College of Law

The department of Jurisprudence in Unisa’s College of Law at SALRC annual awards ceremony


Dr Nzumbululo Silas Siphuma

Dr Nzumbululo Silas Siphuma, a senior lecturer in the Department of Jurisprudence in Unisa’s College of Law, deep commitment to help students to archive academic excellence earned Unisa College of Law awards at the 2018 South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC) Annual Legal Essay Writing Competition. SALRC in conjunction with prize sponsors Juta Law hosted its annual awards ceremony on Friday, 6 September 2019 at the Centurion Hotel in Pretoria. The 2018 edition of the competition was in honour of the legacy of the late Chief Justice Pius Langa. The SALRC Legal Essay Writing Competition encourages critical legal writing by Bachelor of Law (LLB) and Master of Law (LLM) students across all South African universities, while generating new ideas for law reform. These ideas should be aligned to South Africa’s priorities as a developmental state and be aimed at keeping the law abreast of developments in society and in tune with the needs of South Africa’s diverse population and national policy priorities.

During the awards ceremony, Mr Gilbert Phindile Kato, LLM student at Unisa was announced the winner of the LLM category. Kato’s legal essay titled “Moving away from binary system”, received the highest score from the panel of judges composed of independent professors and doctors of law from various South African Universities. Kato wrote the legal essay under the supervision of Siphuma. Kato’s achievements date back to early 2017, when he worked closely with Siphuma during the 2017 Unisa Moot Court Competition, where Siphuma and his colleagues at CLAW and the Unisa Law Clinic, trained Moot court participants from the Pretoria region. At the 2017 Unisa Interregional Moot Court Competition finals, Kato won the prize for Best Oralist and assisted the Pretoria Region Moot Court team to secure two more awards.

The winning team’s prize includes R20 000 cash for the winning essay student, a R2 500 Juta Law voucher for the supervisor of the winning essay, and a R2 500 Juta Law voucher for the winning law faculty. According to the South African Law Reform Commission, it is the first time that the Unisa College of Law has won the SALRC Legal Essay Writing Competition since its inception in 1999. Previously, Unisa students have been runners-up for the LLB category in 2013 and 2016, respectively.

Accordingly, Siphuma became the first academic to help Unisa College of Law to win this prestigious legal writing competition. Siphuma had previously received several academic excellence and recognition awards from various institutions. These include the Stellenbosch University Vice Chancellor’s award for best LLM degree student in class of 2013; Excellence awards from the Dean of law faculty at North West University for representing the University by participating at the Ishmael Mohammed Legal Essay Writing Competition and the 8th Annual African Trade Moot Court Competition in the year 2011. Moreover, in 2016 Vhumbedzi Youth Development (a non-profit organization) awarded Siphuma with a certificate of appreciation for inspiring youth from disadvantaged backgrounds in Vhumbedzi community.


Siphuma is an active member of several academic organisations, including the following national and international organisations: a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society, the Young Property Law Forum (YPLF), alumni of the South African Research in Property (SARCPL) and a recipient of Andrew. W Mellon Early Research Career fellowship.


CLAW has the largest footprint on the continent, with the highest number of student enrolments on the continent and a significant market share across the globe. Its collective purpose is to inspire and support intellectual curiosity in pursuit of academic excellence. It is therefore evident that with a team of brilliant and dynamic academics it produces students of high calibre that have over time brought a paradigm shift and shaped the legal fraternity landscape. Students’ commitment and decision to choose a qualification through CLAW is a commitment to excellence, perseverance and growth, but most importantly, a commitment to a personal dream.

Publish date: Tue Apr 21 13:54:11 SAST 2020