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[TRIBUTE] SERI mourns the passing of Mduduzi Radebe (12 April 2023).

Mduduzi Radebe

 

It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of our esteemed colleague and friend, Mduduzi Radebe (14 June 1976 – 6 April 2023).  Mduduzi was a highly respected financial consultant and a valued member of our team for the last five years. He passed away unexpectedly last week Thursday, leaving us all in shock and mourning.

Mduduzi was known for his expertise, professionalism, and dedication to his work with decades of experience in the NGO sector. He possessed a wealth of knowledge that he generously shared with his colleagues, always willing to go above and beyond to help them achieve their goals. Throughout his career, Mduduzi demonstrated exceptional analytical skills, consistently guiding his clients towards success and financial stability. 

But beyond his professional accomplishments, Mduduzi was also a beloved friend and a father, known for his infectious smile, warm personality, and kind heart. 

Mduduzi's passing is a great loss to our team, and to the NGO sector at large. We are all deeply saddened by this news, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this difficult time.

[ADVOCACY] SERI hosts a weeklong a Women’s Equality Spaces Project Steering Committee Meeting (11 April 2023).

womens spacesFrom 26 to 31 March, SERI hosted a week long Women’s Spaces Partnership Steering Committee (PSC) in Johannesburg. The steering committee forms part of the Women’s Spaces project which focuses on women’s rights to land and housing in sub-Saharan Africa. The PSC is an annual meeting between the project partners and Rooftops Canada, the lead organisation, to provide strategic direction and oversight. The steering committee includes Mazingira Institute based in Kenya, The Shelter and Settlement Alternatives: Uganda Human Settlements Network and Development Workshop Angola. Approximately 15 participants from all partner organizations attended the meeting, which was facilitated by Rooftops Canada. The main objective of the engagement was to share the experiences of women in partner countries in accessing their rights to land, property, and housing.

During the first two days, each partner organisation presented their progress, lessons learned, and challenges faced in implementing their respective parts of the project. On the third day, participants had a working exchange with the Slovo Park Community Development Forum (SPCDF), where experiences were shared between project partners and the Slovo Park community members. The fourth day included a seminar on community advice offices, legal aid, and public interest legal services in South Africa, facilitated by SERI, the Inner City Federation (ICF), and Inner City Resource Centre (ICRC). The day also featured a presentation from the communications subcommittee on creating a broader communication strategy for the project. The last day concluded with a presentation by Joseph Schechla from the Habitat International Coalition on environmental issues related to the Women's Spaces project.

In the next three years, project partners will continue working together to ensure women's equal access to land, housing, and livelihood in sub-Saharan Africa.

 

 

[JOB OPPORTUNITY] SERI is looking for two candidate attorneys to join our team (3 April 2023).

The Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI) Law Clinic wishes to fill up to two vacancies for candidate attorneys (CAs).

These vacancies will arise on or after 1 January 2024.

The SERI Law Clinic has a first-rate human rights practice, which encompasses constitutional and administrative law, criminal defence, defamation, labour law, property law, contract law (insofar as it involves consumer protection) and actions against the police and other delictual claims. SERI concentrates its work in South Africa’s townships, informal settlements and other poor and marginalised communities. SERI’s practitioners appear regularly at all levels of the court system, up to and including the Constitutional Court. SERI has an enviable track record in obtaining and enforcing ground-breaking judgments. You can find out more about SERI on www.seri-sa.org and www.fightingforaliving.org.

SERI is authorised by the Legal Practice Council to accept and train CAs. CAs are recruited for a fixed-term of two years, leading to qualification and admission as an attorney. These posts carry salaries in the region of R 305 000 per annum.

The requirements for the positions are as follows -

Essential

  • LLB Degree. 
  • Interest in and, some prior engagement with, human rights law or litigation. 

Desirable

  • Interest in, and experience of, research and publication.  
  • Fluency in any of South Africa’s indigenous languages.

SERI wishes to contribute to the development of a new generation of human rights lawyers at the national and international level. Accordingly, the positions carry with them significant opportunities for travel and continuing professional training and development.

If you are interested, please send a CV, academic transcript and covering letter to Princess Nkuna at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. In your letter, provide a detailed explanation of why you are interested in working for SERI, and what qualities and experience you would bring to the post.

Generalised covering letters, which do not engage with SERI’s activities and purpose, will not be considered.

The closing date for applications is Friday 28 April 2023. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and will be expected to make themselves available for an interview in June or July 2023.

  • View the advertisement here.

[WORKSHOP] SERI hosts a workshop for Domestic Workers at the Forge (31 March 2023).

