National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals v Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Others

Case No. Lower Court Judgments Hearing Date Judgment Date Majority Author Vote
CCT 120/12
North Gauteng High Court, 15 Nov. 2012 19 Mar. 2013
11 July 2013 Zondo J. Unanimous

By Duncan Wild on 22 July 2013

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (“NSPCA“) brought an application to have sections 2 and 3 of Performing Animals Protection Act 24 of 1935 declared unconstitutional, because the sections grant Magistrates the power to license the “exhibiting and training” of performing animals or guard dogs.  The NSPCA says it is an executive function to perform acts such as licensing, and not the judiciary’s, and so the sections infringe the principle of separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution and should be set aside.  The High Court agreed with the NSPCA and declared the sections unconstitutional.  The Constitutional Court confirmed this finding of unconstitutionality in a judgment authored by Justice Zondo. The primary basis for the finding was that the allocation of this executive type function to the judicial branch was an unjustifiable infringement of the separation of powers.

Download the judgment here.

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