By Duncan Wild on 27 March 2015
In this case, the Constitutional Court held that entities that engage in lending that falls outside the scope of the National Credit Act 34 of 2005 (“NCA“) (e.g. to entities which exceed the value thresholds set out in the Act) do not need to be registered as credit providers under the NCA, and a failure to register does not invalidate credit agreements outside the scope of the Act. In addition, the Court reversed the current position regarding how the common law in duplum rule applies when litigation commences. The position before this case being that interest may start running again if the creditor institutes action. The Court, however, found that commencing proceedings will not have an effect on the in duplum rule, and interest may not run again. Interest will only run again on a judgment, which effectively is a new debt which restarts any in duplum calculation. Continue reading
By Duncan Wild on 11 December 2014
This is a case 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 applicant sought 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 sought to have such a claim recognised.
The Constitutional Court did not recognise the claim for “wrongful life”, but indicated that there was the potential for such a claim in South African law, and so upheld the appeal against the High Court’s dismissal of the claim. The Constitutional Court, however, found that the parties had not put argument before it on how the constitutional protection for the rights a child impacted the claim, and that it would not develop the common law to recognise this claim without all the facts before it. Therefore, the Constitutional Court indicated that the applicant could amend their papers and reinstitute the case in the High Court which could then consider whether a valid claim existed and whether the applicant met the requirements for that claim.
On 30 October 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.
The Constitutional Court in a unanimous judgment dismissed the appeal by the SAPS and ordered SAPS to investigate the alleged crimes.
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
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
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
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
By Michael Mbikiwa on 25 June 2014
The central legal question in this case is whether a debt restructuring proposal, purportedly sent to a creditor in terms of section 86(1) of the National Credit Act, is an act of insolvency for the purposes of section 8(g) of the Insolvency Act. However, in a unanimous judgment by van der Westhuizen J, the Constitutional Court (the “Court”) refused the application for leave to appeal without needing to reach this central question. Continue reading