H v Kingsbury Foetal Assessment Clinic (Pty) Ltd

Case No. Lower Court Judgments Hearing Date
CCT 74/14 Western Cape Division, Cape Town, 24 Apr. 2014 28 Aug. 2014

By Duncan Wild on 30 August 2014

This is a claim seeking to expand the South African common law to recognise a claim for “wrongful life”, or what the applicant calls “wrongful suffering”.  Historically, such claim have arisen where a medical professional is alleged to have failed to inform parents that there is a high risk that a foetus may be born with abnormalities, and had the parents been informed, they not have permitted the foetus to be born.  The applicants seek to cast the claim as one for “wrongful suffering”, seeking to emphasise that it is not claim with the basis that it would have been better for the child not be born, but that in failing to give the accurate information, the physician caused the suffering of the child once it was born. At present neither of these claims exist in South African law, and the applicant seeks to have such a claim recognised. Continue reading

Bapedi Marota Mamone v The Commission of Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims and Others

Case No. Lower Court Judgments Hearing Date
CCT 67/14 Gauteng Division, Pretoria 21 Sep. 2012
SCA, 28 Mar. 2014
26 Aug. 2014

By Michael Mbikiwa on 25 August 2014

This application is about the determination of the king of the Pedi nation.  The applicant, a traditional authority recognised under the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act 41 of 2003 (‘the Framework Act’), seeks to review and set aside a determination made by the Commission for Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims (commonly known as ‘the Nhlapo Commission’) that the kingship of the Pedi nation resorts in Acting Kgošikgolo Sekhukhune III – and not in Kgoši Mampuru Mampuru III, the applicant’s leader. Continue reading

Stratford and Others v Investec Bank Limited and Others

Case No. Lower Court Judgments Hearing Date
CCT 62/14 Western Cape Division, Cape Town, 14 Aug. 2013 2 Sep. 2014

By Duncan Wild on 13 August 2014

The case concerns a challenge to an order declaring the first and second appellants (Mr and Mrs Stratford) insolvent, as well as a challenge to the provisions of section 9(4A)(a)(ii) of the Insolvency Act. This section prescribes the manner in which an employee of the debtor is to receive notice of an application for the sequestration of the debtor’s estate. As the law currently stands, this section has been interpreted by the Supreme Court of Appeal to apply only to notice to a debtor’s business employees, however, the appellants claim that it must be interpreted to apply also to a debtor’s domestic employees.  Continue reading

Pheko and Others v Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality

Case No. Lower Court Judgments Hearing Date
CCT 19/11 Constitutional Court, 6 Dec. 2011 12 Aug. 2014

By Duncan Wild on 11 August 2014

On 6 December 2011, the Constitutional Court found that the Ekurhuleni Municipality had acted unlawfully in evicting occupier of the Bapsfontein Informal Settlement. The Municipality was ordered to find land in the area on which to relocated the occupiers, to engage meaningfully with those occupiers, and to report the steps taken in order to comply with the order to the Court. The matter is now back before the Court as the Municipality has apparently not yet relocated the occupiers, and in particular has not complied with the Constitutional Court’s order requiring a report on the relocation progress. The Court has therefore called upon the Municipality to show why it should not be held in contempt. Continue reading

Khohliso v The State and Another

Case No. Lower Court Judgments Hearing Date
CCT 12/14 Eastern Cape High Court, Mthatha 12 Dec. 2013 21 Aug. 2014

By Duncan Wild on 4 August 2014

This case concerns whether the High Court’s finding that sections 13(c) and 84(13) of the Environmental Conservation Decree No 9 of 1992 (“the Decree“) were unconstitutional. The Decree was promulgated by the then President of the Republic of the Transkei on 24 July 1992, when the Transkei was still a sovereign independent state. In the remainder of the Eastern Cape Province that Nature and Environmental Conservation Ordinance 19 of 1974 (“the Ordinance“) applies.  The Constitutional Court is faced with two questions: the first is a jurisdictional one, and depends upon whether the Decree is a provincial act, as if it is not provincial then the Constitution does not require the Constitutional Court to confirm its invalidity. The second question is whether the relevant sections of the Decree are unconstitutional in that they provide a different level of liability within the Transkei to the liability imposed under the Ordinance in the remainder of the Eastern Cape.  Continue reading

National Commissioner of the South African Police Service v Southern African Litigation Centre and Others

