Constitutional Court 2016: First term preview


2 February 2016 – This morning, the Constitutional Court of South Africa hears its first case of 2016, Snyders v De Jager, which is about appeal procedures in eviction cases.  Also on this term’s schedule are a delictual claim against the state for its detention of a minor; an important case about whether the state can bring a ‘collateral challenge’ to its own decision; and constitutional challenges to the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Act, the section of the Children’s Act that regulates surrogacy arrangements, and section 45 of the Magistrates’ Courts Act, which notoriously allows a person’s wages to be attached to satisfy a debt even without any judicial oversight.  But by far the most high-profile cases of this term are undoubtedly EFF v Speaker, National Assembly; DA v Speaker, National Assembly and SABC v DA, both of which deal with the powers of the Public Protector: the first in the context of Nkandla, and the second in relation to the Hlaudi Motsoeneng saga.

The Court has recently gained Justice Nonkosi Mhlantla, and lost Justice Johann van der Westhuizen.  It is still one judge short of its full complement, so we are expecting the (now customary) last-minute announcement that an acting judge has been appointed. (Update: When hearings began, it became apparent that Judge Lebotsang Bosielo, of the SCA, is acting on the Court for a second time.)

Here is the full list of cases:

Tuesday, 2 February 2016: Snyders v De Jager CCT 186/15 (media summary)

Tuesday, 9 February 2016: Economic Freedom Fighters v Speaker, National Assembly CCT 143/15; Democratic Alliance v Speaker, National Assembly CCT 171/15 (court papers, ALC preview)

Tuesday, 16 February 2016: Land Access Movement of South Africa v Chairperson, National Council of Provinces CCT 40/15 (court papers)

Thursday, 18 February 2016: Merafong City Local Municipality v Anglogold Ashanti Ltd CCT 106/15 (court papers)

Tuesday, 23 February 2016: SATAWU v Unitrans Fuel and Chemicals (Pty) Ltd CCT 131/15 (court papers)

Thursday, 25 February 2016: Raduvha v Minister of Safety and Security CCT 151/15 (court papers)

Tuesday, 1 March 2016: AB v Minister of Social Development CCT 155/15 (court papers)

Thursday, 3 March 2016: University of Stellenbosch Legal Aid Clinic v Minister of Justice and Correctional Services CCT 127/15 (court papers)

Tuesday, 8 March 2016: Baliso v First Rand Bank Ltd t/a Wesbank CCT 150/15 (court papers)

Thursday, 10 March 2016: SABC v Democratic Alliance CCT 119/15 (Update: The SABC has since withdrawn its appeal in this matter.)

Leo Boonzaier

About Leo Boonzaier

Leo is an Editor for the African Legal Centre, and he reports on the Constitutional Court of South Africa. He has BSocSci and LLB degrees from the University of Cape Town and a BCL from the University of Oxford. He has worked as a visiting researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Private Law in Hamburg, Germany, and more recently as a law clerk at the Constitutional Court of South Africa. He is currently a doctoral student at the University of Oxford.