Scielo RSS <![CDATA[PER: Potchefstroomse Elektroniese Regsblad]]> vol. 17 num. 4 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Editorial</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Unlawful occupation of inner-city buildings: A constitutional analysis of the rights and obligations involved</b>]]> The unlawful occupation of inner-city buildings in South Africa has led to a number of legal disputes between vulnerable occupiers and individual landowners that highlight the conflict between individuals' constitutional right not to be evicted in an arbitrary manner and property owners' constitutional right not to be deprived of property arbitrarily. The cause of this tension is a shortage of affordable housing options for low-income households in the inner cities, a fact which shows that the state is evidently struggling to give effect to its housing obligation embodied in section 26(1) and (2) of the Constitution. In the majority of cases the courts assume that any interference with private landowners' rights beyond a temporary nature would be unjustifiable, but they do this without undertaking a proper constitutional analysis to determine whether a further limitation of the individual landowner's property rights might be justifiable and non-arbitrary in the circumstances of each case. In general the courts can allow, suspend or refuse the eviction of unlawful occupiers, provided that the order does not amount to an arbitrary deprivation of property. Nevertheless, in some instances the arbitrary deprivation of property is unavoidable, despite the court's best efforts to protect property entitlements. These eviction cases show the limits of the courts' powers both to provide adequate solutions to protect owners' property rights and to give effect to the constitutional housing provision. In the light of three eviction cases, namely Blue Moonlight, Modderklip and Olivia Road, this article explains the role of the court and the local authority, together with the entitlements and social obligations of inner-city landowners within the framework of the property clause, in order to analyse the constitutionality of the courts' decisions and to suggest ways in which the inner-city housing shortage may be addressed more effectively. This article also considers how two foreign jurisdictions, namely England and the Netherlands, have managed the precarious relationship between urban landowners - who often allow buildings to decay and stand vacant -and the homeless. These jurisdictions provide innovative alternatives to the expropriation of the ownership of private inner-city properties for housing purposes. Similar measures, tailored to accommodate the South African constitutional, economic and socio-economic landscape, may be a welcome addition to the existing statutory powers of the local authorities tasked with combatting homelessness in urban areas. <![CDATA[<b>Managing the trade-public health linkage in defence of trade liberalisation and national sovereignty: An appraisal of <i>United States-measures affecting the Production and Sale of</i> <i>Clove Cigarettes</i></b>]]> Under the legal framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), countries have great flexibility to unilaterally adopt environmental regulations that have effect within their territories only. However, the same discretion does not apply to measures that adversely affect imports or exports. An absence of clear guidelines on how to address some of the attendant issues poses challenges to the effectiveness of a trade-environment linkage. Not surprisingly, attempts to link the environment and trade have resulted in a number of jurisprudentially significant cases in which the WTO's Panel and Appellate Body have tried to address critical questions about the Organisation's capacity to address or manage legal or quasi-legal subjects falling outside the scope of its legal framework. In this regard the Panel and Appellate Body reports in the case of United States - Measures Affecting the Production and Sale of Clove Cigarettes (US-Clove Cigarettes) have re-ignited the debate on the Organisation's existential challenge of balancing the rights of the sovereign to freely regulate matters pertaining to health or the environment within its domestic domain with the need to maintain the sanctity of the multilateral trade order. This article demonstrates that in the US-Clove Cigarettes case the WTO Panel and Appellate Body, whilst managing to successfully defend the integrity of WTO Member States' treaty commitments and the overarching importance of trade liberalisation within the organisation's policy foundations even in the context of public health-related regulations, failed to provide any substantive affirmation of the development-related challenges facing developing countries that are part of the WTO family. <![CDATA[<b>Shaken baby syndrome: A South African medico-legal perspective</b>]]> Shaken Baby Syndrome refers to the violent and repetitive shaking of an infant, and is a form of abusive head trauma. It was first described in 1974, and has since been the topic of intensive study and discussion. The syndrome has classically been diagnosed with a triad of injuries, namely subdural haemorrhage, retinal haemorrhage and encephalopathy (brain abnormalities). However, recent publications have led to some doubt regarding the causation and diagnostic significance of the triad. It is now generally accepted that other conditions, even natural diseases, may cause the findings listed in the so-called "triad". To date, no reported case law is available on Shaken Baby Syndrome in South Africa; therefore this article focuses on cases in the United States and United Kingdom to delineate some of the issues associated with litigating the condition. This includes the obligation of expert witnesses to give independent, factual evidence about their areas of expertise. It is recommended that medical and legal professionals involved in cases of alleged child abuse should collect as much information as possible about the context of the case. Confessions by parents or caregivers should be treated with circumspection. Awareness campaigns should be aimed at informing the public of the dangers of shaking an infant. And with regards to Shaken Baby Syndrome an increased focus on evidence-based medicine is necessary to dissipate the uncertainty around the condition. <![CDATA[<b>Legislative prohibitions on wearing a headscarf: Are they justified?