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Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Paralegal graduates lend a hand to Master of High Court

PITCH IN AND HELP: Bachelor of Paralegal Studies graduates have been placed at the Office of Master of the High Court to assist with the clearing of the backlog as part of community engagement and the university’s contribution to alleviating challenges brought by Covid-19. PITCH IN AND HELP: Bachelor of Paralegal Studies graduates have been placed at the Office of Master of the High Court to assist with the clearing of the backlog as part of community engagement and the university’s contribution to alleviating challenges brought by Covid-19.

The Department of Paralegal Studies and the national Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has launched a partnership to place 10 Bachelor of Paralegal Studies graduates at the Office of the Master of the High Court.

In a briefing held recently at the District Six campus, the partners revealed that the Covid-19 pandemic had resulted in a huge backlog at the Office of the Master of the High Court. Due to the pandemic, the Master’s Office has to close at 1 pm instead of 4 pm. The public queue as early as 3 am to apply for documents such as a Letter of Authority when a family member is deceased.

The interns’ duties include clearing the backlog as part of community engagement and the university’s contribution to alleviating challenges brought about by Covid-19. The interns will be volunteering their services, however, CPUT requested the Safety and Security Sector Education and Training Authority (SASSETA) to provide stipends to enable the interns to pay for transport costs from their respective homes to town. SASSETA approved R840,000 towards the project and the interns will be placed for a period of 12 months.

Advancement Department Director, Calvin Maseko says the interns will use the experience to build their curriculum vitae.  “We are very appreciative of the support from SASSETA. This support exemplifies the effectiveness of the partnership between SASSETA and CPUT. This is a special group of young unemployed graduates who are change agents in our society,” Maseko remarks.

Head of Department: Paralegal Studies, Dr Noleen Leach says the majority of these interns were struggling to pay for their fees whilst they were studying and hence they were funded by SASSETA and NSFAS for their tuition.  “This is a sign that we are dealing with needy young people, who want to lend a hand in response to Covid-19. We initially thought that we can place the interns for six months but this lifeline from SASSETA is enabling us to place them for even a longer period.

“These are my first graduates of our new course. I am very proud of them,” Leach enthuses.

On behalf of SASSETA, WIL practitioner, Lorraine Matjila says they develop and improve the skills of South African citizens within the safety and security sector and this includes law and legal firms, law enforcement and many more. “CPUT is the lead employer and the Master of High court is the host employer for the interning students. We wish the interns good luck. This experience may open the doors they need to get long-term employment,” Matjila explains.

Student, Athini Masitho gave a vote of thanks on behalf of all the students who attended the event: "We would like to thank SASSETA for giving us this opportunity. I'm sure my fellow students understand that it is hard to find a way of transport to and from without having a source of income, so we are grateful and thankful.”

Written by Aphiwe Boyce