University of the Western Cape
Dullah Omar Institute for Constitutional Law, Governance and Human Rights

Jaap De Visser


Prof Jaap De Visser assumed office as Director of the Dullah Omar Institute in 2013 and has been associated with the Institute since 1998. In 2015, he spearheaded the conversion and renaming of the Community Law Centre into the Dullah Omar Institute for Constitutional Law, Governance and Human Rights. He is a B2-rated scholar with South Africa’s National Research Foundation and co-author of Local Government Law of South Africa. His research, teaching and consulting focuses on multilevel government, local government, good governance and federalism in Africa and he has published widely on these topics. He has overseen and conducted postgraduate and contract research on multilevel government in South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Lesotho and Kenya. With Prof Nico Steytler, he convenes the Masters in Law, State & Multilevel Government.
Jaap de Visser has consulted for many national and international organisations, including the Worldbank, UNHABITAT, Forum of Federations, GIZ, South Africa’s Department of Cooperative Government, the City of Cape Town and many other local authorities in South Africa. He was lead consultant on the Western Cape Land Use Planning Act of 2014 and on the review of Lesotho’s Local Government Act under contract with the UNDP. Prof De Visser is Treasurer of the International Association of Centres for Federal Studies.
He holds an LLB and an LLD from Utrecht University where he taught from 2002-2006 and an LLM from the University of the Western Cape.

Michelle Rufaro Maziwisa

Postdoctoral research fellow

Dr Michelle Rufaro Maziwisa is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Dullah Omar Institute under the SARChI in Multilevel Government, Law and Policy. Her research focus includes the functions and powers of provincial and local governments in international trade and investment. She is an admitted attorney, and advocates for multi-disciplinary approaches to economic development, taking into account the gendered dimensions of economic governance and prioritizing the constitutional mandate of local governments as ‘developmental’. Dr Maziwisa holds a Master of Laws (LLM) from the University of Cape Town and a Doctor of Laws (LLD) from the University of the Western Cape. She has been awarded research fellowships from the University of Hamburg (Germany) and has presented in national and international conferences.