Chapter 9 institutions: for the sake of accountability and constitutional democracy

Author: Kenneth Sithebe
Candidate Attorney, Centre for Child Law, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria

When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice beneath new generations. – Solzhenitsyn

It is in the wake of the Public Protector’s findings regarding an upgrade to the President Zuma’s private residence in Nkandla that, the importance and our tolerance for Chapter 9 institutions comes to the fore. Having presented her findings to the public, the Public Protector was hailed by some as a heroin to a South Africa that is ridden with corruption, whilst some questioned her credibility and the integrity of her office. It is submitted that these debates are ordinary in a vibrate democracy like South Africa’s and should be welcome. However, what should not be welcome are unsubstantiated remarks aimed at undermining the office of the Public Protector, or any of the other Chapter 9 institutions, namely, the South African Human Rights Commission; the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities; Commission for Gender Equality; the Auditor General; and Electoral Commission. These institutions, as provided for in section 181 of the Constitution, form a cornerstone to the sustenance of democracy and are important for the full realisation of other democratic principles such as accountability, respect for the rule of law and human rights.

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Why and how Africa should extend its network of double taxation treaties with China

Eric Ntini KasokainAuthor: Eric Ntini Kasoko
PhD candidate, University of Liege (Belgium)

There are currently over three thousand double taxation treaties (DTTs) worldwide. DTTs are agreements between two states that are designed to relieve international double taxation and prevent fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income. Double taxation occurs when the same income is subject to two, or even more, taxing jurisdictions, which may result in an impediment to cross-border trade and investment.

When concluding a DTT, the two sovereign states involved draw inspiration mainly from the OECD Model Tax Convention on income and capital (OECD Model). However, DTTs can also be based on the so-called UN Model, which is supposed to be a suitable framework for DTTs between developing countries and developed countries. Since DTTs have been traditionally viewed as one means of increasing the movement of foreign direct investment (FDI) to the developing world, African countries would find it advantageous, at least prima facie, to multiply such agreements with a country like China.

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In defence of these “disgusting and unnatural”

Benjamin_NgaruAuthor: Benjamin Ng’aru

Legal Assistant, Local Authorities Pensions Trust; Volunteer Programmes Assistant, Legal Exchange Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

On Monday 25 February 2014, Uganda’s long serving president Yoweri Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2014 (previously referred to as Kill the Gays Bill”). The Long Title thereof provides that this “Act [is intended] to prohibit any form of sexual relations between persons of the same sex; prohibit the promotion or recognition of such relations and to provide for other related matters.” Museveni has also, on record, called homosexuals “disgusting and unnatural” persons. The legislation has since received widespread condemnation from human rights organisations and leaders across the globe.

Whereas homosexuality was, since the colonial era, outlawed with the introduction of the British colonial rule and justice system, the new legislation is an all time low. Section 2(2) of the Act provides for a mandatory life sentence for persons convicted of “homosexual acts”. Section 1 of the Act has a wide margin of what constitutes “homosexual acts” such as “the touching of another’s breast, vagina, penis or anus, … however slight …. with any part of the body or through anything”.

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AfricLaw and 2014

Although there have been no new posts in the first two months of the year 2014, AfricLaw remains committed to providing space for the discussion of issues of substance, forming of opinions and information sharing among people living on the continent. AfricLaw still strives to serve as a platform for Africans who are in the diaspora and anyone else who is interested to share their thoughts and opinions on the rule and the role of law in AfricLaw. And also to serve as a vehicle for comments on legal developments in the rest of the world.

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