Legal Articles and Guides
Constitutional law is the body of law which defines the relationship of different entities within a state, namely, the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary. We'veÂ identified some articles that may be of interest to readers below.
Organised agriculture and lawyers are up in arms about the government’s stated intention to expropriate seven farms in Limpopo for the R57m compensation set by the relatively new Valuer-General, says Rapport. The seven land owners are refusing to accept the valuation of the Valuer-General as fair compensation.
The Constitutional Court has refused to hear a bid to overturn the SCA’s ruling that a nine-storey development – in Currie Road on Durban’s Berea – did not have to be partially demolished. The court said an application for leave to appeal bore no prospects of success, notes a report in The Mercury. The development has been the source of discord between neighbouring residents and the developer, Serengeti Rise Industries, since October 2014.
How does the recent Constitutional Court decision [Jordaan and Others v City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality and Others; City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality v New Ventures Consulting and Services (Pty) Limited and Others; Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality v Livanos and Others (CCT283/16, CCT293/16, CCT294/16, CCT283/16)  ZACC 31] on “historical rates” affect you in practice?
The Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) has come to the rescue of a 68-year-old woman who was about to be evicted from her home, says a TimesLIVE report. Mary Rahube launched an application to declare that she is the owner of the property in Mabopane on which she has lived since 1977.
More than 700 structures were demolished by City Law Enforcement agencies over the weekend. According to a Cape Argus report, this comes days after the Western Cape High Court dismissed an application to evict 60 000 people living in the Marikana informal settlement in Philippi. Three mass land invasions in Khayelitsha prompted the City to demolish at least 751 occupied and unoccupied structures.
The Constitutional Court yesterday grappled with whether the JSC should disclose recordings of its secret deliberations before voting on judicial appointments, notes a TimesLIVE report. It says the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) has been arguing on this issue since 2013 following its decision to review – in the Western Cape High Court – the recommendation by the JSC that Mokgoatji Dolamo be appointed to the Bench of the High Court instead of advocate Jeremy Gauntlett SC.
The struggle to bring Muslim marriages under the constitutional fold continued in the Western Cape High Court, says a Cape Argus report. Yesterday, Advocate Nazreen Bawa of the Women’s Legal Centre (WLC) – who brought the case before court – read out a summary of her heads of argument. Detailing the WLC’s application, Bawa described the complaint as an unmet constitutional obligation.
The Constitutional Court has ruled that municipalities cannot hold a new property owner liable for a previous owner’s historical municipal debt. A Moneyweb report says the precedent-setting ruling gives relief to home and business owners, who have been saddled with years of historical municipal debt – as long as 20 years – and have been denied municipal services until the debt had been paid.
The Gauteng Health Department has pleaded poverty before the Constitutional Court, claiming that paying out lump sums for medico-legal cases would financially cripple it, but failed to substantiate this with evidence. In what a Business Day report calls a landmark case, the department applied to have the court determine if the ‘once and for all’ common law rule prohibited the payment of damages by way of future services.
More than 225 applicants, mostly from Gauteng townships, have launched a suit in the Constitutional Court, claiming damages from the big banks for home repossession abuse. A GroundUp report says the applicants are claiming R60bn from the banks for unlawful repossession of homes since the Constitution came into effect in 1994.
Former President Nelson Mandela’s widow, Graça Machel, has threatened to sue Mandela’s doctor Vejay Ramlakan over his newly released book, Mandela’s Last Years, according to a City Press report. Ramlakan reportedly details Mandela’s last years, including intimate moments prior to his death. Machel has slammed the book, saying it is degrading and tarnishes the image of the struggle icon.
The Constitutional Court’s decision in Baron and others v Claytile (Pty) Limited and Another is a missed opportunity to enhance the usefulness of the Extension of Security of Tenure Act (Esta) as a tool that can enable farm dwellers to take control of their lives. The Act recognises that the farm dweller’s rights to live on commercial farmlands are precarious.
Former employees of a brick plant in Cape Town have lost their five-year battle to hold on to their farm homes, notes a TimesLIVE report. Yesterday the Constitutional Court said they should move 30km from Muldersvlei‚ near Klapmuts‚ to Wolwerivier‚ near Atlantis‚ which they argued is too far from their children’s schools and their workplace. A spokesperson for Lawyers for Human Rights‚ which represented the ex-employees‚ said the judgment was disappointing.
Buy-to-let property can be an excellent investment. Just be sure that you take into account the possible difficulty, cost and delay of evicting a defaulting tenant – or indeed any unlawful occupier – who refuses to budge. The problem of course is that you have to keep on paying all your property expenses whilst the legal processes grind their way slowly, painfully and expensively through the courts.
The Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) has declared two sections of the Firearms Control Act unconstitutional. According to a report on the IoL site, the sections deal with procedures that should be in place when surrendering a firearm for which the licence has already lapsed. In her groundbreaking judgment, Judge Ronel Tolmay ordered that all firearms issued in terms of the Act, which are or were due to be renewed, shall be deemed to be valid, until the Constitutional Court had spoken the last word on the subject.
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