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Nurina Ally – Executive Director

Nurina is a committed activist, with a passion for using law to advance social justice.

She obtained her Bachelor of Arts undergraduate degree from the University of the Witwatersrand, receiving various accolades for outstanding achievement. She then pursued a Masters degree in African Studies, which she obtained from the University of Edinburgh with distinction. With an interest in social justice lawyering, Nurina then completed her LLB degree at the University of the Witwatersrand, graduating as the most distinguished scholar.

Nurina completed her articles and eventually practised as a senior associate in the public law department at Webber Wentzel Attorneys. As a public law attorney, she has specialist expertise in the field of constitutional and administrative law, as well as public interest litigation. In addition, Nurina has had the privilege of serving as a law clerk to Justice Edwin Cameron at the Constitutional Court of South Africa.

Nurina joined the EELC as its Executive Director on 1 August 2015. Nurina is a passionate young lawyer and activist, with a vision for using legal advocacy to advance the goal of achieving equal education for all.

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Daniel Linde – Deputy Director

Daniel completed a Bachelor of Commerce at UCT in 2007 and was awarded his LLB at the same university in 2011.

In 2009, Daniel served as Secretary General of Habonim Dror Southern Africa. He began his involvement with Equal Education (EE) in 2010, working as the head of the movement’s Kraaifontein youth group.

Prior to joining the EELC, Daniel served articles and practised as an attorney at Read Hope Phillips Inc in Johannesburg. He joined the EELC in September 2014 and was in its King William’s Town office, where his key areas of work concerned underperforming schools and the implementation of norms and standards for school infrastructure.

In addition to working as the EELC’s Eastern Cape attorney, Daniel was part of a small team of Equal Education members who established the social movement’s first Eastern Cape office, and served as the Deputy Head of Equal Education in that Province.

Daniel was appointed as the Deputy Director of the EELC on 1 August 2015. He views education as the key to unlocking the constitutionally enshrined rights to dignity and freedom, and to the development of participatory democracy in South Africa.

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Lisa Draga – Attorney

Lisa obtained her law degree at the University of the Western Cape and her Masters in Law at the University of Missouri, Columbia. In early 2010, she completed her training as a candidate attorney at the Legal Resources Centre, assisting in litigation that ensured the release of unlawfully detained asylum seekers. From July 2010 until December 2011, she worked as a legal researcher for Justice Zakeria Yacoob at the Constitutional Court of South Africa.

Since starting work with the EELC at its foundation in January 2012, Lisa has been an integral part of many high profile cases. She has defended learners who have been unlawfully excluded from school; she has been involved in resisting the eviction of Grootkraal School from private land; and she has led the legal team that supported EE’s campaign for Minimum Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure.

Growing up, Lisa attended Kensington High, the first dilapidated school in the Western Cape to be rebuilt as a result of EE’s infrastructure work. This personal connection to the vital nature of a strong education system fuels her relentless pursuit for quality education for all.

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Chandre Stuurman – Attorney

Chandré is from Clarkson in the Eastern Cape. At the University of Stellenbosch, where she obtained her BA and LLB degrees, Chandré was awarded scholarships from the Make a Difference and Esteé Lauder Foundations.

During her studies, Chandré was employed by the South African Property Law Research Chair Professor AJ van der Walt as a Constitutional Property Law researcher with a particular focus on Section 25 of the Constitution, dealing with property rights. She was also involved in the Financial Literacy Project of the university’s Legal Aid Clinic.

Before joining the EELC in early 2014, Chandré completed her Articles of Clerkship with Shepstone & Wylie Attorneys. Chandre is a passionate young lawyer and activist, with a drive to use the law as a tool for social justice and for equality in education.

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Demichielle Petherbridge – Attorney

Demichelle obtained her B. Comm (Law) degree from Stellenbosch University in 2005, and subsequently completed her post-graduate LLB degree in 2007 at the same university. In August 2008, she obtained a certificate in International and European Legal Studies from Antwerpen University, Belgium, and completed Practical Legal Training through the LEAD School of Legal Practice, Cape Town in 2014.

Demichelle was also a student participant in the Socio-Economic Rights and Administrative Justice Research Project at the Faculty of Law, Stellenbosch University, from 2012 to 2014. In March 2015, she received her doctoral degree from Stellenbosch University, with her dissertation focused on the role of international law in the interpretation of socio-economic rights in South Africa. She joined the EELC in February 2015 and is currently working as a candidate attorney.

