Lavanya Pillay of Webber Wentzel talks about the right to freedom of expression

Lavanya Pillay of Webber Wentzel talks about the right to freedom of expression

Our guest was Lavanya Pillay of Webber Wentzel, who was talking about the right to freedom of expression. Lavanya was part of the three person Webber Wentzel team (the others were Dario Milo and Thando Khumalo) who brought an urgent applicaton on behalf of the producers to have the X18 classification of the film “Inxeba: The Wound” overturned. See the attached press release regarding the case.

<iframe src=’’ height=’208′ width=’504’frameborder=’0′ marginheight=’0′ marginwidth=’0′ scrolling=’no’ allowfullscreen></iframe>

Join Patrick Bracher for ProBono Law on alternate Thursdays at 18h30 (GMT+2), proudly brought to you by ProBono.Org and Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa. ProBono.Org actively increasing access to justice! Radio Today (@Radio2Day) broadcasts on 1485 MW (AM) in Johannesburg and countrywide on #DStv Audio Channel 869. Radio Today also streams globally on: and Radio Today! Radio that delivers!

Human Rights Festival – Constitution Hill – Friday 23 to Sunday 25 March 2018

Human Rights Festival – Constitution Hill – Friday 23 to Sunday 25 March 2018

Festival Overview:

Constitution Hill, in partnership with the human rights and social justice fraternity, is proud to present the inaugural Human Rights Festival.

The Human Rights Festival commemorates Human Rights Day which pays homage to all those who lost their lives in the fight for democracy, particularly during the Sharpeville Massacre of 21 March 1960. It also highlights the work of social justice organisations and underlines the importance of civic activism and the values and principles enshrined in the constitution – equality; justice; freedom and dignity.

It provides an opportunity to celebrate the gains we have made, but more importantly, the Festival highlights the action that is still required to realise social justice in SA, on the African continent and globally.

The Constitutional Court will form the backdrop of the Festival which is built around a robust programme, involving social justice and human rights activists across all spectrums of our society. The festival is intended to celebrate, promote and defend human rights. It offers three days of activism, debates, art, culture, exhibitions, books, poetry, comedy, film and music.  An food and designer-makers market will provide additional variety to the Festival.



Here are all the links for the Human Rights Festival taking place at Constitution Hill from Friday 23 to Sunday 25 March 2018. Please come and visit our stand – we would love to see you.




Welcome to our interns for 2018

Welcome to our interns for 2018


The Family Law, Labour Law and Wills Unit has two interns this year:

Molebogeng Manyako hails from Rustenburg and completed her LLB degree at North West University (Mahikeng Campus) in 2015. She wanted to work for ProBono.Org to assist indigent people with their legal problems.



Suraya Mckenzie-Pillay graduated from the University of theWitwatersrand with anLLB in 2014. Her passion and interest in social justice and human rights was ignited in her final year when she did practical legal studies at the Wits Law Clinic.



Daphne Makombe is working with the One Child a Year campaign during her internship. She has an LLB from UNISA and is currently studying for a Master’s degree in corporate law. She volunteered at the Family Court in 2017, dealing mainly with divorce cases. She has a passion to serve justice and change people’s lives for the better.



Nelson Kesa is working with the Housing and Community Advice Office unit. He was born in Sterkspruit in the Eastern Cape and went to school in Doornkop, Soweto. He applied to ProBono.Org for a legal internship because he wishes to help the most vulnerable and marginalised people to acquire legal assistance.




The Durban office also has four interns for 2018

Neliswa Ncama is interested in the link between law and development as a possible mechanism to finding solutions to social issues. She wishes to pursue a masters’ degree in this field in the near future.



Londeka Ndukuda is interested in social justice and how marginalised members of the community can access it. She hopes to find her niche through ProBono.Org.



Akhona Mthembu hopes to open a law firm in underdeveloped and rural areas, which will enable underprivileged people to receive legal assistance.



