16 February 2016 at 2:43 pm
On 4 February 2016, the CER’s Matome Kapa was admitted as an attorney of the High Court.
Matome was born and raised in a small village in Limpopo. He graduated in 2011 with an LLB degree from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Matome joined the Centre as an intern in March 2012, and started his articles in April 2013. During his articles, he completed a 6 month secondment with Legal Aid South Africa’s Justice Centre.
Since his admission, Matome has joined the CER’s Mining Programme as attorney. Matome is a passionate advocate for community rights and environmental justice in mining, and has been working with the Mining and Environmental Justice Network for South Africa (MEJCON-SA) since its inception in 2012; he still acts as coordinator for the MEJON-SA Steering Committee. Matome has conducted environmental rights training for mining communities in various parts of the country, and – using his criminal defence experience – recently secured the release of three activists in Burgersfort arrested unlawfully during a protest at a mine.
Matome had the following to say: “Looking back at the recent graduate I was when I arrived in Cape Town in March 2012, with only my formal education – no experience, knowing only one person in Cape Town, I can confidently say I have grown as a person during my time at CER. The journey was not easy, but it was well worth it. I hope it is only the beginning, because there is so much more to be learnt and so much more to be done.”
We are proud to have Matome join the CER as attorney. We welcome him to the legal progression, and to the growing cadre of public interest environmental lawyers in South Africa.
Since 2013, the CER’s candidate attorney programme has been a key component of our overall work to grow and transform not only our own organisation, but also the environmental public interest sector as a whole. We implement a rigorous internal training and mentoring programme for our CAs, and support a range of external training opportunities for them. For several years, we have collaborated with WWF South Africa through its Environmental Leaders Programme, who have provided financial and other support to our candidate attorneys and interns.
Our current CAs are Thobeka Gumede and Nathan Philander. Since 2015, two other CAs have been admitted as attorneys after completing articles with the CER: Ayesha Motala and Teboho Sebogodi.