FULL PDF OF LETTER: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0iU6rEWj2UTYkVJN1Z2d0ZBNXc
22 SEPTEMBER 2O16
TO: THE PUBLIC, THE COMMONS, CIVIL SOCIETY
TO: THE LAW SOCIETY COUNCIL OF KWAZULU-NATAL
TO: THE PUBLIC INTEREST SOCIAL JUSTICE SECTOR
RE: APPEAL: THE FUTURE OF SOCIAL JUSTICE IN KZN, SOUTH AFRICA
It is common cause that there is not nearly enough social justice sector support within and outside of the legal profession. This means that most of our most vulnerable people do not have the [access] to justice guaran-teed in our Bill of Rights, to which people, groups and organisations are by honour, duty, and by law bound.
Our NPO Stand UP! recently held a meeting with a member of council as well as a director of KZNLS. The meeting was to find a way forward; for our law unit Bambanani Social Justice to be recognized as providing social justice and advocacy services; and for the necessary resource support for us to continue doing so.
We are deeply disturbed to advise that the meeting did not result in real, positive outcomes. This is despite the fact that our committed, innovative law unit, despite its resource constraints; has a high demand for services. Most recently, this support is desperately need by our students who are under attack in several ways.
1. The board of BSJ affirms that we acknowledge the requirements of sections 24-25 of the Attorneys Act. We specifically draw your attention to section 24
2. In section 25, the only provisions we do not currently match, and repeatedly ask for capacity support in: With regards to subsections above; we were told to find a base to work from—which though ideal, is not necessary given our model and approach. We are however still working on possible spaces. Our staff are happy to work off personal phones but need data; we do not require a paper filing system as clients keep their files; and we have a diary system. We welcome law –justice-constitution sector support with the library [which may also be electronic]; and bookkeeping accounting procedures which the Law Society could easily facilitate.
3. We also match the similar list of requirements in rule 52 of the law society’s rules. However, we have no idea whether or how being registered as a law clinic benefits any social justice organization; because despite the responsibilities in the rules below, there is no support forthcoming or planned for in the Legal Practice Act:
Council must "provide financial support to organisations or institutions providing legal education and training, including legal education and training for purposes of compulsory post-qualification professional development, with the object of enhancing the standards of legal services and increasing access to justice; (xii) provide financial support to legal practitioners, organisations or institutions for the purposes of providing work-place training opportunities for candidate legal practitioners; (xiii) provide financial support to non-profit organisations and institutions promoting access to justice for poor people; and (xiv) pay for services rendered at the request of the Council"
4. As a result, my high court appearance certificate is held hostage because I am not registered with a law firm or a law clinic. The interpretation of law clinic is unrealistic and excludes NPO NGO work/sector. It also means people are dissuaded from joining this sector as they will not obtain their high court right of appearance, nor support from the law-justice-constitution sector. This violates our rights and the rights of the public.
Our board requires an urgent written response from council with its thoughts, ideas and recommendations.
Shabnam Palesa Mohamed
Activist Journalist Attorney Filmmaker Speaker Abuse Survivor
CEO: Stand UP! Foundation [Rights Activism Empowerment]
Tel: 082 325 4136 / 074 874 2291 Twitter: @ShabnamPalesaMo