The Centre for Child Law is based in the Law Faculty at the University of Pretoria. The official launch of the Centre was held in October 1998. The Director of the Centre for Child Law at the University of Pretoria is Karabo Ozah.

The Centre contributes towards establishing and promoting the best interests of children in our community through education, research, advocacy and litigation.

The Centre benefits from the funding and support of the following donors:

  • University of Pretoria
  • Claude Leon Foundation
  • Constitutionalism Fund
  • Elma Foundation
  • Open Society Foundation South Africa
  • Sigrid Rausing Trust
  • RAITH Foundation
  • European Union

BIO'S

Karabo Ozah

Director

Karabo is a senior attorney and the Director of the Centre for Child Law. Karabo is also a lecturer in the Department of Private Law at the University of Pretoria. She lectures undergraduate and post graduate courses in child law, social welfare law, education law, children’s rights in Africa as well as human rights.

She obtained her LLB and LLM in Child Law (cum laude), as well as a Certificate in Advanced Labour Law from the University of Pretoria. She started her legal career as a candidate attorney at the University of Pretoria’s Law Clinic in 2005 and later joined the Centre for Child Law in 2007.

Karabo has led and contributed to the work of the Centre, including litigation successes in the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court of Appeal and High Courts. Karabo is a member of the Advisory Committee of the South African Law Reform Commission’s Project 100D on care and contact with children. She is also a member of the Hague Expert Group on International Parentage and Surrogacy which is tasked with researching the possibility of a Hague treaty to regulate international parentage and surrogacy. Karabo also served as an independent board member and the National Chairperson of Childline South Africa from 2009 until September 2016. She was a member of the Rules Board‘s Children’s Court Task Team whose mandate was to draft court rules for the Children’s Courts in South Africa. Karabo has led and also been part of various research projects for the National Department of Social Development, Save the Children South Africa and Regional as well as the United Nations Populations Fund-East and Southern Africa.

 

Pontso Phahlane

Administrator

Pontso joined the Centre in 2014 as the Administrator. In addition to carrying out administrative tasks, Pontso also manages the Centre’s finances (with the support of a Faculty accountant) and ensures that the Centre complies with the Accounting requirements and processes. Pontso has a background in finance and manages the budgeting, cash flow, financial reports and HR processes.

Isabel Magaya

Research, Monitoring & Evaluation

Isabel is a researcher in the Research, Monitoring & Evaluation unit at the Centre for Child Law. She holds an LLB and an LLM (Child Law) from the University of Pretoria. Isabel is a doctoral candidate and her research focuses on the abolition of corporal punishment in Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. At the Centre Isabel conducts primary and secondary research to support litigation for the Centre’s cases. She is also responsible for monitoring and evaluating the impact of cases litigated on by the Centre. Her research interests include ending violence against children, child migration in Southern Africa, child protection in the context of migration; child trafficking ;improved use of research evidence in policy and programme design.

Liesl Muller

Senior Attorney

Liesl Muller is a senior attorney with more than ten years litigation experience. She joined the Centre for Child Law in January 2022. Liesl was previously the head of the Statelessness Project at Lawyers for Human Rights, one of the only projects of its kind in South Africa and the region. Liesl drove strategic litigation about changing laws which continue to entrench statelessness.

Furthermore, Liesl has been a contributory author to numerous submissions to various international and regional treaty bodies, including the UN Human Rights Council and the African Committee of the Rights and Welfare of the Child. Liesl has also presented cases to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

Liesl has two Masters’ degrees cum laude, one from the University of the Witwatersrand, and recently a second in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa from the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria. Her areas of interest include African nationality law and rights, child rights approaches to litigation and environmental justice for children.

Stanley Malematja

Attorney

Stanley completed his LLB in 2015 at the University of Johannesburg and in the same year he was part of the winning team of the 6th annual Child Law Moot Court competition. In 2016, Stanley joined the Centre for Child Law as Candidate Attorney and upon completion, joined the Centre for Applied Legal Studies’ Right2Protest Project as an Attorney. He holds an LLM degree in Child Law from the University of Pretoria, with a distinction for his mini-dissertation. Stanley also holds a postgraduate diploma in Human Rights Advocacy and Litigation from the Nelson Mandela Institute, University of Witwatersrand. In 2020 He was nominated into the Mail & Guardian 200 most outstanding young South Africans. Stanley is a sessional lecturer in Jurisprudence at the Witwatersrand University. He am a steering committee member of the Southern African Human Rights Defenders Network Fund. Stanley is a published writer in the field of the right to peaceful assembly/ protest and also served as a member of the National Working Group of the Right2Know Campaign.

Morgan Courtenay

Part-time In-house Counsel

Moyahabo Thoka

Candidate Attorney

Moyahabo is a Candidate Attorney at the Centre for Child Law whose tasks include assisting in strategic litigation, drafting documents, liaising with clients, assisting in preparations for court appearances and conducting research on Child Law related matters. Moyahabo obtained her LLB and LLM in Human Rights and Democratization from the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria. She previously served as an intern with the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and as a Research Assistant with the Centre for Human Rights’ Disability Rights Unit and to the Institute of International Comparative Law in Africa. Her legal interests include the rights of women, children, persons with disabilities as well as the relationship between hierarchy and state accountability in public international law. Moyahabo is currently completing Practical Legal Training with the Legal Practice Council in pursuit of admission as an Attorney of the High Court of South Africa.

