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Millennials: ‘The Values Generation’

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(Image source: Deloitte)

According to a survey conducted by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, most young professionals choose organizations that share their personal values; they put great value in their work, duties and obligations. Essentially, the message extracted here is that Millennials want to be valued at their workplaces and they are concerned about their personal growth.

However, before we embark on unpacking the traits millennials possess, let us look at who and what they are about. The term millennials may be understood as: “a demographic bulge whose birth years are loosely defined as extending from 1982 to 2004 http://bit.ly/1J6ggST

Issues Affecting Millennials

  • Inequality;
  • Unemployment (see Statistics ‘South Africa: National and Provincial Labour Market Youth statistical release Q1:2008 – Q1:2015 http://bit.ly/29lJTeN) and;
  • Government transparency (Fin24).

Someone who is in their early sixties would have been growing up in the ‘60s, so they will have been influenced by Martin Luther King, the use of the birth control pill, and anti-Vietnam demonstrations. That generation are very much the idealists. Even now, in their sixties, those people will still be idealists.

– HR Magazine, Lynda Shaw

Specific to South Africa, today’s young generation would have been born during the last stages of apartheid, would’ve seen the conclusion of the CODESA talks – not understanding their complexities of course. They would’ve watched the broadcast of the TRC hearings, noting and hearing the then catch phrase: reconciliation.

One highly contested issue worldwide is the different value systems which millennials are posited to have, additionally, certain studies indicate that a majority of millennials are increasingly more liberal with regards to social issues than their older counterparts.

The ‘Values Generation’

There have been numerous studies conducted about millennials, partly because most companies are looking to understand their prospective employees and the global community is concerned about the calibre of leadership which is currently being grouped. Millennials are also referred to as the ‘values generation’, exhibiting high levels of emotional intelligence – which is largely debated and contested by ‘baby boomers’, the generation which precedes millennials.

According to a study conducted by PWC, millennials’ career aspirations, attitudes about work, and knowledge of new technologies will define the culture of the 21st century workplace http://pwc.to/1MZ4TUK, and this why they matter.

Hiring millennials requires rethinking the future of work and careers.

– Dion Chang, Flux Trends

They are indeed the change and taste makers, the alleged confrontational entitled generation. But they also bring in their diverse outlook to the work environment. Frantz Fanon once said: “Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it.”

Tips for Millennials in the Legal Profession

  • Keep a journal/log of your personal accomplishments. You are your single best advocate. Throughout your career, keep track of your very first ex parte application, memoranda, projects, reviews, recommendations, and anything that demonstrates how you have positively developed as a professional;
  • Attend seminars, workshops and programmes that will help improve your knowledge and skills set, it is important to keep abreast with developments, not only those of your jurisdiction, but global changes to. This also sets the tone for networking opportunities;
  • Join legal bodies, be affiliated to professional bodies;
  • Establish yourself as a brand, as the old adage goes, reputation is indeed everything. (This list is not exhaustive and it is a mere guideline of tried and tested work principles)

The workplace and workforce are going to change pretty dramatically as we look forward. The entire concept of work is going to become more flexible. The skills needed in the workforce are going to be less about IQ and a little bit more about EQ.

– Deborah Henretta Group President, Asia & Global Specialty Channel, Procter & Gamble

Mediation – A Viable Option for Dispute Resolution?

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Meditation

Internationally mediation burst into consciousness in the mid-1970s and has since that time been a chosen process for resolving disputes http://bit.ly/29B4MTa.

Mediation may be understood as “a settlement of a dispute or controversy by setting up an independent person between two contending parties in order to aid them in the settlement of their disagreement”, or “a process in which two or more people involved in a dispute come together to try to work out a solution to their problem with the help of a neutral third person http://bit.ly/29d8xND

Below, we briefly touch on the factors surrounding mediation, the advantages and disadvantages of utilizing mediation as a mode of conflict resolution and how it may aid in the relief of the backlog of cases in our judiciary.

