Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola has criticised the lack of public confidence in the quality of legal services provided by Legal Aid SA. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Johannesburg - Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola has criticised the lack of public confidence in the quality of legal services provided by Legal Aid SA.

Lamola visited the Legal Aid SA’s Braamfontein head offices in Joburg on Wednesday, where he briefly assisted some people who had contacted the organisation’s call centre requiring legal assistance and advice.

Lamola said the department was happy with the quality of the legal services provided by the state-run entity, which chiefly serves indigent and working-class people by providing them with free legal support.

“I think it is a wrong perception in society that Legal Aid SA provides services of low quality to clients. This is one of the best (places where) criminal lawyers are produced in this country.

“Even some of the best criminal judges in this country went through the processes of Legal Aid SA, including people in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)” Lamola said.

He said Legal Aid SA was among the best run entities of government.

“We’ve had clean audits for the past 18 years. There is a well-established culture of good governance in this institution,” he said.

Legal Aid SA chief executive Vidhu Vedalankar said the entity had a strong national footprint, with about 128 sites at which clients could access its services directly. It also had a legal aid advice line.

“We are assisting about 725 000 people each year with legal advice and legal aid services. Our lawyers are very proud of the quality of their service,” Vedalankar said.

Political Bureau