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pro bono and corporate social investment

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you have lifted a ton of bricks off my shoulders and I will be able to sleep at night
an Alexandra resident

At ENSafrica, we are deeply aware of the socio-economic context in which we operate. We have deliberately chosen social responsibility as one of our firm’s core values as we believe in making a real difference. It is therefore with sincere commitment and enthusiasm that we offer access to justice, free of charge, to qualifying disadvantaged individuals.

We put thousands of hours every year into a wide variety of pro bono work across the African continent. In South Africa, our efforts are focused on our two permanent pro bono offices – a first for a law firm. These offices are located in areas with difficult living conditions, including high levels of unemployment and numerous challenges.

Our Mitchells Plain office in Cape Town was established in 2005 to serve both Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain, while our Alexandra office in Johannesburg opened in 2008. Every day, our practitioners travel to these offices to meet with and help our pro bono clients. Our goal is to make a real difference at grassroots level.

Our pro bono project has a multipronged approach which consists of the provision of advice and assistance, as well as legal education and skills development, in order to equip community members with knowledge and vital skills, thereby contributing to access to justice and the fostering of entrepreneurship and the growth of sustainable small businesses.

We run annual business management training programmes and courses in human rights and constitutional law, with the aim of empowering leaders and activists with important information which will be shared in their communities.

In addition to our free legal work for vulnerable members of society, we view corporate social investment (CSI) as a way to give back to all the communities throughout Africa where we have a footprint.

We concentrate primarily on education and projects which lift people out of poverty, as well as programmes which assist children, women and specific vulnerable groups. In many instances, our work is country-specific, but we also run CSI initiatives which span all of the countries in which we operate.

We help by providing financial assistance, donations of various items, mentoring and support, and we have recently assisted organisations specialising in the following:

  • blankets, clothes and food for disadvantaged communities
  • cancer awareness
  • clean drinking water in rural areas
  • cleaning up litter
  • combatting rape and violence against women
  • early childhood development
  • education for blind children
  • enterprise development
  • environmental education
  • epilepsy support
  • improving sanitation at primary schools
  • mentorship of school children
  • place of safety for abused and neglected infants
  • providing sanitary pads for girls so they do not miss school
  • school shoes for rural children
  • supporting children in extracurricular activities such as sport and chess

what we offer

Our pro bono offices offer the following free legal services to qualifying disadvantaged individuals in Alexandra (Johannesburg) and Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain (Cape Town):

  • access to our business centres to run workshops and hold meetings
  • business management training and skills development (including preparing a business plan, managing a business, obtaining finance, developing sustainable financial practices, and tax)
  • constitutional law and human rights courses for adults
  • constitutional law lessons for primary school children
  • drawing up of wills
  • family law (including maintenance and domestic violence)
  • for the winners of our business management competitions: capital to invest into the business, as well as further legal and tax assistance to either establish or grow the business
  • impact litigation (bringing lawsuits intended to effect societal change)
  • legal advice (including banking and finance, contracts, employment and property)
  • legal education sessions on a variety of topics throughout the year
  • legal representation (including in the Small Claims Court)
  • monthly articles about legal matters in local newspapers
  • moot court competitions for high school children
  • providing advice on practical legal matters during a weekly slot on a Johannesburg radio station
  • skills training for entrepreneurs on matters relating to intellectual property, business rescue, and information and communications technology law
  • tax advice