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SADC Tribunal matter

LSSA application on the 2014 SADC Protocol as it relates to the SADC Tribunal

The matter is set down for hearing in the High Court: Gauteng Division on
5 to 7 February 2018 and will be heard by a full Bench. View the notice of set down.

The Deputy Judge President has directed as follows:

  • The Applicant’s Heads of Argument need to be filed by no later than 25 August 2017.
  • The Amicus should file its Heads of Argument by no later than 15 September 2017.
  • The Respondents should file their Heads of Argument by no later than 20 October 2017.
  • The Court File duly indexed and paginated should be delivered to the Judge’s office by no later than 25 August 2017.
  • A Joint Practice Note should be filed by no later than 3 November 2017.

The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) launched the 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.
The Intervention Application was set down on the opposed motion roll at the Gauteng High Court: Pretoria for 30 May 2016. The State Attorney withdrew its opposition to the joinder application. The hearing will be set for the end of September 2016

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).

  • ‘SADC stakeholders form coalition to lobby for restoration of a SADC Tribunal’ in 2014 (Oct) DR 5. View.
  • ‘Whither the SADC Tribunal?’ in 2013 (May) DR 11. View
LSSA Responding Affidavit 10 March 2017 Download (PDF - 626KB)
CALS admission as amicus order 17 January 2017 Download (PDF - 200KB)
Amicus Curiae Intervention Application Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) 20 June 2016 Download (PDF - 1MB)
Amicus Curiae Intervention Application  Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) 20 May 2015 Download (PDF - 216KB)
Press statement by the Coalition for an Effective SADC Tribunal 14 August 2015 View (PDF - 14KB)
Intervention Application Tembani et al 24 July 2015 Download Part 1
Download Part 2
Download Part 3
(PDF - 1502KB)
(PDF - 2319KB)
(PDF - 840KB)
First to Third Respondents' Answering Affidavit 16 July 2015
Annexures to the First to Third Respondents' Answering Affidavit 16 July 2015
Download annexures
(PDF - 263KB)
(PDF - 2489KB)
Press release by the Co-Chairpersons of the LSSA View (PDF - 14KB)
LSSA Notice of Motion 19 March 2014 Download Part 1
Download Part 2
(PDF - 2018KB)
(PDF - 2023KB)
State’s Notice to Oppose 22 April 2015 Download (PDF - 34KB)