Every year on the 10th of December the world observes international Human Rights Day. This year’s Human Rights Day theme relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and focuses on the need to ensure that human rights are central to recovery efforts. The social justice sector in South Africa has been at the forefront of efforts to minimise the devastating effects of the pandemic on poor and marginalised households. In the lead-up to the COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020 the social justice sector rallied and collaborated to establish a hotline to continue to provide legal advice.
The hotline has received nearly 3,000 calls, of which 703 legal queries were taken up by the sector. Legal queries were received from all nine of South Africa’s provinces highlighting the importance of the work of the PILS sector and the need to decentralise PILS support in the country.
In addition to this the Public Interest Legal Services (PILS) website has been updated and is available at www.pils.org.za.
The PILS website is a user-friendly resource for all members of the public interested in learning more about the issues, methods, and types of organisations that contribute to expanding access to justice in South Africa.
Originally built in 2015 to house the results of a study on public interest legal services in South Africa, the site includes an interactive map which identifies and locates the full range of PILS organisations in South Africa. The map provides information about social justice organisations and community advice offices around the country. The website further describes thematic areas of work and this year specifically features the right to work.