Fortunate Mongwai

Candidate Attorney

Fortunate is a Candidate Attorney at the Centre for Child Law whose tasks include assisting in strategic litigation, drafting documents, liaising with clients, assisting in preparation for court appearances and conducting research on child related matters. Fortunate obtained his Paralegal Certificate from Boston City Campus and Business College. He also obtained his LLB degree from the North-West University and recently completed his LLM from the same University specialising in International Child Law. Fortunate’s dissertation focused on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Street Children (Children in the Street Situation) where he argues that existing legislation needs be amended so as to be inclusive of children in the street situation and the need for development of policy which favour these children in order for the State to adequately address this plight in South Africa. His legal interests include child and family law, customary law, civil and political and socio-economic rights, and the relationship between States in relation to the protection and promotion of children’s rights.

Lebohang

Lebohang Dube

Candidate Attorney

Lebohang Dube joined the Centre for Child Law as a Candidate Attorney in April 2022. He will be assisting in strategic impact litigation; legal drafting; liaising with clients; preparation for court appearances and conducting research on child related matters.

Lebohang obtained his LLB degree from the University of the Free State and is currently working on his LLM in Environmental Law as Embedded in African Customary Law by way of research with the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Lebo’s Masters’ research seeks to contribute to arguments on the need to develop an African customary environmental law jurisprudence. Lebo does this by unpacking the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act and argues for an inherent customary right to enter and exploit resources in protected areas in terms of the Act.

Lebohang’s legal interests include protecting and advancing children’s rights; the development of child law in Africa; environmental justice and customary law in relation to children’s rights; socio-economic rights and transformative constitutionalism.

Lebohang has experience in the civil society sector as demonstrated by his involvement and work with organisations seeking to advance sexual and reproductive rights, environmental justice as well as socio-economic rights.

ADVISORY BOARD

Prof Elsabe Schoeman

Dean of Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria

Prof Elsabe Schoeman is the Chairperson of the Centre’s Advisory Board and the Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria. Her main areas of research are jurisdiction in cross-border civil and commercial litigation and choice of law in contract, delict/tort and selected areas of family law.

Prof Steven Cornelius

Head of Department of Private Law, University of Pretoria

Prof Steve Cornelius is a professor in and Head of the Department of Private Law and Director of the Centre for Intellectual Property Law. Prof Cornelius served on the Disciplinary Tribunal of the International Association of Athletics Federations and is a member of the Independent Doping Hearing Panel of the South African Institute for Drug-free Sport. He is also an independent director on the board of Cricket South Africa.

Prof Ntombizozuko ‘Zozo’ Dyani-Mhango

Head of the Department of Public Law, University of Pretoria

Professor Ntombizozuko ‘Zozo’ Dyani-Mhango is professoer in and the Head of the Department of Public Law, Faculty of Law, at the University of Pretoria. Her areas of specialisation fall under International Constitutional Law, with a focus on African Union Law and its right to intervene, its relationship with the International Criminal Court, as well as its member states obligations in international criminal justice. She also focuses on South Africa’s international and constitutional obligations in this regard, as well as public power

Dr Melanie Murcott

Lecturer in the Department of Public Law, University of Pretoria

Dr Melanie Murcott is a senior lecturer in the Department of Public Law at the University of Pretoria where she teaches administrative and environmental law. Her research focuses on the potential of environmental law and administrative law to contribute towards South Africa’s project of transformative constitutionalism.

Ms Buyi Mbambo Cele

Background in Social Work & Independent Consultant

Ms Buyi Cele has immense experience in the area of social work. She has worked as a child protection officer; assistant project coordinator for the UN Child Justice Project and taken on many other roles. She is currently an independent consultant.

Dr Maria Mabetoa

Background in Social Work

Dr Maria Mabetoa has extensive experience and expertise in the area of social work. She was a senior lecturer a the University of South Africa where she coordinated the development of a new Bachelor of Social Work curriculum and supervised post graduate students.

Adv Dikeledi Chabedi

Advocate of the Pretoria Bar

Advocate Dikeledi Chabedi is an Advocate with the Pretoria Bar of Advocates and is based at Circle Chambers in Pretoria.

Ms Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh

Executive Director, Southern Africa Litigation Centre

Ms Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh is the Executive Director of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre. She has significant experience and expertise in the fields of asylum, migration, refugee protection, citizenship and statelessness.

Dr Serges Djoyou-Kamga

Associate Professor, Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute

Dr Serges Djoyou-Kamga is an Associate Professor, Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute. He is an extensive experience on the right to development in the African human rights system, human rights from cross cultural perspectives, and disability rights.

Annual Reports

Annual Report 2020

The year 2020 started as any ordinary year, with excitement and hope for the new year that lies ahead. However, it was not long before the  world was turned upside-down due to the Covid-19 virus. Initially, we all thought that the Covid-19 virus was a passing event and that soon we would be “back to normal”. This was not to be the case as soon we were in hard lock-down- unable to do our work as business as usual and uncertain as to when we would be able to return to the “normal”. We had to learn to adapt as we now had to work from home, not being able to see clients, not able to brainstorm and bounce ideas off each other every day- as is practice here at CCL.

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Annual Report 2019

Walking in your own shoes. At the end of 2018 the Centre for Child Law turned 20 years old and this was a seminal moment as it also marked the handover of the directorship to Ms Karabo Ozah by her predecessor and mentor Prof Ann Skelton.

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