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LCS-LL301: Justice and Transparency in Africa

Africa is making huge strides, in all areas: economic growth, peace and stability, governance, and in the area of constitutionalism and rule of law. Yet, the progress is precarious, with many a setback. There are still enormous challenges to be addressed that encompass, region to region, a large number of issues that imperil constitutional democracy, including:

  •  abuses of executive power and electoral laws;
  •  threats to judicial independence;
  •  weaknesses in the legal protection of minorities;
  • overlap between religion and state;
  • over-bearing secrecy and a lack of access to information;
  • a lack of independence in key institutions of public office and constitutional governance.

This course provides an opportunity to examine some of these issues, within the conceptual framework of the ‘rule of law’ (broadly defined), and through the lens of a number of case studies – both country or regional (eg South Africa or Southern/East Africa) and thematic (eg Transparency/the Right of Access to Information).

The course is convened and co-convened by the leadership and senior researchers of the UCT research unit whose primary programme is the new African Justice and Transparency Initiative (AJTI). Hence, it draws heavily on the primary research that is being conducted by the unit on issues such as judicial appointments in comparative African perspective and the law & the internet in Africa.

The course also includes a number of ‘outside’ experts and will use a highly inter-active, facilitated dialogue approach to learning. Although primarily a law course, the approach is inter-disciplinary, noting that the rule of law is now one of the new sustainable development goals that were launched in September 2015 to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Thus, the course places development in the rule of law in Africa within a broader development and governance framework, drawing on insights and perspectives from political economy and sustainability.

Full course outline 

About the Instructors


Richard Calland is the course convenor and principal instructor for this course, and has for almost twenty years been working in the fields of democratic governance and sustainable development in South Africa and beyond. Based at the University of Cape Town (UCT), where he is Associate Professor in Public Law, Calland specializes in freedom of information law and serves as a member of the Independent Access to Information Appeals Board of the World Bank. At UCT he also heads its Democratic Governance & Rights Unit and its new programme, the African Justice & Transparency Initiative (AJTI), which will be launched in early 2015.

Before moving to South Africa in 1994, Calland practiced law for seven years at the London Bar. From 1995-2011, he headed the Political Information & Monitoring Service and then the Economic Governance programme at Idasa - Africa's leading democracy Institute. A senior associate of the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, he is also a founding member of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution and with others he also founded the Parliamentary Monitoring Group (PMG) and the Open Democracy Advice Centre (ODAC).

He is a regular commentator in the media and his political column has been carried in the Mail & Guardian newspaper since 2001. Calland's latest book 'The Zuma Years: South Africa's Changing Face of Power' was published in August 2013 by Zebra Press.

Dingake, Oagile - profile picture 2

Oagile Dingake is the co-convenor for this course, and has served both as a judge of the High Court of Botswana since 2005 and as a judge of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone since 2013. He also served as a judge of the Industrial Court of Botswana from 2002 to 2005. As a judge of the Industrial Court he facilitated at various judge seminars on International Labour Standards. 

Prior to his appointment as a judge, Dingake lectured in the Faculty of Law at the University of Botswana (1993 to 2000). He continues to pursue his interest in academic teaching as an honorary professor of Public Law at the University of Cape Town.

Oagile Dingake holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cape Town, an LL.M. from the University of London and an LL.B. from the University of Botswana. He has published three books: Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law in BotswanaIndividual Labour Law in Botswana and Collective Labour Law in Botswana.




Brochure Front Cover

Course Highlights

  • This course provides a mixture of the conceptual, the academic and the practitioner perspective. 
  • Both the convenor and co-convenor have ‘real world’, practitioner experience, as activists, lawyers and judges. 
  • We bring this real world, lived experience perspective to bear both in the pedagogy and the content, and through the outside experts that will      contribute. 
  • We specifically and very deliberately locate the law within its broader socio-economic, political and environmental context, recognising the need to engage with complexity and align our understanding of justice and transparency in Africa within its particular political economy and its      current developmental trajectory.