- De Klerk v Minister of Police 2020(1) SACR 1 (CC)
The applicant, Mr Bryan James de Klerk instituted a delictual claim against the Minister of Police in the Pretoria High Court for damages arising from his arrest and detention by a SAPS member. The presiding single judge, however, held that the arrest and subsequent detention were lawful whereupon the claim (by De Klerk) was dismissed. Refer to De Klerk v Minister of Police (77688/2014)  ZAGPPHC 827 (9 September 2016)(GP).
Aggrieved by this outcome, De Klerk appealed to the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein (“the SCA”). A full bench of five judges unanimously agreed that De Klerk’s arrest was unlawful and that he was entitled to damages (Afrikaans: “skadevergoeding”) in compensation for it. These five judges, however, differed only on whether the Minister of Police should also be held liable for De Klerk’s unlawful detention after his first appearance in the Randburg Magistrates’ Court in Gauteng.
Three of the five judges (the majority judgment) held that the Minister was liable to compensate De Klerk for his unlawful detention only up and until his appearance in the Randburg court (for a period of approximately two hours), whereupon it awarded De Klerk R30 000 in damages, plus costs. The remaining two judges (the minority judgment) differed in that they held that factual and legal causation (Afrikaans: “oorsaaklike verband/kousaliteit”) for De Klerk’s injury had been established and that they would have awarded De Klerk R300 000 in non-patrimonial damages (not belonging to the paternal heritage). Refer to De Klerk v Minister of Police 2018 (2) SACR 28 (SCA), discussed by Pollex in Servamus: September 2018.
Still not satisfied with this outcome, De Klerk appealed to the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg (“the Concourt”) where the appeal was heard by a bench of ten judges. In a 55 page and 185 paragraphs long judgment, six of the said judges (the majority judgment) gave judgment in favour of De Klerk and ordered that -
(1) The appeal by De Klerk is upheld (in other words his appeal is successful);
(2) the Minister of Police must pay De Klerk an amount of R300 000; and
(3) the Minister of Police must pay the costs of this appeal to the Concourt, as well as the costs before the SCA and the Pretoria High Court, including the costs of two counsel (advocates).