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SA's decision to support the disbanding of the SADC Tribunal challenged

The Law Society of South Africa and several others have challenged the decision by President Jacob Zuma (as well as other Ministers) to participate in the suspension of the SADC Tribunal and the signing of the 2014 Protocol on the SADC Tribunal.

The Applicants are seeking a declaration that the decision to suspend the SADC Tribunal and the re-establishment of the SADC Tribunal under the 2014 Protocol are unconstitutional.

The SADC Tribunal was suspended after it found that the Zimbabwean Government violated its human rights obligations under the SADC Treaty in its unlawful expropriation of private land without compensation. The suspension was followed by a re-establishment of a SADC Tribunal in terms of which the SADC Tribunal would only be a forum for State to State disputes. Individuals or enterprises would therefore no longer be able to approach the SADC Tribunal should a SADC Member State violate any rights under a SADC Protocol over which the SADC Tribunal has any jurisdiction. It is on the basis that individuals and entities would no longer be able to approach the SADC Tribunal that the Law Society of South Africa is seeking to declare the decision unconstitutional. It is alleged that the right of South African citizens to access justice in terms of our Bill of Rights is infringed.

This matter was heard by Judge President Mlambo, Judge Mngqibisa-Thusi and Judge Fabricius on 5 February 2018 and the judgment was reserved. To read our earlier article hereon please click here.

Rian Geldenhuys
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