Families of Craddock Four in Court
On Monday 24 November 2008, after hearing the application to strike down the 2005 amendments to the National Prosecuting Policy 'relating to the prosecution of offences emanating from conflicts of the past which were committed on or before 11 May 1994', the Pretoria High Court reserved judgement.
Judicial Accountability and Values in South Africa
A constitutional system which gives the final word on the lawfulness of governmental conduct to the courts will inevitably thrust the judges into the political spotlight. Over the past twenty years, many emergent democracies in the developing world have adopted such a model, pioneered in the United States of America more than two hundred years ago. Some have argued that this will lead to a "juristocracy", where the courts effectively govern society, but nowhere has this truly come to pass. How has this matter been dealt with in South Africa? In an adaptation of a well-known saying, who judges the judges and against what standards? Such questions have become increasingly prominent over the last year or so, and I hope in what follows to offer brief thoughts on these two issues, which impact directly on the practice of law in the public interest.
Leaving Vulnerable People Homeless
The LRC recently instituted proceedings against the Makana Municipality and others in the Eastern Cape after it sold in execution, the home belonging to LRC client Ziphozihle Mamese's mother, for R1 or R100 in June 2003, and evicted him. In court papers, the LRC asked the Eastern Cape High Court to set aside the sale in execution and any other subsequent transfers of the house.
Mr Magazi, who lives in a squatter camp and supports a teenage son, is unemployed and actively looking for work. However, his job search is made much more difficult due to an error in the Department of Home Affairs' electronic identification registry. Mr Magazi was issued with an identification document (ID) in 1995. However, since 2006, his ID number, when entered into the Home Affairs registry, returned not his name but the name of another that he did not know.
Reforming the Customary Law of Succession and Regulation of Related Matters Bill
The LRC welcomes the new Reform and Customary Law of Succession and Regulation of Related Matters Bill. The Bill, which targets the discriminatory customs excluding women and younger siblings of first-born males from sharing in their late father's estate, has also been well received in communities around South Africa.
Happy Birthday Arthur!
The former Chief Justice of South Africa and one of the leading jurists of this country, Arthur Chaskalson, celebrated his seventy-seventh birthday this month.
Thirty years ago, Arthur helped to found the LRC and he still serves as a Trustee member. Arthur's humility, modesty and his commitment to human rights are an inspiration to us all.
Happy 77th birthday! We wish you many more happy celebrations with your friends and loved ones.
The Legal Resources Centre
Happy Birthday George!
Amidst the legal community the name of George Bizos immediately conjures up images of devastating court room skill and strategy, a man with determination, courage and for whom the struggle for and defence of human rights is part of his being. Not surprisingly he received the Order for Meritorious Service in 1999 from President Mandela; was awarded the International Trial Lawyer Prize of the year by the International Academy of Trial Lawyers in 2001 and named by the International Bar Association as winner of the 2004 Bernard Simons Memorial Award. There are many leaders who have benefitted from his commitment, skill and dedication as a fighter and a lawyer. But his client base extends to the streets where a walk with him is punctuated by greetings for people from all walks of life. Yet for us who work with him in the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), George is so much more besides. He is the source of sage advice, great wisdom and experience and always finding it possible to be there when everybody needs him.
In the words of Celeste Penn
In a profession often described as cutthroat, with practitioners who are driven by success measured in wealth; and only the rich are seemingly able to access the law, the LRC offers a unique service. A non-profit law clinic that uses the law to give effect to the rights of the vulnerable and poverty stricken in our society.
Since 1979, the LRC opened its doors to provide high quality legal assistance at no cost to the poorest and most marginalized in South Africa and to educate and train professionals who can support greater access to justice and the development of socio-economic rights in South Africa and beyond.
Find out more about us at www.lrc.org.za or contact us at one of our regional offices.
Would you like to donate to the LRC? There are two ways:
1. By electronic funds transfer to the account below. All donations go to the Legal Resources Trust account:
Branch: Sage Branch 195705
Account Holder: Legal Resources Trust
Account Number: 2957 333 716
2. Or send a cheque to the address below. Please make these payable to the Legal Resources Trust and mail to:
Director, Donor Liaison
Legal Resources Centre
P O Box 9495
We thank you for your support.