On the 13th of February 2018 the Gender Unit managed by Chief Gender Officer Nomfanelo Kube and Gender Officer Nthabiseng Mahlangu in collaboration with the Commission for Gender Equality also referred to as the CGE, which was represented by Educator Lucky Mabuza and Advocate Tefo Leseja held a Gender Legal Clinic workshop at the Thubelihle local hall in Kriel. The CGE works to promote equality, education of laws and the changes amended in parliament based on the above mentioned. They also work to address challenges in various sectors including health, court issues and doing research within communities to analyse and report them to Parliament. The purpose of this workshop was to address issues faced by both men and women within the Thubelihle area. Four main issues were highlighted as critical to the community when research was conducted in the previous year, namely these issues were maintenance, gender based violence, work and compensation issues and lastly concerns around limited access to health facilities. The aim of the legal clinic was to educate people within the community based on the issues that were raised.
CGE Educator Mr. Mabuza was able disseminate information to community members who partook in the workshop based on the issues concerning them. Firstly they were educated on the issues of maintenance by dissecting the types of maintenance that exist in accordance to the law, as found in the conducted research, child maintenance was the biggest issue in Kriel as it was either not payed by the fathers or not used for its purposes. Participants were educated on maintenance court and how it would assist them in the process of receiving maintenance for their children. What was learned in the process was that receiving a child support grant from SASA whilst also receiving maintenance money from the child’s father was illegal and there could be legal consequences for such an act as it was seen as fraud. The other forms of maintenance that exist are spousal maintenance, this is in result of a divorce or separation after the first lobola negotiations which can be registered as a customary marriage within the first three months of the negotiations. Sibling maintenance, this is when the child supports his or her parents, that is if they are employed and or have some sort of stable income. Lastly grandparent maintenance, this maintenance is only when the grandparent/s live with the child or children.
Issues regarding gender based violence were also prominent, in the Mpumalanga province; reportedly 15 women were killed in the year of 2017. The residents were educated about the type of protection orders that could be taken against the abuser, and to take note of the date, time, and name of the police officer for record purposes.
Residents also had concerns about their work and compensation issues, many lacked the accurate knowledge when it comes to contractual agreements, the steps they need to take when facing grievances and unfair compensation advocate Tefo was there to give legal advice based on these issues. The workshop turned out to be a success for the Gender Unit as the was a good out from the community members.