Parliament, Tuesday 17 November 2020 – Parliament is opposing applications from AfriForum, the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) and the Public Protector for leave to appeal court judgments, which did not grant them the relief they sought.

These applications for leave to appeal are scheduled for:

  1. Tomorrow, 18 November (AfriForum)
  2. Thursday, 19 November (the HSF)
  3. Next Tuesday, 24 November (Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane)

The judgements, handed down in October, affirmed Parliament’s conduct in executing its constitutional law making and oversight responsibilities.

On 8 October, the Western Cape High Court dismissed AfriForum’s application, which challenged the constitutionality of Parliament’s processing the review of Section 25 of the Constitution. The court was critical of AfriForum’s litigation of the matter because it tried to adapt its case based on the defences that Parliament presented. As a measure of its disapproval of this conduct, the court awarded Parliament costs. The court also found that the matter was moot because no practical effect could be given to the relief that AfriForum sought because the matter was overtaken by events. Therefore, it was not in the interests of justice to grant the relief AfriForum sought.

On 7 October, the Gauteng Division of the High Court (Pretoria) dismissed the HSF’s bid to compel Parliament to pass specific COVID-19 legislation. The court found that measures to manage COVID-19 were captured adequately in the Disaster Management Act (DMA), which the HSF had not challenged. The Court affirmed there was no duty on the Executive to act or for Parliament to pass any further legislation to manage the effects of COVID-19 because the DMA was the legislation envisaged to manage disasters of an extended duration. The Court ordered Parliament and the HSF to pay their own costs.

On 9 October, the Western Cape High Court dismissed the Pubic Protector’s application for an interim interdict to stop National Assembly (NA) Speaker Ms Thandi Modise from continuing to process a motion for her removal from office. The Court was satisfied that the balance of convenience favoured the NA proceeding with carrying out its constitutional function in terms of section 194 of the Constitution and the NA rules. It held that the impeachment process of an office bearer of a Chapter 9 institution is a serious mechanism for accountability of these office bearers under the Constitution and that a court should not lightly interfere with such processes. The Court ordered the Public Protector to pay the costs of the Speaker and one other respondent, including the costs of up to three counsel.

Enquiries: Moloto Mothapo 082 370 6930