New developments: Court Annexed Mediation

As per the notice given in the government gazette circa ’14 regarding the Court Annexed Mediation Rules, the purpose of mediation is presented as follows, to:

  • Promote access to justice;
  • Promote restorative justice;
  • Preserve relationships between litigants or potential litigants which may become strained or destroyed by the adversarial nature of litigation;
  • Facilitate an expeditious and effective resolution of a dispute between litigants or potential litigants;
  • Assist litigants or potential litigants to determine at an early stage of the litigation or prior to commencement of litigation whether proceeding with a trial or an opposed application is in their best interests or not; and
  • Provide litigants or potential litigants with solutions to the dispute, which are beyond the scope and powers of judicial officer http://bit.ly/29b0PkZ.

The above mentioned rules, give enforcement to Section 34 of the #Constitution, which reads as follows: everyone has the right to have any dispute that can be resolved by the application of law decided in a fair public hearing before a court or where appropriate another independent and impartial tribunal or forum http://bit.ly/1VPWx5R.

Mediation forms part of the principles grouped under ADR, once referred to as alternative dispute resolution and now referred to by some as appropriate dispute resolution. It is essentially aimed at the resolve or settlement of conflict and disputes between parties. It is a particularly favourable mode of resolution, when parties in the dispute still want to maintain the working relationship, opted to by many franchises and other agreements in like.

The advantages of mediation

  • It offers speedy resolution of disputes;
  • It is considerably cheaper than litigation;
  • It provides a win-win situation for both parties in a dispute;
  • The process is flexible and avoids technicalities;
  • It is a voluntary process;
  • It promotes reconciliation; and
  • Parties can use their own languages http://bit.ly/29z4E3e

The disadvantages of mediation

  • Success in mediation depends on each party’s “good faith” commitment to the process which is sometimes lacking.
  • Mediation is focused on the future, so past conduct may be overlooked or minimized http://bit.ly/29nfnwa

Mediation, perhaps not as big in the South African context as it is compared to other jurisdictions, is still an available mode for the resolution of disputes and conflict.

*Further reading

Why mediation is not taking root in South Africa – Africa Centre for Dispute Settlement http://bit.ly/29B4MTa
Mediation Rules – the doj & cd http://bit.ly/29b0PkZ

CONTINUING THE NELSON MANDELA LEGACY THROUGH EDUCATION

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In the spirit of Mandela Day, we took a walk down memory lane, to not only read about this truly remarkable man, but also to use Nelson Mandela’s life lessons as a template for some of the paths we’ve undertaken http://bit.ly/2ambgSb

Of the many things Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela held closely to his heart, namely: human rights; education; children’s rights; passion for sports (as a tool to heal and unite our nation). Human rights shall be the first point we touch on.

Human Rights for all

We are reminded by the quote below, of the darker times our beautiful country, and people once had to endure, of the long walk to freedom that we made. The Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) http://bit.ly/29U2Bbutalks, were a tool of negotiation between the then government, organizations and political parties of South Africa, striving toward a better government and living measures for people of all races in the country inter alia.

The question that faces us all is, how long can we, who claim to be the leaders of our people sit here, talk eloquently, spin out complicated formulae and enjoy the applause while the country sinks deeper and deeper into crisis…?

– Nelson Mandela (at the second session of CODESA), the African Law Review

Wits Archived Image

(Image Source: Wits Archives)

Education

One of Nelson Mandela’s most prolific quotes on education is: “it is not beyond our powers to create a world where all children have access to good education. Those who do not believe this have small imaginations.” The above mentioned quote amplifies Mandela’s true dedication to the cause of education. We too at the Black Lawyers Association – Legal Education Centre have taken a leaf from this great man’s page, we are in constant pursuit and dedication of education. Our primary focus is educating those who were previously disadvantaged through the policies of the previous apartheid government. Additionally, to make the legal profession accessible to those who lacked adequate resources to practise and economically partake in it. We realize this goal through our legal education training programmes, and community outreach educational initiatives. In 2007 the Nelson Mandela Institute was founded to circumvent the educational crisis in rural Africa http://bit.ly/2a0XFlt

