Law seminar scrutinizes democracy

11 September 2007 | Story by Myolisi Gophe

Judges, lawyers, academics, activists and students converged in Hermanus on 7 September for 'intense' learning, interaction and fun during the Student Seminar for Law and Social Justice (SSLSJ).

The three-day event was held in collaboration with the Aids Law Project and was funded by, among others, the UCT Law Faculty, Atlantic Philanthropies and the UCT Student Fund for Visiting Scholars.

Speakers included Arthur Chaskalson, who defended Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and the other accused at the 1964 Rivonia Trial; former deputy health minister Nozizwe Madlala Routledge; Zackie Achmat, founder and chairman of the Treatment Action Campaign; Geoff Budlender, human rights lawyer and current chair of the UCT Council and was head of the National Union of South African Students, an anti apartheid student movement in the 1970s; Johann Kriegler; Colin Gonsalves; Roger Smith and Drucilla Cornell.

The seminar took the form of formal and informal educational methodologies to allow students to participate, and included a process of critical engagement with the role of law in realising a more free, equal and just society.

It also looked at the achievements and failures of democracy in South Africa, and how law has featured in this process.

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