AWARDS 2014

Inaugural Pro Bono Awards Ceremony: 7 October 2014

The very first Annual Pro Bono Awards Ceremony in South Africa was held at the stylish Katy’s Palace Bar in Johannesburg on 7 October 2014. 150 attorneys, advocates and mediators attended the event that was ably MC-ed by attorney and social media expert Emma Sadleir.

The event was held to recognise the impressive contribution made by pro bono attorneys (part-time and full-time), law firms and advocates to the lives of low-income people in South Africa. Journalists reporting on pro bono cases, drawing the public’s attention to cases that change the lives of the poor, were also recognised.

The aim of the event was to honour and celebrate this important work and also increase and grow the involvement and commitment of the legal profession.

VIEW THE PROGRAMME HERE

The Judges

NIC SWART
Nic is the CEO of the Law Society of SA (LSSA) and the founder and director of Legal Aid and Development (LEAD), responsible for the professional training of attorneys. He is a member of various law faculties and sits on a number of boards. In addition, he practices as an attorney and mediator. He holds BA LLB and B Com degrees from the University of Pretoria and UNISA.

ALICE BROWN
Alice is an international human rights advocate and an expert on the use of law for the public good. She has extensive experience in civil rights litigation and social justice philanthropy and currently advises, speaks and does research on public interest law, philanthropy, social justice and non-governmental organisational effectiveness. She was the director of the Ford Foundation (South Africa) for many years. She holds a law degree from New York University and history degrees from Dartmouth College and North-western University.

JONATHAN KLAAREN
Jonathan is a Professor of Law at Wits University Law School and is based at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WiSER). He served as Dean of the Wits Law School from 2010 – 2013 and as Director of the Mandela Institute from 2005 – 2007. He holds a PhD in sociology from Yale University and law degrees from Wits and Columbia Universities.

 

AUDITOR: GRANT THORNTON
Grant Thornton (previously Kessel Feinstein) is the fifth largest auditing, tax, outsourcing and advisory firm in South Africa, with 10 offices across the country.

The Judging Process

The 3 judges reviewed all nomination forms submitted. The awards were allocated on the basis of pro bono hours (firms, attorneys, advocates) and the number of words (media). The law firm hours were aggregated according to the number of professionals in each firm. The judging process and decisions were reviewed and audited by Grant Thornton to ensure non-partiality, fairness and correctness.

Keynote Speaker: Judge Kathleen Satchwell
Kathie Satchwell was a student activist at Rhodes University during the apartheid years, playing a support role for Steve Biko and other detainees. She practised as an attorney for 18 years, during which time she dealt with pass law courts with the Black Sash and CALS, representing detainees, political activists, prisoners and conscientious objectors. She appeared at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, presenting a memorandum on human rights abuses. She was appointed to the bench in 1996, and since then has handed down many innovative and path-breaking judgements. She has had a long association with a number of NGOs (POWA, Black Sash, Learn and Teach and Media Defence Trust) and is currently a Trustee of the Nelson Mandela’s Children Fund.

Award Categories, Finalists and Winners

Law Firm Awards
Presented by Nicolette Naylor, Senior Programme Officer, Ford Foundation

Highest number of pro bono hours by law firm with over 50 professionals
AWARD SPONSORED BY without prejudice

WINNER: Fasken Martineau
Fasken Martineau has a long history of involvement in pro bono work, initially during apartheid as Bell Dewar and Hall. In 2010 a dedicated pro bono department was established. The pro bono department provides legal advice and representation in employment, housing, refugee, maintenance and domestic violence matters. All the attorneys in the firm participate in pro bono work.

FINALIST: Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa
Norton Rose Fulbright SA sees itself as a firm with a commitment to social responsibility and human rights work. Its work in this arena dates back to the 1980s. The firm has consistently offered advice and legal representation, not only to low-income individuals and communities, but to non-governmental community based organisations, trusts, charities and foundations.

FINALIST: Webber Wentzel
In 2003, Webber Wentzel established a pro bono department to provide free legal services to a variety of communities. The pro bono practice provides legal services on issues related to land reform, housing, education, healthcare, children’s rights, gender equality and service provision. One of their core projects aims to secure constitutional equality for women.

Highest number of pro bono hours by law firm with 10 to 50 professionals

WINNER: Mervyn Taback Inc
Mervyn Taback Inc’s pro bono work covers labour matters and including litigation, arbitration, the drafting of documents and appearing in court and tribunals for clients. In 2013 the firm successfully litigated against the Ford Motor Company South Africa, securing a favourable settlement for 13 former employees. Directors of the firm sit in court as acting judges on a pro bono basis.

