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Helen Suzman Foundation and Another v Minister of Police and Others (23199/16) [2017] ZAGPPHC 68

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Helen Suzman Foundation and Another v Minister of Police and Others (23199/16) [2017] ZAGPPHC 68

20th March 2017

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These are judicial review proceedings in terms of Rule 53 of the Uniform Rules of Court in relation to the decision of the Minister of Police, the first respondent ("the Minister"), of 10 September 2015, to appoint Mr Mthandazo Berning Ntlemeza ("Major General Ntlemeza") the second respondent, as the National Head of the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigations ("DPCI").

The first applicant, Helen Suzman Foundation was established in 1993 as a non- governmental organisation with primary objectives to defend the values in South Africa that underpin the liberal constitutional democracy and the promotion of respect for human rights. The second respondent is an organisation that is primarily concerned with the principles of democracy, constitutionalism and rule of law. The applicants bring this application in their interest and furthermore in the interest of the public. The applicants contend that by appointing Major General Ntlemeza as he did on 10 September 2015 as the National Head of DPCI, the Minister has acted unlawfully and irrationally and moreover has failed in his constitutional duty to protect the independence of the DPCI and to uphold the rule of law in South Africa.

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The applicants contend that all South African citizens have an interest in the rule of law, the requirements for a properly functioning constitutional democracy and in particular the urgent steps necessary to root out corruption and maladministration in our nascent democracy. The National Head Office role and functions mean that his actions have an impact on the administration of justice, the realisation of rights and the public at large. This is a high office which uses enormous power and is charged, as its co-mandate, with the combating of corruption and other priority offences, which are, by their very nature, of great public import and central to the administration of justice. Incidental to this mandate is the concomitant requirement that any -incumbent of such office should not only be lawfully appointed and act lawfully · but that the incumbent must also exhibit, and be seen to exhibit, with utmost independence, integrity and respect for the law. The lawfulness of the appointment of the National Head is thus a facet in which the public has a special interest and is pre-eminently a case where the applicant should, and do, act in the public interest.

The first respondent is the Minister of Police ("the Minister") . He is cited in his official capacity as a servant of the State responsible for the administration of the South African Police Services Act 68 of 1995 ("the SAPS Act") and as the official who took the decision to appoint Major General Ntlemeza as the Nationaf Head. The second respondent, as already indicated supra, is Major General Ntlemeza, who is cited in this matter both in his personal and official capacity as the National Head of the DPCI.

The third respondent is the DPCI established as such under s 17C of the Saps Act and is cited for its interest in the matter. The fourth respondent is the cabinet of this country established as such under s 91 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act 108 of 1996 ("the Constitution"). The third respondent is cited for any interest it may have in this matter. It is important to point out at this stage that neither of the third and fourth respondents has filed any papers in this matter and accordingly these proceedings involve only on the one hand the first and the second applicants and on the other hand the first and second respondents. The target of this application is the Minister's decision though the impact thereof has consequences for the second respondent.

  • Helen Suzman Foundation and Another v Minister of Police and Others (23199/16) [2017] ZAGPPHC 68
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