Attorney, Centre for Applied Legal Studies
When the police tried to stop the women of Marikana from marching in memory of Pauline Masuhlo, one of their leaders who had died after being shot at with rubber bullets during a government clampdown in the aftermath of the massacre, 28-year-old attorney Kathleen Hardy stepped in.
She argued the matter in court until midnight, resulting in an order that enabled the women to go ahead with their plan of action. Hardy – who is the head of the Rule of Law programme at the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) at the University of the Witwatersrand – met the women of Marikana in August 2012 and has been working closely with them ever since.
She has represented them professionally in various matters and has also formed personal relationships with some of them.
Hardy is also an advisor to Professor Christof Heyns, the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, on the use of force by law enforcement officials.
She developed the Rule of Law Programme at CALS in 2011 with a view to holding both private and public actors accountable for human rights violations.
Unsurprisingly then, she’s the attorney representing the South African Human Rights Commission at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, forming part of a team that has produced important expert evidence on policing.
This evidence has assessed the police’s actions in Marikana and is a fundamental contribution to the commission’s work.
The team also monitors the commission, ensuring that fair process is followed throughout the investigation.
“There has to be full accountability and responsibility for the tragic deaths at Marikana. I believe in a South Africa that is based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights for all people, we cannot allow impunity.” — Fatima Asmal