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Welcome remarks by Minister of Justice and Correctional Ronald Lamola at a meeting of the Inaugural Intergovernmental National Litigation Forum, Sheraton Hotel, Pretoria, 25 February 2022

Programme Director,
His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa,
Cabinet Colleagues
The Director-General of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development Advocate Mashabane
The Solicitor-General, Mr Fhedzisani Pandelani,
Heads of State Attorney Offices,
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Welcome to this historic gathering.  No doubt today marks a new chapter in State litigation services.

Mr President this gathering comes just of the back of the sixth administration having tabled its 3rd National Budget in Parliament.

Whilst tabling the budget, Minister Godogwana reminds us that, in 2021 in our Medium Budget Policy Statement we committed ourselves to chart a course towards growth and fiscal sustainability.

Ladies and Gentlemen, ensuring that we have an effective state litigation service is a critical component of reducing leakages in the fiscus.

Our gathering here is the culmination of a long journey.

The Intergovernmental National Ligation Forum comprise Heads of the State Attorney Offices as well as the Heads of Legal Services within State Departments and is co-chaired by the Office of the Solicitor General and the Office of the Presidency.

The main objectives of the Intergovernmental National Litigation Forum (INLF) are to:

(i)         develop interdepartmental relations, governance structures and strengthen the capacity of the South African government to manage State litigation services efficiently and effectively within the ambits of available resources;

(ii)        constructively engage each other on matters pertaining to State litigation and discuss issues of concern with the Office of the Solicitor-General and all relevant stakeholders;
(iii)       streamline processes and ensure the alignment to policy throughout the organs of state;

(iv)       create synergy in the conduct of State litigation and to facilitate the resolution of problems encountered in the management of State litigation;

(v)        serve as a vehicle for continuous dialogue on the quality of State legal services rendered by the State Attorney office to organs of state; and

(vi)       provide expertise and policy advisory service to organs of state.

State legal services are required across departmental boundaries.  Our aim is to ensure that these services are aligned to international best practices and should assist the government in responding to urgent and complex legal circumstances.  

To this end, top-quality legal services in the state are an absolute necessity.

I have no doubt that the State Attorney is at the heart of a capable and ethical state.  In other words, if we want to see it is what we are not doing right as a state our medico-legal claims and police claims paint a vivid image.

Ladies and Gentlemen

It’s been just under two years since we have implemented the State Attorney Amendment.  Since the appointment of the Solicitor General there are some green shoots which beginning to emerge for instance:

Policy instruments are in place to ensure that state legal services are delivered in a coordinated and effective manner.

We are entrenching alternative dispute resolution mechanisms (ADRM) is an essential component of the management of state litigation.

This includes the Legal Sector Code which is currently being duly processed by the Department of Trade Industry and Competition towards the cabinet.

Armed with the legal sector code we will be able to drive substantive reforms in the profession. 

We are also building a new cadre of State Attorneys, to do so effectively Mr President, we are resolute that we need to incorporate the youth into our organisation.

To this end, we are proud that our candidate attorney program has begun.  We are growing our own timber.  Who knows one day our next Solicitor-General could emerge from the ranks of our candidate attorney program. 

With any further delay ladies and gentlemen allow me to invite His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa to address.

I thank you.