Geographical area

Free legal advice is helping the poor


Source: iol news

More than 180 000 poor South Africans have received telephonic legal advice on the Legal Aid Advice Line since it was launched two years ago, it was reported on Tuesday.

Legal Aid Advice Line manager Andries Nthebe told The Sowetan the most prevalent concerns were about children, family and land matters - all areas in which there was an increasing demand for legal aid.

He reportedly said the call centre was receiving on average of 60 000 calls a year, and that this was steadily increasing.

“At the moment, we are able to service our clients more efficiently through a centralised call centre, which is open from 7am to 7pm,” Nthebe was quoted as saying.

“Callers who call outside these times are invited to leave a message with their telephone number so that we can call them back on the next business day.

“If demand for assistance outside normal hours should increase, we may have to enhance our services by extending our operations outside normal office hours,” he told the newspaper.

Nthebe said 70 percent of the calls were resolved by call centre staff, and the balance were referred to justice centres and other institutions.

The call centre was manned by four qualified attorneys and 18 paralegals.

“They give advice mainly on civil issues, but also take on labour and criminal matters in five of our 11 languages.

“The advice line has greatly impacted the lives of the poor and vulnerable,” Nthebe said.

  • Geographical area: South Africa