South Africa Legislative Drafting Program 
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2004 Internship Opportunities

General Introduction | Internships | Cost Implications | Application for Internships | Dates for 2004 Internships |
Internship Application Form


1.1   General introduction

South Africa has a new Constitution, which took effect on 4 February 1997, to serve the collective values, rights, and freedoms of a united though diverse multilingual nation of 43 million citizens. To meet the government's enlightened goals for bringing about democratic social, political, and economic transformation for all its citizens, much new legislation is necessary, and much of existing law needs revision and amendment at all levels of government. Drafting such legislation is clearly a major priority for the country.

A nation governed by the rule of law has to have laws that are effective, requiring that they be well researched, clearly written, and capable of translating broad policy into detailed provisions and regulations that reflect the intent of their policymakers. Those who draft legislation work in a very demanding profession. It requires a broad knowledge of existing law, drafting for compliance, conceptualizing policymakers' motivations, having the ability to write highly technical language while understanding subtleties of form and meaning, and taking long practice to produce transparent, implementable legislation within a minimum of time.

In South Africa today, people with such knowledge and training are in short supply and the demand for them is great, at national, provincial, and local government levels. To meet the demand, people in various government units are being called upon to draft specific legislation without necessarily having the requisite legal background or experience.

Earlier this year the University of Pretoria (UP) and the University of Indiana, United States of America have entered into a joint agreement (Legislative Drafting Program for South Africa) to contribute towards the larger effort to build a cadre of skilled legislative drafting professionals for South Africa, in collaboration with South African partners (the Rand Afrikaans University (RAU) and Justice College.

The Legislative Drafting Program for South Africa (LDPSA) is a three-year multi-component institutional development program, involving a partnership between Indiana University and the University of Pretoria. This outcomes-based program involves a combined effort by US and South African academic/professional staff to train mid-level professionals over three years in the South African context by:

  • holding annual in-service training seminars (in Pretoria); and
  • sponsoring short-term internships in the United States to enable a total of 12 South African drafters to intern with state officials and attorneys who regularly draft legislation at the state level.


1.2    Internships
LDPSA has arranged for three internships with the Indiana Legislative Services Agency (ILSA) and one with an Indianapolis law firm with extensive ties to state government. These placements will enable interns -

  • to observe how legislative agencies and private law firms function in relation to lawmakers;
  • to learn, through participation, mentoring and supervision, advanced drafting techniques from US professionals with long experience in the field; and
  • on how to set up and organize effective drafting offices.

The goals of the programme are to strengthen South Africa's emerging democracy, assist in the empowerment of an important class of mid-level legal drafters, and enhance technical skills development and institution-building capacity for South African legislative drafters. Ultimately the aims of the proposed internship are capacity-building, collaboration and empowerment. The target group in South Africa would be primarily be legislative drafters in the second level of government (provincial legislatures), as well as subordinate (secondary) legislation. In view of the location of the South African institutions involved, these drafters would come from the Gauteng, Northern Cape and Mpumalanga provincial legislatures, as well as officials involved in the drafting of subordinate legislation. Experience has shown that these interns benefit more from working with state-level agencies, which are more comparable in scope to their countries, than with those at the federal level, corroborating UP's request to train drafters working at the provincial level.

It is important to note that the South African conventions and principles of legislative drafting will be adhered to during the internships. It not the aim of the programme to convert South African drafters from the Commonwealth-style of drafting to the American system, but rather to empower the interns with basic drafting skills. Staff members from Indiana University and the Indiana Legislative Services Agency have been furnished with copies of the South African Constitution, textbooks on South African constitutional law, as well Andrew Burger's Legislative drafting in South African (2002) Juta. (Mr Burger's book deals with the South African style of legislative drafting and is based on the ideas of Professors Crabbe and Thornton.) IN OTHER WORDS, THE TRAINING OF SOUTH AFRICAN INTERNS WILL TAKE PLACE WITHIN THE SOUTH AFRICAN CONSTITUTIONAL AND LEGAL FRAMEWORK.


1.3    Cost implications
All the costs of the internship programme will be sponsored by LDPSA: international travel to and from the USA; travel costs within the USA; a daily allowance for board and lodging; a small book allowance; visa applications and other incidentals. (Successful applicants should have US$50 for emergency travel funds en route to the USA, since their daily allowance will only be paid once they arrive in the USA.)


1.4    Application for internships
What do the applicants for the internships have to do?

  • Applicants must have a valid South African passport. If not, applicants must immediately apply for a passport.
  • Apply on the attached application form. On the application form, they must discuss reasons for seeking an internship and how it will benefit them professionally and personally. Their government units must write references and be prepared to give them one-month study leave.
  • The applications must reach Professor CJ Botha, Dept of Public Law, University of Pretoria on or before 2 July 2004.
  • The last step in the process is a formal selection procedure during the first half of July 2004 by a selection panel consisting of Professor CJ Botha, head of the department of Public Law, UP; Professor EFJ Malherbe, department of Public Law, Rand Afrikaans University (RAU); Ms Jakkie Wessels, Justice College, Pretoria; and Ms Gill Jacot Guillarmod, senior programme manager, Centre for Human Rights, UP. (Professors Botha and Malherbe teach certificate courses in legislative drafting at UP and RAU). PLEASE NOTE: Applicants must be prepared to travel to Pretoria for an interview with the selection panel.
  • Finalists' files must be submitted to the Public Affairs Section of the American Embassy, Pretoria, for final travel approval to the USA. Indiana University will send advance documents on general traveling information, orientation materials, and descriptions of the internships.
  • Internship placements, travel and lodging, and arrival orientation in the USA will be administered by Indiana University's program coordinator, in consultation with UP. An important feature of the one-month internships in Indianapolis is accommodation with a host family in the area. Home stays enable interns to gain a much greater appreciation of American life and culture and to have a broad range of cultural, political, and personal experiences.


1.5    Dates for 2004 internships

  • 4 October: Interns leave Johannesburg to travel to Indiana. On arrival, they will be picked up, get orientation packets (including funds), and be taken to respective "home stay" accommodations in Indianapolis (the state capital of Indiana, USA).
  • 6 - 31 October: Internships start at Indiana Legislative Services Agency, Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • 1 November: Interns return to SA.


Legislative Drafting Program for South Africa Internship Application Form













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