Research on Public Protests Wins Law Academic Top AwardHumanities

Mr Khulekani Khumalo (left) receiving his best research paper prize.Mr Khulekani Khumalo (left) receiving his best research paper prize.

UKZN academic Mr Khulekani Khumalo’s inaugural presentation at the Society of Law Teachers of Southern Africa (SLTSA) Conference earned him the Best First Time Presenter prize.

Khumalo’s paper was titled: “When is Protest Action ‘Violent’ for Purposes of the Crime of Public Violence”.

The Conference gives South African legal education specialists an opportunity to be at presentations by both emerging and established Law academics and also provides them with a chance to exchange ideas and research findings on all aspects of the law.

UKZN was again well represented at the Conference with Law academics Professor Shannon Hoctor, Professor Nomthandazo Ntlama, Ms Nicci Whitear-Nel, Ms Zama Njobe, Mr Maropeng Mpya and Ms Juanita Easthorpe also presenting papers.

A discussion on protests usually grabs the attention of people as it is a burning issue in society today. I analysed the existing meaning of “violence”, identified its shortcomings and proposed a definition of violence that I believe does not lead to inconsistent conclusions and uncertainties in the law,’ said Khumalo.

Khumalo’s research in this area has been published in the First Volume of the South African Journal of Criminal Justice (SACJ) in 2016 and his passion for the subject continues to grow.

‘The public order field is an interesting area of the law to be involved in at present, especially in the aftermath of last year’s #FeesMustFall protests,’ said Khumalo.  ‘A number of cases have come before the courts for adjudication and those judgments are now translating into various academic contributions aimed at developing our public order jurisprudence. During the December break, I produced two articles on issues pertaining to public violence and these are being considered for publication.’

Khumalo plays an active role in teaching in his position as a Lecturer in the School of Law and is also a doctoral candidate.

‘The comments I received from the Conference have given me more ideas for further publications in my field.  I am continuing with my PhD thesis which is also in the same area - looking at the constitutionality of South Africa’s existing internal security laws,’ he said.

Thandiwe Jumo