents for obtaining the order Orthotouch alleged that a settlement has been reached between them, their trade creditors and the Highveld Syndication investors through a “Scheme of Arrangement”, as provided for in Section 155 of the Companies Act (71/2008). It also claimed that the Scheme of Arrangement was approved by the investors at the meeting held on 12 November 2014 in Centurion through the counting of votes in favour of one of three alternatives, as contained in the 108 pages of the Arrangement document.

Investors who were present at the meeting objected to the continuation thereof and requested that it be postponed, inter alia because of a lack of proper notice to the investors, which request the Chairman, Mr. Derek Cohen, ignored.

The abovementioned Section 155 of the Act provides for a “compromise” (Scheme of Arrangement) between a company and its creditors. The creditors that accept it usually get paid only a portion of the company’s debt to them, since it is considered to be more beneficial for them (the creditors) than, for example, the liquidation of the company.

Section 155 (7) however also provides that, if 75% of creditors vote in favour of the settlement, the company may approach the court to sanction the settlement (by way of a court order). If the settlement is sanctioned by the court, it is also binding on those creditors who have not voted in favour of the settlement.

The Scheme of Arrangement that Orthotouch had sanctioned, however – in breach of Section 155 of the Act – goes much further than just to arrange / settle the relationship between Orthotouch and its creditors. It also attempts to settle a number of other relationships, including all claims that investors may have against the Highveld Syndication Directors personally and Mr Nic Georgiou, as well as his sons and family trust, who form the subject matter in the issued application for certification of a class action by the Highveld Syndication Investors. Orthotouch (of which Mr Nic Georgiou is the Managing Director) therefore seeks to settle the prospective class action on the basis that the claims “do not exist anymore”.

The Applicants’ case is that the investors in the Highveld companies are not even creditors of Orthotouch, and Section 155 does not apply to individual investors. Section 155 (7), and the court order, can therefore not be binding on investors, or at the least not those who did not not vote in favour of the settlement.

Notwithstanding the matter that the Scheme of Arrangement is flawed in several respects and that the court order should never have been granted, it is true that the Scheme of Arrangement, on the face of it, purports to thwart the class action. It is therefore prudent to approach the court to set aside the order sanctioning the Scheme of Arrangement insofar as it can be interpreted to be binding on individual investors. Investors do not want to take the risk that their legal team will need to argue at a later stage that the court order is not binding on investors. They want to eradicate any uncertainty by approaching the court for rescission of its judgment.

21. Volgens die September 2016 skikkingsooreenkoms moet Mnr Nic Georgiou bydra tot die regs- en administrasiekoste. Wat is hierdie koste? | In terms of the September 2016 settlement agreement Mr Nic Georgiou must contribute towards legal and administration costs. What are these costs?

Mnr Nic Georgiou het onder andere in Klousule 15 van die ooreenkoms ooreengekom om alle koste, fooie en uitgawes wat verband hou met die onderhandelinge en opstel van die ooreenkomste (tans by benadering 800 ooreenkomste in totaal meer as R300m en wat oor ’n tyd van meer as een jaar strek) so wel as die afhandeling daarvan (wat ‘n verdere 40 maande sal neem tot en met die laaste betaling). Mnr Georgiou is geadviseer dat hy hom moet voorberei vir kostes van nagenoeg R250 per maand per kontrak vir die duur van hierdie tyd. Hierdie bedrae is deur Mnr Georgiou betaalbaar op aanvraag van die HSAG prokureurs.

Mr Nic Georgiou agreed inter alia in Clause 15 of the agreement to pay all costs, fees and disbursements pertaining to the negotiations and drafting of the agreements (currently approximately 800 agreements totalling more than R300m and stretching over a period of more than a year) as well as the conclusion thereof (which would take another 40 months until the last payment). Mr Georgiou was advised that he must prepare himself for approximately R250 per month per contract over this further period. These amounts will be payable by Mr Georgiou out of his own pocket on demand by the HSAG Attorneys.

22. Die skikkingsooreenkoms met mnr Nic Geogiou bepaal dat hy alle kostes moet betaal. Hoeveel is dit? | The settlement agreement with Mr Nic Georgiou specifies that he must pay all costs. How much are these?

Die skikkingsooreenkoms met mnr Nic Geogiou bepaal dat hy alle kostes moet betaal. Hoeveel is dit? | The settlement agreement with Mr Nic Georgiou specifies that he must pay all costs. How much are these?

Mnr Nic Georgiou het in Klousule 5.2 van die skikkingsooreenkoms onderneem om die registrasie- en regskoste van die HSAG-lede asook alle kontrak- en onderhandelingskoste te betaal. Indien die HSAG as geheel geskik sou word en al 6 688 HSAG-lede is ten volle opbetaal (wat ongelukkig nie die geval is nie) dan sal Mnr Georgiou hulle moet vergoed, vir soveel as (die ergste scenario) R20 miljoen.

