ConCourt criticises state for tardiness

26 August 2016 - 09:05 By SHENAAZ JAMAL

The Constitutional Court has warned the government and the legislature not to waste time in amending laws found to be unconstitutional. The court reluctantly granted a third extension to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, which has been ordered to secure the amendment of the Performing Animals Protection Act in a case brought by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals."The court's unanimous judgment expresses concern about frequently extending orders of invalidity. Thus the court emphasises that extensions should not be granted lightly," the judgment read.The Pretoria High Court declared in 2013 that parts of the act were constitutionally invalid.This was because it required a magistrate to assess applications, and issue licences for the training, exhibition or use of performing animals.This was regarded as an unjustifiable infringement of the doctrine of separation of powers in which the judiciary, the legislature and the executive each have separate constitutional duties and responsibilities.On applying for a third extension, the department said that when the amendment went to the National Council of Provinces for a vote fewer than 30 members were present, less than a quorum.

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