Cape Town- We often complain about challenges we face as a nation, doing little to create opportunity for change. Truth is we must be the change we want to see in our beautiful country. Change starts with us! LIPCO Law for All in association with Maboneng Township Experience, launched five Mediation Hubs in Gugulethu.
Said former Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa and robust advocate of mediation, Albie Sachs at the launch of the Mediation Hubs: “The potential for mediation in our country is enormous. To have it community-based gives the concept legitimacy and efficiency. Undoubtedly mediation, dialogue, consensus-seeking are deep in the African cultural tradition. The objective is not to decide on winners and losers so that they remain enemies, but to get people to dispute themselves to find the most balanced solution, and end up respecting each other in the community.” Sachs strongly believes this initiative could serve as a pilot project for use throughout the country.
During 2015 residents of a small street in Gugulethu, informally known as Peace Street, have undergone professional training and have been accredited through LIPCO Law for All’s innovative mediation programme. Their homes have been converted into conflict resolution spaces to serve those who cannot otherwise access justice, giving them the ability to navigate through problems in their own community and beyond. These Mediation Hubs will furthermore exhibit artistic content that will encourage dialogue and learning about the law.
LIPCO Law for All has been working for over 23 years to provide sustainable solutions that make the law more affordable and accessible. According to Managing Director, Advocate Jackie Nagtegaal more has to be done to tackle the challenges we face: “South Africans simply cannot deal with the enormous difficulties they face without access to the legal justice system and increasingly resort to mob justice to deal with conflict. The new Mediation Rules are full of promise of an alternative, but only if tied with initiatives like this one that empowers the community to deal with conflict”. LIPCO will remain committed to provide continual guidance and mentorship to the residents to ensure the project sees success. “It could be an incredible tool to transplant across our beloved country and address a multitude of complex challenges”
Some Facts about Mediation:
- Mediation is a process where a mediator assists people in a dispute, by facilitating discussions, identifying issues, exploring compromise and solutions in an effort to resolve the dispute.
- Africa has a long tradition of family and neighbourhood mediation, which takes place with an attitude of togetherness and in the spirit of Ubuntu. It shows commitment to the community and recognises the effects of disputes on the community.
- The Court Annexed Mediation Rules were passed during December 2014 and makes mediation compulsory in certain civil disputes.
Advantages of Mediation:
- Quick resolution of disputes.
- Considerably cheaper than litigation.
- It provides a win-win situation for both parties in a dispute.
- The process is voluntary, flexible and informal
- It promotes reconciliation.
- Over 40 laws currently call for mediation before litigation
- South Africa’s largest mediation firm resolves 80% of cases successfully through mediation, and only 20% through litigation
- The CCMA has a successful conciliation rate of over 70%
- Only 38% of accredited Mediators and 37% of admitted attorneys in South Africa are female. More women should be included in the legal transformation process.
- Attorneys charge between R600 and R1200 p/h, and advocates between R800 and R2000 p/h. A senior advocate R350 000- R400 000 per day. These fees are exorbitant when considering a domestic worker earns on average only R2070 per month.
- In rural areas it is estimated that 52% of residents are unemployed and 32,2% receive grants, their financial situation making it difficult to access to justice
For more information or should you wish to visit the Mediation Hubs, feel free to contact Adv. Kaiél Grobler from LIPCO Law for All at 021 521 2000/ 083 7907066