</b>]]> A headscarf, a simple piece of cloth that covers the head, is a controversial garment that carries various connotations and meanings. While it may be accepted as just another item of clothing when worn by non-Muslim women, it is often the subject of much controversy when worn by Muslim women. In recent years the headscarf has been described as a symbol of Islam's oppression of women and simultaneously of terrorism. As the debate regarding the acceptability of the headscarf in the modern world continues, an increasing number of states have legislated to ban the wearing of the headscarf. This article critically examines the reasons underlying these bans and argues that these prohibitions are not justified. It does this by first analysing the place of the headscarf in Islam, its religious basis and its significance to Muslim women. It argues that the headscarf is more than just a mere religious symbol and that Muslim women wear the headscarf as a matter of religious obligation. The headscarf is considered to be an important religious practice protected by the right to freedom of religion. Thereafter the article examines legislative bans on the headscarf in France, Turkey and Switzerland in order to identify the most popular justifications advanced by states and courts for banning the headscarf. It critically evaluates the justifications for protecting secularism, preventing coercion, promoting equality and curbing religious extremism, and disputes that the reasons put forward by states and accepted by courts justify banning the headscarf. It thereafter explores how South African courts would respond to a headscarf ban and argues that schools and employers should accommodate the headscarf. While Muslim women may not have an absolute right to wear the headscarf, there has thus far been no justifiable reason for banning the headscarf. <![CDATA[<b>The potential of capstone learning experiences in addressing perceived shortcomings in LLB training in South Africa</b>]]> Current debates about legal education in South Africa have revealed the perception that the LLB curriculum does not adequately integrate various outcomes, in particular outcomes relating to the development of skills in communication, problem solving, ethics, and in general a holistic view of the law in practice. One mechanism that has been mooted as a potential remedy to this situation is capstone courses, which will consolidate and integrate the four years of study in the final year and build a bridge to the world of practice. A literature review on capstone courses and learning experiences (collectively referred to as capstones) indicates that these curriculum devices as modes of instruction offer particular pedagogical advantages. These include inculcating a strong perception of coherence across the curriculum and hence discipline in students, providing the opportunity for students to reflect on their learning during the course of the entire programme, creating an opportunity to engage with the complexity of law and legal practice, and guiding students through the transition from university to professional identity. An empirical analysis of the modes of instruction used in LLB curricula at 13 South African law faculties/schools indicates that there are six categories of existing modules or learning experiences that already exhibit elements of capstone-course design. These are clinics, internships, moots, research projects, topical capstones and capstone assessment. A further comparative study into foreign law curricula in especially Australia and the United States of America reveals four further noteworthy approaches to capstone-course design, namely problem-based learning, the virtual office, conferences and remedies courses. The empirical study suggests that capstones indeed hold the potential as learning experiences to address some of the challenges facing legal education in South Africa but that further development of this curriculum-design element is required. <![CDATA[<b>Is law science?</b>]]> The question this contribution sets out to address is whether or not law can be regarded as a science. This notion is readily accepted by many, yet it is submitted that a proper theoretical justification for such an assumption is usually missing. The traditional primary sources of law, South African case law and legislation, distinguish between legal practice and legal science, but the basis of the distinction is not clear. However, an entire body of literature in the philosophy of science has developed around the question of when a discipline will amount to science. Various demarcation criteria proposed in the philosophy of science are considered. These include that science uses the scientific method, is susceptible to falsification, is puzzle-solving within a paradigm or renders beneficial results. None of these criteria offers a satisfactory solution to the problem. The proposition by a group of philosophers including Herman Dooyeweerd, Marinus Stafleu and DFM Strauss, that the answer to the demarcation question is to be found in modal abstraction, is then considered. Modal abstraction amounts to a consideration of reality (persons, things, theories and rules) from one or more defined point(s) of entry. It is an artificial and learnt manner of thinking as it approaches reality from the perspective of one of the modalities of being. For example, juridical abstraction would mean that a cow is considered as the object of someone's proprietary rights. An abstract idea of the cow's characteristics, from a juridical point of view, is formed and the rules of property law are applied. A number of South African legal philosophers, amongst others Van Zyl, Van der Vyver and LM du Plessis, have followed this approach. The South African legislature has also attempted to define the terms "science" and "research", mainly for funding purposes. These definitions are considered and the conclusion is that they do not provide the clear-cut answers one would expect. It will be argued that the nature of activities will determine whether an endeavour is scientific or not. The conclusion is that an alignment of the demarcation criterion developed