Master of Laws Graduates Celebrate Cum Laude Achievements

Ms Thandeka Duma and Ms Naseeba Sadak.
LLM cum laude graduates, Ms Thandeka Duma (left) and Ms Naseeba Sadak.

Ms Thandeka Duma, who is a practising attorney at Refugee Appeal Authority of South Africa at the Department of Home Affairs chose to pursue an LLM in Constitutional Litigation to broaden her knowledge in this field. 

‘I graduated with my LLB in 2009 and have worked with professional attorneys at various reputable human rights organisation. This postgraduate degree will help me advance my career into high-level management positions,’ she said. 

Through her research titled: Social Integration: The Missing Link in South Africa’s Refugee Integration Strategy, Duma shines a spotlight on South Africa’s treatment of refugees, particularly, how xenophobia affects the social integration of refugees. 

‘I have worked in this field for a number of years and have learned the various challenges faced by refugees when trying to rebuild their lives in the country, with xenophobia being the main challenge,’ she said. 

The study, co-supervised by Dr Willene Holness and Mr Matthew Kimble, proposes that South Africa has a lot to learn from countries such as Uganda to create a welcoming and conducive environment where both refugees and locals can co-exist and share the same resources. 

‘This however needs a robust education campaign to change the attitudes of locals to be more tolerant and sympathetic to the plight of refugees who are forced by persecution and ongoing events disturbing public order to flee their countries and seek refuge in South Africa.’ 

The need for the law to keep up with the rapid development of Islamic banking is what motivated Ms Naseeba Sadak to use her business law research to contribute to the advancement of this field. The study: Accommodating Islamic Financial Contract Principles in the South African Legal System: A Focus on Penalties for Late Payments, was supervised by Ms Munirah Osman-Hyder. 

‘The development of the legal regime becomes an important area to aid and assist legal practitioners in identifying and resolving legal disputes. Hence, my research also seeks to enrich knowledge, be of value to future research and legislators, and help improve the enforcement of Islamic law within a South African legal context,’ explained Sadak. 

The study focused primarily on the prospective integration of Islamic financial contract principles into the South African legal system, with a particular emphasis on the imposition of penalties for late payments. 

Sadak further elaborated that due to its prohibition of interest, Islamic financial instruments possess unique characteristics that starkly contrast with conventional banking practices, which heavily rely on interest. 

‘This has made implementing Islamic law into the South African financial system challenging, particularly when it comes to applying and enforcing Islamic principles in dispute resolution within the judicial system. Finding solutions for these complex, challenging and often novel problems are some of the challenges I grappled with over the course of the year in terms of my research.  One proposed solution is to establish a dedicated court for Islamic law, which would be ideal for the South African legal system. An alternative solution may be the introduction of a specialised tribunal that conducts preliminary reports before matters are introduced to the courts. By reducing leverage and promoting economic stability, the incorporation of Islamic finance should be readily embraced in South Africa. Regulatory frameworks should be established to accommodate the recognised Islamic banking system to reduce the likelihood of disputes arising in court.’ 

Apart from graduating with her LLM cum laude, Sadak also celebrated being awarded the Top Master’s student in Business Law prize at the School of Law’s Student Awards Ceremony and being the first in her family to obtain a postgraduate degree. 

Words: Thandiwe Jumo

Photographs: Abhi Indrarajan

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