On 29 March 2022, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) upheld Yolanda Dyantyi’s application for leave to appeal the decision of the Grahamstown High Court to dismiss her review application and set aside the outcome of a disciplinary hearing process instituted by Rhodes University in March 2017. Ms Dyantyi was found guilty of committing kidnapping, assault, insubordination and defamation during the #RUReference List protests in April 2016. She has been permanently excluded from the University and interdicted from attending the University for any purpose since November 2017.
In SERI’s application for leave to appeal to the SCA, it submitted that the High Court erred in failing to consider the argument that the postponement of the disciplinary inquiry to a date when her legal counsel was not available had resulted in an unfair disciplinary process.
In its judgment, the SCA found that:
“In the particular circumstances of this case, a proper balancing of the relevant considerations would have dictated that the inquiry had to be postponed to the dates on which counsel for Ms Dyantyi were available. The failure to do so violated Ms Dyantyi’s right to procedural fairness under PAJA”
The SCA reviewed and set aside Rhodes University’s conviction and sanction of permanent exclusion against Ms Dyantyi and remitted the matter to the University “for reconsideration on condition that any continuation of the disciplinary inquiry against Ms Dyantyi shall take place before another proctor”. The SCA also ordered the University to pay Ms Dyantyi’s costs, including the costs of two counsel.