Two visits to Musina were undertaken in the past two months. The first visit was from 24-26 April 2023. Zama Mbatha, the project’s paralegal, was accompanied by Zwivhuya Ramashia and Lerato Sefume who are responsible for the education programmes at Constitution Hill which focus on educating learners and community members on democracy, human rights and constitutionalism. They also offer outreach programmes on the Bill of Rights and national symbols.
During the visit we engaged with three high schools in the area to invite the grade 8 to 11 learners to participate in the community outreach programme, where we also ran a Bill of Rights workshop with them. We also spent time inspecting venues and consulting in preparation for the follow-up visit in May.
The second visit took place over a period of five days, from 8 to 12 May.
We visited the Messina Legal Advice Office (MLAO) to consult with our existing clients on their cases. Mpho Mogodi, the Project Manager and Staff Attorney joined the consultations online to provide legal advice to our clients. The most common matters we came across during the consultations were those relating to birth registration and child documentation, access to education due to lack of proper documentation and asylum application appeals.
On the second day of consultations, the MLAO had over 50 asylum seekers coming in to seek assistance with completing their appeal forms after their asylum-seeker applications were rejected by the Refugee Status Determination Officer (RSDO).
These forms are being submitted to the Refugee Appeal Authority of South Africa (RAASA). On 11 May 2023, we held a debating workshop for the schools that would be participating in a debating competition at the Skoomplaas Stadium the following day. The workshop was facilitated by debating coaches from the Pan African Schools Debating Championship. The Constitution Hill representatives also gave a presentation on South African Symbols.
Over 100 learners and community members attended the next day’s debate, which consisted of junior and senior debates centred around Citizenship, Permanent Residence and Refugee rights. This was followed by a football tournament between the Musina High and Rennaissance High soccer teams. ProBono.Org presented trophies and medals to the learners who participated in the debating teams and the football teams.
Many community members expressed appreciation for our work in Musina and were excited about the various events as Musina is a small town and events such as these are rare. We were joined at the event by Legal Aid-SA, The Department of Social Development (DSD) and The International Organisation for Migration (IOM).