On 6 December a good crowd of attorneys, advocates and mediators gathered at our offices to socialise and give us feedback on their experiences staffing our legal clinics and help desks and taking on our clients’ cases. We are grateful for this feedback and also for the good work of all our partners in 2018. We are proud to report that with your help we have assisted over 10,000 needy people this year. We wish every one of you a restful and happy festive season.
By Molebogeng Manyako, Johannesburg intern.
Further focus on SMMEs and advancing young entrepreneurs saw ProBono.Org and the British Council collaborate on a session presented by ProBono.Org and Bowmans at the Impact Africa Summit from 20 to 22 June. The purpose of the event was to accelerate innovative solutions to Africa’s most pressing challenges by inspiring, supporting and connecting leading social entrepreneurs and key ecosystem players across countries, organisations and sectors such as policy, social investment, business and education.
The first day dealt with leadership for change addressed by the likes of Pat Pillai and Jay Naidoo, to mention a few. The second day was about building a strong ecosystem and the third day addressed collaboration, which does not necessarily involve having money. One’s hands, mind and time can all be used to collaborate.
The Impact Africa summit has shown that we all have a role to play in shaping our societies to be more conducive for the holistic development of women. Last but not least, who can forget Sylvia Banda, a Zambian entrepreneur and a great storyteller. She said that “ I didn’t need to tell anyone about my first business. I just fried the food and filled the room with a nice aroma. People came to my door asking if I’ve started a restaurant”.
By Courtney Cupido, Cape Town intern.
According to a recent Eye Witness News report, there have been at least 13 reported cases of child abduction and attempted kidnappings in communities across the Western Cape since 8 August 2018. The motives for these abductions may vary from forced child labour, financial and sexual exploitation, the use of children as drug mules to involuntary domestic servitude which is especially rife within the international context.
Over the past month there have been numerous reports of child abductions on various social media and news platforms, which has caused widespread panic, both within the Western Cape Province and beyond.
Incidents of child abduction and attempted kidnappings have taken place in shopping malls from under their parents’ noses, while playing in their neighbourhoods and even when walking to and from school.
The radical increase in reported abductions resulted in many government departments issuing warnings regarding child safety. The Western Cape Education Department in particular instructed all principals to inform and educate leaners around vigilance and taking necessary safety precautions.
In addition, the South African Police Services has sought to emphasise the need for continuous responsiveness amongst communities regarding the safety of children by conducting educational sessions and rights awareness interventions.
On 15 November 2000, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Organised Crime Convention containing the Palermo Protocol, the first international instrument to define trafficking as:
Recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion. These other forms of coercion extend to abduction, fraud, deception, the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability, or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.
All countries which were signatories to the protocol had a duty to create legislation which would combat the crime of human trafficking.
Culturally unique forms of trafficking such as ukuthwala are however not addressed in the definition of trafficking. Ukuthwala is the illegal removal of a girl from her parents’ dwelling for the purpose of forced marriage or sexual intercourse.
In the unreported case Jezile v S and Others, a full bench of the Western Cape High Court delivered a landmark judgment where the court held that ukuthwala is no defence for crimes of rape, human trafficking and assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm.
Thirteen years after ratification, South Africa satisfied the duty imposed on it by the Palermo Protocol. On 29 July 2013, South Africa’s former President, Jacob Zuma signed into law the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act of 2013. This is the country’s first piece of legislation centred around combating and preventing human trafficking.
While South Africa’s legislation in this regard may be viewed as being in its infancy, measures adopted by the country in criminalising acts associated with trafficking illustrate a step in the right direction.
By Suraya McKenzie-Pillay, Johannesburg intern.
As part of ProBono.Org’s commitment to the career development of its legal interns, the Johannesburg office was honoured to have Judge Thina Siwendu accept an invitation to address them and provide an insight into her journey within the legal profession.
Judge Siwendu’s remarkable journey from being an articled clerk at Cheadle Thompson & Haysom Inc., a fellow at the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, establishing and running her successful practice Siwendu Inc. after saying no to a job offer, and transitioning into the Judiciary was both inspiring and motivational.
Judge Siwendu explained how life will give you signals and you need to constantly be alert as to how you respond when venturing into new territory. Saying no to attractive opportunities is sometimes required and in order to grow on your journey you need to have a model of success which you continuously evaluate fearlessly.
We would like to take the opportunity to thank Judge Siwendu for taking the time to provide us with her insight, for encouraging and inspiring the legal interns as they venture onto the next step in their career paths and equipping them with invaluable knowledge and life skills.
ProBono.Org Durban held our first Attorney seminar for the year. The topic was “Statutory Arbitration process in the CCMA in terms of the LRA, as amended”. The seminar was held at the CCMA and the speaker was Senior Commissioner Nhlanhla Mathe. The speaker was very knowledgeable and approachable. We look forward to working with the CCMA in 2018.