Coordinator: Sonto Nene. Sonto has been with CCJ since 1998.Map of Madadeni

Tel/Fax: 034 314 5091 (tel/fax)


District: Umzinyathi Municipal District (Northern KwaZulu-Natal)

Most common cases: Domestic violence and legal advice

Area served: Madadeni Township, Ncandu, Leicester, Masondeza, Johnstone, Jobstown, Blaawbosch, Maaskraal, Mathukusa and Soul City, Riversmeet, Canaan.

Description: Madadeni is a typical township 20 kilometres outside Newcastle. Some of the areas served are rural and fall under the traditional leadership of Amakhosi and Izinduna. Madadeni’s infrastructure is either obsolete or non-existent, with narrow streets and poor sanitation.Madadeni Support Centre

The office (left) is at the magistrate’s court and is accessible to people coming to shop in town, but is hard to reach for rural people, for whom transport is expensive. In 2011 the office dealt with 561 cases, with domestic violence (271) and legal advice (195) being the most common.

Sonto Nene (above left) at the Madadeni Magistrate's Court

Sonto Nene

Sonto Nene

How long have you worked for the CCJ?

Since 1998

What led you to become a support centre coordinator?

I have a passion to work for the community. I am lucky that my dream has become a reality.

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

They are domestic violence, labour disputes and legal advice.

How do you deal with those cases?

With domestic violence I usually do mediations. They are mostly successful. Sonto NeneSometimes I issue protection orders for the women.

Is there any law you would like to change?

I would amend the law to help women who live with their boyfriends. Often they live like a married couple for many years and have children, but when the husband dies the husband’s family chase the woman away and they don’t get anything of the husband’s.

What role do traditional customs play in your work?

I have had a few cases where a client has wanted compensation, for example because they accused someone of bewitching them. I tried to solve it using mediation but they insisted on compensation, so I referred them to the traditional court.

Would you say people’s attitudes and behaviour are starting to change?

“When I was left alone at the old Magistrate's Court I told myself it was over for me because people were not coming for help. I heard from a reliable source that that the new Magistrate's Court was performing the same services that I was providing. I also heard that although they are supposed to be doing the same job, they lack the experience and training.


It was just a matter of time before people realised that they were not receiving good service at the new Magistrate's Court and people came streaming back to me. Some of them complained about the poor service they got on the other side of the road.”

Yes, men respect us more now because of all the mediations, presentations and workshops we have done.

Who are your role models?

My role model is my director Winnie Kubayi. She is intelligent, creative, she doesn’t give up and she has always been there for me.

What advice would you give children in Ixopo?

I would advise them to focus on their studies and to forget about friends, because without education they will be nobody.

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

There is a shortage of transport for home visits and to travel to school and community presentations. We need to be able to use a landline for telephoning, and I need more benches for when I have big groups in the office. Also we need a fax and photocopier.

Can you describe a case that you found particularly rewarding?

There was a married couple and the man was abusing the woman by cheating on her and spending his money on girlfriends. One of them became pregnant. I invited them both for mediation and the man was very apologetic. He said he hadn’t realised that he had been hurting his wife and he apologised to her. Even the girlfriend apologised to her. After that the husband changed his behaviour. I have done follow-ups and spoken to the wife and she says everything is fine now.

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