UFH hosts 2022 Southern African Law Teachers Conference

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Members of the judiciary, legal scholars and practitioners have congregated at the East London International Convention Centre for the 2022 Southern African Law Teachers Conference (SALTC) hosted by the University of Fort Hare’s Faculty of Law.

The four-day conference is held from 11 – 14 July under the theme, Enforcing Accountability: Consolidating democracy, compelling sustainable development in the 21st Century.

According to the Society for Law Teachers of Southern Africa (SLTSA) this year’s gathering aims to create an opportunity for legal academics and researchers to share research and reflect on the progress and failures of constitutionalism and political governance systems in South and Southern Africa.

The delegates also seek to interrogate existing national and global economic and environmental governance frameworks and reimagine the future around the necessary normative and governance framework changes.

The opening ceremony was graced by esteemed members of the judiciary such as Justice Nambitha Dambuza (Supreme Court of Appeal), Justice Boissie Mba (Constitutional Court), and Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga (Constitutional Court).

In welcoming the delegates, UFH Vice-Chancellor Prof Sakhela Buhlungu spoke passionately about the role of researchers and scholars in response to uncertainties facing the world currently.

“As we meet here as a community of scholars, we should try and dissect and find the truth. As we try to search for the truth, we should ask ourselves, why is it that things have descended to this point where nothing is certain, nothing is guaranteed, nothing is safe, no one is safe and nowhere is safe?”

“I think it important that I am saying this to legal practitioners because, at the end of the day when everything is gloomy and uncertain, we [society] tend to look up to the Judges as they are the ones who adjudicate these matters. As you dissect and interrogate your papers, it is important to remember that society is waiting for answers and for certainty.”

The UFH Management Executive Committee was represented by Prof Buhlungu, Prof Renuka Vithal (Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning and Dr Nthabi Taole-Mjimba (Deputy Vice-Chancellor fir Research, Partnership and Innovation.

According to the UFH Dean of Law, Prof Mzukisi Njotini, UFH expressed its interest to host the conference during the previous conference held at Kruger National Park in January 2020, before Covid-19 lockdown regulations were imposed. The request was subsequently approved and supported during the SALTC general meeting, however, the programme was disrupted by the pandemic.

“In my view, the fact that we are all here is a strong demonstration of our resilience. This gathering aims to celebrate scholarship and excellence.”

“This gathering also seeks to remind our colleagues of some of the prevailing social ills that continue to prevail in our society,” said Prof Njotini who made reference to the incident where 21 youths died at a tavern in East London.

SLTSA President, Prof Retselisitsoe Phooko thanked UFH for being a great host. He also thanked the members of the judiciary, Oxford University Press, LexisNexis, Juta and the Law Society of South Africa for their unwavering support for the conference.

First on the programme was a main plenary session chaired by Justice Madlanga. The presenters for the main plenary session included Prof Nomthandazo Ntlama-Makhanya  (UFH Law Prof) who presented her research titled: The case of the 2030 Agenda of the Global Goals ‘leaving no one behind' in the enforcement of the language of rights in the 21st Century; Prof Sandra Liebenberg (Stellenbosch University) presented her paper on The Wild Coast seismic survey litigation: A case study into the role of law in protecting the right to sustainable development. Prof Thomas Spijkerboek ( Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) also joined the main plenary session with a virtual presentation titled: Accountability of the global North States in the promotion of accountability for external migration policies.