FORUM CONTRIBUTION: Commentary on communications decided by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in 2004
Waruguru Kaguongo reports on issues arising from decisions handed down by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in 2004. A total of 12 communications were considered in that year, with seven communications being decided on the merits. .The article is divided into two main sections: issues implicit in the determination of admissibility, and those arising from consideration of the merits. On admissibility, the most often considered criterion was the requirement to exhaust local remedies. In determining compliance with this criterion, it is argued, the Commission displayed consistency with its previous jurisprudence. The exhaustion of local remedies, however, tended to take precedence over the other criteria and, it is suggested, the Commission failed to take the opportunity to further elaborate on the application of other criteria. In the relation to the merits, the author argues that the communications raised issue relating to evidence and the lack of consistency in how it affects decisions; the limitation of rights; the role of the Commission versus national jurisdictions; fair trial guarantees; interpretation of international treaties and the administrative capacity of the Commission and its effect on decisionsDownload full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: A summary of some cases on HIV/AIDS
Sam Rugege provides concise commentary on two important recent judgments involving discrimination on the basis of H!V/AIDS. The first is a decision by the South African Constitutional Court in Hoffmann v South AJrican Airways  I I BCLR 121 1 (CC) based on the constitutional equality clause.This case raised important issues relating to the extent to which employers can justify discrimination on the basis of the requirements of a job or the perceived prejudices of the public. In addition. novel questions arose in relation to the appropriate remedy for unfair discrimination in cases where an employer has refused to employ applicants on the basis of their HIV status. The second case is a decision of the Namibian Labour Court in N v Minister of DeJence (2000) 21 ILJ 999 (NmLC). The applicant in this case was refused employment in the Defence Force because he tested HIV positive. The court found that this constituted unfair discrimination as envisaged by the Namibian Labour Act of 1992 and ordered the applicantÆs enlistment subject to a medical test.Download full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: The principle of legality in constitutional matters with reference to Masiya v Director of Public Prosecutions and Others 2007 (5) SA 30 (CC)
This article, co-authored by LLB student Lesega Mnguni and Justin Muller as part of our ALAD programme (see Who We Are) deals with the principle of legality as enunciated in Masiya v Director of Public Prosecutions and Others 2007 (5) SA 30 (CC). In this matter an accused person was charged with rape after committing a grossly indecent sexual assault on a nine-year-old girl.Although the act in question did not fall within the common law definition of rape, the Regional Court felt justified in developing the common law definition in terms of section 39 of the Constitution to include the act in question and duly convicted the accused. The High Court upheld this decision. The article examines the reasoning of the Constitutional Court in determining the meaning of the principle of legality and applying the right to non-retrospective punishment, as entrenched in section 35(3)(l) and (n) of the Constitution, under extremely sensitive and challenging circumstances.Download full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: African case law review
Sam Rugege's report on recent cases of interest to the African continent focuses on one of the recent Zimbabwean land invasion cases, highlighting the tension between a court system seeking to maintain the rule of law and an executive resistant to it. It also discusses a case relating to the customary law of succession in South Africa.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: Communications before the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights 1988-2002
This article gives an overview of the work of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights with regard to individual communications from its first decision in 1988 until the end of 2002. The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights was established in 1987 after the entry into force of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights in 1986.The Commission received its first individual complaint in 1987 but did not take a decision on it until October 1988. By the end of 2002 the Commission had taken around 100 decisions on communications submitted to it under the individual communlcations procedureDownload full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: Get rights right in the interests of security of tenure
Review of Land, Power & Custom: Controversies Generated by South Africa’s Communal Land Rights Act, edited by Aninka Claassens & Ben Cousins; xv and pp 392 with accompanying DVD. Legal Resources Centre & UCT Press, Cape Town, 2008 Ann Pope gives a detailed overview of a book on a topic that has assumed critical importance in South Africa and, at the same time, analyses and comments on difficulties and dilemmas that have been encountered in securing indigenous land rights.The book was collated following the enactment of the Communal Land Rights Act 11 of 2004 and the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act 41 of 2003, in preparation for a challenge to the constitutionality of the former Act by alleging that it “undermines the rights of rural people to make them less secure than before”. Judgment in Tongoane and Others v National Minister for Agriculture and Land Affairs and Others (11678/2006)  ZAGPPHC 127 (30 October 2009) has since been delivered, its findings being mostly in favour of the applicants. An analysis of the judgment is followed by further reflection on a number of issues. The discussion shows that, while the applicants in Tongoane can rightly claim victory for succeeding in having several provisions of the CLRA declared unconstitutional, important questions remain unanswered. The author suggests that the implications of such omissions will need careful and thoughtful treatment by the Constitutional Court during the confirmation hearing at the beginning of March 2010. At the time of publication the judgment in this hearing was not yet available.Download full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: Be careful what you wish for…?
Roger Ronnie draws a balance sheet of the position of the trade union movement today. While analysing trade unions as organisations dealing with more than simply wages and employment conditions, the author also considers their political limitations and assesses the gains and losses flowing from the 1995 LRA from a trade union perspective.In particular, the advent and growing entrenchment of “trade union legalism” within South Africa’s capitalist system is highlighted. The article concludes by making recommendations on how trade unions can try to avoid these pitfalls and promote the rights of workers more effectively.Download full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: Labor Law for the 21 st century: Stalled reform in the United States
This document by Karl Klare, an eminent labour law scholar and one of the originators of the critical legal studies tradition in the USA, is a slightly shortened version of his submission to the Dunlop Commission, appointed by President Clinton to investigate the future of management-labour relations in the USA. Critically reviewing the development of the US system of collective bargaining, Klare elaborates a more general analysis of the role of labour law at the close of the 20th century.From a South African perspective, it highlights the advances in labour rights embodied in the LRA, but also helps to identify areas where further innovation may be called for. It offers a challenging framework for evaluating the debate surrounding the LRA and other labour statutes in this country.Download full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: The growing informalisation of work: Challenges for labour
Rudi Dicks discusses the South African phenomenon of “informalisation” of the workforce, which is characterised by workers shifting from permanent employment to casualised and fixed-term contracts, outsourcing and employment through labour brokers.These forms of employment are accompanied by, lack of job security, undermining of basic conditions of employment, erosion of workplace rights and decreasing access to skills and equity at work. The author considers the effects of the process and concludes by suggesting measures to provide legislative protection to vulnerable workers, including the establishment of a tripartite statutory body to regulate labour brokers; the development of a code of good practice for workers engaged in atypical employment contracts and improving monitoring and enforcement mechanisms through tougher penalties.Download full text.