Lady Liberty SA needs help from legal practitioners

August 1st, 2018

By Kgomotso Ramotsho

A social enterprise named Lady Liberty SA is seeking help from legal practitioners in South Africa (SA), to help in its mission to assist underprivileged women to get access to justice. Human Rights Attorney, Samantha Ngcolomba founded Lady Liberty SA in 2014. She describes Lady Liberty SA as a social justice and advocacy platform that seeks to extend access to justice to women living in marginalised communities. Ms Ngcolomba said Lady Liberty SA focused on issues, such as, domestic violence, marriage, divorce, maintenance and wills and estates.

Ms Ngcolomba pointed out that she established Lady Liberty SA, simply because she hated the injustice being done to women and decided that she would use her qualifications to help women in townships and rural areas. However, she said that Lady Liberty SA has had challenges with regard to funding.

Ms Ngcolomba noted that while the enterprise did need seed funding, she said the enterprise was not funding dependent and have ways of generating their own revenue. However, she pointed out that funding was needed to increase resources in order to enable Lady Liberty SA to pursue all avenues. She added that lawyers are also needed for pro bono work. She said some legal practitioners did not respond to their requests, or when they did they did not attend on the day that they were needed.

Ms Ngcolomba pointed out that Lady Liberty SA was able to reach over 2 000 women, with some cases solved and some cases pending. She said the enterprise holds community road shows where they engage with women and educate them about human rights. She added that Lady Liberty SA also communicated with their clients through Facebook, e-mail, telephone etcetera, and was working on an USSD platform, which is an SMS based solution with a short code that women can dial on their mobile phones. ‘For instance we will say: To get free legal information dial *123#*. When they dial, and the user will get a list of options, for example, 1. English 2. Xhosa 3. Zulu, once they select their option the next screen would say: 1. Domestic Violence 2. Marriage 3. Divorce, and so on. It is not only cheaper and easier to use, but does not require users to have a smart phone,’ Ms Ngcolomba added.

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 (Aug) DR 14.