AFSA Domestic

Advocate Michael Kuper SC
Drawing on its experience in administering thousands of arbitration matters, AFSA offers South African companies and individuals an optimal process to resolve business and related disputes confidentially, quickly and fairly under the supervision of AFSA’s National Registrar, Isabel Terk, and her team of six case handlers.
The AFSA administration process which is unique in South Africa provides the parties with the essential supervisory and logistical support vital for an effective outcome. The first step is that the parties agree to refer the matter to AFSA to administer (see the model clause) and if and when a dispute arises, either party may request AFSA to proceed. Once AFSA has accepted a request to administer the arbitration process according to its detailed Rules, it supports and guides the parties as they move towards the desired outcome: a binding arbitration award following a fair hearing in a tailor-made process.

All domestic arbitrations are governed by the provisions of the Arbitration Act, No. 42 of 1965.
The AFSA Domestic Panel of Arbitrators includes retired Judges, Senior and Junior advocates, attorneys, accountants and experts from various related professions. Parties are free to select their arbitrator, but if they are unable to do so, AFSA will hand-select an appropriate Panel member.

If you need more information please contact the AFSA National Registrar Isabel Terk (contact number: +27 11 3200600) or any of her team of case handlers.

The Domestic Division is chaired by Advocate Michael Kuper SC, chairman of AFSA and CAJAC
See Rules for Domestic Arbitration

AFSA International

Advocate Patrick Lane SC
International arbitrations (i.e., between parties whose places of business are in different states when the arbitration agreement is concluded and in certain other cases) are governed in South Africa by the provisions of the International Arbitration Act, 15 of 2017, which Act incorporates the UNCITRAL Model Law of International Commercial Arbitration.
The AFSA International Division is responsible for administering AFSA’s international case load under the direction of Svetlana Vasileva (Ms), Secretary-General of the AFSA International Court. The Managing Committee of the International Division is chaired by Adv. Patrick Lane SC.

The AFSA International Panel includes leading arbitration practitioners from around the world and a neutral high quality arbitral process is assured under the AFSA International Rules.

The size of the AFSA international caseload places AFSA at the forefront of Africa’s international arbitration centres.
See Rules for International ArbitrationAFSA International Court members

AFSA SADC Division

Des Williams
The SADC Division is a joint initiative between AFSA and the SADC Lawyers Association to develop, strengthen and enhance commercial alternative dispute resolution practices in countries in the South African Development Community (SADC).
The objectives of the SADC Division include the establishment of a SADC panel of arbitrators and mediators, the adoption of a standardised set of rules throughout SADC, the provision of an administering secretariat for case handling of arbitrations and mediations, the dissemination of information, the provision of training throughout the SADC region and joint involvement in conferences and seminars.

The task of the SADC Division also includes liaison with and gaining the support of Governments and Law Societies in the SADC region as well as promoting and developing the harmonisation of international arbitration practice and procedure.
The SADC Division has a board comprised of three AFSA representatives and three SADC-LA representatives. The SADC Division is chaired by Des Williams, while Stanley Nyamanhindi, the CEO of SADC-LA, is the vice-chair of the SADC Division.

AFSA Construction

Advocate Azhar Bham SC
The confidentiality and flexibility of arbitration makes arbitration well-suited for maintaining long term business relationships between parties in infrastructure and construction contracts.
The very nature of infrastructure and construction disputes presupposes the appointment of knowledgeable experts to facilitate the efficiency of the arbitral proceedings and to reduce the time and costs involved in resolving disputes.

The parties are able to choose trustworthy experts in a particular field and parties of different nationalities and jurisdictions can choose a convenient and neutral location to meet their particular needs.

The AFSA Construction division is chaired by Advocate Azhar Bham SC, and AFSA Construction has overseen many of this country’s largest construction disputes, whether in the adjudication or arbitration phase.
See Rules for Arbitration in construction disputes

AFSA Mediation

Advocate Duncan Turner
The Mediation division offers a confidential mediation process where an independent mediator facilitates communication and open discussion to assist the parties in reaching a settlement in private.
AFSA’s mediation focuses primarily on the needs and interests of the parties and is an interactive process whereby the mediator provides expertise and support to parties who wish to reach agreement, whether to preserve their relationship or to resolve a single dispute. Ground rules are established at the outset and the mediator may engage all parties together or privately to find common ground.

