Law Focus

WITS RADIO ACADEMY  |  Podcast , ±51 min episodes every 1 week, 5 days  |  Broadcast schedule  | 
Law Focus is the show that brings the law to you and hands you your rights. Every week we go in depth into a legal topic with the help of interesting case studies and insightful guests. Our radio drama, The Right Stuff, gives a humorous edge to the topic, while we always make sure to catch you up on the legal news of the week.

Wits Radio Academy's Law Focus reaches South Africans far and wide through our partnership with four other community stations. Our coproduction endeavor takes the show to Alex FM (Gauteng), Phalaborwa fm (Limpopo), Alfred Nzo Community Radio (Eastern Cape) and Radio Riverside (Northern Cape).

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Law Focus - Unfair Dismissal

Being employed is never a guarantee of financial stability and security throughout your life; work ends for different reasons; at times, an employee is prepared for it, but at other times not. Unfair and constructive dismissals are the termination of employment when you certainly do not expect it. We pose to our guest Labour Lawyer Ms. Jabulile Duba what constitutes unfair dismissals and the recourse for it. As we interpret South African Labour laws, we also engage with Mr. Neo Mahlako from the Wits Law Clinic about some of the ethics regarding the workplace environment and the exercise of power in institutions of employment.

Picture by Mismas Law Firm.

Law Focus - Bail

Bail is an important judiciary practice in democratic South Africa; it is premised on the basis that there is a presumption of innocence. To understand bail holistically, we consider its legal application and interpretation as well as other intriguing aspects including what happens with bail money, your options if your socio-economic reality is such that you cannot afford bail; how the law interprets bail applications for minors and undocumented persons… We engage in dialogue with Stanley Malematja, attorney at the Right to Protest Project and Bricks Mokolo, paralegal at Citizen Justice Project to unpack these and other issues.

Law Focus - Child Protection Week

The National Child Protection Week is an initiative which aims to raise awareness on the rights of children; the 2019 theme was “Let Us Protect All Children to Move South Africa Forward”. Safety for children in South Africa; at home, in schools, on the streets or at church - is currently questionable; children’s lives are constantly in danger! DDG Connie Nxumalo (Social Services) and Joan van Niekerk (Child Rights Activist) assist in analyzing the various legislations enacted for the protection of children, with the intention of understanding if the laws are adequate, or perhaps the rights are too much… what is the gap between legislation and implementation?

Law Focus - Religion

Following a prayer made at the first sitting of the sixth parliament by the Constitutional Court Chief Justice as well as his gift of a Bible to President Cyril Ramaphosa at the inauguration – acts both carried out during the course of his oath of office; and considering that South Africa is a country that we have believed to be a separation of church and State; we have a pertinent jurisprudential discussion of legal moral philosophy, delving into the role of religion and explaining how far into the South African state section 15 of our Constitution stretches. We navigate this conversation with two excellent guests; Constitutional Law expert Pierre de Vos and Media commentator Gushwell Brooks.

Law Focus - Law of Evidence

The criminal justice system is quite complex, both theoretically and procedurally. We delve into the law of evidence as an aspect of the legal system; it is an immensely packed concept and practice, but we are guided in conversation by the expertise of Dr. Florencia Belvedere from the Public Affairs Research Institute who talks us through the absolute importance of appointments at State institutions such as the NPA, which have a bearing on policing and the criminal justice system as a whole. Advocate and Acting Judge William Karam also contributes by engaging with us about the key technicalities involved in evidence law and how it legally functions as a system.

Photo by João Silas on Unsplash

Law Focus - The Electoral System

With the different electoral systems in the world, none of which is without faults; compounded by the changing narratives and debates about the appropriateness and functionality of Proportional Representation as a system for our national elections 25 years into our constitutional democracy; South African youth in particular need to engage firstly, in understanding how the current system works and secondly, in participating in conversations about the critical analysis of the current discourse. Together with Attorney, Tshepo Mohapi as well as Emeritus Professor Roger Southall, we explore the various concepts as well as granular details of Proportional Representation as our electoral system of choice; we further unfold critiques about this phenomenon and spark whether it still serves a purpose in what we aim to be a progressive democracy in South Africa.

Law Focus - Xenophobic Violence in South Africa

Xenophobia continues to be a contentious issue in the South African society. Foreign nationals are often blamed for the country’s high crime rate, unemployment, and overcrowding of health facilities. However, it is hard to imagine that people will just up and leave the comfort of their countries to be a problem elsewhere. Surely people are motivated by a better future and greener pastures which South Africa seems to offer. However, it should be noted that South African government is currently faces economic challenges and the added strain brought by the influx of foreigners causes more tension. Politicians and public government figures do not help the situation at all as they tend to speak against xenophobia whereas in the same breath, articulate many notions that continue to fuel it.

In this episode, the conversation revolves around issues of ethics as well as empathy; for people on both sides of the coin; foreign nationals as well as South African citizens. We begin by unpacking South African Law’s expectation of foreign nationals and the policies and requirements are reasonable with Wayne Ncube, an attorney at Lawyers for Human Rights. We then speak to Chief of Party, at Freedom House, Ms Tiseke Kasambala, about the socio-economic dynamics, which force people to leave their countries.

Presenter: Millicent Tshiamo, Producer: Simba Honde, Technical Producer: Kutlwano Gwinch Serame

Law Focus - Should Sex Work be legalized?

