Legal Aid gets tenth unqualified audit

2011-10-11 20:02

Cape Town - Legal Aid SA (Lasa) achieved its 10th consecutive unqualified report and a sixth consecutive year of no matters of emphasis in the auditor general's report in 2010/11.

This indicated strong financial management, Lasa CEO Vidhu Vedalankar told reporters in Cape Town on Tuesday.

During the year, Lasa provided legal services in 421 365 new legal matters - 389 914 of them criminal and 31 451 civil cases, she said.

General legal advice was also provided to 243 693 clients.

The organisation, which had 64 justice centres and 64 satellite offices around the country, also expanded its footprint with the launch of its client call centre in November 2010.

This advice line helped 13 926 callers with first level legal advice in five official languages.

Children were helped in 28 115 legal matters. Of these, 25 586 were criminal matters and 2 529 civil.

Lasa spent 99% of its R1.2bn budget as at March 31, 2011, Vedalankar said.

Lasa spokesperson Mpho Phasha said the public-funded entity would continue to vigorously defend the rights enshrined in the Constitution to ensure that access to justice became a reality to South Africans.

"Through our civil work, we will continue to ensure that the poor can enjoy their socio-economic rights and have such rights protected by a court of law through sustainable legal aid schemes," Phasha said.

Lasa board chairperson, Labour Court Judge President Dunstan Mlambo, said the organisation would continue strengthening its leadership and investment in its people.

Lasa intended becoming the legal employer of choice for people committed to serving the poor and vulnerable and making the Constitution a living document for all South Africans.

It would continue to address its limited responsiveness in civil matters resulting from financial constraints.

Lasa recently established 13 civil units, and employed civil legal professionals at every justice centre, to increase access to civil legal aid, Mlambo said.

  • kingv - 2011-10-11 20:11

    Could it be .. a department that actually works for the people! What ever next .. council workers??

      Stefan - 2011-10-11 20:29

      Legal Aid is not a state department, it is only funded by the state. So, unfortunately we have yet to see a department that works...

      Sit-hole - 2011-10-11 21:10

      Im with legalwise, platinum . been with them for 5years. hopefully if I ever need there services they are able to step up to the plate.

  • Hans - 2011-10-11 21:48

    Doesn't it make you feel proud that they are using YOUR tax contribution to defend the very same criminals who break into your house, rob, rape and kill the occupants and generally cause mayhem! The more tax you contribute, the more likely you are NOT to qualify for legal aid. The more inefficient they become, the better!!

      LBS - 2011-10-12 16:31

      Legal Aid is rubbish anyway! But still wasting tax money.

  • Hans Heydra - 2011-10-11 21:49

    Doha.... A corrupt lawyer has a lot more to loose than a regular government official. If a lawyer is disbarred he can not practice law and therefore dose not have a job. If a government official is sacked he gets a better job in another department. No doubt thanks to the party! No wonder legal aid has a clean audit.

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