South African Constitutional Court decriminalizes peaceful protest

19 November 2018 – South Africa’s Constitutional Court reached an historic ruling in Mlungwana and Others v S and Another, declaring that Section 12(1)(a) of the Regulation of Gatherings Act 205 of 1993 is unconstitutional in its entirety, regardless of whether the gathering is violent. Section 12(1)(a) had made convening an assembly of more than fifteen people, without first notifying the responsible officer of a municipality, a criminal offense. Advocates Michael Bishop and Phumzile Mdakane...

Return of 26 farms to Prudhoe Community

6 August 2018 - The South African government recently sought permission to appeal a court decision handed down in April of 2018, which returned 26 farms between the Fish and Mpekweni Rivers, which had been taken from 100 families during the era of forced removals under apartheid. The LRC, which represented this community of families, opposed the government’s application. The families, known as the Prudhoe Community, had been removed from their farms during the late...

LRC APPOINTS NEW NATIONAL DIRECTOR

1 August 2018 - The LRC has announced the appointment of Nersan Govender as its new National Director. Mr. Govender will officially join the LRC on August 1, succeeding Janet Love, who has led the LRC for the past twelve years. Mr. Govender comes to the LRC from South Africa’s Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), an independent dispute resolution body, established in terms of the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995, serving as...

EASTERN CAPE COMMUNITY’S RIGHT TO ACCESS SUFFICIENT WATER

28 June 2018 - For years, residents of a small village called Mmangweni in the Eastern Cape have walked long distances and waited for hours to draw dirty water from a place they call “idami.” The local municipality refused to deliver water to the community even though their dirty water caused rashes and diarrhea. After a year-long struggle led by Masiphathisane, a committee representing the residents, the Legal Resources Centre brought an application before the...

HISTORIC SILICOSIS CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT REACHED

3 May 2018 - The Legal Resources Centre - working together with Abrahams Kiewitz and Richard Spoor Attorneys - has reached the first class action settlement of its kind in South Africa, representing thousands of mineworkers, who have contracted silicosis or tuberculosis since 1965. The settlement was reached following three years of extensive negotiations with the Occupational Lung Disease (OLD) Working Group, representing African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American SA, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Harmony, Sibanye...

LAUNCH OF GEORGE BIZOS HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD

LAUNCH OF GEORGE BIZOS HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD – 11 March 2018 The Legal Resources Centre of South Africa has announced the establishment of the George Bizos Human Rights Award, which will be awarded annually to recognize other deserving human rights defenders and public interest lawyers whose work exemplifies the values and commitment shown by Advocate Bizos in his pursuit of social justice. The inaugural award will be presented to Advocate Bizos during a gala dinner on March...

SADC TRIBUNAL CASE

SADC TRIBUNAL CASE - 5 February 2018 Advocate Michael Bishop from the LRC’s Constitutional Litigation Unit, representing the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, argued before the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria that the South African Presidency cannot bind South Africa to international treaties without first consulting the public. The Southern Africa Development Community (“SADC”) Tribunal was established in 2005 to resolve disputes involving southern African governments and their citizens. After the Tribunal ruled in 2009 that the...

LAND CLAIMS COURT CASE

LAND CLAIMS COURT CASE - 31 January 2018 The LRC made an application for contempt of court on behalf of the LRC’s client, the Wildebeestkuil Land Claim Committee, against the chief and headman, who have been selling their land in spite of a court order preventing them from doing that. In 1925, approximately 95 families, who lived on the Wildebeestfuil farm, bought the land and began managing it as a collective. In 1950, the apartheid South African...

LANDMARK RULING BY WESTERN CAPE HIGH COURT

LANDMARK RULING BY WESTERN CAPE HIGH COURT – 24 JANUARY 2018 The LRC, representing the Social Justice Coalition (“SJC”), won an important case late last month in the Western Cape High Court, which declared Section 12 (1) (a) of the Regulation of Gatherings Act unconstitutional, decriminalizing gatherings where no notice has been given to the relevant government authority. The High Court also withdrew the criminal convictions of the LRC’s clients. In September 2013, the SJC had organized...