“We need to work together with law enforcement agencies as communities to fight the scourge of Gender Based Violence and Femicide.” These were the words uttered by Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Mr Ronald Lamola during the Gender Based Violence and Femicide Imbizo held recently at Indwe, Emalahleni Local Municipality in the Eastern Cape.
The Imbizo was aimed at empowering community members on issues of access to justice for victims of Gender-Based Violence. Indwe has experienced a sharp rise in cases of violence against women.The year 2022, is significant for the department because of the role it’s expected to play in the implementation of the three (3) Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) Acts. Critical to this task is the mammoth responsibility to roll-out awareness and training programmes to various constituencies and communities to understand and effectively implement the GBVF Acts in their relevant spaces.
By Sinenhlanhla Mkhwanazi
The scourge of Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBV/F) has reached endemic proportions in the country to a point that not even children or people with disabilities are spared. The need to increase protection for those most vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, particularly children, women, all vulnerable persons, older persons and those living with all forms of disabilities prompted the President to reiterate the country’s commitment to address the plague of gender-based violence and femicide during the Presidential Summit against Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) in 2018.
One of the commitments made at the Conference was the fast-tracking the review of existing laws and policies on GBVF, to be victim-centered in order to afford victims of sexual offences, the maximum and the least traumatizing protection that the law can provide.
On 28 January 2022, the President signed into law amongst others, the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, which extended the scope of the National Register for Sex Offenders (NRSO). The NRSO is a database containing the details of people who have been convicted of any sexual offence against children or persons who are mentally disabled.
Some of the significant changes of the Act includes:
The above changes are expected to bolster the fight against sexual offences, further protect victims of gender-based violence against secondary victimization and ultimately lead to a decrease in the high rates of sexual offences in the country.
Did you know that the National Register for Sex Offenders (NRS0) Certificates are now available from our DOJ&CD PROVINCIAL OFFICES? Any person seeking to apply for the NRSO certificate, can now do so by submitting their applications to any of our Provincial Offices and our officials will gladly assist.
For more information on the NRSO follow this link: https://www.justice.gov.za/forms/form_nrso.html
By Junior Kotu
Ms Ziyanda Nondabula from Matatiele in the Easter Cape has proven beyond doubt that being born in a disadvantage background does not have to stop you from achieving your dreams. She was the first woman in her family to graduate with an LLB degree. “This has inspired some pupils who look up to me to not allow their background to define their future, said Ms Nondabula.
Nondabula is an Assistant Master at the Master of the High Court in KwaZulu Natal. The Office of the Master of the High Court serves the public in respect of Deceased Estates, Liquidations (Insolvent Estates), Registration of Trusts, Tutors and Curators, as well as Administration of the Guardian's Fund (minors and mentally challenged persons).
Some of Nondabula’s responsibilities in this position include issuing letters of authority, examining wills and others Master’s Service delivery issues. “, As an Assistant Master, I must ensure that work is done, and that includes full compliance with the Batho Pele principles and core values of the Master,” she explained.
She started working at the Office of the Master of the High Court in August 2014 as an Estate Controller and she was then appointed as an Assistant Master in December 2019.
Her passion for law was inspired by her grandfather who was a sub-headman in the village dealing with complaints from Traditional Court. “I used to see him preside over issues from members of the community and solve them and I was intrigued by all of that, which led to me pursuing law as a career as a way to assist in serving justice in our community,” she said.
After completing her matric in 2003 from Mvunyane Senior Secondary School in Matatiele, she subsequently completed her LLBwith UNISA in May 2012. The same year, she went to School of Legal Practice. In 2013, she served articles as a Candidate Attorney and completed them in 2014. She was also admitted as an attorney in the High Court of South Africa in the same year. “In 2016, I decided to further my studies and registered for a Post Graduate Diploma in Drafting and Interpretation of Contracts with the University of Johannesburg and completed it in the same year,” added Nondabula.Apart from her busy schedule in the office, Nondabula is passionate about community work. She has recently did outreach programs in and around KwaZulu-Natal province.
By Solomon Mahlangu
Mrs Tshepo Mokgope, is well known for her love of children, strong family ties and high regard for traditional values and heritage. Mokgope serves as a Family Counsellor at the Office of the Family Advocate Mpumalanga.
Her duties include amongst others to conduct mediation or inquires as part of the multidisciplinary team in matters relating to family law disputes, specifically limited to care, contact, guardianship and maintenance.
Mokgope began her schooling in Pietermaritzburg (KZN), then moved to Bushbuckridge and matriculated at Makgoka High School in Polokwane. She attributes her ability to converse in all the nine official South African languages to the different the number of schools she attended.
After matriculating, Mokgope completed her undergraduate studies at Fort Hare University, where she obtained a BA (Honours) in Social Science. Before joining the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJ&CD) in 2005 as Family Counsellor at the Office of the Family Advocate, she worked as an intern and later appointed as Divisional Program Coordinator at NICRO.
Mokgope holds an LLB from the University of South Africa and she is currently studying towards a Diploma in Public and SADC Administration though the University of Pretoria. “I got exposed to law and found it rather intriguing.”, she said.
