A large number of people lined up to have their cases heard at the launch of a firm of attorneys’ first Justice Centre in Lower Crossroads.
It is expected to be a nationwide project of educating people about their rights and giving them access to justice, a service that in the past many have viewed as only for the white elite.
The launch of Malahlela Attorneys’ first Justice Centre and imbizo took place in Lower Crossroads, Philippi, in partnership with community stalwart Bishop Eric Mazondwa, a key pillar in the community who has been dealing with community dispute resolutions for the better part of his life.
“The Justice Centre is a pilot programme for a nationwide roll-out, our partnership with Bishop Eric Mazondwa helps keep our finger on the pulse when it comes to the needs of the community,” said Nakedi Malahlela, chief executive officer for Malahlela Attorneys.
“We want to create similar partnerships with key role-players across all communities of South Africa and offer our services for the resolution of community legal disputes.”
The law firm said in addition to the Justice Centres across South Africa they also want to have mobile clinics to service the areas on the outskirts that are in desperate need of legal advice and services. Both these programmes are part of their access to justice project, doing away with the misconception that the law is exclusively for the privileged.
“I am very happy to have a law firm assist us with our cases in the community; many people within the community do not have money and therefore do not get justice. With the help of Mr Malahlela we can now help these people,” added Bishop Eric Mazondwa.
The access to justice campaign comes in two stages, one being that Malahlela Attorneys will assist 100 people within 100 days for free, and the second stage is that they only charge a R500 case assessment fee for all new cases.
In this quest to make the law accessible to all, the law firm says it has four key pillars namely, their 24-hour call centre, their website, their justice centres and mobile clinics, and the app. All these are said to be fully operational by July 1.
“Innovation plays a big role in the growth of any business, we aim to launch the Malahlela Attorneys app on July 1, where we will outline how we want it to grow our footprint while also assisting the community,” said Mr Malahlela.