Twenty-eight female guards were unfairly dismissed by a security company because the client‚ Metrora.
Pietermaritzburg attorney Thoba Poyo-Dlwati and Welkom attorney Henri van Rooyen, the new co-chairpersons of the Law Society of South Africa, have singled out the Legal Practice Bill as the major challenge for the year ahead.
They believe the bill will restructure the governance of the legal profession and promote transformation.
"Should the current Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Mr Enver Surty, remain in his position after the elections, we are confident that the Legal Practice Bill will become a reality," Poyo-Dlwati said.
They are also committed to working with the minister and the other stakeholders in the legal profession in this process.
"Since this legislation will be in force for many years to come, we must ensure that it entrenches the independence of the legal profession, as an independent profession and judiciary are fundamental to a democratic society," Van Rooyen said.
They have also indicated that they will encourage, through the statutory provincial law societies, monitoring of the scorecards that will measure compliance of transformation and pro bono initiatives in the attorneys' profession in terms of the Legal Services Sector Charter.
Poyo-Dlwati has identified as important initiatives the implementation of a planned Attorneys Development Fund to support previously disadvantaged and new practitioners in their first years of practice to access and remain in the attorneys' profession; as well as discussions on cross-border practice rights in the Southern African Development Community region.
Poyo-Dlwati, a director at Pietermaritzburg firm Ngcobo Poyo & Diedericks, has been a council member of the LSSA since 2002. She was president of the KwaZulu-Natal Law Society last year and is currently vice-president of the SADC Lawyers' Association.
Van Rooyen, an attorney, notary and conveyancer, is a partner at Welkom firm Neumann Van Rooyen Sesele. He has been a council member of the LSSA since 2005, and is currently president of the Law Society of the Free State and has served on several committees of both law societies, including the Magistrates' Courts Committee and the Contingency Fees Committee.