Dear NACSA Members,
CASE NUMBER D4680/2018 IN THE MATTER OF
NATIONAL ADOPTION COALITION OF SOUTH AFRICA
vs KZN DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT (DSD)
On 1 November 2019 the National Adoption Coalition of SA assisted by the Centre for Child Law at the University of Pretoria challenged the delays experienced by adoptable children in KZN in the Durban High Court. Advocate Deborah Ainslie of Artium Advocate Chambers have been instructed in this matter by the Centre for Child Law. The application was opposed by the Department of Social development. Judgement was handed down by Judge Rishi Seegobin on 25 February 2020.
In summary the case related to serious delays experienced in the issuance of Section 239 letters by the KZN Department of Social Development(DSD).These delays in many instances prevented adoptions from proceeding by the Department’s failure to make a decision and preventing the Children’s Court from considering the adoptions.
The judgment handed down was the relief that was requested by the applicants and declares that the current process followed in respect of consideration section 239 applications is infringing on the rights of the adoptable children, the birth parents and the prospective adoptive parents. It provides for tight timelines for DSD to process all the outstanding adoptions within 30 days. The Order directs that proper consideration of relevant factors be undertaken, a change from the past decision making. It includes other relief, some more ‘technical’ – a structural interdict / supervisory order, but includes the provincial policy must be amended, the ‘expert’ panel composition and meetings changed and DSD report to progress to the Court every 6 months.
Although this judgement is not binding on other cases it does provide a precedent and can be referred to as such.
The judgement will be uploaded to our website www.adoptioncoalitionsa.org