Prof Ilze Grobbelaar-du Plessis

Positions, academic & professional qualifications

Ilze Grobbelaar-du Plessis holds the degrees BIuris LLB LLM LLD from the University of Pretoria.  The title of her LLD thesis is “Gestremdheidsreg: ʼn Internasionaalregtelike en regsvergelykende analise (Disability Law: An International and legal comparative analysis)”.

Effective 1 January 2021 Grobbelaar-du Plessis is promoted to associate professor.

Academic & professional experience

During completion of her LLB degree in 1996 she joined a Pretoria law firm for two years of service under articles of clerkship, obtained the LLM degree in 1998, and practiced as an attorney with the firm Smith & Lowndes Attorneys in Parktown, Johannesburg. She joined the former Vista University as lecturer during 1999 and was promoted to senior lecturer. Ilze lectures in the Department of Public Law in the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria since 2004.

Teaching activities

Grobbelaar-du Plessis lectures Constitutional Law (PBL 200) and supervises (RHP 320 / SKY 410) dissertation students for the LLB undergraduate programme.

At the postgraduate level she lectures on Protection of persons with disabilities in a global context (DRL 803) in the multi-disciplinary LLM / MPhil (Disability Rights in Africa) in collaboration with the Centre of Human Rights (CHR). She also co-lectures Constitutional Law (CSL 801) for the LLM (Advanced Constitutional Law) with Prof Koos Malan, guest lectures in the MPhil (Medical Law and Ethics) in the module Medico-legal issues (PBL 813) on the analysis of disability rights in an international and domestic context, and also lectures in the Advanced Human Rights Course on Disability Rights in an African Context at the CHR.

Postgraduate supervision

Grobbelaar-du Plessis is the supervisor of LLM (Constitutional Law) and LLM / MPhil (Disability Rights in Africa) mini-dissertation students, who have successfully completed their mini-dissertations. She also supervises doctoral (LLD) candidates of which two candidates successfully completed their thesis.

Representative publications

  • I Grobbelaar-du Plessis “The right of persons with intellectual disabilities to political participation: The legal capacity to vote” Zsolt Bujdosó and five others v Hungary Communication No 4/2011 (Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) (UN Doc CRPD/C/D/4/2011)” (2020) THRHR Vol 83 3 455 - 470
  • I Grobbelaar-du Plessis & JJ Malan “Call me names, but does ugly make me hateful? The unjustifiable restriction on freedom of expression under the pretence of combatting hate speech” Qwelane v SAHRC & Others (686/2018)[2019] ZASCA 167 (29 November 2019) (2020) THRHR Vol 83 2 284 – 292
  • I Grobbelaar-du Plessis & J Njau “Payday: Business as usual or a new dawn rising for persons with disabilities in the workplace” (2019) De Jure Vol 52 1 267 – 294
  • I Grobbelaar-du Plessis & A Nienaber “Disability and Reasonable Accommodation: HM v Sweden Communication No 3/2011 (Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) (2014) South African Journal on Human Rights (SAJHR) Vol 30 2 366 – 379
  • I Grobbelaar-du Plessis & C Globler “South African Country Report on Disability” (2013) in African Disability Rights Yearbook (ADRY) Vol 1 307 – 334
  • I Grobbelaar-du Plessis “African women with disabilities: The victims of multi-layered discriminations” (2007) SA Publiekreg/SA Public Law Vol 22 2 405 – 421
  • I Grobbelaar-du Plessis “Gestremdheid as menseregtekonsep: ʼn Internasionale klemverskuiwing” (2005) De Jure Vol 38 2 353 – 360
  • I Grobbelaar-du Plessis “Who are the disabled? The quest for a legislative definition” (2003) Obiter Vol 24 1 121 - 131 (DHET-accredited) (sole author)
  • I Grobbelaar-du Plessis & E Kamundia “Supported decision-making and legal capacity in Kenya” in Mahomed, Sunkel, Stein and Patel (eds) (2020) Mental Health, Human Rights and Legal Capacity Cambridge University Press (in press)
  • I Grobbelaar-du Plessis & J Njau “Article 29 participation in political and public life” in Bantekas, Stein & Anastasiou (eds) (2018) The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – A Commentary Oxford University Press 834 – 862
  • I Grobbelaar-du Plessis & TP van Reenen “Introduction to aspects of disability law in Africa” in Grobbelaar-du Plessis & Van Reenen (eds) (2011) Aspects of Disability Law in Africa PULP xv - xxvii
  • I Grobbelaar-du Plessis & S van Eck “Protection of disabled employees in South Africa: An analysis of the Constitution and labour legislation” in Grobbelaar-du Plessis & Van Reenen (eds) (2011) Aspects of Disability Law in Africa PULP 231 – 260
  • I Grobbelaar-du Plessis, PA Carstens & IA van der Merwe “Health Care” in Olivier (ed) (1999) Social Security Law ~ General Principles Butterworths 213 - 247

