Who we are

Our Story

Using the law to challenge injustice.

In 1979 a group of activist lawyers, including prominent human rights lawyers Arthur Chaskalson, Felicia Kentridge and Geoff Budlender, created the Legal Resources Centre with two goals in mind: use the law to resist the oppressive apartheid system, and provide a training ground for public interest lawyering and young black lawyers. The LRC soon became well known for using the law as an instrument to challenge apartheid injustices and for representing black South Africans against the apartheid state. The LRC played an important role in helping to dismantle apartheid legal structures.

Four decades of holding powerful institutions to account.

After the 1994 democratic transition in South Africa, the LRC committed itself to upholding the rights enshrined in the new South African Constitution.

Over the next 30 years, the LRC worked with civil society partners and on behalf of individuals and communities across South Africa. On an individual level the LRC provided free legal services to vulnerable people and marginalised communities. In the wider context of South Africa, the LRC employed strategic litigation to advance gender equality, environmental justice, and access to healthcare. These legal breakthroughs had far reaching benefits for millions of South Africans.

In particular, the LRC helped to abolish the death penalty in South Africa, played an important role in advancing the constitutional rights of women, girls, and people with disabilities, and helped to ensure that the government supplied antiretrovirals to combat mother-to-child HIV transmission.

Tackling the most pressing human rights issues of our time.

Today the LRC is South Africa’s largest public interest law centre. As a well-established, trusted, and formidable defender of human rights, we continue to use strategic litigation and advocacy to promote justice using the Constitution, build respect for the rule of law and constitutional democracy; enable individuals and groups without access to legal resources to assert and develop their rights; promote gender and racial equality; and contribute to the development of a human rights jurisprudence and socio-economic transformation in South Africa and beyond.

Read more about our current cases.

A Timeline of
LRC History

Scroll right to view

1979

The LRC is created by a group of
activist anti-apartheid lawyers to
challenge apartheid laws.

1980

One of the first cases that the LRC takes on – and wins – is the Komani case, which helps to destroy the hated apartheid pass system, which made black South Africans foreigners in their own country.

1994

After South Africa’s transition
to democracy, the LRC
dedicates itself to enforcing the
rights established by the new
Constitution and Bill of Rights.

1995

The LRC is part of the successful
campaign to abolish the death
penalty in South Africa.

1996

Members of the LRC play an
important role in developing the
new Constitution of South Africa.

2001

The LRC wins its first class action
case on behalf of people living
with disabilities

2002

The government is ordered to
supply antiretrovirals to combat
mother-to-child HIV transmissions.

2010s

An important legal victory is
won when the Constitutional
Court ruled that the controversial
Communal Land Rights Act
passed in 2004 is invalid.

2019

A landmark high court judgment upholds the right of undocumented children to attend school in South Africa in an important case for access to education.

2020

The LRC renews its dedication to advancing human rights in South Africa by focusing on the twin issues of land and education.

2022

A milestone environmental victory is won when Wild Coast communities and civil society organisations, including the LRC, join forces to successfully prevent Shell from conducting seismic tests off the east coast of South Africa.

2022

The LRC undergoes a governance
transition, becoming a non-profit
company.

A Timeline of
LRC History

1979

The LRC is created by a group of
activist anti-apartheid lawyers to
challenge apartheid laws.

1980

One of the first cases that the LRC takes on – and wins – is the Komani case, which helps to destroy the hated apartheid pass system, which made black South Africans foreigners in their own country.

1994

After South Africa’s transition
to democracy, the LRC
dedicates itself to enforcing the
rights established by the new
Constitution and Bill of Rights.

1995

The LRC is part of the successful
campaign to abolish the death
penalty in South Africa.

1996

Members of the LRC play an
important role in developing the
new Constitution of South Africa.

2001

The LRC wins its first class action
case on behalf of people living
with disabilities

2002

The government is ordered to
supply antiretrovirals to combat
mother-to-child HIV transmissions.

2010s

An important legal victory is
won when the Constitutional
Court ruled that the controversial
Communal Land Rights Act
passed in 2004 is invalid.

2019

A landmark high court judgment upholds the right of undocumented children to
attend school in South Africa in an important case for access to education.

2020

The LRC renews its dedication to
advancing human rights in South
Africa by focusing on the twin
issues of land and education.

2022

A milestone environmental victory is won when Wild Coast communities and civil society organisations, including the LRC, join forces to successfully prevent Shell from conducting seismic tests off the east coast of South Africa.

2022

The LRC undergoes a governance
transition, becoming a non-profit
company.

