Free Wellness programme for attorneys

As the pandemic continues to plague the world, we know that many of our members are overwhelmed and dealing with anxiety, fear and even resilience fatigue. Please know that help is at hand. The LSSA has collaborated with PPS and the Reality wellness group to offer telephonic counselling and support.

The professional telephonic counselling service is available 24/7/365. It consists of:

  • Unlimited telephonic counselling available nationally in all official languages.
  • Face-to-face counselling is managed per intake; general recommendation is two to six sessions per
    incident (will be for the member/employee’s account).
  • The service is also available to immediate family of the legal practitioner or their employee (spouse
    and/or children living under the same roof).

The wellness programme will be provided to a maximum of 5 000 legal practitioners per month, for an initial period of six months. Contact the reality Wellness Group on: 080 11 22 550 or eppenage@realitywellness.co.za (Please provide your practice number).

When you make contact with Reality Wellness Group you are subject to the terms and conditions of Reality Wellness and the services that they provide. Click here to learn more about the services offered.

The LSSA obtains and shares no data with Reality Wellness. The only information shared is the number of people who use Reality Wellness’s service.

Click here to read LSSA advisory.

Get your basic will drafted for free by an attorney during National Wills Week: 13 to 17 September 2021

Many South Africans do not have wills. The coronavirus emphasised why it is important to have an updated will. Last year, many could unfortunately not get their wills done due to lockdown restrictions, whilst many have died without wills (intestate).

Because we find ourselves in such unprecedented times, we must ensure that we have a legally sound will. This ensures that there are no competing claims on your estate when you pass away and your intention to your dependents is followed.

The LSSA initiated Wills Week, with the support of key stakeholders, to ensure that members of the public have their wills drafted by practising attorneys, who have the necessary knowledge and expertise to ensure that your will is valid by complying with all the legal requirements in the Wills Act.

The LSSA has noted many other persons who are not legal practitioners use LSSA’s Wills Week for advertising their services. Please note that they are not part of the LSSA Wills Week.

The LSSA’s Wills Week presents the ideal opportunity to get your will done. Members of the public will be able to have a basic will drafted by an attorney free of charge during National Wills Week from 13 to 17 September 2021. Attorneys’ firms throughout the country are participating in the National Wills Week campaign. Please ensure that you register for a free will with an attorney or a law firm.

‘If you are a parent, a breadwinner, a homeowner and generally want to ensure that your affairs are in order, it is important that you have a valid will drafted by a professional. A valid will allows you to state your last wishes, who should inherit your assets and property, to appoint an executor of your choice for your estate and a guardian for your minor children’, says Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) President, Jan van Rensburg.

‘By ensuring that you have a valid will, you as the testator can protect the interests of your loved ones and ensure that there is no delay in settling your estate after your death, and not add undue hardships for your loved ones. It also ensures that your executor will act according to your wishes as set out in your will,’ adds Mr van Rensburg.

During National Wills Week from 13 to 17 September 2021, attorneys participating in the initiative will display posters with their contact details so that members of the public can make appointments with attorneys in their area. In addition, the contact details and addresses of all participating attorneys can be accessed on the LSSA website.

What you should provide to the attorney for your will to be drafted
• Your ID document
• A list of what you own (including specific personal items that you wish to bequeath to specific people)

•A list of beneficiaries and their ID numbers.

Before the consultation with your attorney, think about
• Who must get what?
• Who should be the legal guardians of your minor children (those under 18)?
• Who should be the executor of your will? This could be your attorney or a close family member or friend. If you decide on a family member or friend, it is advisable also to nominate the attorney as co-executor as the attorney will deal with any legal issues. The executor must be approved by the Master of the High Court.

Why should an attorney draft your will?
A practising attorney has the necessary knowledge and expertise to ensure that your will is valid by complying with all the legal requirements in the Wills Act, and importantly that it complies with your wishes. An attorney can also advise you on any problem which may arise with your will and assist your executor. Often a will is not valid because the person who drafts it does not have the necessary legal knowledge to ensure that all the legal requirements of the Wills Act are met. These include the fact that the will must be in writing, it must be signed by the testator in the presence of at least two competent witnesses and signed by the witnesses etc.

