Course teaches residents about their rights

Wendy Diener and Natasha Wagiet from ENSafrica in front of the pictures of the members who attended the sessions this year.

Smartly dressed in their new black blazers, 18 Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha residents graduated from the ENSafrica Constitutional Law and Human Rights Course on Friday August 26.

The course took place over a period of six months, from March to August, with one full day session a month and forms part of the pro-bono programme at the Mitchell’s Plain office in Eastridge.

For every session there would be a different topic, it included, Constitutional Law, Bill of Right, Access to Information, Access to Justice, Socio-economic rights, Crime and the Consitution and specific rights.

Natasha Wagiet from ENSafrica said the sessions were detailed and interactive and that they were proud of the dedicated residents who had to go through an application and interview process before being accepted into the programme.

“The members received a file with reading material and assignments, which required research. This included finding out what services are available at the Small Claims Court in Mitchell’s Plain, researching various campaigns such as the Right to Know campaign and writing a potential article to the newspaper relating to the constitution. We also had speakers who visited our sessions, two of them were NGOs Clasi and Equal Education,” she said.

Ms Wagiet said it was important for people to know their rights and how to access information about the country’s laws

“Our Constitution needs to be a living document. In our community we see many people’s rights are being violated.

“The members are now equipped and can now inform others too about laws around crime and how to access it,” she said.

Chantal Matafin from Portland said the course was interesting and informative and that she had particularly enjoyed learning about various laws and how the justice department worked.

“Honestly, I didn’t know much about the Constitution. I just knew the basics. But, during the sessions, we went deeper into constitutional law and human rights. I leant that there are free legal aid services and how to access it.

“As we know there are people who need the services, as crime is committed daily. I will now share what I have learnt with my family, neighbours and friends, because knowing your rights is important,” she said.

Celeste Matafin from Portland said she enjoyed the Moot Court cases, where they would role play a scenario with fellow participants and the facilitators.

“This is where we were able to see what can occur in reality. The cases seemed real and required thinking, reading and applying. It was a great course and I am grateful to be part of it,” she said.