Thursday December 14, 2017

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YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESSES,

COUNCILLORS,

CHIEFS,

ACTING PRIME MINISTER,

ACTING CHIEF JUSTICE,

HONOURABLE CABINET MINISTERS,

MEMBERS OF THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS,

MADAM PRESIDENT OF SENATE,

HONOURABLE MEMBERS OF BOTH HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT,

REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR FOR THE HHOHHO REGION,

EXECUTIVE MEMBERS OF THE SADC ASSOCIATION AND VISITING LEGAL PRACTITIONERS,

EXECUTIVE MEMBERS OF THE SWAZILAND LAW SOCIETY AND THE ENTIRE LAWYERS OF THE KINGDOM OF SWAZILAND,

DISTINGUISHED GUESTS,

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.

SIYANIVUSELA NONKHE BEKUNENE LAPHA E-CONVENTIONCENTRE.

PREAMBLE

I HAVE BEEN COMMANDED BY HIS MAJESTY KING MSWATI III AND INGWENYAMA OF THE KINGDOM OF ESWATINI TO REPRESENT HIM IN THIS OCASSION- THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE 12TH SESSION OF THE SADC LAWYER’S ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE AND ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING. THEREFORE, I SHALL READ HIS SPEECH ACCORDINGLY.

INTRODUCTION

IT IS A GREAT PLEASURE FOR ME TO JOIN YOU ALL HERE AT EZULWINI CONVENTION CENTRE FOR THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE 12TH SESSION OF THE SADC LAWYER’S ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE.

WE TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO WELCOME YOU ALL ESPECIALLY OUR VISITORS FROM OUTSIDE THE BORDERS OF OUR KINGDOM.

WE HOPE YOU HAVE ALREADY ACCLIMATISED WITH YOUR DIFFERENT PLACES OF ABODE AND RESTED WELL TO ENGAGE MEANINGFULLY IN THE INTENSE TWO DAY CONFERENCE PROGRAMME AHEAD OF YOU.

12TH SESSION OF THE SADC LAWYERS CONFERENCE

THE KINGDOM OF ESWATINI IS DELIGHTED TO HOST A CONFERENCE OF THIS MAGNITUDE WHICH TODAY MARKS YOUR 12TH SESSION AND ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING.

I AM PLEASED TO LEARN THAT ESWATINI LAWYERS WERE INVOLVED IN ESTABLISHING OF THIS NOBLE BODY. This MAKES THE KINGDOM A FOUNDING MEMBER OF THIS IMPORTANT REGIONAL ORGANIZATION.

32ND SADC SUMMIT IN MAPUTO

THIS CONFERENCE FOLLOWS IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE 32ND SADC SUMMIT, WHICH WAS HELD IN MOZAMBIQUE - MAPUTO LAST WEEK. THE SUMMIT DELIBERATED ON ISSUES THAT SEEK TO PROMOTE DEVELOPMENT IN THE SADC REGION ESPECIALLY TRADE, PEACE AND STABILITY.

WE ALSO ENCOURAGED DEVELOPMENT THAT WILL PROMOTE GOOD LIVING STANDARDS FOR ALL. WE ALSO LOOKED AT ISSUES OF FOOD INSECURITY, THE ECONOMIC SITUATION, POVERTY, HIV, AND MALARIA WHICH CONTINUE TO CAUSE A SERIOUS THREAT TO THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF THE REGION.

ISSUES OF INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT AND THE SADC TRIBUNAL WERE ALSO PART OF THE AGENDA.

SIBAYA - PEOPLE’S PARLIAMENT

THIS CONFERENCE PRESENTS US WITH SEVERAL OPPORTUNITIES, ONE OF WHICH IS TO CREATE GREATER AWARENESS AND UNDERSTANDING TO OUR VISITORS ON OUR WAY OF LIFE WHICH IS RELEVANT TO YOUR DELIBERATIONS.

THE KINGDOM RECENTLY HELD A WEEK LONG NATIONAL CONSULTATIVE EXERCISE, SIBAYA, WHERE ISSUES OF NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT WERE DISCUSSED.

SIBAYA IS A FORUM THAT AFFORDS AN OPPORTUNITY TO EVERY SWAZI CITIZEN, IRRESPECTIVE OF GENDER, SOCIAL STATUS IN SOCIETY OR AFFILIATION, YOUNG AND OLD, TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE DEVELOPMENT OUR NATION.

WE BELIEVE THAT THIS IS THE BEST WAY TO CRAFT STRATEGIES THAT WILL PROPEL THIS NATION TO GREATER HEIGHTS. ALL OUR KEY NATIONAL DOCUMENTS ARE CONCEIVED AT SIBAYA.

