The Johannesburg office and the Municipality of Ekurhuleni Community Development Directorate, hosted a workshop on Wills and matters relating to the social welfare of the community and children. The various speakers included social workers, community forum representatives and one of our staff members. The event was well attended but the community of Palmridge.
By Tshenolo Masha.
On 17 November 2016, Tshenolo Masha met with the 16 Limpopo Community advice offices in Polokwane at the South African Human Rights Commission to reflect on the work of the ProBono.Org Community Advice Office Support Project during 2016.
Community advice office representatives gave feedback on the successes and challenges that the project experienced throughout the year. Many of the participants noted a change in their perception of the legal profession. For instance, Johanna Mkhabela from the Manthata Advice Office was under the impression that legal professionals were inaccessible to poor people and that they could not identify with some of their challenges, but after interacting and linking up with Mashola Attorneys the advice office felt that the legal professionals are able to apply their knowledge of the law to the client’s case and take into account the socio-economic situation of the clients. The meeting also discussed some of the training needs of the advice offices for the coming year such as labour law and mediation. This will inform the discussion that ProBono.Org will have with legal professionals in Limpopo on how they can get more involved with community legal empowerment and training for community advice office paralegals.
By Thato Mashishi, Fasken Martineau.
On 20 October 2016, ProBono.Org in partnership with Fasken Martineau hosted a community workshop in Orange Farm. Presentations were made by professionals from Fasken Martineau: Gia Abrahamson, Nasipi Mantshule and Thato Mashishi.
The presentations covered Children’s Rights, Domestic Violence and Maintenance and were conducted in English, Setswana and Xhosa.
The focus of the workshop was to create awareness in the community and to provide information on the available pro bono legal services.
The presenters explained the rights and responsibilities of parents and children, what gender-based violence is and how to apply for maintenance. The workshop was a great success and the community felt empowered, especially since the workshop was conducted in their vernacular languages.
Probono.org hosted a workshop at Fasken Martineau Johannesburg on after hours bail. We’re setting up a panel of private attorneys to assist and address instances where people are detained after hours and cannot get access to legal representation, especially in instances of protest.
Thanks to Adv Bilal Bodhania of Duma Nokwe Group of Advocates and Mr Mmeli Motsepe (Snr Attorney at Legal Aid South Africa) for sharing their extensive knowledge and experience with us.
This workshop explained what a will is and the requirements for executing a valid will. It also touched on other areas of law that are interwoven with the topic. For instance:
The implications of dying without a will if –
- One is in an unregistered customary marriage;
- One is in a cohabitation relationship;
- One is n a universal partnership;
- One has children out of wedlock; and
- One has raised children as their own without legally adopting them.
The workshop also discussed disputes that often arise between family members in appointing an executor when the deceased has died intestate and the negative effect of this on the winding up of the estate.
On Friday, July 4, ProBono.Org will host a deceased estates information session at the Palm Ridge Magistrates Court.
Any community members with concerns regarding the financial affairs of a deceased person or their heirs are encouraged to attend.
The purpose of the session is to provide concerned parties with access to quality legal advice; including information on basic laws and rights linked to issues surrounding deceased estates.
This workshop is just one of many ProBono.Org services which aim to link the poorest of the poor to legal services through a network of volunteer lawyers.
The organisation hopes that, through these sessions, it will be able to ease the emotional difficulty of losing a loved one by ensuring that their estate dissolution is concluded as quickly and painlessly as possible.
The session will take place from 11am to 1pm on the fourth floor at the Palm Ridge Magistrates Court.
Any community members with concerns regarding deceased estates can call 010 232-2002 or 086 507 2018 to book a session.
Refreshments will also be provided.
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.
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.