As pace-setters, Western anthropologists conceptualised and defined philosophy in the image of the dominant Euro-American thought systems, which they considered benchmarks for measuring the propriety of all philosophical thought. Consequently, late comers to mainstream philosophical reasoning such as African philosophy had already been excluded as 'other' thought systems, when they entered the scene, as an indication of their 'unphilosophical' nature. These 'other' philosophies were so regarded because Euro-American philosophy had already taken centrestage as the norm when the former systems started being considered as thought systems in their own right.
It took centuries of relentless struggles for the 'other' philosophies to deconstruct the huge edifice of accumulated axioms about their alleged unphilosophical nature, based on the absence of the essential elements of Euro-American philosophy, which had become the philosophy. Hence new philosophies such as the African jurisprudence's concept of ubuntu get contested before they get off the ground by legal scholars and constitutional interpreters trained in Western philosophy. Whilst some contestants resent what they regard as the excavation of obsolete values that are no longer of service to humanity, others hail the contribution of these novel ways and are excited to learn about new knowledge systems.
Spatial justice instruments seek to eliminate spatial injustices that result from discrimination and marginalisation. Inequitable access to housing, educational and economic opportunities and health facilities are consequences of spatial injustice. The instruments used to promote spatial justice are varied and include urban regeneration policies and programmes, plans, social movements and judicial intervention.
Legislation enacted to deal with spatial injustice is applied infrequently. Nevertheless, the United States Fair Housing Act (1968) with one recent and one proposed amendment, and Brazil's City Statute (2001) are noteworthy examples of such legislation. Since South Africa's history includes some of the worst examples of spatial injustice it is significant that it has now added its voice to these two jurisdictions in addressing spatial injustice via legislation. The Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act 16 of 2013 includes principles of spatial justice, the components of which can be reduced to redressing past spatial imbalances and exclusions; including people and areas previously excluded; and upgrading informal areas and settlements. This paper interrogates the content, application and success of these three legislative instruments which aim to transform spatial injustice into spatial justice.
Although national Human Rights Commissions (NHRCs) are institutional mechanisms suitable for advancing the domestic implementation of socioeconomic rights, traditional approaches to the advancement of these rights have more readily focused on the role of courts. This process has witnessed the prioritisation of the justiciability of these rights above other non- and quasi-judicial means for their realisation. As a result, contemporary scholarship has barely noticed the role and practical efforts of NHRCs in this regard. To fill this gap, this article evaluates the mandate, activities, and effectiveness of NHRCs in three selected Commonwealth African countries - Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda - and identifies four factors which either impair or enhance their effective performance of this role: the explicit provision of socio-economic rights as justiciable guarantees in the constitutional framework of states; the granting of an explicit legal or constitutional mandate on socio-economic rights to NHRCs; the provision of adequate institutional, functional, and financial independence for NHRCs; and a high level of institutional support from other institutions that ensure states' accountability for human rights.
Today, private military and security contractors (PMSCs), with their specialised skills and ability to deploy rapidly, outnumber traditional armed forces in conflict zones. Questions around their status, what they can be contracted to do, and their regulation under existing international law, are becoming more pressing. The domestic regulatory regime has proved to be inconsistent, jurisdictionally limited, and notoriously slow to enforce accountability against PMSCs. Since the draft PMSC Convention was tabled in 2009, it has failed to mature into a binding international convention. The year 2014 saw the proposal of an independent ISO-type certification process for PMSCs. In this article, we argue that a multi-layered, complementary, best-practice approach, which draws on existing industry self-regulation, the draft PMSC Convention, robust domestic enforcement on the basis of aut dedere aut judicare, and independent accreditation processes can collectively constitute a new way of regulating this industry.
It is estimated that between 10 000 and 20 000 civilians were killed by state and state sponsored agents between 1982 and 1988 in Zimbabwe. In addition to murder, there were widespread torture, rape and other sexual offences, genital mutilations, assault, and arson. These crimes have come to be known as the 'Gukurahundi atrocities'. The fact that thirty years down the line the alleged main perpetrators of these crimes are still in charge of Zimbabwe's political and security infrastructure, makes it difficult to find justice for survivors and the relatives of those who died. However, as illustrated in this article, most of the legal hurdles put in place by the regime to ensure impunity can be overcome.
In this contribution we discuss the position of Islamic finance in South Africa and the Netherlands in the light of legal pluralism and legal diversity in each legal system. Islamic finance is based on Islamic law, which is a set of moral and religious principles. According to Islamic law, the payment and receipt of riba (interest) and gharar (contractual uncertainty) are forbidden. Consequently, alternative Islamic finance contracts are structured where the financier makes a profit either through trade in tangible assets or through a profit-and-loss-sharing arrangement, instead of making profit through charging interest.
This article acknowledges that the BEPS concerns facing developing countries (such as those in Africa), may not necessarily be the same as those facing developed countries. Part 1 of the article addresses what Africa's response should be to the OECD BEPS Action Plan, while Part 2 offers a critical analysis of some aspects of the BEPS Action Plan from an African perspective. To discuss Africa's response to BEPS, I explain the concepts of tax avoidance and tax planning with reference to international case law which is of persuasive value in most African countries, or forms part of their common law. I then explain the causes of BEPS, the challenges BEPS poses to the corporate tax systems, the importance of corporate taxes in Africa, and the factors that exacerbate BEPS in Africa. Thereafter an explanation is given of the difference between BEPS and illicit financial flows - a matter giving rise to major confusion among the general public in understanding BEPS issues and finding solutions to the problem of capital flight in Africa. Against this background, I address the relevance of the OECD BEPS Action Plan in Africa and how Africa should respond to the plan.