OUR NATIONAL CONSTITUTION, NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY - VISION 2022 AMONGST OTHERS, CAME FROM THE PEOPLE AT E-SIBAYENI.

IT IS FOR THIS REASON THAT IN OUR CULTURE THE KING RULES WITH HIS PEOPLE. HE CONSULTS THE PEOPLE THROUGH DIFFERENT FORUMS AND SIBAYA IS THE HIGHEST CONSTITUTIONAL FORUM FOR THE PRONOUNCEMENT OF NATIONAL DECISIONS.

THIS IS OUR WAY OF LIFE WHICH HAS BEEN PASSED ON FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION AND HAS WORKED WELL IN KEEPING US UNITED IN A PEACEFUL ENVIRONMENT OVER THE YEARS.

IN THE KINGDOM, MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT ARE EXPECTED TO APPRAISE THEIR CONSTITUENCIES ABOUT ALL BILLS THAT ARE PILOTED IN PARLIAMENT, INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS AND PROTOCOLS SO THAT OUR PEOPLE ARE ABLE TO DELIBERATE ON THEM.

VISION

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WE ARE PLEASED TO NOTE THAT YOUR VISION IS THAT OF UPHOLDING HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE RESPECT OF THE RULE OF LAW.

IT ALSO SEEKS TO PROMOTE AND SUPPORT THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY AND PROTECT HUMAN LIBERTIES FOR THE UNDER PRIVILEGED AND MINORITY GROUPS.

YOUR PROGRAMME FOR THE NEXT TWO DAYS IS DEEP ROOTED ON ISSUES OF HUMANITY, JUDICIAL EFFICACY, PROTECTION AND PROMOTION OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS, MINORITY RIGHTS AND OF COURSE THE PROMOTION OF THE BUSINESS OF LAWYERS.

ESWATINI’S NATIONAL CONSTITUTION

OUR NATIONAL CONSTITUTION CONTAINS THE BASIC BUT IMPORTANT CONCEPTS UNDER DISCUSSION TOGETHER WITH THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE INSTITUTIONS THAT ARE TO PROMOTE AND PROTECT HUMAN RIGHTS.

AMONGST OTHER THINGS; THE CONCEPT OF ILLEGITIMATE CHILDREN HAS BEEN ABOLISHED BY OUR CONSTITUTION.

WOMEN ARE NOT COMPELLED TO UNDERGO OR UPHOLD A CUSTOM TO WHICH THEY ARE OPPOSED IN CONSCIENCE.

AS REPOSITORIES OF CONSTITUTIONAL VALUES AND GUARDIANS OF HUMAN RIGHTS, YOU WILL NO DOUBT APPRECIATE THE IMPACT OF THESE INTERVENTIONS.

LIKE ALL THE PRINCIPLES EXPRESSED IN THE THEME OF THIS CONFERENCE, TIMELY AND EFFECTIVE JUSTICE IS IMPORTANT. THESE PRINCIPLES ARE INEXTRICABLY LINKED TO THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL WELLBEING OF ANY SOCIETY.

IN RECOGNITION OF THE NEED TO PROMOTE ACCESS TO JUSTICE, THE KINGDOM OF SWAZILAND HAS RECENTLY ENACTED THE SMALL CLAIMS COURTS ACT.

CLAIMS NOT EXCEEDING E10 000.00 (TEN THOUSAND EMALANGENI) MAY BE EXPEDITIOUSLY ADJUDICATED BY THE SMALL CLAIMS COURTS SPREAD ACROSS THE SUB REGIONS IN THE KINGDOM.

CONVENTIONAL COURTS ARE OFTEN CHARACTERISED BY COMPLEX PROCEDURES WHICH ONLY LEGAL PRACTITIONERS UNDERSTAND.

IT IS NOT A SECRET THAT THE COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH HIRING THESE LEGAL PRACTITIONERS TEND TO BE PROHIBITIVE ESPECIALLY FOR THE ORDINARY PERSON IN THE SEMI URBAN AND RURAL AREAS.

THESE ARE SOME OF THE INITIATIVES BY THE KINGDOM OF ESWATINI IN IMPROVING THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL WELLBEING OF ALL SOCIETIES IN THE SADC REGION. AFTER ALL, IT IS THE BROADER INTERESTS OF THESE SOCIETIES WHICH THE SADC LAW SOCIETY ULTIMATELY SERVES.

INSPECTION OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES FACILITIES

AMONGST THE THEMES REFLECTED IN YOUR BUSINESS AT THIS CONFERENCE IS THE STATE OF OUR PRISONS NOW APPROPRIATELY CALLED THE CORRECTIONAL SERVICES IN THE KINGDOM.

