Walter Sisulu University Students Take Law Education To Communities

MARCH 5, 2015

A 500-strong student body borne out of a desire to empower communities on legal and constitutional matters could see parity restored in countless melees of people gripped by ignorance on matters of the book.

Last year the Mthatha campus bore witness to the launch of the WSU National Association for Democratic Lawyers (NADEL) Student Chapter which consists of current and former WSU students.

“The establishment of this organisation serves to aid NADEL in its constitutional development and transformation imperatives. We want to empower the masses by educating them about their rights as etched in the constitution on various issues,” says Student Chapter Secretary Chuma Gqetywa, a second-year law student.

She says one of the most critical roles of the chapter is to equip communities, through street law sessions and public discussions, with the necessary legal knowledge so they can make the right choices in life.

The Student Chapter has been working tirelessly since its establishment to build and foster relations with strategically placed organisations that will supplement its efforts to bring the law to the streets.

“We’re currently in talks with a local community radio station to look into creating a platform that will allow for such discourse to start taking shape,” said Gqetywa.

She says a plethora of topics will be tabled and interrogated during what’s set to be a weekly show that offers the community an opportunity to engage with different topics.

“We’re looking at identifying reputable legal experts to weigh in on the issues at hand so we empower our people with sound knowledge. The community will also be heavily involved in these discussions because these will be discussions about societal issues,” says Gqetywa.

Topics on hand will include, among others, criminal law, civil law, consumer law, customary law, environmental law as well as human rights.

Gqetywa says the chapter also advocates for constitutional development, judicial transformation and community development.

“We also assist students with practical and theoretical legal support through facilitating student workshops that are addressed by practicing attorneys and advocates, as well as developing students through moot court practical and community outreach programmes,” she concluded.

NADEL boasts some famous and reputable names within its ranks, including the late Chief Justice Pius Langa and former justice minister Dullah Omar.

WSU is also well represented in the NADEL ranks with alumni Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga (judge in the Constitutional Court of South Africa), Judge Mxolisi Petse (judge in the Supreme Court of Appeals), as well as attorney Mvuzo Notyesi, who is the chairperson of the Cape Law Society of South Africa.