'Cals participates in programmes related to upliftment of the lives of communities that are affected by the challenges related to lack of access to information,' says Judge Makhubele.
After more than four decades in existence, the University of the Witwatersrand’s Centre for Applied Legal Studies (Cals) has become a household name within the legal fraternity – and now a high court judge has confirmed as much.
In a precedent-setting judgment recognising the rights of affected communities to be provided with copies of applications to mine near them, the High Court in Pretoria’s Judge Tintswalo Makhubele last week made special mention of Cals.
“Cals, which needs no introduction, is a well-established and accredited law clinic,” she said, “It participates in programmes related to upliftment of the lives of communities that are affected by the challenges related to lack of access to information, which in turn compromises their right to self-determination and sustainable development.”
Cals had been admitted as amicus curiae – or friend of the court – in the case. Attorney Johan Lorenzen, who represented the uMgungundlovu community in Xolobeni in the case, yesterday tweeted the excerpt alongside a Cals post advertising two vacancies for candidate attorneys.
He jokingly wrote: “Tired of introducing yourself? The Pretoria High Court recommends @CALS_ ZA. Apply for articles!”
Cals attorney Thandeka Kathi, who works on civil, political and environmental justice, said yesterday what mattered was what the judgment meant for mining-affected communities across the country.
“We welcome the outcome of this important case and are pleased the court found our submissions here helpful,” Kathi said,
“Meaningful engagement is, of course, a core part of our work and we have been advocating for many years for mining-affected communities to have their say in the laws, policies and projects that impact them.
“This judgment is the result of a continual struggle by communities and networks like those in Xolobeni and beyond to be recognised as core stakeholders in mining.”
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