RELIEF FOR EASTERN CAPE SCHOOLS AS DEPARTMENT PAYS OUT 67 MILLION BUT KEY ASPECT OF ORDER UNFULFILLED

Article published on LEGAL RESOURCES CENTRE – 24 June 2015

South Africa’s first opt-in class action law suit, Link­side & oth­ers v Min­is­ter of Edu­ca­tion & oth­ers, was the first to appoint a claims admin­is­tra­tor to man­age the pay­ment of a claim. Fol­low­ing the court order of 17 Decem­ber 2014, Price­Wa­ter­house­C­oop­ers was appointed by the Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion to receive and ver­ify schools’ claims for reim­burse­ment for amounts spent on edu­ca­tors dur­ing 2011–2014 and to pay the ver­i­fied claims.

The total amount claimed was R82 mil­lion. To date, schools have been reim­bursed an amount of R67 mil­lion, with a few out­stand­ing claims await­ing ver­i­fi­ca­tion.

The Legal Resources Cen­tre, act­ing on behalf of all the schools that make up the class, says the schools are immensely relieved to receive this fund­ing.

”Many schools have been placed in a per­ilous finan­cial con­di­tion due to the Department’s ongo­ing fail­ure to appoint edu­ca­tors to vacant sub­stan­tive posts and pay them. Indi­vid­ual schools have accu­mu­lated between R200 000 and R5 mil­lion in debt over this period. This has resulted in schools increas­ing their fees, but this has often resulted in a higher rate of par­ents default­ing on pay­ments.”

 

Read the full article here

Bakgatla ba Kgafela CPA’s Constitutional Court case goes to heart of land reform

Article from Posted on 17 Jun 2015
By Michael Clark

The Bakgatla ba Kgafela court case hits at the heart of South Africa’s land restitution programme, and at people’s land rights protected by the Constitution. On 28 May 2015 the Constitutional Court heard the case of Bakgatla ba Kgafela Tribal CPA v Bakgatla ba Kgafela Tribal Authority and Others. The case was about whether the Communal Property Association Act 28 of 1996 (the CPA Act) allows the Bakgatla ba Kgafela CPA – a provisional CPA – to continue to exist and hold land. The CPA has struggled for many years to get registered permanently as a result of serious administrative mismanagement by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (the Department) and the ongoing resistance to the establishment of a CPA by the traditional council in the area.

Background
The Bakgatla ba Kgafela community brought a successful land claim over various pieces of land in the North West. This meant that they had to create a legal entity that was able to receive ownership of the land on behalf of the community. In 2005, the claimant community voted in favour of the creation of a Communal Property Association (or CPA) to hold the land, elected a committee to run the CPA and adopted a draft constitution. The community then made an application to have the CPA registered. However, the traditional council and traditional leader, Chief Nyalala Pilane, were unhappy about the decision to form a CPA. They wanted the community to create a trust instead.

As a result of his intervention, Lulu Xingwane, the then Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs, intervened by suggesting that the community register a provisional CPA in terms of section 5(4) of the CPA Act for 12 months (rather than a permanent CPA in terms of section 8 of the CPA Act). The Department proceeded to register the provisional CPA in line with the Minister’s instruction, in spite of internal memos that show that the Department recommended that the CPA be permanently registered. In 2008 the land claimed by the community was transferred to the provisional CPA. Thereafter, the Department had almost no contact with the community – specifically, it did not help the community to convert the provisional CPA into a permanent CPA.

When the Bakgatla ba Kgafela CPA tried to prevent the construction of a shopping centre on land that it believed it owned in 2012, the traditional council argued it no longer existed. The traditional council argued that section 5(4) of the CPA Act meant that a provisional CPA is only valid for 12 months – after 12 months, if the CPA has not been turned into a permanent CPA, it no longer exists.

Read the full article here

HOUSING WORKSHOP: SOWETO 10TH JUNE 2015 – Phiri Hall

HOUSING WORKSHOP: SOWETO 10TH JUNE 2015 – Phiri Hall

The Ward 79 Councillor in Phiri Soweto identified a need for an information session for the community regarding the reporting of deceased estates and evictions. We partnered with the University of Johannesburg Law Clinic, Sheriff’s Board and the Master’s office Johannesburg.

The main objective of this workshop was to educate the members of the Phiri community about the processes around the administration of deceased estates and eviction and also to identify members of the community who have been victims of the illegal sale of their properties.

After the Ward Councillor had welcomed the participants, the first speaker, Mr Mpande from the Master’s office, explained the processes of reporting deceased estates where immovable property is involved and the difference between an intestate and testate estate. He explained the problems encountered as a result of people submitting false information and the effects this has on the process of administration. Mr Mpande impressed the importance of understanding estate planning, especially when there is immovable property involved.

Housing workshop Soweto 10 June 2015 (1)

The next speaker was Mr Elton Hart, an attorney at the UJ Law clinic, Soweto Campus. He explained the processes of eviction, how the orders are obtained and the general problem in the community of people not acting when they have been served with court papers. He explained that in some instances people only become aware that the order has been granted when they receive notification from the Sheriff’s office. It is absolutely vital that they seek advice on any document that they receive that comes from the court or an attorney’s office.

The next speaker was Mr Tayoob from the Sheriff’s Board , accompanied by the Sheriff Soweto West and the Regional Director Sheriff’s service, Department of Justice. He stated that in many cases where the sheriff is coming to evict, they get resistance from the community and the community leaders, more specifically from an organisation called SANCO. He explained that in many instances people are arrested for obstructing the sheriff in conducting his duties after having been given wrong advice by the said leaders. He stressed that community leaders should not mislead the public and they should always ensure that they refer community members to the relevant offices where they will receive appropriate guidance on how to proceed with their matters.

