There is no reason why foreign companies and individuals should not arbitrate their disputes in South Africa according to South African law. The South African courts will encourage the selection of South Africa as a venue for international arbitrations.

Where a dispute “arising out of” the relationship between the parties is subject to arbitration, the words will be liberally construed as meaning every dispute except a dispute as to whether there was ever a contract at all. If a dispute regarding the existence of a contract is to go to arbitration, this must be specifically provided for (click on our previous blog posts here and here to ensure that an arbitration clause survives the agreement).

The court in Zhongji Development Construction Engineering Company Limited v Kamoto Copper Company SARL upheld the power of an arbitrator to resolve a dispute in South Africa even though the one party was a Chinese company, the other was a Congolese company and the contract was not entered into in South Africa nor was the construction work to be done in South Africa.