Kgathi Inaugurates Legal Aid Board

| May 20, 2015

The Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Mr Shaw Kgathi, has hailed the inauguration of the Legal Aid Botswana Board as a major milestone in the development of Botswana’s democracy and justice system.

Officiating at its first board meeting sitting at the Attorney General’s Chambers on May 18, Minister Kgathi said this development was a cause to celebrate as the entity had for a long time been administered by an interim board since the inception of legal aid project in 2011.

He said Legal Aid Botswana was a permanent statutory corporation established to provide representation, legal aice and public education to indigent citizens of Botswana.

Nevertheless, Minister Kgathi said board members need to aance the best interests of Legal Aid Botswana irrespective of whatever other organisations they might be connected with.

He reminded the board to place the interests of the Legal Aid Botswana first, and further aised that if they have a conflict of interest they must recuse themselves from debate and the decision being considered.

In addition, he said, Legal Aid Botswana needed to be vigilant to develop cost effective and economic solutions. Moreover, he said the way they deliver legal aid to the needy would grow as Botswana grows.

Above all, Mr Kgathi warned the new board members that as the governing board, they were to ensure and maintain effective, efficient and transparent systems of financial, risk management and internal control.

For the indigent of Botswana, he said, legal aid is necessary to enable them to assert and defend their rights noting that without legal aid, justice is only available to those who can afford their own legal representation.

He reminded the board that in November 2014, during the state of the nation address, the President made a pledge to Batswana that the government would provide assistance to people who are unable to afford legal representation hence the board’s appointment.

Mr Kgathi said the proceedings were a signal to the realisation of the President’s pledge to the nation and his ministry’s commitment to ensuring Legal Aid Botswana’s continued success.

During the two day sitting, the board members and their alternates were expected to spend a day studying the legislation applicable to the delivery of the legal aid.

The minister said the two should give their attention to the provisions of the Legal Aid Act, the Regulations thereunder and the Legal Aid Guide before commencing with the strategic decision making role.

He also extended his appreciation to the entire team at the interim Legal Aid Botswana for their immense contribution to the effective administration of the Legal Aid Pilot Project.

The project started under the national Governance Programme which was a partnership between the government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

It was further revealed that family law matters such as divorces, child maintenance and family property disputes make the largest single category of legal aid applications while land matters are also an important part of the business of Legal Aid Botswana.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Medical/Health Care

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