Projects Abroad Human Rights Office – Cape Town, South Africa – Monthly Reports
Monthly Reports from 2016
This month we reopened our three legal clinics which we suspended for the month of September. We were able to successfully close over 60 cases and in turn received over 67 new ones varying from walk-in to legal clinic clients. This makes our current open case status 827 and our closed case status 2578. Our client numbers still continue to grow on a daily basis and since we have less than two months left before we close for the holiday season, we have decided our last day for client intake will be on 15 December 2016.
Busy season is officially over, and our volunteer numbers have decreased significantly, from 46 volunteers in August 2016 to 9 volunteers at the end of September 2016. In contrast, client numbers are always increasing. In order to cope with our current case load of 850 files, we have been forced to suspend client intakes at three of our legal clinics for the whole of September. We shall re-open legal clinics on 3 October 2016.
For the past few months we have been working on a case where our client, a young boy, was diagnosed as a slow learner. Due to the client’s learning disability, he is unable to attend a regular school so his mother came to us for assistance with getting him into a special skills school. We contacted the Department of Social Development who advised us to seek the assistance of an occupational therapist. They would then evaluate the client and provide us with a report, which we could use to motivate his need to be placed into a school catering for students with special needs. After months of the client attending visits with the occupational therapist, obtaining all the necessary documentation, searching for a special skilled school and following up with the relevant parties involved; our client was finally enrolled in a school.
This month South Africa celebrated Freedom day on the 27th which commemorates the day on which the first democratic election was held in South Africa. This is indeed a significant date for us who work in human rights; however, we did not hold any event in the light of the current caseload we are attending to.PAHRO staff and volunteers have had to draw on all their strength reserves to cope with the increase in clients but huge decline in volunteer numbers. Despite the challenge, we have managed to pull through and we are grateful for the volunteer input.
Every now and again volunteers moot on a case that is currently on going at PAHRO and has been set down for trial. The purpose of this is for us to play devil’s advocate to our own case by building a case for the prosecution in the light of the case we have for the defence. This enables us to be suitably prepared for trial. Our first moot of the year was scheduled for Friday 12th of February 2016.The teams for the prosecution and defence constituted four human rights interns on each side.
PAHRO reopened on the 4th January 2016, our start to the New Year was somewhat slow, this is because our projects partners had not all resumed and our volunteer numbers were very low. Nonetheless, this gave the staff time to catch up on much needed administrative duties and put into effect the plans we made for this year. As we look at 2016, PAHRO seeks to improve its level of professionalism by raising the standard in both our client and project management.