THAT SOUTH AFRICA’S legal enterprise is essentially a predatory profession taking advantage of apartheid privilege at the same time that it denies access to legal aid for ordinary citizens on an equitable basis is abundantly clear.
Pro Bono criteria at the former Cape Law Society for instance, (now the Legal Practice Council) were set in the last century, that’s more than twenty years ago. Law clinics, at academic institutions profess to tackle refugees, ticking boxes for funders whilst passing over the needs and rights of ordinary citizens.
If you fail to meet race criteria, you are essentially cut adrift from the system unless you are able to afford legal fees that amount to dolloping up white goods to legal professionals, many of whom will think nothing of taking massive deposits without doing anything more than write a solitary letter.
The Cape Bar Council, a vestige of colonialism, is no stranger to controversy, the latest involving advocate Anton Katz, whose request for an exemption from rules governing the keeping of chambers during the Covid crisis, resulted in his resignation.
Needless to say the CBC were quick to spin the story as a tale of economic woe, claiming that their refusal to subsidise him, is the sole reason behind the complaint. Whilst Katz has expressed concern over unpaid bills at many High Court chambers, and especially its impact on young, black, legal professionals, this is certainly not his case.
More troubling though, are Katz’s complaints of entrenched racism at the Bar. Attitudes such as those contained in my complaint to the bar regarding a racist 2010 religious inquisition at the behest of an apartheid media company, in which one Colin Kahanovitz SC thought nothing of trashing the TRC report, and openly attacking me on the basis of apartheid race laws, this whilst suborning perjury from the sole witness, a woman who proceeded to give false evidence about her matric certificate.
Then there are the vultures like Labour Law Associates (see video below). A firm operating with the tacit support of the CBC. A 2017 complaint to the CBC brought nothing more than a nod of agreement from the institution, this after one of the firm’s executives proceeded to pass himself off as a member of the bar, without so much as a law degree.