The bizarre story of an application by Western Cape businessman David Harris for post-insolvency rehabilitation reads like a legal morality tale. Its clear message is this: don’t misuse the courts in personal grudge fights, however much you hate someone. Harris, a businessman involved in property and marketing development, was sequestrated in 2010 and applied for rehabilitation last year.As all the paperwork was in order the court would normally have exercised its discretion and approved the rehabilitation.But then along came Harris’s former business associate, Dennis Venter. Spewing vitriol and with a serious budget to achieve his aim, Venter bought a large slice of Harris’s debt shortly before the rehabilitation application, just so he could intervene and stop it.Judge Patrick Gamble, who heard the matter in the high court, concluded that the intervention of Fairhaven, Venter’s business vehicle, in the matter was clearly out of the ordinary: Fairhaven had not been a creditor but ...

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