Anneke Greyvenstein

Social Justice

What does your company do?

Overview - since 2006 Social Justice is a pioneering organization dedicated to providing innovative and effective Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) services with a primary focus on family mediation. Our mission is to make justice accessible, less stressful, and cost-effective for families and children. Established in 2006, we have a proven track record of resolving family disputes creatively and efficiently, with minimal judicial intervention. Mission Statement To empower families to resolve disputes peacefully through accessible, informal, and innovative ADR mechanisms, focusing on the best interests of children and promoting lasting, win-win solutions. Vision To be the leading organization in South Africa for family mediation and ADR, fostering a culture of peaceful conflict resolution and restorative justice. Mediation Services: Family Disputes (maintenance, parenting plans, divorces) Community Conflicts Peace-making and Restorative Justice: Facilitating reconciliation and healing in conflict situations. Training and Education: Developing and delivering training programs on ADR topics. Offering accredited courses for mediators, peacemakers, and restorative justice practitioners. Providing ongoing support and education for trained professionals. Membership Organization: Social Justice Association of Mediators: A national network of accredited family mediators including advocates, attorneys, social workers, magistrates, psychologists, and counselors. Achievements Resolved over 10,000 maintenance disputes by 2009 without unnecessary judicial intervention. Influenced legislative changes through lobbying efforts and submissions to the South African Law Reform Commission. Trained over 1,600 delegates in family mediation skills, impacting approximately 48,000 families annually. Developed 25 training manuals on various ADR topics. Assisted more than 10,000 families in resolving disputes since 2006. Coparent App (www.coparent.co.za) Social Justice also offers the innovative CoParent App, designed to support separated or divorced parents in managing their co-parenting responsibilities effectively. The app provides tools and resources to facilitate communication, scheduling, and documentation, helping parents to focus on the best interests of their children. Features of the CoParent App: Shared Calendar: Manage and coordinate parenting schedules seamlessly. Messaging: Secure and documented communication between co-parents. Expense Tracking: Track and share child-related expenses. Document Storage: Safely store and share important documents. Mediation Support: Access mediation services and resources directly through the app. Client Testimonials "I wish to commend Social Justice on their excellent training, both in terms of content and presentation style. The administrative process and course material were also exceptionally well-organized." Prof. Lourie Terblanche, University of Pretoria "Social Justice Training was very informative and eye-opening on many legal aspects. I believe it is the best form of learning about Mediation." Naku Masuku, National Director FAMSA The Story of Social Justice and First for Families 2006: Pioneering Support for Maintenance Collection Social Justice began its journey in 2006 as the first private entity to assist parties in collecting arrears maintenance. Recognizing the gap in support for individuals struggling to secure maintenance payments, Social Justice provided crucial services that ensured families received the financial support they were entitled to. This foundational work laid the groundwork for the organization's commitment to social justice and family welfare. 2007: Integrating Financial Accountability Building on its initial success, Social Justice made a groundbreaking move in 2007 by becoming the first entity to facilitate the listing of arrear maintenance with credit bureaus. This initiative aimed to hold defaulters accountable by impacting their credit ratings, thus encouraging timely maintenance payments and providing a powerful incentive for compliance. 2008: Innovating Family Dispute Resolution In 2008, Social Justice expanded its services by negotiating maintenance and other family disputes out of court through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). By offering mediation services, the foundation provided a less adversarial and more cost-effective means of resolving disputes, promoting harmony and cooperation among parties. 2009: Advocating for Legislative Change Social Justice's advocacy efforts bore fruit in 2009 when they initiated legislative changes to address arrears maintenance. This year also marked a significant milestone as the foundation handled over 10,000 cases, demonstrating its growing influence and capacity to effect meaningful change in the community. 2010: Empowering Professionals with Tools Recognizing the importance of knowledge and consistency in resolving maintenance disputes, Social Justice started training other professionals in 2010 on using the 10-step maintenance calculator. This tool standardized calculations and ensured fairness and transparency in maintenance assessments. 2012: Advancing Professional Education In collaboration with North-West University (NWU), Social Justice developed the first tertiary postgraduate training course for family mediators in 2012. This initiative aimed to professionalize family mediation, providing comprehensive training and establishing high standards for practitioners in the field. 2013: Specializing in Maintenance Disputes Social Justice continued its educational endeavours in 2013 by focusing on training family mediators specifically in resolving maintenance disputes. This specialization addressed a critical need and enhanced the effectiveness of mediators in handling complex family financial issues. 2014: Scaling Up Government Training By 2014, SJ had expanded its training programs to include government officials on a large scale. This initiative aimed to improve the competency and efficiency of public servants dealing with maintenance disputes, thereby enhancing the overall system's responsiveness and reliability. 2015: Realizing Legislative Success The legislative changes suggested by SJ in previous years materialized in 2015, marking a significant achievement for the foundation. These changes reflected SJ's sustained efforts and influence in shaping policies that better serve families and promote justice. 2018: Formalizing Structure and Expanding Reach In 2018, the Social Justice Foundation was formally established as a Non-Profit Organization (NPO) with Section 18a status. Additionally, the Association of Mediators was launched as a Membership and Accreditation Body with a national footprint. By 2024, this association became the largest of its kind, underscoring SJF's leadership in the field of mediation and alternative dispute resolution mechanism. 2021: First for Families Credit Bureau Pty LTD Registration The development of the public online portal for the verification and submission of maintenance obligations to CPB our strategic credit bureau partner started. 2022: Embracing Technology and Partnerships SJ embraced technological innovation in 2022 by developing the Coparent App, a tool designed to facilitate co-parenting arrangements and maintenance management. It’s the only multifunctional app with a link to the maintenance portal. The foundation also signed a Cooperation Agreement with the Consumer Profile Bureau, enhancing its ability to monitor and enforce maintenance payments. 2023: Building Public-Private Partnerships In July 2023, SJ began negotiations for a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) involving the Social Justice Foundation, the Department of Justice, and the Consumer Profile Bureau. This partnership aimed to integrate resources and expertise from various sectors to further improve maintenance enforcement and family dispute resolution mechanisms. Social Justice one the AHI Award for Small Business of the Year. 2024: Looking Ahead As SJ continues to evolve, it remains dedicated to its mission of promoting social justice and supporting families. With a robust foundation built on innovation, advocacy, and education, SJF is well-positioned to lead the way in family mediation and maintenance dispute resolution for years to come.

