Land Access Movement of South Africa and Others v Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces and Others

Case No. Lower Court Judgments Hearing Date
CCT 40/15 Application for direct access 20 Aug. 2015

By Duncan Wild on 11 July 2015

This is is an application for direct access to the Constitutional Court claiming that Parliament and the Provincial Legislatures failed to comply with their constitutional obligation to facilitate public involvement before passing the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Act 15 of 2004 (“the Amendment Act“).  The applicants are therefore seeking an order that the Amendment be declared invalid.

The Amendment Act primarily re-opens the opportunity to lodge land claims until 30 June 2019. It also introduces offences related to lodging false claims, and makes changes to the to the composition of, and appointment of judges to, the Land Claims Court, amongst other things.

My Vote Counts NPC v Speaker of the National Assembly and Others

Case No. Lower Court Judgments Hearing Date
CCT 121/14 Application for Direct Access 10 Feb. 2015

By Duncan Wild on 15 November 2014

This matter involves an application for an order by the Constitutional Court that Parliament is obliged to pass legislation that would require the disclosure of the sources and amounts of money donated privately to political parties (“funding legislation“), and that in not passing such legislation, Parliament has failed in its duty.  The applicant further argues that making such an order falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court, requiring direct access to the Court.   Continue reading

Ngewu and Another v Post Office Retirement Fund and Others

Case No. Lower Court Judgments Hearing Date Judgment Date Majority Author  Vote
CCT 117/13 Direct Access 7 Nov. 2013 5 Dec. 2013  Madlanga J.  Unanimous

By Duncan Wild

On 7 March 2013, the Constitutional Court delivered judgment in Ngewu and Another v Post Office Retirement Fund and Others (our summary here), in which sections of the Post Office Act 44 of 1958 (“the Post Office Act“) were declared unconstitutional for its failure to incorporate the “clean break” principle. The “clean break” principle means that a divorced spouse can make a “clean break” by claiming their share of the former spouse’s pension interest at the time of the divorce.

The government was given eight months to amend the section, failing which the Constitutional Court provided a draft provision in an annexure to its judgment to be read into the Post Office Act as section 10F that provides for the “clean break” principle.

The Minister of Communications brought an urgent application on 4 November 2013 for an extension of the period for the legislature to amend the Post Office Act. The Minister says that the previous Minister (Ms Dina Pule) failed to table a statutory amendment before Cabinet, and the new Minister needs six more months to conclude the parliamentary process to have the Post Office Act amended.

Ms Ngewu (the original applicant) opposes this application on the basis that the delay has not been adequately explained and that a further delay would cause prejudice, whereas if the Constitutional Court’s order takes effect there will be no harm.

The Constitutional Court dismissed the application for an extension with costs on 6 November 2013, this means the Post Office Act will now be read in accordance with the order of the Court made on 7 March 2013, and will incorporate the clean break mechanism.

In an unanimous judgment authored by Madlanga J the Constitutional Court found that the Minister had not adequately explained the reason for the delay in bringing the application only three days before the period expired, or delay in finalising the amendments. In addition, the Court found that the State would suffer no real prejudice if the reading in took effect. In addition, the previous Minister had agreed to the reading in order, and so was well aware of possibility of the reading in taking effect.

Download the judgment here.


Ngewu and Another v Post Office Retirement Fund and Others v Post Office Retirement Fund and Others

Case No. Lower Court Judgments Hearing Date Judgment Date Majority Author Vote
CCT 117/11 Application for direct access 7 Feb. 2013 7 Mar. 2013 Van der Westhuizen  J. Unanimous

The applicant, Ms Phumla Ngewu, challenged the Rules of Post Office Retirement Fund (“the Fund“) and the Pensions Funds Act 24 of 1956 (“the Act“) on the grounds that they do not allow for a share of a Post Office employee’s pension fund to be paid out to the employee’s spouse when there is a divorce.  The Pension Funds Act does contain a provision that entitles a former spouse of a member of a private pension fund registered under the Act to receive an immediate payment of a share of the member’s pension interest. The applicant claims that it is unfairly discriminatory that this provision does not apply to the Post Office Retirement Fund. Continue reading