Case CCT324/17 and CCT63/18
[2019] ZACC 06

Judgement Date:19 February 2019

Post Judgment Media Summary  

The following explanatory note is provided to assist the media in reporting this case and is not binding on the Constitutional Court or any member of the Court.

On Tuesday 19 February 2019 at 10h00, the Constitutional Court handed down judgment in two applications seeking leave to appeal against a decision made by the President of the Supreme Court of Appeal (President) pursuant to section 17(2)(f) of the Superior Courts Act (Act). The applications raise the same question: is a decision under section 17(2)(f) of the Act appealable to this Court?

Where an applicant has been denied leave to appeal by the Supreme Court of Appeal on petition pursuant to the provisions of section 17(2)(b) of the Act, section 17(2)(f) confers on the President a discretion to refer such a refusal to the Supreme Court of Appeal for reconsideration and, if necessary, variation.

In the first application, the two applicants were charged and convicted in the High Court of South Africa, North West Division with various offences, including murder, kidnapping and attempted murder. The applicants unsuccessfully applied for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal. Their application to the President for reconsideration in terms of section 17(2)(f) of the Act was dismissed.

In the second application, the applicant had applied to rescind a default judgment by the High Court of South Africa, Gauteng Local Division, Johannesburg (High Court) obtained against him by Nedbank. His rescission application was dismissed by the High Court. He then unsuccessfully applied for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal. After that, he approached the President under section 17(2)(f), but his application for reconsideration was also dismissed.

This matter was decided without a hearing. In a unanimous judgment written by Theron J, the Constitutional Court dismissed the applications for leave to appeal. This Court held that an appeal against the section 17(2)(f) decision will not ordinarily fall within the jurisdiction of this Court because such appeals are factual in nature. In any event, it will normally not be in the interests of justice to grant leave to appeal. This is because the decision will usually not be final. Granting leave to appeal could unnecessarily protract litigation and no prejudice arises from refusing leave to appeal in these circumstances.               

The Full judgment  here.