SA calls for more help from UK as five give free talks

Nelson Mandela's deputy minister of justice has called for training help from UK lawyers.

The deputy minister, Dr Mantobazana Tshabalala-Msimang, visiting England for Mandela's state visit, spoke to members of the British South African Lawyers Association at the Law Society on 8 July.

“My message to you,” Tshabalala said, “is do not be hesitant in coming forward. Your skills are needed.”

The British South African Lawyers Association has applied for European Union funding to send five of its top lawyers to South Africa to give three seminars to newly qualified South African attorneys.

The seminars, in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban, will be on topics such as advocacy skills, lawyer-client relationships and preparation of a witness for trial.

Michael Polonsky, chair of the British South African Lawyers Association, said: “The EU funding is for air fares and accommodation only.

“The lawyers will be giving their time free. We hope this is a way to show that South African lawyers are not being forgotten.”

Earlier this year a delegation of UK barristers, led by Michael Hill QC, visited South Africa to help the South African Bar set up an advocacy training programme.

Tshabalala was only appointed on 5 July and the talk was her first public engagement as deputy justice minister. A doctor of medicine, she has no legal qualifications and was previously chair of the governor's standing committee on health.