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: 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 need for a human rights culture
In celebration of Human Rights Day, Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel delivered the 4th Dullah Omar Memorial Lecture on 20 March 2007. The lecture examines the notions of “continuity” and “change” in the human rights context in South Africa’s recent history.Dealing with specific challenges against the backdrop of our Constitution, he criticises problems such as corruption and concludes that more must be done to address them. Minister Manuel also discusses the importance of a culture of human rights as well as the challenges faced by South Africa in its struggle to build such a culture, and advances recommendations on how to achieve these objectives.Download full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: Get rights right in the interests of security of tenure
Review of Land, Power & Custom: Controversies Generated by South Africa’s Communal Land Rights Act, edited by Aninka Claassens & Ben Cousins; xv and pp 392 with accompanying DVD. Legal Resources Centre & UCT Press, Cape Town, 2008 Ann Pope gives a detailed overview of a book on a topic that has assumed critical importance in South Africa and, at the same time, analyses and comments on difficulties and dilemmas that have been encountered in securing indigenous land rights.The book was collated following the enactment of the Communal Land Rights Act 11 of 2004 and the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act 41 of 2003, in preparation for a challenge to the constitutionality of the former Act by alleging that it “undermines the rights of rural people to make them less secure than before”. Judgment in Tongoane and Others v National Minister for Agriculture and Land Affairs and Others (11678/2006)  ZAGPPHC 127 (30 October 2009) has since been delivered, its findings being mostly in favour of the applicants. An analysis of the judgment is followed by further reflection on a number of issues. The discussion shows that, while the applicants in Tongoane can rightly claim victory for succeeding in having several provisions of the CLRA declared unconstitutional, important questions remain unanswered. The author suggests that the implications of such omissions will need careful and thoughtful treatment by the Constitutional Court during the confirmation hearing at the beginning of March 2010. At the time of publication the judgment in this hearing was not yet available.Download full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: Dismissals for operational requirements
Tapiwa Gandidze discusses dismissals for operational requirements in terms of the LRA with reference to the code of good practice on dismissals for operational requirements.The author also analyses the 2002 amendments to the LRA which allow workers either to strike about the reason for dismissals or refer such a dispute to the Labour Court. The author concludes by providing a detailed discussion of the legal requirements that employers need to comply with in order to ensure that dismissal is procedurally and substantively fair.Download full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: Comment on the Code of Good Practice: Key Aspects of HIV/AIDS and Employment
Drawing on their experience in drafting an HIV/AIDS workplace policy for the University of the Western Cape, Tania Vergnani and Nikki Schaay reflect on the Code of Good Practice: Key Aspects of HIV/AIDS and Employment in terms of its ability to assist in defining and refining HIV/AIDS policies. They conclude that the Code takes a limited view of workplace responsibility and advocate that employers should play a greater, more pro-active role in the prevention of the spread of the disease and of discrimination, as well as in providing treatment for those living with HIV/AIDS.Download full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: A summary of some cases on HIV/AIDS
Sam Rugege provides concise commentary on two important recent judgments involving discrimination on the basis of H!V/AIDS. The first is a decision by the South African Constitutional Court in Hoffmann v South AJrican Airways  I I BCLR 121 1 (CC) based on the constitutional equality clause.This case raised important issues relating to the extent to which employers can justify discrimination on the basis of the requirements of a job or the perceived prejudices of the public. In addition. novel questions arose in relation to the appropriate remedy for unfair discrimination in cases where an employer has refused to employ applicants on the basis of their HIV status. The second case is a decision of the Namibian Labour Court in N v Minister of DeJence (2000) 21 ILJ 999 (NmLC). The applicant in this case was refused employment in the Defence Force because he tested HIV positive. The court found that this constituted unfair discrimination as envisaged by the Namibian Labour Act of 1992 and ordered the applicantÆs enlistment subject to a medical test.Download full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: A New Constitution and a Bill of Rights
Deputy Chief Justice Pius Langa argues that, while the advent of the constitutional era is very significant, the Constitution is only a guideline for nurturing the life of the nation. With rights go responsibilities.Being able to exercise our rights also requires us to respect the rights of others. The courts, legislature and executive can create the space for citizens to engage with the project of building a new society, but it is up to the citizens to work with others to create the kind of society in which all the people are able to maximise their personal potential and fully enjoy their rightsDownload full text.