Advice in Tafelsig

Mitchells Plain residents who attended the dialogue.

The Mitchell’s Plain Community Advice and Development Project held a community dialogue at Tafelsig library , where residents were able to discuss their concerns about service delivery.

At the meeting, held on Thursday July 27, Mitchell’s Plain Community Advice and Development Project co-ordinator, William Simmers, said they had received complaints from residents about poor services being rendered by different spheres of government, in particular the council offices in Mitchell’s Plain.

Mr Simmers said the office had recently formed a partnership with the Department of Labour to assist residents with labour issues. “This will include topics like maternity leave, unfair labour practices and workman’s compensation. These issues are real and residents go through a lot of these issues in Mitchell’s Plain,” he said.

The Mitchell’s Plain Community Advice and Development Project offers legal advice and support to residents by referring them to attorneys, the local magistrate’s court, Equality Court and assists with court documents.

Other issues raised at the session included evictions and wills, with Tafelsig resident Sophia Lewis, asking who should be the executor of an estate and who should be in possession of a will.

Mr Simmers encouraged residents to ensure that they have a will drawn up. “We know it is something that you do not want to think about now, but it is very important. A will cannot only legally protect your partner, children, and assets, but will give strict instructions on how you would like things handled after you have passed on. As we know, if it is not done, it could cause disputes in the family. Also, if there is no will, then an executor will be appointed. With that, the deceased person’s property may be distributed equally among the family,” he said.

Ms Lewis said the meeting had been informative and that she had learnt a lot about legal matters. “This is what our community needs. They need to be empowered. Knowledge is power,” she said.

Joanne Muller from the project said they also offer assistance to abused children, their mothers and other vulnerable family members. “We assist and then refer people with applications for birth certificates, identity documents and social grants to the relevant government departments. We also work with people with divorce, health, maintenance, rape, housing issues and many more. We have noted these concerns (today) and will look at ways of addressing it, such as workshops,” said Ms Muller.

The organisation works in partnership with Legal Aid South Africa, the Mitchell’s Plain courts, the University of the Western Cape, the Public Protector’s Office, and legal firm, Edward Nathan Sonnenberg (ENS) South Africa.

The office is at Room 13, 1st Floor, OGS Building (Engen Garage), Town Centre, corner of 1st and 4th avenues in Eastridge. You can contact the organisation on or 021 392 2000.