The presence of an impartial mediator excludes many impediments that are present when parties attempt direct negotiations. The mediator guides the parties towards reaching a mutual agreement through facilitating and enabling communication which might otherwise not take place. This is achieved through inter alia maintaining the balance of power in discussions, allowing parties the opportunity to articulate and ventilate their complaints or frustrations without alienating the other party, maintaining parties’ focus on their needs and ultimate interests rather than the vindication of rights.
Mediation is not a binding process, but once consensus is reached, a written agreement is drawn up which commits the parties to their agreement and is legally binding.

AFSA has published a set of Mediation Rules which apply in the event of a dispute referred to AFSA for mediation. Depending on the nature of the dispute, AFSA will appoint a suitable mediator and professionally administer the process.

The AFSA Mediation Division is chaired by Advocate Duncan Turner.
See Mediation Rules

AFSA Training

Advocate Aslam Bava SC
AFSA offers an Advanced Certificate in Dispute Resolution. This course is accredited by the University of Pretoria and is aimed at building a genuine body of expertise in Alternative Dispute Resolution in South Africa and further afield.
The relationship between AFSA and the University of Pretoria is a long standing one and through this partnership AFSA and the University of Pretoria succeeded in maintaining an exceptionally high standard in ADR training.

The course is presented by seasoned practitioners in the field and enables graduates to master essential skills in all aspects of dispute resolution which will be of enormous importance to their employers and their clients.

ADR short courses are also offered in Cape Town and Pretoria.

The AFSA Training division is chaired by Advocate Aslam Bava SC.

AFSA SARIPA Business Rescue

Advocate Azhar Bham SC
The introduction of Business Rescue under Chapter 6 of the 2008 Companies Act created a new framework for dealing with companies in financial distress. The focus moved to attempting to save companies experiencing financial distress, and if this could not be achieved then to achieving a better return for creditors than would be the case if the company was placed into liquidation. The focus was on a process which would be dealt with relatively speedily.
Invariably, the process was also one in which disputes could arise. The history of Business Rescue proceedings since inception has illustrated that in the course of Business Rescue, disputes arise. In general, legal disputes do take a considerable time for resolution. Such time periods for resolution of disputes are often inimical to the time processes envisaged in Business Rescue proceedings.
Consequently, in recent years there has been an increasing tendency to deal with such disputes through a speedy arbitration process in order to ensure that Business Rescue proceedings are able to come to finalisation without inordinate delays. At the forefront of promoting such arbitration proceedings has been SARIPA. SARIPA recognised the importance of the role AFSA plays in administering arbitrations in the South African context. This was followed by intensive discussions between leading practitioners and academics to craft a set of rules and procedures which would optimise a dispute resolution process specifically for Business Rescue disputes.

AFSA and SARIPA then took a decision to form a Business Rescue Arbitration Division under the auspices of AFSA. The Division has been formed with joint and equal representation by nominees of AFSA and nominees of SARIPA. The initiative is an exciting one in the context of arbitration in general and arbitration in Business Rescue proceedings in particular.
See Rules for Arbitration in business rescue disputes

AFSA Municipal

Advocate Lindi Nkosi-Thomas SC
The AFSA Municipal division provides dispute resolution services to municipalities in South Africa. AFSA has entered into an agreement with the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), the voice of local municipalities in South Africa, to provide dispute resolution services to municipalities.
Local government is at the coalface of service delivery in South Africa and arbitration and other forms of dispute resolution, unlike litigation, offers disputants a mechanism which is fast, cost-effective and flexible. The AFSA Municipal division was established to meet the specific needs of municipalities and offers a panel of independent arbitrators with the skills and qualifications to deal with the speedy resolution of disputes ranging from labour and procurement disputes to service level disputes.

The AFSA Municipal Division is chaired by Advocate Lindi Nkosi-Thomas SC.
See Rules for Domestic Arbitration
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