Legal Showdown: Tongaat Hulett’s Crisis Deepens as RCL Foods and SASA Challenge Business Rescue Plans in High-Stakes Battle

  • Tongaat Hulett faces urgent legal challenges with applications filed by RCL Foods and the South African Sugar Association.
  • Shareholders urgently advised to review legal notice on the company's website for critical details and updates.
By Lethabo Ntsoane

In a shocking turn of events, Tongaat Hulett Limited (TON) is embroiled in legal challenges, prompting an urgent notice to affected parties, particularly shareholders. The company has advised stakeholders to carefully consider the details outlined in a notice published on its website under the ‘Business Rescue’ tab.

Overview of Legal Proceedings

Two urgent applications were filed on December 5, 2023, in the High Court of South Africa, KwaZulu Natal Local Division, Durban. The applicants include RCL Foods Sugar & Milling (Proprietary) Limited (RCL) and the South African Sugar Association (SASA). The relief sought in each application, along with details of declaratory proceedings initiated earlier, have set the stage for a complex legal battle.

RCL Foods Sugar & Milling Application

  • Part A:
    • RCL seeks to interdict the meeting of creditors scheduled for December 8, 2023.
    • Hearing scheduled for December 7, 2023, at 09h30.
  • Part B:
    • RCL aims to declare as unlawful and set aside the proposed business rescue plans published by the Business Rescue Practitioners (BRPs) on November 29, 2023.
    • Part B hearing to be set down on a future date by the Registrar of the Court.

South African Sugar Association (SASA) Application

  • SASA’s application seeks, on a rule nisi (interim) basis:
    • Interdicting and restraining the BRPs from proceeding with the meeting of creditors on December 8, 2023.
    • Declaring the business rescue plans published by the BRPs on November 29, 2023, as unlawful.
    • Application hearing scheduled for December 7, 2023, at 09h30.

Declaratory Proceedings

  • Tongaat Hulett Limited and the BRPs initiated declaratory proceedings on May 5, 2023.
  • The Honourable Justice Vahed dismissed the application with costs, with the written judgment delivered on December 4, 2023.

Judgment and Meeting Dates

  • The judgment in the Declaratory Proceedings by Justice Vahed was delivered on December 4, 2023.
  • Part A of RCL’s application is set to be heard on December 7, 2023, at 09h30.
  • SASA’s application is also scheduled for the same date and time.

Access to Legal Documents

Copies of the Notices of Motion and Founding Affidavits for the urgent applications, along with the judgment, are available on Tongaat Hulett’s website here.

Implications for Shareholders

Shareholders and other affected parties are urged to review the detailed information provided in the notice. The legal developments surrounding the business rescue plans are critical, and stakeholders should stay informed about the unfolding situation.


Tongaat Hulett Limited finds itself at the centre of legal turbulence as it navigates complex legal challenges. The outcomes of the applications and their subsequent impact on the company’s business rescue plans remain uncertain, heightening the stakes for shareholders and the broader business community.

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Lethabo Ntsoane

Lethabo Ntsoane holds a Bachelors Degree in Accounting from the University of South Africa. He is a Financial Product commentator at Rateweb. He is an expect financial product analyst with years of experience in reviewing products and offering commentary. Lethabo majors in financial news, reviews and financial tips. He can be contacted: Email: Twitter: @NtsoaneLethabo