Teachers in South Africa are facing immense challenges that infringe upon the growth and development of their teaching profession. Over the years LegalWise has been inundated with requests for assistance in matters affecting teachers. Teachers’ rights have often been violated and they have seldom enjoyed the protection that they deserve.
Jan Luwes, Chief Executive Officer at LegalWise says, “To acknowledge, uphold and promote the basic human rights as embodied in the Constitution of South Africa, LegalWise has developed products that offer access to legal services for all South Africans. We have responded to teachers and the matters affecting them specifically by introducing the Teacher Legal Plan to protect, guide and support teachers in their profession.”
The Teacher Legal Plan covers matters pertaining to their profession as educators, with special emphasis on defamation. Luwes says, “If teachers are implicated through either written or spoken false statements, LegalWise protects their professional reputation by providing adequate support in court proceedings. To this end we endeavour to ensure that every educator in South Africa is aware of his/her rights and where those rights are then infringed upon, provide Members with an appropriate legal solution to enforce their rights.” Currently, the LegalWise Gold, GoldPlus and Platinum membership options cover defamation in the case of being a defendant to a matter.
Teachers are often landed with the challenging task of trauma counselling when learners are hurt whilst in their care. LegalWise offers counselling services delivered both telephonically and face-to-face group therapy sessions conducted by skilled professionals. LegalWise offers legal counselling and six months of paid premiums to teachers who are retrenched. In case of accidental exposure to HIV, there is free antiretroviral treatment. Other added benefits include face to face consultations at LegalWise branches, drawing up of legal contracts and vetting of employment contracts, as well as representation in legal matters and disciplinary hearings where required.
The Teacher Legal Plan is available when teachers take up a LegalWise Gold, GoldPlus or Platinum membership as a top up at an additional R15 per month, which will provide them with a further R55 000 worth of cover per matter on their existing LegalWise Membership. “We aim to offer affordable access to justice and defend our Members’ rights by providing them with the peace of mind to exercise their professional duties,” he adds.
Luwes emphasises, “Our commitment is to allow educators to teach by empowering and awarding them the respect that they deserve as the custodians of future generations.”
LegalWise provides access to justice for many South Africans by offering legal counselling and cover to its Members via face-to-face, email based legal services and a 24 hour LegalLine, with over 80 branches countrywide. It is served by a highly experienced panel of attorneys and professional legal counsellors. LegalWise gives its Members the legal power to enforce and defend their rights through professional legal representation in civil, criminal and labour related matters.