KZN high courts launch help desks for needy

2017-04-11 14:00
At the launch of the help desks at the Pietermaritzburg high court on Monday, were (from left) Legal Aid Pietermaritzburg’s Raguvhu Madzihiye, Judge Yvonne Mbatha, Deputy Judge President of the KZN High Court Justice Isaac Madonda, KZN Law Society president Umesh Jivan and Judge of the KZN high court, Justice Anthony van Zyl.

At the launch of the help desks at the Pietermaritzburg high court on Monday, were (from left) Legal Aid Pietermaritzburg’s Raguvhu Madzihiye, Judge Yvonne Mbatha, Deputy Judge President of the KZN High Court Justice Isaac Madonda, KZN Law Society president Umesh Jivan and Judge of the KZN high court, Justice Anthony van Zyl. (Supplied)

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In a bid to make legal services more accessible to the province’s disadvantaged, help desks in the Pietermaritzburg and Durban high courts will be up and running by tomorrow morning.

The KwaZulu-Natal Law Society, in partnership with Probono.Org and Legal Aid South Africa, launched the new programme on Monday at the Pietermaritzburg high court.

Deputy Judge President of the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Division of the High Court, Justice Isaac Madondo, who is championing the programme, spoke at Monday’s launch, emphasising the importance of help desks in today’s society.

Madondo said the help desks were for those who were “least likely to know where to get [legal] help”, and lacked the finances to pay for it.

Madondo said everyone should be able to seek legal help and he hoped the programme would help change lives and “help those who cannot help themselves”.

The deputy judge president said poverty and lack of education resulted in many people not knowing their constitutional rights and the help desks would assist the disadvantaged on judgment rulings and court procedures.

Legal assistance will be provided in the areas of evictions, family matters and estates and foreclosures.

A means test will be carried out on those seeking assistance to see if they qualify for the free service.

KZN Law Society Probono committee chairperson Poobie Govindasamy said at the launch that he hoped the programme would “deepen the country’s democratic gains in the last two decades”.

He added that the programme would help advance those who needed help but previously had no access to it.

The help desks will operate from 9 am to noon daily.

They will be staffed by administrators, with law practitioners on hand to provide legal assistance.

Attorneys and advocates are encouraged to serve by volunteering for a daily session, and to volunteer the services of candidate attorneys to assist them.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  legal aid sa

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