FINALIST: Schindlers Attorneys
Schindlers Attorneys offers a range of services in legal areas including commercial, litigation, conveyancing, labour, intellectual property and consumer law. Schindlers has been working to save the Zoo Lake Bowling Club and as recently as September 2014 secured an order halting the eviction of the tenants. The firm represents Stobbs and Clark who are seeking to have medical marijuana legalised.

Highest number of pro bono hours by law firm with less than 10 professionals

WINNER: Mabaso Attorneys
Mabaso Attorneys deals exclusively with employment and labour law issues. The firm has been involved in a great many pro bono cases. Some have involved obtaining writs of execution in order to enforce compensation awards; others have involved opposing review applications. The firm has litigated against both private and government employers for their clients.

FINALIST: Clarks Attorneys
Clarks Attorneys provides legal assistance in an array of family law matters. The firm staffs ProBono.Org’s Domestic Violence Legal Clinic at the Randburg Magistrate’s Court. In addition to staffing the clinic and representing pro bono clients referred to them by ProBono.Org, Clarks takes on matters referred to the firm by the Law Society of the Northern Provinces.

FINALIST: Dlamini Attorneys
Dlamini Attorneys’ expertise includes corporate litigation, labour law, energy law and competition law. Despite being a corporate firm, Dlamini Attorneys makes a point of providing advice and representation to low income clients. Pro bono work is further used as a teaching opportunity for candidate attorneys

Individual Attorney Awards
Presented by Nicolette Naylor, Senior Programme Officer, Ford Foundation

Highest number of pro bono hours by a full-time pro bono attorney

WINNER: Tricia Erasmus (DLA Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr)
Tricia Erasmus is a senior associate in the pro bono department at DLA Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr. Her areas of expertise include refugee law, access to information, general High Court litigation, constitutional and human rights law. She has been instrumental in the case of SAHA and R2K v Minister of Police and Another, where she assisted the applicants in bringing a High Court review application in terms of PAIA to provide information on places or areas declared as a National Key Point Complex in terms of the National Key Points Act.

FINALIST: Moray Hathorn (Webber Wentzel)
Moray Hathorn was appointed to head the pro bono department at Webber Wentzel in 2003. Using constitutional and administrative law, Moray has guided the department to also take on cases related to gender based violence, traditional leadership, HIV discrimination in the workplace, post-restitution support to land reform beneficiaries and evictions. Moray and his team represented the Protea South informal settlement in eviction proceedings against the City of Johannesburg. The matter was heard by Justice Wright in the South Gauteng High Court and resulted in an interdict (to stop demolitions) and an order to provide interim basic services to the indigent households.

FINALIST: Ayanda Khumalo (Webber Wentzel)
Ayanda Khumalo is a senior associate in the pro bono department at Webber Wentzel in Sandton. She actively deals with issues related to socio-economic rights, administrative law, labour law, insurance litigation, non-profit organisations and refugees. Ayanda recently represented a vocal gay rights activist, Dr Semugoma facing improper deportation to Uganda and persecution under the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The legal intervention by Ayanda ultimately led to Dr Semugoma being granted a specialised skills work permit in February 2014.

Highest number of Pro Bono hours by a PART-TIME PRO BONO ATTORNEY

WINNER: Elze Lamprecht (Norton Rose Fulbright SA)
Elze carries out her pro bono work at the same time as running a busy practice. In her own words: “I believe that giving back to society is not a responsibility; it’s the only way of living that makes sense. There are vulnerable people in society whose rights we must protect. I feel privileged to be used for this purpose. The pro bono matter I’ve been involved with has brought home to me how critically important it is to fight for the rights of victims of abuse in a country like ours.”

Sandile Mabaso (Mabaso Attorneys)
Despite working at a relatively small firm, Sandile completed many hours of pro bono work in 2013. Work of this volume for a small firm entails not only an enormous sacrifice of time, but also of financial resources. As a labour law specialist, Sandile took on many matters from the SASLAW advice office, staffing it regularly, making himself available on short notice, and offering assistance at the Labour Court.

FINALIST: Tiny Musesengwa (Bowman Gilfillan)
Pro bono clients have benefited from Tiny’s specialised knowledge of corporate law, through her work at Ishishini Lethu (a legal clinic for SMMEs) and for other NPOs. Tiny has also ventured out of her comfort zone, dedicating significant hours to family law, domestic violence and housing law, areas that go to the heart of the struggles of poor people in South Africa.

