LSSA publishes PoPIA guide for attorneys

The Law Society has published guidelines for attorneys on the Protection of Personal Information Act.  The guide and checklist is a basic guide to PoPIA and is not definitive.

Practitioners are required to apply their mind to the practice, the clients, the nature of legal services and the transaction conducted. This will be unique to each practice.

The LSSA guide on POPIA which was updated in 2018 has not been removed from the resources on the website as it contains essential information on more complex practices and considerations and is recommended that practitioners consult this resource when in doubt.

Click here to download the PoPIA guide. 

Registration open for National Wills Week 2021

The Law Society would like to let legal practitioners know that registration for this year’s National Wills Week initiative is open. Please consider registering to participate. National Wills Week will be held from 13 to 17 September 2021, and registrations close on Friday, 9 July 2021.

National Wills Week is now an established highlight among the profession’s social outreach and access to justice initiatives. This is thanks to the thousands of attorneys who participate by giving generously of their time and skills. Wills Week has also attracted increasing coverage in the media as well as support from major stakeholders.

The aim of the Wills Week campaign is twofold:

  • to position attorneys as the premier providers of wills and estates services to the public, and to improve the image of the profession generally; and
  • to encourage members of the public who would not normally make use of the services of an attorney, or who may hesitate to approach an attorney, to consult an attorney to have a basic will drafted.

How does Wills Week work?
Your firm will be provided with free, trilingual posters in the language combination of your choice to publicise your participation. Provision is made on the posters for your firm’s contact details.
Your firm will be listed as a participating firm on the database of participating firms on the Law Society of South Africa website.

A national media campaign will be launched early in August. All media and publicity material will invite members of the public to consult the LSSA website for the contact details of participating firms.

What is expected from you as a participating firm?

  • Basic wills will be drawn up free of charge.
  • You should provide an explanation of the importance of having a properly and professionally drafted will to the client.
  • You may not insist that you are appointed as the executor of the estate.
  • You must give the client a copy of his/her will.
  • You will not be expected to redraft or amend existing wills for free, nor will you be expected to draft complex wills involving trusts, etc.

Click here to register to participate. 

Law Society elects new President and Vice-Presidents

The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) has elected Jan van Rensburg as President, and Mabaeng Denise Lenyai and Mvuzo Notyesi as its Vice-Presidents at its conference and AGM in Kempton Park on Friday 9  April 2021.

Mr Notyesi is the previous President of the LSSA and Mr van Rensburg and Ms Lenyai are both previous Vice-Presidents.

Jan van Rensburg is a long-serving member and sits on several committees of the LSSA. He is also a former Co-Chairperson of the LSSA.

Mr Van Rensburg has the BCom (University of Pretoria) and BProc (UNISA) degrees as well as an Advanced Diploma in Labour Law from the University of Johannesburg. He was admitted as an attorney in 1984 and is also a notary and conveyancer. He practises as a sole practitioner at Jan van Rensburg Attorneys in Brits.

Mabaeng Denise Lenyai is an attorney and director at Mabaeng Lenyai Inc in Pretoria. Ms Lenyai holds the BProc and LLB degrees from the University of Limpopo and the University of KwaZulu Natal respectively.

Ms Lenyai is currently acting as a Judge at the Gauteng Division of the High Court in Pretoria. She was admitted as an attorney in 1998 and is also a notary and conveyancer. She has been a council member of the LSSA since 2015. She was also the Chairperson of the BLA, North West branch for six years. Since 2018, she has been a member of the National Executive Council of the Black Lawyers Association, and she is currently the General Secretary. She is also a council member of the Community Education Training Centre in Mmakau and she is a legal adviser for Motsweding FM.

Mvuzo Notyesi is an attorney and director at Mvuzo Notyesi Incorporated in Mthatha. He is President of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers. He holds the BProc and LLB degrees from the University of Transkei and was admitted as an attorney in 1999 after completing his articles and attending the LSSA’s School for Legal Practice in East London. He has practised as director at Mvuzo Notyesi Incorporated since 1999.

Mr Notyesi has acted as judge at the Eastern Cape Division of the High Court in Grahamstown. He has been a member of the House of Constituents and a member of the Executive Committee of the LSSA for five years. He previously represented the LSSA on the Judicial Service Commission and he is currently an alternate. Mr Notyesi has a passion for education and has been a part-time lecturer and an instructor at the LSSA’s School for Legal Practice in East London. He is also an examiner for the Attorneys Admission Examination. Mr Notyesi is Chairperson of the Notyesi Foundation, which awards bursaries to disadvantaged students to attend university.