COIDA Forge

On 25 March, the Socio-Economic Rights Institute (SERI) hosted a workshop on the Inclusion of Domestic Workers in the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act 130 of 1993 (COIDA) at The Forge in Braamfontein. The purpose of the workshop was to inform domestic workers of their rights in terms of the Act, the protections the Act affords domestic workers and their dependents, the challenges domestic workers experience when submitting their claims and to answer questions domestic workers have about COIDA. The workshop was organised in collaboration with Izwi Domestic Workers Alliance and South African Domestic Service and Allied Workers Union (SADSAWU). The workshop was attended by 40 participants. 

The workshop began with identifying participants’ expectations for the workshop. This was followed by a presentation by SERI attorney, Tebogo Tshehlo and candidate attorney, Dineo Phalane which provided an overview of COIDA, the protections and benefits the Act affords domestic workers and their dependents and the background of Mahlangu v Minister of Labour judgment. SERI researcher Kelebogile Khunou and research intern Yongeza Mbimbi then outlined the process of claiming from the Compensation Fund and highlighted the challenges and obstacles which domestic workers experience when starting the claims process. The workshop ended with a lively question and answer session. 

COIDA forge IIDomestic workers have been included in COIDA since 19 November 2020 when the Constitutional Court handed down an order in Mahlangu v Minister of Labour, declaring the constitutional invalidity of section 1(xix)(v) of  COIDA which excluded domestic workers employed in private households from the definition of "employee", precluding them from claiming from the Compensation Fund for work-related injuries, illnesses or death. The Court also ruled that the order of constitutional invalidity is to have immediate and retrospective effect from 27 April 1994, which means that those domestic workers and dependants who have experienced work-related injuries, diseases or death as far back as 27 April 1994 are also able to submit their claims.

In the two years since the inclusion of domestic workers in COIDA, only 14 claims form domestic workers have been processed by the Compensation Fund. Workshop participants identified 1) the need for widespread awareness campaigns on COIDA for domestic workers, especially in rural areas and 2) the need for education campaigns and registration deadlines for employers of domestic workers, as priorities. 

[ADVOCACY] SERI's Jason Brickhill delivers Equal Education's Inaugural Yoliswa Dwane Memorial Lecture (17 March 2023).

 

JBrickhill EE Yoliswa Dwane Memorial LectureOn 24 February 2023, SERI director of ligation Jason Brickhill delivered the Inaugural Yoliswa Dwane Memorial Lecture on the occasion of Equal Education's 15-year anniversary. Yoliswa Dwane was one of the co-founders of Equal Education in 2008, alongside Joey Hasson, Doron Isaacs and Lumkile Zani.  She was also instrumental in forming Equal Education Law Centre and served on its first board. Dwane sadly died of cancer in October 2022. Today, the Daily Maverick has published the full lecture.

Brickhill’s lecture, entitled ‘Every generation has its struggle – activism and the law in the struggle for social justice’, reflected on Dwane’s commitment and activism during the early stages of Equal Education’s journey as a movement. Before joining SERI, Jason Brickhill worked for Legal Resource Centre (LRC) when it represented Equal Education in a case against the Minister of Education that advocated for introducing norms and standards for school infrastructure. Reflecting on his work with Dwane on the case, Brickhill noted that,

"Yoliswa played a leading role, and she ultimately deposed to the main founding affidavit on behalf of EE. I remember her, during that Norms and Standards time, as being direct, decisive and straight-forward. She was not one for long emails when a short one would do. She was all about the movement and about its objectives, not about getting attention or acclaim."

DM Yoliswa Dwane EE

Brickhill also reflected on his experience of working with Equal Education on the case, celebrating that,

"[it] was an exceptionally difficult client – difficult in all the best ways. The EE people on the cases would engage with every detail, weigh up every tactic and strategy, would debate with their lawyers. This made the work charged and stimulating, produced carefully crafted court papers and a coherent messaging inside and outside the courtroom." 

During her time with Equal Education, Dwane prioritised the building of the movement which went beyond growing Equal Education in terms of numbers and instead focused on building institutions and structures and fostering political education. She, along with other leaders like Yana van Leeve, led a youth reading group that met weekly. The group would gather in Khayelitsha every Wednesday evening and critically engage that week’s reading on themes of gender, race, class, and power, debating what it meant for contemporary South Africa. 

Brickhill noted that for Dwane, Equal Education was about “building an organisation that contributes to the improvement of the condition of the working class”.  Yoliswa Dwane left behind a rich legacy of activism and relentless commitment to equal and quality education for all.

Access the full lecture here, published by the Daily Maverick.