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SA legal profession threatens to become as corrupt as the state

Ideas

SA legal profession threatens to become as corrupt as the state

Law firms need to come together to agree on an anti-corruption stance and shame those who are unethical

Columnist

SA’s legal profession has been a key enabler of state capture and its associations urgently need to launch an inquiry into their members’ conduct, be they public, private or the judiciary.

Almost the entire legal value chain — parts of the police, investigation authorities, crime intelligence and public prosecutions — is systemically corrupt. The criminal justice procurement system has been captured, as has the process of making appointments to the public system through cadre deployment, whereby politically connected ANC deployees, often without the requisite skills, are appointed to key positions. This has led to legal public policy capture, incompetence and corruption.

A typical case is that of the Black Lawyers’ Association, which nominated Western Cape judge president John Hlophe to become chief justice, ostensibly to promote “transformation”. Yet in 2021 the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) found judge Hlophe tried to influence justices Bess Nkabinde and Chris Jafta when they presided over the corruption case of former president Jacob Zuma and French armaments company Thint...

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