The supreme court of appeal refused to extend the 180 day period for court review proceedings to challenge administrative action by the Free State Gambling and Liquor Authority because there was no reasonably satisfactory or acceptable explanation for the delay. In the absence of any proper explanation for the delay the court refused to grant the application despite possible good prospects of success.

An application for a liquor licence was turned down on 12 March 2015. On 29 September 2015 a review application was instituted. As it was outside the 180 days permitted by section 71 of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act 2000, the applicants sought an extension of time. This was refused.

The courts require a reasonably satisfactory and acceptable explanation for delay when condonation is sought. In this case the explanation proffered was said to be ‘woefully inadequate’ and not even ‘remotely satisfactory’.

Because administrative action often has consequences for third parties, those challenging such action are expected to get on with the challenge as soon as possible.

The case is Matoto v Free State Gambling and Liquor Authority & Others.