What is your biggest success?

The demand for family legal tech services is largely unmet and as paradigm pioneers, we will close the gap that currently exists between the maintenance/family courts, other services and the credit industry. The Coparent App and online portal will be the first and only entry point for parents to list current and arrear maintenance obligations with the any credit bureau in South Africa. No other credit bureau currently has any data relating to maintenance obligations. There is a need for secure, accurate and reliable data pertaining to divorce and maintenance orders, two pieces of legislation which came into effect during 2015 are: • National Credit Amendment Act 2014 (Act 19 of 2014) - Regulation 1 introduces the term “Necessary Expenses” and has the wording including maintenance payments in the definition. • Maintenance Amendment Act Section 11 introduces new Section 26 (2A): Provides for the furnishing of particulars of the person against whom a maintenance order has been made to a Credit Provider and/or Credit Bureau.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

The biggest hurdle for Social Justice is overcoming the entrenched reliance on traditional judicial processes for resolving family disputes. Despite the evident benefits of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms, many individuals and institutions continue to favor court-based solutions due to familiarity, perceived legitimacy, and established legal norms. This challenge manifests in several specific ways: Awareness and Acceptance: Public Awareness: Many families are not aware of the benefits of mediation and ADR, leading to a default preference for court interventions. Perceived Legitimacy: Some people view court decisions as more authoritative or binding, questioning the enforceability of mediated agreements. Institutional Resistance: Judicial and Legal Systems: Courts and legal professionals may be resistant to ADR due to traditional practices, workload concerns, or a lack of understanding of ADR benefits. Policy and Legislation: There may be insufficient legislative support or policies that encourage the use of ADR over litigation. It took us almost 10 years to get buy-in from the National Credit Regulator, The Credit Bureaus, Department of Justice. We are now in the final stages of signing a private public partnership.