The Council of the Cape Law Society (“CLS”) unanimously resolved at it's Council meeting on Sunday, 25 September 2016 to utilise its resources as well as establish a team of mediators from amongst its members in the three provinces that fall under its jurisdiction, namely the Northern, Western and Eastern Provinces, with a view to offering mediation services to all concerned parties, in particular the universities, student formations and relevant government departments, in the 2017 education dispute in an effort to resolve the current impasse.
While we do not comment on the merits at this stage, we appreciate that there are indeed legitimate demands being made by the students. We are also mindful of some of the complexities involved in the universities and governments reluctance to meeting some of the demands, and more broadly the challenges for a viable free education system in South Africa.
It is our intention to play a constructive role in working towards resolving the impasse that appears to be manifesting itself in the suspension of classes or closure of universities, violence, destruction, breakdown in communication, etc. We will endeavour at all times to remain impartial, objective and independent, and if appointed we will exercise our mandate without fear, favour or prejudice.
Please note that the CLS is not offering to mediate itself owing to capacity constraints, however our offer is to establish and co-ordinate a panel of mediators from amongst our members, furthermore to use the necessary resources at our disposal in order to provide the mediation services.
Should there be acceptance of the offer, we intend convening a meeting under the auspices of the CLS in the next few days to draw up an agenda and plan of action for the mediation process.
Issued by Mr Ashraf Mahomed, President of The Cape Law Society on behalf of the Council of The Cape Law Society