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Ackermann J

[63]While appreciating the novelty and difficulty of framing an appropriate order in the circumstances of the present case, one is driven to conclude that the High Court did not, in effect, through paragraph 1 of its order, bring about the invalidity of any portion of section 25(5). This is so for two reasons. It appears clearly from its motivation for the second option (which it adopted) that it aimed, through its order, to preserve the benefits of the section for spouses and was intent on giving an order to achieve this object. This was in fact also the effect of the order, the interpretation of which is complicated by the fact that it conflates reasons for the order with its operative terms. The device of notional severance can effectively be used to render inoperative portions of a statutory provision, where it is the presence of particular provisions which is constitutionally offensive and where the scope of the provision is too extensive and hence constitutionally offensive, but the unconstitutionality cannot be cured by the severance of actual words from the provision. An order giving effect to and embodying such notional severance in the case of constitutional invalidity was made for the first time in Ferreira v Levin NO and Others; Vryenhoek and Others v Powell NO and Others.[1]


  1. Above n 19 where, in paragraph 1 of the order at para 157 of the judgment, the following declaration is made:

    “The provisions of section 417(2)(b) of the Companies Act 1973 are, with immediate effect declared invalid, to the extent only that the words

    “and any answer given to any such question may thereafter be used in evidence against him”

    in section 417(2)(b) apply to the use of any such answer against the person who gave such answer, in criminal proceedings against such person, other than proceedings where that person stands trial on a charge relating to the administering or taking of an oath or the administering or making of an affirmation or the giving of false evidence or the making of a false statement in connection with such questions and answers or a failure to answer lawful questions fully

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