Legal Advice Overview

“In the last two years more than R3 million was claimed successfully on behalf of clients, benefitting at least 1300 people.”                        Director Winnie Kubayi

"People have built new houses and taken their children to university because of my help." - Impendle Coordinator Zodwa Maramane

Clients bring all kinds oLegal advicef problems to the support centres, ranging from questions about pensions, labour disputes, grants and child support, to reports of rape and domestic violence. Coordinators identify the law involved in each problem and advise the client of appropriate remedies. They offer mediation in cases such as domestic violence, maintenance and custody, and clients can opt for this or to use the courts, the police or other services. They are also equipped with information so that they don’t have to return to the support centre if the problem arises again.

Coordinators offer free legal advice on issues such as maintenance, labour disputes, domestic violence, social grants, unemployment benefit, pensions, retirement funds, Motor Vehicle Fund claims, funeral policies and inheritances.    

To ensure coordinators give the best advice possible, they continually receive training and updates in any changes to the law. In 2009 for example, coordinators received training on the new Sexual Offences Act and the reform of Customary Law of Succession, and they have recently attended workshops on HIV/AIDS and the Domestic Violence Act. Head office often makes material available for clients in the form of handbooks, notes, and visual aids. 

 “The coordinator explained to me all my rights and the children’s rights. Now I know that it is both parents’ responsibility to support their children and that a parent who does not cooperate can be obliged to support his or her children.”
- Respondent, 2006 Evaluation

Advice is usually followed by a referral to another organisation and the coordinators’ support for and monitoring of the case. Coordinators are kept up to date with changes in laws by attending workshops and receiving newsletters from head office. 

(Right) Staff conduct home visits to follow up on cases and to reach those who need helpHome visit but might not come to support centres. 

Internal Newsletters

CCJ develops newsletters on a regular basis for its community staff to keep them informed of the new changes in laws. They receive these as soon as there is a change in legislation, so that they advise their clients accordingly. The newsletters are in a simple, single topic format with information on what the law was before it was amended, what changes have been introduced and the benefits that community members will derive from these changes.

Home Visits Jabhisile home visit

Part of the legal advice services provided by coordinators is home visits and follow-ups. Coordinators visit individuals that they have heard need help, but who have not come forward to ask for assistance. They also call and visit existing clients to check on progress. Despite the long distances, bad roads and poor taxi transport, 292 home visits were undertaken in 2011.

Field Coordinator Jabu Sangweni (left) conducting a home visit in Himeville

Coordinator Sonto Nene on the ongoing training:

“I take this opportunity to thank Head Office for giving us the opportunity to upgrade our knowledge and skills. The courses we attend play a very important part in our daily tasks.”

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