What could happen to your estate if you die without a valid will?
If you die without leaving a valid will, your assets will be distributed according to the provisions of the Intestate Succession Act. These provisions are generally fair and ensure that your possessions are transferred to your spouse and children, and where applicable, to siblings, parents, and if required, then to the extended family in terms of degrees of relationships and those that were dependent on you for financial support.

The following issues may arise if you die without leaving a will:
• Your assets may not be left to the person of your choice.
• It can take a longer time to have an executor appointed. The executor who is appointed may be somebody you may not have chosen yourself.
• There could be extra and unnecessary costs.
• There could be unhappiness and conflict among members of your family because there are no clear instructions on how to distribute your assets.

Where to find an attorney to draft your will:
The contact details of attorneys participating in the National Wills Week project can be accessed on the LSSA website at www.lssa.org.za.

 

ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE LAW SOCIETY OF SOUTH AFRICA, JAN VAN RENSBURG
LSSA Communications:
Nomfundo Jele nomfundom@lssa.org.za Tel: (012) 366 8800 or 072 402 6344

Law Society shocked and saddened at the death of former Council member, Lutendo Sigogo

The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) is shocked and saddened to learn about the untimely death of an esteemed member of the legal profession, Limpopo attorney and former LSSA Council member, Lutendo Sigogo. He died from COVID.

At the time of his death, Mr Sigogo was a Director of Mathobo Rambau and Sigogo Incorporated. Mr Sigogo served as President of the Black Lawyers Association (BLA) for two terms. He is also a former President of the then Law Society of the Northern Provinces.

‘The death of Mr Sigogo is a huge loss to the legal fraternity. We honour his legacy and mourn his loss alongside his family, friends, and the legal profession,’ says LSSA President Jan van Rensburg.

‘Mr Sigogo was a member of the LSSA Council for many years and was at the forefront of the LSSA’s transformation and the Transitional Committee that moved the LSSA and the attorney’s profession into the Legal Practice Act dispensation. The legal profession has lost a person of great wisdom and foresight, and his contributions to the profession were immense. He will be dearly missed,’ Mr van Rensburg adds.

‘We reiterate our call on the public and the profession to remain strong and not to lose heart; the years 2020 and 2021 have been challenging years. We have experienced so many losses. Keep strong and stay believing that it will get better,’ says Mr van Rensburg.

The LSSA expresses its sincere and heartfelt condolences to the bereaved members of his family and prays for his soul to rest in peace in eternal glory. The LSSA also extends its sympathies to the members of the BLA and stands in solidarity with them during this time of mourning and the recollection of the life of a friend and practitioner.

 

ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE LAW SOCIETY OF SOUTH AFRICA, JAN VAN RENSBURG   

LSSA Communications: Nomfundo Jele nomfundom@LSSA.org.za  Tel: (012) 366 8800 or 072 402 6344

Law Society expresses its concerns about the current violent protests in the country

The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) expresses its concerns about the current violence in our country and calls for calm and restraint.

As a constitutional democracy, South Africa recognises and protects the right for citizens to protest. The LSSA fully supports the right of people to protest within the confines of our law.

The loss and destruction of infrastructure and property mainly affect the workers and the poor, and the losses will not be easily nor quickly rectified. The legitimate protests of people must be respected; however, they must be in the confines of the law.

The destruction and looting of businesses and ransacking of liquor outlets also indicate opportunists hiding behind the fears and anxieties of the people protesting and highlighting their grievances and or concerns.

The LSSA’s views and its call for the cessation of violence during protests are informed by the following:

  • The current protests are fueled by a misunderstanding of the law and the role of the courts.
  • The violence that accompanies the protests is a threat to the rule of law, which is the core of and underpins South Africa’s constitutional democracy.

Regarding the above, the following principles of the rule of law must be emphasised:

the supremacy of law, equality of all citizens before the law, and the rights of individuals are enforced by our courts.

People who have concerns about our social fabric and injustices can utilise protests and other ways to express and engage on the issues without violence.

The function of ensuring justice is entrusted to the country’s independent judiciary, whose functioning is outside the government’s control, influence, and purview.

 

ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE PRESIDENT’S SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE LAW SOCIETY OF SOUTH AFRICA, MR JAN VAN RENSBURG (PRESIDENT), MS MABAENG LENYAI (VP) AND MR MVUZO NOTYESI (VP)

 LSSA Communications:

Nomfundo Jele nomfundom@LSSA.org.za  Tel: (012) 366 8800 or 072 402 6344

Open letter to Acting Prime Minister of Eswatini and the SADC Troika

The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) calls on the SADC Troika’s meeting with the Acting Prime Minister of Eswatini, Themba Masuku, to ensure that meaningful engagements are held with the country’s civil society and pro-democracy movements.

