Minister Masutha commemorates the 25th anniversary of the Office of the Family Advocate
02 October 2015
The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Advocate Michael Masutha led the department’s celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the Office of the Family Advocate today in Kimberley, Northern Cape. The event sought to highlight the work done by the country’s family advocates in protecting and promoting the rights and best interests of children.
The Office of the Family Advocate was established in October 1990 to ensure that children are protected in instances where their parents are in dispute.
Initially, the mandate of the Office was limited to assisting only children who were affected through the divorce of their parents. The limited mandate was extended by the promulgation of the Children’s Act in 2005 which protects the interests of children, whether their parents are married or not.
“The notion that if a father of a child who is not married to the mother, cannot have contact with a child has been done away with. Now those fathers can approach the Office of the Family Advocate to know and understand their rights and responsibilities to their children,” said Minister Masutha.
The first six offices of the Family Advocate were established between 1990 and 1992 according to the seats of the High Court of South Africa. Currently, there are 26 offices established in all 9 provinces, with a distribution of between 2 to 4 offices per province. Furthermore, all courts in the country are serviced through satellite service points.
The demand for the services of the Office of the Family Advocate has increased over the past 25 years as well. An average of 2000 matters related to mediation of family matters is dealt with by family advocates across the country every month.
Minister Masutha called on the public to work together with the Office of the Family Advocate to promote and protect the best interests of minor or dependent children.
Issued by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development
Enquiries: Advocate Mthunzi Mhaga
Spokesperson for the for the Ministry of Justice and Correctional services
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