JOHANNESBURG/NATIONAL OFFICE

2nd Floor West Wing, Women’s Jail,
Constitution Hill,
1 Kotze Street, Braamfontein,
Johannesburg 2001
Tel: +27 11 038 9709
Fax: +27 11 838 4876

CAPE TOWN OFFICE

Block D, Ground Floor, Aintree Office Park,
cnr Doncaster & Loch Roads, Kenilworth,
Cape Town 7708
Tel: +27 21 879 2398
Fax: +27 21 423 0935

DURBAN OFFICE

11th Floor, Aquasky Towers,
275 Anton Lembede Street,
Durban 4001
Tel: +27 31 301 7572
Fax: +27 31 304 2823

MAKHANDA OFFICE

116 High Street,
Makhanda 6139
Tel: +27 46 622 9230
Fax: +27 46 622 3933

Vision and Mission

Our Vision

A democratic, accountable, and transparent society in which equitable and inclusive access to justice, dignity, and human rights are lived realities for all.

Our Mission

To undertake evidence-informed action focused on advancing the transformation of South Africa as a democratic society, using the law as an instrument to remove persistent and pervasive structural obstacles to human rights – with a strategic focus on land and education rights.

Our People

Amanda Moli

Office Assistant

Amanda Mpotulo-Matama

Administration Assistant

Anneline Turpin

Attorney

Anshal Bodasing

Manager in the Office of the Director

Cecile van Schalkwyk

Attorney

Cameron McConnachie

Co-lead: Education Programme

Claire Rankin

Candidate Attorney

Delysia Weah

Company Secretary

Devon Turner

Attorney

Ektaa Deochand

Attorney

Esme Wardle

Office Administrator

Feeyaz Mohamed

Project Accountant

Goodness Maumo

Candidate Attorney

Ilene Abrams

Development Manager

Kiara Govender

Candidate Attorney

Kimal Harvey

Candidate Attorney

Kiren Rutsch

Candidate Attorney

Kristen Abrahams

Candidate Attorney

Lerato Lebotse

Receptionist

Mathuto Mashego

Grants management officer

Mlamli Tyhulu

Candidate Attorney

Madile Mashinini

Human resources officer

Moray Hathorn

Attorney

Muyenga Mugerwa Sekawabe

Attorney

Nicholas chetwin

Financial manager

Nersan govender

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE LEGAL RESOURCES CENTRE

Neliswa Mbuyazi

CANDIDATE ATTORNEY

Nuhaa Hendricks

Candidate Attorney

Ona Xolo

Attorney

Puleng Mosia Mbuwane

Communications Intern

Saadiyah Kadwa

Attorney

Sandile Zwane

Grants Management Officer

Sandra Govender

Office Administrator

Sanele Nkambule

Finance officer

Shaatirah Baboo Hassim

Attorney

Shaista Bhabha

Finance Officer

Sharita Samuel

Co-Lead: Land Programme

Sheniece Linderboom

Attorney

Sherylle Dass

Co-Lead Education Programme

Sindisiwe Shozi

Attorney

Sipesihle Mguga

Co-Lead: Legacy Programme

Toney Leong

IT systems developer

Topsy Mackenzie

Payroll Officer

Tsukudu Moroeng

Trainee Attorney

Tumelo Machaba

Candidate Attorney

Wilmien Wicomb

Co-lead: Land Programme

Yoemna Saint

Grants Management Officer and Programme Coordinator

Yanela Frans

Candidate Attorney

Zahraa Motani

Candidate Attorney

Zi Channing

IT systems

Zulfa Mohammed

Office Administrator

Our Board of Directors

Christopher Stone

Professor of Practice of Public Integrity at Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government

Joy Marie Lawrence

Lawyer, Businesswoman, Executive Integral Coach and Chartered Director.

Justice Lex Mpati

Chancellor of Rhodes University

Lumka Mlambo

fund principal at the SA SME Fund,

Marjorie Da Silva

executive director of the School of Insurance at the African Leadership University (ALU).

MICHAEL KATZ

Professor Michael Katz is a practicing attorney and chairman at Edward Nathan Sonnenberg (ENS) Africa

MZIWANDILE EZRA DAVIDS

Chairman of Corporate/M&A at Bowmans

NERSAN GOVENDER

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE LEGAL RESOURCES CENTRE

THANDI ORLEYN

Chairman of the Legal Resources Centre

“I remain committed to the idea that by holding individuals and institutions accountable we can build an empowered society in which the Constitutional rights of all who live in South Africa are upheld and the promise of the 1994 democratic transition can be realised.”

 
– Nersan Govender, Executive Director

Our Funders and Partners

Our Funders

We would like to express our profound gratitude for the individuals and families who make donations to the LRC.

Our Partners

Friends of LRC site: https://friendsofthelrc.org/

Canon Collins Educational and Legal Assistance Trust (CCELAT) : https://canoncollins.org/

Our Patrons

Professor Harvey Dale

patron of the Legal Resources Centre

Sir Sydney Kentridge

patron of the Legal Resources Centre

Advisory Board Members

Judge Mahendra Chetty Ramasamy

patron of the Legal Resources Centre

Judge Taswell Papier

patron of the Legal Resources Centre

Judge President Dunstan Mlambo

patron of the Legal Resources Centre