The Free State office of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) will soon become a law clinic in order to better deal with local cases brought forward to the commission. This is according to Provincial Manager Thabang Kheswa, during a briefing about the SAHRC’s operations in the coming year.
“We are finalising our application to the Legal Practice Council for the office to become a law clinic. In that way we will be able to tackle litigation matters without having to instruct practicing attorneys because we are lawyers as well,” he said.
“We want that accreditation so that when there is a need to go to court we will be able to prepare the necessary papers and go to court directly,” elaborated Kheswa. He explained that the application should be finalised within a few months.
The SAHRC offices based in Westdene service the entire province, which means that the commission deals with numerous human rights issues from around the Free State. “We would like to change direction as the commission should be able to bite where we should bite,” said Kheswa. “Communities out there would say that we do not have teeth to bite but we actually do. So we are trying to strengthen some of the powers that we have, given to us by the constitution,” he added.
The briefing addressed various issues found and investigated in the province including those of educational drives, legal cases and different violations of rights. – Nomaqhawe Mtebele