Limpopo judge president: too many frivolous appeals from government on court rulings

2018-04-18 21:37
Judge Ephraim Makgoba. (Chester Makana)

Judge Ephraim Makgoba. (Chester Makana)

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Limpopo Judge President Ephraim Makgoba has lashed out at government for its tendency of not taking note of rulings.  

"Sometimes government has got a way of ignoring court orders. You may not see it but we realise that they ignore by [using] delaying tactics in the form of embarking on frivolous appeals," said Makgoba.

He was addressing the Inter-Provincial State Law Advisers Forum, aimed at targeting legal advisers across the country, at Magoebaskloof east of Polokwane on Wednesday.

He told the forum that over the past two years, government had appealed more than 80% of judgments made against it within the Limpopo High Court division.

ALSO READ: Public Protector spends R15m defending reports taken on judicial review

Makgoba added that more than 70% of these appeals were thrown out due to government using delaying tactics to frustrate plaintiffs.

Makgoba said the manner in which the State loses cases after an appeal leaves much to be desired and many unanswered questions.

Government coming 'second best'

"Do you take the matter on appeal because you cannot allow [the] ordinary man in the streets to obtain judgment against you or what?" asked Makgoba.

The judge added that more often than not litigation was costly because government did not want to consider advice from its own legal officials.

"In many cases they come second best," he said.

He said government leaders outsourced its defence and paid exorbitant fees without consulting the state attorney's office.

Makgoba cited the 2013 Gauteng Gambling Board vs MEC for Economic Development case, saying it sounded a warning that taxpayers would not carry the legal costs in cases where government appeared to be ignorant of the law. The Supreme Court of Appeal found that the MEC had erred when dissolving the board, and held the MEC personally responsible for costs incurred in launching an appeal against an earlier court ruling.

He also said a recent ruling by Judge Dunstan Mlambo in the North Gauteng High Court that former president Jacob Zuma must pay an estimated R10m in legal costs from his own pocket was an indictment against the government.

READ: Presidency ordered to pay costs for withdrawal of state capture appeal

The court also dismissed Zuma's bid to review former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's State of Capture report.

Makgoba said the Nkandla and state capture rulings showed that the judiciary remains independent and does not compromise on its standing as a body to discharge its mandate.

In 2016, the Constitutional Court ruled that Parliament had acted inconsistently with the Constitution over the question of Zuma's financial liability for upgrades to his private residence in Nkandla.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  polokwane  |  courts

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