Law Focus

WITS RADIO ACADEMY  |  Podcast , ±52 min episodes every 1 week, 4 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 - Has GBV Reached Crisis Point in South Africa?

Barely days after August, the month dedicated to Women, the country has seen a spate of brutal and violent attack on women. Femicide and Gender Based Violence continue to rear its ugly head in our societies and calls are being made on social media to name, shame culprits, and bring back the death penalty. Women feel like the law is not protecting them and no one is listening to them.

All these tragic events beg the question, “Should the South African Government declare GBV a state of emergency? Photo by Kayla Velasquez on Unsplash

Executive Producer Simba Honde, Technical Producer Kutlwano Serame, Researchers Sesethu Zingelwa and Nelca Mammate. Hosted by Tshepo Mohapi and Millicent Ndiweni.

Law Focus - Gender Pay Disparity

It has been normalized that women are paid less than men in all industries and globally; even in South Africa where equality is apparently prioritized. We enjoy an extremely critical conversation with Genderlinks’ Kubi Rama about how this varying pay gap which has no convincing basis is actually a detriment to all of society, continuing the adverse power relations which we often continue to internalize. Rama advocates that it is time to stop talking and start acting; suggesting that it is necessary to now have some class action to end this discrimination.

Photo by Christian Dubovan

Law Focus - Sexual Violence In The Workplace And Institutions Of Learning

It is not uncommon to experience incidents of sexual violence at some point in life, if not daily;
furthermore, it is not a violation that is unusual in the workplace and institutions of learning –
despite legislations and policies in place to make workplaces and learning institutions safe
spaces. We engage in a critical conversation about the law and real life experiences of survivors
of sexual violence (from harassment to rape) with the Director of the Wits Gender Equity Office
Charlene Beukes, as she shares her insight and advice on this very prevalent social issue.

Photo Cred: Alexander Shimmeck

Law Focus - Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice is an approach to justice that aims to involve the parties to a dispute and others affected by the harm (victims, offenders, families concerned and community members) in solving a crime and preventing its recurrence. It’s about Reconciliation. However, some argue that justice must be punitive, whereas some, believe that, it has to be restorative.

In this week’s episode, we speak to Cornelia Nell, an attorney, to understand which laws underpin its understanding and give credit and authority to its existence, especially in criminal matters. Our second guest, Lesley Ann van Selm, the Managing director at Kulisa Social Solutions, discusses the implementation of restorative justice, and whether it can be a significant influence on crime rates, and prison population.

This edition of Law Focus is brought to by Wits Radio Academy: Executive producer, Simba Honde and co produced by Nelca Mositsa, Sesethu Zingelwa and hosted by Tshepo Mohapi and Millicent Ndiweni. Technical production provided by Kutlwano “Gwinch” Serame.

Law Focus - Minimum Sentences

Minimum sentences are a critical point of debate in the South African criminal law system; importantly so because the reality is that our prisons are overcrowded and unfortunately, despite all our legislations and institutions of law enforcement, we continue to have exorbitantly high crime rates in the country. We chat to Pheneas Mokoena, legal practitioner from Legal Aid about his knowledge on this aspect of the criminal justice system; as well Wits academic, Professor Stephen Tuson, who challenges the notion and practice of minimum sentences as an effective way of combatting crime.

Law Focus - Mob Justice

Mob Justice is quite a tragic reality in South Africa. We unpack with legal practitioner, Innocent Mthembu, about the legal aspects and other constitutional matters relating to mob justice – and what participating in it could possibly mean for you. We then have a further fascinating conversation with journalist working on the ground covering issues of mob justice, Nduduzo Nxumalo about his experiences and critical analysis regarding this rather important but growing and complex social ill.

Photo Cred: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Law Focus - Wrongful Convictions

Are you indeed innocent until proven guilty? Where could the law have possibly gotten it wrong when a judgement is given that you are convicted of a crime that you did not commit? Surely wrongful convictions should not exist if the principle of ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ is held in high regard in South Africa. We delve into this painful conversation with advocate Innocent Mthembu from Legal Aid SA and Simoniah Mashangoane from the Wits Justice Project as they share their experiences and expertise on the matter.

Photo Cred: Getty Images

Law Focus - The Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases

The Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases is one of the facets of Labour law that we do not often delve into. Following the court decision for the amendment of the inclusion of domestic workers in particular in the COIDA Act, we discuss with Kelebogile Khonou from the Socio-Economic Research Institute and Gloria Kente from the South African Domestic Services and Allied Workers Union the outcome of this matter as well as other avenues of occupational injuries and diseases acquired during the course of your work.

Photo Cred: Dane Deaner

Law Focus - How Much Violence Can Police Extert

Philisiwe Hadebe and Nirmala Gopal (2019). Police Brutality in South Africa. University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. Safer spaces
Safer Spaces released an article in 2019 titled ‘Police Brutality in South Africa’; which contains startling statistics ranging from 2014 – 2018 about violent force used by police in the country. Although the Criminal Procedure Act permits the use of force by the police in certain circumstances, knowing how much force can be exerted often seems to be a fine line. As we celebrate June 16, our interest is in reviewing whether the culture of violence so pertinent in the police force under apartheid has improved; further, we examine the relationship between the youth and the police. In conversation with us is Brigadier Denise Beukes and Professor Peter Jordi.

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?

46 episodes

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