Education is key

(Image source: Zalebs)

The current status on education in South African

Section 29 (1) b hinges on the realisation of this right to further education, against the availability which is afforded by the state, to the public. Is this a feasible right currently? http://bit.ly/2a5nYoT

2015 marked the year where we saw the youth of South Africa in universities take a stand against exorbitant tuition fees. These protests known as the #NationalShutdown and #FeesMustFall gave rise to other ancillary issues of concern, like the language policies around South African institutions of higher learning http://bit.ly/1MkECLJ

Which raises the question, has the Mandela legacy been given effect to? Should the youth and children of this country be out on the streets pleading for their rights and access to higher education? If not them, then whom should the responsibility lie with?

Which raises the question, has the Mandela legacy been given effect to? Should the youth and children of this country be out on the streets pleading for their rights and access to higher education? If not them, then whom should the responsibility lie with?

The enforcement of Children’s Rights

Through his dedication to children’s rights, the Nelson Mandela Children’s fund was set up with the aim of changing the way society treats its children and youth. This long-term vision captures the central role society plays in shaping children’s lives, with a mission set out to give a voice and dignity to the African child by building a rights-based movement http://bit.ly/29O1RTw

Additionally, in 2005 he was awarded the World’s Children’s Prize (for the rights of the child) and elected Decade Child Rights Hero in 2009 respectively. He was awarded these accolades for his continued, unwavering commitment to children’s rights in South Africa http://bit.ly/2amjaL9

Developments

The Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital construction has been completed, it is reported that the official opening is scheduled for December this year. The aim of the hospital as per Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund CEO Sibongile Mkhabela, is the notion that no child should be turned away due to an inability to pay http://bit.ly/2a1EvL0

Nelson Mandela on Sport as a uniting tool, for the nation

Nelson Mandela was an avid, enthusiastic boxer. He took up the sport initially for its recreational merits, however later on he found that it was an outlet that could help channel his energies, and it gave him great discipline http://bit.ly/2a0XFlt

Another iconic image, which will be forever engrained in our history, is the lifting of the 1995 Rugby World Cup Trophy by the late Mandela, uTata Madiba as he is affectionately known.

Nelson Mandela has gifted us with his legacy, the baton is now passed on to us, what legacies are we striving towards?

Nelson Mandela

(Image source: The National)

Nelson Mandela

(Image Source: awesomestories.com)
“Boxing is an egalitarian sport”

*Further Reading

The Nelson Mandela Tourist App: https://www.nelsonmandela.org/landing/madibas-journey
BLA-LEC Blog Archive: “One man can change the world, Nelson Mandela taught us so” http://bit.ly/2ambgSb
BLA-LEC Blog Archive: “Language Matters” http://bit.ly/1MkECLJ
BLA-LEC Blog Archive: “The Progressive Realisation of Socio-economic Rights ‘#FeesMustFall’ ’’

WORKER’S DAY: Our AFRICAN LAW REVIEW SPECIAL – the 10th Anniversary of the BLA-LEC

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Worker’s Day or ‘May Day’ as it is popularly known, is a day which recognizes the Trade Unions; Communist Party and other labour movements for the role they played in defiance of the apartheid regime and struggle.

In an ode to this day, we take a nostalgic trip down memory lane – where the acclaimed editor, Mathatha Tsedu covered with great enthusiasm, the 10th Anniversary of the Legal Education Centre. In the article, he cites and mentions some of our exemplary leaders and founders. Let us not give too much away, do read for yourself:

Remember how few we were when we started? Look at us now, just look at us. We are becoming ministers of justice, judges and we will become attorney generals and we will rule this country. We will.

Dikgang Moseneke DCJ

African Law Review Download Link

22 Years of Freedom: April 27th, A Day of Commemoration

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South Africa 1994

It was a jubilant day all those years ago, when for the first time, all citizens of the country exercised their franchise to vote in our very first democratic elections, 27 April 1994. People of all races, creed and colour – a stark contrast to the then old regime which had drafted legislation, to enforce segregation and reserve the right to vote only for a privileged few (see: Minister of the Interior v Harris http://bit.ly/1pgmihc)

Voters queue
(Image Source: Khanyawordpress.com)

The atmosphere was a revolutionary, as a nation, we were once more making international headlines. All eyes were on South Africa, the United Nations also sent a delegation of observers to ensure that the elections ran smoothly and in accordance with international norms.

