People who cannot afford legal fees, particularly in relation to civil matters, will benefit from the services of ProBono, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) committed to providing free legal assistance to the needy.
The organisation, which opened its doors at Isivivana Centre, in Khayelitsha, late last year tackles civil issues such as deceased estates, as well as housing, family-related and consumer-related matters.
The NGO also aims to facilitate transformation of the legal profession, promote and protect the rights of the destitute and uphold the rule of law.
The NGO also has offices in Johannesburg and Durban. It is now calling on people to utilise the services offered by its Khayelitsha office.
Regional manager Uzair Adams said they act as a clearing house, meaning that they get attorneys and advocates to form the organisation’s panel.
They then instruct them to represent any person they deemed to be in need of legal assistance.
Each case is handled on its own merits, but before getting involved, the organisation assesses the person’s income.
Only those who earn less than R6 000 a month or own assets not worth more than R300 000 are eligible for assistance from the centre.
Mr Adams said in exceptional circumstances, however, they take cases for people earning more than R6 000 a month.
Mr Adams said many people were afraid to take their matters to court because of the high cost and duration of court proceedings.
He said the provincial office had been launched in response to the growing demand for legal representation and because increasing numbers of people living in townships found themselves losing their possessions because they were unable to afford quality legal representation.
“I urge people living in the township to take their legal rights seriously. We aim to organise legal seminars conducted by attorneys and advocates on various legal issues. In addition, we aim to hold legal clinics and community workshops staffed by representatives from various firms on different legal issues such as deceased estates, family law related matters, consumer law related matters and housing matters,” he said.
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