In a dispute over the right to develop a property the developer claimed a right in terms of an agreement of sale that contained a number of suspensive conditions that had not been met. In these circumstances a party cannot enforce any rights arising from the agreement.

The agreement of sale was subject to conversion of a ‘permission to occupy’ to a title deed, to approval by the Minister of Land Affairs, and to subdivision, consolidation and rezoning, none of which had happened. It was reaffirmed that when a contract of sale is subject to a true suspensive condition, there exists no contract of sale until the condition is fulfilled. The transaction, pending fulfilment of the conditions, is not a sale at all.

The appellant in Red Dunes of Africa CC v Masingita Property Investment Holdings eventually conceded in argument on appeal that this obvious and well-known principle applied and that it had no contractual right under the sale.