The electoral system used and still currently used is proportional representation, which then led to the victory of the African National Congress as it received the majority votes– it indeed signalled the dawn of a new era for South Africa. The country would never be the same again.

In 2014, we celebrated 20 years of democracy, not without our challenges as with all young democracies.

Nelson Mandela is quoted as saying, in a circa 1995 speech ‘’the ultimate goal of a better life is yet to be realised.’’ Which, given the socio-economic status of the country, rings true, given the #FeesMustFall; #Luister and #NationalShutdown campaigns and movements among others.

Yet do we overall have a grand story to tell? We’ve made vast strides and improvements in telecommunications; electricity and housing, which is only but an overview. We’re a country moving forward, with local government elections scheduled to be held 3-5 August 2016. There is much to be said, much to be done.

The virtue of our South African nation has, like any other passed through a long and often painful process

Nelson Mandela


South Africa 2016

It has become commonplace to assert that while South Africa experienced a political sea change in 1994, the economic underpinnings of apartheid have hardly shifted, leaving us with an incomplete revolution and, some warn, perched atop a ticking bomb.

Independent Online

The current imagery in South Africa looks and reads differently than it did 22 years ago.

A majority of South Africans still feel the harsh effects of inequality what with high levels of unemployment and many asking for the change that was promised. Citizens in various parts of South Africa took to the streets on Freedom Day, in a #ZumaMustFall march: http://bit.ly/249nnuF

There are highs, as there are lows – we are a young democracy, to browse some reasons to feel good about being South African post 1994, do follow this link: http://bit.ly/1NZw8Qy

Voters queue
(Image Source: CommonGood.com)

Continuing Legal Education (CLE): Keeping Up With Statutes

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As the world expands, young markets boom and emerge, new technologies are shared; the urbanisation of our cities and towns peak, which creates a need of innovative legal solutions, for our new age legal problems.

The concept of lifelong learning, in-conjunction with new developments in technology and the movement of people presents an opportunity for growth in all the markets. This is also the case for the legal profession. A few decades ago, Intellectual Property (IPOs) for instance, and corporate compliance (see ‘what is the importance of compliance’: http://bit.ly/1Qm9mMX) were not a peak in the profession, however, excitedly as the country develops, so too does the profession and the need for legal skills expansion.

Enter Continuing Legal Education (CLE); several law faculties in South Africa have already introduced CLE as a mode of learning/module. Its purpose, to help law students grasp the concept of continuity in their acquisition of legal skills, for example If you obtained your LLB or applicable equivalent, a decade ago, with the fast shift in technologies and new legislative reforms, there may be a myriad of requisite legal skills you will need to acquire and sharpen today.

We’ve introduced CLE, as part of our educational programmes for this reason, it is also a programme that ties in with the core purpose of the Legal Education Centre which inter alia is, to demystify the law and advance its accessibility.

Our CLE is: is aimed at primarily building capacity – which speaks to the above core purpose (see our mission statement: http://bit.ly/1uRGI1V), enhancing the skills of lawyers and making law accessible to all black and historically disadvantaged legal practitioners in South Africa.

Effective Time Management: Your Time Is Your Currency

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Effective Time Management: Your Time Is Your Currency

A typical trait of the exciting yet fast paced modern lifestyles we’re living in, is stress. There are several levels of stress, yet as legal professionals we would shy away from any such diagnosis as it isn’t our field of expertise per se. What we may however speak on, is how to alleviate that stress. Being pressed for time, not meeting requisite deadlines (think of the consequences and implications of not filing a Notice of Bar on time!) may lead to extra costs and work overload – but if one hones the skill of effectively managing their time, that would yield far greater result. Because time when managed well, really is your currency.

