14 September 2016
TO: THE PUBLIC, THE COMMONS, CIVIL SOCIETY ET AL
TO: THE NATIONAL FORUM FOR THE LEGAL PRACTICE ACT
TO: SOCIAL JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT STAKEHOLDERS
RE: RECOGNITION AND SUPPORT FOR THE SOCIAL JUSTICE SECTOR
“The Purpose of law is the pursuit of Justice.” Late Dullah Omar.
This urgent communication arises out of interactions with fellow social justice activists and law practioners; events including the Women In Law dialogue held recently; and experiences of our law unit Bambanani Social Justice [BSJ] in fulfilling our roles and responsibilities to our people, inter alia.
In South Africa, it is abundantly clear that not nearly enough has been done to recognize and support initiatives; groups and organizations who work tirelessly to defend, promote and preserve the values enshrined via the Bill of Rights. One of the ways this is evident is that this sector is often left out of decision making processes. In addition, glaring omissions in the law, in violation of the Bill of Rights; makes the recognition of this justice sector as valuable partners difficult. Funding is often difficult to obtain; with our own BSJ fighting to campaign for our children, students, homeless, miners killed at Barberton’s Lily Mine in February, and numerous other causes and cases needing solidarity.
We must also analyse the roles and rules of existing law societies [and related], and implementation:
“Council must: "provide financial support to organisations or institutions providing legal education and training, including legal education and training for purposes of compulsory post-qualification professional
development, with the object of enhancing the standards of legal services and increasing access to justice;
(xii) provide financial support to legal practitioners, organisations or institutions for the purposes of
providing work-place training opportunities for candidate legal practitioners;
(xiii) provide financial support to non-profit organisations and institutions promoting access to justice for poor people; and
(xiv) pay for services rendered at the request of the Council"
Without support, the social justice sector is often forced to close doors; to turn people away; or to accept funding from sources that they are sometimes uncomfortable with, especially where allegations of particular agendas are involved. Surely this is not what we want; when our NPO, NGO, PBO, CBO and related sectors do at least 30% of necessary public interest empowerment work?
Given the various socio-economic crisis our country is suffering over the last 22 years at very least; We have to ask ourselves why the situation is as it is - and, who benefits from the tragic state of affairs. We also have to ask our National Forum on our Legal Practice Act what solutions it will offer to our public and our parliament regarding the strengthening of the social justice sector. To this effect, we propose to make a presentation with other committed stakeholders to the National Forum ASAP.
“The Legal Practice Act, 2014 (Act 28 of 2014) was signed by the President into law last year 2014:
The Legal Practice Act in simple terms aims to transform the legal profession in South Africa. Some of the main challenges clearly evident are the need to make the legal profession representative of the diversity of South African society and the need to make the legal profession more accessible to the public.
We look forward to your responses, feedback, input, ideas, questions, recommendations.
Justice For All,
Shabnam Palesa Mohamed
Activist Journalist Attorney Filmmaker Public Speaker
CEO: Stand UP! Foundation [Rights Activism Empowerment]
Tel: 082 325 4136 / 074 874 2291 Twitter: @ShabnamPalesaMo