by Strauss and others and the statutory definitions can provide a workable demarcation criterion. This "test" is then applied to the activities of law students, academics, practitioners and judicial officers to determine when they will be practising "science". <![CDATA[<b>Regulating traditional justice in South Africa: A comparative analysis of selected aspects of the <i>Traditional Courts Bill</i></b>]]> Traditional justice systems have been in place for a very long time in South Africa and in Africa in general. They are characterised by informal systems that are not beset by the normal technicalities prevalent in formal justice systems. In recent times South Africa has sought to do away with the Black Administration Act, which was the regulating legislation on traditional justice systems, by introducing the Traditional Courts Bill. Initially introduced in Parliament in 2008 and withdrawn for another tabling in 2012, the Bill has been met with much criticism. Instead of venturing on a clause by clause analysis of the provisions of the Bill this note considers selected aspects of it which are perceived to be significant and which have courted controversy. These are ascertainment, legal representation, jurisdiction, gender, and the hierarchy of courts. The essential arguments are that the Bill has not been properly aligned with the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act 41 of 2003 (as amended in 2009) or the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 and that the above issues have not been addressed adequately or are at times only vaguely addressed. The note also considers various provisions from other African countries with similar legislation and which also regulate on the same issues, for the purposes of identifying better ways of addressing the selected issues. In the final analysis, the recommendations are not that the South African legislature must transpose the provisions of other countries, but that the framers of the Bill must reconsider these issues along the lines in which they are addressed in the countries with which comparisons are drawn here. Without a reconsideration of the issues, the Bill will still be met with criticism even from those it is meant to regulate, and could potentially result in various constitutional challenges and litigations. <![CDATA[<b>The incorporation of public international law into municipal law and regional law against the background of the dichotomy between monism and dualism</b>]]> Monism and dualism represent two different approaches towards the relationship between public international law and municipal law. While the former views public international law and municipal law as a single legal system, the latter regards these two areas of law as separate and distinct legal systems that exist alongside each other. However, not all legal systems are clearly either monist or dualist. The dichotomy between monism and dualism no longer only concerns the relationship between public international law and municipal law, but also increasingly affects the relationship between public international law and regional law. This contribution discusses the application of the monist and dualist approaches by the South African Constitutional Court in the Glenister case and the European Court of Justice in the Kadi and Hungary cases in order to illustrate the practical application of the dichotomy between monism and dualism in a municipal system and on a regional level. <![CDATA[<b>Reformation from criminal to lawyer: Is such redemption possible?</b>]]> If a person with a criminal record were to apply for admission to the legal profession, the applicant would naturally harbour the hope that his or her application would succeed. However, in the absence of a reformation of his or her moral character, the certainty is that the application will fail, thus leading to disappointment. The aim of this article is to analyse the correctness of the above proposition. It is argued that a criminal record is not an insurmountable obstacle to a successful application for admission, but that such applications may succeed only in exceptional circumstances. <![CDATA[<b>"Contributory intent" as a defence limiting delictual liability</b>]]> In terms of delictual liability, the term "fault" generally refers to the defendant's conduct, whereas "contributory fault" refers to the plaintiff's conduct. "Contributory intent" is a form of "contributory fault" and may apply as a defence limiting delictual liability within the ambit of the Apportionment of Damages Act 34 of 1956 (hereinafter referred to as the "Act"). In terms of the Act, the extent of the plaintiff's as against the defendant's fault is taken into account, resulting (in certain instances) in a reduction of the award to the plaintiff. The Act currently regulates the apportionment of damages based on fault in South Africa. The Act does not specifically provide for conduct performed intentionally, and this also seems to be the situation in quite a few foreign jurisdictions. Initially our courts applied the Act to instances of "contributory negligence" (the other form of "contributory fault") only, but in recent times they have applied it to instances of "contributory intent". This change has occurred as a result of practical situations that arose unexpectedly, where the courts had in the interest of serving justice to deal with cases of intentional conduct on the part of the plaintiff and the defendant. The effect of "contributory intent" as a defence in terms of delictual liability is uncertain and contentious not only in South Africa but in foreign jurisdictions as well. The South African Law Reform Commission undertook a review of the Act and published a report on its findings. The Commission acknowledged that since the Act was passed there have been major developments in the law of delict which the Act has been unable to accommodate, resulting in anomalies in this area of the law. It acknowledged that it is unsatisfactory for our courts to go beyond the parameters of the Act in order to reach a just and equitable result when dealing with the apportionment of liability. The Apportionment of Loss Bill 2003 (hereinafter referred as the "Bill") has been drafted to replace the current Act but has unfortunately not been promulgated. Over ten years have