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Tax Board – Black Lawyers Association: Invitation for Attorneys

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Chairpersons of the Tax Board for the term of 2018 to 2023

In term of Section 83A of the Income Tax Act, 58 of 1962, read with Sections 110(1) and 111(1) of the Tax Administration Act, Act 28 of 2011, Chairpersons of the Tax Board are appointed by the Minister of Finance to attend tax appeal hearings for a period of five (5) years.

The last appointment in this regard was made on 27 August 2013 for a period of five years, with such appointment expiring on 26 August 2018.

As the five year period will be expiring, the term for newly appointed Tax board Chairperson will commence as of 27 August 2018.

Kindly extend this invitation to candidates having an interest in dealing with tax matters to apply for the above position. The candidates are representatives of the broad spectrum of gender, religion, ethnic and racial demographics of the Republic of South Africa as a whole, lastly;

The following criteria will be applied in the Tax Board Chairperson:

  1. The candidates must be practising attorneys or advocates;
  2. The candidates should be in good standing with their respective Law Societies or Bar Councils;
  3. The candidate must be willing and able to act as a Chairperson for at least four(4) times in a year;
  4. Preference will be given to candidates with suitable and/or relevant tax knowledge and experience

The remuneration structure for the previous intake is attached as Annexure “A”, SARS is in the process of recommending and seeking approval from the Minister of Finance for an increase in the fee structure.

A brief curriculum vitae should be submitted by close of business on 16 March 2018.

Kindly submit applications to Moitheri Liphoko (mliphoko@sars.gov.za). For any enquiries please contact Moither Liphoko on (012) 647 9537 or Lorraine Nhlumayo on (012) 422 7206.

[Signed]
MOSHOESHOE TOBA
SENIOR MANAGER: DELIVERY SUPPORT & DISPUTE RESOLUTION
Date: 19 February 2018

Download BLA-Invitational Letter

A tribute to Moseneke DCJ

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The age-old concept of justice under a tree

Moseneke

Former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Ernest Moseneke is a man of exceptional talents, a jurist, a leader, a son of the African soil. A member of the African Students Union, a founding member of the Black Lawyers Association – Legal Education Trust (BLA-LET), before he even began his career in the legal profession, Moseneke as a young person had already begun to conscientize himself with the injustices carried out by the then government of South Africa.

At the tender age of 13, a young Moseneke was arrested, sentenced and spent the duration of his sentence at Robben Island – which is where he began and completed his studies. During his earlier days, he practised first as an attorney and later on as an advocate, achieving silk before being appointed onto the bench http://bit.ly/1N9YkJi.

I have been self-indulgent in recognising many friends and people who are present at this dinner. This is in deep recognition of the very basic fact that no award which is fully meaningful could ever be achieved by the efforts of one person. You know well by now, that our indigenous culture recognises the interconnectedness of people.

– Dikgang Moseneke (Speech delivered at UNISA, 2009)

The 20th of May 2016 marked his retirement from the bench, ending what is noted, admired and will be remembered by many as a formidable career in the legal profession. Moseneke is a highly revered man, an inspirational figure to many – yet remains humble and grounded acknowledging the support of his family, loved ones and peers http://bit.ly/1OF9Tu8

Deputy Chief Justice Moseneke speaks about how, in traditional African culture, the shade of a tree was the place where disputes of society were mediated and resolved. The community would meet for a lekgotla and there was room for all to have their say. Everyone participated in the process. This is how justice was done.

We could all take a leaf, a lesson or several from this formidable man. He had from a young age developed a sense of justice and civic duty. He would go on to carry on with the mandate of carrying out justice to the people even in his older years.

As he retires, the baton is now passed on to the current and future generations, young and old.

Going forward, when we sit around trees and gather to tell tales and stories of African heroes, his name and the values he embodies should be told. We wish him well on his retirement; Dikgang Ernest Moseneke certainly is a shining beacon to all.