Caring for the Widows was established in 2020 mainly for providing support to widows(clients) at the office of the Family Advocate offices and to create awareness of the cultural difficulties that comes with being a widow in certain African cultures. Widows, especially within the first year of the passing of the husband are not meant to sit on a chair. This meant that they had to stand-up or sit on cold floor during consultations. “This initiative is very close to my heart as i also lost my husband in 2014 and had to follow certain cultural practices,” said Mrs Mokgope.
“The Care for Widows project has brought much needed relief, through the donations from our stakeholder we managed to get Mats for our clients. In this project I work with security officers who help with identify those in need of Mats, allocate them. This project has restored dignity to our widows while they continue to observe their cultural practices”, she added. The project is ongoing in Mpumalanga and she hopes to roll it out to other regions within the Department of Justice.
By Makinta Kgomotso
The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJ&CD) has called on all victims of apartheid who were identified Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to apply for financial assistance for basic education as well as higher education and training. The department officials embarked on a roadshow in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal province in search for eligible beneficiaries of the education assistance program.
The regulations relating to assistance victims in respect of basic and high education first came into effect on the 7th of November 2014 and eligible beneficiaries have been assisted since the beginning of 2015 academic year.
TRC education assistance provides financial assistance towards basic education, i.e. from Grade R – 12. Also, in the further education and training (i.e. TVET level) and Higher education (Universities). Under basic education it provides the following benefits: payment of school fees, boarding fee, school uniform allowance, transport allowance, personal care allowance, digital device allowance and supplementary learning and support material allowance.
The programme provides full cost cover assistance in the category of further education and training and higher education which includes: Tuition fees (inclusive of registration fee), meals allowance, accommodation allowance, transport allowance, textbook allowance, once-office allowance for a device and settlement of previous outstanding debt. It also provided additional support such as assistive devices and human support for student with special needs.
Eligible applicants are: TRC-identified victims, their dependants (i.e. children and spouses) and relatives (such as grandchildren, siblings). Application forms can also be accessed from the department’s website or requested from the TRC Unit. Required supporting documents: affidavit stating the exact nature of relationship between the victim and the learner/student, certified ID copy of parent /guardian, certified ID copy of the learner/student and proof of income where applicable.
Assistant Director in the TRC Unit, Adv Ngwako Ramphadi said the unit has arranged with Court Managers to assist members of the public to access application forms and to return them to them to TRC Unit for processing. More information about the application process is available on the Departmental website: www.justice.gov.za.
TRC education assistance is limited to learners enrolled in public schools/public special schools and public private further education and training and higher education institutions. A further restriction is that, it does not cover post-graduate qualification.
The Department of Justice has observed an upward trend in the uptake of the TRC education assistance programme form 333 beneficiaries in 2015 to 2695 in 2022. Whilst further education and training and higher education category saw a steady increase from 315 students in 2015 to 453 students in 2022.
By Makinta Kgomotso
The Office of the Master of the High Court, in partnership with the Naomi Widowed Forum (NWF), reached out to 215 widows and widowers from around Gauteng in Mogale City Hall in September to offer justice services.
The visit was part of a series of community information sharing sessions and dialogue to mark the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development’s focus on the Year of the Community. It also formed part of the Public Service Month in which a spotlight is put on the quality of public services and commitment to continuous improvement of their delivery.
The information sessions focused on raising awareness of the Masters of the High Court Services, specifically Deceased Estates, the significance of a Will, the transfer of properties as well as customary marriages and their registration through the Home Affairs Department.
The NWF approached the Department after observing that its members were experiencing law-related challenges after the loss of their loved ones. “We’ve received positive feedback from the participants who took part in the session. It was really a fruitful time with the subject matter experts”.
Chairperson and Founder of NWF Pastor Queen Mamorwa Gololo said. The organisation was established with the aim to provide moral and social support to the widowed, separated, divorced and orphaned individuals.
The organisation is considering approaching the Department with a plan to organise a conference next year with a bigger audience and more time to dialogue and share information on the Masters justice services.
By Solly Kganyago
This year’s National Wills Week took place from the 12th to 16th of September 2022. National Wills week is an annual campaign dedicated to educating citizens about the importance of Wills. A will, also known as a testament, is a document in which a person sets out what must happen to their estate after their death.
Drafting of a Will is important to ensure that after a person’s death, their assets are handled according to their wishes. This is often referred to as “freedom of testation”. A person may also nominate the person or persons, known as executor/executors, who should administer their estate after their death.
The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJ&CD), in partnership with Law Society of South Africa, Legal Aid South Africa, Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), Women's Legal Centre, South African Lawyers Association and Office of the Master of the High Court coordinated various activities across the county to mark this week.
National Wills Week 2022 in picturesAttorneys from Legal Aid South Africa members of the South African Law Society and other participating stakeholders assisting community members to draft their Wills in Welkom, Free State.
Master of the High Court, Kimberly in Northern Cape set up a service desk.
Durban Masters office in partnership with local attorney’s draft Wills for members of the public in Durban.
Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Mr Ronald Lamola visited Mamelodi where he engaged with community members about the importance of Wills. Attorneys from Legal Aid South Africa and private firms were available to assist people draft wills free of charge.
By Suzan Mphuthi