ADVOCATE AWARD
Presented by Advocate Aboobaker SC, Chair of the Pro Bono Committee, General Bar Council

Highest number of pro bono hours by an advocate

WINNER: NADINE FOURIE
Nadine is an advocate in Group One who serves on the group’s Pro Bono Committee. She is available to assist Cliffe Decker Hofmeyr on a regular basis in finding suitable counsel for their pro bono matters. Her areas of expertise include constitutional and human rights law, public and administrative law, labour, pension fund and media law.

FINALIST: EMILE VAN DER MERWE
Emile is a junior advocate based at Pitje Chambers, Johannesburg. He has demonstrated remarkable commitment to pro bono work and has frequently been congratulated by judges, magistrates and other lawyers for his eagerness to assist on a pro bono basis. He has taken on numerous time-consuming intestate and estate related matters with a commitment to the children, widows and others left behind.

FINALIST: CATHERINE WELSCH
Catherine is an advocate based in Johannesburg. She has assisted with a number of matters at the Pro Bono.Org Family Law Clinic. Her most notable case was related to the murder of Brenda Hedges by the estranged husband of the deceased’s daughter. Catherine worked tirelessly for over a year to obtain Domestic Violence Protection orders and to ensure that the accused was arrested and the matter brought to trial.

Media Award
Award sponsored by LexisNexis
Presented by Ferial Haffajee, editor, City Press

Most comprehensive coverage by a journalist of pro bono legal cases or projects

2014 WINNER: Victoria John (Mail & Guardian)
The Legal Resources Centre nominated Victoria for her extensive, in depth and excellent coverage of all issues relating to children and the right to education. Her coverage of education cases, including the LRC’s class action against the Department of Education, Eastern Cape, has kept one of the greatest post-apartheid challenges in South Africa in the public eye. She writes regular columns on children’s rights, drawing attention to the multitude of problems faced by children.

FINALIST: Shain Germaner (The Star)
Shain ensured that ProBono.Org’s One-Child-a-Year campaign received the spotlight and was given good coverage in the press. He recently became involved in reporting cases handled by ProBono.Org and wrote an in-depth piece on one particular woman’s plight. Shain’s focus on the most vulnerable sectors of society and his detailed article, which went beyond reporting and analysis to also telling the stories of victims of domestic violence, cannot be underrated at a time when people often become statistics.

FINALIST: Nomfundo Manyathi-Jele (De Rebus)
Writing for a magazine which targets the legal profession, Nomfundo has played a crucial role in cultivating an awareness of and enthusiasm for pro bono work amongst its members. She has written countless articles on pro bono work, its importance, and how to go about it. In this way, Nomfundo, as a legal journalist, has also played an integral role in access to justice for poor people in South Africa.

PRO BONO.ORG’S NATIONAL DIRECTOR’S SPECIAL MENTIONS: 2014

Patrick Bracher of Norton Rose Fulbright SA, for his 8-year commitment to hosting ProBono.Org’s Constitutional Law radio programme every fortnight on Radio Today.

Christine Jesseman for her service on the Board of ProBono.Org and her exceptional role at DLA Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr in promoting and actively assisting pro bono matters.

Hoosen Sader of Saders Attorneys, for his long-standing and lifelong dedication to pro bono work, which started during the apartheid years and has continued unabated.

Teresa Swart, Magistrate at the Germiston Children’s Court, for going beyond the call of duty in ensuring that children in her court are treated with respect and dignity and are properly represented.

Alfred Wolpe of South African Mediators cc, for his involvement in providing pro bono mediations and training for ProBono.Org and our beneficiaries for the past 8 years.

Event Sponsors

The Ford Foundation took the plunge earlier this year by contributing significant funding towards this inaugural Pro Bono Awards Ceremony. We greatly appreciate their firm commitment to the work of ProBono.Org, as well as to the importance of this event for the legal profession.

We also greatly value the contributions of the other sponsors:
Legal publishers Sabinet, Juta, LexisNexis, Legalbrief and Without Prejudice all provided financial sponsorships, as well as in-kind trade sponsorship. Legal Aid SA and 8 Johannesburg-based law firms (Bowman Gilfillan, ENS, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, Fasken Martineau, Hogan Lovells, Norton Rose Fulbright SA, Webber Wentzel and Werksmans) all provided financial sponsorship.

