Capacity Building for Community Based Advice Offices
Funda Development and Human Rights Resource Centre was founded in the early 1993 by the late Mr. Ncedi Ka Nkosi, and registered as an NPO in 1995. The office, situtated in Siyathuthuka, Belfast, shares the same premises with Lindindaba crèche. The area is mostly rural; agriculture is a major industry, and a large number of farm dwellers and illiterate people live in the area. Skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers visit the office daily to receive assistance or advice on issues ranging from labour to domestic violence and evictions.
Funda provides a numbers of services to the community including professional legal advice in:
• Labour matters and small business matters
• Consumer related matters
• Social security issues
• HIV/Aids Education
• Citizenship/migration/Immigration matters
• Human Rights and Constitutional matters
• Family Law and Domestic violence
• Criminal and civil matters
• Housing and service delivery
• Late estates and evictions
Funda also runs workshops and human rights awareness campaigns for the community.
The extended farm workers' programme is benefiting communities in the surrounding farm areas and the advice centre is serving marginalized and poor people.
Here are some of the stories handled by the advice office and the support provided by the centre.
Mr Allec Phiri (left), who worked in the timber industry, lost his leg in an accident at work. He was not registered for Workmen’s Compensation or UIF and was not affiliated to any union. He consulted the advice office which helped him to apply for a disability grant and child support grant for his two children.
Mr. Maseko (right) resides opposite the Exxarro mine in the area. Chemicals from the mine have contaminated the water and his livestock has been killed by the contaminated water supply. The advice office has reported this to mine management who responded by providing a pipe of clean water to Mr. Maseko’s compound. He has now bought a water tank which he fills with clean water for cattle and household consumption.
Hadeco, located about 16km from the township of Siyathuthuka, is a farm whose main concern is planting, growing and selling of flowers and flower buds. The farm employs 36 women and due to the seasonal nature of the flower harvesting, there has been issues around the conditions of employment. The employer had told the women employees not to report to work, failed to pay for a certain period of time, and failed to consult or provide explanations to the work force. The women consulted the advice office in March 2013. A paralegal officer from the advice office also consulted the employer. The paralegal has spearheaded an intervention which included contacting the Department of Labour, applying for UIF for the women, registering them with a trade union and negotiating with the employer. The CCMA has also been approached. The case is pending.
The Tholulwazi Youth Centre, which started operating in 2008, is another project which is receiving support from Funda. The youth centre focuses on youth development, keeps a youth database up to date and provides information to youth in the area. Funda and the youth centre collaborate and refer cases, run joint workshops and share information.