Pretoria - Members of the Black Lawyers Association (BLA) embarked on a protest march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Friday, accusing government of selecting mostly white counsel and law firms for its numerous court matters.
BLA president Lutendo Sigogo told reporters that his association was now demanding that President Jacob Zuma intervene and "use his powers" to influence government departments and municipalities to brief black attorneys as well when it came to matters before the courts.
"This matter impacts on everyone. We expect lawyers to become judges or ministers one day, but if you are not being given quality briefs as you grow in the profession, and you happen to become a judge, you are going to judge on issues you were not exposed to," Sigogo said.
"We want to be exposed in all levels of legal work so that we are equipped and ready to lead this country in terms of the judiciary and everywhere we can be requested to lead."
He said there were statistics which proved that "white legal professionals" continued to get the lion's share of legal briefs from the South African government.
"Even if you are briefed with them, they still receive more money than black lawyers and women lawyers. We need that to be done away with," said Sigogo.
Police escorted the small crowd of protesters as they made their way onto the lawn area of the Union Buildings.
Wearing their black court robes and waving placards, the lawyers sang and danced, chanting slogans as they waited for an official from the Presidency to receive their memorandum.
A statement from the BLA said the protest was directed at Zuma as the head of State because the State was the biggest consumer of legal services in the country.