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6 June 2017
Black Lawyers Association Talk

Black Lawyers Association talks Changes in Legal Legislation and Fees Issues with Deputy Minister

Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, John Jeffery, spoke on the Changes in Legal Legislation at the University of the Western Cape’s (UWC) Black Lawyers Association (BLA) student chapter symposium on 6 June 2017.

“The key issue is to respond to the issues you want to talk about,” the Deputy Minister said. “I was asked to speak on the issue of free education - and correct me if am wrong, but it did seem as though students from 1994 to 2015 hadn't been doing much about that.”

The symposium focused on the issue of Fees Must Fall, and how the movement relates to constitutional democracy - addressing questions of whether or not FMF activity is protected in light of constitutional democracy, and how students at a tertiary level, use the justice system to advance their fight for free education.

In his talk, the Deputy Minister - an admitted attorney who holds BA and LLB degrees - emphasised the right to education for all, referring to the South African Constitution and scrutinising the national student protests under the Apartheid government and the current government.

“Section 29 1(a)  refers to a basic education, including adult basic education; and (b) to further education, which the state, through reasonable measures, must make progressively available and accessible.”

The Black Lawyers Association stands for economic justice, for the transformation of the judiciary, and for empowering black lawyers - but the organisation is non-racial and membership is open to all those who believe in its vision.

BLAsc UWC BEC Ex Oficio, Luyolo Mahambehlala, said the BLA student chapter at UWC prides itself on its commitment to social justice, agitating for transformation of the legal fraternity and - most importantly - legal education.

“Two decades after apartheid, students are still facing struggles,” Mahambehlala noted.  “The legacy of apartheid is still very prevalent, and especially in our universities - where you find that even though we are all at university our white counterparts don’t have to worry about ‘basic essentials’ like food, accommodation and fees.”

The evening ended with students engaging the Minister and BLA Provincial Chairperson Nolundi Nyati on higher education and legal education student-related matters, before refreshments were served in the foyer.