Page:NCGLE v Minister of Home Affairs.djvu/72

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Ackermann J

is consistent with the Constitution and its fundamental values and secondly, that the result achieved would interfere with the laws adopted by the legislature as little as possible. In our society where the statute books still contain many provisions enacted by a Parliament not concerned with the protection of human rights, the first consideration will in those cases often weigh more heavily than the second.

[75]In deciding to read words into a statute, a court should also bear in mind that it will not be appropriate to read words in, unless in so doing a court can define with sufficient precision how the statute ought to be extended in order to comply with the Constitution. Moreover, when reading in (as when severing) a court should endeavour to be as faithful as possible to the legislative scheme within the constraints of the Constitution. Even where the remedy of reading in is otherwise justified, it ought not to be granted where it would result in an unsupportable budgetary intrusion.[1] In determining the scope of the budgetary intrusion, it will be necessary to consider the relative size of the group which the reading in would add to the group already enjoying the benefits. Where reading in would, by expanding the group of persons protected,


  1. See the discussion concerning the appropriateness of a retrospective order which has serious budgetary implications in Tsotetsi v Mutual & Federal Insurance Co Ltd 1996 (11) BCLR 1439 (CC); 1997 (1) SA 585 (CC) at para 9.

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