The Supreme Court of Appeal refused to grant legal standing to a 64% shareholder of a company that challenged the decision of the North West Gambling Board in relation to the licence held by the company. Something more than a pure financial interest is required where a shareholder seeks to assert rights that correctly belong to the company.

There was no explanation why the company itself had not pursued the application despite it being conceded that the company had the legal right to do so. In addition, the minority shareholders opposed the application. No public interest had been shown why the shareholder should have a right in the circumstances particularly as it would affect other gambling licence holders in the province. There can be exceptional circumstances when the court will allow an action by the shareholder rather than the company (other than derivative actions), but a financial interest alone is not enough even if there is allegedly a constitutional issue as envisaged in section 38(a) of the Constitution.

Goldrush Group (Pty) Ltd v North West Gambling Board [2022] ZASCA 164 (28 November 2022)