[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.
Recent controversies around the Bench and the Bar have highlighted the significance of race and existing patterns of power and privilege within the legal system and profession. Yet public debates seldom explore these issues explicitly. Discussions often end in a stalemate, where views are predetermined along racial lines, and where assertions of racism are countered by calls to reward merit or experience. The time has surely arrived to transcend these tired arguments and explore a new transformative vision of the legal system. In this, we need to acknowledge and confront the institutional and cultural structures that perpetuate racialised privilege and marginalisation. We also need to move beyond those narratives which are determined by our Apartheid past to confront the issues which threaten the profession and the legal system at the moment.
The panel discussion will be facilitated by Judge Dennis Davis. Our panellists are Mr Tshepo Madlingozi from the University of Pretoria, Dr Adila Hassim from the AIDS Law Project, Mr Tembeka Ncgukaitobi from the Legal Resources Centre and Advocate Sharise Weiner from the Johannesburg bar. Refreshments will be served after the event.
Date: Thursday 26 November 2009 at 17:00‐19:00.
Venue: Auditorium, Chalsty Centre, Oliver Schreiner Building, School of Law, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
Kindly RSVP to Hafiza.Wadee@wits.ac.za by 23 November or tel 011‐717‐8412.BACK TO TOP