Katy’s Palace Bar provided the grand and spacious venue at a heavily discounted rate and Spier donated cases of red and white wine.

We would like to acknowledge and thank the following service providers:
Michele Dean of Limeblue for the design work and beautiful photographs; Lloyd Piater of The Natural Agent for the digital expertise; Freshly Minced for organising the event with such excellent and calm efficiency; and The Principality for their PR and media services.

Thanking our Pretoria pro bono lawyers

by Neo Chokoe.

 

Screen-Shot-2017-04-24-at-1.36.30-PMOn 6 April 2017 ProBono. Org Pretoria hosted its first Lawyers Appreciation Ceremony to say thank you to the lawyers that have done pro bono work in collaboration with its office. The event was attended by 38 guests including Judge Mudau from the Gauteng Division, Johannesburg.

The Pretoria manager, Neo Chokoe welcomed the guests and thanked the sponsors who made the event possible through their donations. They were Maponya Inc, R W Attorneys, Savage Jooste & Adams, Lexis Nexis, Gildenhuys Malatji, Hahn & Hahn, Rudolph Jansen SC and R O Waters.

Ms Baitseng Rangata, the CEO of Maponya Inc and Secretary General of the Black Lawyers Association addressed the gathering on the importance of serving members of the community on a pro bono basis. She mentioned that the Black Lawyers Association is committed to pro bono work and will continue to encourage its members to do more. She stressed that it feels good just to be appreciated and that a ‘’thank you’’ goes a long way even when it does not come with monetary reward.

Ms Erica Emdon, the National Director of ProBono. Org, thanked the lawyers for their commitment to pro bono work before handing out the certificates of appreciation.

 

DOWNLOAD THE COMPLETE APRIL 2017 NEWSLETTER

Celebrating Human Rights Day with children<br/> – 21 March 2017

Celebrating Human Rights Day with children
– 21 March 2017

by Elsabe Steenhuisen.

A special day for the children in homes in the inner city of Johannesburg was organised by Lefika La Phodiso at the restaurant area at Constitution Hill. One of the organisations participating was the Art Therapy Centre, which uses art to assist children to deal with their emotions, to develop self-esteem and to develop skills in art.

The theme was about safe spaces and what is required to create a safe physical and emotional environment for children, in line with the Constitution.

The guest speakers were Advocate Elsabe Steenhuisen of ProBono.Org and Luke Lamprecht, a social worker who chairs the Johannesburg Child Advocacy Forum (JCAF).

Elsabe Steenhuisen demonstrated to the children how the law is creating safe spaces for children in need. She filled a glass bottle with sand, stones and water to illustrate that the law keeps children safe just as the bottle keeps the stones. Children should know that even if a situation seems hopeless, the law can still create a safe space, like the sand and water that finds a gap between the little stones.

Luke Lamprecht conducted a question and answer session on the rights of children. The children talked about food, shelter, education, love, discipline, guidance, protection, respect, a safe environment and the time to play.

The event ended with lunch and music by Zwai Bala.

 

DOWNLOAD THE COMPLETE APRIL 2017 NEWSLETTER

Partnering for a good cause<br/> – upcoming Durban Event

Partnering for a good cause
– upcoming Durban Event

by Shamika Dwarika.

Violence against women takes various forms and ProBono.Org sees the impact of violence and abuse of women at our numerous help desks at all our offices. That is why ProBono.Org Durban has partnered with the 1000Women Initiative to be the local host and beneficiary of the 1000 Women event in 2017. The 1000 Women Initiative aims to mobilise “1000 Women to Unite against Domestic Violence”.

This event was launched in 2004 in Cape Town and today hosts three events nationally, in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. The objective is to raise awareness about genderbased violence and to assemble resources so that women have access to skills and training. The profits from these events go to women-led organisations that facilitate change in their communities. On 3 November 2016, ProBono.Org Durban attended the 1000 Women Initiative event for the first time where we were able to witness the relevance and impact of this event. Having seen the potential of this organisation, we are delighted to partner with them.

The Durban event will be an enjoyable brunch on 18 August 2017. Tickets will be sold at R350.00 per person, or R3000.00 per table of ten. All proceeds from the event will go to ProBono.Org to support workshops we hold on domestic violence, our domestic violence help desks, and women clients who are experiencing domestic violence. There will be guest speakers and a variety of entertainment, and attendees will have an opportunity to network. We encourage you to support this campaign and take a stand against domestic violence and abuse. Watch this space for developments such as an announcement of the venue and where tickets will be available.

