LSSA application on the 2014 SADC Protocol as it relates to the SADC Tribunal
The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) launched an application in the High Court: Gauteng Division on 19 March 2015 to declare the actions of the President as well as the Ministers of Justice and International Relations and Cooperation in voting for, signing and planning to ratify the SADC Summit Protocol in 2014 as it relates to the SADC Tribunal, to be unconstitutional.
Unlike the previous Protocol, the 2014 Protocol deprives citizens in the SADC region – including South Africans – of the right to refer a dispute between citizens and their government to a regional court if they fail to find relief in their own courts. By signing the 2014 Protocol, the President has infringed the right of South African citizens to access justice in terms of our Bill of Rights. As the Protocol now stands, it limits the jurisdiction of the SADC Tribunal to disputes only between member states – and no longer between individual citizens and states – in the SADC region.
The First to Third Respondents' Answering Affidavit of 16 July 2015 can be downloaded below.
An Intervention Application by Tembani et al dated 24 July 2015 and the amicus application by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre dated 20 May 2015, can be downloaded below.
Other law societies and Bar councils in the SADC region have or are in the process of launching similar actions in their courts to challenge the ratification of the SADC Protocol in their countries. This resolution was taken by members societies at the SADC Lawyers Association annual general meeting held at Victoria Falls immediately after the SADC Summit in 2014 (see 2014 (Oct) DR 17).