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Black Sash Trust v Minister of Social Development and Others (Freedom Under Law NPC Intervening) (CCT48/17) [2017] ZACC 20

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Black Sash Trust v Minister of Social Development and Others (Freedom Under Law NPC Intervening) (CCT48/17) [2017] ZACC 20

15th June 2017

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In the main judgment the first respondent (Minister) was called upon to show cause on affidavit why she should not be joined to the proceedings in her personal capacity and why she should not be ordered to pay the costs of the application out of her own pocket. She filed an affidavit. In the main she sought to place the blame for what went wrong on officials from the third respondent (SASSA) and the Department of Social Development (Department).

Two of these officials, the current Chief Executive Officer of SASSA (Mr Magwaza) and the erstwhile Director-General of the Department (Mr Dangor), then sought and were granted leave to file affidavits to defend themselves. The thrust of their affidavits is that the Minister had established parallel decision-making and communications processes that bypassed SASSA and Department officials. The Minister said little, if anything, of this in her own affidavit.

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Before dealing with the contents of the affidavits it is, however, necessary to determine whether our law allows for a state official to be personally joined as a party in a matter involving the performance of official duties and to be personally mulcted in costs in relation to the performance of those duties and in the conduct of litigation in relation thereto.

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