Durban - Durban-based Legal Aid lawyer Nkosingiphile Hycenth Mlotshwa, who won the Legal Aid SA National High Court Lawyer of the Year Award, said his job of 12 years was fulfilling.
Mlotshwa said that while he sometimes had to deal with difficult clients who had overwhelming evidence against them, it was not easy, but it was something that needed to be done.
Growing up in Estcourt, he said the injustices of the past where he witnessed people being convicted without trial motivated him to study law.
He obtained a Bachelor of Law (LLB) degree at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
His career began with private practices in Ladysmith from 2005 to 2007, but it wasn’t exactly what he had planned for his career.
“I was concerned that people were being convicted without a trial because they could not afford legal representation.
“These were poor people who could not even provide for their families and when faced with a criminal or civil case, they ended up being jailed, some wrongfully, or received a hefty sentence,” said Mlotshwa.
In search for career fulfilment with the goal of helping the poor, he then joined Legal Aid SA.
He is proud of being part of a team that makes a difference in the sector.
“I think compared to the past, Legal Aid has improved and is providing the best legal representation. It has quality in-house lawyers dedicated to providing excellent legal representation without looking at its client’s financial status and standing in society,” said Mlotshwa.
In between appearing in court, he said the job came with a lot of prep work, research and reading.
“It involves long hours and working through the night. In the high court you need to know your story, you need to be prepared.
“I rely a lot on my seniors for support and on my fiancée, my kids and extended family for emotional support,” he said.
Vela Mdaka, provincial executive at Legal Aid SA, said the winners had made Legal Aid SA proud.
“The National Achiever Awards is an annual event by Legal Aid SA where we recognised and celebrated our star performers who contributed to the success of the organisation,” said Mdaka.
Other Legal Aid SA lawyers from KZN who received awards were Siphamandla Gumede, who won Lawyer of the Year: District Court, and Ben Langa, who took home Paralegal of the Year.
“We are really proud of this achievement.
“We are confident this will encourage and inspire other colleagues as we continue to sustain our good culture of excellence synonymous with our organisation,” said Mdaka.