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Why has it taken so long?

One would have thought that SARRAL (which occupies a position of trust with regard to its members) would be eager to have this matter heard in court as soon as possible, thereby bringing an end to the application for liquidation on its merits. Instead, SARRAL has resorted to every possible means to prevent the Court from determining the dispute.

Amongst various tactics employed to delay, dilate and stifle the litigation, SARRAL attempted to terminate Shapiro’s membership in order to simultaneously remove him as a director and cause him to lose his locus standi ( the legal right to bring an action ).

When Jazz musician and composer Hotep Galeta sought leave to intervene and join the action, SARRAL opposed Galeta, and procured the expulsion of the next member who dared to be dissident. Acting Judge Gautschi ruled in March 2006 that Galeta was entitled to join this liquidation application, and noted that  attempts to remove his membership for ulterior motives such as to suppress litigation were male fide (in bad faith), and therefore unlawful. 

In 2006 Judge Gautschi also stated in his written judgement:  “SARRAL, by its opposition, has caused what should have been a relatively simple application to grow to unnecessary proportions…”

This matter should have come to finality in October 2006, when the parties were in court. During the court proceedings, SARRAL asked for and achieved an urgent postponement based a “prediction” that new income (from Needletime Royalties) was to flow into SARRAL “within weeks rather than months” - according to Graeme Gilfillan , a SARRAL director,in his affidavit to the high court. Three years later, SARRAL has received no income from Needletime at all.

As late as September 2008, SARRAL launched yet another court action to stay (delay) the proceedings. SARRAL later conceded that this action could not succeed, though they achieved yet more delays in the process.

Every year that SARRAL delayed the court hearing, it used approximately R5 million of composers’ money illegally, to cover its running costs.