passed since it was drafted. In respect of the Bill, "contributory intent" as a defence limiting delictual liability would be recognised. It is hoped that this contribution will bring about a renewed interest in this forgotten but valuable Bill. <![CDATA[<b>A panoramic view of the social security and social protection provisioning in Lesotho</b>]]> Social security is one of the most important areas of social policy. As part of its social policy, the government of Lesotho has promulgated various pieces of legislation and introduced an assortment of public assistance programmes for the benefit of the people of the country. There are also various informal social security measures which are the result of coordinated activities by individuals and groupings in Lesotho. These initiatives together provide a broad spectrum of social security provisioning for the people of Lesotho. This article sets out to discuss the said social security provisioning measures and appraises the efficacy of their interventions. Lesotho is a constitutional state. The Constitution of Lesotho came into force on 2 April 1993. It provides for a Bill of Rights as well as principles of state policy. There is, however, no express provision in the Constitution for a right to social security. This is regrettable. Thus, the intersection between constitutional law and social security within the context of Lesotho can be achieved only through the interpretation of the fundamental rights as well as the principles of state policy provided in the Constitution. While the provisions relating to fundamental rights help to establish entitlements to social security, the principles of state policy play an important role in giving direction to service delivery. Understanding the link between the various governmental and social initiatives is crucial if interventions are to be designed which will enhance the provision of social security for the benefit of the people of Lesotho. <![CDATA[<b>Public servants' right to strike in Lesotho, Botswana and South Africa - A comparative study</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Localising environmental governance: The <i>Le Sueur </i>case</b>]]> In the matter of Le Sueur v Ethekwini Municipality the KwaZulu-Natal High Court decided that municipalities had the power to legislate on environmental issues such as biodiversity and conservation. This note argues that the precedent established in this case is that municipalities have authority to legislate upon environmental matters as an incident of municipal planning, which is an original constitutional power. In contrast to both the judgment and recent commentary, it argues that the source of municipal legislative authority over municipal planning is not based in legislative assignment but in s 156(5) of the Constitution (the "incidental power" provision relevant to local government). This argument is based on understanding the distinction between original and assigned powers, and the nature of the control that the national and provincial spheres exercise over Schedule 4B powers. Notwithstanding this inaccuracy in the judgment, it is argued that the precedent is a welcome one that can be justified not only on the basis of the principle of subsidiarity but also in terms of the emerging and increasingly important theory of social-ecological resilience. <![CDATA[<b><i>Peel v Hamon J & C Engineering (Pty) Ltd: </i></b><b>Ignoring the result-requirement of Section 163(1)(a) of the <i>Companies Act</i> and extending the oppression remedy beyond its statutorily intended reach</b>]]> This case note provides a concise and understandable version of the confusing facts in Peel v Hamon J&C Engineering (Pty) Ltd, and deals with the remedy provided for in section 163 of the Companies Act (the oppression remedy). The importance of drawing a distinction between the application of this section and the orders that the Court can make to provide relief in terms of subsection (2) is explained, after which each requirement contained in subsection (1)(a) is analysed. With reference to the locus standi-requirement, it is indicated that the judgment is not to be regarded as authority for the contention that a shareholder or a director who wants to exercise the oppression remedy need not have been a shareholder or a director of the company at the time of the conduct. With reference to the conduct-requirement, it is indicated that it would have been more appropriate for the applicants to have made use of a remedy in terms of the law of contract. Most importantly, the result-requirement is indicated to have been ignored, as a lack of certainty that there will be a result is argued not to constitute a result. Ignoring the result-requirement is explained to have resulted in ignoring the detriment-requirement, in turn. Accordingly, it is concluded that the oppression remedy was utilised without the specified statutory criteria having been satisfied and that the applicants' interests were protected by a remedy which should not have found application under the circumstances, as this was beyond the remedy's statutorily intended reach. <![CDATA[<b>Sailing between Scylla and Charybdis: <i>Mayelane v Ngwenyama</i></b>]]> Mayelane v Ngwenyama 2013 4 SA 415 (CC) is arguably the most important judgment concerning the recognition of customary marriages in recent times. This article attempts to unpack some of the many issues that arise from the case, namely: (a) the practical difficulties associated with ascertaining living customary law and the problems of identifying legal versus social norms; (b) the meaning of consent as a requirement of a customary marriage; (c) the implications of the case for equality between multiple wives in a customary marriage, and as between wives across customary marriages of different cultural traditions; and (e) the implications of the case for equality considerations more broadly. While the authors sympathise with the court in respect of the complex decision before it, it questions the Court's method and result, specifically for the equality rights of a second (or further) "wife" in a Vatsonga customary marriage. The authors suggest that the issues should be put to democratic deliberation by the legislative arm, rather than leaving courts in the unenviable position of having to decide these matters.