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Law Faculty Focus: Pressing Questions

30 Mar 2015 - 12:45

A rampant drug trade, xenophobic violence, government corruption, rising income inequality and executive compensation – Yusuf Omar gets to grips with the legalities around some of society's tricky questions.

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Do policing and prison make a dent in the drugs trade?

A purely punitive approach to criminal justice leads to more prisons being built and more people being housed in them. The legal fraternity knows this well, says Kelly Phelps, senior lecturer in criminology at UCT.

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Does executive pay feed income inequality – and how can we fix it?

Massive salary disparities between those in the upper echelons of corporate management and those lower down the ladder are fodder for heated debate in a country racked by social inequality. Co-authors of the 2014 book Executive Salaries in South Africa: Who should have a say on pay, Associate Professor Debbie Collier (deputy dean of UCT's Faculty of Law) and Kaylan Massie discuss whether there's a 'best practice' for remunerating those at the top of the earnings pile.

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Can good fences make good neighbours?

State police might be good at solving crimes, but they aren't always the best at preventing them, says Julie Berg, of UCT's Department of Public Law. To illustrate her point, all it took was some chickens, a fence, and a neighbourhood scuffle.

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What's it like to seek asylum in South Africa?

There's a great divide between the rights afforded refugees under the South African Constitution, and how they're treated in their day-to-day dealings with bureaucracy and ordinary citizens. Fatima Khan, director of UCT's Refugee Rights Unit, takes us through some of the challenges refugees – and the people trying to support them – face on an ongoing basis.

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How is the Public Protector's role changing?

At its last briefing for 2014, the Public Protector's Office announced that it would shift focus from disciplinary action to discovering the root cause of maladies, particularly concerns about service delivery. Professor Pierre de Vos, Claude Leon Foundation Chair in Constitutional Governance at UCT, sheds some light on what this strategic change could mean for South Africa's democracy.

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Stories curated by Yusuf Omar

Monday Monthly Read more stories from the March 2015 edition.