Justice Kate O’Regan – Chairperson
Kate O’Regan served as a judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa from 1994 – 2009 and has been serving as an ad hoc judge of the Supreme Court of Namibia since 2010. From 2008 – 2012, she served as the inaugural chairperson of the United Nations Internal Justice Council, a body established to ensure independence, professionalism and accountability in the internal system of justice in the UN. She is an honorary Professor at UCT and a visiting Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Oxford and also serves on the boards of many NGOs working in the fields of democracy, the rule of law, human rights and equality.
Dr Ursula Hoadley
Dr Ursula Hoadley is an Associate Professor working in the School of Education at the University of Cape Town. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Natal in 1992, and her post-graduate studies at the University of Cape Town. Her research interests lie in the sociology of education, and her work reflects a particular interest in the relation between education and social stratification and the differential social and academic outcomes engendered through educational processes. Her work focuses on pedagogy, curriculum and school organisation at the primary level, and she has published extensively both locally and internationally in these areas. Ursula is a National Research Foundation (NRF) rated researcher. She is a member of several professional organisations; sits on a number of fora and boards; served on the Ministerial Review Committee of 2009 which led to the revision of the outcomes-based national curriculum; and participates regularly in processes of national and international research appraisal and review. She is currently working on a book ‘Pedagogy in poverty: 20 years of curriculum reform in South Africa’ due to be published by Routledge in 2016.
Itumeleng Mahabane, Treasurer
Since 2006, Itumeleng has served as Partner and Director of the Brunswick Corporate Communications Group. He is also a columnist for Business Day and the Financial Mail, having formerly been the Managing Editor of the latter. In 2003, Itumeleng was the winner of the prestigious Sanlam financial journalist of the year award.
Yoliswa grew up in Dimbaza Township in the Eastern Cape, and matriculated in King William’s Town. She completed a degree in Media, Film and Visual Studies, and thereafter an LLB at UCT. Yoliswa is a founding member of Equal Education and the current Chairperson. She also leads the organization’s Policy, Communications and Research Department.
Zukiswa Kota is the Programme Head of Monitoring and Advocacy at the Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM) based at Rhodes University. She has developed expertise in promoting social justice and in particular advocating for the implementation of law and policy promoting the right to education. Her other areas of work include monitoring of resource management in the delivery of public services.
Zukiswa is currently the Lead Coordinator of a civil society coalition – IMALI YETHU – working with the South African National Treasury to open up public budgets and promote public participation in the budget process; Vulekamali. An environmental science graduate, her interests range from food security and ethnobotany to Ecoliteracy and early childhood development.
Janice Bleazard was admitted to the Johannesburg Bar in 2012, before joining the Victoria Mxenge Group of Advocates the following year. She has a BA Honours and an LLB from UCT, as well as an LLM from New York University. In 2009-2010, she clerked at the Constitutional Court under Justice Thembile Skweyiya. Janice’s areas of speciality are administrative and constitutional law. She joined the EELC Trust in late 2013.
Ntshadi Mofokeng is the Chief Operations Officer of Equal Education. Having joined the social movement in 2012 ahead of its first national congress, she has served in various capacities across the organisation.
She graduated cum laude from Bryn Mawr College, USA, with a BA in Political Science where her thesis looked at the evolution of youth political participation in South Africa from the 1976 generation to the so-called born frees of the post-apartheid era.
In 2013, she was selected as one of Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans in the civil society category.
Achmat Toefy is a partner and leads the Public Law Practice at Webber Wentzel. He joined the EELC as a board member in January 2017. He holds Bachelor of Arts and LLB degrees from the University of Cape Town.
Achmat specialises in advising on and litigating in all areas of public and regulatory law. This includes matters relating to administrative and constitutional law.
He has specialist expertise in matters relating to the governance of public entities on the national, provincial and local government levels.
Achmat also has Certificates in Legislative Drafting and Competition Law from obtained at UCT.
A Tribute to Justice Arthur Chaskalson, our Founding Chairperson
On 1 December 2012, as the EELC’s first year of operations was drawing to a close, news reached Spin Street of the passing of Justice Arthur Chaskalson. The EELC’s trustees were all in a meeting that Arthur would usually have chaired. He had given his apologies a few days prior. Many of the staff were present, to give reports on their work, when the terrible news was announced.
Justice Chaskalson died on World AIDS Day. This added a further poignancy. Arguably the most celebrated, and probably the most impactful, judgment of the Constitutional Court which he lead, was its judgment in the TAC case. The case won the right of HIV-positive pregnant mothers to access Nevirapine, for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. World AIDS Day will forever be both the anniversary of Arthur’s death, and a reminder of the part he played in affirming life.
His passing came at a time when we were both confirming and celebrating the successful establishment of our new organisation. And yet we were comforted by the knowledge that Justice Chaskalson had been proud of the work and growth of the EELC.
Born in Johannesburg on 21 November 1931, Arthur Chaskalson would go on to play a defining role in many of South Africa’s most historic legal events. He was one of the team of defence lawyers who saved Nelson Mandela and his fellow activists from the death sentence at the Rivonia Trial in 1963-64. In 1978, by then Chairman of the Johannesburg Bar, he gave up the security of a lucrative private practice to establish the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), South Africa’s first public interest law firm, which profoundly undermined apartheid by ingenuously using the little space afforded by the apartheid legal order. Under his leadership, the LRC’s many achievements included decisive judgements against the apartheid policies of ‘influx control’ and forced eviction, as well as the training of over 200, mostly black African, young lawyers.
During the democratic transition Arthur co-wrote the Interim Constitution and its successor, the nation’s ground-breaking Constitution, and soon after became the founding President and later the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court which, during the 1990s, abolished the death penalty and guaranteed the rights to shelter and same-sex marriage.
In 2005, he laid the cornerstone for the Constitutional Court’s new home: the site of the dilapidated Old Fort Prison which once held South African freedom fighters. “Come here,” he stated in his address, “because here, at this site, your freedom is now protected.” During his retirement, he continued to work with the same fervour and dedication, serving as the President of the International Commission of Jurists, as a judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and as a teacher at the Columbia Law School in New York.
His phenomenal work ethic was something he maintained right up until the end. His rigorous and exhaustive reading of the EELC’s legal documents and court papers left the younger staff and trustees trailing behind. He was doubtless kept youthful by the intellect and companionship of his beloved wife Loraine. The staff of the EELC and the members of the EELC Trust would like to pay our deepest respects to the life and legacy of Justice Chaskalson, one of our country’s most distinguished, humble and inspiring human beings.