NADEL NEC resolutions discussed at press conference

August 29th, 2016

By Mapula Thebe

Secretary General of NADEL, Patrick Jaji (left), reiterated the sentiments expressed by the President of NADEL and Co-chairperson of the LSSA, Mvuzo Notyesi, during a press conference held on 30 July.

Secretary General of NADEL, Patrick Jaji (left), reiterated the sentiments expressed by the President of NADEL and Co-chairperson of the LSSA, Mvuzo Notyesi, during a press conference held on 30 July.

On 30 July the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADEL) held a press conference to discuss the resolutions that were decided on at the National Executive Committee meeting held on the same day.

The resolutions taken concerned five issues, namely:

  • NADEL’s statement on the local government elections.
  • The political killings associated with the local government elections and the likely impact on the question of fairness of the elections.
  • The harassment, threats and other external influences, which seek to impede the independence of press reporting, editorial independence, including independence of the broadcasting institutions. This is subsequent to the chaos that ensued at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), including the firing of journalists by African News Network 7 and any other institution.
  • The revival and opening of the Human Rights Research and Advocacy Project (HRRAP), which is a s 21 company of NADEL that will specifically deal with the issue of human rights, legal education and possible litigations in defense of the Constitution.
  • NADEL’s 30th Anniversary.

In his address, President of NADEL and Co-chairperson of the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA), Mvuzo Notyesi, said that elections must be free and fair while reflecting the views of the people. ‘We undertake to participate fully in the observer missions of the LSSA, where we can, in all voting stations. As NADEL is an organisation founded on the principles of revolution, we would encourage members to vote for parties of their choice bearing in mind the history of revolution in South Africa. We encourage members to vote for parties that fight for the aspirations of people that are suffering, however, we cannot dictate which party members should vote for,’ he said.

Speaking about the recent political killings, Mr Notyesi said that the killings were a concern to NADEL. ‘Very recently a number of people have been killed in KwaZulu-Natal; a candidate was also killed in Port Elizabeth. While we are not sure of the motives, the fact that the killings are directed at people that belong to certain parties, it tells us that the killings have a political motive. We urge citizens to show their displeasure by casting their vote and not through violence. We condemn the killings; we cannot go back to the situation in 1994 of killings before the elections. The killings have a potential to effect the elections on whether they were free and fair,’ Mr Notyesi noted.

Commenting on independent press reporting, Mr Notyesi said that the issues that have unfolded at the SABC are reminiscent of the Apartheid system and have no place in democratic South Africa. ‘Our concern does not end with the censorship that is happening at the SABC, as this shows that there is poor governance at that institution. We want independent reporting of events; we want journalists to be able to write articles without any threat. We will join forces with other bodies in defense of journalists. The public has a right to know, if that right is taken away we are treading on dangerous ground. We are not satisfied that the journalists were merely reinstated at the SABC; we want the matter to be taken further so that there are clear checks and balances. If need be, we will take the matter further with the Minister of Communications,’ he said.

Mr Notyesi said that to show NADEL’s commitment to the protection of human rights, it will revive the HRRAP. ‘We will open an office under a section 21 company in Johannesburg. The office will start operating in August and will be accessible to members of the public to deal with all matters that relate to the protection and realisation of human rights. This will ensure that we uphold the values of the Constitution. After 22 years of the advent of democracy, we cannot have a situation where there are still people who do not have proper housing, water or sanitation. This calls upon us as lawyers to do something. There is no need for grandstanding and sleeping outside, we do not need to sympathise with the plight of the indigent, we need to act. Sleeping outside does not resolve the issues,’ Mr Notyesi added.

‘We are now embarking on documenting the work of the organisation over the past 30 years. We will be holding an international event next year where our members will be called to be present. … Soon the public will see the likes of former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke playing an active role to lead the human rights movement,’ Mr Notyesi said.

Mr Notyesi concluded by saying that NADEL will pronounce a candidate, which they will support for the Public Protector position, not to influence the appointment but to ensure that a strong candidate is appointed.

Mapula Thebe NDip Journ (DUT) BTech (Journ) (TUT) editor of De Rebus.

This article was first published in De Rebus in 2016 (Sept) DR 4.


De Rebus