Flash Briefing: Zondo takes on Sisulu; Aarto Act declared unconstitutional; CPT Mayor rejects Eskom increase

  • Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has heavily criticised the recent opinion piece by tourism minister Lindiwe Sisulu in which she challenged the effectiveness of South Africa’s Constitution. Zondo called a press conference on Wednesday evening, calling Sisulu’s words an unwarranted attack on the rule of law, the judiciary, and black judges in particular. Zondo said it crossed a line and expects further action against her. Sisulu says she is conferring with her legal team over the press conference and has since penned yet another opinion piece in response to some of the criticism she has received, saying she is protected by freedom of speech in the Constitution.
  • The Pretoria High Court has found that South Africa’s Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act and the Aarto Amendment Act are unconstitutional. This comes after civil society group the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) approached the court in October 2021 to declare both the main act and the amendment act unconstitutional. In her ruling, Judge Annali Basson found in favour of Outa and agreed with the group’s position that the legislation unlawfully intrudes upon the exclusive executive and legislative competence of the local and provincial governments envisaged in the Constitution, preventing local and provincial governments from regulating their own affairs. The Aarto system was expected to become fully operational in July 2022, which would include the official introduction of the new traffic demerit system.
  • Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis says his city formally rejects an application by Eskom to increase the price of electricity by 20.5% in the 2022/2023 financial year. In a letter addressed to Eskom chief executive André de Ruyter, Hill-Lewis asked that Eskom formally withdraw the application or alternatively revise it to bring the planned increase in line with inflation. He warned that citizens simply cannot afford the planned increase. While Hill-Lewis acknowledged that some of Eskom’s inefficiencies have improved under De Ruyter, he cautioned that passing the bill on to struggling consumers should not be the default solution and said that several alternative strategies have been suggested to Eskom.
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