CUP CASES KEEP LEGAL AID ON TOES

LEGAL Aid South Africa says it has not processed one World Cup soccer case in KwaZulu-Natal since the start of the soccer spectacle.

LEGAL Aid South Africa says it has not processed one World Cup soccer case in KwaZulu-Natal since the start of the soccer spectacle.

But while foreigners visiting South Africa for the World Cup might be on their best behaviour in KwaZulu-Natal, pro bono lawyers in other provinces have their hands full.

Nelisiwe Masina, corporate communications manager for Legal Aid South Africa, said it was dealing with a case in Limpopo involving four British nationals who were arrested for possession of dagga.

The accused persons paid R400 admission of guilt fines and were released ,she said.

"In Gauteng a case of robbery in Magaliesburg involving two Zimbabweans and a Nigerian is being dealt with by the organisation.

The accused robbed a house occupied by Spanish and Portuguese journalists and stole a laptop, euros and other equipment. The case was heard in the Soweto regional court and all three accused pleaded guilty.

"We are also dealing with a case involving theft of a cellphone from a French journalist. The accused pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 12 months, of which half was suspended, or to pay R3000.

"The client paid the fine and the case was postponed to June 28," Masina said.

A total of 140 lawyers have been deployed at dedicated courts around the country to deal with World Cup cases. So far only "three theft-related cases were handled in the Cape Town district court, she said.

"One matter was finalised, one postponed for further investigation and bail application, one matter postponed. In Gauteng we are dealing with a robbery case," Masina said

She said among those arrested in Cape Town was a Brazilian citizen.

Masina assured South Africans who were not represented by Legal Aidthat their cases would not be neglected during the World Cup.

Mpho Phasha, Communications executive at Legal Aid South Africa, said it would be business as usual in the organisation's more than 100 justice centres countrywide, where lawyers will continue delivering services to poor communities.

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