UP Law Professor and former HOD in the Department of Public Law Professor Christo Botha retires

Posted on August 31, 2021

Professor Christo Botha with LLD graduate, Dr Werner Nel.

The University of Pretoria’s (UP) Faculty of Law bids farewell to Professor Christoffel Johannes Botha who taught legal interpretation, international humanitarian law and international criminal law at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Botha, who turned 65 in August 2021, will retire at the end of this month (August) after 41 years in academia. He obtained an LLB degree from UP in 1980 and joined Unisa as a lecturer in 1981. He completed a BA (Hons) (International Politics) in 1984 and an LLD in 1996 at Unisa. After 20 years as a member of the Department of Constitutional and Public International Law at Unisa, he was appointed as full professor in the Department of Public Law at UP in July 2000.

“I am going to spend my retirement touring the world with my wife, playing golf, reading and listening to my collection of jazz, rock and blues records,” said Prof Botha.

Dean of the Faculty of Law Professor Elsabe Schoeman said Professor Botha is an excellent scholar and a very popular lecturer who brings his insight and expertise to the classroom in a way that inspires students and encourages them to actively participate in lectures. “He has made significant contributions in his areas of expertise; constitutional and statutory interpretation, military law, legislative drafting, international criminal law and international humanitarian law, through research publications, conference presentations, as well as in an advisory capacity to important legal bodies, such as the South African Law Reform Commission.”

Professor Schoeman said Professor Botha has also been an exemplary academic citizen, serving on several faculty and university committees, as well as Head of the Department of Public Law. “I have enjoyed working with Professor Botha and will remember him as someone with a keen sense of responsibility, always prepared to step in when required to do so. I wish him all the best in his retirement and hope that he will be able to spend quality time with his family and friends,” she added.

In 2002 Professor Botha initiated the postgraduate Certificate Programme in Legislative Drafting. The programme will be discontinued at the end of 2021. He is the author of Statutory interpretation: an introduction for students (2012) (5th ed) Juta. Apart from a large number of LLB and LLM dissertations, he was the supervisor of 4 LLD theses (with a fifth one in the pipeline). He served two terms as the head of Department of Public Law and was the chair of the Disciplinary Committee (Students) from 2003 to 2007. He is married with two sons and three grandchildren.

The Department of Public Law’s former acting Head of Department, Professor Bernard Bekink, said Professor Botha played a significant role in continuous development and stability in the Department of Public Law. “Professor Botha has always been approachable, welcoming, and always willing to help and was widely regarded as a mentor for junior staff in the department. I would like to say to him that he must enjoy his retirement and he will be missed.”

- Author Xolani Mathibela

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