Key discussions at the LSSA Annual Conference

Newly elected Legal Services Ombuds, Judge Siraj Desai, was the keynote speaker at the LSSA conference, which was held under the theme ‘financial sustainability.’ Judge Desai said that the Legal Services Ombuds Office is separate from the Legal Practice Council (LPC) and that it has different functions all together. He highlighted that he cannot and will not interfere with the functions of the LPC.

Judge Desai added that his office is the highest body of oversight within the legal services environment and that it aims to protect and promote public interest in relation to the rendering legal services and ensuring fair, efficient and effective investigation of allegations of misconduct against legal practitioners. Judge Desai highlighted that his office is not an office of first instance, and that it must be approached if the complainant has tried the regulatory body, the LPC and has a grievance with the outcome of their case.

Judge Desai said that since December, he has received many calls from people with all sorts of complaints. He added that the ball was in the Justice Minister’s court and that the Minister will announce an operational date adding that the date will be announced once the office has been capacitated. Judge Desai urged legal practitioners to make themselves available to do the front-line work.

On his appointment in December 2020, the then LSSA President said in a statement: ‘This appointment is long overdue and should have coincided when the Legal Practice Council came into effect on 30 October 2018. I encourage the Department of Justice to ensure that the Ombud’s office is fully capacitated as soon as possible so that the Ombud can become fully operational. The Ombud in terms of the Legal Practice Act is independent and only answerable to the Constitution and the law’.

The LSSA also committed itself to support the work of the Ombud’s office, in the broader interests of the profession and society.

Also discussed at the conference was the structure, financial sustainability, and governance of the LSSA and the provincial attorneys’ associations. This House of Constituents has referred some of the constitutional and governance aspects to the LSSA constituent members.

ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE LAW SOCIETY OF SOUTH AFRICA, JAN VAN RENSBURG

LSSA Communications:
Nomfundo Jele nomfundom@LSSA.org.za Tel: (012) 366 8800 or 072 402 6344

Registration open for LSSA annual general meeting: 9 April 2021

Registration is now open for the Law Society of South Africa’s annual general meeting and conference which will take place on Friday 9 April 2021. The conference will focus on one of the key challenges for the legal profession; financial sustainability.

We have invited newly elected Legal Services Ombuds, Siraj Desai to give an address on his office and to answer questions from the floor. The LSSA is committed to the rule of law and access to justice and believes that the Judge Desai’s appointment is essential to enhance the ethical responsibilities of the profession and to protect the public.

The conference will be preceded by the annual general meeting (AGM) in the morning at the same venue as the conference. The AGM is open to all practitioners.

The rest of the day will be devoted to discussions on the structure, financial sustainability, and governance of the LSSA and the provincial attorneys’ associations. There will also be a panel discussion on what members can expect from their professional association, focusing on what members expect from the LSSA.

Registration for the conference is free. Please register here. Please make sure to also let us know whether you will be attending the conference virtually or physically by ticking the relevant box on the online registration.

Book your seat today!
View the draft programme here.
Register online here

Law Society welcomes the appointment of the Legal Services Ombud 

The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) welcomes the Legal Services Ombud’s appointment, retired Cape Town High Court Judge Siraj Desai.

‘This appointment is long overdue and should have coincided when the Legal Practice Council came into effect on 30 October 2018. I encourage the Department of Justice to ensure that the Ombud’s office is fully capacitated as soon as possible so that the Ombud can become fully operational. The Ombud in terms of the Legal Practice Act (LPA) is independent and only answerable to the Constitution and the law,’ says LSSA President, Mvuzo Notyesi.

The LSSA commits itself to support the work of the Ombud’s office, in the broader interests of the profession and our society.

The Ombud, in terms of the LPA, has the following key objectives:

  • protect and promote the public interest in relation to the rendering of legal services as contemplated in the LPA;  
  • ensure the fair, efficient and effective investigation of complaints of alleged misconduct against legal practitioners;  
  • promote high standards of integrity in the legal profession; and  
  • promote the independence of the legal profession.  

Besides, other powers, the Ombud is competent to investigate any alleged act or omission that may affect the integrity and the independence of the legal profession and public perceptions in respect thereof.

ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE LAW SOCIETY OF SOUTH AFRICA, MVUZO NOTYESI   

LSSA Communications: 

Nomfundo Jele nomfundom@LSSA.org.za  Tel: (012) 366 8800 or 072 402 6344  

Law Society welcomes SCA decision on Muslim marriages appeal

The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) welcomes the decision by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in the matter:  President of the RSA and Another v Women’s Legal Centre Trust and Others; Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development v Faro and Others; and Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development v Esau and Others (Case no 612/19) [2020] ZASCA 177 (18 December 2020).