WE ARE AWARE OF YOUR BODY’S REQUEST TO ALLOW THE LAW SOCIETY OF SWAZILAND TO ACCESS THEM, INSPECT AND REPORT ON THEIR CONDITIONS UNDER YOUR PROJECT OF STRENGTHENING THE ROLE OF LAWYERS IN THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE OBSERVANCE OF THE RULE OF LAW IN THE SADC REGION.

THE NATION IS ENCOURAGED BY THE OUTCOME OF THIS EXERCISE. THE REPORT OF THE LAW SOCIETY OF SWAZILAND SPEAKS VOLUMES ABOUT OUR FACILITIES.

IT REFLECTS THE CONTEMPORARY STATUS THAT WE HAVE MOVED FROM IMPRISONMENT TO CORRECTIONAL SUPERVISION AND REHABILITATION WHICH ALLOWS THE OFFENDERS TO BE EASILY INTEGRATED BACK INTO COMMUNITIES.

WE ARE PROUD THAT OUR FACILITIES ARE WELL-EQUIPPED. THERE ARE IN HOUSE CLINICS MANNED BY COMPETENT PROFESSIONALS; A FULLY FLEDGED FORMAL EDUCATION CURRICULUM IS PROVIDED FOR JUVENILE OFFENDERS AND THE EXCEPTIONAL TRAINING IN DIFFERENT LIFE SKILLS WHICH BECOMES HANDY WHEN OFFENDERS ARE RELEASED BACK TO SOCIETY.

WE ARE PARTICULARLY PLEASED THAT THE CORRECTIONAL AUTHORITIES WELCOMED THE INITIATIVE BY THE LAW SOCIETY OF SWAZILAND WITH OPEN ARMS WHICH INDICATES THAT THERE IS NOTHING TO HIDE.

PROFESSIONAL ETHICS

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

FIRST AND FOREMOST YOU NEED TO UPHOLD YOUR PROFESSIONAL ETHICS. AS LAWYERS, OUR PEOPLE LOOK UP TO YOU TO PROVIDE THEM WITH PROFESSIONAL LEGAL ADVICE.

WE BELIEVE YOUR CALLING IS TO SERVE THE PEOPLE DILIGENTLY AND TO BE HONEST AT ALL TIMES.

TO MANY OF OUR YOUNG PEOPLE LAWYERS ARE THEIR ROLE MODELS. THEREFORE AS LAWYERS YOU NEED TO LIVE A POSITIVE LIFE. LEAVE A GOOD LEGACY IN YOUR COMMUNITY. BE ABOVE REPROACH AT ALL TIMES.

IT IS HEART BREAKING WHEN SOME LEARNED FRIENDS ARE FOUND ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE LAW OR EMBROILED IN UNETHICAL BEHAVIOUR. OUR MESSAGE TO ALL LAWYERS IS THAT, YOU NEED TO AVOID THIS CANCER BECAUSE IT COMPROMISES YOUR NOBLE PROFESSION.

 

WE LOOK UPON THE LAW SOCIETY TO ADMONISH THOSE THAT TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OUR CITIZENS NOT ONLY HERE IN THE SADC REGION BUT THE WORLD AT LARGE.

IT IS IMPORTANT THEREFORE TO BUILD A STRONG REGULATORY FRAME WORK THAT IS BEYOND REPROACH.

MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC MUST TRUST LEGAL PRACTITIONERS AND WHERE TRUST HAS BEEN LOST, IT IS YOUR DUTY TO RESTORE IT.

CONCLUSION

IN CONCLUSION, I HAVE NO DOUBT THAT THERE WILL BE THOUGHT-PROVOKING AND ENLIGHTENING CONTRIBUTIONS MADE IN THIS CONFERENCE WHICH WILL ASSIST THE SADC REGION DEAL WITH THE CHALLENGES THAT IMPEDE DEVELOPMENT.

THE IMPACT OF THE COMPLIMENTARY ROLE PLAYED BY THE REGIONAL BODIES IN THE EFFECTIVE RESOLUTION OF GLOBAL PROBLEMS CANNOT BE OVER-EMPHASISED.

DECLARATION

FINALLY AT THIS JUNCTURE, IT REMAINS FOR ME TO NOW OFFICIALLY DECLARE THE 2012 CONFERENCE AND ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING FOR SADC LAWYERS HERE AT EZULWINI OFFICIALLY OPENED.

 

THANK YOU - MAY ALMIGHTY GOD BLESS US ALL

 

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