ADF will still exist in the new dispensation

March 1st, 2018
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The Attorneys Development Fund (ADF) Chairperson, Nomahlubi Khwinana, at the ADF annual general meeting held on 6 February at the Emperors Palace Convention Centre, in Johannesburg.

By Kgomotso Ramotsho

The Attorneys Development Fund (ADF), held its annual general meeting (AGM) on 6 February in Johannesburg. Chairperson of the ADF, Nomahlubi Khwinana, said the portfolio and finances of the ADF are in good order. She announced that the ADF will be taking an independent route from the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA). Ms Khwinana added that there are some legal practitioners who have not heard of the ADF. However, she pointed out that the ADF is in collaboration with the Attorneys Insurance Indemnity Fund NPC (AIIF), the LSSA’s Legal Education and Development division (LEAD), the KwaZulu-Natal Law Society Library, LexisNexis and the Southern African Legal Information Institute (SAFLII), to get the ADF out there where it can be known.

Chief Executive Officer, Mackenzie Mukansi, in his report, said the ADF has given funding to 15 law firms during the 2016/2017 period, and the statistics of those who were assisted are as follows: 53,33% of beneficiaries were African males, while 13,33% were white males, 33.33% beneficiaries are African females. Mr Mukansi added of the 2016 assisted beneficiaries, 75% of the firms assisted were partnership consisting of African females and 25% African males. He noted that 64% of the assisted sole practitioners were African males, with 18% being African females and white males.

Mr Mukansi pointed out that 66, 67% of the beneficiaries assisted in 2016 were from Gauteng, followed by KwaZulu-Natal at 26, 67% and the Eastern Cape at 6,67%. He said the ADF hoped that some of the beneficiaries they have assisted would pay back their loans to the ADF, so that the organisation can assist other applicants who need assistance.

The Attorneys Development Fund CEO, Mackenzie Mukansi, spoke at the ADF AGM.

A question from an attendee was posed from the floor. The attendee wanted to know if beneficiaries were recorded as debtors, until such time they have paid back their loans and also who the beneficiaries were. Mr Mukansi said the ADF was shying away from naming beneficiaries, due to the nature the ADF’s statutory requirements, not much details are given about the amount relating to each beneficiary or their names because of the privacy laws involved. He added that they do not record beneficiaries as debtors. It was suggested from the floor to the ADF board that beneficiaries should be recorded as debtors, so that they would be encouraged to pay back the loans to the ADF.

Co-Chairperson of the LSSA, Walid Brown posed a question to the board members of the ADF about their business strategy and plans going forward in the new dispensation when the Legal Practice Act 28 of 2014 (LPA) is fully operational.

Mr Mukansi said the business strategy document was drafted and completed in October 2017. He added that the document states that an informed decision was taken to have the ADF as a financially running operation independent from the LSSA. He noted that the business strategy document has not formally been reviewed by the ADF board members as the document was sent to the board members in late 2017. However, he said the document will be reviewed at a workshop in 2019. ‘By 2023 it needs to be something that is a living document that the ADF abides by, aligned with our memorandum of cooperation, aligned with the new dispensation being the LPA,’ Mr Mukansi said.

‘You will see some of our documentation already starts talking to our new name. We will indulge you on that in the November AGM, for you to ratify us to move from being the ADF to being the Legal Practitioners Development Fund,’ Mr Mukansi added. He noted that the ADF focuses on development and advancement of legal practitioners. The next ADF AGM will be held in November.

Kgomotso Ramotsho Cert Journ (Boston) Cert Photography (Vega) is the news reporter at De Rebus.

This article was first published in De Rebus in 2018 (March) DR 7.

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