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Constitutional Law

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've identified some articles that may be of interest to readers below.

Banks sued for R60bn over home repossessions

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.

Widow threatens to sue over doctor's Mandela book

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.

ConCourt's missed opportunity to enhance Esta

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.

Evictions ruling seen as 'disaster' for rural occupiers

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.

Evicting Your Troublesome Tenant: More Problems with PIE

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.

Landmark ruling shoots down aspects of gun law

By Juta and Company (Pty) Ltd Published on Wednesday, 05 July 2017
Constitutional Law Litigation
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.

Mkhwebane cannot order constitutional change

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s recommendation to amend the Reserve Bank’s constitutional mandate had nothing to do with her investigation into the apartheid-era Bankorp ‘lifeboat’, and was only aimed at stripping the Bank of its powers to maintain price stability, the bank said yesterday, according to a Business Day report. Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago, applied to the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) to review and set aside sections of Mkhwebane’s report on the lifeline granted to Bankorp, which Absa subsequently acquired.

Don't undermine Reserve Bank

SA should protect the independence of the Reserve Bank and must evaluate what effect the recommendations of the Public Protector to alter its mandate will have on the institution, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba says, according to a BusinessLIVE report. ‘I respect the right of the Public Protector to make whatever determination but I also support fully the independence of the South African Reserve Bank,’ Gigaba said a Bloomberg Television interview in London.

Judgment ends 20-year limit on sex offences

Allegations of sexual assault can be pursued at any time and are no longer restricted to 20 years‚ the Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg) ruled yesterday, according to a TimesLIVE report. Eight alleged victims of the late philanthropist Sidney Frankel‚ who accused him of assaulting them when they were children‚ have won their case to change the law that limited sexual offences other than rape to a prescription period of 20 years.

Johannesburg battles to re-home illegal tenants

The City of Johannesburg will not be able to meet the Constitutional Court’s requirement to provide alternative accommodation to people evicted from illegally occupied buildings, because it simply does not have enough space. According to a Mail & Guardian Online report, Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba said: ‘At the moment, we don’t have the capacity to accommodate people who would still be evicted.’

ConCourt ruling on evictions welcomed by LRC

The Legal Resources Centre has welcomed a Constitutional Court judgment which has implications for the conduct of courts in future evictions of occupiers, says a TimesLIVE report. The centre represented the Poor Flat Dwellers Association‚ a non-profit organisation formed in 2009 to resist the exploitation of flat dwellers‚ as a friend of the court in the case in which the Constitutional Court held that courts have an obligation to consider all relevant considerations before ordering an eviction‚ in cases where an unlawful occupier has apparently consented to his removal.

Judgment sets out courts' evictions obligations

Courts have an obligation to consider all relevant considerations before ordering an eviction‚ in cases where an unlawful occupier has purportedly consented to his removal. The Constitutional Court made this finding yesterday as it rescinded a 2013 order made by the High Court evicting 184 occupiers from a block of flats in Johannesburg. The decision has been described as momentous by the Socio-Economic Rights Institute (Seri)‚ which represented the occupiers, notes a TimesLIVE report.

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.

Another police vicarious liability case at ConCourt

The question of whether the Minister of Police can be held vicariously liable for a reservist in uniform who shot his girlfriend at dinner is to be heard by the Constitutional Court in August, according to a TimesLIVE report. Twice before the court has dealt with police criminality. In 2005 it held that the Minister was vicariously liable for the actions of three on-duty policemen who raped a stranded 20-year-old woman. And in 2011 the Minister was held vicariously liable for damages after the brutal rape of a 13-year-old by a policeman on standby duty.

Municipal debt issue argued in top court

By Juta and Company (Pty) Ltd Published on Wednesday, 24 May 2017
Constitutional Law Property Law
The Constitutional Court was asked yesterday to confirm the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) order last year that a new owner cannot be held liable for the water‚ rates and lights debts of the old owner or owners, notes a TimesLIVE report. The Tshwane and Ekurhuleni municipalities argue that the municipal debts belong to the property and municipalities can sell a house to recover the debt dating back up to 30 years.

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