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Most recent Civil Rights Articles posted

25% garnishee salary cap

The government plans to introduce a salary cap on the percentage that can be ‘attached’ by creditors using emolument attachment orders to collect debt, notes a BusinessLIVE report. The Courts of Law Amendment Bill proposes that no more than 25% of a debtor's salary can be attached, no matter how many attachment orders they may have against them.

Disappointment at court decision on grants deductions

The Black Sash Trust says it is disappointed by the court’s decision to refuse its application for leave to appeal an earlier ruling which allowed Net1 to deduct money from the accounts of social grant beneficiaries, notes a report on the IoL site. In May, the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) ruled against the order by the Department of Social Development and Sassa to stop Net1 from allowing deductions from accounts of grant beneficiaries.

Bank's reliance on 'accelerator' clause dismissed

The Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) has refused to enforce an ‘accelerator’ clause in a home loan agreement based on a 2016 Constitutional Court judgment making it much more difficult for banks to take back the homes of defaulters, a Beeld report notes.

Dagga – Arrest Risk Remains

Following on from the judgment in the Prince v Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development and Others case there is a lot of confusion as to whether dagga (cannabis) remains an illegal drug in South Africa, fuelled in part by conflicting media reports.

SCA told Walus stripped of SA citizenship

The SCA, which is wrestling with an appeal against a Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) ruling in favour of bail for Chris Hani’s killer Janusz Walus, was told yesterday Walus had been stripped of his SA citizenship. ‘Representatives of the Department of Home Affairs confirmed it,’ Advocate Roelof du Plessis SC told Judges Christiaan van der Merwe, Jeremiah Shongwe, Mandisa Maya, Boissie Mbha and Ashton Schippers.

Victims fight to change Criminal Procedure Act

The alleged sexual assault victims of the late philanthropist and stockbroker Sidney Frankel had their dignity violated by a section in the Criminal Procedure Act which prevents their complaints from being prosecuted after 20 years of the event. According to a TimesLIVE report, this is the view of Anton Katz SC‚ counsel for eight people who claim Frankel sexually assaulted them when they were between seven and 15 during the 1970s and 1980s.

Eviction order set aside over homelessness issue

The Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg) has set aside an eviction order granted against 84 men‚ women and children living at 8 O’Reilly Street‚ Hillbrow‚ in Johannesburg’s inner city‚ the Socio-economic Rights Institute (Seri) said. According to a TimesLIVE report, it said the court held that the eviction order should not have been made without the City of Johannesburg being part of the proceedings.

Religion 'at', not 'by', schools, argues NGO

Differences in meaning of the prepositions ‘at’ and ‘by’ support the argument that six public schools contravene the Constitution with their policies on teaching religion, the Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg) heard yesterday. During closing arguments, Hendrik van Nieuwenhuizen, for the Organisation for Religious Education and Democracy (Ogod), quoted section 15.2 of the Constitution, according to which ‘religious observances’ may be conducted ‘at’, and not ‘by’ public schools, says a report on the News24 site.

Judges focus on discrimination in schools religion case

If one majority religion is practised in school assemblies‚ then any pupil who asks to miss the assembly is forced to say they are different. Advocate Johan du Toit SC was pressed on this in the Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg) as he defended six Afrikaans schools’ right to promote a Christian ethos‚ including Bible readings, at assembly, notes a TimesLIVE report.

Mother to get R18m for brain-damaged son

The MEC for Health has to pay R18.2m in damages to a mother whose son was born more than 10 years ago with severe brain damage as a result of lack of oxygen. A Pretoria News report says Jessie Makhoba initially claimed more than R26m in damages in the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) following the negligence of the staff and doctors at the Pholosong Hospital in Brakpan.

District Six claimants demand homes

District Six claimants who have been waiting for homes for more than 20 years have warned Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti to stop rewarding claimants with ‘shoddy houses and back-hand deals’. A Cape Times report says about 700 claimants gathered at a meeting organised by the District Six working committee on Saturday, where it was made clear that claimants will no longer tolerate delays in the restitution process.

University in bid to gag ex-lecturer

The University of Zululand has taken a former lecturer to court in a bid to stop him ‘defaming’ the institution and vice-chancellor Professor Xoliswa Mtose. The Mercury reports the university also wants Hlakaniphani Jamile to tender a public apology for and retract statements which, it claims, he caused to be published in the press. The case came before the KZN High Court (Durban) on Friday.

Journalists launch challenge to constitutionality of Rica

The amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism has launched a constitutional challenge to the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act (Rica), notes Legalbrief. In a report on the Mail & Guardian Online site, the applicant and leading investigative journalist Sam Sole, himself a victim of state eavesdroppers, notes that Rica serves as the basis for the lawful interception of citizens’ communications, ‘but we contend that there are fundamental flaws in the law and that various sections are inconsistent with the Constitution’.

Legal challenge possible over courts language policy

A legal challenge is on the cards following a decision to make English the official language of record for courts. Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s office confirmed the decision, which has already attracted criticism from AfriForum and the Pan South African Language Board, notes a Sunday Times report. AfriForum’s Alana Bailey said the pro-Afrikaans group was considering mounting a legal challenge, and Rakwena Monareng, CEO of the Language Board, said while the board would seek a discussion with the heads of courts, litigation could not be ruled out.

SCA, ConCourt bids to bar trial video streaming

The NPA and murder accused Henri van Breda have applied to the SCA and the Constitutional Court to oppose an order allowing video streaming in a criminal trial, Die Burger reports. Western Cape DPP Rodney de Kock claims in his affidavit that the order of the Western Cape High Court infringes on three fundamental personal rights: the right to privacy, the right to freedom of speech and the right to a fair trial.

R1m damages for wrongful arrest and detention

Ishmael Mbanjwa (29) – arrested for ‘being part of the gang' that robbed The Carousel Casino in November 2005 – will receive just more than R1m in damages from the police for wrongful arrest. A Pretoria News report says Mbanjwa instituted a R1.2m claim against the police after he was locked up for five months in prison.

Parliament has final word on landmark dagga ruling

Parliament has announced it has to wait until the Constitutional Court has confirmed the Western Cape High Court's landmark judgment on private dagga use before it can make any changes to the law, notes a News24 report. ‘If the two laws mentioned (the Drug Trafficking Act and the Medicines Control Act) have been found to be unconstitutional, then the Constitutional Court would have to confirm the judgment before Parliament can act,’ a spokesperson said.

University's English policy ruled lawful by SCA

The University of the Free State (UFS) acted lawfully when it adopted a new language policy in March last year‚ the SCA held yesterday when it upheld an the university's appeal against a ruling of a full Bench of the Free State High Court in July last year. The lower court reviewed and set aside the decision by the university to adopt the new policy as unlawful. The policy replaced Afrikaans and English as parallel mediums of instruction with English as the primary medium.

Group challenges law covering foetus burial

Parents who lose a foetus younger than 26 weeks do not have the right to bury or cremate the remains – but that could change. A Pretoria News says the remains are regarded as medical waste and accordingly disposed of by a hospital. However, the question on what should to happen to the remains of a foetus due to pregnancy loss at 26 weeks or earlier is now due to form the subject of a legal battle.

Residents go back to ConCourt over shelter rules

More than five years after the Constitutional Court ordered that the residents of Ekuthuleni Shelter be provided with alternative accommodation by the City of Johannesburg, residents have again approached the court. A Business Day report says this time they are challenging the constitutionality of the conditions imposed on them in the alternative accommodation allocated to them.

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