AfriForum today submitted commentary over the proposed amendments to the legal practitioner’s board’s broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) legal sector code. According to the organisation, its legal team is also prepared to challenge the codes in court should it be necessary, as the proposed changes would have a drastic impact on legal practitioners.
The organisation expressed concern about the fact that it is increasingly becoming difficult for white legal practitioners to compete, because various big role players in the industry, such as the Road Accident Fund, already prefer to use black legal practitioners. AfriForum therefore believes the new codes are racist and morally inexcusable.
“Road Accident Fund cases amount to about 80% of the cases on the court roll in the Gauteng High Courts. This is just one example where black legal practitioners are already being favoured. This is already weakening white legal practitioners’ chances to obtain clients,” says Ernst Roets, AfriForum’s Head of Policy and Action.
On top of this, the codes are also in contradiction to some parts of the Constitution, such as article 22, which describes free trade and the choice of a career. The codes will result in legal firms having to make their income public. Since many legal practitioners are operating under their own names, it will mean they have to publish their personal financial information, which is in contradiction to article 14 of the Constitution.