President Cyril Ramaphosa will appeal a judgement which found former president Jacob Zuma’s decision to suspend a human rights regulator’s work unlawful, irrational and unconstitutional.

The High Court in Pretoria found the former president’s decision to prevent South Africans from challenging any decision by the executive at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) tribunal to be unconstitutional.

Ramaphosa however instructed the State Attorney to appeal the ruling.

The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) and Afriforum brought the application in March, arguing citizens’ right to appeal to a regional human rights court were unlawfully stripped.

The court agreed and asked the Constitutional Court to confirm the judgement.

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Afriforum’s Willie Spies has expressed shock at Ramaphosa’s intention to appeal.

“Unfortunate as it is, it seems the new dawn Ramaphosa has in mind is slightly different from the new dawn everyone, right-thinking South Africans, had in mind. That is actually a pity.”

The Constitutional Court will hear the appeal and confirmation of the judgement simultaneously.

“The court will now issue directives. Those directives will allow parties to exchange papers, arguments,” says Spies.

The LSSA’s Walid Brown previously told Jacaranda FM that Zuma’s decision is not only unlawful but unfortunate.

“The SADC tribunal was one of the first in the world. It was a revolutionary tribunal that allow citizens to challenge government in a regional forum. It was an enlightening position that South Africa was a champion of, but a dark moment was when South Africa was part of the decision to deny citizens that same right.”

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