1 February 2013

South Africa: Mthethwa to Appeal W Cape High Court Judgement

Pretoria — Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa on Friday filed an application to appeal the Western Cape High Court judgement at the Constitutional Court.

This comes after the Western Cape High Court's dismissal of an application made by Mthethwa to halt the Commission of Inquiry established by Western Cape Premier Helen Zille.

The Police Ministry on Friday said Mthethwa decided to appeal because two judgements were delivered in the matter.

The majority judgement concluded that Zille had complied fully with the principles of cooperative government, and that the application made by Mthethwa had to be dismissed for that reason.

The minority judgment, on the other hand, had concluded that the intergovernmental processes had not been fully complied with, and would have ordered the parties to finalise those processes and to report back to the court so that the court could consider the application again.

"The minister believes that the approach adopted by the minority was correct and that the majority should have concurred with the minority.

"Both Minister Mthethwa and the National Commissioner of Police, General Riah Phiyega, had undertaken to work with the Premier and the civil society organisations which had wanted the inquiry, in order to address their concerns," said the Ministry of Police in a statement.

General Phiyega had established a task team to consider the matter. That task team had submitted a comprehensive report to her, which suggested that further investigations were necessary.

She had drafted terms of reference for the broader inquiry, which the minister had endorsed.

"The minister believes that it would not be coherent or useful to have two inquiries functioning at the same time to consider the same complaints, thus had asked Premier Zille to halt this commission of inquiry," said the ministry.

"Cooperative government requires spheres of government to work together to resolve issues of concern. The premier refused to do so and the minister felt compelled to launch the interdict proceedings."

It said apart from concerns about the failure on the part of the Zille to adhere properly to the principles of cooperative government, Mthethwa believed that the commission's powers were very broad, and would intrude upon the powers of the police and hinder it in its work.

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