*Further Reading

BLA-LEC Blog Archive: “Who is Dr G.M Pitje?” http://bit.ly/29J9uJ8

Civil Trial Roll Call In The Gauteng Local Division

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Notice from the Office of the Deputy Judge President.
Published: 10 February 2016
Download here.

Traditional Courts Bill back in the spotlight, who is to rule?

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Of the many things evident in South Africa with the advent of the new constitutional dispensation, is the idea of embracing one another’s diverse ways of life, diversity. The Traditional Courts Bill is one of the many forms of diversity in our country, it specifically calls for the recognition of granting traditional leaders extra ruling power, over traditional views.

The bill was however rejected by the NCOP in 2013, the bill was also not passed last year. It has been dubbed as controversial by many, as it raises many issues. For instance, some have argued that granting traditional leaders such power would adversely affect women’s rights in rural communities, where often is, the case that women are in positions of inferiority.

The Minister of Justice, Michael Masutha is positively set on reviving the somewhat controversial bill this will ring well with traditional enthusiasts, amongst others. At an imbizo last month in Limpopo province, the Minister provided that he hopes that the bill will address the issue of access to courts in rural, remote parts of South Africa. Access to courts, is a fundamental constitutionally entrenched right.

The Minister noted that people are shying away from the bill, yet they do not fully grasp the specific needs of rural communities and the bill would address it.

It is worth noting that there are divergent views on the matter. How will it fare this time around? Only time will tell, now we wait for policy makers to hopefully act in the best interests of rural communities.

We Are Not Deterred” – A Prison Letter From Swazi Human Rights Lawyer Thulani Maseko On The One Year Anniversary Of His Detention

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Photo via @thulanirmaseko

Due to the publication of the below letter on March 17th, Thulani Maseko has been forcefully moved to solitary confinement for three weeks and denied visitors. Revealed earlier today when Thulani’s lawyer, Sibusiso Nhlabatsi, attempted to make a routine visit, he reported the following: What do you think?

“Kindly take notice that the Big Bend prison authorities have condemned Thulani Maseko to solitary confinement for a period of three weeks starting from today Thursday March 19, 2015. While the prison officials were reluctant with the information they cite Maseko’s continual writings whilst incarcerated as a violation of the prison code [Ed. note: no such prison code exists] and the reason for solitary confinement punishment. When I inquired as to the effects of the sentence; I was informed that he will forfeit some privileges i.e. visitations. This means that for three weeks his relatives and legal team won’t be able to see him. The prison authorities were reluctant with the information citing that it was all an internal process.”What do you think?

Remarking on the abrupt developments, Jeffrey Smith of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights urged those concerned to sign this petition and suggested taking to social media, using the hashtag #SwaziJustice, to help raise awareness of this brazen crackdown on Thulani’s basic human rights.

Introduction by Jeffrey Smith: What do you think?

My friend Thulani Maseko is one of the most courageous human beings I have ever met. He is an unflinching iconoclast in Swaziland, Africa’s last absolute monarchy and the continent’s most quietly repressive nation. Thulani has fearlessly campaigned to highlight the inherent deficiencies of the Tinkhundla system of governance, which vests undue power in the hands of one man: King Mswati III, who assumed power at the age of 18, following the death of his father, and previous king, Sobhuza II.

A year ago today, Thulani and Bheki Makhubu, a veteran magazine editor, were each sentenced to two years in prison for writing, and then publishing, articles that were critical of Swaziland’s undeniably rotten judicial system. Thulani has remained steadfast and brave, despite the clear, and still ongoing, miscarriages of justice against him, which include a farcical sedition trial slated for this summer. What do you think?

During a break in an appeal hearing last November, Thulani and I made eye contact and he motioned for me to join him near a cordoned off area of the courtroom, where he was guarded by several stern-faced officers at all times. At his feet lay the iron leg shackles used to escort him to and from the court, which is perched atop a picturesque hillside in Swaziland’s capital, Mbabane. Thulani put his arm around my shoulder, saying: “Jeff, come here and stand with me. I mustn’t forget how to smile.” What do you think?

