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First Year Law Students Take Oath

March 10, 2017

First year Law students take an oath during a Pledge Ceremony hosted by the School of Law.

Winning the annual Ellie Newman Moot Court competition, beating 320 participants by showcasing outstanding legal skills, is a sure sign that fourth-year Law student Mr Elisha Kunene is equipped for success in the legal profession.

Kunene competed in the Moot final - hosted by the School of Law in Durban - alongside finalists Ms Jolene Thompson, Mr Andile Mabaso and Mr Connor Alexander.

The finalists displayed their legal prowess in front of judges, Law School academics Professor Karthy Govender, Ms Lindiwe Maqutu, Professor Tanya Woker and Mr Vishal Surbun as well as family and friends.

A highlight at the final was third-year Law student Mr Andile Mcineka being awarded the Yunus Mohammed Public Interest Law Award by Madam Justice Dhaya Pillay for his article: “Winnie Getting the Short End of the Stick”, which was published in The Sunday Tribune.

The award recognises Mcineka’s valuable contribution to knowledge in the field of public law.

‘There was depth in his argument; he drew on judgments in a coherent manner; it was a pleasure interacting with him…’ these were some of the comments made by the judges on Kunene’s performance before his announcement as the winner which was greeted with resounding applause and a standing ovation from the audience.

‘Winning the Ellie Newman award means the world to me. It’s literally a dream come true. My time in ‘varsity has been quite difficult in a number of ways but I was determined to finish strongly and I sort of viewed this year as a rebuilding period,’ says Kunene.

‘Earlier in the year a good friend of mine and I won the Southern African National Debating Championships and I ranked first in the country. So I really feel like God is with me on this winning streak.’

The great debater who used his skills to coach school debating teams to generate funds for his university tuition got academic merit scholarships from UKZN for his first and second year. However, monetary challenges nearly saw Kunene being financially excluded in his second year.

‘In a remarkable turn of events I was able to stay and complete my studies thanks to a generous intervention by Norton Rose Fulbright. The firm and I parted ways this year but I will always be grateful to them and to everyone else who have contributed to keeping me going,’ he said.

Looking to the future, Kunene said: ‘I have been granted the great privilege of being accepted to clerk for Justice Raymond Zondo at the Constitutional Court next year.’  His long-term plans include becoming an advocate.

Thandiwe Jumo
First year students at UKZN’s School of Law took an oath during a Pledge Ceremony at the Howard College Theatre during which they committed to act with integrity- both as students and legal practitioners - and be guardians of South Africa’s Constitution.

Keynote speaker, Constitutional Law Expert Professor Karthy Govender, encouraged students to focus on their strengths and invest in their future. ‘If you are not disciplined, you won’t achieve,’ said Govender, emphasising that they needed to have a vision of just where they wanted to be in four years’ time.

During the ceremony, students pledged to abide by the rules of the University, to treat their fellow students and staff with respect, to use resources in a proper manner, and to give of their best as students.

Student Ms Mbali Nzuza said being an argumentative person, she chose Law because it intrigued her.

Asked what she hopes to achieve during and after her studies, Nzuza said she wanted to make the world a better place, ensure that justice was done and fair and equal rights are implemented.

Nzuza aims to become an advocate and specialise in Criminal Law.

Before reciting the pledge with the students, Lecturer and a member of the National Consumer Tribunal, Professor Tanya Woker, encouraged them to think carefully about the words as they constituted a legal and binding agreement.

The students handed in their signed pledge on stage while collecting a copy of the South African Constitution.

Sithembile Shabangu

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