FORUM CONTRIBUTION: A summary of some recent cases of interest to the African continent
Sam Rugege discusses a few recent cases dealing with issues of African continental interest. These include the right of defence force members to join trade unions and to participate in protest action (South Africa); the right of the press to freedom of expression and the duty to inform the public on matters of public interest (Zimbabwe); the right of prisoners to vote in national elections (South Africa); the right of a citizen spouse to have her foreign spouse live permanently with her in her home country (Zimbabwe); the power of the National Assembly to suspend a member of the assembly and the right of a member to freedom of expression (South Africa); and succession rights in African kingdoms in the era of republican democracy (Uganda).Download full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: The growing informalisation of work: Challenges for labour
Rudi Dicks discusses the South African phenomenon of “informalisation” of the workforce, which is characterised by workers shifting from permanent employment to casualised and fixed-term contracts, outsourcing and employment through labour brokers.These forms of employment are accompanied by, lack of job security, undermining of basic conditions of employment, erosion of workplace rights and decreasing access to skills and equity at work. The author considers the effects of the process and concludes by suggesting measures to provide legislative protection to vulnerable workers, including the establishment of a tripartite statutory body to regulate labour brokers; the development of a code of good practice for workers engaged in atypical employment contracts and improving monitoring and enforcement mechanisms through tougher penalties.Download full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: Be careful what you wish for…?
Roger Ronnie draws a balance sheet of the position of the trade union movement today. While analysing trade unions as organisations dealing with more than simply wages and employment conditions, the author also considers their political limitations and assesses the gains and losses flowing from the 1995 LRA from a trade union perspective.In particular, the advent and growing entrenchment of “trade union legalism” within South Africa’s capitalist system is highlighted. The article concludes by making recommendations on how trade unions can try to avoid these pitfalls and promote the rights of workers more effectively.Download full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: The principle of legality in constitutional matters with reference to Masiya v Director of Public Prosecutions and Others 2007 (5) SA 30 (CC)
This article, co-authored by LLB student Lesega Mnguni and Justin Muller as part of our ALAD programme (see Who We Are) deals with the principle of legality as enunciated in Masiya v Director of Public Prosecutions and Others 2007 (5) SA 30 (CC). In this matter an accused person was charged with rape after committing a grossly indecent sexual assault on a nine-year-old girl.Although the act in question did not fall within the common law definition of rape, the Regional Court felt justified in developing the common law definition in terms of section 39 of the Constitution to include the act in question and duly convicted the accused. The High Court upheld this decision. The article examines the reasoning of the Constitutional Court in determining the meaning of the principle of legality and applying the right to non-retrospective punishment, as entrenched in section 35(3)(l) and (n) of the Constitution, under extremely sensitive and challenging circumstances.Download full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: The plight of domestic workers: The elusiveness of access to adequate housing
South Africa’s transformative Constitution calls for a holistic approach to realising the right to human dignity. To marginalised groups, such as domestic workers, this right is not confined to achieving better wages and working conditions; it touches every aspect of their lives. Central to this endeavour is the quest for adequate housing. This article discusses the experience of a housing cooperative consisting predominantly of domestic workers in campaigning for adequate housing, especially at local government level, as part of the struggle to achieve a secure and dignified existence. While identifying formidable obstacles, it also shows the interconnectedness of the various challenges and the need for a integrated approach in addressing them.Download full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: Enforcement difficulties in the public and private sectors
John Brown examines the enforcement of CCMA arbitration awards in terms of the LRA, as well as the enforcement of private arbitration awards in terms of the Arbitration Act of 1965. The author analyses relevant case law and highlights the real practical difficulties facing worker litigants in enforcing arbitration awards in their favour. ”.The final section of the article deals with the enforcement of collective agreements and settlement agreements. The essential role of bargaining councils in monitoring and enforcing collective agreements is also highlighted. The article concludes that “[t]he challenge facing the labour movement is to equip its organisers with the legal knowledge and drafting skills to negotiate and draft agreements which best promote the interests of workers and avoid legal pitfalls when trying to enforce agreements which are challenged by an employerDownload full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: Promoting FOCAC more maturely in the next decade - p 500
The Forum on China-African Cooperation (FOCAC) has entered its second decade. Though the political driving force remains vital, development towards a more mature, long-term stable and effective cooperation mechanism and organisation has become unavoidable.The article argues that suitable forms of institutionalisation include establishing a joint FOCAC Council of Ministers, a Joint Secretariat, a Committee of Ambassadors and a Joint Consultative Assembly with sub-commissions. It also proposes the need for entering into a basic cooperation agreement with legal force and strengthening the development of Sino-African NGOs.Download full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: Towards a more activist parliament more engaged with civil society - F1
This contribution consists of the edited text of a speech delivered by Yunis Carrim at the launch of the Community Law Centre’s Parliamentary Programme in Cape Town on 20 October 2010, and is reproduced here because of the importance of the issues it addresses in the context of South Africa’s evolving democratic practice.The central conclusion is that "neither Parliament nor civil society organisations are sufficiently recognising the value of effective engagement between them. Yet if they worked creatively together they would be able to put the executive under more pressure to deliver more effectively. ... The state alone cannot ensure a significant improvement in service delivery and development. ... So new opportunities are opening up for a more active role for civil society organisations. Let us make creative use of this. It’s over as much to you as it is to Parliament to do so. Are you up to it?"Download full text.