‘’Managing my time isn’t about squeezing the as many tasks into my day as possible. It’s about simplifying how I work, doing things faster, and relieving stress.’’ – Work Smarter, Not Harder: 21 Time Management Tips to Hack Productivity, Jordan Bates

Here are 5 do-able time management tips:

  • Get a journal/notebook App, write things down and commit to them;
  • Create a vision/mission board: which is like a daily planner, this paves your way and gives you a sense of direction for your day;
  • Start your day with your trickiest task: it’s called ‘Eating the frog’, get the jobs you least like out of the way in the morning, thereby clearing the rest of your day – productivity will soar (via GlamourUK);
  • GET UP EARLIER: ‘What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast’;
  • DON’T TAKE SHORTCUTS WHEN LEARNING YOUR CRAFT: Although simplicity is always key, the key point driven here is that you should focus on your given tasks, effectively research and fact check them to avoid costly delays (Pavani Reddy, managing partner at law firm Zaiwalla & Co Solicitors)
  • BONUS TIP: And if you’re one for quick effective solutions, SAFLII has an App for IOS and Android phones – where you can instantly access and download case law, legislation et al co/1VR9Ku2

These are only brief points which, incorporated with your work style may aid in your journey to effective time management. As with all great things, it starts with self and we always advocate for pro-activity.

So go out there and succeed.

‘’The belief in human potential recognizes the importance of people, people are important. For any economy to thrive, it must have a bulk of skilled and inspired people forming part of the workforce.’’ – Realising your human potential

Human Rights: A Step In The Right Direction

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The African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights which was adopted in Nairobi circa 1981, June 27 and subsequently entered into force circa 1986, October 21. Provides and recognizes that: ‘’ the fundamental rights stem from the attributes of human beings, which justifies their national and international protection.’’

Our #Constitution has similar values embedded in the preamble, and has ameliorated and entrenched these values into the Bill of Rights: ‘’ The South African legal system is beginning to mirror the protection of rights as provided for in the Charter, thereby ensuring the protection of human rights through incorporation of the African Charter norms, into the South African legal system.’’ http://bit.ly/1ZHebaO

When we initially wrote on human rights, we did so in a manner that reported on the celebrations of the particular day, what we have observed since – there isn’t a day that goes by without the subject of human rights in our lives. We read newspapers daily on gross violations, yet we also read of stories where lives are touched. We watch and exchange legal material and texts surrounding litigation on human rights. There isn’t an avenue and or arena of life and commerce that isn’t affected by human rights.

A Good Story To Tell:

  • South Africa has a South African Human Rights Commission Act, which guides the Commission on the exercise of its duties http://bit.ly/1MwLPhe
  • The Ten Top South African human rights achievements http://bit.ly/1pBobpL
  • Our Independent Judiciary (see @whyjudgesmatter on Twitter)
  • Amazing South Africans, doing amazing things: Abahlali baseMjondolo Shack Dwellers Movement http://bit.ly/1RGIhWO
  • The Office of the Public Protector (which acts as a watchdog for the citizens of the republic)

On a daily basis we head out to our respective workplaces, we stop on traffic lights and see a country that is moving, a country that is working – alive with possibility. And it is with this pioneering spirit of the people, we will together strive for the promotion, awareness and exercise of human rights. A step in the right direction, indeed.

Additional Reading:


The African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights http://bit.ly/1WTgo12
Abahlali Basemjondolo Movement SA and Another v Premier of the Province of Kwazulu-Natal and Others (CCT12/09) [2009] ZACC 31; 2010 (2) BCLR 99 (CC) (14 October 2009) http://bit.ly/1Ur8P41

Omar Al Bashir & the ROME Statute: A brief account on the S.A litigation

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A few years ago, a critical Op-ed was penned the former President of the Republic of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki  and Mahmood Mamdani– on the subject matter:  addressing the bias surrounding African heads of State, held by the International Criminal Court ‘’ICC’’ and enforced by its treaty, the Rome Statute http://bit.ly/1ShHkns. Broadly speaking, International law.

