JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED

By LOAN 26 February 2016

JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED

PROGRESS REPORT ON THE AGRICULTURAL LAND TAX MATTER 18 February 2016

1.For perspective the relevant litigation history is briefly set out:

1.1.By way of Government Gazette dated 1 July 2013 (which came to the knowledge of the public on or after 5 July 2013) a provisional valuation roll was published. The valuations increased substantially and in some cases to some 1000%. This caused some 2760 land owners to object. The objections were to be determined in terms of the regulations by the valuation court to be in session

“from 30 August 2013 to 2013 (sic) September 2013”.

1.2. At great expense and inconvenience the objectors had to attend. The proceedings were a supreme disaster and the sitting of the valuation court was eventually declared null and void. The judgment of Hoff J contains, with respect, a useful overview of the facts, and brought by way of urgent relief an end to the disaster.

1.3. What Hoff J was not informed of (because the applicant did not know it and the first respondent concealed it), was the fact that members of the “valuation court” participated in the proceedings for days without being appointed. This appears from the partial discovery in Case No A295/2013.

1.4. Prior to the session of the “valuation court” – on 22 August 2013 – the applicant in application A295/2013 questioned the constitutionality of provisions of the Act, the regulations and executive conduct allegedly based on the Act and the regulations. This matter is pending.

1.5.Flowing from partial discovery and their refusal to furnish reasons in Case A 295/2013, the applicant applied for an order compelling the respondents to respond appropriately. This application is pending.

1.6.During January 2015 the applicant by ordinary post received an assessment for payment of land tax for the 2013/2014 year from the first respondent’s ministry. On 13 February 2015 the applicant in Case No A 21/2015 applied for the setting aside of the assessment. As a result of incomplete discovery and a refusal to furnish reasons the applicant on 16 April 2015 applied for an order compelling the first respondent to respond appropriately. This application is pending.

1.7.On 3 August 2015 the applicant received an assessment from the First respondent’s ministry for payment of land tax for the 2014/2015 year stating that the tax is payable on or before 30 August 2015. On the basis that the assessment is ultra vires the Constitution and the relevant legislation an urgent application A197/15 was instituted on 4 August 2015 seeking an order declaring the assessment illegal and null and void, alternatively unconstitutional and invalid, which application was eventually heard on 17 September 2015 and judgement is awaited.

LATEST APPLICATION

2. In order to provide a rescue operation in respect of application A197/15, the respondent invoked his ministerial whim and issued a proclamation on 17 August 2015 replacing regulation 17(3).

3. Regulation 17(3) – introduced by notice in the Government Gazette on 3 July 2007 – which was at all times applied or sought to be applied – reads:

“The valuation roll is valid for a period of five years from the date it comes into operation.”

The amended regulation reads:

“The valuation roll is valid from the date it comes into operation until it is replaced by a new valuation roll.

4. The amendment creates a new regime which can endure indefinitely. It

    ·is destructive to the existing regime,

    ·is inherently illegally retrospective and in any event irrelevant to the assessment,

    ·takes away limited existing rights,

    ·makes the imposition of the tax even more unpredictable,

    ·eliminates a large part of the existing regulations.

5. The new regulation 17(3) is relied upon in application A197/15 and, if it stands, is intended to be applied at any time purely on ministerial whim.

6. The amendment is in conflict with the rule of law and

    * Article 18 of the Constitution which provides for fairness,

    * Article 12(1)(a) of the Constitutionwhich determines dispute resolution,

    * Article 8 of the Constitution which entrenches human dignity,

    * Open justice demanded by the rule of law,

    *Openness and accountability required by the rule of law.

7. The amendment is further ultra vires sections 76(2)(a) and 77 of the Act.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:

A. MAIN APPLICATION CASE A295/2013 (see para1.4 above)

AN APPEAL TO THE SUPREME COURT REGARDING AN APPLICATION TO COMPEL RESPONDENTS TO GIVE BETTER DISCLOSURE AND REASONS IS PENDING. A HEARING DATE WILL MOST PROBABLY ONLY BE IN THE LAST QUARTER OF 2016.

B. ASSESSMENT FEBRUARY 2015 CASE A21/2015 (see para 1.6 above)

TRIAL DATE 5 APRIL 2016 TO HEAR APPLICATION TO COMPEL RESPONDENTS TO GIVE FURTHER DISCLOSURE AND REASONS.

C. ASSESSMENT AUGUST 2015 CASE A 197/2015 (see para 1.7 above)

URGENT APPLICATION TO SET ASIDE TAX ASSESSMENT SET DOWN FOR 18 AUGUST 2015, HEARD ON 17 SEPTEMBER 2015. JUDGEMENT WAS TO BE DELIVERED ON 30 OCTOBER 2015, POSTPONED TO 9 DECEMBER 2015, POSTPONED TO 29 JANUARY 2016, POSTPONED TO 10 FEBRUARY 2016, POSTPONED TO 24 FEBRUARY 2016 FOR JUDGEMENT TO BE PASSED DOWN.POSTPONEMENTS DUE TO JUDGE NOT READY.

D. INVALID AMENDMENT 5 YEAR LAPSE PERIOD CASE A 234/15

(See paras 2 – 7 above)

APPLICATION, ANSWERING AND REPLYING AFFIDAVITS HAVE BEEN FILED. A STATUS HEARING SCHEDULED FOR 18 FEBRUARY 2016 TO DETERMINE HEARING DATE HAS BEEN POSTPONED TO 17 MARCH 2016 FOR CASE MANAGEMENT.

E. NO JUDGEMENT WAS HANDED DOWN BY THE JUDGE ON 24 FEBRUARY 2016.

WE AWAIT TO BE INFORMED OF A NEW COURT DATE IN DUE COURSE.

Justice delayed is justice denied

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia

"Justice delayed is justice denied"is a legal maxim meaning that if legal redress is available for a party that has suffered some injury, but is not forthcoming in a timely fashion, it is effectively the same as having no redress at all. This principle is the basis for the right to a speedy trialand similar rights which are meant to expedite the legal system, because it is unfair for the injured party to have to sustain the injury with little hope for resolution. The phrase has become a rallying cry for legal reformers who view courts or governmentsas acting too slowly in resolving legal issues either because the existing system is too complex or overburdened, or because the issue or party in question lacks political favor.

By Natasha