Litigating for Social Change Conference:<br/> 19 – 21 October 2016

Litigating for Social Change Conference:
19 – 21 October 2016

by Erica Emdon.


A conference was held in Belfast during October bringing together NGOs, community activists, litigators, academics and funders to reflect on the extent to which strategic litigation can transform lives and enable people and communities to realise their rights. With speakers from different geographic and legal settings, the conference explored:

  • Lessons learnt from the use of test case litigation to date
  • Strategic litigation as a tool for promoting social justice
  • Models and approaches to supporting strategic litigation

A session was held that dealt with a range of different models by which strategic litigation can be supported as a tool for realising social justice. I was asked to consider the role of pro bono attorneys and advocates in supporting strategic litigation and the relative advantages and disadvantages of the pro bono model.

There was great interest in the pro bono model, particularly in the context of the diminishing funding available from the state in the UK and other countries to fund civil legal services for the poor.

I gave a brief history of ProBono.Org and how it was set up originally with Atlantic Philanthropies funding. I looked at how ProBono.Org is part of a wider spectrum of organisations providing access to justice, stating that we are demand driven and not in a position to select matters. However we are in a position to use the high numbers of cases opened to lead us towards impact litigation. I covered a range of issues in my talk including the following –

  • The fact that in South Africa we have been helped by the pro bono rule and the situation that some firms have pro bono departments, some with great litigation capacity;
  • That the size of a law firm determines to some extent the type of pro bono work they do, with small firms undertaking individual matters and the larger more well resourced to take on impact cases;
  • The individual work done by lawyers in both the big and small firms often has a high impact on one person’s life in, for example, domestic violence, refugee, undocumented minors, labour and housing matters, to name but a few;
  • Because the bulk of our matters are individual matters, we see it as our job to identify patterns and trends and to try to intervene. Our intervention could be by lobbying for improvements in legislation, policy and the administration of the law, and includes making submissions on these. In some cases the high volume of cases enables us to identify matters for litigation. The individual matters can end up generating a strategic litigation case;
  • Pro bono work carried out by small practitioners can have a wide reach geographically, moving out of the cities. We have been able to recruit pro bono lawyers in small towns to assist rurally based community paralegals.

Limits of pro bono involvement in strategic litigation:

  • For small firms it is a capacity issue. Strategic litigation can take years to finalise and involves a major commitment by the firm to channel significant resources to support the case. There are exceptions. For instance Egon Oswald, a single practitioner of Egon Oswald Attorneys, acted for a torture victim McCallum and 230 others from the St Albans Prison when serious allegations of torture were made against about 50 warders at the prison. Oswald has devoted years to this matter since it started in 2005, funded the litigation himself at the cost of his own practice and reaped no financial reward. In 2015 he spent 55 days in the Port Elizabeth High Court representing the first two of 231 potential plaintiffs.
  • Bigger firms are more likely to take on the impact cases, but there are challenges, particularly if a conflict of interest arises. This happens particularly when the firm has banks, mining companies and municipalities as clients. The Chinese wall is not
    used in South Africa.
  • For all firms, big and small, there is frequently an unspoken ideological identification by the firms with the powers that be, whether they are the state, big corporates, banks or companies in the lending market. There might be a reluctance to challenge the status quo. An example is the discomfort private firms have in doing bail applications for students and other protestors, because they are viewed as violent and unruly.
  • Another reason that firms do not undertake strategic litigation is that they are frequently not knowledgeable about the strategic litigation process and the steps to take.

Having said that, there are anumber of very interesting examples of impact litigation matters that have been undertaken by private sector legal professionals from big firms on a pro bono basis.

 

Cases:

The Omar Al-Bashir case.

Webber Wentzel represented the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) and the Helen Suzman Foundation in their challenge regarding the South African government’s failure to arrest and detain the president of the Republic of the Sudan, Mr Omar Al-Bashir in June 2015. Al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity and genocide. The South African government was obliged to arrest President Al-Bashir when he came onto South African territory in terms of the Rome Statute, which it failed to do. The case was heard in the high court, then the Supreme Court of Appeal. The judgment held that the failure of the government to arrest Al-Bashir was unlawful. The state appealed to the Constitutional Court, then withdrew.

National Key Points matter.

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr acted in the Right2Know Campaign/ SAHA in the National Key Points case. Right2Know and SAHA had requested information on National Key Points from the state, which was not forthcoming. The court ordered the minister to release the list of National Key Points. This case was a great victory for access to information and accountability to the public.

