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Advocates Detail the Zimbabwe Election Case

By Suhail Mohammed

Legal experts discuss the recent litigation brought by the MDC following the recent Zimbabwean election

It is a commonly held belief here at WITS that the annual blooming of the jacarandas is to signify the beginning of a period in which students forsake the lion’s share of their extra-curricular activities, and focus on preparing for their exams, which are now as clearly discernible on the horizon as is the Hillbrow Tower. This, however, was not the case on Wednesday 10 October, when law students either filed into the Chalsty Auditorium, or rushed onto the live streaming link, to a panel discussion regarding the legal challenge of the outcome of the recent Zimbabwean elections.

Expert Panel

The panel discussion was hosted by the WITS branch of Students for Law and Social Justice  and the Wits School of Law’s Research Chair on Equality, Law and Social Justice - The panellists included legal lodestar, Tembeka Ngcukaitobi; the people’s advocate, Dali Mpofu SC (which was especially exciting, given the proximity of the SRC elections); and much acclaimed international jurist, Arnold Tsunga. Proceedings were coordinated by law school’s very own Prof Cathi Albertyn, a constitutional scholar.

MDC Litigation

Ngcukaitobi and Mpofu shed light upon even the tiniest of details regarding the MDC litigation. These enthralling recollections filled in the many gaps that students had come across while following the case via the media, and left students with a deeper and far more sophisticated understanding of this matter, and the manner in which it wasdecided.

While Ngcukaitobi explained the legal meat and bones of the case, Mpofu SC expanded upon the political implications that such a case can have, especially in a political climate as fragile as Zimbabwe’s. This component of the discussion was of particular interest to a majority of the students who were present at the event, as we are all well aware of the political lifeblood that courses through the veins of the average WITS law student. This is not to say that the legal technicalities were under-appreciated, as Ngcukaitobi found himself engaging with various students on the legal hoops that must be traversed in the handling of such a matter.

International Law

Tsuna was next, and he expounded upon the role of international organisations - specifically the African Union - in the matter at hand. His discussion touched upon the basic tenets of international law, as applied to the Zimbabwean transfer of executive authority, and the impact that these laws can have in the resolution of litigious challenges such as the MDC’s. This, too, attracted the attention of many a student, specifically those who have recently acquainted themselves with the intricacies of public international law.


School of Law Prize Giving

Top Achievers Recognised at Prizegiving

The Wits School of Law’s Annual Prizegiving event was held on Wednesday 9 May 2018

Top-achieving students during the 2017 academic year were recognised at the School of Law’s annual prizegiving event. Students who achieved the highest marks in subjects across our LLB and LLM programme received prizes. Many are sponsored by our partners in the South African legal industry while others commemorate former students and staff members.

This year’s guest address was delivered by Tembinkosi Bonakele, South Africa’s Competition Commission. He detailed the problems of increasing competitiveness to ensure the sustainability of South Africa’s economy. Head of School, Professor Wesahl Domingo also praised students and mingled with parents at her first prizegiving event as Head of School.

To view photos from the event click here.

School of Law Moot Team Wins Big

The School of Law Moot Team has made it to the International Oral Round of the ELSA (European Law Students’ Association) Moot Court Competition

From 9 to 12 April, the ELSA Moot Court Competition on World Trade Organisation Law held its African Regional Round at Rhodes University in Grahamstown.

The ELSA Moot Court Competition is a simulation of a WTO panel proceeding. The competition is student-run, organized annually by The European Law Students’ Association (ELSA) in co-operation with the World Trade Organization (WTO).

It is designed to broaden knowledge of international trade law and WTO dispute settlement procedures, with a view to enhancing capacity for meaningful engagement in multilateral trade in the long term. It has a global reach and its participants come from every continent.

This year a record breaking 22 Universities from Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda registered to compete against each other; a 50% increase from the 2016 round. Due to the increase in participating teams, the four best teams qualified for the Final Rounds taking place at the headquarters of the WTO in Geneva, Switzerland in June 2017. Participation of the teams in the African Regional Round is generously sponsored by the African Trade Policy Centre of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, as well as other local, regional, and international donors with a view to supporting the continuing participation of African universities and thereby increasing capacity in Africa in the long term.

Through this competition the participants gain invaluable experience as a supplement to their university degree. By practicing and seeing for themselves how the WTO dispute mechanism works they will have a great insight and advantage for later career purposes.

The WITS School of Law team, consisting of Ms. Robyn de Jager, Ms. Chey Ramalho, Mr. Shingai Mujeri and Mr. Themba Nyembe, gave an impressive performance which resulted in their qualifying for the International Oral Round in Geneva (ranking third). The team was coached by a member of the 2015/16 Wits School of Law Team, Mr. Mxolisi Ngulube. Moreover, Ms. Robyn de Jager won the prize for best speaker of the play offs.

The three other African Universities that will be represented in Geneva are all from Kenya with the Kenya School of Law finishing in first place.

Moot students 2017Moot 2017 couch