Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Interacts with UKZN Law Students
Is South Africa Upholding the Rule of Law? That is the question Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Mr John Jeffery was tasked with answering at an event hosted by the Black Lawyers Association Student Chapter (BLAsc) and UKZN’s School of Law.
The event created a platform for Law students to discuss topical legal issues such as the court ruling in the Al-Bashir case, the constitutionality of the new parliamentary rules, clear separation of powers, and exploring if it can be said that South Africa’s judiciary is independent from external influence, drawing from inferences from controversial cases in the public eye.
BLAsc’s Chairperson, Ms Pearl Biyela, said having audiences with key members of South Africa’s justice system such as Jeffery were a crucial part of BLAsc mission of promoting legal transformation and ensuring that Law students were aware and well informed of the latest development in the legal sector.
‘In May, we held an event where the relevance of the Legal Practice Act was discussed. It was at such a sitting that students pondered about the side effects the implementation of the Act would have on the separation of powers,’ she said.
‘There was much deliberation in this light, but clarity was not reached. It is for these reasons that we discussed these burning issues with Jeffery to ensure that students are correctly informed of the factors that will directly or indirectly affect them after their studies,’ added Biyela.
Jeffery explained how parliament worked and South Africa’s international obligations in the Al-Bashir case.
He said he thoroughly enjoyed engaging with the students in various areas of the law and encouraged them to contact him via his email, cell phone or on social media if they wanted to engage further on issues.
‘I enjoyed the fairly diverse topics that we have discussed today and I do welcome engagement with students as it is vital that we produce lawyers who are critical thinkers. I thank BLAsc for organising this event and I do hope that you will have me again next year,’ said Jeffery.