University of Stellenbosch Legal Aid Clinic and others – Emolument Attachment Orders case.

Webber Wentzel acted in this matter that ended up in the Constitutional Court. The judgment in this case will have a significant impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of people who have amounts deducted from their salaries every month to pay for debts incurred. As a result of this case, the manner in which Emolument Attachment Orders are administered through our courts will be overhauled to protect debtors.

Arthurstone Village Community case.

Norton Rose Fulbright SA successfully acted on behalf of the 150 indigent and vulnerable residents of Arthurstone, in Mpumalanga, who were unlawfully evicted from their homes on a communal farm by the tribal authority. The court found that the eviction and demolition order was unlawful and set it aside, ordering the tribal authority to construct temporary habitable dwellings and thereafter permanent housing equivalent to the housing they had occupied previously.

The Mgungundlovu Land Claims case.

This case proceeded for 19 years and Norton Rose Fulbright SA worked on it for the last 5, resulting in a remarkable victory for the 100 odd families whose land, which their community had lived on since time immemorial, was taken away. The land, situated along a beach with exceptionally fertile land, was made available to the Transkei Sun, whose lease required it to pay the community R30 000 per annum. The award that Norton Rose managed to secure for the community last year was an annual rental of R4m, escalating at 6% per annum, and a R50m settlement amount from the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform. This was an overwhelming victory for the community.

ProBono.Org Cape Town

ProBono.Org Cape Town

By Uzair Adams.

2016 has undoubtedly been a momentous year for ProBono.Org as we celebrated the organisation’s 10th anniversary, which coincided with the launch of a new office in Khayelitsha, Cape Town.

The formal opening of the Isivivana Centre in Khayelitsha took place on 13 October 2016. The centre is managed by the Khayelitsha Youth and Community Centre Trust and was primarily funded by the Atlantic Philanthropies with support from the Harry Crossley Foundation and the Bertha Foundation.

The centre is the first of its kind and operates as a social justice hub which will be home to ProBono.Org and eight other NGOs working with and for underprivileged communities. These NGOs include Equal Education (EE), the Social Justice Coalition (SJC), Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders), the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), Workers World Media Productions, Health Equity South Africa, the Thope Foundation and the Equal Education Law Centre.

The centre will certainly bring about positive change within Khayelitsha and surrounding communities with these various organisations working towards empowering and improving lives. These NGOs may have different mandates but their common goal is to make access to social justice more easily accessible and realisable for the marginalised.

The legendary Zakes Mda, major literary award winner was one of the guest speakers at the launch. He spoke about the significant symbolism of naming the building Isivivana. The word “Isivivana” means a cairn of stones used to mark a pathway.

“This is a magnificent home for the non-governmental organisations. Isivivana is a glimmer of hope, hope that we all need. This is where all young people will meet and correct our wrongs. My generation has messed up the country. The country is in a mess. It is corrupt to the core. It is in this place that these NGOs will make our government accountable,” he said.

On the day, Cape Town TV, a community television channel interviewed Uzair Adams who manages the ProBono.Org Cape Town office. The Cape Town office is currently in its set-up phase, and is expected to be fully operational by January 2017.

 

Appreciation Day for ProBono.Org Durban attorneys

By Shamika Dwarika.

 

durban-attorneys-appreciation-day

Kevin Duke received the Most Dedicated Attorney certificate

On 23 September 2016 the Durban office hosted an event at the Gateway Hotel in Umhlanga to show our appreciation to attorneys who have gone beyond expectations in meeting their pro bono obligations. While the majority of attorneys on our panel work diligently to fulfill their pro bono hours, there are some who are truly passionate about this work and this comes across in their consistent willingness to assist our clients or the Durban office itself. Apart from the attorneys, we also invited some of our partners and stakeholders with whom
we work.

Guests received certificates in various categories and while we had the serious categories, we also had some fun ones such as Most Entertaining Attorney. Our MC, Mr Jared Dukkhi (a local DJ), who offered his services pro bono, was very entertaining and had the guests chuckling throughout. Guests enjoyed the raffles and this generated much excitement, especially when the Lexis Nexis PG licenses were raffled! Our sponsors included Lexis Nexis, Discovery Health, Virgin Active Health Club, Labour Net, SAB/ ABI as well as Remy Martin. We received very positive feedback from guests and have already had queries about when the next one will be held!

Orange Farm Community Workshop

Orange Farm Community Workshop

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.