Thulani surely smiles, and is given strength, when he knows the world is watching, when his lawyer and his family members, when they are permitted to visit, inform him that the struggle to uplift ordinary Swazis — those whose basic human rights continue to be crushed with impunity — has not been in vain or in isolation. Let’s keep our friend Thulani smiling. And let his profound words below, written from a dark prison cell in a remote corner of Swaziland, inspire you to action. Join us in the campaign for SwaziJustice today. What do you think?

Jeffrey Smith
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
A Letter Of Appreciation To The World’s Human Family For The Solidarity With Our Just Cause
-By Thulani Rudolf Maseko

The biblical Joseph is recorded in scripture as having said that, “You plotted evil against me, but God turned it into good.” And John C. Maxwell tells us “Joseph waited 14 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.” The bible has many men who spent time in prison on the orders of the rulers and kings of those times.What do you think?

Surely, yes surely, our captors, the architects and proponents of Swaziland’s oppressive Tinkhundla regime, harbor intentions to hurt us so that we submit to their evil desires. And there is some good that has been the result of our persecution. Tinkhundla denialists, cynics, and prophets of doom do not accept it, but there can be no question that our conviction and prison sentence sharply drew the world’s focus to Swaziland in a manner unprecedented in recent times. In the light of the above scripture, this is the good God had intended, for he is the God of freedom, justice and equality. Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and daughter Mpho Tutu remind us that, “God has a profound reverence for our freedom. I often say that God would rather we go freely to hell than we be compelled to enter heaven.” Tinkhundla, has for so long, denied us our God-given fundamental human rights and basic freedoms and civil liberties. We seek to retain these, our rights and freedoms, no matter what price we have to pay. We shall never surrender.1

There is yet another prisoner who spent 27 years in jail for his beliefs. This is the prisoner, in respect of whom, President Barack Obama said: “To the people of South Africa, people of every race and walk of life, the world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us.” Speaking for all of us, President Obama continued: “His struggle was your struggle. His triumph was your triumph. Your dignity and hope found expression in his life and your freedom. Your democracy is his cherished legacy.” How beautiful these words! Although on different conditions and circumstances, Mandela’s ideals are our ideals too.


Thulani Maseko and his son on second day of appeal hearing in Swaziland’s Supreme Court
(Photo: Jeffrey Smith)

In the context of those of us who are doing time in jail for what we believe in, the same ideals that drove Mandela, what better person is there to inspire, us if not Madiba himself? We know that those who have thrown us in jail are determined to do so in the future, and that they have acted out of prejudice. They have intended to hurt us, to break our spirit, our moral strength and crash our resilience so that we succumb to their evil desires. But we derive strength knowing that the world has stood, and continues to stand, with us and by us.What do you think?

Prison is indeed meant to crush us because the conditions are horrendous. As Mandela said in 1967, we say so in 2015, from the king’s prison in Swaziland that for instance, “no pillows are provided and we forced to use other articles…as pillows.” Not only are we denied proper bedding such as pillows and bedding sheets, we do not “have the right to sleep in pyjamas.” One is forced to either to “sleep naked with only blankets as a cover,” or sleep in one’s own prison garments, turned inside out, to keep them neat and clean.What do you think?

Over and above this, we must put up with sleeping on the floor and use tiny canvas mats. To spice it all, prison life is routine, including the meals of cabbage, beans and a very small piece of chicken. Just as much as the barbaric and oppressive Tinkhundla regime seeks to deny and deprive us of our value as full human beings, it is absolutely correct that “prison and the authorities conspire to rob each man of his dignity. Prison not only robs you of your freedom, it attempts to take away your identity.”What do you think?

