Mediation Cases

Zodwa Maramane, Mar-April 2008: Winning over a Hostile Perpetrator of Domestic Violence

In one of my cases the husband abused his wife and children emotionally and physically. I invited the husband to the office for mediation. He refused to come. 

 “The man was very apologetic. He said he hadn’t realised that he had been hurting his wife and he apologised to her. Even his girlfriend
that he’d been cheating with apologised to her. After that the husband changed his behaviour.”

       - Coordinator Sonto Nene, Aug 2010

Home visit(Left) Community members are often suspicious of coordinators at first

I decided to go to his home to help his wife. When I got there he was quiet and angry because he knew me. I was so friendly that he forgot that I had come to see him. After that I started the mediation. I spoke to him about the abuse and told him that he could be arrested if he did it again. I also reminded him that he is not working, that his wife buys everything for him and that he must respect her.

He was very sorry and apologised to his wife and children because he had broken their TV set and they now have no TV. He even asked me if he could come to the office if he had a problem. I told him that he is welcome to visit the office. The client was also happy because she had not known what to do when he refused to go to the office for mediation.

Thabisile Miya, Oct 2008:Plessislaer client Mediation of Financial Dispute

A 42 year old woman came to our office for legal advice about a stokvel (informal group savings and investment club), of which she is a member. Members are given money to loan to other people. She gave R4000 to a person who is working at NPB. He was going to pay it back with interest of R500 a month per thousand rand borrowed. He borrowed it in January 2000.

After a year, no money or interest was paid and she tried to communicate with the debtor, but in vain. I invited the debtor to come to the office for mediation on 22nd October at 10am. The mediation was successful and he apologised to the client for not paying her. The debtor will repay the debt in instalments of R500 a month at the support centre. He began payment soon afterwards.

Thabisile Miya, April 2008: Successful Outcome of MainDumisile Ndlovutenance Mediation

A 32 year old unemployed client with a 5 year old child reported that while she was living with the child’s father on a farm where he worked he supported the child, but when they parted in 2007 he stopped supporting the child. She has been communicating with the father to pay maintenance but she has failed as he always tells her that he has no money.

I wrote to the child’s father and invited him to come for mediation on 14th April. Mediation was conducted successfully. The child’s father agreed to pay R350 per month and has made the first payment.

 84% of 1321 mediations in 2009 left both parties satisfied

(Above) A client collects maintenance from coordinator Dumisile Ndlovu

Sibongile Masondo, Nov-Dec 2008: Mediating Domestic Violence caused by HIV

A 57 year old woman reported that she was being verbally, physically and emotionally abused by her daughter. The daughter was also beating the children, shouting andClient at presentation abusing other family members. She would not allow her mother to intervene when she was beating the children and said she was raising them in her own way.

The daughter discovered that she is HIV-positive, but she did not want to accept this and said that she was going to poison the family because they were abusing her.

I arranged mediation and the mother and her daughter came. The daughter was so angry that she did not want to speak. I conducted counselling. I then spoke to the daughter on her own; she told me that her mother was discriminating against her and that she used vulgar language when speaking to her. She said she hates her mother.

Regarding the abuse of the children, she said she got angry because she was not speaking to anyone at home. She acknowledged that she had tested positive for HIV but that she did not go for further check-ups of her viral load.

I invited the mother back in and gave them both advice about their conduct. The mother acknowledged that she used vulgar language when she was angry. She apologised for that. They both apologised for everything that they had done to each other.

I advised the daughter that if she abused her children she would be arrested. That was a last warning. The mother was not going to lay a charge because the abuse was caused by anger. It was a very difficult mediation but the outcome was successful.

Information: This case illustrates the specific problems that when a member of the family is HIV-positive. The fear and anger of the patient affects the whole household, and children suffer abuse without knowing why.

A client interviewed for the 2007 Impact Study described her experience of mediation:

“I have four sons and a daughter who live with me and they are all mentally disturbed. They have been causing me problems for a long time. They attack me and attack people in my area. I went to the clinic for some injuries and the sister there decided to take me to the Centre. At the Centre they called all my sons, sat us all down, and talked to us (conducted mediation).

After that talk, the others stopped but my elder son continued to attack me. I went back to the Centre and they helped me to get a restraining order against him, and that did not help so we had to open a case with the police and he was arrested. When the other one was gone the second-born started again and I was advised that I should ensure that they take their medication. The coordinators spoke to them and they listened. They also helped me to revive my second son’s disability grant.

The case with my elder son has been resolved, but I still have problems with the others. All the same the Centre has been very helpful to us and it should not be taken away from the area because we would suffer. I do not think I can go to any other institution for help, I only trust the Centre.” 

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