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Community Law and Rural Development Centre, CLRDC, is a non-partisan, non-profit company incorporated and registered a non-profit organisation established in 1989 to promote access to social justice, human rights and development of constitutional democracy in rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape, in particular.
Since its inception, the CLRDC has been committed to the promotion of the following principles:
- Access to justice
- Democracy and good governance
- Enhanced human rights culture
- Promotion of Gender Equality
- People-centred and driven development
Background History of the organization
Background to formation of CLRDC could be traced far back as the late 1980’s amid socio-political upheavals in South Africa and particularly rural communities who were worse hit by apartheid policies of separate development. As a specific response thereof, the then Community Law Centre (CLC) and now CLRDC was conceived to provide a platform for these communities to access basic form of justice and development to address issues affecting them. The role of Traditional Leaders and their constituencies were vital in accepting and piloting the initial years of the organisation.
CLRDC’s strength and its pride lie in its successful model of establishing and sustaining a network of its CAOs. From the humble beginnings in late 1980’s with only five (5) communities, the organisation boast of a network of thirty (30) Community-based Advice Offices spread around twenty-one (29) of fifty-one (51) Local Municipalities in KZN and some parts of the Eastern Cape. Each of the network office is staffed by qualified and experienced Paralegal/s who helps dispense access to primary justice, information and legal services and alternative forms of dispute resolution to cases.
Other than being the leading training center for accredited Paralegals, with Diploma in Paralegal Studies, CLRDC has also trained AmaKhosi and Paralegal Management Committees (who received Certificates of Competence in relevant fields of law and human rights). It also participates in Civic and Voter Education, Elections Observation (national, provincial and local government elections from 1994 and subsequent election years thereafter. It has produced simplified Constitutional rights series and translated these into IsiZulu language which simplified the Constitutional Bill of Rights.
Core Functions of the organisation
- Training of Paralegals and Management Committees;
- Conducting public educational workshops to raise public awareness of rights and law;
- Provision of legal services to the indigent clients to resolve their problems;
- Provide on-site support and monitoring of community-based paralegals’ work;
- Management and facilitation of projects of specialized nature responding to the specific needs of particular sectors;
- Publication and development of training materials for capacity building;
- Partner and network with other organisations to advance social justice to favour the vulnerable groups
- Development of an integrated and linked skills development system for civil society (communities) and NPOs
To strengthen democracy through promotion of:
- Good Governance
- Capacity Building
- Community Participation
- Human Rights Awareness
- Rural Development Support
- Training of Paralegals and Management Committees
- Specialised training for various target groups
- Providing on-site support, monitoring and evaluation of the work of paralegals in CAOs
- Research, Publication and Development of educational and training materials.