So, while we fight the many injustices and indignities of Tinkhundla outside these prison walls, we have almost similar battles to fight in prison. And the early campaigners of human rights, freedom and democracy on whose footsteps we follow were right that prison, for all intents and purposes, is a minor image of the bigger system outside.1

In spite of the prison hardships, we are not deterred. We are not discouraged. We are not fazed. We are not shaken. We are not intimidated. Yes, we are not broken.1

While President Obama spoke well for all of us in thanking South Africa for sharing Madiba with the world, we are also grateful for the life of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Here is a leader who said: “Nobody with any sense likes to go to jail. But if he puts you in jail, you go in that jail and transform it from a dungeon of shame to a haven of freedom and human dignity.” And he goes on to say,” and even when he tries to kill you, you develop the inner conviction that there are some things so dear, some things so priceless, some things so externally true that they are worth dying for.” This is the man who tells us that, “and I submit to you that if a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”What do you think?

Please allow us to say that we are in prison because we are very fit to live. We are not ashamed, for there is nothing to be ashamed of for standing up for what is right, what is high, what is noble. There is nothing to be ashamed of for standing up for good against an evil system. There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of for standing up for something great. We are not broken because these, our teachers, these our mentors, tell us that if some ideals are worth living for, then they are equally worth sacrificing for, and if need be, are worth dying for.


Jeffrey Smith & Thulani Maseko at Maseko’s appeal hearing in Swaziland’s Supreme Court on Novemer 4, 2014

As we draw to a conclusion, it pains us to hear the leaders of our country raising a hullaballoo about “enemies of the country,” people who “tarnish the image of the country,” and the “jealous people.” We want to say that the true and real enemies of Swaziland, and its people, are those who are opposed to democracy. The true enemies of Swaziland, and its people, are those who undermine the rule of law. The true jealous people are those who continue to trample, suppress and abuse the fundamental human rights and basic freedoms and civil liberties of the rank and file of our people. Those who say we attack and condemn the country are completely missing the point, are misguided and misdirected.What do you think?

Swaziland, our country, is a tiny and beautiful land. Its people are humble, equally beautiful and equally hospitable. It is the Tinkhundla system that has an image problem. And this distinction is important. If Tinkhundla, as a system of government has any image at all, it has an image of oppression, and it only has itself to blame.What do you think?

You see, Tinkhundla must realize that, at best, it is like a Christian who refuses to accept that all have sinned and are in need of the grace of God. At worst, Tinkhundla, by its very nature and character, is like a man, or a drunken man, who looks at himself in the mirror and sees how horrible he looks and then says, “O, this is not me.” Such a man begins to point a figure and accuses his children and his neighbours for his own self-created bad image. Accordingly, for as long as Tinkhundla and the leadership of our country remain recalcitrant and intransigent about change, we have a right, responsibly and obligation to name and shame it until it succumbs to the demand for democratization.What do you think?

In closing, the Tinkhundla leaders, its supporters, its fans and proponents, may call us whatever names they choose. They shall never conquer our spirits. They may keep us in jail as much as they please, but they can never arrest our ideas. So, in the final analysis, Madiba who inspires us right here in prison, is right when he says: “It is only my flesh and bones that are shut up behind these tight walls. Otherwise, I remain cosmopolitan in my outlook; in my thoughts I am as free as a felon.”What do you think?

Since that fateful day on March 17, 2014 the failure of leadership in our country has been proved beyond any shadow of doubt that Tinkhundla has dismally failed. We need to unite around a discussion table to negotiate the birth of a new democratic society, a new and democratic Swaziland. In the words of the great Mahatma Gandhi, we seriously believe in the righteousness of our cause.What do you think?

We are short of sweet and beautiful words to express thanks to the thousands around the world who have supported us. We cannot be more grateful. The great mentor speaks for us when he says, “We shall never forget how millions around the world joined us in solidarity to fight the injustice of our oppression while we were incarcerated.” Indeed, we draw strength and sustenance from the knowledge that we are part of a greater humanity.What do you think?

Writing from a narrow prison cell to the church of the Philippians, the charismatic Paul said: “I think of you…because of the way in which you have helped me…you are always in my heart.” From prison, we adopt Paul’s words as ours and say: Thank you, thank you, and thank you. God bless you.

