LPDF to include advocates to become beneficiaries of the fund

September 9th, 2022

The Legal Practitioners Development Fund (LPDF) held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 6 August 2022 in Durban. The meeting was attended by delegate members, namely the Black Lawyers Association (BLA), the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADEL), the Legal Practice Council (LPC), the Legal Practitioners’ Fidelity Fund and the Law Society of South Africa. The Chairperson of the LPDF, Mashudu Kutama, announced at the AGM that legal practitioners who practice as advocates  will be able to get funding from the LPDF. Previously the LPDF, only gave loans to legal practitioners who practiced as attorneys.

Chairperson of the Legal Practitioners Development Fund, Mashudu Kutama, chairing the Annual General Meeting that was held on 6 August 2022 in Durban.

However, as per the change that came with the Legal Practice Act 28 of 2014, both attorneys and advocates are now referred to as legal practitioners. The LPDF said that those who were admitted and practice as advocates should be included as beneficiaries. Members who were delegated to attend the AGM adopted the motion that advocates be included as beneficiaries of the LPDF. Mr Kutama said from the inception of the LPDF, the General Council of the Bar should have been part of the LPDF, so that with the assistance of the LPDF, young advocates cannot be denied the opportunity to access the legal profession in terms of being beneficiaries and are able to acquire loans to start their own practices.

President of the Black Lawyers Association, Bayethe Maswazi, said he was in support of the views of those that say advocates should be funded by the LPDF. He added that it would make sense for the LPDF to have a wider pool, so it could enhance its sustainability. He pointed out that the money is not being donated to attorneys and advocates because the money has to be paid back. ‘We are not losing anything, by extending our sphere of operation to the sector of advocates’, Mr Maswazi said.

Vice-President of the LSSA, Joanne Anthony-Gooden, agreed that advocates be included in regard to funding by the LPDF. She pointed out that the draft of the LPDF’s Memorandum of Incorporation has already considered that ‘legal practitioners’ includes advocates and that their societies or bodies would not be excluded in receiving funding from the LPDF.

While responding to the Executive Officer of the LPC, Charity Nzuza on the matter of legal practitioners not being able to afford to pay auditors to do their books, Mr Kutuma said that the LPDF has budgeted money to assist new legal practitioners to be able to help them with audit reports. He pointed out that legal practitioners can still apply to the LPDF for assistance in that regard. At the AGM, members were also given a breakdown of the LPDF’s investments and financial reports.

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

This article was first published in SA Lawyer in 2022 (September) DR 3.

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