It has taken over 10 years but a long-standing battle between Prasa and Primedia may finally be drawing to a close. And it has not ended well for the rail agency, says a GroundUp report.

Earlier this month, Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg) Judge Bashier Vally set aside a contract between Prasa and Umjanji Media Consortium, and cession agreements between Umjanji and two other companies – Strawberry Worx and Siyathembana – for the provision of outdoor advertising.

Primedia had previously held the contract to provide advertising on some of these sites, and after learning of Prasa’s decision in February 2011, sought and secured an interdict to prevent their eviction from the outdoor advertising sites that they had occupied with their billboards.

Primedia asked the court to review and set aside Prasa’s decision to appoint Umjanji due to a host of irregularities in the award of the contract.

According to Vally, the cause of the long delay for this case to be finalised was not due to any inefficiency in the courts themselves, but due to a number of interlocutory applications brought by Prasa (before it stood down from the matter in 2016) and the Umjanji Consortium.

Vally found that the cession agreements between Prasa, Umjanji, Strawberry Worx, and Siyathembana were ‘designed to subvert the control process inherent in the application of section 217 of the Constitution and they succeeded in doing so.’

Prasa was ordered to pay the applicants’ costs up until they withdrew from the application in March 2016.

Siyathembana and Strawberry Worx were ordered to pay costs from when they intervened in the case, in April 2013 and April 2016 respectively, including costs for two counsel.

Full GroundUp report