Ricochet News

“State still ignoring black legal minds” - BLA

By Charl Bosch - Feb 9, 2016
“State still ignoring black legal minds” - BLA

The Black Lawyers Association (BLA) has hit out at President Jacob Zuma’s decision to approach mainly white lawyers as part of his defence council in the Nkandla Constitutional Court hearing set for Tuesday morning.

Speaking in a statement, BLA President Benedict Sigogo said the findings by the Sunday Times this past weekend, proves that Zuma has no confidence in the ability and competency level of black legal practitioners versus whites.

“President Zuma, as the first citizen of the country, is expected to lead by example when it comes to transformation of the legal profession and affirmative action of the previously disadvantaged legal practitioners, which are all policies of the ANC-led government,” Sigogo said.

“It cannot be correct that black lawyers are only appreciated and called fancy names in their funerals and memorial services irrespective of the fact that they die destitute due to lack of proper briefs by the same government, which see it fitting to render beautiful eulogies”.

He added that the ability of black lawyers and advocates has continuously been undermined by the state, and that Zuma also opted to ignore the advice of a black advocate on whether he should pay back the money.“

If the President cannot lead by example and brief black counsel, how then are we supposed to expect the white dominated corporate world to brief the black legal practitioner?” Sigogo said.

“It must be clear to government departments, parastatals and the office of the state attorney that the time for talk shows, speeches and empty promises is gone now is the time for delivery of meaningful instructions and briefs”.

The Constitutional Court is expected to rule on the application, brought by the Democratic Alliance and Economic Freedom Fighters, which claims that Zuma failed to correctly apply the remedial actions set-out in Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s Secure in Comfort report.