Philanthropy@UKZN   |   

Legal Practitioners Fidelity Fund Supports Aspirant Legal Professionals

Pictures of Lervashni Padayachee, Ariana Dwyer & Omthandayonkosi Ngiba.

The Legal Practitioners Fidelity Fund is committed to the enhancement of standards of legal education in South Africa, particularly for aspirant entrants into the legal profession.

It was established to reimburse members of the public who may have suffered pecuniary loss due to the theft of money or property entrusted to an attorney in the course of his or her practice.

“The fund is a last resort, if it is apparent that stolen money or property can be recovered from another source. Due to the nature of the Fund, we are exempt from certain compulsory duties as laid out in the law. However, to compensate for that, the Fund therefore is required as per law to assist with funding students who want to study law only. It also assists in funding certain law projects in conjunction with the law clinics as well as the law faculties at all South African universities,” said Shawn Africa, Legal Practitioners Fidelity Fund bursary coordinator.

The fund is assisting Ariana Dwyer, 22, obtain a Bachelor of Law at UKZN.

“The bursary has assisted with my studies by providing financial support when I would not have been able to continue studying due to limited finances. The bursary is helping me achieve my dream of becoming an attorney,” said Dwyer.

She said prior to receiving the bursary her parents were put under intense financial pressure to fund her studies.

“It has been very tough paying for university fees. My father is the breadwinner in my family and has been responsible for paying my fees.

“I am immensely grateful to the Attorney’s Fidelity Fund for the bursary because they have provided me with financial assistance to help me realise my dream of completing my LLB. Without their support, I would not be in the position I am now and be able to reach my potential to achieve academic excellence,” she said.

Dwyer said she’s committed to social justice and her aim is to build a career where she may give back some of the knowledge and opportunities that she has been given as a student. 

Another UKZN student the fund is helping take a step closer to achieving his dreams is Omthandayonkosi Ngiba.

Ngiba, 21, said the bursary from the Legal Practitioners Fidelity Fund towards his Bachelor of Law (LLB) remedied his financial struggle.

“Prior to the bursary I was a self funded student who did not qualify for NSFAS because of the R350 000 gross income, which was a great disadvantage because I come from a very big family with one bread winner. Being a student needs all your strength and focus. It becomes very hard when you also have to stress about your financial situation. I can focus on my books and not worry about failing to pay tuition.

“My father has been the one responsible for my tuition and it has been so difficult. From 2016 to 2018 I did not get to see my own examination results because of outstanding fees and even today I still owe money to the university,” said Ngiba.

His advice to students who are financially struggling is to work hard for their future. “Keep your heads up even when it seems the situation is only getting worse, to believe in themselves and to keep knocking until someone like LPFF opens the door.” 

Final year LLB student, Lervashni Padayachee, 21, said the bursary from the fund helped her family immensely by funding her studies for 2018 and 2019.

“Prior to this, my family financed my studies, which was not an easy task as my father had been medically bordered for the past four years. 
“The bursary brought a great sense of relief and there was less of a financial burden. I am extremely grateful to be a recipient of the bursary and I encourage other LLB students to apply for it when the opportunity arises. My student journey has been an amazing one and I was able to stress a little less, knowing that I have a bursary,” said Padayachee from Umkomaas, on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast. 

In 2020 she will start serving her two years of articles at Venns Attorneys.