Quote of the week

[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.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
5 July 2011

FUL talk with Justice Ariranga Pillay on SADC Tribunal suspension

Freedom Under Law and the Constitutional Court Clerks’ Alumni Association invite you to attend a talk by Justice Ariranga Pillay on the suspension of the SADC Tribunal on Monday 11 July 2011 at 17h30 for 18h00 at Werksmans in Sandton.

Justice Johann Kriegler, former Justice of the Constitutional Court of SouthAfrica and chairman of FUL, will introduce Justice Pillay and chair an open discussion after the talk.

Justice Pillay is former President of the SADC Tribunal and Chief Justice of Mauritius. He has held numerous appointments, incuding Principal Crown Counsel, Assistant Solicitor General and Parliamentary Counsel at the Attorney General’s office and Ministry of Justice in Mauritius. He is also a member of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as well as the appointed Adviser to the Governing Council of the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies.

Freedom Under Law was formed in order to promote democracy under law and to advance the understanding and respect of the rule of law and the principle of legality. It is chaired by Justice Johann Kriegler and its Board comprises Elize Angula (Namibia), Beatrice Mtetwa (Zimbabwe), Rahim Khan (Botswana), Professor Hugh Corder, Ezra Davids, Dr Frederick Mostert and Jeremy Gauntlett SC (South Africa). Its International Advisory Board is chaired by Lord Steyn, and includes Sir Sydney Kentridge QC, Archbishop
Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Dr Mamphela Ramphele, Professor Jeffrey Jowell QC, Soli Sorabjee QC and Vernon Jordan.

The members of the Constitutional Court Clerks’ Alumni Association have served as clerks to the justices of the Constitutional Court since the Court’s establishment in 1994.  It has over three hundred members based locally and abroad, all of whom have a demonstrated interest in constitutional law and a commitment to the ethos of a democratic society based on the values of human dignity, equality and freedom. The members carry this commitment into their professional lives in and outside the legal profession.

The Association provides a platform for engagement in dialogue that is enriching to its members and seeks to advocate an awareness of human rights and democracy in South Africa and abroad.

In pursuit of these objectives, the Association has launched the law talks – a series of discussions about the law.  These talks aim to engage its members and other interested people in topical legal issues and provide an opportunity to debate important matters facing law and constitutionalism in South and Southern Africa.

Werksmans has generously offered to host the event at its offices in Sandton (155 Fifth Street, Sandown). Drinks and snacks will be provided afterwards.

Kindly RSVP to thelawtalks@concourt.org.za before 8 July 2011, advising us of your car registration number should you require parking at the event.

The law talks are open to interested members of the public.

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