Gracia Biganda has been appointed as the Durban High Court help desk intern. After previously working with ProBono.Org as a volunteer and consultant, she has now officially joined the organisation. Her passion lies with human rights law and she believes in access to legal and social justice for all people. She wants to work for UN Women in the future so that she can contribute to the empowerment of African women.




The Cape Town Office welcomes Zekhethelo Cele from Richards Bay. She completed her LLB degree at the University of Zululand in 2014. While pursuing her studies she volunteered at the ProBono.Org Durban Office, the Master’s Office Help Desk and Legal Aid South Africa. Her areas of interest are socioeconomic rights, property law and matrimonial law.



We commend all our interns on their laudable goals and we look forward to a fruitful year ahead!

Click here for our complete February 2018 Newsletter

The Johannesburg ProBono.Org Divorce Help Desk

The Johannesburg ProBono.Org Divorce Help Desk

By Swazi Malinga and Elsabe Steenhuisen

In March 2017, ProBono.Org established a Divorce Help Desk at the Johannesburg Regional Court, which operates every Tuesday from 09h00 to 12h00.

The purpose of the help desk is to assist and encourage attorneys to complete their pro bono hours, and also to assist members of the public who qualify for pro bono assistance with their matrimonial (divorce) matters by providing them with legal advice, completion of the relevant court forms and, from time to time, providing assistance with drafting or completion of the summons and other relevant court pleadings.

At the beginning there were two volunteer attorneys staffing the help desk. Since recruitment of attorneys is essential in order to sustain this help desk, we approached the Johannesburg Attorneys Association in September, who assisted by advertising the help desk in their newsletter. The Johannesburg Family Law Forum also circulated our request for assistance amongst its members. We now have at least eight more volunteer attorneys who have signed up to staff the help desk and we look forward to recruiting more volunteers.

The help desk also offers a great opportunity for candidate attorneys and LEAD graduates.

Our One Child a Year (OCAY) campaign consultant, Elsabe Steenhuisen, runs the Divorce help desk on Tuesday mornings with candidate attorneys and LEAD graduates as part of her private pro bono hours. LEAD graduates have preference in assisting at the help desk as the aim is to empower candidates who have not secured articles in private practice. Secondly, it aims to instil an awareness of the merits of pro bono work in candidates on the brink of entering the law profession.

Three LEAD graduates and a candidate attorney participated. They underwent two training sessions with adv Steenhuisen before they started work under supervision. All three LEAD graduates assisted further at ProBono.Org’s office with other tasks in the OCAY project. Four new LEAD graduates were enrolled and underwent the first training session in January 2018 and started assisting the public on 6 February.


Click here for our complete February 2018 Newsletter

CASE STUDY: New Child Support Bill takes maintenance defaulters to task

By Uzair Adams.

In law, parenthood gives rise to parental rights, but more importantly, parental responsibilities in respect of children. One such responsibility in particular is the maintenance of children.

Contrary to popular belief, maintenance is not shared equally between parents. It is in fact payable by parents proportionately according to their respective means. Disagreements often arise where one parent fails to abide by their maintenance commitment, or only adheres to it sporadically. Ultimately it is the children who suffer as a result. For this reason, maintenance courts seriously consider the best interests of the child under the circumstances when making an order.

There are many parents who are able to reach an informal agreement in respect of their maintenance contribution. If parents are able to reach an amicable solution in this way, all the better. This however was not the case for one of our clients, Ms A, a single, unemployed mother who has been the primary caregiver of her two children since their father remarried in October 2016. After numerous requests, the father failed to provide the Maintenance Officer at the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court with a breakdown of his monthly income and expenditure. Ms. A had submitted an application for pro bono assistance to the Cape Law Society, which was approved. However, the Cape Law Society was unable to secure legal representation for her at her next court date and Ms. A approached ProBono.Org for further assistance.

We referred the matter to Ms. Rukia Allie Da Costa, an Attorney from Riley Incorporated who accepted the pro bono instruction, and the court granted an order that the father pay R5,500.00 per month for the maintenance of the children.