While Demichelle has always believed in the importance of human rights, her interest in this field was sparked during her post-graduate studies and her exposure to South Africas’s developing jurisprudence in this area. Since then, she remains convinced of the importance of providing adequate information on human rights in South Africa, and each person’s responsibility to continuously promote their realisation.

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Mbekezeli Benjamin – Legal Advice Officer

Mbekezeli is a passionate young human rights lawyer. Originally from Johannesburg, he completed all his schooling in Soweto. He went on to complete his law degree at Wits University, where he won a university entrance scholarship.

While at school and university Mbekezeli was involved in numerous volunteer initiatives, where he developed a passion for service and social justice. As a student he worked as a field researcher the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of SA (SERI), where he worked alongside its attorneys in negotiating better living conditions for some of SERI’s clients.

He later joined SERI as a Bertha Fellow and candidate attorney. During his time at SERI Mbekezeli worked on various matters that have come before court at all levels from the Magistrate’s Court up to the Constitutional Court. He has been involved in matters relating to the right to housing, the right to protest and the right to a livelihood. These matters have touched on various fields of the law from property, land, constitutional law, criminal law and labour law. Through this work he has worked closely with marginalized communities, activists and social movements.

Coming from a township school himself, Mbekezeli has a passion for addressing the education problems in marginalized communities. He joins EELC to contribute towards addressing these.
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Melanie Boltman – Operations Manager

Between 2001 and 2011, Melanie was employed as the training co-ordinator at the University of Cape Town (UCT) School for Legal Practice. Prior to this, she studied towards a Bachelor of Social Science degree in Public Administration and Politics from UCT, and holds a Management qualification from UCT which she obtained in 2010.

Melanie joined the EELC at the time it was established and is responsible for general office management, human resources and information technology. She was also involved in EE’s Community Leadership programme as a co-ordinator.

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Zusipe Batyi – Communications and Fundraising Officer

Zusipe grew up and completed his schooling in Butterworth, Eastern Cape. He was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rhodes University in 2013, with majors in Politics, Law and Sociology, and in 2014 obtained an Honours degree in Journalism and Media Studies.

Zusipe began his career as a news intern at the South African Broadcasting Corporation in Johannesburg in 2015. He went on to work as a Marketing and Communications Officer at the Rhodes University’s Sol Plaatje Institute for Media Leadership.

Zusipe joined the EELC team in October 2016 as our Communications and Fundraising officer. Zusipe believes that every child has the right to equal and quality education, and that nobody should be deprived of the right to education based on their socio economic position. Zusipe is committed to working together with the EELC team to further the struggle for equal education. In addition to his work with the EELC, Zusipe is continuing his studies towards an LLB degree at the University of South Africa.

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Tarryn Cooper-Bell – Attorney

Tarryn obtained both her Bachelor of Science degree as well as her LLB from Rhodes University. She thereafter completed her training as a candidate attorney at the Rhodes University Law Clinic where she was involved in general litigation and various other access to justice programmes.

After her admission in 2012 she was employed as an associate at the Boksburg based law firm of Malherbe, Rigg & Ranwell Attorneys where she specialised in municipal law. The call towards human rights and social justice however inspired her return to the Rhodes University Law Clinic as an attorney in charge of the advice office programme in early 2014 where she furthered the Law Clinic’s work in the human rights field.

She thereafter progressed through the ranks to head of legal services for the Grahamstown office and member of the Rhodes University Law Clinic management committee. As an attorney at the Law Clinic, Tarryn was involved in general litigation, LLB student supervision and lecturing of various modules in the LLB Legal Practice course.

Tarryn joined the EELC in April 2017 to contribute towards the fight for social justice and equal, quality education for all on a national level.

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Ziphokazi Sisilana – Candidate  Attorney

Ziphokazi joined the EELC in March 2017. Zihokazi was awarded a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Fort Hare in 2014. Thereafter she pursued and completed an LLM degree in Private Law and Human Right Law at the University of Cape Town in 2016. Ziphokazi recently completed five months legal training with the Law Society of SA for Practical Legal Training in November 2016.

As a young activist who is passionate about social justice, Ziphokazi has always availed herself to volunteer in projects that uplift the community. Such projects include after-school educational programs with primary and high schools, community environmental awareness on health hazards with an organisation called FRESH Environmental Organisation and volunteering as a part-time researcher with the Economic Policy Research Institute.

Ziphokazi’s ultimate goal is to remain in practice in the public interest law sector and use her qualifications to continue the fight for justice for the community.