Poor must access justice - Zuma

2012-09-21 07:54

Johannesburg - The biggest challenge facing the legal fraternity is ensuring that the poor are able to access justice, President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday.

"One critical factor, which is close to the heart of Chief Justice Mogoeng and former Chief Justice Ngcobo, is access to justice.

"We are all seized with the matter of how to make our courts more accessible to the poor. Simply put, how do we make it easy for people who live far from the cities or who cannot afford to pay for justice, to obtain justice," he told the annual general meeting of the Johannesburg Attorneys Association.

Zuma said the legal profession had provided the country with some of its greatest leaders.

Old legislation

"We need to also move with speed in repealing and substituting old-order legislation that still governs the legal profession in various parts of the country."

These laws included the Bophuthatswana Admission of Advocates Act, the Transkei Admission of Advocates Act, the Venda Admission of Advocates Act, the Bophuthatswana Attorneys Act, the RSA Attorneys Act of 1979 and Admission of Advocates Act of 1964.

Government had introduced a discussion document on the transformation of the judicial system and its role in a developmental South African state.

Zuma said government had introduced other bills aimed at transforming the judicial and legal systems such as the Constitution 17th amendment bill and the superior courts bill.

The two bills seek to establish a judicial system suited to the requirements of the Constitution, he said.

Zuma said the bills had taken a long time and "it was prudent that their passage to date has been lengthy and even controversial".


He urged the legal profession to start promoting diversity.

From the statistics gathered from the General Council of the Bar, of the total 2 384 members of the Bar, 1 733 were white - which constituted about 72.6%, Zuma said.

Female practitioners were 561 of the total number, which translated to 23.5%.

In the attorneys' profession, out of the total number of 21 007 attorneys, 13 643 were white, which constituted 64.9%.

There were 7 142 females, who constituted 33.9%.

"These statistics are ... a reflection of the shortage of the black and women candidates who make themselves available for judicial office."

  • ben.spreeth - 2012-09-21 08:05

    If they dont get books to learn, they will never be able to serve in these professions. Problem? A.N.C.

      johan.vanhoff - 2012-09-21 08:17


      brapiet.matshipa - 2012-09-21 08:52

      Agree with u 100% ben how does he expact to hv them while he still fail to provide books at primary n secondary level.wat a stupid coment by stupid president .but personaly m not suprised how do u expact a grade 6 to b a president of a country .

  • siphom.mnguni - 2012-09-21 08:24

    This is the most ambiguous statement ever! We all know that if you are unable to pay your legal costs Legal Aid Board is there to provide you with services. That of course is explained by the presiding officer in a language of your choice. Aha, you know what the politician has not spoken until they flash the 'poorest of the poor' card. As if they care about the poor, what a hypocrisy!

  • siyanda.yeni.5 - 2012-09-21 08:33

    There is lots of black advocates out there,but the same government chooses to brief white advocates! They don't have faith in us! And he appoints friends of the government into the judiciary!

      stephan.steyn.14 - 2012-09-21 08:54

      Siyanda, I agree with you - I have been in the legal profession myself and found it difficult to accept that one of my friends (a black lawyer himself) were battling. I was battling because I was white and he was battling because he was not connected. Eventually we pursued other ways to generate an income. The politicians in this country abuse all sorts of issues only to promote their own interests. My (black) lawyer friend always said that the most important challenge for politicians to stay in power, is to keep the "people" uneducated, create a "common enemy" (the whites) by reminding and terrorise them with emotional issues. Today he is a teacher, educating people in townships. If a guy is prepared to sacrifice his profession to pursue his beliefs, there should be some truth in what he believe...

      godfrey.welman - 2012-09-21 10:06

      LOL...As if he made a great discovery 18 years on "These laws included the Bophuthatswana Admission of Advocates Act, the Transkei Admission of Advocates Act, the Venda Admission of Advocates Act, the Bophuthatswana Attorneys Act"

  • dion.oosthuizen.7 - 2012-09-21 08:44

    This is only valid if you are part of the majority. The minorities have less rights, remember Jacob?

  • khethu.ndlovu.3 - 2012-09-21 08:46

    Thats a great rhetoric mr president, but our immediate problem is water, can you do something about it?

      jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-09-21 12:50

      Khethu.ndlovu.3. Zuma has plenty of water, that you don't is nothing for him to worry about. After all he knows now already you will be voting ANC again.

  • Spiral - 2012-09-21 08:52

    There's just so much wrong with this article... Firstly, your main concern shouldnt be providing & ensuring that "poor" people have access to legal rights, its to ensure that you actually help them move out of the "poor" status to actually be able to fend for themselves. & as for the percentages of whites vs blacks who currently hold certain positions... its called EDUCATION. Dumbing the country down just to up the percentage of positions held by blacks is only making things worse! After 18 years you'd think it would be obvious! (but then again... it is the ANC im talking about here)

  • grace.andtruth.77 - 2012-09-21 09:12

    You have it all SO wrong Zuma! Its only the very poor (because the qualify for legal aid) and the very rich (because they can afford attorneys) that have proper access to our legal system! The rest of our country (tax payers) cannot afford legal representation and don't qualify for legal aid!

  • aroka.murombe - 2012-09-21 09:27

    Sorry chief you know nothing about justice so please back off and go hang....

  • sean.odonnell.1466126 - 2012-09-21 09:35

    There are many folk who would still like to see "Justice" served on you, Mr President

      tshepo.maganedisa - 2012-09-21 11:58

      me too

  • tshepo.maganedisa - 2012-09-21 11:57

    Whats the point Mr. JZ when you and your ministers can still take the poor to concourt to turn the courts decision (referring to Toll case) so you telling us something that you think will make us happy - forget it

  • pmalungana - 2012-09-21 12:00

    When will the bills become legislations? It is annoying knowing you still governed by an Apartheid legislation

  • Belinda Davids - 2012-09-21 12:06

    it's a very sad situation we have were female magistrates are often the most prejudiced and bring their own personal problems into their decisions

  • patrickmpanyana.mogwaneng - 2012-09-21 12:14

    When is Mr president going to court ? We are still waiting for Justice to be served on you.By the way it will never happen but you can impose judment on others.

  • jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-09-21 12:47

    "We are all seized with the matter of how to make our courts more accessible to the poor" Wow Jacob, you are on a role, you sure want to shine in December. Why don't you start by making the living environment of the poor safe then they don't need to have so much access to the courts?. When fools speak the ears of the honest hurt.

  • sellow.mattbs - 2012-09-22 08:14

    Mr President, its best that you leave your bid to have a second term- we don't need one to just talk so that we know he is leading the country: what you saying now should've been stated when we first stepped into democracy and Mr President you must act on what you say. we need change.

  • Hendrik JJ Kruger - 2012-09-22 20:01

    He should spend some of my tax money to employ some who can photoshop his awful face pics into something more palatable. I realize I'm asking much, but man this guy looks retarded on all his mugshots! Shame!!

  • Billy - 2012-12-12 08:02

    yea what ever tortoise face, YOU must be brought to justice you swine

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