The LSSA has engaged with its legal counterparts in Eswatini and is dismayed at the reports emanating from a country that has denied access to information, banned the internet, and threatened lawyers who represent the protestors.

The legal profession has been under continued threat and detention for the past few years, which has now increased under the mass protest movement for democracy.

In this regard, we call on the South African Government, which continues to assist the Monarch King Mswati and the pseudo-Parliament to stay in power to make meaningful changes in South Africa’s foreign policy. We must hold South African businesses in Eswatini who are in partnership with the Monarch’s business interests and others as recently brought to the fore by the banning of the internet by the South African mobile service provider to account.  The company’s statement that this is in line with their human rights policy is, in reality, the opposite.

The LSSA calls for restraint from all parties to ensure that innocent lives are not continued to be lost.

Real peace and stability are found through meaningful change and commitment towards a democratic and equitable society founded on the principles of democracy, with free and fair participation in the economy.

Lawyers in Swaziland cannot freely represent their clients in fear of their lives and detention. The courts are denying bail and are perceived to be dictated to by the Parliament and the Monarch. Lawyers as judicial officers are being persecuted by the same courts that should protect them and the victims of abuse of power.

The central demand of the people is for the democratisation of the country’s economy and polity.

It is shameful that in this day and age (and in support of our brothers in Eswatini and many living in our country), political parties have been banned since 1973.

Two-thirds of the Upper House members of this Parliament and over 10% of the Lower House members are directly appointed by the King, whilst the Chiefs, under the Monarch, contest for the balance of seats in Parliament.

The people of Eswatini have been failed by both the Monarch and Parliament; clearly, the system of government has failed its people.

As upholding the rule of law is a fundamental mission of the LSSA, we have to place some of the tenets of the rule of law on record.

Accountability: All citizens and society, including the government, are accountable under the law.

Just laws: The laws are clear, publicised, stable, evenly applied and protect fundamental rights, especially human rights.  The laws also provide for access to information and the rights to peacefully protests.

Open government: The laws must be administered and enforced to be accessible, fair, and efficient.

Accessible and impartial dispute resolution: Justice is delivered timely by a competent, ethical, and independent judiciary.

Evident failings include:

Freedom of assembly and association.  Fundamental labour rights, due process of the law and rights of the accused are effectively guaranteed.

The public’s right to have access to independent and impartial courts.

The right to information and civic participation.

Failure of fundamental human rights, including everyday experiences of society, including access to primary public services.

The shooting of protestors with live ammunition.

 

Broadly speaking the rule of law is generally defined as:

‘The Effective rule of law reduces corruption, combats poverty and disease, and protects people from injustices large and small. It is the foundation for communities of justice, opportunity, and peace — underpinning development, accountable government, and respect for fundamental rights. Traditionally, the rule of law has been viewed as the domain of lawyers and judges. But everyday issues of safety, rights, justice, and governance affect us all; everyone is a stakeholder in the rule of law.’

The LSSA believes the above should be used as guidelines by the Troika in dealing with their effort to bring peace in Eswatini, protect lives and property, and assist in setting the framework towards achieving the above goals. This is driven by ensuring democracy for the benefit of the people and the country to take their rightful place in Southern Africa and the African continent.

The LSSA will distribute this letter to its international partners, including the International Bar Association (IBA), The Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU) and the Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA), to champion the rights of the people and practitioners in Eswatini in the international structures and their respective stakeholders.

Kind regards

Electronically signed 9/7/21

LSSA President’s subcommittee

Mr Jan van Rensburg (President), Ms Mabaeng Lenyai (VP) and Mr Mvuzo Notyesi (VP)

 Email: LSSA@LSSA.org.za Tel: (012) 366 8800

Click here to download letter. 

LSSA publishes PoPIA guide for attorneys

The Law Society has published guidelines for attorneys on the Protection of Personal Information Act.  The guide and checklist is a basic guide to PoPIA and is not definitive.

Practitioners are required to apply their mind to the practice, the clients, the nature of legal services and the transaction conducted. This will be unique to each practice.