In the settlement agreement Mr Nic Georgiou undertook in Clause 5.2 to pay for the registration and legal costs of the HSAG members as well as the contract and negotiations costs. If the HSAG is settled as a whole and all 6 688 HSAG members were paid up in full (which is unfortunately not currently the case) then Mr Georgiou must reimburse them, on a worst-case case scenario, in the region of R20 million.

23. Sal Mnr Georgiou ook verdere bydraes tot regs- en administrasiekoste soos deur HSAG-beleggers betaal, vergoed? | Would Mr Georgiou also pay further contributions towards legal or administration costs by HSAG investors?

Mnr Nic Georgiou is geadviseer oor die ondersteuning van die HSAG-lede asook die hoeveelheid HSAG-lede en is hy verder geadviseer dat indien hy nie die eerste skikkingsooreenkoms met die 800 lede eerbiedig nie, maar steeds begerig is om al 6 688 HSAG-lede te skik, dan moet hy homself voorberei om daardie verdere kostes, soos vanaf die HSAG-lede aangevra is en wat op die meeste R13 376 000 kan behels, te betaal.

Mr Nic Georgiou was advised of the vast support and large number of HSAG members and that, if he does not honour his first agreement with the 800 members but still wishes to settle all the 6 688 members, he must prepare himself to pay further from his own pocket, such additional costs as requested from the HSAG members, which could, in a worst-case scenario, amount to R13 376 000.

24. Hoekom het Mnr Georgiou aangedring daarop om slegs die HSAG-lede wat opbetaal is te skik? | Why did Mr Nic Georgiou insist that he would only settle with HSAG members who are fully paid up?

Hoekom het Mnr Georgiou aangedring daarop om slegs die HSAG-lede wat opbetaal is te skik? | Why did Mr Nic Georgiou insist that he would only settle with HSAG members who are fully paid up?

Mnr Nic Georgiou het aangedring daarop dat sy skikkingsaanbod slegs vir HSAG-lede wat reeds hul regs- en administrasiekoste ten volle betaal het, beskikbaar is. Sy motiewe en redenasies is deursigtig. Indien persone wat die finansiële vermoë het binne die HSAG klas-aksie sou skik, sou die oorblywende persone behoeftig wees en sou dit moontlik die einde van alle litigasie teen hom beteken aangesien die behoeftiges, asook diegene buite die HSAG (wie se eise heelwaarskynlik reeds verjaar het) nie daarin sou slaag om hom voor die hof te daag nie.

Mr Nic Georgiou insisted that his settlement offer is only open for registered HSAG members whose legal and registration costs are paid in full. His motives and rationale seems transparent. If he settles those people with financial means within the HSAG class action, the rest would be destitute and it would virtually be the end of all litigation against him because the weak and poor, and also those people outside the HSAG (whose claims probably have prescribed) would not be able to bring him to book in a court of law.

25. Werk die HSAG-prokureurs op ’n kommissie- of persentasie-basis (van die HSAG-eise?) | Do the HSAG Attorneys work on a commission or percentage (of the HSAG claims) basis?

Werk die HSAG-prokureurs op ’n kommissie- of persentasie-basis (van die HSAG-eise?) | Do the HSAG Attorneys work on a commission or percentage (of the HSAG claims) basis?

Nee, in die Suid-Afrikaanse reg reguleer die Wet op Gebeurlikheidsgelde, 66 van 1997, hierdie tipe ooreenkomste waar prokureurs fooie op grond van ’n suksesvolle uitspraak mag hef. Dit beteken dat ’n regspraktisyn wel ’n geskrewe ooreenkoms mag aangaan kragtens die Wet en indien suksesvol hy/sy geregtig sal wees op ’n maksimum bedrag van óf 25% van die totale bedrag toegeken of dubbel sy/haar normale fooie, wat ook al die minste. Die HSAG-prokureurs het nie ’n gebeurlikheidsooreenkoms met hul kliënte aangegaan of met enige iemand anders in terme waarvan hulle ’n gebeurlikheidsbetaling (of -kommissie) sou ontvang indien die HSAG die aangeleenthede suksesvol sou onderhandel nie. Slegs die normale fooie is van toepassing. Die gemiddelde grootte eis van die individuele Beleggers/Eisers beloop ongeveer R250 000. Indien daar op ʼn gebeurlikheidsbasis (kommissie) opgetree sou word, sal dit beteken dat ʼn maksimum van R62 500 plus BTW verhaal sou kon word. Met ’n suksesvolle beslissing sal dit beteken dat ʼn maksimum bedrag van tussen R70 000 en R80 000 deur Beleggers/voornemende Eisers aan regsverteenwoordigers betaal sou moes word wat heelwat meer is as die vorige en teenswoordige bydraes wat nou gehef word.

