On 1 March 2011 the Constitutional Court considered an application for leave to appeal against a decision of the Labour Appeal Court (LAC).    The LAC affirmed that only members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) employed under the South African Police Service Act (SAPS Act) are engaged in essential services as contemplated in sections 65(1) and 71(10) of the Labour Relations Act (LRA).   The LAC held that the  SAPS’s employees employed under the Public Service Act (PSA) constituted non-member employees and rendered non-essential services.    The importance of this determination was that public sector employees not engaged in an essential service were permitted to strike.

SAPS contended that all services of the SAPS, whether carried out by SAPS Act employees or PSA employees, are essential and that if ‘certain links in the chain are missing’ SAPS’s mandate to prevent and control crime will be thwarted.   It was also argued that PSA employees perform an essential service in the SAPS and should  also be prohibited from striking.

Today the Constitutional Court disallowed SAPS’s appeal

View or download this important landmark decision of the Constitutional Court in

The earlier decisions of the LAC and the LC can be viewed or downloaded by clicking on the free links kindly provided by SAFLII: