Madam Deputy Speaker, it is a pity this debate comes so close to an election, because it seems as if a number of parties are electioneering in this House. [Interjections.]
I am quite surprised at some of the comments made, namely that the Bill is going to interfere with the independence of the profession and that it is going to interfere and allow government to control the judiciary and so on. With respect, I think that anyone who has those arguments, either has not read this version of the Bill before the House or has been smoking their socks. [Laughter.]
As far as government or ministerial control over the council is concerned, only 3 people out of 22 is appointed by the Minister; that's all. The rest are appointed by the different constituent parties. The dissolution of the council - which was raised as another example of ministerial control - has been dealt with by Mr Mfundisi and Nkosi Holomisa.
The issue of the Minister making regulations is governed by those regulations being subject to approval by Parliament. So, I think it is absurd to claim that this Bill will enable government to control the legal profession.
The main issue is really the question of convergence. Now, for those who are nonlawyers, the former British Commonwealth countries have attorneys and advocates or solicitors and barristers. The issue is about their separation. It has been alleged that this Bill is fusion by stealth. It is not fusion by stealth. You still have advocates. They still have their own training - that's after they get the same law degree as attorneys - and they still have their own representation on the council.
However, advocates and attorneys had been doing more of the same work. So, in 1995, attorneys got the right to appear in the High Courts, in which only advocates could appear before. This Bill brings it a little bit closer by allowing advocates to take direct briefs. So their work is overlapping more and more. Why must you then have two separate codes or separate disciplinary processes? An advocate appears in the High Court, messes up the case; why must they be dealt with differently from an attorney who does the same?
What is interesting is that a number of Commonwealth countries on this continent - some of them, like Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Namibia were mentioned - upon independence, abolished the distinction between attorneys and advocates. Now, I know that for the DA those are only African countries so you don't regard them that highly ... [Interjections.] ... but that also applied to New Zealand, which I know you regard more highly ... [Interjections.] ... and Australia. So what is the big issue? [Interjections.]
I want to quote from what the president of the UK Law Society said:
The new modes of practice will increasingly challenge the norms under which lawyers practice under the separate titles of barrister and solicitor. I believe this development will lead inevitably to the need to revisit the question of whether these two professions should continue to be trained separately, represented and regulated as they have been over the past 180 years. I envisage that the time is coming when the barrister- solicitor distinction will a more decorative than a functional aspect of our legal constitution.
Now this is from England, a country you regard very highly. [Interjections.]
It does not surprise me that the DA has this position on this Bill, because the DA represents conservative, established interests and their opposition to the Legal Practice Bill is just another indication of that. [Interjections.]
A lot of work has been put into this Bill ... [Interjections.] If the DA members can listen and not just barrack ... [Interjections.]
We have produced a very good Bill. I think it will finally, 20 years after democracy, ensure that the legal profession accelerates its transformation, because out of 473 senior counsel only 4 are African women.
I want to mention just one thing on the parity between attorneys and advocates and the issue of equal representation. There are 2 000 advocates and 21 000 attorneys. So, to want equal representation really reminds one of what things were like in the constitutional negotiations in 1994, when protecting minority white interests was sought.
I think we have a good Bill. It is a pity that the DA had to show its true colours. It's a pity that Cope had to resort to politicking.
I thank everybody for the debate and hope that the House supports the Bill.
Question put: That the Bill be read a second time.
The House divided:
AYES - 226: Abram, S; Adams, P E; Ainslie, A R; Bam-Mugwanya, V; Beukman, F; Bhengu, F; Bhengu, N R; Bhengu, P; Bikani, F C; Bogopane-Zulu, H I; Bonhomme, T; Booi, M S; Borman, G M; Boshigo, D F; Botha, Y R; Bothman, S G; Burgess, C V; Carrim, Y I; Cele, M A; Chabane, O C; Chili, D O; Chiloane, T D; Chohan, F I; Coleman, E M; Cronin, J P; Cwele, S C; Dambuza, B N; Daniels, P N; De Lange, J H; Diale, L N; Dikgacwi, M M; Dlakude, D E; Dlodlo, A; Dlomo, B J; Dlulane, B N; Dubazana, Z S; Dube, M C; Duma, N M; Dunjwa, M L; Ebrahim, E I; Fransman, M L; Frolick, C T; Fubbs, J L; Gaehler, L B; Gasebonwe, T M A; Gaum, A H; Gcwabaza, N E; Gelderblom, J P; Gina, N; Godi, N T; Gololo, C L; Goqwana, M B; Gumede, D M; Hajaig, F; Hanekom, D A; Holomisa, S P; Huang, S-B; Jeffery, J H; Joemat-Pettersson, T M; Johnson, M; Kekana, C D; Kenye, T E; Khoarai, L P; Kholwane, S E; Khumalo, F E; Khunou, N P; Koornhof, G W; Kota-Fredericks, Z A; Kubayi, M T; Landers, L T; Lekgetho, G; Lesoma, R M M; Line-Hendriks, H; Lishivha, T E; Luyenge, Z; Maake, J J; Mabasa, X; Mabedla, N R; Mabudafhasi, T R; Mabuza, M C; Madlala, N M; Madlopha, C Q; Mafolo, M V; Magagula, V V; Magama, H T; Magubane, E; Magwanishe, G; Mahomed, F; Makasi, X C; Makhubela- Mashele, L S; Makhubele, Z S; Makwetla, S P; Malgas, H H; Maluleka, H P; Maluleke, J M; Manamela, K B; Manana, M C; Manganye, J; Mangena, M S; Mapisa-Nqakula, N N; Maserumule, F T; Mashatile, S P; Mashigo, R M; Mashishi, A C; Masilo, J M; Masutha, T M; Mathale, C C; Mathebe, D H; Mathibela, N F; Matshoba, J M; Maunye, M M; Mavunda, D W; Mayatula, S M; Maziya, A M; Mdaka, M N; Mdakane, M R; Mfulo, A; Mfundisi, I S; Mgabadeli, H C; Mjobo, L N; Mkhize, H B; Mlambo, E M; Mmusi, S G; Mnisi, N A; Mocumi, P A; Moepeng, J K; Mohai, S J; Mohale, M C; Mohorosi, M M; Mokoena, A D; Molebatsi, M A; Molewa, B E E; Moloi-Moropa, J C; Moloto, K A; Moni, C M; Morutoa, M R; Moss, L N; Motlanthe, K P; Motsepe, R M; Motshekga, M S; Mthethwa, E N; Mushwana, F F; Muthambi, A F; Nchabeleng, M E; Ndabandaba, L G B; Ndabeni, S T; Ndebele, J S; Ndlazi, A Z; Nelson, W J; Nene, N M; Newhoudt-Druchen, W S; Ngcengwane, N D; Ngcobo, B T; Ngcobo, E N N; Ngele, N J; Ngubeni-Maluleka, J P; Ngwenya, W; Nhlengethwa, D G; Nkwinti, G E; Ntapane, S Z; Ntuli, B M; Ntuli, Z C; Nxesi, T W; Nxumalo, M D; Nyalungu, R E; Nyanda, S; Nyekemba, E; Nzimande, B E; Oliphant, G G; Oliphant, M N; Pandor, G N M; Peters, E D; Petersen-Maduna, P; Phaliso, M N; Pilane- Majake, M C C; Pilusa-Mosoane, M E; Pule, D D; Radebe, G S; Radebe, B A; Radebe, J T; Ramathlodi, N A; Ramodibe, D M; Saal, G; Schneemann, G D; Segale-Diswai, M J; Selau, G J; September, C C; Shabangu, S; Sibanyoni, J B; Sibiya, D; Sindane, G S; Sisulu, L N; Sithole, S C N; Sizani, P S; Skosana, J J; Smith, V G; Snell, G T; Sogoni, E M; Sonto, M R; Sosibo, J E; Sotyu, M M; Suka, L; Sulliman, E M; Sunduza, T B; Swanepoel, D W; Thobejane, S G; Thomson, B; Tinto, B; Tlake, M F; Tobias, T V; Tsebe, S R; Tseke, G K; Tshabalala, J; Tshwete, P; Tsotetsi, D R; Turok, B; Twala, N M; van Rooyen, D D; Van Schalkwyk, M C J; Van Wyk, A; Wayile, Z G; Williams, A J; Williams-De Bruyn, S T; Xasa, T; Ximbi, D L; Xingwana, L M; Yengeni, L