Participation in International Conferences

  • I Grobbelaar-du Plessis “Who are the disabled? The quest for legislative reform” 1st Regional African AAC Conference, in February 2004, Johannesburg
  • I Grobbelaar-du Plessis “African women with disabilities: The victims of multi-layered discriminations” at the VIIth World Congress of Constitutional Law on “Gender Equality, Religious Freedom and Culture” in July 2007, Athens, Greece
  • I Grobbelaar-du Plessis “Enforcing Disability Discrimination Legislation in Employment/Training” at the Sub-regional Conference on Disability Legislation – Decent Work for Persons with Disabilities in Africa, linked to an ILO project, “Promoting the employment and employability op people with disabilities through effective legislation” in May 2008, Cape Town
  • I Grobbelaar-du Plessis “Disability law and the changing historical and cultural perceptions” during an international conference on Intersections of Law and Culture, in September 2011, Lugano, Switzerland

Areas of specialisation

Grobbelaar-du Plessis' main areas of interest are constitutional law, human rights and disability rights.

Specialist books

I Grobbelaar-du Plessis & T van Reenen (eds) Aspects of disability law in Africa (2011) (ISBN 978-1-920538-02-6)


Grobbelaar-du Plessis is a co-editor of the African Disability Rights Yearbook (ADRY). The African Disability Rights Yearbook is a peer-reviewed DHET accredited journal that is published once a year.

Academic advocacy, training and research

Grobbelaar-du Plessis presented lectures on “Introduction to the development of disability as a human rights issue at global level” and “Understanding the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” which was video recorded for the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights (EIUC) of Venice Lido, Italy’s Global Campus project’s online course on disability rights, March 2015.

She presented and conducted training on “Disability as a global development and human rights issue including an overview of the global situation, understanding of disability, and disability as an evolving concept from the medical model of disability to the social model of disability” for Training on Disability Mainstreaming and Implementation of the Continental Plan of Action on the African Decade of persons with disabilities (2010 – 2019) for Senior Government Officials of the African Union Member States, November 2015.

Grobbelaar-du Plessis was also the main contributor of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) Promoting the Right to work of Persons with Disabilities - Toolkit for the Private Sector (2015) (ISBN 78-0-620-69060-7).

She is a member of the Disability Rights Unit Project Team of the CHR. The Project Team undertook a comprehensive examination of existing South African legislation, policies and programmes that have an impact on the promotion, protection and fulfillment of the rights of persons with disabilities, as provided for in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The purpose of the review was to identify current gaps (and/or inconsistencies) between the existing legislative framework and the CRPD for the South African Foundation of Human Rights.

Academic & professional memberships

Grobbelaar-du Plessis is a non-practising member of the Law Society of the Northern Provinces.

Contact details

- Author Department of Public Law

Copyright © University of Pretoria 2024. All rights reserved.

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share Cookie Preferences