Yours sincerely,
Thulani Rudolf Maseko
Prisoner 579/2014
His Majesty’s Big Bend Prison
Lubombo, Swaziland

March 2015, Human Rights Month: A Month of Prestigious Events

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(Image sourced from the Department of Justice Gov’ Site)

Our centre was extremely honoured, and privileged for our presence to be called upon to two significant events this month.

In chronological order, the National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL) graciously invited us to their annual address, of the fourth NHTL by the President of the Republic of South Africa, his excellency J.G Zuma. And the debate of the President’s speech by members of the (NHTL).

The event was 2-fold, it consisted of annual address which was held March 5th, followed by the debate of the President’s speech, which was debated on March 10th 2015. These were both held at the old assembly chamber, Parliament in Cape Town. A particular highlight of this event, was the illustration of inclusivity, transparency and accessibility to our leaders, the torch bearers our country. Which speaks volumes of the (NHTL) in allowing the BLA-LEC to be part of such a ground breaking event.

Truly, a sentiment which upholds our Bill of Rights, and since it was Human Rights month, the event was quite apt.

Our second event in the month of March, was the National Human Rights Day Commemoration which was held on the 21st in Uitenhage, Eastern Cape province. The Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr E N Mthethwa and the Premier of the Eastern Cape, Mr P G Masualle extended an invite to us.

The theme of day: ‘Celebrating the Freedom Charter, Enjoying Equal Human Rights for All’. The honourable Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Advocate Michael Masutha eloquently delivered a monumental speech. (Read the Minister’s full speech here)

In his firebrand speech he touched on our nation’s most pressing matters: equality; human rights for all and xenophobia. He called on for active citizenry in reporting xenophobic attacks to law enforcement.

The highlight of the event, was the recital of the Constitution in multiple languages. Our young democracy still has a long way to go, but if we work together we will get there. Unity, in diversity.

Temporary Employment Services (TES) and the Law’s position.

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The Labour Relations Act (LRA), Act 66 of 1995 http://bit.ly/1EpCKjj serves to promote economic development, social justice, labour peace and democracy in the workplace. There are other various labour statutory provisions, however the LRA and its’ amendments are the subject matter of this write-up.

Temporary employment contracts and services are highly controversial issues, in South Africa there have been calls to do away with this form of ‘employment’ by trade unions, amongst others however reports indicate that most employers, and foreign investors prefer this method over ‘traditional’ employment for various commercial reasons. http://bit.ly/1EQaDdI

In 2012, the Department of labour released this statement with regard to the TES phenomenon and the prompt for amendments on the LRA:

In order to avoid exploitation of workers and ensure decent work for all workers as well as to protect the employment relationship, introduce laws to regulate contract work, subcontracting and out- sourcing, address the problem of labour broking and prohibit certain abusive practices. Provisions will be introduced to facilitate unionisation of workers and conclusion of sectoral collective agreements to cover vulnerable workers in these different legal relationships and ensure the right to permanent employment for affected workers.”

http://bit.ly/1Ereuxt

Amendments to the LRA and the BCEA therefore have a major focus on addressing what is now commonly referred to as the phenomenon of labour broking.

Additional amendments have been effected to these acts to achieve the following:

  • To bring them in line with labour law developments;
  • To improve the functioning of the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), and;
  • To fulfill our obligations as a member state of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Labour rights, which mostly involve workers’ interests, versus the interests of the employer are often pinned up against other another this is common cause, however the Constitution protects against any constitutional infringements it further affords citizens with trade, occupation and labour relations rights, s 22 and s 23 respectively http://bit.ly/1tpHH2oo . In addition to the Constitution, South Africa is also bound by the ILO’s (as mentioned above) regulations and standards, it then should give employers a sense of security to know that their interests are actually protected.

