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: Communications before the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights 1988-2002
This article gives an overview of the work of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights with regard to individual communications from its first decision in 1988 until the end of 2002. The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights was established in 1987 after the entry into force of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights in 1986.The Commission received its first individual complaint in 1987 but did not take a decision on it until October 1988. By the end of 2002 the Commission had taken around 100 decisions on communications submitted to it under the individual communlcations procedureDownload 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: Commentary on communications decided by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in 2004
Waruguru Kaguongo reports on issues arising from decisions handed down by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in 2004. A total of 12 communications were considered in that year, with seven communications being decided on the merits. .The article is divided into two main sections: issues implicit in the determination of admissibility, and those arising from consideration of the merits. On admissibility, the most often considered criterion was the requirement to exhaust local remedies. In determining compliance with this criterion, it is argued, the Commission displayed consistency with its previous jurisprudence. The exhaustion of local remedies, however, tended to take precedence over the other criteria and, it is suggested, the Commission failed to take the opportunity to further elaborate on the application of other criteria. In the relation to the merits, the author argues that the communications raised issue relating to evidence and the lack of consistency in how it affects decisions; the limitation of rights; the role of the Commission versus national jurisdictions; fair trial guarantees; interpretation of international treaties and the administrative capacity of the Commission and its effect on decisionsDownload 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.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: Effects on the employment relationship of the insolvency of the employer: A worker perspective
Peter Carolus, Thierry Galani Tiemeni and Kurt Ziervogel, look critically at the Insolvency Act prior to the amendments of 2002 and the limited protection it gave workers on the insolvency of the employer. The effect of the Act was that workers’ contracts of employment were automatically terminated by their employer’s insolvency, leaving them with a limited preferent claim against the employer’s insolvent estate.The authors discuss how the 2002 amendments to the Insolvency Act and the LRA addressed these problems by providing for the suspension rather than termination of employment contracts in the event that the business can be saved or sold as a going concern. They also discuss the right of workers as creditors to appoint their own liquidator to supervise the liquidation process and conclude with a detailed examination of challenges faced by trade unions on issues arising from the insolvency of employers.Download full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: Fair trial rights, freedom of the press, the principle of “open justice” and the power of the Supreme Court of Appeal to regulate its own process
In this case study Wium de Villiers discusses the Constitutional Court’s endorsement of the SCA decision in SABC Ltd v National DPP and Others, to the effect that it would only allow Shabir Shaik’s application for leave to appeal to be broadcast if it was satisfied that it would not inhibit justice.Professor de Villiers argues that section 12 of the Constitution should be recognised as a generic residual due process right, analogous to that of section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which would lead to a substantial reduction in the inconsistencies in the Constitutional Court’s jurisprudence revealed by that decision.Download full text.