There is a widespread habit of parents seeking to evade their maintenance responsibilities, resulting in huge magistrates’ court backlogs with such matters. We welcome the Child Support Bill that took effect in January 2018 which states that parents who default on child maintenance will be blacklisted and blocked from receiving credit if their maintenance payments are in arrears.

We are hopeful that the new legislation will transform the attitude towards payment of maintenance.

Click here for our complete February 2018 Newsletter

Human Rights Festival

Human Rights Festival

Constitution Hill will be hosting a Human Rights Festival from 23 – 25 March 2018. This is an inaugural three day event designed to activate civil society and promote and advance human rights.

The festival will include a social forum, NGO stands, artexhibitions, poetry, film and music festivals, children’s activities and a We the People march. More information can be found here:

Click here for our complete February 2018 Newsletter

High conveyancing fees hold up property transactions for the poor

By Uzair Adams


High-conveyancing-feesThe transfer and registration of immovable property from a seller’s name into a purchaser’s name is not as straightforward as one may think. A property transaction is not only a lengthy and complicated process, but is costly too; and oftentimes unaffordable for the underprivileged. This proved to be the case with Glenda Samuels who approached ProBono.Org Cape Town for assistance with the transfer of immovable property she purchased in 2014 for R110 000.00.

Ms. Samuels is an unemployed single mother who receives a state grant for her two minor children and would not have been able to afford the conveyancing fees applicable to her sale, which would have amounted to approximately R8 000.00.

Ms. Samuels’ initial consultation was held during July 2017, but various challenges resulted in the process being delayed even though a conveyancer, Vickie Collins from Da Costa Incorporated, accepted the pro bono instruction.

One of the many challenges arose from a condition attached to the title deed, in terms of Section 10 (a) and 10 (b) of the Housing Act 107 of 1997, which stipulates that the owner of an RDP house has to get permission from the Director General of Human Settlements prior to a transfer being permitted.. As a result, the conveyancer required written confirmation from the Department confirming that it had no objection to the transfer, which was received on 16 August 2017.

In addition, the seller was often unavailable to sign the necessary documents as she resides outside Cape Town. The parties finally managed to meet at our offices on 28 November 2017, and Ms Collins guided them through the signing process and ensured that everything required for lodgment at the Deeds Office was in order.

All interested parties view this as a major victory, and a step in the right direction in our effort to making access to social justice more easily accessible and realisable for the poorest sector of our society.

Click here for our complete December 2017 Newsletter


In May 1998, Mr. Jackson Taliwe disappeared on his way home after an evening with friends. On foot, he passed through an unsafe area and had to cross busy roads late at night. He was never seen again. His family, friends and the community searched for him, but their efforts were futile. His employer, after his 18 years of service with them, declared him a deserter. His family approached ProBono.Org seeking closure and the matter was referred to Bowmans.

Bowmans assisted Mrs Taliwe in obtaining a presumption of death order in 2017. In preparation of the application, and to ensure that they had explored all possible avenues, they requested records from the SAPS to determine if anyone was found in the area where Mr. Taliwe disappeared. Due to the time lapse, this was a challenging process. Fortuitously, records of one person were found in close proximity to where Mr. Taliwe went missing. Unfortunately these records were incomplete, unrecognisable and timeworn and accordingly not sufficient to identify the person and to obtain a death certificate. However, based on the circumstances surrounding Mr. Taliwe’s disappearance and his personal description, the family believed the records found related to him. This exercise and the records obtained were instrumental in obtaining the presumption of death order.

Bowmans prepared the application and was assisted by Adv. Xolisa Hilita who appeared in the Johannesburg High Court on the client’s behalf. The ultimate outcome of this process was to give the family closure and to enable Mrs Taliwe to claim unclaimed pension fund benefits, which claim has since been paid out to her and her children. These benefits offer substantial financial relief to the family.

We thank the Bowmans team of Melissa Strydom and Carmen Bradfield for a successful outcome in this case.

Click here for our complete December 2017 Newsletter