Satawu liable for riot damages

2012-06-13 14:18
(file, Sapa)

(file, Sapa)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court has upheld a judgment that holds trade union Satawu liable for a riot damage claim.

The court ruled on Wednesday the South African Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Satawu) was responsible for damages caused during a march in Cape Town in May 2006.

It found that the Regulation of Gatherings Act afforded victims effective recourse when a gathering became destructive and resulted in injury, loss of property, or life.

"The organisations are intimately involved in the planning, supervision, and execution of the gathering, but the potential victims are not," Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said in the ruling.

"Because of this, the organisations would be in a better position than innocent victims to identify individuals or institutions which caused the damage."

'Soft landing'

He said Satawu had the opportunity of a "soft landing" if it could track down those responsible for the damage caused during the protest and recoup its loss from them.

The majority of the court also held that the defence provided for by the law is viable and that the limitation on the right to freedom of assembly in section 17 of the Constitution was reasonable and justifiable.

Judge Chris Jafta, in a concurring judgment, said Satawu's appeal should be dismissed since it failed to prove that the law limits the right to freedom of assembly.

Satawu took the matter to the court after the Western Cape High Court found the union liable for the damages.

Several car owners and traders who were affected brought the claim.


The Supreme Court of Appeal upheld the High Court decision.

The damages were awarded under a provision of the Act, which creates a statutory liability on the part of organisations under whose auspices a demonstration was held.

Satawu argued that the ruling and the wording of the Act would have a chilling effect on union members' rights to organise protests and demonstrations, as it would lead to financial ruin.

The respondents, including the then minister of safety and security, contended the provisions were consistent with the Constitution.
The City of Cape Town had joined as an intervening party and agreed with those sentiments.

The Freedom of Expression Institute sided with Satawu and were admitted as friends of the court.

Read more on:    satawu  |  mogoeng mogoeng  |  chris jafta  |  strikes

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Millions of plastic particles in our food!

Scientists and researchers believe that almost five million tons of plastic is dumped in the oceans every year and it’s affecting our food.



Plastic on your plate
Prince George the green prince?
Lean, green, drifiting machine
One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

It may be hard to maintain a steady rhythm as you find yourself juggling a zillion things. Slow down a little and let go of more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.