The HSF v The Minister of Police In re: The Independent Police Investigative Directorate
26 August 2015
Tomorrow, 27 August 2015, the Pretoria High Court will hear a matter which relates to the independence of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate ("IPID").
In March this year the Minister of Police ("Minister"), with the unlawfully appointed National Head of the Hawks (Nothing is "in place" at the Hawks), instituted disciplinary procedures against the Executive Director of IPID (The Mess Deepens).
The Executive Director of IPID brought an urgent application seeking, inter alia, to prevent his suspension. The Court hearing the matter held that it lacked urgency and that the matter must proceed to the hearing of the merits. The Executive Director was soon thereafter suspended from office. The issues of substance are now before the High Court which include a challenge to the legality of the of the Minister's actions.
In April 2015, the HSF (in response to the Rule 16A Notice) requested consent of the parties to be admitted as amicus curiae. The Executive Director consented to the HSF's request. The Minister, however, refused the HSF's request, stating that it was his belief that the HSF had no interest in a matter which concerns the independence of a constitutionally mandated institution of paramount public importance.
In addition he arbitrarily and baselessly alleges that the HSF should be disqualified from involvement in the present litigation due to a certain stance being taken against the Minister. This statement was made in light of the HSF's success in the Dramat litigation.
The HSF instituted formal legal proceedings to be admitted as amicus curiae. The Minister, having had sight of the HSF's contributions, opposed the HSF's application. The matter is set to proceed on 27 and 28 August.
The case concerns section 6(6) of the IPID Act which, read with regulation 13 of the IPID Regulations, confers on the Minister the power to suspend, initiate disciplinary proceedings and remove the Executive Director of IPID. The HSF is of the view that these provisions are unconstitutional in that they, inter alia, unlawfully impinge on the independence required of IPID to fulfil its constitutional mandate.
The HSF will be assisted by Webber Wentzel in this matter. Advocate Gauntlett SC, assisted by advocates Steinberg and Watson, will appear on behalf of the HSF.
Statement issued by Francis Antonie, Helen Suzman Foundation, August 26 2015