No. In South African law the Contingency Fee Act, 66 of 1997, regulates such agreements where attorneys may act on a success fee basis. This means that a legal practitioner may enter into a written agreement i.t.o. the Act and if successful, be entitled to a maximum amount of either 25% of the total amount awarded, or double his/her normal fees, whichever the lesser. The HSAG Attorneys have not entered into any contingency fee agreement with its clients or anyone else regarding payment of a success fee (or commission) if the HSAG matters concluded successful. Only their normal fees apply. The average claim (in size) of individual Investors/prospective Claimants is approximately R250 000. If we were to work on a contingency basis (commission) it would boil down to each such claim with a maximum amount of R62 5000 plus VAT. With a successful conclusion of the matter it would therefore entail that a maximum amount of between R70 000 and R80 000 would have to be paid by Investors/proposed Claimants to the legal representatives, which is much more than the previous and current contributions required.

26. In ‘n skrywe (van 5 April 2017) het mnr Johan Stander, lid van die HSAG Bestuurskomitee, aan mnr Nic Georgiou genoem dat mnr Nic Georgiou ‘n 1% makelaarsloon aan Mnr Stander aangebied het. Wat beteken dit? | Mr Johan Stander, member of the HSAG Steering Committee mentioned in a letter (of 5 April 2017) to Mr Nic Georgiou that Mr Nic Georgiou offered a 1% brokerage fee to him. What does this mean?

In ‘n skrywe (van 5 April 2017) het mnr Johan Stander, lid van die HSAG Bestuurskomitee, aan mnr Nic Georgiou genoem dat mnr Nic Georgiou ‘n 1% makelaarsloon aan Mnr Stander aangebied het. Wat beteken dit? | Mr Johan Stander, member of the HSAG Steering Committee mentioned in a letter (of 5 April 2017) to Mr Nic Georgiou that Mr Nic Georgiou offered a 1% brokerage fee to him. What does this mean?

Mnr Nic Georgiou het mondelings ‘n suksesfooi van 1% aan mnr Johan Stander aangebied sou ’n suksesvolle skikking bereik word. Geen geskrewe aanbod is egter gemaak of formele ooreenkoms gesluit nie. 1% van R2.5 miljard (die geskatte waarde van die HSAG-eise) is R25 miljoen. Alvorens ’n formele ooreenkoms aangegaan is tussen Mnre Georgiou en Stander, sal dit op die HSAG-webtuiste by www.hsaction.co.za bekend gemaak word. Sodanige ooreenkoms word nie kragtens die Wet op Gebeurlikheidsgelde gereguleer nie, en Mnr Stander is ’n onafhanklike konsultant wat die klas-aksie begin het en hom sedertdien sonder enige vergoeding beywer het om beleggers se belange hierin te beskerm. Mnr Stander ontvang nie ’n salaris van die HSAG nie.

Mr Nic Georgiou verbally offered a 1% success fee to Mr Johan Stander in the event of a successful conclusion of a settlement. However, no written offer has been made or formal agreement concluded. 1% of R2.5 billion (the projected value of HSAG claims) is R25 million. Before a formal agreement is concluded between them, it will be published on the HSAG website at www.hsaction.co.za. Such agreement is not regulated by the Contingency Fee Act and Mr Stander is an an independant consultant who started the class action and ever since worked without rumeneration to protect investors’ interest. He does not receive any remuneration or salary from the HSAG.

27. Hoeveel is die regskoste verbonde aan die HSAG? | How much is the legal costs of the HSAG?

Sedert die ontstaan van die HSAG op 5 Augustus 2014 is slegs R1000 per sindikasie vir regskoste gehef vanaf die HSAG-lede. Bykans drie jaar later op 5 Mei 2017 word dit op minder as R1 per dag per sindikasie bereken. Nie alle HSAG-lede het aan die versoek voldoen nie.

Since the inception of the HSAG on 5 August 2014 only R1 000 per syndication towards legal costs was requested from its members. Almost three years later and on 5 May 2017, this amounted to a request for less than R1 per day per syndication. Not all HSAG members have complied with this request.

28. Wat gebeur met die fondse wat ondersteuners van die HSAG betaal? | What happens to the funds that supporters of the HSAG pay?

Wat gebeur met die fondse wat ondersteuners van die HSAG betaal? | What happens to the funds that supporters of the HSAG pay?

Alle fondse met betrekking tot die HSAG word in ’n aparte trustrekening betaal vir onder andere regskoste, uitgawes en die administrasie van die HSAG welke groep uit ongeveer 7 000 individue bestaan. Hierdie rekening wat spesifiek vir dié doel deur die HSAG-prokureurs geopen is, word behoorlik geoudit deur onafhanklike ouditeure. Die HSAG-prokureurs hef slegs fooie en uitgawes soos en wanneer dit nodig is. Alle fooie gehef word deur ’n onafhanklike boekhouer bestee en goedgekeur en nagegaan deur onafhanklike koste konsultante en ouditeure.

All funds regarding the HSAG are paid into a separate trust account for inter alia the legal costs, expenses and the administration of the HSAG, consisting of approximately 7 000 individuals. This account is duly audited by independent auditors and held by the HSAG Attorneys for that specific purpose. The HSAG Attorneys only charge for fees and expenses as and when they are incurred. All fees charged are expended by an independent bookkeeper, verified and checked by independent cost consultants and auditors.