Members of the Black Lawyers Association (BLA) has accused the government of preferring white lawyers to black counsel and law firms for its numerous court cases.
BLA, on Friday, held a protest march at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, where they urged the Zuma-led government to expose the country’s black lawyers to all levels of legal work.
Dressed in their traditional black court robes, the lawyers waved placards reading “Excellence is not white and men”, ‘State has legal duty to empower women lawyers’, among others at Union Buildings lawn, where they waited for Presidential officials to receive their memorandum.
President of the Association Lutendo Sigogo told reporters that President Zuma needs to “use his powers” to influence government departments and municipalities to hire black attorneys for legal matters.
“This matter impacts on everyone. We expect lawyers to become judges or ministers one day, but if you are not being given quality briefs as you grow in the profession, and you happen to become a judge, you are going to judge on issues you were not exposed to.
We want to be exposed to all levels of legal work so that we are equipped and ready to lead this country in terms of the judiciary and everywhere we can be requested to lead.”
— Alex Mitchley (@AlexMitchley) July 14, 2017
Last year, the Association lambasted President Zuma after the president announced that he would be represented by Advocate Jeremy Gauntlett SC in Nkandla case.
Meanwhile, Zuma has directed the Minister of Justice and correctional services Advocate Michael Masutha to attend every point the Association raised during their protest, in order to strike a balance between white and black legal lawyers.
BuzzSouthAfrica understands that the state is the biggest consumer of legal services in the country and that white lawyers get more money compared to their black counterparts.