The Black Lawyers Association (BLA) held its 40th Annual General Meeting at Bloemfontein, Ilanga Estate on the 21st day of October 2017. The AGM was preceded by a Gala Dinner in celebration of the organisation’s 40th Anniversary. BLA was established in 1977 by a group of about 26 practicing black lawyers who needed to open practices in town but were prevented, by the influx control regulations, curfew regulations and the Group Areas permit system, to do so. The Gala Dinner’s Keynote Speaker was Mr Sello Rasethaba, the Chairman of the Black Business Council (BBC). BLA is a professional affiliate of the BBC. BLA stalwarts, past leaders and judges were honoured at the ceremony.
The keynote address of the AGM was delivered by the Honourable Deputy Minister John Jeffrey, MP. The Deputy Minister reminded delegates of the plight of the first two black lawyers, Alfred Mangena and Pixley Seme as well as the role played by the BLA in the transformation of the legal profession. The Deputy Minister gave statistics of the State’s Briefing Patterns through the office of the state attorney.
One of the main issues discussed at the AGM was the functions currently performed by the Law Society of South Africa in light of the eminent implementation of the Legal Practice Act 28 of 2014.
At close of the AGM the meeting resolved to adjourn election of the NEC for a period not exceeding 3 months from the date of the AGM. The adjournment of the election was necessitated by a technical glitch which caused delay in the production of election materials such as ballot papers.
BLA is known for its steadfastness in observing the law and its internal rules. Since its inception BLA consistently held elections of the NEC and Branch Executive Council (BEC), biennially, in accordance with the provisions of its Constitution. BLA prides itself for respecting its democratic processes through periodical election of its leadership.
The NEC will, in line with the AGM’s mandate, reconvene the AGM for the purpose of conducting elections. Members of the BLA will, in due course, be advised of the date and venue of the continuation of the AGM.
Cell: 082 369 2017