In this matter the LSSA made submissions as amicus curiae. This is a judgement to be welcomed by thousands of women and children in the country. Many women and minor children did not benefit from the protection provided in the Marriage Act 25 of 1961 and the Divorce Act 70 of 1979. This legislation did not recognise marriages solemnised in accordance with Muslim marriages as valid marriages for all purposes in South Africa’, says LSSA President, Mvuzo Notyesi.

The decision also provided for the protection and the welfare of minor or dependent children of Muslim marriages at the time of dissolution of a Muslim marriage in the same manner as the Act provides to safeguard the welfare of children of other marriages that are being dissolved.

The SCA quoted from the judgement of Moseneke J in the Daniels v Campbell NO and Others 2004 (5) SA 331 (CC) case as follows:This “persisting invalidity of Muslim marriages” is, of course, a constitutional anachronism. It belongs to our dim past. It originates from deep-rooted prejudice on matters of race, religion and culture. True to their worldview, judges of the past displayed remarkable ethnocentric bias and arrogance at the expense of those they perceived different. They exalted their own and demeaned and excluded everything else. Inherent in this disposition, says Mahomed CJ, is “inequality, arbitrariness, intolerance and inequity”.’  

‘This clearly indicates the serious lack of consideration the state has paid to customary marriages in general and the prejudicial impact on women and children in the dissolution of these marriages. As a constitutional democracy, since 1994, this is a sad indictment of the legislature,’ adds Mr Notyesi.

 

Click here to read a detailed summation of the SCA Judgement by Mr Notyesi.

Click here to read the judgement.

 

ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE LAW SOCIETY OF SOUTH AFRICA, MVUZO NOTYESI   

LSSA Communications:

Nomfundo Jele nomfundom@LSSA.org.za  Tel: (012) 366 8800 or 072 402 6344

 

Law Society cautions against uninformed criticism of courts

The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) in its commitment to the rule of law cautions against uninformed criticisms of our courts, commissions and tribunals held under the authority of judges. This comes after the LSSA has noticed public outcry following the recent Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) judgment on the ‘Coligny sunflower case’.

Pieter Doorewaard and Phillip Schutte were acquitted on 27 November 2020 when their appeal was upheld in the SCA. The pair had been convicted of the murder of Mathlomola Jonas Mosweu in April 2017 in the North West Division of the High Court, Mahikeng. It was an emotive case that resulted in public violence and was referred to as the ‘sunflower murder’ due to the ill-fated and tragic death of the young boy caught stealing sunflowers, as a country we still mourn and are coming to terms with this.

Some politicians are urging the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to appeal the acquittal to the Constitutional Court. Many members of the public are disappointed and angered by the decision of the SCA with some questioning the motive of the three judges who presided over the appeal.

‘Judges do not make decisions on appeal to suit the polemics of the day. They make their decisions on the law and the facts presented to them. This is done via the jurisprudence developed by our courts over many years,’ says LSSA President, Mvuzo Notyesi, adding that ‘when any litigant, like the NPA in this appeal, feels the decision of a court is wrong, such litigant has a right to appeal. The NPA will assess the SCA judgment and decide whether to appeal to the Constitutional Court.’

It is also clear from some comments by members of the public that the appeal process is not readily understood. Judges who deal with appeals do not hear evidence. The evidence is presented at the trial court. The trial court judge determines what evidence is admissible and what is not. Ultimately the trial court judge will make findings on the evidence presented. The appeal court must deal with the evidence contained in the records of appeal and consider the application of law based on those facts.

The trial court judge is bound by the law. As in this case, when the state prosecutor presented evidence of a single witness, the common law requires judges to assess that evidence very carefully.

Often on the application of the law, reasonable disagreements arise between lawyers. Some may recall the SCA disagreed with the trial court judge’s determination on dolus eventualis (legal intent) in the Oscar Pistorius trial and upheld the appeal by the NPA against the ‘lenient sentence’ and increased his jail term to 13-years.

In this case, all three judges of the SCA disagreed with the trial court judge’s assessment of the state’s single witness. One of the judges opined that the state should have sought a conviction on culpable homicide analogous to motor vehicle accidents. Culpable homicide is always a competent verdict on an indictment (charge) of murder. The NPA will assess the SCA judgment with a view to a further and final appeal. The NPA will make its assessment without fear, favour or prejudice as it is bound to do in terms of our law.

‘We support the independence of judges and the rule of law, but as clearly illustrated in this matter, judges are not infallible, but we have mechanisms which allow us to seek redress. As with any legal matter adjudicated by our courts, people are entitled to have differing views. However, attacks on the court’s integrity are unwarranted and we condemn the use of such opportunistic attacks for political gain. We urge everyone, including the public to make use of the correct mechanisms and not take the route of uninformed public criticism of the court process,’ Mr Notyesi concludes.

