‘ LEAVE ZIM LAWYER ALONE ’

Law So­ci­ety ac­cused of xeno­pho­bic ten­den­cies in want­ing Zim lawyer to leave the countr y

Sunday Observer - - FRONT PAGE - STO­RIES BY THEMBEKA DLAMINI

Lawyers feel the stance by the Law So­ci­ety of Swazi­land (LSS) to chal­lenge the ad­mis­sion of Zimab­wean lawyer Pretty Mup­fu­rutsa smacks of xeno­pho­bia, some­thing they do not sub­scribe to.

Three lawyers, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity, de­spite hav­ing aired their views on a Face­book post by a peer, stated that they were to­tally against the as­ser­tions by LSS which stated that the ad­mis­sion of Mup­fu­rutsa would threaten their clien­tele as the pro­fes­sion was al­ready sat­u­rated and said they felt this had more to do with her na­tion­al­ity than the ra­tio­nale given.

“This case is dis­taste­ful be­cause we have lo­cals work­ing in other coun­tries, Zim­babwe in­clu­sive, and then we have such a stance pub­li­cised which is not re­flec­tive of the coun­try’s at­ti­tude to­wards our African broth­ers,” a prom­i­nent lawyer based in the cap­i­tal said.

Another said the case came about at an in­op­por­tune time when look­ing at the at­ten­tion Zim­babwe was get­ting af­ter the al­leged coup which ousted Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe.

The lawyers were re­act­ing to re­ports car­ried by the Times of Swazi­land on Wed­nes­day. De­spite their will­ing­ness to post their dis­com­fort on Face­book, the trio said they were un­will­ing to have their names ap­pear in a dis­sent­ing man­ner against the as­so­ci­a­tion they sub­scribe un­der.

Of note, the mat­ter is pend­ing in court.

Re­port

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, the LSS stated that “…Mup­fu­rutsa should go back to her home coun­try to be ad­mit­ted there as Swazi­land al­ready had a large num­ber of lawyers and she did not meet all the re­quire­ments since she was a for­eigner.” The con­tention on her ad­mis­sion to the High Court was said to be based on the Zim­bab­wean not be­ing a Swazi nor, al­legedly, a res­i­dent of the coun­try.

The lawyers stated that the case in­voked mem­o­ries of Ar­mand Matthew Perry who was also sim­i­larly chal­lenged by the LSS when he tried to en­rol as an at­tor­ney in 2013 when he was en­gaged as CANGO le­gal ad­viser.

Of note, in the case of Perry which was ad­ju­di­cated by then Chief Jus­tice Michael Ramod­ibedi in the Supreme Court in favour of the lawyer, found that he re­lied on Sec­tion 6 ( 1) ( e) of t he Le­gal Prac­ti­tion­ers’ Act 1964, whereas the LSS op­posed the ap­pli­ca­tion on the grounds that Sec­tion 6 (1) (e) of the Act op­er­ates un­fairly in favour of ap­pli­cants, thus re­ly­ing upon it was in vi­o­la­tion of con­sti­tu­tional fair­ness.

Ac­cord­ing to the LSS, an ap­pli­cant re­ly­ing upon Sec­tion 6 (1) (e) must dis­close his or her aca­demic qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

The LSS stated that as a reg­u­la­tory author­ity, they were em­pow­ered to vet an ap­pli­cant’s aca­demic qual­i­fi­ca­tions and prac­ti­cal train­ing and that, just as Mup­fu­rutsa, Perry was not or­di­nar­ily res­i­dent in Swazi­land.

The so­ci­ety stated that only en­rolled at­tor­neys could rec­om­mend an ap­pli­cant as be­ing a fit and proper per­son to be en­rolled as an at­tor­ney . These sub­mis­sions were re­jected by the full bench as they stated that Perry was el­i­gi­ble for ad­mis­sion and en­rol­ment as an at­tor­ney. This was af­ter Perry as­serted that he was or­di­nar­ily res­i­dent within the ju­ris­dic­tion of the High Court of Swazi­land in that he was per­mit­ted to en­ter and re­main in Swazi­land while he was the holder of Class A En­try Per­mit No. TH 457/2011 which de­clared upon its face that he was: “Au­tho­rised to en­ter and re­main in Swazi­land un­der the pro­vi­sions of this Class A en­try per­mit un­til 2013/08/26 in ac­cor­dance with the pro­vi­sions of Sec­tion 5 of the Im­mi­gra­tion Act 1982 and Part 11 of the reg­u­la­tions for the pur­pose of: Le­gal Ad­vi­sor at CANGO.” His en­try per­mit was said to speak for it­self as it au­tho­rised him to en­ter and re­main in the coun­try for a def­i­nite lim­ited pe­riod.

High Court of Swazi­land.

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