The desperately ill former Springbok rugby player Joost van der Westhuizen will not receive the money he needs to survive from the Attorneys Fidelity Fund, the fund says.
Acting Judge Lester Adams earlier this week ordered the fund to pay Van der Westhuizen R385 665 to compensate him for the money stolen by his erstwhile attorney Robert Klinkenberg, who committed suicide in December last year.
The fund said in a statement the filing of their notice of appeal would have the effect of suspending the judgment. The fund’s board of control said they appreciated the circumstances pertaining to Van der Westhuizen and the public sentiment in his support, but had a duty to ensure that the provisions of the Attorneys Act were applied “consistently and without favour of any particular person”.
The fund said its legal representatives had studied the judgment and had been advised that there were sound grounds for an appeal.
The appeal is based on the meaning implied given by the court to the term “particular matter of transaction”, as referred to in section 47(5)(a) of the Attorneys Act, which the fund maintains differs from the approach that had been adopted thus far and which was based on judgments in other matters dealt with by the fund.
Van der Westhuizen was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease in 2011, and his condition had deteriorated to such an extent that he could only communicate through technology by using his eyes, had to be fed through a tube and was fatally dependent on full-time medical care 24 hours a day.
His attorney Ferdinand Hartzenberg earlier said he believed the fund had already paid out millions of rands to other former clients of Klinkenberg, whose money kept in trust with Klinkenberg’s firm had also disappeared.
A trust shortage of millions of rands was discovered in Klinkenberg’s trust account after his death.