The question of whether or not TES is actually beneficial for South Africa’s economy, is currently moot. However, the good news is that there is legislation to protect the rights and interests of (often disadvantaged) employees.

Who is Dr G.M Pitje

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Once in a while history is blessed with great men, one such man was Dr Godfrey Mokgonane Pitje.

Born in the former Transvaal, (now Limpopo) province in 1917 July 20th. Not much is reported on his upbringing, save for the fact that he was born in Phokwane, Nebo. Therefore, we will focus on his adult life. He went on to obtain a teaching Diploma. This propelled him into a teaching career.

Whilst pursuing his teaching career, he went on to obtain his matric and enrolled himself for a degree in Fort Hare. He graduated in 1944, with a B.A degree. He later obtained degrees in education and law.

It is through his law degree that he would make his greatest mark in history. He served his articles at Mandela and Tambo’s firm. This is where he grew to recognize the many injustices and inequalities faced by black lawyers.

In his later years, he later went on to be the 2nd director of the Black Lawyers Association – Legal Education Centre and founding member of Sechaba Medical Solutions group, a black health care group. His legacy is one of excellence, a bar which he set high. He dedicated his life to the improvement of black professionals. A shining beacon of hope amongst his peers, we can all take a page out of his book and continue on a path of excellence and start something meaningful. He passed on, April 23rd 1997. He is survived by his wife Molly Pitje, and 2 children.

The links below provide more detailed accounts on his life, more especially the Black Lawyers Association tribute, to Dr. Pitje. We are grateful for the insights the article provided, and we urge that you read on further.

Legal Education Training, the quintessence of a great Lawyer

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In recent reports, it has been found that the graduates that are leaving varsity to enter the legal profession, as candidate attorneys are not fully equipped with the requisite practical skills they ought to have. See links for full report http://bit.ly/1zWrQff, http://bit.ly/1AvRb5g. (Courtesy of University World News Site)

The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) reports that since 1990 thousands of law graduates have benefitted from Practical Legal Training (PLT) programmes, by which their academic training has been supplemented with practically-based training, thereby enhancing their skills preparatory to entry into the profession.

In light of the report on shortages in terms of legal practical skills we emphasise the following: we at the BLA-LEC have designed our legal education training programmes in a manner that caters to historically disadvantaged South Africans, who were deprived of the necessary resources then to further their studies. The Law degree itself in South Africa was the subject of reform in 1998. The aim of this reform was to make the degree more accessible to a larger pool of students, more specifically those from historically disadvantaged backgrounds. Yet, thus for the reform to prove fruitful, it should also be aided by the requisite resources.

What our legal education centre provides is technique that cannot be taught restrictively in a book alone, but rather it is knowledge which is applied through technique, for instance our Trial Advocacy Training (TAT), which we at the legal education centre have been conducting since 1986, Trial Advocacy Training is the art of persuasion, which allows one aided with semantic skill, to deliver sharp legal arguments.

Our legal education centre is funded by the Attorney’s Fidelity Fund which is committed to legal education. Our programmes offer a thorough list of tools required by our candidates. For instance, a 3 day basic intensive training programme which covers the aspects of a trial, inclusive of:

  • Case Analysis
  • Opening Statements
  • Direct Examination (Examination in chief)
  • Cross Examination and
  • Closing Arguments

We have highly established trainers who bring their experience to the learning programme through, demonstration and valuating performances, instant feedback for our candidates. With this kind of learning one is well on their way to advancing in their legal profession, legal education training is therefore the quintessence of a great lawyer.

Realise your human potential today

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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. We have crystallized our belief in human potential by way of our Community Outreach programme.

We believe in ploughing back into the community, to ensure development and to create a culture of sustainability. Under our Community Outreach banner, we host Law Clinics and we have adopted a High School and a Children’s Home.

In 2015, we hope to further our human potential agenda and create a legacy that stands the test of time. Do join us, as we lend a hand.

BLA-LEC Mandela Day

BLA-LEC Mandela Day, 67 Minutes