Coordinator: Phumelele Mathonsi. Phumelele has worked for CCJ since 2011.Map of Estcourt

Tel / Fax: 036 352 6886 


District: Uthukela Municipal District (Northern KwaZulu-Natal)

Area: 2,130 sq km

Population: 59,921

Most common cases: Domestic violence and legal advice

Communities served: Ntabamhlophe, Wembezi, Loskop, Cornfields, Thembalihle, Fodderville, Collitta, Esigodlweni, Frere, Ntokozweni, eMabhanoyini, uMgunyathi, Zwelisha, Sikhonyane, Winterton and Colenso.

Description: The centre (below) is situated at the police station in Estcourt and is convenient for clients who come to town for shopping and public services. Estcourt Support Centre







The surrounding rural areas fall under traditional leadership and are characterised by severe poverty and lack of resources and infrastructure. Roads and transport facilities are poor.

In 2011 the office dealt with 311 cases, with the most common being domestic violence (111) and labour issues (57).

Phumelele Mathonsi

 How long have you worked for CCJ? 

 Since 2011.

 What led you to work for CCJ?

 The passion to work for and to assist communities led me to work for CCJ.I was a paralegal  before and  working with communities is something that is in my veins. I enjoy helping other people.

 What are the most common problems that clients come to you with?

The most common problems are social problems, domestic violence and legal advice. A high rate of unemployment is the cause of some of these problems.

How do you deal with cases of domestic violence?

I call both parties for mediation. If the problem remains unresolved I refer the complainant to apply for a protection order in court.

Are there any laws that you would like to see changed?

I would change the Maintenance Act, because its focus is on the man whereas there are woman who abandon their children and don't support them. Most women use this law to abuse and to punish their ex-boyfriend.

How do you balance your work with traditional customs?

By making sure that I applied the law, but at the same time not forgetting to consider and to respect traditional customs.

Have the attitudes and behaviour of people in Estcourt changed since you have been here?

Yes, man and woman have changed their attitude and behaviour: they respect, listen and care for each other more now. I have contributed a lot in changing the lives of teenagers by giving them advice.

What advice would you give to children growing up in Estcourt?

I would tell them to respect and listen to elders, focus on their studies, avoid bad things which will destroy their future and to work hard in order to fulfil their dreams.

Who is your role model, and why?                     (Right) Inside Estcourt Support Centre

My role model is my mother, who was a domestic worker. She wasn’t able to give us everything but she cared and raised us with love.

What are the main challenges that you face in your work?

Transport is a big challenge to my work, as some cases needs urgent attention and it’s not easy to do that without your own transport, especially if you have to do a home visit. There is also a need to have two paralegals to make sure that the office is open at all times.

Can you tell us about a case that was particularly rewarding for you?

Yes, there was a case where a client's husband disappeared, nowhere to be found. The fund requested a death certificate in order to release his benefits. I advised the client that she needs to apply for a presumption of death. I referred this case to The Law Clinic. It was a long wait but later a presumption of death was issued and benefits were paid to the client

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