Ms Lynette Maart
Black Sash, Mowbray, Cape Town
Dear Lynette
We are once again humbled and inspired by your now established Dullah Omar School initiative.
At a time when basic values and principles of humanity, justice and human rights are being challenged globally, the Dullah Omar school stands as one of the beacons of hope for communities who are dependent on a cadre of activists that can express these attributes in an active way. As has always been the case, the Black Sash has geared its efforts to the most marginalised of such communities, and we stand proud and humbled to be associated with this organisation through the Dullah Omar School.
Social and restorative justice is a fundamental prerequisite for human rights and equality to manifest especially in poor and desperate communities. These were exemplified by the sterling work of the likes of Gaby Shapiro, Mary Burton and others who defined their activism within the Black Sash as such.
The Dullah Omar school will hopefully empower another generation of such activists to follow in these footsteps.
We wish you all well over the course of the program and are extremely proud of our association with you.
Yours sincerely

Fazlin Omar
On behalf of the Omar Family
Cape Town
August 2019

DOS-2019-Programme-6-to-11-Sep-2019

Press Release

Distribution Date: Monday 02 September 2019

Landmark Class Action Cases Has Roots In The Work Of Paralegals.

For most South African’s navigating the legal system is a daunting prospect, but for marginalised communities, it is near impossible.
It is for this reason that well-trained paralegals working in Community Advice Offices’ is an essential service. The 2019 Dullah Omar School for Paralegalism (DOS), is taking place 6 – 11 September 2019 at the Cape Town Lodge Hotel.
It is hosted by the Centre for the Advancement of Community Advice Offices of South Africa (CAOSA), the Social Change Assistance Trust (SCAT) and the Black Sash. The School highlights the importance of access to justice for people at a grassroots level.
However, despite the prevalence and importance of paralegals in the South African justice sector, their role remains mostly under-formalised. There is currently a Draft Paralegal Bill that is out for comment. The Bill aims to provide a regulatory body that will professionalise the role of community-based paralegals and community advise officers. Says Charles Abrahams, Senior Partner at Abrahams Kiewitz Attorneys; “Paralegals provide a crucial link to justice services and legal redress in South Africa, particularly for the rural poor. Judgements such as the landmark silicosis settlement have roots in the work of community-based advice offices. who initially picked up the plight of mineworkers in South Africa.” Abrahams will give the keynote address at the opening of this year’s Dullah Omar School. He has spearheaded some of South Africa’s most historic and ground-breaking lawsuits. Pursuing justice for ordinary citizens whose lives were ruined by powers too profit-driven to ever think about them.

The Dullah Omar School was established to provide a learning platform for community-based paralegals to cultivate amongst the younger generations, the spirit for mobilising and developing community agency.

Says CAOSA; “Access to justice is a right enshrined in our constitution. However, for many accessing this right has been mere talk and nothing more. It is therefore important that we continue to fight for a vibrant paralegal sector and capacitated community advice offices. There is a need for adequate and sustained funding, as well as organisational development and professional support.”

A current area of concern is the plight of non-unionised workers who do not have officials to represent them and cannot afford legal fees. These workers struggle to access arbitration at the CCMA. Parliament has been working to protect fixed-term and part-time workers as well as those employed through labour brokers by passing amendments to the Labour Relations Act (LRA). These amendments provide vulnerable workers with rights equivalent to permanent employees. However, employers have been slow to realise these rights, which has given rise to many disputes.

The 2019 Dullah Omar School aims to produce well trained and informed community paralegals. Their mission is to be the voice of the voiceless, to be advocates for the marginalised, and to educate and mobilise their communities. They will challenge all forms of malpractices and misconduct, including misconduct of those who hold public office.

According to the Dullah Omar family: “The School remains a beacon of hope for communities amid a dark and challenging period that South Africa is currently experiencing. The School serves to reinforce a value system that is based on selflessness, service and restoring dignity to the most marginalised communities”.

For media queries, please contact Angie Richardson on 083 397 2512 or email media@blacksash.org.za

For more details about the 2018 Dullah Omar School, please contact:
Boroto Ntakobajira on 081 013 6021 or email boroto@nadcao.org.za
Mandy Moussouris on 083 145 3085 or email mandy@blacksash.org.za

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