Sex work in South is still illegal. A study conducted in 2013 revealed that there were between 132 000 - 182 000 sex workers, female, male, intersex and transgender. The majority are either internal or cross-border migrants with multiple dependants. There have been growing calls over the years to decriminalize the world’s “oldest profession” and some say its time, however, others still believe decriminalization of sex work would lead to abuse.

In this episode, we discuss this contentious issue with an attorney from Legal Aid SA Ms. Puleng Mpeke who will give us a legal analysis around the current law on sex work and Mr. Katlego Rasibitse from Sisonke Gender Justice, who are advocating for its legalization and what informs their stance.

Presented by: Millicent Tshiamo, Produced by: Simba Honde, Technical Producer: Kutlwano Gwinch Serame

Law Focus - Human Rights

Human Rights are essentially a set of agreed principles, which affirm and uphold the dignity of the person. There are concerned with fairness, respect and independence and recognize our freedom to make certain life choices and realize our potential as human beings but also understanding that there come with responsibility and consideration for the rights of others.
In South Africa, Human Rights Day commemorated on the 21st of March, is historically linked to the Sharpeville massacre were 69 people were shot dead for protesting the unjust apartheid pass laws. This year, the theme is “The Year of Indigenous Languages: Promoting and Deepening a Human Rights Culture”.
In this episode of Law Focus, we spoke to Constitutional Hill CEO, Dawn Roberston , to discuss the history of the place, significance and different activities lined up to commemorate Human Rights Day. Secondly, we engaged with Sharon Ekambaram, from Lawyers for Human Rights, to ascertain the state of Human Rights in South Africa today. Finally, we touched base with, Gushwell Brooks, the spokesperson for the South African Human Rights Commission, on its rights and responsibilities as a Chapter 9 institution in affirming and promoting human rights.


Law Focus - Criminal Charges Involving Minors

In light of the recent public outcry for #JusticeForThoriso which involves the violent murder of 28 year old Thoriso Themane who died at the alleged hands of seven teenagers aged between 13 and 16 from Capricorn High School in Polokwane, Law Focus decided to examine what the South African criminal justice system says about minors committing heinous crimes.

Joining us for this conversation is Justice Magayi from Legal Aid South Africa who will clarify how crimes committed by minors are handled, and whether the calls for harsher punishments will be considered.
We also speak to clinical psychologist Thabang Tlaka and social worker Orapeleng Phale to better understand the social and psychological reasons why young people resort to crime.

This edition of Law Focus is brought to by Wits Radio Academy and Legal Aid South Africa: Produced by Simba Honde and Hosted by Veronica Makhoali, Millicent Ndiweni, Siyabonga Motha and Sesethu Zingelwa. Technical production provided by Kutlwano “Gwinch” Serame

Law Focus - The Violation of Human Rights In Sports

Sports has a unique ability to unite people of different backgrounds, races, genders and nationalities, in more ways than one sports has directly affected and influenced society by breaking down preconceptions and challenging the status quo.

One athlete who has exhibited this is 'Golden Girl' Mokgadi Caster Semenya a South African Olympic gold medalist and world champion middle-distance runner. Caster Semenya is a hyperandrogenic athlete which means her body has high levels of male sex hormones such as testosterone, a genetic variation which we should be celebrating in the world of athletics as it shows the community is committed to inclusion but instead the International Association of Athletics Federations is proposing that hyperandrogenic and DSD (differences of sexual development) female athletes should take a hormone suppressant drug to lower their testosterone levels in order to be eligible to compete.

The proposed rule has raised concerns of human rights violations which we will unpack with the Commission of Gender Equality's acting chairperson Tamara Mathebula as well as Candice Martin, a sports scientists from Sports Science LAB South Africa who explains the medical effects of hormone suppressants and how this will affect Caster Semenya's performance.

This edition of Law Focus is brought to by Wits Radio Academy: Produced by Simba Honde and Hosted by Veronica Makhoali, Millicent Ndiweni, Sesethu Zingelwa and Siyabonga Motha. Technical production provided by Kutlwano “Gwinch” Serame.

Law Focus - The Criminalization of HIV

In 2013 the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria sentenced Lovers Phiri, a former Department of Health HIV counselor to six years in jail after he had unprotected sex with his then girlfriend and never disclosed his status to her, he was subsequently convicted of attempted murder.
A similar case in the United States occurred when a man was handed two 15 year imprisonment sentences following his non-disclosure of his HIV+ status when he had sex twice with his partner on both occasions, using a condom and not infecting her.

HIV criminalization refers to the use of criminal law to penalize alleged, perceived, or potential HIV exposure.
South Africa has not adopted any HIV-specific criminal law but the conversation around the criminalization of HIV is on-going. The implementation of such laws is said to decrease the number of infections but would also drastically foster stigma and discrimination.
Joining the discussion is Neil Kirby, Director and Head of Healthcare and Life Sciences practice at Werksmans Attorneys as well as Doctor Sindi Van Zyl an HIV/AIDS expert provides ongoing support and health-care education.

This edition of Law Focus is brought to by Wits Radio Academy: Produced by Simba Honde and Hosted by Veronica Makhoali, Millicent Ndiweni, Sesethu Zingelwa and Siyabonga Motha. Technical production provided by Kutlwano “Gwinch” Serame

37 episodes

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