A Brief History

In 1996 the institutional representatives of the legal, business and accounting communities in South Africa came together in a non-profit partnership venture to provide the best process for private dispute resolution.

The Arbitration Foundation of Southern Africa (AFSA) was formed to provide fair and reliable systems to resolve disputes privately, to build panels of mediators, conciliators and arbitrators and to train and develop arbitrators and mediators. One of the objectives was to become a regional leader in international arbitration.
"Any objective assessment of our complex industrialized and commercial society indicates that even where an effective, efficient and professional judicial system is in place, there is yet a need at every level of society for alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.

Business has the right to know that there are legitimate mechanisms in place through which disputes may be resolved effectively, efficiently, speedily and in the most economical way possible. AFSA will fill this void and I wish it every success."
- Dullah Omar, then South Africa’s first Minister of Justice in the new democratic dispensation, speaking at the AFSA launch.
Over the years AFSA’s work has largely transformed the way in which the business sector handles its’ disputes. Today the typical business contract contains a dispute resolution clause which provides that in the event of a dispute, the parties will resolve their differences in accordance with AFSA’s rules and procedures. 

AFSA has led the way in training mediators and arbitrators from all sectors of the community and in educating the community in the dynamics and the techniques of dispute resolution. AFSA’s Advanced Certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution, accredited by and offered under the aegis of the University of Pretoria, enjoys international recognition.
In 2015 AFSA was invited to Beijing to share its vision on the establishment of a China – Africa dispute resolution mechanism after which AFSA was given the responsibility, in partnership with the Shanghai International Arbitration Centre (SHIAC), to establish the China-Africa Joint Arbitration Centre (CAJAC), initially operating out of Johannesburg and Shanghai. CAJAC Johannesburg was launched in November 2015 and the CAJAC partnership has since grown to include the Beijing International Arbitration Centre (BIAC), the Shenzhen International Court of Arbitration (SCIA) and the Nairobi Centre for International Arbitration (NCIA).
In December 2017 AFSA and CAJAC moved to a new Arbitration and Mediation Centre, fully-equipped and furnished to provide dispute resolution facilities on par with international standards.

AFSA DIVISIONS  |  MK
To meet the growing need for dispute resolution services in a various fields, AFSA has created various specialist divisions with advisory panels to ensure that AFSA keeps abreast with new trends and developments.
The recommended Model Clause for inclusion in contract is:

Any dispute arising from or inconnection with this contract shall be referred to the Arbitration Foundation of South Africa for final resolution of the dispute in accordance with its Rules.

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