From 13 to 16 November SERI attended a symposium hosted by New York Law School on Twenty Years of South African Constitutionalism: Constitutional Rights, Judicial Independence and the Transition to Democracy. Participants at the event included constitutional law experts, law and society scholars, legal educators and public interest lawyers. Topic dicussed included public interest law, education and children’s rights, environmental rights and water rights, equality and affirmative action, law and political struggle, legal education and social change, gay and lesbian rights, gender equality and gender violence, traditional governance, prisoners’ rights, and housing and land.
SERI senior researcher Jackie Dugard presented a paper on direct access to the Constitutional Court for a panel on The Constitution and Access to Justice. SERI staff members Stuart Wilson, Tashwill Esterhuizen and Mbekezeli Benjamin presented three papers on a panel on New Frontiers in Social Rights: The Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa. These papers can be downloaded below:
On Tuesday 11 November 2014 the families of 36 of the deceased miners killed at Marikana in August 2012 will deliver closing arguments before the Marikana Commission of Inquiry. Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza SC, instructed by SERI, will argue on behalf of the families.
It has been a long and painful journey for the families. They have attended the Commission for two years in order to discover the truth about what happened to their loved ones, and why. They have come to a number of conclusions about what happened between 13 and 16 August 2012, and who bears responsibility for the massacre that occurred.
In October 2014 final heads of argument and submissions were filed before the Marikana Commission of Inquiry. In November replying submissions and heads of argument were filed.
These arguments and submissions will be heard at the Commission between 5 and 14 November 2014. The families of the deceased and AMCU will be presenting their closing arguments on 11 November 2014.
Heads of argument, written submissions and replying submissions filed in the Marikana Commission of Inquiry:
SERI's October 2014 Newsletter is out! The last five months have been a busy period for us. We’ve been involved in a number of far-reaching cases dealing with housing, evictions, informal settlements and political space. We’ve also continued to represent the 36 families of the deceased mineworkers who were brutally killed during the Marikana massacre, as well as AMCU, before the Marikana Commission of Inquiry.
At the same time we've been actively involved in furthering our research and advocacy work, and have entered into a number of exciting partnerships to ensure greater constitutional and legal literacy and engagement. These include community workshops based around the Dear Mandela documentary film, as well as eviction law workshops for government officials which we've hosted together with the South African Local Government Association (SALGA). In terms of research, last month SERI launched a research report on protest and the use of the criminal justice system to silence dissent, as well as debuted a new research output called Community Practice Notes. The first series of Community Practice Notes published this year focuses on informal settlements and we're currently working on a second series that will focus on Johannesburg inner city.
With profound sadness, SERI marks the untimely death of Gerald Kraak, former programme executive at the South African office of The Atlantic Philanthropies. Gerald was a fine scholar, a level-headed philanthropist and a deeply compassionate and supportive man. He played a crucial role in SERI’s foundation.
We will always remember Gerald's rock-solid support, his careful and wise counsel and his wicked sense of humour. He will be sorely missed.