Ms Emily Dhlamini, the Regional Director: Sheriff’s Services, Department of Justice then addressed the community on the discourse that exists between the community and the Sheriff’s office. She undertook to ensure that community structures are given training to enable them to better service the community and to work in conjunction with the legal structures and not prevent or obstruct lawful actions from taking place. Arrangements for this will be taken up with the Ward councillor.

After the session, members of the public had the opportunity to make direct contact with the speakers and intake sheets were completed for members of the public that believed that they had cases.

Paul Kruger (SARWT) speaks about the National Will Register

Paul Kruger (SARWT) speaks about the National Will Register

Podcast: @Probono_Org: 28/05/15: Patrick Bracher @PBracher1 @NLegal_ZA  with Paul Kruger from #SARWT; @DStv:

Our guest is Paul Kruger from the S A Registry of Wills and Testaments (SARWT).The aim of the national will register is to serve as a central online record where the administrative details of wills and testaments may be obtained once recorded. Most people do not know whether their loved ones have executed a will, where the original might be kept or who has been nominated to wind up the financial affairs of the deceased. This is the very issue SARWT endeavours to address.

 

ProBono.Org and LSNP open joint office in Pretoria

ProBono.Org and LSNP open joint office in Pretoria

In an exciting new initiative to help promote access to justice in South Africa, ProBono.Org and the Law Society for the Northern Provinces (LSNP) have opened a joint office in Pretoria.

The office, located at the Kutlwanong Democracy Centre, was launched on 6 May and will see a collaboration between these two organisations to create flexible methods for lawyers to engage in pro bono work.

ProBono.Org will continue to offer an avenue for lawyers to participate productively in this type of public service, while LSNP will provide statutory oversight to this critical aspect of the legal industry.

The initiative comes in response to increasing demand for pro bono work in Pretoria and surrounding regions; however, its location is key to expanding pro bono services to Limpopo, the North West and Mpumalanga.

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During his keynote address at the launch, Honourable Justice J Kollapen emphasised the importance of the legal profession in society and discussed the role of the law in South Africa’s context of poverty and unemployment. “For the law to be meaningful, people need to know the law and have access to the law,” he said.

The Pretoria offices will provide a dedicated space where pro bono attorneys can consult with potential clients in a secure and confidential space. It will also become a location for free legal clinics and similar projects.

Poor and vulnerable communities will now be able to access quality legal advice on numerous matters, including domestic violence, maintenance, housing issues, and even credit and consumer law.

Both ProBono.Org and LSNP believe that this joint initiative will go a long way towards providing the access to justice that all South Africans deserve.

 

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Both SS Madiba, President of the LSNP, and Advocate Andy Bester, Chair of the ProBono Board, encouraged all local attorneys to contact the Pretoria office and use the opportunity to give something back.

“ProBono would like to renew its commitment to working with the judiciary to see access to justice being made effective” Advocate Bester emphasised.

 

HOUSING WORKSHOP: DAVEYTON 23 APRIL 2015

HOUSING WORKSHOP: DAVEYTON 23 APRIL 2015

Victor Ndlazilwana Hall

  1. OPENING
    The event was held in partnership with the ward counsellor of Ward 73 Daveyton who had identified a need in the community for an information sharing session regarding the reporting of deceased estates and evictions. We were joined by Samantha Kelly from Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr.
  2. INTESTATE AND TESTATE ESTATES
    Ms Kelly began the proceedings with a presentation on the difference between a testate and intestate estate. She explained the difference between the estates in terms of reporting and administrating. She highlighted the importance of estate planning especially where there is an immovable property and multiple beneficiariesQuestions from the audience:If a person has children from a previous marriage/relationship, are they entitled to benefit from your estate should you die?
    How much does it cost to make a will?
    How does it happen that one sibling can sell the immovable property of the deceased parent’s estate without involving the other siblings?
    Other questions relating to transfer of property

    When Ms Kelly had answered the questions and closed her presentation she advised community leaders to arrange an estate planning workshop, especially because the beneficiary process for properties has already started and estate planning is an important aspect of owning property

  3. EVICTIONS
    Tshenolo Masha then presented on the topic of evictions. She explained the legal process and stressed the importance of seeking assistance when served with legal documents. Even if one is not sure of the legitimacy of the said documents it is still important to follow up to prevent being suddenly evicted and finding oneself homeless.

Daveyton housing workshop 23 April 2015 (3)

Questions from the audience:

How does the court deal with evictions that are instituted using documents that were fraudulently obtained?
Can a family member evict another family member from the family home?

The audience questions were answered and the importance of seeking legal assistance when faced with evictions was reiterated to the audience especially in instances when documents were obtained fraudulently.

The programme was then closed by the ward counsellor who thanked the members of the community in attendance and noted that most of the queries raised today were in relation to estate planning.  Perhaps a follow-up workshop will be arranged specifically on the topic of wills and drafting of wills.

Compiled by: Tshenolo Masha

FEBRUARY 2015 NEWSLETTER – ISSUE 38

FEBRUARY 2015 NEWSLETTER – ISSUE 38

In this issue we introduce you to the legal interns at the Johannesburg and Durban offices. We also update you on some new ProBono.Org developments and highlight current reckless lending cases that are worth watching, as they will hopefully have some impact on policies related to lending.

DOWNLOAD THE FULL NEWSLETTER HERE

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