Black advocates 'are being excluded'

2013-05-05 11:44


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Cape Town - A black advocate from Cape Town is taking on four South African law firms for "deliberately excluding" black advocates from certain cases, City Press reported on Sunday.

Simba Chitando, an advocate of the Cape Bar, is asking the Competition Tribunal for an interdict compelling the four firms to "brief all advocates from the Cape Bar with shipping-law background" in such cases, irrespective of "their race or nationality", according to the report.

In the South African legal system attorneys brief advocates. Chitando believed this had led to "anti-competitive practices".

In his affidavit filed with the tribunal, Chitando says the law firms briefed an exclusive group of "predominantly white advocates at the Cape Bar and the Maritime Lawyers' Association (SA)".

According to the report Chitando, originally from Zimbabwe, completed a master's degree in law at the University of Cape Town and wrote a thesis on maritime law. Despite this he said he had not had a single maritime or shipping law brief from the law firms.

"It's not because of competence, I have the qualifications," he was quoted as saying.

"I have not had an opportunity to mess up a brief because I've never received a brief to mess up."

The four firms that had been cited - Webber Wentzel, Bowman Gilfillan, Shepstone Wylie and Norton Rose - would oppose the application, but had not yet filed affidavits, the newspaper reported.

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