ConCourt rejects offer to authorities to reallocate SAPS resources in WC

The petition was filed following a landmark 2018 judgment, which for the first time in South African case law recognized poverty as an unjust ground of discrimination.

FILE: The request was dismissed on Tuesday, however, as the Constitutional Court found it lacked jurisdiction to grant the relief sought. Photo: SAPS.

JOHANNESBURG — The Constitutional Court has rejected a request to force authorities to come up with a plan to redeploy police resources in the Western Cape.

The petition was filed following a landmark 2018 judgment, which for the first time in South African case law recognized poverty as an unjust ground of discrimination; and saw the Equality Tribunal find the current system of allocating these crucial resources unfairly discriminated against black and poor people in the province.

However, the Equality Tribunal did not rule on the issue of appeal or what to do about the situation and instead said it would hear submissions on this aspect at a later date. to be agreed with all parties.

But four years later and despite several attempts by the claimants in the case, the Social Justice Coalition and Equal Education, this hearing has still not been scheduled.

Finally, last year, the Social Justice Coalition and Equal Education took their fight to the Constitutional Court, filing for leave to appeal what they saw as the Court’s constructive refusal to equality to grant a remedy.

The request was, however, dismissed on Tuesday, as the Constitutional Court concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to grant the relief sought.

Acting Justice David Unterhalter, who wrote the Supreme Court majority judgment, expressed his own concerns that poor, black communities in the Western Cape have been discriminated against and have not, after so long, benefited from an appeal by the Equality Tribunal.

Essentially, however, his judgment concluded that the case was technically still pending before the Equality Tribunal and, in the absence of a final decision from that tribunal, the Constitutional Court could not hear a call.

What is needed, he said, is an application to the Equality Tribunal, brought urgently if there are grounds, “exposing the infringement of the applicants’ rights and asking the president to convene his tribunal.

The Constitutional Court also had harsh words for the Court of Equality.

But Unterhalter said the claimants had a right to have the appeal issue decided and that the Equality Tribunal had “unduly delayed” doing so was also clear.

He said the failure to summon the presiding judge of the Equality Tribunal should be discouraged.

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