New interns for Cape Town

Courtney Cupido obtained her LLB Degree from the University of the Western Cape in 2016, after which she attended UCT’s School for Legal Practice which solidified her interest in human rights law and social justice. During her studies she was a member of the Street Law Society, the Institute of Justice and Reconciliation (Ashley Kriel Youth Development Programme) and Activate Change Drivers. Her involvement with these initiatives ignited her passion to uplift communities and to develop young people.

 

Zunaid Latief graduated with an LLB degree from the University of the Western Cape in 2016. He is currently an alumnus member of the HCI Foundation, where he has participated in a number of community outreach programmes, including feeding schemes in some of Cape Town’s most poverty-stricken areas. One of his primary goals in life is to educate and assist underprivileged and previously disadvantaged communities, especially on the Cape Flats, where the lack of access to justice and general lack of legal assistance is prevalent.

Click here for our complete April 2018 Newsletter

LEGAL CLINIC OPENS FOR THE LANGA COMMUNITY OF CAPE TOWN

South Africa has robust laws which protect the vulnerable but enforcement of these laws lags behind. There is a scarcity of lawyers working at community levels which hinders much needed legal reform. Grassroots justice is therefore required to fill the gap. In response to this problem, the Cape Town office of Norton Rose Fulbright SA, in association with ProBono.Org, launched a general legal clinic in the community of Langa on 7 February 2018. The clinic’s objective is to provide access to justice and to empower people to protect their rights. The firm will be providing pro bono legal services to Langa residents once a month for the next year. If you would like to offer your services at the clinic, please contact Nicki van‘t Riet.

Click here for our complete April 2018 Newsletter

Welcome to our interns for 2018

Welcome to our interns for 2018

JOHANNESBURG

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.

 


 

DURBAN

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.

 


 

CAPE TOWN

 
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:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=10cRcWIio1YTzCgNzApdjpMz9vIl1jDTh

Click here for our complete February 2018 Newsletter