The LSSA guide on POPIA which was updated in 2018 has not been removed from the resources on the website as it contains essential information on more complex practices and considerations and is recommended that practitioners consult this resource when in doubt.

Click here to download the PoPIA guide. 

Registration open for National Wills Week 2021

The Law Society would like to let legal practitioners know that registration for this year’s National Wills Week initiative is open. Please consider registering to participate. National Wills Week will be held from 13 to 17 September 2021, and registrations close on Friday, 9 July 2021.

National Wills Week is now an established highlight among the profession’s social outreach and access to justice initiatives. This is thanks to the thousands of attorneys who participate by giving generously of their time and skills. Wills Week has also attracted increasing coverage in the media as well as support from major stakeholders.

The aim of the Wills Week campaign is twofold:

  • to position attorneys as the premier providers of wills and estates services to the public, and to improve the image of the profession generally; and
  • to encourage members of the public who would not normally make use of the services of an attorney, or who may hesitate to approach an attorney, to consult an attorney to have a basic will drafted.

How does Wills Week work?
Your firm will be provided with free, trilingual posters in the language combination of your choice to publicise your participation. Provision is made on the posters for your firm’s contact details.
Your firm will be listed as a participating firm on the database of participating firms on the Law Society of South Africa website.

A national media campaign will be launched early in August. All media and publicity material will invite members of the public to consult the LSSA website for the contact details of participating firms.

What is expected from you as a participating firm?

  • Basic wills will be drawn up free of charge.
  • You should provide an explanation of the importance of having a properly and professionally drafted will to the client.
  • You may not insist that you are appointed as the executor of the estate.
  • You must give the client a copy of his/her will.
  • You will not be expected to redraft or amend existing wills for free, nor will you be expected to draft complex wills involving trusts, etc.

Click here to register to participate. 

Law Society elects new President and Vice-Presidents

The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) has elected Jan van Rensburg as President, and Mabaeng Denise Lenyai and Mvuzo Notyesi as its Vice-Presidents at its conference and AGM in Kempton Park on Friday 9  April 2021.

Mr Notyesi is the previous President of the LSSA and Mr van Rensburg and Ms Lenyai are both previous Vice-Presidents.

Jan van Rensburg is a long-serving member and sits on several committees of the LSSA. He is also a former Co-Chairperson of the LSSA.

Mr Van Rensburg has the BCom (University of Pretoria) and BProc (UNISA) degrees as well as an Advanced Diploma in Labour Law from the University of Johannesburg. He was admitted as an attorney in 1984 and is also a notary and conveyancer. He practises as a sole practitioner at Jan van Rensburg Attorneys in Brits.

Mabaeng Denise Lenyai is an attorney and director at Mabaeng Lenyai Inc in Pretoria. Ms Lenyai holds the BProc and LLB degrees from the University of Limpopo and the University of KwaZulu Natal respectively.

Ms Lenyai is currently acting as a Judge at the Gauteng Division of the High Court in Pretoria. She was admitted as an attorney in 1998 and is also a notary and conveyancer. She has been a council member of the LSSA since 2015. She was also the Chairperson of the BLA, North West branch for six years. Since 2018, she has been a member of the National Executive Council of the Black Lawyers Association, and she is currently the General Secretary. She is also a council member of the Community Education Training Centre in Mmakau and she is a legal adviser for Motsweding FM.

Mvuzo Notyesi is an attorney and director at Mvuzo Notyesi Incorporated in Mthatha. He is President of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers. He holds the BProc and LLB degrees from the University of Transkei and was admitted as an attorney in 1999 after completing his articles and attending the LSSA’s School for Legal Practice in East London. He has practised as director at Mvuzo Notyesi Incorporated since 1999.

Mr Notyesi has acted as judge at the Eastern Cape Division of the High Court in Grahamstown. He has been a member of the House of Constituents and a member of the Executive Committee of the LSSA for five years. He previously represented the LSSA on the Judicial Service Commission and he is currently an alternate. Mr Notyesi has a passion for education and has been a part-time lecturer and an instructor at the LSSA’s School for Legal Practice in East London. He is also an examiner for the Attorneys Admission Examination. Mr Notyesi is Chairperson of the Notyesi Foundation, which awards bursaries to disadvantaged students to attend university.