Click here to read the judgement.

 

ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE LAW SOCIETY OF SOUTH AFRICA, MVUZO NOTYESI   

LSSA Communications:

Nomfundo Jele nomfundom@LSSA.org.za  Tel: (012) 366 8800 or 072 402 6344

Law Society welcomes Ms Tsakani Maluleke to AGSA

The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) welcomes the appointment of Tsakani Maluleke as South Africa’s new Auditor-General (AG). Ms Maluleke is the first woman to hold this position in the institution’s 109-year history.

‘As Ms Maluleke begins her seven-year term today, we would like to pledge the commitment of the attorneys’ profession to support her and the office of the Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA),’ says LSSA President, Mvuzo Notyesi.

He adds: Ms Maluleke was also South Africa’s first female deputy AG. She takes over from the late Kimi Makwetu who passed away on 11 November 2020. We are confident that Ms Maluleke has the skill, conscientiousness, integrity and independence necessary to run the operations of the AGSA. Her eight years’ experience at AGSA, first as national leader responsible for the direction of all audit work, and then as deputy AG, proves that the AGSA will be led professionally, effectively and fairly.

The LSSA views the appointment of women in senior positions in chapter 9 and state institutions as part of the ongoing recognition of our constitutional imperatives and that more appointments of women in these positions should be made. The LSSA notes that private institutions and businesses have not made similar progress in this regard and they should also step up transformation to become broadly representative of the South African population.

The LSSA is also pleased to hear that Ms Maluleke takes the baton with purpose and will continue to work closely with those with a keen interest in improving governance systems towards clean administration, especially in the public sector. We wish her a very successful term.

 

ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE LAW SOCIETY OF SOUTH AFRICA, MVUZO NOTYESI 

LSSA Communications:

Nomfundo Jele nomfundom@LSSA.org.za  Tel: (012) 366 8800 or 072 402 6344

Law Society shocked at death of outgoing Auditor-General, Kimi Makwetu

 

The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) adds its voice on the great loss of the passing of outgoing Auditor-General, Kimi Makwetu on 11 November at the age of 54 after a battle with lung cancer.

‘Mr Makwetu was an exceptional and true civil servant who took his role as South Africa’s auditor-general seriously and filled it with professionalism. He always pursued with the best interest of the country at heart. He served with dignity and embodied the values of integrity, selflessness, humility and hard work,’ says LSSA President, Mvuzo Notyesi.

Mr Makwetu was born in Cape Town and completed a Social Sciences degree at the University of Cape Town in 1989. He received a Bcompt Honours degree from the University of Natal and was a qualified chartered accountant.

Mr Makwetu started his career with Standard Bank and later worked at Nampak. He completed his articles at Deloitte, at worked his way up to senior management, before joining Liberty and Metropolitan Life in Cape Town. He moved to Gauteng in 2003 where he worked at Liberty Life. Mr Makwetu returned to Deloitte as a director in the forensic unit before his appointment as Deputy Auditor-General at the Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA) in 2007.

On 1 December 2013, former President, Jacob Zuma, appointed Mr Makwetu, as the new Auditor-General of South Africa for a period of seven years.

‘The country has lost one of its most respected and dedicated public servants. Mr Makwetu was the voice against maladministration and corruption. He was also a panel member for the selection of the National Director of Public Prosecutions. He demonstrated independence, fairness and a good understanding of the separation of powers,’ says Mr Notyesi.

We express our deepest condolences to his wife, Miranda, their children, family, friends, and colleagues and hope that they will find solace in the knowledge that the entire country is grieving with them. We wish them strength during this difficult period.

 

ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE LAW SOCIETY OF SOUTH AFRICA, MVUZO NOTYESI 

LSSA Communications:

Nomfundo Jele nomfundom@LSSA.org.za  Tel: (012) 366 8800 or 072 402 6344

 

Provincial Legal Practitioners’ Associations

The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) held a number of meetings in all nine provinces regarding the establishment of Provincial Legal Practitioners’ Associations of the LSSA. The meetings were held in 2019 and early 2020.

All provinces agreed to establish provincial LSSA legal practitioners’ associations as set out in the LSSA constitution.

Finalised constitutions

Some of the provinces have finalised their constitutions. Click on the following links to download the latest version of the constitutions.

Constitution of the Western Cape Provincial Legal Practitioners’ Association.

Constitution of the Eastern Cape Provincial Legal Practitioners’ Association.

Constitution of the Limpopo Provincial Legal Practitioners’ Association.

 

Please keep an eye out on our social media pages for information on the Association meetings.