‘ LEAVE ZIM LAWYER ALONE ’
Law Society accused of xenophobic tendencies in wanting Zim lawyer to leave the countr y
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.
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.