In a fit of pique (as demonstrated at the hearing of argument), the Pretoria high court, per Tolmay J, (1) declared that the Public Protector failed in her statutory and constitutional duties when investigating complaints in relation to the Vrede Dairy Farm Project in the South African province of Free State, (2) set aside the Public Protector’s Report as being unlawful, unconstitutional and invalid, and (3) held back for later determination its decision on whether or not the Public Protector should pay the costs of both the Democratic Alliance (an opposition political party in South Africa) and CASAC (a not-for-profit organisation) from her own pocket.
That was on 20 May 2019. Argument of four sets of Counsel had been heard on 23 and 24 October 2018.
The application had been launched, on separate occasions and (at least on the face of it) independently of each other, by the Democratic Alliance on the one hand, and CASAC on the other. Pleadings for the Public Protector had been prepared by one legal team in both applications. But a second team was briefed for purposes of argument so that one team would deal with the political party’s application and the other team with the not-for-profit organisation’s application.
On 15 August 2019, the Pretoria high court handed down judgment in the same case directing that the Public Protector pay a portion of both the costs of the Democratic Alliance and CASAC from her own pocket.
At the time of publication of this post, application for leave to appeal against the merits judgment had already been filed, while leave to appeal against the costs judgment was being prepared.
Read the Full Judgment on the merits here and the Full Judgment on costs here:
Related documents: Written Arguments
Public Protector Heads of Argument 3 Sep 2018
Public Protector Court Address – High Court
Public Protector Heads in CASAC Application
CASAC Heads of Argument in CASAC Application
Public Protector Answering Affidavit in DA Application
Vrede-Farm-Dairy-Notice-of-Motion & FA – CASAC
Public Protector Answering Affidavit – CASAC