It is fundamentally important to preserve the dialogue and written work by black lawyers, and legal practitioners before the new constitutional paradigm that came about post-apartheid. This is important for two main reasons: the importance of our own stories (as black lawyers) being told by us, and the ability to check and evaluate our progress against those times, which presents us with a learning opportunity from the past.
This is why the AFRICAN LAW REVIEW is held in high regard by the BLA-LEC, rightfully so at that, as it presents itself now to us amongst other things, a resourceful tool. The Review was launched in 1987, its’ objective: to facilitate a platform for members of the legal profession to engage in robust debate, about issues affecting the profession, and to provide much needed knowledge of the law beyond the legal profession.
Essentially, the AFRICAN LAW REVIEW was a platform for black attorneys to write-up on the applicable laws at the time, new legislation, proposed bills, over and above, a platform for moot. In an honorary article dated April 2010 to the founder, the first president of the Black Lawyers Association (BLA) and the first director of the BLA-LEC, the BLA re-published a noteworthy profile article on Dr. Godfrey Mokgonyane Pitje. This article was initially published in the 1988-bumper issue of the AFRICAN LAW REVIEW, and it highlighted the number of problems encountered by black lawyers at the time: problems of recognition, ‘our own black people did not accept that African lawyers could be as good as white lawyers.’ These problems of recognition were the raison d’etre for the establishment of the AFRICAN LAW REVIEW.
Thus in honour of this great piece of history, we’ve retrieved a case note written on the subject matter of demolished houses titled: ‘The Wrangle on Demolished Homes’. The article choice was not a random one, at the heart of the many socio-economic issues facing South Africa currently, the lack of adequate housing is at the top of the list. This case note was written well over 2 decades ago, yet still relevant to the plight of South African lives today. The note touches on the demolition of peoples’ homes in 1987. Demolitions are closely linked to evictions, which are an issue that always hits South Africa hard. The current position in our law, on evictions is governed by section 26 (3) of the Constitution, read with the PIE ACT (Prevention of Illegal Eviction from, and Unlawful Occupation of, Land Act 19 of 1998). These statutory provisions aim to remedy the problems faced by many landless unlawful occupants around South Africa, who meet the requisite requirements of the Act, by preventing unlawful evictions commissioned by property owners.
The AFRICAN LAW REVIEW was last published in 1995, however its’ legacy endures and offers several talking points, and guidelines for prospective and current legal practitioners. It even goes beyond the reach of the legal profession, it is an essential part of the history of South Africa as it has documented pivotal events. The founding members of the AFRICAN LAW REVIEW founded the review on the values and objectives that the BLA-LEC operates on. It is a tool that should not be forgotten, nor left behind in history, but one that should be preserved and used to inspire both young and old.
The AFRICAN LAW REVIEW is thus a fine collective account of the rich history of the BLA, the BLA-LEC, South Africa and Africa as a whole. We fully encourage that you take time to peruse it and reflect back on the past, to set the tone forward.