Black Lawyers Association criticises govt for preferring white attorneys

Rebecca Barbier
Julho 17, 2017

Members of the Black Lawyers Association (BLA) embarked on a protest march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Friday, accusing government of selecting mostly white counsel and law firms for its numerous court matters.

"We demand the following ... that the president [Zuma] establishes a judicial commission of inquiry on the root cause of why state departments, state-owned enterprises and municipalities continue to appoint white male legal practitioners above their black and women counterparts, notwithstanding the presence of legal framework which requires them to prefer women and black legal practitioners", BLA president Lutendo Sigogo said during the protest in Pretoria.

"Should a black lawyer now get appointed to become a judge, they will not be able to judge issues which they were not exposed to, so we want to be exposed to all level of legal work", Sigogo said.

President Zuma has also encouraged all arms of state and spheres of government to prioritise and empower black lawyers, particularly women.

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"The legal fraternity is one of the key sectors that we are targeting as part of our radical socioeconomic transformation programme in order to correct the uneven and unequal racial and gender representation in key sectors of our society and in the economy", said President Zuma.

"Our optimism is fading away and in its place comes a mirage which will do nothing to us but exhaust us like it ruthlessly does to a hopeful thirsty desert animal", said Sigogo.

The BLA said the memorandum was directed at Zuma because he was the head of state, and the state was the biggest consumer of legal services in the country.

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