The ADF holds its first annual AGM

February 1st, 2015

By Nomfundo Manyathi-Jele

The Attorneys Development Fund (ADF) held its first annual general meeting at OR Tambo International airport in late 2014. In his chairperson’s report, the acting chairperson, David Bekker gave a brief history of the ADF. He said that the ADF was incorporated on 21 September 2010. The first chairperson, Thoba Poyo-Dlwati served as chairperson until her appointment to the Bench in July 2014.

The ADF seeks to assist South African attorneys by offering them assistance towards starting, expanding or sustaining their law firms. ADF manager, Mackenzie Mukansi, highlighted the fact that one does not have to be starting up their law firm for assistance. He said that the ADF has assisted attorneys wanting to buy into an already established firm.

According to the chairperson’s report, the ADF has an operational model in which loan applications are received, processed and, after the lapse of a 12-month repayment holiday, the funds are to be repaid over the agreed period of time by the beneficiaries of the fund.

Applications for funding are received on an ongoing basis, throughout the year. The manager receives the applications, reviews them for compliance with the guidelines and assess the business plans for the technical application to the desired business of the applicant. On completion of the process, a recommendation is sent to the board for final review and approval.

As at 27 November 2014, a total of 34 beneficiaries had received assistance from the ADF. Of these, ten are female.

Mr Bekker concluded his report by showing concern and disappointment at the low number of applications for funding.

Comments from the floor included delegates asking whether the ADF is known to attorneys and whether enough was being done to make attorneys aware of it.

A New board of Directors was constituted with representatives from the constituents.

The new board is as follows:

• Ms Michelle Beatson remains as Director – Law Society of the Northern Provinces;

• Mr Luvuyo Godla remains as Director – Black Lawyers Association;

• Ms Nomahlubi Khwinana remains as Director – National Association of Democratic Lawyers;

• Mr Roland Meyer remains as Director – Cape Law Society;

• Ms Miemie Memka appointed as Director – Law Society of South Africa;

• Mr Etienne Horn remains as Director – Attorneys Fidelity Fund;

• Mr Gavin McLachlan appointed as Director – KwaZulu-Natal Law Society; and

• Mr Tšiu Vincent Matsepe appointed as Director – Free State Law Society.

Mr Etienne Horn was elected as Chairperson of the Board at the ADF’s Board meeting that was held after the AGM was adjourned and Ms Nomahlubi Khwinana was elected as the vice Chairperson of the board.

Judge of the Labour Court and former co-chairperson of the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA), David Gush was invited and honoured at the ADF AGM held at OR Tambo Airport in November 2014. He is one of the founders of the ADF. Around 2007/8 Judge Gush and the current Co-chairperson of the LSSA, Max Boqwana, had a discussion about the need for a fund that would ensure and cater for the development of young professionals entering the law profession. The fund would assist young professionals with setting up credible firms by providing them with infrastructure and other essential equipment needed to start a law firm. Around May 2008, Judge Gush and Mr Boqwana, made a presentation to the council of the LSSA with a view to seeking funding mechanisms that would ensure that this initiative is made a possibility and that it succeeds. The events that followed led to the setting up and registration of the Attorneys Development Fund.

Nomfundo Manyathi-Jele NDip Journ (DUT) BTech Journ (TUT) is the news editor at De Rebus.

This article was first published in De Rebus in 2015 (Jan/Feb) DR 10.