Key discussions at the LSSA Annual Conference

Newly elected Legal Services Ombuds, Judge Siraj Desai, was the keynote speaker at the LSSA conference, which was held under the theme ‘financial sustainability.’ Judge Desai said that the Legal Services Ombuds Office is separate from the Legal Practice Council (LPC) and that it has different functions all together. He highlighted that he cannot and will not interfere with the functions of the LPC.

Judge Desai added that his office is the highest body of oversight within the legal services environment and that it aims to protect and promote public interest in relation to the rendering legal services and ensuring fair, efficient and effective investigation of allegations of misconduct against legal practitioners. Judge Desai highlighted that his office is not an office of first instance, and that it must be approached if the complainant has tried the regulatory body, the LPC and has a grievance with the outcome of their case.

Judge Desai said that since December, he has received many calls from people with all sorts of complaints. He added that the ball was in the Justice Minister’s court and that the Minister will announce an operational date adding that the date will be announced once the office has been capacitated. Judge Desai urged legal practitioners to make themselves available to do the front-line work.

On his appointment in December 2020, the then LSSA President said in a statement: ‘This appointment is long overdue and should have coincided when the Legal Practice Council came into effect on 30 October 2018. I encourage the Department of Justice to ensure that the Ombud’s office is fully capacitated as soon as possible so that the Ombud can become fully operational. The Ombud in terms of the Legal Practice Act is independent and only answerable to the Constitution and the law’.

The LSSA also committed itself to support the work of the Ombud’s office, in the broader interests of the profession and society.

Also discussed at the conference was the structure, financial sustainability, and governance of the LSSA and the provincial attorneys’ associations. This House of Constituents has referred some of the constitutional and governance aspects to the LSSA constituent members.

ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE LAW SOCIETY OF SOUTH AFRICA, JAN VAN RENSBURG

LSSA Communications:
Nomfundo Jele nomfundom@LSSA.org.za Tel: (012) 366 8800 or 072 402 6344

Registration open for LSSA annual general meeting: 9 April 2021

Registration is now open for the Law Society of South Africa’s annual general meeting and conference which will take place on Friday 9 April 2021. The conference will focus on one of the key challenges for the legal profession; financial sustainability.

We have invited newly elected Legal Services Ombuds, Siraj Desai to give an address on his office and to answer questions from the floor. The LSSA is committed to the rule of law and access to justice and believes that the Judge Desai’s appointment is essential to enhance the ethical responsibilities of the profession and to protect the public.

The conference will be preceded by the annual general meeting (AGM) in the morning at the same venue as the conference. The AGM is open to all practitioners.

The rest of the day will be devoted to discussions on the structure, financial sustainability, and governance of the LSSA and the provincial attorneys’ associations. There will also be a panel discussion on what members can expect from their professional association, focusing on what members expect from the LSSA.

Registration for the conference is free. Please register here. Please make sure to also let us know whether you will be attending the conference virtually or physically by ticking the relevant box on the online registration.

Book your seat today!
View the draft programme here.
Register online here

Law Society welcomes the appointment of the Legal Services Ombud 

The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) welcomes the Legal Services Ombud’s appointment, retired Cape Town High Court Judge Siraj Desai.

‘This appointment is long overdue and should have coincided when the Legal Practice Council came into effect on 30 October 2018. I encourage the Department of Justice to ensure that the Ombud’s office is fully capacitated as soon as possible so that the Ombud can become fully operational. The Ombud in terms of the Legal Practice Act (LPA) is independent and only answerable to the Constitution and the law,’ says LSSA President, Mvuzo Notyesi.

The LSSA commits itself to support the work of the Ombud’s office, in the broader interests of the profession and our society.

The Ombud, in terms of the LPA, has the following key objectives:

  • protect and promote the public interest in relation to the rendering of legal services as contemplated in the LPA;  
  • ensure the fair, efficient and effective investigation of complaints of alleged misconduct against legal practitioners;  
  • promote high standards of integrity in the legal profession; and  
  • promote the independence of the legal profession.  

Besides, other powers, the Ombud is competent to investigate any alleged act or omission that may affect the integrity and the independence of the legal profession and public perceptions in respect thereof.

ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE LAW SOCIETY OF SOUTH AFRICA, MVUZO NOTYESI   

LSSA Communications: 

Nomfundo Jele nomfundom@LSSA.org.za  Tel: (012) 366 8800 or 072 402 6344