Case No. Lower Court Judgments Hearing Date
CCT 2/14 North Gauteng High Court, 12 May 2012
SCA, 27 Nov. 2013
19 May. 2014

On 19 May 2014

The central question in this case is the extent to which the South African Police Service (SAPS) has domestic and/or international law obligations to investigate alleged crimes against humanity, including torture, committed by Zimbabweans in Zimbabwe.  The High Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal (the SCA) found that, on the facts of this particular case, SAPS were indeed obliged to investigate these allegations. Continue reading

Helen Suzman Foundation v President of the Republic of South Africa and Others // Glenister v President of the Republic of South Africa and Others

Case No. Lower Court Judgments Hearing Date
CCT 7/14 Western Cape High Court, 13 Dec. 2013 19 Aug. 2014

By Avani Singh and Duncan Wild on 15 May 2014 (updated 19 May 2014 and 18 August 2014)

On 13 December 2013, the Western Cape Division of the High Court, Cape Town (“the High Court”) declared several provisions of the South African Police Service Amendment Act 10 of 2012 (“the SAPS Amendment Act”) constitutionally invalid in two cases, heard together, brought by Mr Hugh Glenister and the Helen Suzman Foundation.

The SAPS Amendment Act relates to the state’s anti-corruption unit, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (commonly referred to as the Hawks, which replaced the disbanded Scorpions). The SAPS Amendment Act was enacted following the Constitutional Court previously declaring chapter 6A of the South African Police Service Act 68 of 1995 unconstitutional and invalid to the extent that it failed to secure an adequate degree of independence for the Hawks (see Glenister v President of the Republic of South Africa and Others 2011 (3) SA 347 (CC)). The Constitutional Court suspended the declaration of invalidity for 18 months to afford Parliament an opportunity to remedy the constitutional defects.

The SAPS Amendment Act was enacted in purported compliance with this decision of the Constitutional Court. The applicants, however, contend that the SAPS Amendment Act does not cure the defects previously identified by the Constitutional Court, and the crux of the constitutional challenge is that the provisions of the SAPS Amendment Act still fail to secure sufficient institutional and operational independence for the Hawks.

The High Court noted that “[t]he present matter, entirely understandably, is a highly emotive one. It goes to the root of public perception. That is why it is necessary to remind ourselves that, just as we must fulfil our duty to declare invalid laws which fail to pass constitutional muster, we must equally guard against falling into the trap of seeking to satisfy hypersensitivity or paranoia.” In setting the test as being one of “adequate independence”, the High Court upheld the applicants’ challenge in part, and declared certain provisions of the SAPS Amendment Act invalid for the following reasons:

  • That the appointment process of the head lacks adequate criteria for such appointment and vests an unacceptable degree of political control in the Minister and Cabinet, which is also in conflict with the standard of international best practice;
  • That the power vested in the Minister to extend the tenure of the head and deputy head is intrinsically inimical to the requirement of adequate independence;
  • That the suspension and removal process not only vests an inappropriate degree of control in the Minister, but also allows for two separate and distinct processes, determined on the basis of arbitrary criteria, each able to find application without any reference to the other; and
  • That there is an unacceptable degree of political oversight in the jurisdiction of the Hawks, and the relevant provisions are themselves so vague that not even those responsible for their implementation are able to agree on how they should be applied.

Following the High Court declaring these provisions of the SAPS Amendment Act to be unconstitutional, the matter was referred to the Constitutional Court for confirmation as is required.

In the upcoming hearing, in addition to seeking confirmation of the High Court’s order, the Helen Suzman Foundation also seeks leave to appeal the High Court’s refusal to declare certain other provisions of the SAPS Amendment Act unconstitutional relating to financial control, integrity testing, conditions of service and co-ordination by Cabinet. Mr Glenister seeks leave to appeal against the whole of the High Court’s order on the basis that the entire scheme of the SAPS Amendment Act is unconstitutional; in the alternative, he aligns himself with the submissions of the Helen Suzman Foundation.

In response, the state argues that the SAPS Amendment Act creates sufficient independence from undue political interference and that the doctrine of separation of powers prevents the courts from being overly prescriptive about the legislative measures taken by the state.

The matter was initially supposed to be heard by the Constitutional Court on 15 May 2014. However, due to the fact that the President’s written argument was not correctly served on the applicants or filed with the Court, the matter had to be postponed, and was rescheduled for 19 August 2014.