There have been various debates on what International Law is, and what it isn’t, and whether or not it is a sophisticated form of law – which is another area of vast, exciting debate in its own right. The subject matter of this post however, is the timeline of events following the visit of Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir in June 2015, for the AU Summit – and the litigation that ensued soon after due to South Africa’s obligations as per the Statute.

’Omar Al Bashir not above the Law

– Trengrove SC

Timeline:

June 2015, Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir enters the republic  to attend AU Summit – South Africa being a signatory to the Statute was obliged to arrest, or hand him over to the ICC where he’d be prosecuted for said crimes.

Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC) takes Government to court http://Bit.ly/1PBaKuA – The Pretoria High Court issues interim order to bar Bashir from leaving the republic, yet in an almost theatrical fashion despite the order of court, Bashir leaves. Court calls Government’s move to allow the exit of the head of state ‘’unconstitutional’’, which lead to a bevy of headlines on the matter.

August 14, the State files for leave to appeal the High court decision. State’s case hinged on the argument that the court erred in asking:

whether a Cabinet resolution coupled with a ministerial notice is capable of suspending the country’s duty to arrest a head of state’’, when it should’ve rather asked: whether there was a duty to arrest a serving head of state under South African law at all. And, if such duty exists, the courts should have asked whether any countervailing duties exist, and how to resolve any potential disputes between these two duties.

September 2015, the High court dismisses the application for leave to appeal. Citing that the matter was now moot, and didn’t show prospects of success. State then petitions SCA for appeal, at the appeal, the Helen Suzman Foundation argued that, the #Constitution places a further burden on the state, to ensure persons accused of crimes against humanity are brought to task http://bit.ly/1RwuCBv .

The international community tends to focus on criminalizing the perpetrators of violence

– Mamdani, Mbeki

Judgements:

The court dismissed the state’s appeal, on the basis that Bashir’s diplomatic immunity was removed by section 10(9) of the Implementation Act of the Rome Statute. It found that the failure to arrest and detain Bashir and surrender him to the ICC was unlawful, and consequently, unconstitutional.

It has certainly made for robust discourse on International and domestic law in our shores. Browse the SCA Judgement here: http://bit.ly/1UXODW

It is absurd to argue you can only arrest a head of state accused of international crimes by ICC if he waives his immunity

. – Trengrove SC

South Africa under a legal duty to respect the personal immunity of a serving head of a foreign state

. – Gauntlet SC

Further Reading:

For a comprehensive list of the countries who have ratified the statute: http://bit.ly/1URA73p

Opinion Piece:

Courts Can’t End Civil Wars

– Mamdani, Mbeki nyti.ms/21PIHPp

POINT OF ORDER: When to raise it?

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Given the re-newed interest in governance, what with increased viewership of the RSA Parliament, and general prima facie public input on lawmakers, legislative bodies, members of Parliament and matters affecting them, case in point the public interest and engagement in #SONA2016: State of the Nation Address 2016. There has been a heightened rise in the jargon used in Parliament meetings by the layman on the streets, which is frankly positive given that members of Parliament represent constituencies (your interests) – it therefore pays to be ‘in the know’.

A phrase that has gained notoriety in recent times, made famous by members of Parliament, but is additionally used in meetings et al, is ‘Point of Order’.

A ‘Point of Order’ is a tool, which is used to draw attention to a breach in procedural rules, an irregularity, the irrelevance or the continued repetition of a speaker or breaching of the established practices.

When and how can a point of order be invoked?

If a member thinks the meeting does not follow the rules, he or she can raise a point of order.

A member may raise a point of order to:

  • remind the meeting of a rule;
  • point out that a member is off the point;
  • point out that a member is talking for too long;
  • point out that a member does not have the authority to act in a certain way &
  • complain about bad language

To raise a point of order, one would have to stand up and say: “Point of Order”. One must then sit down again and wait for the Chairperson’s permission to speak. The Chairperson may then allow you to say/state what the point of order is. The Chairperson must decide if the point of order is valid before the meeting can continue.

It is a procedural tool at best.