_: Two learners from Redhill High School in Johannesburg emerged victorious from the final round of the National Schools Moot Court competition held at the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg.
Sam Musker and Kate Dewey, in Grade 11 and 10 respectively, won the competition on Sunday, 11 August 2013 with a 4 to 1 decision for their presentations as applicants in a case. The final round of the competition was judged by the Deputy Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court, Dikgang Moseneke; Judges of the Constitutional Court Edward Cameron and Johan van der Westhuizen; Director of the Foundation for Human Rights Yasmin Sooka and University of Pretoria Professor of Law, Ann Skelton.
The competition, now in its third year, seeks to create a platform for young people to engage with the Constitution of South Africa and raise awareness of the legal system. Participants are provided with an imaginary court case which has human rights implications. They are then required to write two short essays defending both sides of the case, using the Constitution as a basis. The teams with the highest scores from each province were then selected to argue their case before the judges in a real court scenario.
For the 2013 competition the learners were challenged to apply their minds to a situation involving the rights of a girl learner who returned to school after giving birth. The learner was refused permission to return to school, but was allowed to write final exams, and the family then pursued the legal route to ensure the learner had access to education.
In delivering the judgement Deputy Chief Justice Moseneke applauded all the learners who had taken part in the competition and commended parents and teachers for their continued support.
“We do this competition in the hope that you young people participating here today imbibe the values of this great Constitution and go on to defend it, to preserve this democracy and build a better South Africa for the future,” he said.
“Congratulations to all of you, but particularly to the finalists here today. At times, I was frightened at how bright you all are. I was pleasantly surprised by your remarkable knowledge of the facts. When we know the facts we can apply the law, and it all starts with the Constitution.”
The Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Mr John Jefferies also expressed his admiration for the learner who had taken part in the competition.
“I cannot think of a better way for us to advance awareness of human rights. I am pleased to note the increased popularity of the competition as it is our duty to promote and improve access to the justice system,” he said.
“As a country our past is full of injustices, which many of the young people here may struggle to imagine. The Constitution is the bedrock of our democracy and this competition is a way for young people to engage with this document which is the basis for our rights as a society.”